St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - October 7, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

Just when you think this year can't get more chaotic or stressful, it does. This past week has brought us continuing news of COVID 19 deaths, and the illnesses of the president and first lady, as well as many on their staff. We are living in unchartered territory. It seems that each time we hear the news, something has happened to make us want to hide in a hole until it all goes away.

When life gets overwhelming, we can rest in the loving arms of God. God will hold onto us, strengthen us, sustain us, and give us the strength we need to keep going, one step at a time, one day at a time. God is love and when we plug ourselves into God and connect with that powerful love, we can see things differently. We can have renewed hope and optimism to face the struggles ahead of us.

Prayer is what will get us through this difficult time with the pandemic, a president and his wife who are ill, the bitterness of political differences, the unjust treatment of people of color, wild fires in the west and hurricanes in the south. In the midst of it all, we can find our peace, find our center in the truly loving arms of God.

Last week, I shared this video of our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. I am leaving this in for another week for those who might not have had a chance to watch it. I invite you to watch this video by our Presiding Bishop who addresses our divisions and the love that can overcome all.

The Rev. Carol Hancock

The Rev. Carol Hancock

What else can St. John's be doing to fill your spiritual needs during this difficult time? If you have ideas or suggestions, please let Carol know.

St. John's is here to help you!
If you or someone you know has a need that the church can help with during this pandemic (going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions, etc), please do not hesitate to call the church (703-803-7500). Many of us are ready and willing to help, should the need arise. The church is here to help in any way we can
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 7, 2020
Pledge Cards and Letters
Our 2021 pledge cards and letters were sent out on Friday 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.

A new Fairfax County program for school age care in response to this year's virtual return to school. The SRS program reflects Fairfax County’s and Fairfax County Public School’s joint commitment to One Fairfax, and to ensuring that all families have equitable access to the services they need to support children’s virtual learning. The SRS program will provide full-day on-site programming for children in Kindergarten through sixth grade residing in Fairfax County and City of Fairfax, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. starting September 8, 2020. Space is limited. To register, call 703-449-8989.Families who need additional financial support or transportation should communicate their request when enrolling so that registration staff can best provide assistance. For more information please visit HERE.
COVID 19 Help Available
If you live in Fairfax County and are in need of support please call Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) 703-222-0880 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays). Residents can also visit the Human Services Resource Guide (HSRG) at, an online, searchable guide to available health and human services resources in Fairfax County.

VOTE !!!
With the presidential election now less than 4 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: Ministry Opportunities for Congregations
  • WEBINAR: October 8, 4:00 – 5:30PM Eastern
  • Register:

  • 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:

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.
This is NOT Sunday School is an intergenerational learning experience, perfect for families and individuals of all ages that will launch weekly starting September 16.

Each week’s session features video teaching by a professional from the Christian formation network, Forma, as well as downloadable lessons, readings, and engagement opportunities for all ages. The curriculum is from Exploring the Bible by Forward Movement and instructors include Victoria Hoppes, Roger Hutchison, and Miriam McKenney, and others.

ZOOM Book Study - "White Fragility - Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin Diangelo. Nine people joined this book study that started several weeks ago and will meet this Thursday for the last session. Please read chapters 11 and 12 for our next meeting, which is this Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 PM. Here's the Zoom link:
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 Nineteenth Sunday
after Pentecost -
October 11, 2020

The First Reading:
Exodus 32:1-14
 The people of Israel are fickle and forgetful, they quickly turn away from the God who rescued them from evil and seek out other ways to secure their future. 

The Psalm: 106:1-6, 19-23
pg. 741 BCP

The Second Reading:
Philippians 4:1-9
 As Paul closes his letter to the Philippians, he exhorts them to marks of faithfulness and to love of one another for the sake of Christ. 

The Gospel:
Matthew 22:1-14
 Jesus’s parable cautions hearers to be receptive to God’s call immediately. It behooves us to prioritize God over other demands for our attention, affection, and devotion. 
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.
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?" 
Meditation for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Power of Prayer in the Wilderness of Cancer
The meditation I offer today in this time of division, uncertainty and daily change in our national life is personal. As I complete active cancer treatment, I reflect on the journey and offer my thanks to you for accompanying me in prayer. I pray that this reflection might be a support to you as you journey through every wilderness of this time.
It was a doctor named Gabriel who first told me that I had breast cancer, Gabriel the messenger who brings news that changes everything. A week later, a doctor named DeHeart said to me, "This really sucks. I'm so sorry," and I thought, "Since breast cancer strikes one out of every eight women, why not me?" From those first days, I needed a visual, poetic and biblical image to focus my response. The frequently used language of "battling" cancer or "fighting" cancer or "kicking cancer's butt" wouldn't work for me. I didn't want those images of violence in my life in a time when I really needed to breathe deeply and find hope. So I prayed and listened and was led to enter the time of cancer treatment as a journey through the wilderness. 
As the Israelites spent forty years in the wilderness on their way to another land, I would willingly enter the wilderness of illness on my way to healing. As the Israelites spent much of the forty years camped in the desert, I would pitch my tent in a forbidding place, there to discover not only stinging scorpions and biting snakes, not only burning sun and howling wind, but manna and quails and water from the rock. I would enter the wilderness of cancer treatment as I'd previously hiked and camped in wild places of nature -- with careful planning, with humility and with deep respect for the journey. I'd also go with more than a little fear and trembling, even though I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was already there and I would never be alone.
As I camped out and wandered through the wilderness of illness, I was blessed with messages of hope. Again and again passages from the book of the prophet Isaiah, which were sent in cards and songs, or which I stumbled upon when I wasn't looking, came alive for me. "Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old," I heard one Tuesday morning. "I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (Isaiah 43:18-19). That promise moved me to tears. "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad," I heard the evening before one chemo infusion. "The desert shall rejoice and blossom; . . . Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, 'Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.'" (Isaiah 35:1, 4) These promises went with me into the wilderness and they made it bearable, even beautiful at times, though it was still a place of terror.
Throughout the entire journey, from diagnosis to surgery, through chemo and radiation, I felt absolutely buoyed by the prayers of others. When I was too tired or worried to pray, I was lifted by the prayers of the community. When I didn't know how to pray for myself, I was strengthened by praying for others. Time and time again I felt, literally felt, hope flowing through my soul in the midst of fear, light pouring into my mind in moments of darkness, strength surging in my body in hours of weakness. Prayer carried me through the wilderness and guided me to recognize and rejoice in the presence of God there. I thank you for your prayers which were such a huge part of sustaining me.
I have now completed active treatment and begin the next five years of follow up care. My hair is coming back. My fingernails are beginning to grow normally. My full stamina is returning. I'm ready to leave this particular wilderness and enter whatever is next. Thanks be to God who is with us always, in every wilderness. Thanks be God for the wonder and power of prayer.
 May God bless you in every wilderness journey you take.

Bishop Susan Goff

Bishops call on all to pray for those affected by COVID
The Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia join with our Presiding Bishop in calling all Episcopalians to pray for our President and First Lady, who have tested positive for COVID-19, for all who are affected by this disease, and for all who have died in this pandemic. God pour down healing grace and mercy in our time. 
 Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a call to prayer Oct. 2 following President Donald Trump's and first lady Melania Trump's positive COVID-19 tests: 

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, I continue to pray for all affected by this virus in any way. At this particular moment, I ask that all Episcopalians also pray for the president and first lady, and all in the White House or government who have been infected by this virus.

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your children, the president and first lady, and all in the White House or government who have been infected by this virus, that their weakness may be banished and their strength restored; and that, their health being renewed, they may bless your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - For Recovery from Sickness, Book of Common Prayer, p. 458

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

God is not bound by the rules of etiquette, decorum, or nationalism. God is not even bound by the rules of cleanliness, holiness, or sanctity. God is not bound by the rules of religion, ethics, or gender. God is not bound by the rules of class, race, or ability. The only rule that God is bound by, is the rule of love, for God is love.
-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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