St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - September 22, 2021
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

As you know Carol has been on vacation, and will be back this Sunday, well rested and ready for another year. I really appreciated Ann Ritchie Celebrating the Eucharist with us and preaching a great sermon. In fact, parts of her sermon came up during Walt’s Lectionary Discussion. Speaking of which, I would like to encourage you to participate as we dive deeper into the lessons and gospel for each Sunday as well as learn about one of the Church’s Holy Men or Women. It is always interesting, and we learn a lot from each other about what God is saying to us through his readings and gospel lessons. 
We have continued to have outstanding response to the Afghan Immigration support and donations, please see the list below which was updated this week based on current feedback from the Brigade of Mercy. I also mentioned that I will have an Outreach Committee Meeting this Sunday after the service and invite anyone interested to join us. The intent of this meeting is to discern potential new opportunities for outreach as the immediate needs of the Afghan refugees begin to wind down. 
This past week, Bishop Goff held her monthly Clergy Call. The focus was on conducting worship in a safe manner as we are faced with the delta variant of Covid. I can assure you that we are in full compliance with safety measures she recommended during our Sunday Worship. I provided Carol an overview of the bishop’s comments which we will discuss when she returns from vacation to see if she wants to make any additional modifications to our current worship services.    

A Prayer for Travelers
“O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel in particular your servant the Reverend Carol Hancock; surround her with your loving care; protect her from every danger; and bring her safely to her journey’s end; through Jesus Christ Amen.”     
The Rev. Steve Busch
Vacation - Carol will be on vacation from September 13 - 25, spending one week in New England visiting her brother and sisters, and one week at the beach. The Rev. Anne Ritchie will be the preacher and celebrant on Sunday, September 19. The Rev. Deacon Steve Busch will preach the following week on September 26.

Many thanks go to Craig Staresinich for donating a new freezer for the kitchen. Our old one "died" several years ago. We will now be able to keep some food frozen that can be donated to WFCM. It will be used to keep food frozen for many other events as well. Thanks, Craig!

If you would like to make a donation to assist those who have been impacted by the hurricanes in Haiti, Louisiana and the East Coast, you may send your donation to Episcopal Relief and Development at .
Bishop Susan Goff Announces Appointment of Diocesan Missioner for Racial Justice and Healing

The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff, Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority, is honored to announce the appointment of the Rev. Dr. J. Lee Hill, Jr. as the Diocese of Virginia’s first Missioner for Racial Justice and Healing.

In this role, Dr. Hill will collaborate with lay and ordained leaders to engage all congregations and diocesan organizations in the work of healing across racial and other divides. He will support existing ministries of racial justice and healing, work with groups across the Diocese in the development of new ministries, and facilitate courageous dialogue about race that is rooted in Christ and that honors different experiences. He begins his ministry in the Diocese in early November.

“I can scarcely contain my excitement about the Rev. Dr. Hill and I can’t wait until the people of this Diocese meet him,” said Bishop Goff. “He brings passion, energy, abiding faith and deep joy to the important and challenging work that lies ahead of us. We are going to learn so much together as we work intentionally toward justice and healing of divides. God bless the beginning of this chapter of our diocesan life.” 

Since 2010, Dr. Hill has served as the Senior Pastor of Christian Fellowship Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in San Diego, California. He previously served on the senior ministerial staff of The Riverside Church in New York City; Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC; and Emmanuel Baptist Church, also in Winston-Salem. He is an ordained minister in both the Alliance of Baptists and the United Church of Christ. Dr. Hill holds a Master of Divinity from Wake Forest University and a Doctor of Ministry from Emory University. He also holds a post-graduate certificates from Princeton Theological Seminary, the Morehouse College of Pastoral Leadership, the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, and the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at Indiana University. A native Virginian, Dr. Hill attended Chesterfield County Public Schools and George Mason University.   

At the November 2020 Annual Convention of the Diocese, Bishop Goff announced plans for the creation of the position of Missioner for Racial Justice and Healing. In June 2021, in consultation with diocesan governing bodies and key leadership groups, the Bishop’s Office launched a nationwide search that led to the calling of Dr. Hill. 

“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to serve the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in this inaugural role,” said Dr. Hill. “I am honored to join such a gifted and talented staff in ministry and eager to share in ministry with such a broad and diverse community. Advancing and supporting the ministry of racial justice and healing in the dismantling of racism, colonialism, and white supremacy throughout the Diocese will require tremendous courage, audacious imagination, bold hope—and the empowering of the Holy Spirit to realize healing and flourishing. Through the selection process as I met with Bishop Goff, members of the staff, and representatives of the Diocese, clergy and lay—I felt, very deeply, the transformative power of the Spirit in the fashioning new hopes. I am excited to begin this new chapter—and pray God’s riches blessings for our journey ahead.”
St. John’s Second Annual Wood splitting Event:
Saturday Morning , October 2, 2021, 8:00 a.m. until....
 We are having many volunteers descend on St. John’s Mt. Gilead Green for the Second Annual Log Splitting Day. There will be parishioners, neighbors, friends, and family members, that are all willing to help with this project.
There are currently six trees that are scheduled to come down September 25th. For safety purposes, all trees will already be on the ground by the time volunteers arrive on Saturday morning, October 2nd. Two log splitters will be brought to the church the morning of. Several racks have already been built in order to easily stack and store the firewood.
Please bring:
·        Safety First: gloves, ear protection, & goggles
·        Rakes
·        Wheelbarrows and Dollys/handtrucks
·        Extension Cords/Electric Chainsaws
·        Regular Gas
·        2 Cycle Gas
·        Chainsaws
We will have bagels/donuts in the morning as well as Water and Gatorade available all day. 
Lunch Needed: The last time this event occurred, someone expressed interest in bringing lunch that day. If you are able and would like to provide lunch for approximately 20 volunteers (exact number TBD), then please let me know.
Fellowship Following the Log Splitting: Meet at Eavesdrop Brewery around 6:00 p.m.
7223 Centreville Rd., Suite 115, Yorkshire, VA 20111. Some people can come out for the morning only, some for the afternoon only, and some have other obligations during the day. Regardless, everyone is invited to come out at the end of the day for a beverage and a bite to eat.
We also need a firm # for planning purposes, please RSVP to

We are searching for a new non-profit group to use the parish hall during the week. If you know of any group looking for space, please tell them to contact David Thompson at St. John's (703-803-7500). We need to spread the word as widely and as quickly as possible. There are flyers on the back table in the church if you know of someone to send it to or a public bulletin board to post it. We have put an ad on Craigs List. If you know other websites where we could advertise (preferably for free), please let Carol know.
Online Service Videos
As we return to in-person worship, it will be important for us to continue our ministry of having our services online for those who cannot or choose not to come to church. Our videos are also sent out by parishioners to friends and family in other states. We need several people to take turns recording the service on Sunday mornings. Instructions will be given. Please join us if you can help with this ministry. We need several people so it doesn't fall on the shoulders of one person every week. Please let Carol know.

You may be on YouTube. As we are now recording our services in the church and posting them on YouTube, you might be recorded in the service, particularly when you are going up to communion or returning to your seat. If this is a problem for anyone, please let Carol know.
Outreach Committee: Updated Needs for Afghan Refugees
St. John’s continues to meet the immediate needs for the refugees that have passed through our area over the past few weeks. The luggage, shoes, socks, towels, and undergarments have been terrific. Many thanks to parishioners that continue to bring goods to the church all during the week and on Sundays.
Here is the latest update as of 09/22/2021 (today):
·        New Shoes: Adult Men’s 8 – 11.5
·        New Shoes: Adult Women’s 7 - 8 ½
·        Men’s Underwear: Med & Large
·        Women’s Underwear: Med & Large
**Currently, they are good on luggage!
Please leave in the office at the church. If you need someone to pick up any supplies or would like to give funds for someone else to make the purchases, please contact the church office @ 703-803-7500.   If you have any other questions, please contact Andrew Wade: 

Ambreen Rizvi from the Brigade of Mercy will come visit our church one of these upcoming Sundays, to give an update on the impact that St. John’s has had as these Afghan refugees passing through Northern VA.
Envelopes will be on the back table in the church for those who would like to make a monetary donation to assist the Afghan refugees. Checks should be made out to St. John's Church, with the notation of "Afghan Relief" in the memo line.
 The Outreach Committee
Western Fairfax Christian Ministries has put out their list of the foods that they need the most. You can bring your non-perishable items to the church on Sunday mornings, or drop them off in the box outside the door by the breezeway during the week and they will be delivered to WFCM.

·   Canned garbanzo beans (low salt preferred)
·   Canned kidney beans, red beans, and black beans (low salt preferred)
·   Canned pasta
·   Pasta Sauce (low salt preferred)
·   Canned Tuna and Canned Chicken
·   Flavored pasta/rice
·   Mashed Potatoes
·   Oatmeal (Quaker Oats Healthy Old Fashioned Oatmeal)
·   Canned vegetables (corn, carrots, spinach, beets) (low salt preferred)
·   Canned Pineapple (no sugar added preferred)
·   Tomato Paste (low salt preferred)
·   Toiletries: Toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, feminine pads, deodorant, baby wipes, shaving cream, mouth wash (NOTE: we are not currently in need of diapers due to our partnership with Greater DC Diaper Bank. Please only donate larger size pull ups or wipes if you want to donate items for babies.)
Outreach Opportunity to Help Our “Neighbors”
The Western Fairfax Shepherd Center is still accepting volunteer drivers to support clients who need help getting to appointments, shopping trips (for food), and to deliver food from WFCM to clients. Please contact the Shepherd Center at 703-246-5920 or email and copy Deacon Steve at
Sign Up: Sunday service reader or usher We welcome, need, and value your help! The lector will read the 2 lessons and the psalm. The usher will hand out bulletins and bring the elements and offering to the altar. If you would like to do either of these, CLICK HERE.
Sign Up: Altar Flowers
Please indicate how you wish your flower donation to appear in the Sunday bulletin.(Wedding anniversary, in memory of someone - something special you want to remember by providing flowers.) CLICK HERE
Service of Evening Prayer - Virtually
Every Wednesday, St. John's has a Service of Evening Prayer. 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:
Wednesday, September 22
All are invited to join in, following the Sunday service. Here is the link to the Lectionary Forum via Zoom, in case you cannot attend in person:

Last Sunday's recorded service: The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 19, 2021
All are invited to join in, following the Sunday service, in the library. Or use the link to the Lectionary Forum via Zoom, in case you cannot attend in person, found above.
We can prepare our hearts & minds by reading ahead
for the Sunday Service lesson

The Eighteenth after Pentecost

September 26, 2021

The First Reading: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
 By prayer and preparation, Queen Esther brings her request to the powerful and mercurial king; she is prepared to sacrifice herself for her people, as the king has the power to put her to death.

The Psalm: 124, p. 781BCP

Alternate First Reading: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
 Moses feels stuck between the faithless people and God’s righteous anger. To ease the burden, Moses shares his responsibility for listening and responding to the people with 70 wise brethren.

Alternate Psalm: 19:7-14, p. 606, 607

The Second Reading: James 5:13-20
 Prayer is the foundation of the life of faith. By prayer Elijah showed the power of God. By prayer the sinner is brought back to light and redemption. By prayer the humble are lifted up. By prayer the joyful are multiplied in happiness of heart.

The Gospel: Mark 9:38-50
 Rather than looking after the behavior and attitudes of others, those who follow Jesus do well to tend to their own hearts, thoughts, and actions. Whether another person looks to be following Jesus correctly is no matter. What matters is to keep from making faithfulness more onerous for others.
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
A Meditation for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost
God Does the Heavy Lifting

Saturday, I had the privilege to confirm, receive, or reaffirm 70 people at Falls Church. I admit I was a little nervous about being around so many people because of Covid 19 protocols. In addition, I never had this many candidates at one time in Western North Carolina. However, I remembered that early in my episcopacy in Western North Carolina I was preparing to be with a congregation deep into discord and mistrust. When I asked my Canon to the Ordinary how in the world I was going to help these people, he said, “Just show up. God does all the heavy lifting.”

In like manner, I showed up Saturday with my mask and my purple shirt and crozier. The sanctuary was a sea of people all in masks. We sang; we prayed; we heard the scriptures being read and I placed my hands on the heads of 70 people who came to increase their capacity to do God’s work in the world as Episcopalians. I rediscovered that when you say the same sentence over and over, something happens. Strengthen, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit; empower her for your service; and sustain him all the days of their life. I realized, it wasn’t just the candidates that were being empowered or sustained. The Holy Spirit showed up for everyone.

This is one of the ways God works because the essential components are not the people’s resumes or talents. It’s never about us.  It’s always about God. It’s always been about God. Our job is to show up and say “Yes,” and God does everything else. At some point in the service, I forgot my concern about getting the words and the actions correct, and I forgot about my concerns over people being infected, and I became aware of the real activity in the room—which was the Holy Spirit showing up, binding us together, and empowering us for God’s work. For a time there was no Covid; there was no political acrimony in Washington; there was no increase in the various prejudices and divisions that infect our country; there was the peace that passes all understanding. There was the sense of a communion with the Spirit.

As I was driving home, I realized instead of being tired, I was animated and felt a peace that I had not felt for some time. The issues of the world and our nation still existed, but I wasn’t carrying a heavy burden. I remembered God was in control, and all that was required of me was to do my part, be honest about my limitations as well as my hopes for a broken world and to ask God to use me as God willed. There was a sense of a freedom I had not felt in many months because God was doing all the heavy lifting.

God is God, and we are simply called to be instruments of God’s will. As one of the saints said, “It’s up to God to think of me, and up to me to think of God.” For the time being, I plan on using the final prayer of the service as my daily prayer: “Grant almighty God that the words we have heard this day with our outward ears may through your grace be so grafted inwardly in our hearts that they may bring forth in us the fruit of good living.”

Bishop Porter Taylor
In an age, and a world, and a nation marked by bitterness, division, suspicion, and even hatred, we are all desperate for that gift which changes lives. The promise of Jesus, known to Paul, and discovered by countless since, is the promise of hope. Today, the world needs hope. Clinging closely to Jesus, you and I can be people of hope, and when we are, we can change the world.
-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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