St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - October 14, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

In just three short weeks, Americans will elect a president and vice president as well as members of Congress. How does our faith inform our voting? How does our faith address the divisions and hatred which seem to be rampant in this country right now? How will healing take place, both before and after the election? How will our faith guide and direct us as we work for unity? Whoever wins this election, there will be some people who will be hurt and upset, while others will rejoice.
One thing we must do is listen to each other and respect their opinions and views, even when they may be very different from our own. Arguing to change someone's mind is usually not helpful. We need to get away from the "I'm right and you are wrong" mentality, but rather listen with respect to those with whom we may disagree.
How do we start the process of healing, both before and after the election? I invite you to pray for all who are going to the polls in the next few weeks and on November 3. Pray for the candidates running for office. Pray for peace and understanding between those who are divided. Pray for guidance and strength to begin healing our wounds and divisions. And let us continually ask what Jesus would have us to do.
(See the article about "Civil Conversations in Uncivil Times" below)

The Rev. Carol Hancock

(A few people have said they greatly enjoyed the words and lessons from our Presiding Bishop. It's about 30 minutes long, but it is time well spent. We will leave this link in for another week for those who have not had a chance to listen to it.)

The Rev. Carol Hancock

All Saints' Day is Sunday, November 1. During the service, we will read the names of loved ones who have died. If you would like to have the names of loved ones remembered on All Saints' Day, please email those names to Carol at
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.
Help Area Families in Need this Thanksgiving

Each year, St. John’s participates in the Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM) Holiday Food Assistance Program. This year, due to the Covid Pandemic, we will collect monetary donations from parishioners which will be consolidated into one gift card. The gift card will be for one of the stores designated by the WFCM. The WFCM will then purchase the food and distribute it on Nov. 21 at the Grace Covenant Church from 10 AM to 4 PM.

As you know, there is a great need this year and WFCM is expecting to provide Thanksgiving Meals to 600 households (over 2,000) individuals. Clearly our support is needed to help these families have a Happy Thanksgiving!

How you can help? Starting on Oct 4th through Nov 5th, St. John’s will collect monetary donations for the WFCM Thanksgiving Holiday Meals Program. Please make your check to St. John’s with a note on the Memo Line “WFCM Thanksgiving”. For cash donations please place in an envelope with “WFCM Thanksgiving” on the envelope.  

On Nov 1 we will conduct a final community wide push for WFCM donations and combine that with a WFCM non-perishable food pantry collection (this is separate from the Thanksgiving Program). We will also partner with Andrew Wades’ Rotary Club and collect women’s cold weather clothing. We will have volunteers at the St. John’s parking lot on Nov 1st from 1 PM until 3 PM to collect any donations. Please see lists below for requested food and clothing items.

WFCM is also requesting volunteers to help collect and distribute food boxes and to clean-up at the Grace Covenant Church on Nov 21, the distribution day. They are requesting 10 volunteers for each of 4 shifts: 8 AM – 10 AM Set Up; 10 AM – 1 PM Food Distribution; 1 PM – 4 PM Food Distribution; 4 PM – 5 PM Clean-up. If you would like to volunteer for one of these shifts, please contact Debbie Culbertson at dculbertson@wfcma.or by Oct 16th.     
We are also planning to support WFCM’s Christmas Holiday Food Assistance Program using a similar model of financial, food, and other donations but are continuing to work on the details. 

Food Pantry non-perishable food items that are needed:
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Diced Tomatoes 
  • Canned Corn
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Sugar (1 lb bag)
  • Flour (1 lb bag)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Boxed Pasta
  • Canned Fruit
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Feminine pads
  • Diapers size 5 and 6
  • Baby Wipes
Rotary Club/Cornerstone cold weather clothing items:
  • Assortment of sweatshirts and sweatpants of all sizes (25% for Kids and 75% for adults)
  • Medium/Lg underwear (not white - boxer briefs pref'd)
  • Generic colors; grey/ black etc. (Fruit of the Loom is a suggested brand)
  • Wal-Mart /Target/ Costco. 
Thank you for your generosity to help those in need!
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:
October 14, 2020
Pledge Cards and Letters
Our 2021 pledge cards and letters were sent out last week and you should have received yours in the mail. The theme this year is "One Together", very fitting for the pandemic we are in now. We are truly one together in Christ, even though we are not physically together. We are one together in doing the work that Christ has given us to do, one together in worship and one together in prayer. Please read the letter sent by the Stewardship Committee and prayerfully decide, with God's help, your pledge to St. John's for the coming year. Please return your pledge card by October 28.

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.

VOTE !!!
With the presidential election now less than 3 weeks away, it is important for all of us to decide how we are going to vote. There are several options available this year, especially for those who do not want to stand in line at the polls because of the coronavirus. You can vote by absentee ballot or in person before election day at a polling station. Details about how to vote and where are on the Fairfax County website. It's our Christian duty to vote.
Prayer for an election:
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enables to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Episcopal Migrant Ministries
In the month of October, join EMM, in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and Lutheran Family Services of the Rocky Mountains (LFSRM), for a three-part training series for congregations interested in supporting and walking alongside asylum seekers. The three 90-minute virtual events will provide advocacy updates, resources for group discernment, ministry models, and important considerations when engaging in ministry with asylum seekers. Participants may choose to attend one or more of the virtual events offered. Registration is required. The October 8 webinar will be available on-demand following the event; the latter two meetings will not be available on-demand.
  • Walking with Asylum Seekers: Sponsorship Part 1
  • MEETING: October 20, 4:00 – 5:30PM Eastern
  • Register:

  • Walking with Asylum Seekers: Sponsorship Part 2
  • MEETING: October 27, 4:00 – 5:30PM Eastern
  • Register:

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.

Need firewood?
In the next week or so, you will be able to purchase a bundle of firewood from St. John's. It will be by the mailbox and the door to the breezeway. It will be cheaper than buying it at the store and will help St. John's.

On Sunday, November 1, a service of healing and wholeness will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington at 4:00 PM and will be live streamed. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will be the preacher. This service is intended to begin healing the wounds of division in our nation before and after the election. We pray for God's strength and guidance, faith and humility, before, during and after this election.

Our deacon-in-training, Steve Busch, will be taking his canonical exams for ordination starting on October 24 and lasting for several weeks. The exams are take home tests, but require a lot of study and strength to complete. If all goes well, Steve will finish the Deacon's School in January and be ordained in April. Please keep Steve in your prayers as he begins his canonical exams.

Our prayers and sympathy go to Bev Milunec on the death of her cousin, Annette Walsh. May her soul and the souls of all the departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
A Reflection

It is nice that God
Forgives us more often
Than we forgive others

It is nice that God
Does not need a place of worship
To hear us pray

It is nice that God
Is always calm
Despite all our fears

It is nice that God
Does not condemn who we are
Like we do certain people

It is nice that God
Still believes in us
When we do not believe in Him

It is nice that God
Gives us more
Than we give Him

I wonder how nice it would be
If we were as nice to God
As He is to us?

Written by David Weir
The link to the Sunday service will be sent out on 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.
Christian Formation curriculum for families from ChurchNext:
Here's something that can be really helpful for families growing together in Christ during lockdown: This is NOT Sunday School. It starts in later in September but you can sign up today.
What is "Messy Church"?
Messy Church is an intergenerational program of Christian Formation for all ages. Looking for something to do with your children or grandchildren? Check out the fun activities that are offered and learn more about Messy Church by clicking on this link.

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.
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 Twentieth Sunday
after Pentecost -
October 18, 2020

The First Reading:
Exodus 33:12-23
Moses needs some encouragement to continue in the call that God has given him, God reveals his glory to Moses.

The Psalm: 99
pg. 728 BCP

The Second Reading:
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
The Thessalonians are encouraged that their faith is genuine, as it has been proven not only through knowledge, but through the great works of the Holy Spirit in their midst. 

The Gospel:
Matthew 22:15-22
Jesus refuses to be trapped by wily Pharisees and declares that taxes ought to be paid to Caesar, as is required by Roman law. 
Civil Conversations in Uncivil Times
ChurchNext has launched a terrific free class to help us prepare faithfully for the upcoming election - and it's not too late for you to sign up for: The Big Class: Civil Conversations in Uncivil Times — Practicing Our Faith in the Public Square with Ray Suarez. You can take this course at your own pace, at whatever time suits you. It should take less than an hour to complete, and students will have an opportunity to ask the instructor questions. This means you can sign up or sign in and take the class right now - for free for the next two weeks.
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.
“If we who are Christians participate in the political process and in the public discourse as we are called to do — the New Testament tells us that we are to participate in the life of the polis, in the life of our society — the principle on which Christians must vote is the principle,
Does this look like love of neighbor?" 

A Meditation for The Nineteenth Week after Pentecost
Here are the opening paragraphs of a reflection on nature by
the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson.

The article continues below have to buy pinecones in bags at the store (also dirt, but that's another reflection), so this feels like a bonanza. I look around for the symmetrical ones that have opened up, and I stuff them into my distended hoodie pockets. I learned not to wait too long when I see the good ones, because when it rains -- I don't know exactly how or why, but after it rains, there aren't any wide-open ones. I can't imagine how or why they would close up, but something happens, and they are all closed-up and soggy. Pinecones are sunshine treasures.
 However, on those same foggy, soggy mornings, profligate mushroom magic springs forth from some unseen subterranean matrix -- huge white umbrellas in the mown fields, tiny red-capped domes in the pine needles, something that looks like a garden of brioches growing by the neighbor's fence, extravagant bohemian fringes on the downed logs over in the shady dell by the road to the canal, and a monstrous woody eruption that has endured many mowings of its crabgrass camouflage. The mushrooms will remain, morphing in shape and color, until the next bright, sunny day, when by the evening walk, most have vanished back into the safety of leaf mold and thatch.
 Maybe we're a little like that, if we could only remember. Maybe some folks, and some traits, open up in strong light and heat, and pull in when it's dark and damp. And other folks, and other traits, emerge to surprise us when the rain sets in. Maybe God has given us all secret subterranean strengths and connections that only become visible when we are able to finish lamenting the pinecones we could have picked up yesterday (if only we'd known it was going to rain) and pay attention instead to what is growing today. Maybe there is miracle and magic in our rainy days, too.
 Many of our leaders feel the unbearable pressure of believing they have to hold together a world that is falling apart -- and many of us anxiously look to them expecting them to do just that. Maybe we all need to exhale, and go mushroom hunting. These days are not sunny, and our pinecones are looking like they'll never open again. But they will. They will! We are called only to be faithful, as God is faithful, and to hold fast to our faith, the rock on which our house is built. The rains may come, the winds may blow, but this house that is God's church, built on the rock of faith, will withstand it. Look around. God's creation, God's plan, God's providence, is beyond our imagination. Just look for it. There are mushrooms all around us.
Blessings --
 The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
Assistant Bishop 

The priestly vestments of Jesus are apron, towel, jug, and basin, for the sacrifice which Jesus the Great High Priest offers is not of bulls and goats but of loving service humbly offered on his knees. As children of God made one with Christ in our baptism, we are called not to greatness but to humble service signified by apron, towel, jug, and basin.
-Br. James Koester

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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