January, 2021
by Fr. Kevin Warner

Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.    [Psalm 126:7]

Psalm 126 has been popping up lately. At the time of this writing, it appeared last Sunday and this Wednesday, both services where I was the preacher. It is a psalm of hope, of good times to come. It speaks of “mouths full of laughter,” “restored fortunes,” and “songs of joy.” 

Saying 2020 was a difficult year might be a dramatic understatement, but it has been one of the most challenging of my career. Responding to the extreme political and racial polarization that has gripped the country, and adapting our mission, ministry, and worship around the pandemic has been exhausting. 

Not for me only, but the entire staff has had to learn new things, ways of doing their jobs remotely, and always with concern for the health of all on their minds. Before I go further, I want to thank them for their ministries, hard work, and dedication this past year. Please be sure to remember all of us in prayer, and where appropriate, offer your thanks for their efforts. Like the psalmist, let us all look forward to seeing how God will be bringing laughter, restoration, and joy in 2021.

Last year at this time I reminded everyone of our 5-year plan. A plan, which because of Covid, must be modified. The plan was an outcome of a vision begun in September of 2015. At that time, we had received money from the sale of our previous building, and the vestry commissioned a “Task Force for Growth” to begin exploring the possibility of recapturing the vision that led to the move from the Ruskin location to the “301 Corridor.” That vision was to build a fully functioning, multi-generational church that would be poised to capture the expected growth in the South Shore area.

The financial crash in 2008 halted the original vision and, as the new structure went up, what was meant to be a parish hall was converted into a combination space of sanctuary, parish hall and offices. Sadly, due to loss of expected revenue, there was no space left for meeting rooms and no nursery. As a result, SJD was handicapped in its ability to “Teach the Gospel” and to welcome the growth around us. The Task Force for Growth morphed into a Steering Committee for the building of the “Annex” (Banner Building) and in 2018 our 5-year plan looked like this:

Immediately: Move offices, vesting/choir room into Annex (Banner Building).
1 month: Remodel classroom and convert current vesting room into 1st class Nursery.
  3 – 6 months: Hire “Family Life Minister”. Full-time priest to manage expected growth of younger family demographic.
~ 3 years: Move through Transitional Size and become a large Program Size church.
    ~ 5 years: Begin planting satellite locations throughout South Shore. Perhaps one a year for a few years.

Obviously, many of our plans for 2020 to promote increased attendance and get us to the next level had to be curtailed. This has put a huge strain on our finances as 2 of 3 categories that are based on people in the pews suffered greatly. Thus, the funds that were earmarked to get us through the 3 years of transition to a fully self-sustaining parish will only last 2 years, or 2021. 

The good news is that our members have stepped up and all our regular givers have maintained or increased their giving. More good news is that despite Covid, through our livestream we have seen more than a dozen new households become part of the SJD family. Additionally, although the nursery and Sunday School remain closed, our Youth Group has begun meeting and more than doubled from 6 to 13 encompassing 3 new families.

For 2021 the plan is to maintain the staff we have and continue to try to grow through our livestreams, and as all of society slowly regathers. Events like Divine Marketplace have resumed and other opportunities of inviting the wider community will be implemented when safe. That growth, combined with a continuing increase in generosity from our member, and funds on hand will get us through 2021. 

Like the people the Psalmist was writing to, we are unsure of many things. We do know this: God loves us and His plan is one of restoration. He will bring laughter and joy to His people who are faithful and trust in Him.

May this New Year bring you joy!

II Timothy 1:11

January 30, 2020

Please plan to join us Saturday evening for our Parish Annual Meeting. The meeting is tentatively planned for 6 p.m. and more details will follow. It is expected that we will be using a zoom platform for those who cannot/prefer not to attend in person.

Delegates for 2021 Diocesan Convention
We are seeking delegates for Diocesan Convention, tentatively scheduled for October 14-16. Delegates must be members in good standing at SJD and be able to attend a pre-convention meeting tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 1 at 7pm. Please submit self-nominations to kwarner@stjohndivine.com.


The year of 2020, spinning out of control, is now behind us and there is much to be celebrated. One thing, in particular, is that we are now out of hurricane season and this portion of Florida didn’t get smacked. Some areas were not as fortunate with tornadoes. The media has kept us up-to-the-minute on the location and intensity of hurricanes and tornadoes with a group of individuals known as “Trackers.”

Hurricane trackers track from the air, flying above the hurricane. Those planes fly really high, and because of their altitude, they are able to tell what is going on without becoming endangered by the hurricane itself. The potential for danger is there, to be sure but it is not as dangerous as a Tornado Tracker.  

The Tornado Trackers chase tornadoes from the ground and try to get close enough to the tornado to gather information from the tornado by sending chemicals and equipment into the tornado. 
Should the tornado happen to turn, then the tornado tracker is in a heap of trouble . 

The frenzy of this past year probably seems more like observing a tornado head on. Problems, ground level, are difficult to deal with. Given a higher altitude, we can think more clearly. 

We know not what 2021 will hold, but let us pray that when storms come, we will be able to see them from a higher plane and from God’s perspective. 
                                                    Father Lee 
The Divine Marketplace
The Divine Marketplace at St. John Divine Episcopal Church is opening for business. Please come out to support our local talents.

The Marketplace offers opportunities for crafters and individuals prohibited by Homeowner Associations to sell your garage sales items. In addition, we welcome food vendors and food trucks to our campus. We are also searching for fresh vegetables/fruits, plants, and we provide small business owner display opportunities. St. John Divine located at 1015 East Del Webb Blvd. in Sun City Center. The outdoor event features spacious Covid-19 spaces with adequate room for displays, tables, and parking on 10 acres on the East side of the Sun City Center/301 corridor.
The Divine Marketplace will run the third Saturday of every month from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.
First Time Participants of $15 for crafters, business’ and garage sale.
First Time Participants of $20 - $30 for Food vendors and food trucks.
Applications are now being accepted with limited space available, so don’t delay get your application in today.
For more information please call 813296-4033
Or visit the church website for online applications at stjohndivine.com and click on events.
Upgrading the Booth, 2020
Hello everyone! If you do not remember my article from a year ago, I talked about our desired projects for the booth. To recap: “…most of the equipment we currently have is severely out-of-date with maintenance becoming increasingly costly. Several things you may have noticed: the cameras’ image quality is subpar, and they do not function in widescreen format. The projectors share the same issues and because of their weak projection it can be hard to see anything on the screens, as they cannot stand up to the natural light in the Sanctuary.” We have thankfully, back in March 2020, updated the cameras to a more current standard and I am thankful for all the praise we have received over the improved look of the cameras. But you may have also noticed our new projectors on Christmas Eve!

While the cameras were installed, it was brought to my attention by the installers that all our projectors were on their last legs. They estimated we could get maybe a year more out of them, and to prove their point one of the projectors blew out during the cameras’ installation. We have been operating with two projectors ever since, and though at the time I thought we would be fine, that same week it was decided to reopen our doors meaning we needed the projectors again. We have also lacked the ability to switch the cameras and slides images on the projectors because they would crash when we do. With that, the projectors became the next major project for the booth, as both video and sound have been significantly improved in 2020. 

The desire from both the Clergy and your AV staff was to get this project done as soon as possible and we are so thankful that we got new projectors in 2020. With new projectors, we would replace the one that broke for the back facing wall, we would see better quality images that can better stand up against the ambient light of the room, the booth would be able to switch from slides to cameras at certain points in the service, and we would be able to control the cameras better as the cameras’ system currently run the slides for the church. For these projects we depend on the help of the congregation’s giving and hope you keep us in mind as you pray over your estimated giving for 2021. If you have any questions or wish to support us, feel free to email me at media@stjohndivne.com

Thank you all for your support,
Tristan M. Warner
Media & Tech Specialist 

My first mission visit to South Sudan was in 2004 and I went without any knowledge of Sudan other then it was dangerous...and God made me go! God gave me a dream that emphases 'Light' of Christ' and told me to share it with His people in South Sudan. I fell in love with people who loved Jesus and were
willing to die for Him. I returned in 2005 w/crosses, bibles and medicines, etc. Gods' light does shine in South Sudan and you helped make that 'light' brighter by your heartfelt generosity, we were able to send $1105.00 to South Sudan this week.

Thank you..and Bless you..May Gods' 'light' shine upon you.

I've said it before, I'll say it again.

You make me Smile!!
Blessings, Isabel DeTringo



Kimberly Sessoms 1/2
Michelle Grady 1/2
Richard Gingrich 1/2
Linda Burmeister 1/4
Hilda Knight 1/5
Linda Barnum 1/5
Mary Lane Kullmann 1/5
Daniel Gifford 1/7
Emma Madigan 1/7
Harold Drury 1/7
Frances Doyle 1/8
Susan Howell 1/8
Peyton Espinoza 1/10
Denyse Naylor 1/11
Patty Bohart 1/11
Erwina Wright 1/13
Juliet Thompson 1/14
Jennie Lamp 1/15
Armand Villemaire 1/16
Chet Budziak 1/16
Kathryn Thomas 1/16
Stephen Csintyan 1/16
Frank Ray 1/18
Susan Warner 1/19
Diane Wiggins 1/20
Tanner Detweiler 1/22
Lynn Selke 1/23
Yvonne Clarke 1/23
Frank Sakalosky 1/25
Maryln Cordle 1/28
Audrey Ayers 1/29
Magda Bell 1/29
Margaret Kleven 1/29
Karen Stapleton 1/30
Berne Clary 1/31
Paulette Diehl 1/31


Jackie & Harry Benter 1/17
St John Divine Episcopal
Church 1015 E. Del Webb Blvd.
Sun City Center, FL 33573


Curt Arp, Aubrey Thompson, Linda Floyd
Liz Hood, Jim Smith, Annie Hunter
Allie Maiocchi, Linda Cardillo, Howard Roshaven
Vestry Officers

Don Fisher, Sr. Warden, Greg Diehl, Jr. Warden
Valerie Bryant, Clerk, Susan Arp, Treasurer

Clergy and Staff

The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith
Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida
The Rev. Kevin Warner, Rector
The Rev. Lee Miller, Associate Rector
The Rev. David Wyly, Assistant Rector
Scott Gardner, Praise Leader, Joan Frankel, Organist & Choir Director
Tristan Warner, Media and Tech Specialist, Connie Minnoe, Accounting Administrator
Candy Allman, Office Manager, Sharon Bakay, Kitchen Manager

813-633-3970       office@stjohndivine.com   www.stjohndivine.com