Greetings!
LETTER FROM CAROL for WEEK OF Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Dear St. John's parishioners and friends:

 God of new beginnings, meet us where we are on our journey, imperfect as we are, and use us in ways we cannot imagine to make a difference in the world for you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As most of you know, this is the prayer I say before the start of each sermon. It speaks to me by saying that God is with us, no matter how strong or weak we feel our faith is, no matter where we are on our spiritual journey, no matter whether we can feel God's presence at this moment or not. It says we are not perfect, which we all know, but which we try to achieve anyway, often to our detriment. God can use us anyway, no matter how imperfect we are.

And God will use us in ways we cannot imagine. Even a few months ago, no one would have imagined the situation we are in now - staying at home; social distancing; restaurants, churches and movie theaters closed. How can God use us if we have to stay at home and not interact face to face with people?

I have heard from many of you how you are being Christ to one another at this time. One parishioner is making phone calls every day, connecting with friends he hasn't seen or heard from in years. Another is making masks for people who need them. Some are donating food to places that are collecting food for the hungry and unemployed. The fact that we are staying home, and wearing masks when we absolutely have to go out, is in itself being Christ to one another by slowing the spread of this virus, and inadvertently spreading it to someone who becomes sick.

Even in the midst of this virus, we are making a difference in the world for Christ. The small acts of kindness are important as we seek to be Christ to one another. Keep looking for small ways that we can reach out to others. They will make a difference in the lives of others, and in our lives as well.

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector



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.

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.
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: https://youtu.be/pmV4RBy2Sj8
OUTREACH TO OUR COMMUNITY
HELP FROM THE HEART Community Drive 
 The Communities of Trust https://www.communitiesoftrust.com is collecting items to be distributed by local food pantries to individuals in need.
You can drop off items 24/7 at Sully Station (4900 Stonecroft Blvd, Chantilly) or at any local police station https://bit.ly/fcpdgis
Please place only NEW items in plastic grocery bags in the collection bin.
Items needed (New ONLY)*
  • Toothpaste & Brushes
  • Deodorant & Lotions 
  • Diapers & Baby Wipes
  • Soap, Shampoo, & Conditioner
  • Feminine Hygiene Products 
  • Adult Incontinence Underwear 
  • Laundry and dish detergent
  • Household cleaners
  • Paper towels and toilet paper
End date TBD.

Western Fairfax Christian Ministries
With schools being closed items are being included for breakfast and lunch food for kids (primarily single servings that do not require a stove). The bags will also include bread, fresh fruit and items already in our pantry that come daily from grocery stores.

HOW TO HELP WFCM FAMILIES DURING COVID-19

WFCM is pre-bagging food to continue to provide all clients with food.

They are not accepting individual small donations from homes.  

If you would like to donate food items, please order food and toiletry items online and ship them directly to WFCM's office in Chantilly or donate online .

Here is the link that takes you directly to WFCM's 'wish list' on Amazon:
PARISH NEWS
Join us on Sunday for a virtual coffee hour!!! Do you miss talking with other parishioners at coffee hour and catching up with what is going on in their lives? This Sunday, May 24, join us for a virtual coffee hour at 12:00 noon on Zoom.
The link for the coffee hour will be sent out in Saturday's email, which will have the link for the service (9:30 AM), the link for the Adult Lectionary class (10:30 AM) and the link for the coffee hour (12:00 noon) . Bring your own coffee and snacks and we'll have a chance to check in with each other. We had 18 people sign in to Zoom last week and 20 the week before. We had a good time of sharing with each other. Join us this Sunday!

Many thanks go to David Weir for editing and posting our services on YouTube. He spends a lot of time doing this so we can take part in regular worship together but physically apart. Thanks also go to the readers who are now taking part in the services, and to Mandy Hull who finds the appropriate hymns on You Tube that we can use, and plays a prelude and postlude.

Do you have a Book of Common Prayer at home? As our online services continue, it would be easier for each of you to follow the service and make the appropriate responses if you had your own prayer book at home. Many people do, not just to use for services but also to use its many other resources for personal prayer time. We have extra prayer books at the church, if you would like one. Just let Carol know and we can arrange a "no contact" pick up.

The Prayer list - If you would like to add someone to the prayer list, please email Carol. The readers who do the readings as well as the Prayers of the People, do their recordings from their homes toward the beginning of the week. If you send a name after the recording has been made, the name might not be on the prayer list until the following Wednesday or Sunday. Also, please note that the prayers of the sick, and those who have died, are read during the services we are posting on YouTube. So they are now "virtual".

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.

Forward Day by Day , a daily devotional normally available in the breezeway, is now here for May/June/July. If you would like one to be mailed to you, please call Carol or send an email.

Read any good books lately? If you have read something that you would like to share with others, please send Carol the name and the author of the book and a short review. We will share that in the E Notes. If you would be interested in having an online book study, please let Carol know.


Virtual Active Adults Program through Fairfax County
Please join in a variety of fun activities such as games, discussion groups, trivia, exercise classes, caregiver focused discussion groups, and much more!!

➢ Follow the instructions below to join our zoom classes on the computer, smartphone, tablet, or telephone. You may join in as many activities as you would like and share this information with friends!

➢ Brought to you in partnership with ServiceSource Inc., Fairfax County: Neighborhood and Community Services Senior Centers, Department of Family Services: Area Agency on Aging, Health Department, Community Services Board, Public Libraries, and Department of Housing and Community Development.
*
Use your phone
o Dial in by phone: 1-929-205-6099
o You will be asked for:
▪ Meeting ID: 9051235932#
▪ Press “#” to continue
▪ Meeting password: 3636#

Use your computer, smartphone, or tablet
o Log onto Zoom using internet or app
o Go to: https://zoom.us/
o Select join Meeting from the top right
o Meeting ID: 905 123 5932
o Password: 3636
o Direct link to meeting: bit.ly/zoomclassesforadults


Fairfax County Health Department Neighbor to Neighbor Program
In response to COVID 19, the Health Department has set up a Neighbor to Neighbor Program for residents 60 and over who need to have someone pick up groceries and medications for them. Contact Fairfax County Aging, Disability and Caregiver Resource Line at 703-324-7948.

Make an Online Donation!
You can make your donation here electronically.
The Tithe.ly App
Use this button to make your donation.
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 Seventh Sunday of Easter - May 24, 2020
 The First Reading: Acts 1:6-14
  Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to his followers and they see him ascend into heaven.
 
The Psalm: 68:1-10, 33-36 , page 676, BCP

The Second Lesson: 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
  The Christian life will not be free of suffering, but God equips each believer to meet temptation and trouble through his mercy and grace.

The Gospel: John 17:1-11
  Jesus prays to the Father on behalf of the disciples, both those with him then and us today, that God would be glorified in our lives and that we would know him.
 
Most of the bundles will be ash wood. If you would like to fill up your car or truck, please leave a message with the church office and we will make arrangements.

St. John’s Men’s Group / Lumberjacks SELLING WOOD!
Replenish your firewood, as we are all sequestered at home! And help benefit St. John's at the same time!

The Lumberjacks are selling bundles of wood outside the front entrance to the Historic Church for the great price of $5 per bundle. (or $20 for 5 bundles).

 Please give the money to someone in the office, a vestry member, or Carol.
THE DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA

A Letter from Bishop Goff
May 13, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last Friday, Governor Northam issued Executive Order #61 which outlines "phase 1 easing of temporary restrictions due to the novel coronavirus." It goes into effect on Friday, May 15 for much of Virginia and on May 29 for the northern counties, cities and towns of Virginia. While this order allows individuals to attend religious services, we in the Diocese of Virginia will not begin our phased regathering in church buildings this month. Like dioceses across The Episcopal Church, as well as many denominations and faith traditions across the country, we will continue the fast from in-person worship that we began in March for a time longer.
 This continued fast from in-person worship is rooted in scripture. In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, we read, "All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other." Regathering under very specific guidelines is now lawful, but it is not beneficial for our whole population when nearly 2,000 people died of COVID-19 in the United States just yesterday. We are bound by Jesus' law to love our neighbors as ourselves. We sacrifice worship in our church buildings for the sake of people we love in our congregations and for the sake of people in our communities whom we will never meet.
Experience shows in this time of pandemic that worship is a "superspreader" of the virus. When we go to the grocery store or to a restaurant pick-up window, we accept the inherent risk. When we gather for worship at church, however, we produce the risk. As people morally bound to live the way of love, we choose not to produce such risk. Instead, we choose to protect others and ourselves until the time when we can worship together safely.
As we continue our fast from in-person worship, we ease one restriction that has been in place in this diocese since April 19. Beginning on May 22, congregations may live-stream or record worship from inside their worship spaces, following specific guidelines that are outlined in Attachment 1 of this letter. We ask congregations desiring to exercise this option to write a letter to me outlining their plan for the reasons included in the attachment.
W e continue to work in the Diocese of Virginia to develop strategies, guidelines, checklists, support and review processes for phased regathering for worship in our church buildings, as promised in our letter of May 4 . The
second attachment to this letter describes the process.
 Worship in this Diocese over the past month has been marked by tremendous creativity and energy. Many congregations have learned new technologies and skills that have enhanced worship. Many of you have moved outside of your church walls to engage with people who never come to church. We have worshipped with a good number of congregations over the past weeks. The most vibrant worship we experienced was not filmed in a nearly empty church, but in homes and backyards, neighborhoods and pastures. We hope congregations will continue the new best practices you have learned, even if you do record or livestream from the church building, so that worship may continue to reach far beyond our walls with the saving, healing, loving grace of Christ Jesus. Let's not be in a hurry to "go back," but filled with urgency to keep going forward into the future, into all that God is revealing to us.
 God bless you with hope and grace as these days of fasting from in-person worship continue.
 Faithfully yours,
The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority 

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
Assistant Bishop 



A Meditation from Bishop Goff for the Sixth Week of Easter

"In returning and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and in trust shall be your strength."
Isaiah 30:15
 
What about summer vacation this year?
 Among the many sacrifices we make for the sake of others and for our own health in this season of coronavirus are vacations and summer getaways. A trip to Greece that Tom and I began planning a year ago has been cancelled. Travel to visit my family in the New York City area is not practical. My continued cancer treatments, even though I am now cancer free, will keep us home anyway. So how do those of us who are fortunate enough to have accrued vacation time use it? How do we decompress if we can't follow our usual vacation habits and patterns?
 
It is God's will that we enjoy sabbath rest, time apart from daily striving and labor. It is God's delight to give us downtime, and God especially delights in our taking it. So a faithful spiritual practice this summer will include creating ways to slow down, to enjoy the wonders of God's creation and to celebrate the goodness of human relationships. Perhaps you might try one of these activities as a spiritual discipline:
  •  Pull out and look at your slides, photo albums or videos from past vacations and enjoy reliving the highlights all over again. Give thanks to God for all you saw, did and learned and all you now remember.
  • Call someone who lives alone and invite them to tell you about their favorite vacation.
  • Choose a place you wish you could visit and read about it or watch a travelogue.
  • Visit a museum virtually, one that you visit frequently or one you might never get a chance to see.
  • Spend time on your porch or deck or in your yard and notice the life there - the plants and birds and insects. Engage all your senses - hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching - to connect with the life that is around you.
  • Do at home an activity that you usually do only on vacation - put together a jigsaw puzzle, play family board games, read a novel, cook out, take long walks.
  • Sleep outside on the porch or in the yard. Pay special attention to the night's sounds.
  • Take up a new hobby or renew your delight in one you've not had time for in a while.
  • Give money to an organization that protects places you love, or to one that aids those who don't have the resources to take a vacation.
  • Walk around your neighborhood and look at it through traveler's eyes, as if you were seeing it for the first time. 

The list of possibilities is endless. Joy comes by looking beyond the loss, hurt and frustration to the wonders that are right at hand. Vacation at home is not the same as going to a favorite place or visiting a new one, but it can offer just as many opportunities for rest, for adventure and for renewal. It can offer true sabbath time of returning and rest, quietness and trust.
Bon voyage.

The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff
Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Virginia

Diocesan Resources
The Diocese of Virginia has posted on its website (www.thediocese.net) many resources for individuals and clergy to use during this time when we cannot gather together for worship and Christian Education. On the opening page of the website, you will see "Covid 19 Resources" in the upper right hand corner. This page includes statements by Bishop Susan Goff, some church financial resources, tips about recording services online, and Christian Education resources to use at home. One resource is entitled "Do Faith at Home" and has ideas for adults and children www.dofaithathome.org
Every Monday morning, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry broadcasts a short reflection entitled, "Habits of Grace". He has encouraging words of hope and love for all of us during this difficult time. You can watch the videos at https://episcopalchurch.org/habits-of-grace
Reflections
Harbor
Jesus comes in the mist, in the dark, in the storm. We may be all the more frightened at first because Jesus shows up where it seems impossible. Welcome Jesus into the boat, into your life, indeed into your fear. Surprisingly, miraculously, Jesus will bring you home, to the harbor you are bound for.
-Br. Luke Ditewig


May we who are merely inconvenienced (by this virus)
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.
-Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX
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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