St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - November 4, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

Patience. Courage, Steadfastness. As I write this reflection on Wednesday morning, the presidential election has not yet been decided. Votes are still being counted. Some of us may still be feeling unsettled or anxious. I strongly recommend that you watch the service from the National Cathedral that was broadcast live on Sunday, "Holding Onto Hope: A National Service of Healing and Wholeness." (see the article and link below). Bishop Curry says, " behold not what is but what ought to be; the way to the Promised Land is made up of spirit, freedom, justice, compassion, and love. If it is not of love, it is not of God." We must love our neighbors as ourselves, as that is the foundation, the cornerstone, of the Christian faith, as Bishop Curry states. It may be a long week of uncertainty as ballots are voted and the will of the people is known. May we continue our prayers for justice and peace as we continue this week in the steadfast love of and faith in our God, holding God at the center of our hearts, in this anxious and uncertain time.

The Rev. Carol Hancock

The Rev. Carol Hancock

Many thanks go to the Outreach Committee for organizing and staffing the food drive at St. John's last Sunday for Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. Committee members are Mimi Spear (chairperson), Steve Busch, Andrew Wade, Denise McCarthy, and Lisa Heller. Thanks to Val and John Tucker who also assisted on Sunday and to Lori Wade who took the pictures. Over 556 pounds of food was donated by St. John's parishioners and a few people from the neighborhood. Many thanks also go to Andrew Wade for organizing the collection of warm clothing for Crossroads, an organization that helps the homeless.
Be a Sunday service reader, from anywhere!

During this time of covid, St. John's holds a Sunday morning prayer service....
...which is "aired" on Sunday mornings at 9 AM.
The readings are pre-recorded, and several parishioners have been doing a great job doing them, from different venues - no matter where they are! We welcome, need, and value your help! If you would like more information on how to do this, click here for the info page on SignUp Genius. Please sign up a week before the Sunday you would like to read, so we can get the readings to you and you can get your recording to David Weir by Thursday.
We are collecting monetary donations for Thanksgiving baskets again this year. Checks should be made out to St. John's, with "WFCM Thanksgiving baskets" in the memo line. Instead of St. John's purchasing food and delivering baskets directly to the names sent to us by Western Fairfax Christian Ministries, WFCM is collecting money and they will buy the food for people to come and pick up themselves, due to COVID.

If you have not already watched it, I highly recommend that you watch "Holding Onto Hope:A National Service of Healing and Wholeness" that was broadcast live on Sunday, November 1. The sermon by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is excellent, as is the reflection of Valerie Kaur on the grieving that we have all experienced in the past few months - for our loss of human touch, of community, of jobs, of safety. Prayers are offered from people of all races and ages from around the country. It is a moving service of confession, grief, lament and hope, hosted by the National Cathedral. It can be found at

Another opportunity to donate food
In the London Towne Elementary School, over 400 children get free or reduced price lunches. Due to COVID, there are more families who may "fall through the cracks" and not be able to get assistance for a Thanksgiving dinner. People are being asked to donate a bag of food (with specific food items) to feed a family of 4-6 for Thanksgiving. For more information and to sign up, please click on the following link:
Every Wednesday, St. John's has a Service of Evening Prayer at 6 PM. It is a peaceful way to end the day, and it's now being held virtually. Here is the link to this evening's service:
November 4, 2020
Juliette Faulding, Bookkeeper
St. John's bookkeeper, Juliette Faulding, is currently on medical leave. If you would like to send her a card, you can send it to her sister's address, where she is currently recovering. That address is Lynette Johnson Williams, 12007 Wallace Lane, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772. Prayers continue for Juliette's full recovery from surgery.
The link to the Sunday service is sent out each Saturday as usual. Then join us for the coffee hour from 10:00 - 10:30 and the Adult Lectionary Class at 10:30 AM on Zoom. The links will be sent out in Saturday's email to all.

Pledge Cards
If you have not already done so, please return your completed pledge cards as soon as possible. So far we have received 21 pledge cards. Last year we received a total of 45 pledge cards. If you have already made your pledge for 2021, thank you for your support of St. John's and its ministries.
If no one is around to receive your money for the firewood, you may put it into the secure black mailbox adjacent to the firewood stack.
Prayer list - If you would like to add someone's name to the prayer list, please send the name to Carol or Catherine Packard by Monday in order to have that name on our prayer list for the following Sunday. We need to get the prayer list to our readers by Tuesday so they can record the Prayers of the People and get it to David Weir by Thursday. Please let Carol know when we can take someone's name off the prayer list.

Our Annual Diocesan Convention will be held virtually on Saturday, November 14. Walt Cooner, our lay delegate, and Carol will be attending. We will have a joint diocesan worship service on Sunday, November 15.

We encourage you to please stay current with your pledge and contributions to St. John's. Our bills continue to come in and need to be paid. You can mail your contributions to St. John's at 5649 Mt. Gilead Road, Centreville, VA 20120. If you would rather give online, please use the button below.

Three baptisms at St. John's!!!
Even a pandemic cannot stop families who want their children baptized. Although private baptisms are discouraged, as they should be done with their community of faith present, we are living in unprecedented times. I received permission from the Bishop's office to officiate at baptisms as long as they are outside with less than 10 people, all wearing masks and social distancing. The baptism can be live streamed to those who want to attend but cannot.

On October 3, I officiated at the baptism of Hannah Hadfield, infant daughter of Angela and Russ Hadfield, at their home, with one set of grandparents present and many other people watching online. On November 7, I will officiate at the baptism on Liv Johanna Slovney, daughter of Sini and Sean Slovney, newcomers to St. John's. On November 8, I will officiate at the baptism of Jeremiah Ethan Taylor, son of Dnemah Quenah and Hugh Taylor, and grandson of Beverly Taylor. Baptismal instruction is done on Zoom. In spite of the pandemic, St. John's continues to grow and flourish!

An Evening of
Classical Music
with Quarantine Music Busters
Friday, November 6, 7 p.m.
The Virtual Center for Active Adults invites you to enjoy a live, virtual concert of classical music performed by Steve Draughn, pianist, and Michael Dzwonczyk cellist, from Quarantine Music Busters. To attend, simply log onto the
We encourage you to join us every Friday at 7 p.m. for a live concert by musicians from Quarantine Music Busters. QMB
is a student-founded, community-based organization dedicated to providing free entertainment and solace through music via virtual or in-person concerts during
COVID-19 pandemic. The QMB is made up of 29 musicians, ranging from freshmen to high school graduates who perform on a variety of instruments in the genres of classical, jazz and show tunes.
St. John’s Grounds Cleanup ‘Morning’: Saturday, November 14th, 2020, 8:00 a.m. till Noon

Every fall and spring, volunteers typically gather to clean up our 4.5 acre campus. This will be a safe event, as everyone can spread out, and/or work in small family teams. 

We are coordinating with our landscape company and grounds committee (Monti Z.) about the work that needs to be done. A few items are:
·        Freshening up the mulch beds
·        Straightening the battlefield fence
·        Raking/blowing leaves
·      Filling potholes in gravel parking lot
·        Sweeping all four entrances.

There is mostly very light work that needs to be done.  We accept people of any age and skill set😊

Feel free to bring your own rake & work gloves.   Also, please bring your own coffee! We will have water/Gatorade and donuts. St. John’s parishioners as well as members of our Ministry partners are invited. If you can make it during any part of the morning, please RSVP to This way, we can plan for the right amount of projects to tackle and have the right amount of snacks/drinks.
The Adult Lectionary Forum
Now being held virtually via Zoom. All are invited to join in, following the virtual Sunday service. The links to the Forum and the service are sent out in a separate email on Saturdays.
We can prepare our hearts & minds by reading ahead
for the Sunday Service lesson

The Twenty-third Sunday
after Pentecost
November 8, 2020

The First Reading:
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Both God and Joshua know the Israelites to be a flighty people, but they insist they will remain faithful to their God, Yahweh, who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They make a covenant to this effect.
The Psalm: 78:1-7
pg. 694 BCP

The Second Reading:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Unlike pagan teachings and practices surrounding those who have died, Paul’s message to the Thessalonians encourages them to understand that because of God in Christ, they too will be resurrected.

The Gospel:
Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus tells the parable of the wise and the foolish bridesmaids; though they all fall asleep, some have brought extra oil, and some have not come prepared.

Online Contributions
 to St. John's
St. John's now offers three buttons for online donations via You may use the buttons below to go directly to, or you may download the app on your phone or tablet.
The Pledge payment button may be used only to make your pledge payment (after signing up to be a pledger, which may be done at any time in the year. See Carol or Vestry)
The Facility Campaign button may be used only for any contribution for the facility's buildings and grounds, or special facility campaigns.
The Donation button may be used for any other type of donation to St. John's. To designate a special purpose (i.e. Organ Fund, Ministry Partner payments, etc.) please send a note to
Sermons from the Bishop's Online Chapel
Each week, one of our bishops or a member of the diocesan staff prepares and posts a sermon based on the Sunday's readings that can be used for online services. Here is the sermon posted for this past Sunday.
A Meditation for The Twenty-second Week after Pentecost
Who Will We Be On Wednesday? 
Today is All Souls Day, Dia de los Muertos, a moment spent between the worlds, which feels eerily fitting, because Election Day is tomorrow. This week feels like we are careening from an unnerving present into an unknown and frightening future -- whatever the outcome of the election. There are dire predictions everywhere -- again, whatever the outcome. And there's the distinct possibility that we will be stuck for a time in another, deeper level of limbo -- or is it purgatory? -- than the one we've inhabited now for months. Who will pray us out of this??? (And who will bring us marigolds and ofrendas if it goes badly?) 
What will we do if. . . if the outcome is not what we hope (and in our big tent, different people hope for very different things)?  What will we do if . . . if "the other side" doesn't accept whatever it is? What will we do if . . . if people behave badly  -- very badly?  What will we do if . . . if the "victors" are cruel to the "defeated," or vice versa?
As a bishop in The Episcopal Church writing to my sibling Episcopalians, I would offer my own answer. Whatever unfolds, what I will do first is remember who I am, and who each other person in this crazy mess is. I am a child of God, a follower of Jesus. So are you. And so are "those people." (Well, they're children of God, whether or not they claim to be followers of Jesus.)
Like you, I have made vows. The vows made at my baptism were clarified in a "new" prayer book some years later, and like you, I have repeated them time and again, several times a year, for decades.  After I renounced Satan, evil, and sin as any way to organize my life, I accepted Jesus as Savior, put my WHOLE trust in his grace and love, and promised to follow and obey him as my Lord. I made those vows, and you made those vows. In doing so, we announced to God, and to the great congregation, who we are, and how we would make decisions for the rest of our lives.[i]
We have promised -- again and again -- that we will, even this week: 
·         Respect each human individual as made in the image of God. No exceptions.
·         Devote our time and resources to work for justice for all.
·         Act as a peacemaker in a world of anger and violence.
·         Consider people from every race, nation, culture, gender, and religion our equal.
·         Look behind the masks and distortions of this world to find the divine spark in each person.
·         Live in a way that shows the world how everybody can live into God's dream.
·         Talk about how God's love for the world is concretely revealed in the life, death, resurrection, and teachings of Jesus.
·         Continue to admit the ways we have failed in following Christ, and try again each time.
·         Resist the forces and impulses that seek to harm, destroy, or denigrate people or God's creation.
·         Remain connected to our community of faith, learn from authoritative spiritual teachers, and maintain deep conversation with God.[ii]
What will we do as this election unfolds, come what may? We will BE the People of God. That's not Pollyanna poppycock. That's the hardest job anybody will be doing this week. We will keep our vows to the Almighty and most merciful God. We will be the people in this stressed and straining nation who bind up the wounds of strangers. We will be the people who pray for our enemies and bless those who curse us. We will be the people who show by example that breaking bread triumphs over breaking news. We will be the people who, amidst the chaos and confusion, never forget the least, the lost, the lonely, and the otherwise unloved. We will be the people who look behind the red and the blue and the rhetoric to see the human beings who are the other half or so of the human family that lives in this country. Because the truth is, either we all win, or we all lose. Either we make the world a better place for all its inhabitants, or we all suffer. And only the unselfish, sacrificial, steadfast, hardworking love that Jesus showed us how to share can heal the pain of these days.
The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. The Church pursues its mission as its members pray and worship, tell the story of the Good News of God as revealed in Christ, and promote justice, peace, and love.[iii] A pretty tall order any week, and a matter of life and death for the nation this week.
In the immortal words of Jake and Elwood Blues:
Jake: Me and the Lord, we got an understanding.
Elwood: We're on a mission from God.
Jake: We're getting the band back together.
Elwood: We're on a mission from God.
Jake: Matt, we're puttin' the band back together.
Elwood: You gotta understand; this is a lot bigger than any domestic problems you may be experiencing.
Jake: Would it make you feel better if you knew that what (I'm) asking (you) to do is a holy thing?
Elwood: You see, we're on a mission from God.
Jake: The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Elwood: Yup. [iv]
My friends, we're are on a mission from God. It's going to be a busy week for the Church, and a moment of truth about whether we are who we have said we are. The Lord works in mysterious ways, even using us. Shall we begin upon our knees?
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of our President, Vice President, officials, and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Elwood, behind the wheel: It's 106 miles to Chicago; we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it. [v]
God bless us all, every one.
+Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Virginia

i] Book of Common Prayer p.304
[ii] Book of Common Prayer pp.304-305 (read from the bottom up).
[iii] Book of Common Prayer p. 822
[iv] "The Blues Brothers". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner).
The saints whose sacrificial generosity we remember were painfully and poignantly attuned to their own privilege, and found the prospect of not giving what they could to be spiritually intolerable. Once they realized that they were riding through life on horseback, they knew that their only choice was to dismount and live a life on foot.
-Br. Keith Nelson
My email address is,
and the office number is 703-803-7500. 

May our ministry together spread God's love to all whom we encounter.
      - Carol

      The Rev. Carol Hancock, Rector
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