St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - September 16, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:
It was so good to see some St. John's parishioners on Saturday when they came to donate food to Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. (We all had our face masks on and maintained social distancing in the front parking lot.) How we long for that social and spiritual connection with our community of faith! It's been hard not to have that in-person connection with people during this pandemic. That's why, for me, Zoom has been so important. On Sunday mornings, I can "see" other parishioners at the coffee hour and at the Adult Lectionary Class. On Thursdays, some of us meet on Zoom for our book study on racism. The Vestry and Finance Committee also meet on Zoom.
I would like to strongly encourage you to come to the coffee hour at 10:00 AM on Sundays, after participating in the worship service on YouTube, and to the Adult Lectionary Class at 10:30 AM on Zoom. It's a good time to "see" each other, to hear what is going on in their lives and to see that St. John's is not just standing still waiting for the pandemic to end, but that we are moving forward. You are welcome to join us on Thursdays as well.
So what can we learn from this pandemic? What new skills and opportunities has this pandemic given to us? Where do we see God during this time? What new learnings can we take with us when this pandemic is over? I invite you to ponder these questions, to identify the movement of the Holy Spirit, to see God at work in people and in places where we might not have seen God's presence before. Although this is a difficult time for us all, use this time to see God at work in your own life and in the lives of others.

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector



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.
Our thanks go to David Parker who has spent many, many hours changing the ballasts and light bulbs throughout the building. They are being changed to LED lights, which will last much longer and save us money in the long run.

Many thanks go to the eleven people who brought 571 pounds worth of food and hygiene items to the church on Saturday for Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. A few people can make a big difference in the lives of those in need. Stay tuned for other food drives that are being planned!
Save the Children
St. John's supports two children through Save the Children, and has done so for many years. Their pictures are posted in the breezeway. We pay $20 per child per month to support these children. ($40 per month). We are in need of donors to help us to continue to provide financial support for these children. If you can help, please make a check out to St. John's, and put "Save the Children" in the memo line. Many thanks go to those who have contributed.
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:
UTO: United Thank Offering Outpourings and Ingatherings

UTO, like all other organizations, is being affected by this pandemic, and the UTO Board and Staff are planning for the long recovery period to come. First, many have expressed concern about collecting the Spring Ingathering when churches are not meeting in person, but there are many ways to give to UTO that do not involve gathering at church. Everyone is encouraged to send their Ingathering using one of the following methods:
·       Text to give: INGATHER to 41444
·       Give online: unitedthankoffering.org/give
·       Drop off your Blue Box or check in the mailbox at St. John’s
·       Mail your check directly to the bank. Simply make the check out to UTO with Ingathering Diocese of Virginia in the memo line and mail it to:
The United Thank Offering-DFMS-Protestant Episcopal Church
PO Box 958983
St Louis, MO 63195-8983
Every donation will be acknowledged with a card and will be recorded. If you want to ensure that your donation is recorded as being from St. John’s, just include a note at the bottom of the online donation page.

Please remember that UTO is about gratitude first, money second. We are encouraged to practice gratitude and place monetary offerings into the Blue Boxes if you can, but if you can’t give money you are encouraged to write notes of thanks for your blessings and put those in the Blue Boxes. They can later read all of those notes, remember their blessings, and give thanks again, either with simply a prayer or with a monetary offering. First, practice gratitude, which will help them and their loved ones get through this difficult time.

Second, the UTO Board plans to change their focus for the next round of grants (2021) to center around recovery efforts from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UTO Board gives thanks every day for the work of ECW and everyone else who participates in the United Thank Offering by practicing gratitude – noticing the blessings in their lives, giving thanks for those blessings and making an offering to share their blessings. And gratitude is even more important than usual during these difficult times because it helps with emotional health and resilience. Practicing gratitude is like stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 – it’s good for you and good for everyone around you. Stay safe, stay well, and stay grateful.
Adapted from National Episcopal Church Women Communique’ magazine

Questions? Contact Val Tucker, UTO Chairperson

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.

Join AARP Virginia and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University (OLLI Mason) for the Boomers and Beyond Academy on Saturday, September 26. This virtual event is designed to help you make plans for better living. Learn about the positive powers of lifelong learning, volunteering, mindfulness and meditation, getting your legal documents in order, and more. You will get information about important life matters that you are faced with today or may face tomorrow. These tips and tools will help you make your own decisions about how you want to live.

Saturday, September 26
9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
How to Reinvent Yourself to Flourish in New Life Chapters: Mindful Tools to Connect with Purpose, Build Resilience, and Live with Intention
Martha Brettschneider, Author of Blooming into Mindfulness: How the Universe Used a Garden, Cancer, and Carpools to Teach Me That Calm Is the New Happy 
Volunteering: Good for Your Community and Your Health
Steve Mutty, CEO, Volunteer Fairfax

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 https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hsrg/, an online, searchable guide to available health and human services resources in Fairfax County.


PARISH NEWS
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 last Thursday. We will meet for about 6 weeks on Zoom. If you are interested, you can order the book on Amazon, or it might be in the Fairfax library. Please read chapters 5 and 6 for next meeting, which is this Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 PM. Here's the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83183049988
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 Tithe.ly button below.
SUNDAY WORSHIP & EDUCATION
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 Sixteenth Sunday
after Pentecost -
September 20, 2020

The First Reading:
Exodus 16:2-15
 Those delivered by God and witnesses to his great works on their behalf still struggle to trust his provision.

The Psalm: 105:1-6, 37-45
pg. 738, BCP

The Second Reading:
Philippians 1:21-30
It is in not fearing for our mortal lives that we are freed to minister as God has called. Some are called to live now, and some are called to die now.

The Gospel:
Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus describes the kingdom of Heaven through a parable, demonstrating God’s abundant goodness to all people.

  ______________________
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.

Episcopal Relief and Development
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that there is no "us" and "them" — there is only "us." For those of us who have remained healthy and safe during the crisis, this is an opportunity to care for our neighbors who have been less fortunate.

While the pandemic claims our attention, we are nearing the height of the Atlantic hurricane season. Already, we’ve seen the Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Laura, followed by Hurricane Sally, and we’ve also witnessed the tragic wildfires as they rage in the western states. The weeks and months ahead hold a great deal of uncertainty, and they ask one thing of us: Be ready.

Put your faith into action today.
Whether we're responding quickly to a crisis, or energizing communities through our transformational programs, your gift will be a lifeline for women, children and families around the globe.
 
Online Contributions
 to St. John's
St. John's now offers three buttons for online donations via Tithe.ly. You may use the buttons below to go directly to Tithe.ly, or you may download the Tithe.ly 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 sjeccentreville@aol.com.
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?" 
Forward to Church

Meditation for the Fifteenth Week after Pentecost
Bishop Susan Goff
 
In many congregations, September includes a "Back to Church" Sunday. At least it did in pre-pandemic days. Then, it was back to the program year, back to Sunday school, back to the habit of attending worship after a summer that might have included a vacation from church. This year, in the throes of continuing changes due to the novel coronavirus, I hear people speak longingly about going "back to church."  Usually what they seem to mean is, back to the way things used to be before the pandemic. 
 
I invite us to shift our language, to shift the direction of our focus. Instead of talking about going back to church, let's plan to go forward to church. I suggest this for a number of reasons.
 
The language "back to church" suggests that we've been away since March, and that is simply not the case. Our congregations have been worshipping faithfully all these months, some with live-streaming of services from the church building or from another location, some via ZOOM or Facebook Live, some worshipping in person outdoors. Many of our congregations have continued to serve the wider community through hands-on ministries, particularly enhancing food security for vulnerable individuals and families. We never stopped going to church during this pandemic. We never stopped being the Church. So the language of "going back" suggest something that isn't true. 
 
Soon, congregations in parts of the Diocese where health district benchmarks have been met may begin to gather in person inside the church building, following strict distancing and other protocols. Other congregations in those health districts have chosen not to gather in person, given that the limit on the number of people who can gather would prevent the entire congregation from being together. Those congregations choose to wait until everyone can worship in person safely. In both situations, the language of "going back" isn't accurate or helpful, since entire congregations cannot worship together until a vaccine is developed, approved and widely used. 
 
Even more important, there is no going back because we are being changed in this time. The Church is being changed. As we learn new ways of worshipping together when we are not in person together, we find that our worship includes people who had not come to church before. Family members from far away join in. People who, for whatever reason, have not felt safe walking into a church building are clicking onto online worship and finding spiritual nourishment. We are in a profound moment of evangelism, of sharing our faith experiences and sharing the love of Jesus with others. We'd be faithless to turn back from that. 
 
We are being changed as we hunger for the Eucharist during a time of fasting from the sacrament. That hunger is revealing much about what is deeply important to us. It is revealing to us that Jesus is present not only in the bread and wine, but in other daily and ordinary experiences -- in the smile of a child, in the text from a friend that is full of assurance, in a phone call from a church member who simply asks how we are. Jesus who revealed himself after his resurrection in the simple act of breaking bread reveals himself to us in simple and ordinary ways every day. 
 
As we celebrate the Eucharist with less frequency in this time of pandemic, we are experiencing anew the breadth of our Episcopal tradition and heritage. We are a people of "word and sacrament." As we participate in the sacrament less frequently for a time, we are rediscovering the depth and wonder of the word as we participate in the daily offices -- Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. I've heard from more than a few faithful Episcopalians who had never prayed Compline before this pandemic and who have found in it deep peace at the end of the day. 
 
We've also been learning that Church is a whole lot more than a building. Before the pandemic, I imagine that when most people heard the word "church," they immediately had a visual image of a building with a cross and a steeple. Once this pandemic is over and we've learned what God is teaching us in this time, I hope that when people hear the word "church" they'll picture community and service in the world. 
 
We are being changed -- for the better. There is no going back. Instead, let's go Forward to Church. Forward into the new ways that God is shaping us. Forward into our church buildings with renewed commitment to going out. Forward into our church buildings with increased attentiveness and responsiveness to those who are not in the building. Forward into our church buildings with hybrid worship that feeds those present in person and those who cannot be present in person. Forward into our church buildings and forward into the world for the sake of the love of Jesus. 
 
What will Forward to Church look like in your congregation and in your setting? How will you go Forward to Church for the sake of a world so in need of Jesus' healing grace and love.
Reflections
Cross
If right now you can find no hope but only suffering and desolation in the cross you’ve been handed to carry – what is just killing you now – surrender your life and surrender your death, your many deaths, to Jesus. You have nothing more to lose. Live your life inside of Christ who lives inside of you. He will embody you and enable you. This is Jesus’ way, the way of the cross.
-Br. Curtis Almquist
My email address is stjohnscvpriest@gmail.com,
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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