St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - September 9, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

Community. What does it mean when we say we are a community of faith? It means we believe in the love of God for all people. It means we take care of each other, not just those in our church, but also those in our town, our state, our country and our world. As a community of faith, we are told to reach out to those in need - the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless. Right now, it is hard to feel like a community when we can't get together in person. However, that does not mean that we can put helping others on hold. We are in a time of great need, due to the pandemic. Many have lost their jobs and are having trouble paying their rent or buying food.

We have an opportunity this Saturday, September 12 to help those who might not know where their next meal is coming from. We are hosting a drive by drop off of food for Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. We normally collect food every Sunday for WFCM, but since we are not worshipping in-person on Sunday's, that food is not collected. I imagine the same is true for other churches who donate food to WFCM.

You are invited to bring food for WFCM between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM this Saturday in the front parking lot of the church. Steve Busch, Marie McDermott and I will be there to get the food bags out of your car and we will take it to WFCM. If you are not able to come on Saturday, you can put donated food in our bin outside the breezeway door near the mailbox. The bin is checked regularly and donations are taken to WFCM. Please help as you can during this difficult time for so many.

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

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:
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 Encompass Health, 24430 Millstream Drive, Aldie, VA 20105. She will be there for the next week. 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 Saturdays, September 12 and 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.

Day 1: Saturday, September 12
9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Four Lessons About Life and Travel from a Global Volunteer
Ken Budd, Award Winning Writer and Editor, Author of Voluntourism
Great Gift: Getting Your Legal House in Order
Sally Balch Hurme, J.D., Elder Law Expert and Author
Day 2: 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
 

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 3 and 4 for next meeting, which is this Thursday, September 10 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.

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 Fifteenth Sunday
after Pentecost -
September 13, 2020

The First Reading:
Exodus 14:19-31
 With God’s blessing and protection, the Hebrew people pass through the waters of the Red Sea to freedom and life; the Egyptians who pursue them are drowned.

The Psalm: 114
pg. 756, BCP

The Second Reading:
Romans 14:1-12
 The details of our religious practice are not as important as our self-giving love for one another as God’s redeemed people.
  
The Gospel:
Matthew 18:21-35
 God freely offers gracious forgiveness, but also expects each of us to likewise offer gracious forgiveness to each other.
  ______________________
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.


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.
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?" 
Our Need to be Holy 
 
"What matters is not what we do but the deepness and self-abnegation with which the serving soul enters the life, the movement, and will of God and so can be used for divine purposes....We must get rid of the pestilent, deadly notion that the amount of things we get through is the standard. The steadiness with which we radiate God is the standard." - Evelyn Underhill, "The End for Which We Were Made"

The word that keeps coming to me is "agency." There is so much going on in this country that I don't like or understand. I read the beatitudes and then read the newspaper and wonder what to do with that gap. It seems as if we as a nation are drifting further and further away from a holy communion-which is, after all, our yearning and calling as Christians.

What am I to do about Kenosha, Wisconsin? Is it enough to say I will pray for them? Is it enough to try to find someone to blame? Is it enough to ignore it because it upsets me and it's in another state?

This reflection is not going to be filled with answers because I don't have any, but I do know that I must start with the question of agency. What can I do now? Back to Evelyn Underhill: "The steadiness with which we radiate God is the standard."
I am not saying lock your doors and ignore the world. Nor am I saying don't get involved politically, nor should we avoid making our voices heard in the public sphere, nor refrain from calling out behavior that is unjust.

My issue is where to begin. My issue is how to get beyond feeling as if I am merely a spectator watching Rome burn.

I think I need to begin with my heart and then my head and then I may get to my body. I want to align my heart with God's heart. I want a whole and holy vision of my fellow human beings as children of God trying to find their way instead categorizing others as righteous or unrighteous. I want to discard my own smugness about the correctness of my political views-which is the veil that keeps me from the paradise I seek. I want a larger narrative than just the right and wrong-the enlightened and the misguided-the lovers and the haters.

Let's remember, Jesus came from nowhere; so did St. Francis and St. Julian of Norwich and on and on. What mattered was not their public prestige. None of them had college degrees or held any political office. What mattered was that they were so immersed in the Truth and the Way and the Life, that their goodness radiated out of them and was contagious.

Yes, let's be part of the public debates and enter the public square. Yes, let's stand up for justice around race and gender, income, sexual orientation and hospitality to the stranger. But let's do all of that from the center. Let's do all of that as an invitation for all people to step into a larger vision of themselves and this world. We do not need to be right. We need to be holy. That's our work.

The Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor
Assisting Bishop 
Reflections
Commandment
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Jesus doesn’t suggest or invite. He commands. Love one another. Love though you don’t like. Love though it’s really hard work.
-Br. Luke Ditewig
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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