St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - September 2, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

(The following is an article from Brother David Vryhof of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, writing about the stresses of our time and our hope in God.)

Dear Friends in Christ,
It is very possible that you are feeling exhausted and discouraged in the midst of the many crises we are facing now; especially here in the United States.  The deadly Covid-19 virus continues to claim thousands of lives, with failed businesses, massive unemployment and school closings following in its wake.  Unrest continues in our cities in response to ongoing attacks on people of color.  Our deeply ingrained racism is being exposed again and again in every sphere of life: in education, health care, housing, employment, fair treatment under the law, access to food... Wild fires in California and hurricanes in Louisiana remind us of the high cost of environmental destruction and global warming, which we have failed to adequately address.  Partisan politics has paralyzed our government and put the upcoming election at risk.  
How can we respond creatively and courageously to such immense challenges?  When we’re exhausted from the battle, how do we resist the temptation to simply give up and stop caring?  What do we, as people of faith, have to offer our neighbors and colleagues in such demanding times?  We are called to be people of hope, whose trust in God gives them the resilience to pick themselves up when they’ve fallen or been pushed down, and to continue to answer the call.  We must be like sturdy trees, able to stand their ground in the face of violent winds because their roots reach deep into the soil from which comes their food and their strength.  
We can find courage to fight on in the examples of those who have gone before us. I’ve been reflecting recently on the words and wisdom of Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983), a Dutch Christian woman who, with her father and sister, helped Jews escape the Nazis during World War II by hiding them in their home.  The three were arrested and sent to the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbrück ,where Corrie’s father and sister subsequently died.  Corrie survived the terrible ordeal and went on to author The Hiding Place, which recounts the story of her family’s efforts and how she found hope in God while she was imprisoned at the concentration camp.  Countless Christians have been inspired by her story.  I recall some of her memorable quotes: “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still;”  “Now I know in my experience that Jesus’ light is stronger than the biggest darkness;”  “Love is larger than the walls that shut it in;” and this one, which has spoken to me recently, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  
These are uncertain times, surely, and none of us knows – or can ever know – what the future will bring: not only in our lives but in the lives of our children and grandchildren, our country and our world.  We face so many challenges, so many unknowns, and there is so much at stake.  But we are not the first human beings to face daunting challenges, nor will we be the last.  We fight on – for justice, for peace, for the welfare of all people, for the health and safety of all creation – working as if all depended upon us (which it does), while praying as urgently and persistently as if all depended upon God (which it does). 
May God bless and keep you in these troubled times, and nourish and strengthen you for the fight.
Blessings,
Br David Vryhof, SSJE


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.
Is Education for Ministry for you? We still need 1-2 more people!!!
EfM is a four year program of study and theological reflection. The class meets on Monday evenings each week for 2.5 hours for 9 months, starting in September. The four years cover the Old Testament, the New Testament, Church history and theology. The cost is $375 per year, and you commit for one year at a time. We need to have at least one more person join us in order to have an EfM group this year. In addition to the readings for each week, we do a theological reflection, which can help show us where God is in the midst of ordinary events, and how God may be calling us to minister to others in God's name. Questions? Contact Carol or other members of EfM (Craig Staresinich, Walt Cooner, Bob Faithful). We'd love to have you join us!
A few announcements:

On Sunday, September 6, which is Labor Day weekend, members of our diocesan staff will provide a diocesan wide service for all congregations. This is an opportunity for the entire diocese to worship together virtually and it will take the place of St. John's regular service. Our bishops know how much work it is each week on the part of clergy and lay people to put together a virtual service. So they will offer us this service to give us a sabbath rest and to be in partnership with the other churches in our diocese. Bishop Susan Goff will preach.

Congratulations go to Gail and Jerry Weirich on the birth of their grandson, Owen Lawrence Simmons, born on August 24.

Congratulations also go to Maria and Jared Barrale on the birth of their son Lewis. Lewis joins big brother Benny.

Forward Day by Day is a short commentary on the daily scripture readings. The current issue is for August through October. If you would like one mailed to you, please call the church office.

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.
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:
Drive By Food Collection at St. John's for WFCM*

On Saturday, September 12, we will have a drive by food collection for *Western Fairfax Christian Ministries from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM in the front parking lot of the church. Volunteers will be on hand to take your bag(s) of food from the front passenger seat or the trunk of your car for a no-contact drop off. All donations will then be taken to WFCM. As you know, we usually collect food every Sunday for WFCM. Since we are not having in-person worship services, we are not donating as much as we usually do. The need for food is great, especially for those who have become unemployed due to the coronavirus. Please help those who are less fortunate by donating food to WFCM on September 12. If you cannot make it on that day, you can put non-perishable food in the bin by the breezeway door, near the mailbox.
OUTREACH
TO OUR COMMUNITY

St. John’s Parishioners, you are invited to participate in the Church’s new Community Outreach Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to identify needs that are not being met within our community and to help out where we can and to work with organizations that are filling community needs and could use our support.  If you are interested in Community Outreach, contact Denise McCarthy, at dmccar9904@aol.com or 703-424-5472 to learn more. If you know of an organization that could use some support from us, please let Denise know as well. Looking forward to hearing from you. 

Western Fairfax Christian Ministries
We have recently received word that Western Fairfax Christian Ministries is again accepting personal donations of food and toiletries. This is what they need most:
Current Pantry Needs
Food & Beverages
Canned Tuna or Other Meat
Canned Fruit
Canned Vegetables (no Green beans, corn or Peas needed)
Canned Pasta (ravioli)
Rice (small bags or boxes)
Mashed Potatoes
100% Fruit Juice
Pancake Mix/Syrup
Flour/Sugar/Vegetable Oil
Toiletries
Deodorant
Toilet Paper
Diapers Size 5, 6

St. John's would like to help people in need of food and other items. We now have a bin outside the door to the breezeway for people who would like to drop off donations and we will get it to WFCM. If you would like a member of the Vestry to come and pick up your donation at your house, please email Angela Hadfield at angela1117@gmail.com. She will contact a member of the Vestry to call you about a date and time to pick up your donation. If you would like to take your donation directly to WFCM, their address is 4511 Daly Dr., Suite J,Chantilly, V A 20151

Donations: 8-10 AM Monday/Friday and
2-4 on Tuesdays/Thursdays.
Here is the link that takes you directly to WFCM's 'wish list' on Amazon:



Thoughts from The Rt. Rev. Steve Charleston, retired Bishop of Alaska and a Native American:

We will have a lot of cleaning up to do after the storm. I am not just speaking of the hurricane that is unleashing its fury against Louisiana and Texas. I am talking about the other storms too: wildfires that have ravaged the West, the protests in Wisconsin, and the super-spreader events like the one in Sturgis, South Dakota. They are all storms that have a human handprint on their creation. How we deal with climate change increases the ferocity of fire and wind. How we treat one another in this society increases the public unrest around us. How we react to covid-19 by wearing a mask or not increases the spread of this disease. As human beings, we have helped set all of these forces in motion. Once they have passed over us, it will be our task to pick up the pieces. Which is why it is so critical that we learn from our mistakes. Climate change is real. Racism is real. Covid-19 is real. Our response to these disasters must be equally real. It is time to stand with the Spirit, recognize the work we must do, and then change our behavior so we can change reality for the better.
 
Steve Charleston
Native American
Retired Bishop of Alaska

PARISH NEWS
This Sunday, September 6, the diocesan bishops will host a service for the entire diocese. Bishop Goff will preach and our other two bishops will participate. You can watch the service on YouTube anytime after 8:00 AM. The link to the 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 - Starts this week! "White Fragility - Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin Diangelo. Nine people have signed up for this book study that will start this Thursday, September 3, from 7:00 - 8:00 PM and 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 the first two chapters for our first meeting. 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.

Webinar on Racism, Sept 15
In this upcoming webinar with author Kerry Connelly, leadership and adult study groups can begin the important work of dismantling racism as a church and finding justice for our Black brothers and sisters in Christ. Participants do not need to have read Kerry’s book, Good White Racist? Confronting Your Role in Racial Injustice, to attend.
The free, 90-minute webinar on September 15 at 2:00 PM serves as an introduction to the book and a jumping-off point should groups or individuals seek to process these themes in a book study. If you are not able to attend the webinar live, those who register will receive a link to the recorded webinar for use at a later date.
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.
Preparing for Phase II Regathering in Our Church Buildings 

Here's the link:
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 Fourteenth Sunday
after Pentecost -
September 6, 2020

The First Reading:
Exodus 12:1-14

The Psalm: 149
pg. 807, BCP

The Second Reading:
  
The Gospel:
Matthew 18:15-20
 ______________________
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.
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?" 
Inhabiting This Time
When we figured out that we would not gather again as congregations for Easter because of Covid, we were stunned, and sad, and a little overwhelmed, but we figured we'd be back by summer. Now we know that this is not a short interruption, but seismic disruption of our common life.
When the world falls apart and we the life we know suddenly disappears, our natural response is lament. When Nebuchadnezzar's army tore down Solomon's Temple and flattened Jerusalem, hauling most of Israel into exile in Babylon, there was rightly and properly lament:
By the rivers of Babylon -- there we sat down, and there we wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps...How could we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? - Psalm 137:1-3;4 NRSV
Maybe you can relate to that lament (one of many in Scripture). I know I can. But even without the Temple, even isolated, even captive in a world they never made, God's people find something beyond lament. Jeremiah brought them a word from the Lord:
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. . . bear children. . . seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. - Jeremiah 1:4-7, NRSV
God encourages Israel not to stay stuck forever, harps hanging in the trees, even when exile from the Promised Land continues with no end in sight. The circumstances are what they are. This is your life, for this time. Don't throw it away.
Wash your face and brush your teeth -- adapt to the reality you find yourself in. Make the most of the time you have. Look to the future, but live in the present.
The Hebrew people used exile time to re-forge their identity as a people. Much of the Hebrew Scriptures were committed to writing. The home observance of Shabbat, the Sabbath, increased in importance as the people figured out how to worship God, and preserve and hand down their spiritual traditions, when they could not go to the Temple or engage in familiar spiritual practices. They did build houses and plant gardens, contributing to the society that had destroyed Jerusalem.
Some days, my sense of loss and lament over Covid, unemployment, natural disasters, racial strife, polarized politics, and intense national anxiety threatens to overwhelm me. Then I want to hang up my harp and wail. But the old texts remind me: Look to the future and to God's promised reign of love -- and live now, noticing the abundance of God's creation, building for the Kingdom in whatever way is at hand. These days are life, too. There is goodness to find and to create in the world, always, and there is promise, and the long arc of God's saving grace draws us ever forward.

Pray for me, an unwilling exile making the most of the life that is, as I pray for you, and for our journey into whatever emerges tomorrow.
Blessings!
The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson 
Assistant Bishop 
Reflections
Grace
We should be honest about our capacity for self-deception, our susceptibility to spiritual blindness, our tendency to want to cover up our bad choices with even more bad choices. But we should always remember too that the gospel contains the offer of grace, freely given by a God who continues to love us even when we are least lovable, and welcomes us home when we crawl back covered with the dust of shame and guilt.
-Br. David Vryhof
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
Please note: If you choose to unsubscribe below, please be aware that you will no longer receive either St. John's sermons or E-Notes, which are sent weekly. If you do unsubscribe and later want to be added back in, that needs to be done through the provider, Constant Contact. Please email St. John's office with the request: SJECCentreville@aol.com.