PARISH NEWS for Wednesday, December 4, 2019
 Our Neighbor's Child: Thanks to those who selected an ornament! The gifts will need to be purchased, labeled with the paper ornaments, and returned to the church, unwrapped, by this Sunday, December 8.
***We are glad to receive them any time before that date***
Clean & Green Already on the calendar! Save the Date!
On Saturday, December 14 , from 9 AM - 12 PM , we will have the " cleaning and greening " of the church. We will clean the Historic Church from top to bottom and then decorate the church for Christmas. Bring your cleaning supplies and join us from 9-12. This would be a good activity for students who need community service hours!

Coffee Hour - As this Sunday is the second Sunday of the month, the choir will provide the Coffee Hour snacks.

Sunday School - The Sunday School class for the 2 - 4 year olds will meet this Sunday December 8 . Children attend the first part of the service with their parents and then go out the side door to room 215 after the reading of the gospel. The class finishes by 10:45. Please invite your friends and neighbors with small children to this class. Many thanks go to Angela Hadfield and Denise Bellows for teaching this class.

Interested in becoming a Lay Eucharistic Minister? We are in need of several more LEM's to serve at the altar on Sunday mornings. LEM's lead the psalm and the Prayers of the People, help prepare the altar for communion, and administer the chalice. Training will be provided. Please contact Walt Cooner or Carol Hancock if you are interested. We need your help!

Advent - Advent is the season of four weeks prior to Christmas and began last Sunday, December 1 . Advent is a time to prepare our hearts to receive the Christ child, to welcome Jesus (again) into our hearts and lives.

What is different about Advent?

- we use greens on the altar instead of flowers.
- we set up an Advent wreath next to the altar.
-the altar hangings and priest's chasuble are blue.
-Advent starts a new liturgical year, which is Year A
-we will use Rite I rather than the familiar Rite II. Rite I is more penitential.
Please note there are many differences in the congregational responses and the service music between Rite I and Rite II, so you may want to use the Prayer Book and hymnal.

Wednesdays in Advent - Following the 6:00 PM service, we will gather in the library to talk about "The Way of Love - Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life." Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry began this curriculum and often preaches about the way of love.There are seven intentional areas for leading a Jesus-centered life - turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest. Not all of these have to be done every day, but these areas give us a pattern for our lives, somewhat like a rule of life. Join us on three Wednesdays in Advent - tonight December 4 , 11 and 18 from 6:45 PM - 7:45 PM. Bring a sandwich or light dinner. On December 24, we will gather at our Christmas Eve services to welcome the Christ child.

Meditation from Episcopal Relief and Development - As we move into Advent, we're reminded of the song from the movie Urban Cowboy — "Looking for love in all the wrong places." We are bombarded at every turn with everything the retail world insists that we need — the right decorations, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, party invitations, recipes, music, gifts — everything we need for the perfect Christmas holiday.

If we look to the retail world, we are looking for love in all the wrong places. As Presiding Bishop Curry reminds us with the Way of Love, one of the important steps is to turn — to pause, listen, and choose to turn back to God from anything that has turned us away. Advent calls us to "go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways." In this broken world, we turn to God to find the path of true peace, the path of God's reconciling love.

May we all find the path of God this Advent season.

Nursery Attendant - We are in need of someone to staff the nursery on Sunday, December 22 and 29, and at the 4:00 PM service on Christmas Eve, December 24. If you can help with one or more of these dates, please let Carol know.

Donations for Christmas wreaths and flowers - If you would like to donate funds for Christmas wreaths and flowers, please use the envelopes that are on the back table in the church. Be sure to include who they are in memory of or thanksgiving for. The names will be included in the Christmas bulletin.

Christmas services - Our Christmas Eve services will be at 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM. The service on Christmas Day will be at 9:30 AM. All services will include the Holy Eucharist, sermon and music. The choir will sing at both Christmas Eve services. Please invite your family and friends to join us for this wonderful celebration of the birth of the Christ child!
Update on our 2020 Pledge campaign
As of today, we have received 41 pledges totaling $194,620 . Last year, we had 46 pledges totaling $198,326, but we are still waiting to hear from some of last year's pledgers. If you have not yet returned your pledge card for 2020, please do so as soon as possible. It is important for us to know our income so we can plan our expenses for next year. Extra pledge cards are on the back table.
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We can prepare our hearts & minds by reading ahead
for the Sunday Service lesson

The Second Sunday of Advent

December 8, 2019

9:30 AM

 The First Reading: Isaiah 11: 1-10
Though hope may seem as dead as a shorn tree stump, God promises that he will cultivate a new shoot of green life and leaf to rise and transform into a mighty, life-giving tree, for all nations.

The Psalm: 72:1-7, 18-19, page 685, BCP

The Second Lesson: Romans 15: 4-13
Jesus Christ himself is revealed as the new green shoot which grows out of the hopeless, dead stump; as children of God, all are invited to be grafted in to this life-giving tree.

The Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
May the graftings and branches of God's tree of life, sustained by the blood of Jesus Christ, his son, not languish diseased and gluttonous, but grow with the nourishment of God's goodness, seeking only the glory of God's kingdom.
(Rm. 205) 
During the Service

 Each week, St. John's children join with our Ministry Partners: 
Wellspring UCC & Grace Baptist Church
Room 207/208

St. John's Sunday School class for ages 2-4, Room 215
Meets the first Sunday of each month from 9:50 - 10:40 AM 



  FROM 10:50 - 11:50 AM

The Saint of the Week for Forum Discussion:

William West Skiles , Episcopal missionary & teacher, was born in Hertford, Perquimans County, NC. With but a few years of formal schooling, he worked as a mechanic & later oversaw a group of lumber mills outside Plymouth, NC. In 1844, he travelled west, settling in the new Watauga County community of Valle Crucis, where North Carolina Diocesan Bishop Levi Silliman Ives was developing a center for missionary work, a classical & agricultural boys’ school, & a theological school. Skiles was placed in charge of all agricultural activities, and eventually assumed the duties of storekeeper, teacher, treasurer, postmaster, and general superintendent, too. After barely a year at Valle Crucis, Skiles decided to study for the ministry in the recently established theological school. He was admitted as a candidate, since the Episcopal General Convention had recently enacted a canon that permitted persons without a classical education to become candidates for the diaconate. In consequence of his energetic, methodical, and patient character, he was able to add theological studies to his other responsibilities. In the summer of 1847, he completed his theological studies, and Bishop Ives ordained him on 1 August as a deacon. Shortly after his ordination he joined the Order of the Holy Cross, which Ives had established at Valle Crucis a few months earlier. The Order’s devotional, charitable, and disciplinary nature strongly appealed to him and strongly influenced his ministry, although it existed there for only two years. Skiles enthusiastically pursued his vocation as missionary and teacher, visiting mission stations near Valle Crucis performing services. All the while, he continued to oversee all physical aspects of the Valle Crucis community, keeping it going despite a shortage of outside financial support. When Fr. Ives resigned as bishop of North Carolina, educational work at Valle Crucis ended, too. Skiles was then the only member of the original community left. He continued to live at Valle Crucis in one of its abandoned buildings until 1855, when he moved to a friend’s home in Lower Watauga. With the Valle Crucis enterprise closed, Skiles devoted himself fully to missionary work throughout the mountain region. For this, the diocese gave him an annual stipend of a mere $100, which later increased to $150. His territory comprised mission stations in four counties--Ashe, Watauga, Mitchell, and Yancey--with occasional visits to Burke, Caldwell, and Wilkes. Twice he was invited to conduct services near Elizabethton, TN. For a few years Skiles taught a four-month day school gratis for children in the Valle Crucis area but had to abandon it due to the increasing demands of his missionary work. In 1859 he reported holding services in 16 places and traveling more than a 1,000 miles on horseback. In communities without a church building, he held services in private homes. Many members of Skiles's widely scattered congregations depended on him for more than spiritual guidance. Because there were few doctors in the area, he acquired medical texts on the most common diseases of the region in order to treat parishioners ailments. He frequently served as a "public scrivener and legal advisor." His counsel was sought in settling differences between neighbors, in business matters, and on methods of farming. One of Skiles's missionary projects closest to his heart was the construction of a frame Gothic church with stained glass windows at Lower Watauga, which he began building in 1859. The church was consecrated on 22 Aug. 1862 and Skiles died barely four months later at a friend’s home on the Linville River. Memorializing Skiles, Bishop Atkinson called him "a true Missionary, humble, patient, laborious and affectionate,’ adding, “Long will the dwellers in the valleys and forest of that wild mountain region miss their faithful Pastor."
Another St. John's -
"One of Skiles's missionary projects closest to his heart was the construction of a frame Gothic church with stained glass windows at Lower Watauga, which he began building in 1859. The church was consecrated on 22 Aug. 1862." His marker is in the foreground.

"Be still and know that I am God." 
(Psalm 46:11 )
Be Still. Slow Down. It's Advent.
When I was a parish priest, we would hang signs with those words all over the church buildings. We did it because in the crush of preparing to celebrate Jesus who came to earth as a newborn two thousand years ago, stillness can be elusive. Without moments of stillness, the press of shopping and making, parties and baking can overwhelm us. We might forget that Christmas has anything to do with Jesus. We might forget that Jesus not only came in the past, but that Jesus comes to us in the present and that Jesus will come again in God's anticipated future. When we forget any of the tenses of Jesus' coming, our Advent wonder is flattened.
Being still and slowing down gives God room to move in our lives and to remind us of what our preparations are really all about. So why not adopt a simple, daily practice -- like having a cup of tea or coffee with God each day? Prepare your hot beverage as usual, any time of day, then close the door on everything else for ten minutes as you drink it. You can talk to God as you would to any friend with whom you share a cup. You can spill out your anger and hurt, as you would with a loved one whom you know deep down will love you no matter what. You can sit in complete silence as you would with someone who knows you so well that you don't have to say a word. Just sit. Just be. Just for the time it takes to drink one cup.
God has always been with you. God will always be with you. So enjoy the warmth of the mug in your hands. Enjoy the wonder of the warmth of God's love as you prepare to celebrate again the greatest love of all.
 Faithfully yours,
 The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority

Sign Up Here to be an altar server *, or to donate flowers for a Sunday service, or to bring refreshments for Coffee Hour after the service. * (if you're not an altar server, and would like to be a Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM), a Lector, or a Crucifer, please see Carol).

"We know that food can be one of the most expensive items on a household budget list. Our hope is that in allowing our clients to visit once per month they will save enough money to pay for other expenses such as rent or utility bills."
I tems are collected weekly in the baskets at the front door of St. John's Church. For food list:
Every Wednesday evening, we have a service of Holy Eucharist and healing at 6:00 PM. The service is about 30 minutes. It is a perfect alternative for those who cannot come to church on Sunday mornings, as well as a good spiritual boost in the middle of the week. Come join us!

If you find yourself overwhelmed today, if you are tempted to despair because of the circumstances of your life or the state of the world, lift up your eyes and fix them on God. Trust in the goodness and mercy of God. Strengthen your resolve to oppose violence in all its forms, to conserve and protect the earth, to toil and sweat for justice, to pray and work for peace. Do not fear; only believe.
-Br. David Vryhof

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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