Greetings!
PARISH NEWS for Wednesday, December 19, 2018
A message from the Rector:
As we enter the last few days of the Advent season, our minds and hearts are drawn to the celebration of Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For many of us, it is a joyful time, surrounded by family and friends. For others, the holidays are harder, perhaps because a loved one has died during the year and the pain of their absence is obvious. Yet, the light of Christ shines through whatever darkness we may be experiencing. The hope we have for a brighter, more peaceful future is experienced again as we celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the Prince of Peace. May our hearts burn with the joy of the salvation that Christ brings to us. May we rejoice as we hear again the story of Mary and Joseph, sing the familiar Christmas hymns, and gather with our community of faith in joy and thanksgiving. Please join us for the 4:00 PM or 10:00 PM service on Christmas Eve, and the 9:30 AM service on Christmas Day. May each of you have a joyful Christmas!
The Rev. Carol Hancock, Rector

  • As of today (Wednesday) we have NO ONE signed up to assist with the 9:00 PM service on Christmas Eve. We need an LEM, lector and usher. It would be nice to have a crucifer and torch bearers. If you can help, please sign up below by clicking on "Altar Servers".

  • Many thanks go to....
- all who bought and donated gifts to "Our Neighbor's Child". We provided 17 gifts to children who might not otherwise have any gifts for Christmas. Thanks for your generosity!
-David Weir and Tom McDermott for the several hours they spent trying to fix the dishwasher.
-the anonymous donor who donated many new prayer books that have been put in the pews to replace ones that were falling apart; and for three large print prayer books that will be kept on the back table for those who would like to use one.
- those who came last Saturday to "clean and green" the church and get it ready for the Christmas services: Val Tucker, Marcia Evans, Linda Schrey, Marie McDermott, Tom McDermott, David Parker, Penny Parker, Dick Griffith, and David Weir. The church looks BEAUTIFUL!
-those who came last Saturday to fill the Christmas baskets that will go to 13 families in need: Bev Milunec, Patricia McPherson and Carol Hancock. Many thanks also go to Tom and Marie McDermott who bought the food from your generous contributions, and to all those who delivered the baskets on Sunday.
-Craig Staresinich and Nita Amar who played Santa and Mrs. Claus at a homeless shelter for families, and who provided gifts for all the children.

  • The office will be closed on Wednesday, December 26 and there will be no 6:00 PM service on that day.

  • Finding a new Ministry Partner
We will be looking for another Ministry Partner who might like to use the parish hall on Sundays, either morning, afternoon or both. If you know a group that might be interested, please let Carol know.

  • Did you know...
There are a number of resources available in the breezeway. CareNotes are small pamphlets on a variety of topics, such as depression, grief and situations we might face in our day to day lives. Some new titles will be coming soon. Also in the breezeway are copies of "Forward Day by Day" which has daily bible readings and a short reflection to think about - a good way to start the day. Church calendars for 2019 are available and cost $3.50 each. While you are in the breezeway during coffee hour, take a look and see what might interest you!

  • November Vestry Meeting highlights
-approval to remove the dead cherry tree near the playground
-approval for a percentage increase in the Ministry Partner rental rates
-approval to hire an additional sexton
SUNDAY SERVICE
We can prepare our hearts & minds by reading ahead
for the Sunday Service lessons.   

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 23, 2018

9:30 AM

The First Reading: Micah 5:2-5a
No matter how small or insignificant a person, an interaction, an event, or a place, the possibility of a world-changing effect is always present. Approach your life with appropriate wonder, especially its small moments.

The Canticle: 15, The Song of Mary, Page 91, BCP
  
The Second Lesson: Hebrews 10:5-10
For true freedom, choosing to do the will of God is a sacrifice. It is the only choice that ends its journey in eternal life.

The Gospel: Luke 1:39-55
Women are entrusted with a staggering privilege and responsibility in bearing the next generation. These cousins rejoice at the work they've been given to do.

  __________________________________
 
THE ADULT LECTIONARY FORUM

MEETS EACH SUNDAY IN THE LIBRARY, FOLLOWING THE SERVICE 
  FROM 10:50 - 11:50 AM
___________________
CHILD CARE IS PROVIDED IN THE NURSERY  
(Rm. 205) 
During the Service
____________

JOINT SUNDAY SCHOOL: 10:30 - 11:30 AM
 Each week, St. John's children join with three of our Ministry Partners: 
Fairfax Chinese Christian Church, 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 10:50 - 11:30 

 
DIOCESE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we enter into a new chapter together in the Diocese of Virginia following the retirement of Bishop Shannon Johnston and my becoming Ecclesiastical Authority, I invite us into renewed mission together in Christ’s name. I invite us to look back – not to the recent past – but to our roots in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to a deep recollection of who we are called to be and what we are called to do in his name.
Strengthened by that recollection, I invite us to connect more deeply than ever with one another as lay people, deacons, priests and bishops, and to connect more powerfully than ever with a world so in need of the Good News we have to share in Christ Jesus. Summarized in two words, I invite us to RECALL and RECONNECT. 
We will engage this work of recalling and reconnecting in five Community Listening Sessions that will take place around the Diocese during the season of Epiphany. I hope you will attend one. Each session will include a time for your Bishops and other diocesan leaders to talk about our deepest longings and heart-felt desires for our Diocese, followed by time for us to listen to yours. 
Here is the schedule for the Recall and Reconnect Listening Sessions. You can click on a location to register.
Thursday, January 17, 6-8 p.m. Christ Church, Spotsylvania
Saturday, February 9, 1-3 p.m. St. Barnabas, Annandale
Wednesday, February 13, 5-7 p.m. Emmanuel, Woodstock
Saturday, February 16, 5-7 p.m. Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond
Monday, March 4, 3-5 p.m. St. Margaret’s School, Tappahannock *

*We hope to broadcast this listening session via Facebook Live.
What we hear from each other in these sessions will shape subsequent opportunities for sharing as we deepen dialogue and grow in community. What we learn will strengthen us to go Now Into the World. Please do plan to be a part of this time. 
Faithfully yours,
The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority 


Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Christmas Message 2018
In the Third Chapter of John's Gospel, Jesus says at one point, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

For years, I've often thought that that passage only referred to Jesus giving his life as a sacrifice on the cross. And to be sure, that is part of what it means. But some years ago I was reading a commentary by Raymond Brown, on the Gospel of John, and Professor Brown said that that passage not only speaks of Jesus willingly giving his life on the cross, but it actually speaks of Christmas, of God giving his very self, his very son to the world, not for anything God could get out of it, but for the good and the welfare and the well-being of the world. Of us.

Someone once said, in a Christmas poem, "Love came down at Christmas." That's what love is. To give, and not to count the cost. To give, not for what one can get, but for what the other can receive. That's what love is. God so loved the world, that he gave.

I realized recently how powerful that passage really is, when I saw an old poster from 1938. A poster produced by the Episcopal Church at that time, to encourage Episcopalians and other Christians, and other people of faith and good will, to do whatever they could to help Jewish refugees fleeing tyranny in Europe. To help people from all over Europe seeking refuge in America, this land of freedom. The poster depicts Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. They're fleeing persecution in Palestine, as Matthew's Gospel says. And the poster depicting Mary, Joseph, and Jesus says in the tag line, "In the name of these refugees, help all refugees."

God so loved the world, that he gave, even to the point of risking his own son. And in the name of those refugees, in the name of that Jesus, help all refugees, all people who suffer, anyone who's alone, everyone who is in need. That's what love does.

Love came down at Christmas, because God so loved the world, that he gave.

In those days, a decree went out from the Emperor Augustus, that all the world should be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem because he was a descendant from the House of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged, and who was expecting a child. While they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son, and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Meanwhile, in that region, there were shepherds, living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then the angel of the Lord stood above them. And the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were terrified. The angel said unto them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people. To you is born this day, in the City of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign. You will find the child wrapped in bands of cloth, lying in a manger."

And suddenly, there was with the angels a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all people on earth."

Have a blessed Christmas. Have a merry Christmas. Have a joyful Christmas.

God love you, God bless you, and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

VOLUNTEERING AT ST. JOHN'S
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).
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COMMUNITY
WESTERN FAIRFAX
CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES

"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:
OPPORTUNITIES
Reminder
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!

Seek
In this season of your life, it may well be just as important for you to see God in the bright, sunny places of your life – those places of joy and satisfaction and thankfulness – as it is for you to see God in the darkened places, where you suffer (maybe secretly) and long, and where you wonder how you can ever make it, and where you must wait, which can be the most marvelous time of gestation.
-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
ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH | 5649 MT. GILEAD RD. , CENTREVILLE, VA | 703-803-7500
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