January, 2022

by Fr. Kevin Warner

Happy New Year!

I hope your Christmas season is continuing to be joyful; remember to celebrate all twelve days!

So much is happening that I am sure many of you have missed some or all of what is new for 2022. But, before we begin looking ahead, I must say a few words about our retiring Music Director, Joan Frankel. Joan came to us at a crucial time, as our beloved Church Wirick’s health faded and he eventually passed on to his heavenly assignment, Joan came out of retirement and saved the music program at SJD. Her skill, hard work, and devotion to her inherited musicians has left us in a very good place.

Personally, Joan has been more than an employee. She is a good friend, and an occasional advisor. I have often sought her counsel, and always come away with a deep appreciation of her wisdom. We can not thank her enough for all she has done for SJD. Godspeed Joan – enjoy your “final” retirement.

Now to what is new. Last month you met our new Director of Christiam Education, Thomas Kreidler. Starting this month, he will be adding a couple of things to our 9:15 Sunday service. Specifically:

  • He will be signing the service (American Sign Language) for the deaf and hard of hearing. Our prayer is this will be an outreach to the deaf/hard of hearing community who are underserved regarding worship choices.

  • He is also instituting a “Kid’s Corner” during the service following the opening music set, a short lesson for elementary age kids. This brief teaching will be presented on a rotating basis by Thomas and Frs. Kevin and Lee.

Finally, please welcome our new Music Director, Aline Giampietro. You will find her complete bio elsewhere in this newsletter, but we are certainly thrilled to have someone of her expertise and experience join the team. 

Prayers that this New Year brings an end to Covid and many blessings!

Fr. Kevin+
II Timothy 1:11
Revelations JANUARY 2022

In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handley writes: “There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.”

It seems that many people feel it is easier to pay the bully than try to defeat him.  

This is true, also, in our relationship with God and in our understanding that the best way to defeat the enemy is through regular prayer and Holy Scripture.

Scripture study for adults is available each Sunday between the 9:15 and 11:00 services and has been well attended. So far, we have studied the books of James and Hebrews and have just concluded a special Advent video study with Max Lucado.

This new year, we will begin with studies in Ephesians and Acts and then, on the second Sunday of Epiphany, move to 1 Corinthians where we will remain until March 6, the first Sunday in Lent.

It is a good New Year’s Resolution: NO PAYING THE BULLY!

JANUARY 22, 2022

Please plan to join us Saturday evening for our Parish Annual Meeting. The meeting will begin with a potluck supper at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall with the business meeting in the sanctuary as soon as everyone has licked their plates. The meeting will be livestreamed, but voting will be in-person only. We will be electing Vestry members and Delegates to Diocesan Convention and to the Special Electing Convention for the Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of Southwest Florida. 
Fond Farewell

My Dear Good Friends at St. John Divine,

What a great pleasure and honor it has been for me to minister as your Music Director for the past six years! This was a path truly selected by God with the help of a heavenly angel, Fr. Kevin Warner. 

What began as an act of goodwill to my dear friend, Chuck Wirick, proved to be one of the most significant stops along my life’s journey. I like to believe that when asked to serve, I answered, ‘Hineini,’ Here I am.

For me, music has always been a language of Godly connection. It touches us with love, hope and comfort. I’ve met so many wonderful folks here at St. John’s who have enriched my life, that when I started to write this article naming these beloved friends and acquaintances, the number quickly escalated to innumerable! 

So, if you have sung with me, participated in the organ search committee with me, attended Staff meetings with me, performed with me, sorted music with me, shared comments on the music selections with me or simply nodded your approval and support, please know that you are in my heart always. How favored I have been by your presence!

You’ve been my family for the past six years and I pray you will remember that we will always be family. We’ve shared a common spiritual bond. We’ve laughed together, cried together, worshiped together and planned amazing events together.

Although there is a finality to my term with you, I feel very blessed to have found grace in my work, grace in the acts of kindness we’ve shared and grace in your expressions of appreciation.
St. John’s will always bring a smile to my lips and joy to my heart.

God bless you all.

Sincerely yours,
Joan E. Frankel
God Encounters

   During a recent Wednesday morning healing service, the congregation was asked to show by raising a hand who had received a healing, or had otherwise experienced a significant improvement in their lives, by receiving prayer in the name of Jesus. About 80% of the congregation raised a hand.

   It is a wonderful experience when you realize God is with you and you become aware of His life-changing presence. One of the great promises of Holy Scripture is that God is with us always. We refer to that as His omnipresence. We find joy and peace in the reality that, by faith, we know He is here. Then there are times when God makes a special effort to make us aware of His presence. That is when He manifests His presence.

   It is in the manifested presence of God that we encounter His power, His glory and His grace. Those encounters change our lives. Sometimes those experiences result in an “amendment of life,” as the Book of Common Prayer might say. But sometimes those encounters bring a transformation of your life. 

   When I think back, I recognize there have been many times when the Spirit of God has touched me and made my life better. I have felt His healing touch, His convicting touch – which brought me to confess a sin and receive forgiveness, and His comforting touch. But there have been a few times when He has manifested His presence in such a powerful way that my life was forever changed. I love it when that happens. I cherish those special times with Jesus, and I hunger for more of them – I hunger for more of Him.

   I have noticed recently an increase in the number of people telling me of God encounters among the congregation of St. John Divine Church. God is moving powerfully in our midst. He is manifesting His presence here. I encourage you to be aware of the times you sense His presence when we gather to worship, when you engage in private prayer, and even when you least expect Him. He will reveal to you how much He loves you.

   The greatest of all the God encounters is when He revealed to you that He so loves you that you chose to believe in His one and only Son so you would not perish but have eternal life (see John 3:16). You became a new creation that day. That is the ultimate transformation of life.

   We, the church, are to share our experiences with God in South Shore and beyond, that many may respond to the invitation of Jesus Christ. May they also receive the greatest of all God encounters – the best of all life-changing experiences when they give their lives to Jesus.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
Howard Roshaven, Senior Warden
Triple T Thoughts

Well, here we are again. I hope your Christmas was fun, fulfilling and overall wonderful. And I’m wishing for you a healthy, happy, Spirit filled year.

Now, I’m not gonna bug you about the pledge, but if you haven’t done it, get on line or get a card and gitterdone! OK lecture done.

Triple T, time, talent, treasure. It’s not just a church thing. How about at home? So, let’s talk cars…are you the sort who spends hours vacuuming and detailing your own car? You lovingly apply the wax, making sure all the love bugs have been scraped off. You want it to look sharp, and you’ re good at it. Or are you like me, who plops down $14.95 at America’s Car Wash because they’re fast and I don’t like doing it. Well either way you looked at your time, your talent, and your treasure to guide you to that decision.

Cooking? You the one who scrounges through cookbooks looking for that awesome recipe? You have the best tools and ingredients right there in that fancy kitchen. Your work on that cassoulet (whatever that is!) takes time but is well worth it. OR, is take out just easier and good enough? Time, Talent and Treasure help you figure that out.

Cleaning the house? UGH! I’d pay the cleaning service twice what I do now just to avoid it. I hate it and got way better things to do with my time. OR, you know the value of a clean home, spic and span. Time consuming but what a great feeling that you made this place look and smell awesome! And have you looked at what those services are charging these days? Time. Talent. Treasure.

At home, in church, wherever we are, we look at time talent and treasure to decide what we do or where we go. It is the same at SJD. We need money to do good things. But we need your time and your talents to use that money for good and useful works. All three are inextricably tied together and necessary to be that way. SJD NEEDS YOU! Please give us some of your treasure, and equally important give us some of your precious time, and allow us to use some of the talents GOD gifted you.

Well, that’s all I got for you now. I put some of that time and talent into this and hope maybe a bell goes off in your head.

Greg Diehl

We are seeking delegates for Diocesan Convention, scheduled for October 13-15, 2022, at the Diocesan Convention at the Conference Center in Punta Gorda. Delegates must be members in good standing at SJD and be able to attend a pre-convention meeting tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 7, 2022, at 7 p.m., location TBD. They must also be able to attend in-person 

Additionally, Diocesan Delegates will be participating in the election of our next Diocesan Bishop on Saturday, April 2, 2022, noon – 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, in St. Petersburg. 

Please submit self-nominations to kwarner@stjohndivine.com.

New Episcopal Church Flag

A new Episcopal Church flag is now flying on the flagpole at the southwest corner of SJD. Designed by William M. Baldwin, the flag was adopted by the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies on October 16, 1940.  

An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church gives an explanation of the flag's symbolism. The white field represents the purity of the Christion religion. The red cross represents the sacrifices of Jesus and Christian martyrs. The red cross on a white field is the cross of St. George, the patron saint of England, indicating our descent from the Church of England. The sky blue in the upper left-hand corner is also called Madonna blue and represents the human nature of Jesus. which he received from his mother Mary. The nine crosslets on the blue field represent the nine original dioceses of the Episcopal Church in America in 1789: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia, Delaware, and South Carolina. The crosslets are arranged in the form of a St. Andrew's Cross to commemorate the fact that Samuel Seabury, the first American bishop, was consecrated in Aberdeen, Scotland, on November 14, 1784. The colors red, white, and blue represent the United States and stand for the American branch of the Anglican Communion.

The flag design is also incorporated in the Episcopal Church seal, which was also adopted by the 1940 General Convention.

Note: SJD needs a flag steward, someone to care for both the church flag and the U S flag. If you would be interested in this area of service, please see Fr. Kevin.

Yoniece Miller
New Music Director

Aline Giampietro Trifonov is an expert music pedagogue, concert pianist, and choir director holding a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Eastern Washington University in Piano Performance. She is an active performer and has presented solo and chamber music concerts in Latin American and in the United States.

Mrs. Giampietro is a strong believer that music can inspire a greater positive change in the community and in the world. Prior to becoming the founder and director of Piano Performance Arts Academy in Tampa, Mrs. Giampietro worked with non-profit organizations such as Instruments of Change and Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay, bringing music lessons to children in economically disadvantaged areas. 

As a choir director, she has served in the past as Traditional Music Director at St. James United Methodist Church, Tampa; Lutz Community Church; and Trinity United Methodist Church, Plant City, presenting several collaborative concerts and Christmas Cantatas. She currently sings with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, participating in many performances throughout the year. Her organist positions include the First Lutheran Church, ELCA in Brooksville, Florida and Westminster United Congregations Church in Spokane, Washington.

As an avid promoter of music education, she is a sought-after judge for piano festivals and competitions. While still completing her graduate studies in piano, she received the Spokane Music Teachers Association and Steinway & Sons Award for young exceptional teachers who fostered artistic growth and music education in the community.

She is an active member of the Music Teachers National Association, in addition to Florida and Tampa Music Teachers Association.

An enthusiastic and well-prepared group of parishioners is ready to provide a much-needed service to SJD members. The Good Shepherd Ministry team is poised to visit members who are lonely, shut in, or in need of prayer and conversation. They are also available to relieve caretakers who would benefit from a short breather.

The team has worked diligently for several months to prepare for this ministry that supports SJD’s mission of “Caring for God’s People”. They have established leadership, set their direction and engaged in an all-day training session to hone their visitation skills. Their training included “Safeguarding God’s People”, a required diocesan-sponsored course, and visitation training provided by Fr. Lee Miller, our pastoral care associate, and parishioner Rosemary Russo, a retired mental health therapist.

We need referrals of SJD members who would benefit from a visit or phone call from a Good Shepherd volunteer. If you would like to refer a parishioner (including yourself), please contact Susan Morgan at (908)783-4986 or simorgan319@gmail.com.

Members who are interested in joining our Good Shepherd team are always welcome. Contact Susan Morgan if you would like volunteer to be a visitor or help the team behind the scenes. 
SJD's YouTube Hit 200 Subscribers!

We are excited to announce that our YouTube channel hit 200 Subscribers during December! We are grateful to our members who took the time to Subscribe so they can keep up to date on our Live Streams, Sermon Videos, and any other videos we produce. Please feel free to go to our YouTube page St. John Divine SCC, and if you haven't yet Subscribe!
So, hello again. I hope you are having a good holiday season or at least coping as well as you are able. I found this while reading my Face Book app and although a tad late, it is a really good read for those who struggle with grief. I hope this helps you as much as it did me.

A note from your loved one

Hi. This is your late loved one speaking. Listen up because I have lots to tell you.

First off, I get it. Ever since I left this world you have missed me, and I know you’re bracing for the holidays without me. No matter what anyone says, this year’s festivities are going to be really tough. In fact, let’s be honest, this festive season will probably feel awful. But then, Thanksgiving and Christmas are tough holidays for a lot of people. You’re not alone.

See, the misconception about the holidays is that they are one big party. That’s what every song on the radio claims. Each television commercial you see shows happy families clad in gaudy Old Navy sweaters, carving up poultry, smiling their perfect Hollywood teeth at the camera. But that’s not exactly reality. In reality, fifty-eight percent of Americans admit to feeling severely depressed and anxious during November and December. In reality many folks will cry throughout the “most wonderful time of the year.” Well, guess what? Nobody is crying up here in heaven. This place is unreal. There is, literally, too much beauty to take in. Way too much. For starters—get this—time doesn’t even exist anymore. Which I’m still getting used to. This. Here. Now. That’s all there has ever been. And there is real comfort in this.

Also, for the first time I’m pain free. I feel like a teenager again in my body. You probably don’t realize how long I’ve lived with pain because I never talked about it, I kept my problems to myself because I was your loved one, and you needed me to be brave. But pain is a devious thing. It creeps up on even the strongest person, little by little, bit by bit. Until pretty soon, pain becomes a central feature of life. Sometimes my pain would get so bad it was all I thought about. No, I’m not saying that my life was miserable—far from it. I loved being on earth. It’s just that simply waking up each morning was getting exhausting. But, you know what? Not anymore. In this new place, I am wholly and thoroughly happy.

But enough about me. I don’t have room to describe all the terrific things I’m experiencing, and you don’t need to hear them. Right now, you’re grieving, and what you need is a hug. Which is why I’m writing to you. This is my hug to you. Because you’ve lost sight of me. And in fact, you’ve lost sight of several important things lately. Death has a way of blinding us. It reorganizes the way you think, it changes you. But then, there’s one teensy little thing you’re forgetting: I’m still around.

Yes, you read that correctly, I’m right here with you. No, you can’t see me. No, you can’t reach out and hold me. But did you know that one of the things I’m allowed to do as a heavenly being is hang out with you? It’s true. I’m never far away. I’m in the room with you now, along with a big cloud of ancestors, saints, and witnesses. I’m shooting the breeze alongside you, watching you live your life, watching your private moments of sorrow. Here, in this new realm, I am in the perfect position to help you learn things. Which is what I vow to spend the rest of your earthly life doing, teaching you little lessons, lending you a hand when you least expect it, and desperately trying to make you smile. Actually, I’ve already been doing this stuff, you just don’t realize it.

What, you don’t believe me? You know that tingle you get in your spine whenever you think of me? That’s me. You know how, just yesterday, you had a beautiful memory when you were driving and it made you cry so hard that it actually felt good and you began to laugh through tears? Also, me. You know how sometimes when you’re all alone, preoccupied with something else, suddenly you get this faint feeling that someone is standing in the room with you? Hello? Me. You’re not alone on this earth. You never were. You never will be. So, during this holiday season, when cheerful families are getting together and making merry, and taking shots of eggnog, I’m going to be clinging to your shoulder, helping you muddle through somehow.

I’ll be making your spinal column tingle a lot, and I’ll be sending plenty of signs. Each of these signs—every single one—is code for “I love you.” So start paying attention to these hints. Because this was one.

The Grief Support Group at Saint John Divine offers more than just discussions for those who have lost someone. Grief is a natural process. It isn't a disorder or an illness. You may be grieving about anything you've lost, whether it's a loved one or a job or something that had meaning for you.

We meet every month on the 2nd and 4th Mondays at 10:00 AM in the Wirick Room in the Banner building. When you feel the need, we can be there for you.

We are launching a new fellowship opportunity during the first few months of 2022! On the last Sunday of the month, January through April, we will serve a hearty (and complimentary) breakfast in the Parish Hall. The breakfast dates are:
January 30  •  February 27  •   March 27  •  April 24
Breakfast will be served continuously from 9:00 to 11:00 am so we can accommodate attendees of all three worship services. It will begin immediately after the 8:00 am service and end when the 11:00 am service starts. People attending the 9:15 am service will have the option of eating before or after their service. Those attending the 11:00 am service will need to arrive a little early to enjoy their meal (there will not be a coffee hour following the service).
The menu includes scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, bagels, fresh fruit, home-baked contributions, and gluten-free options. While there is no charge for the meal, a donation to offset the cost of the breakfast will be greatly appreciated. 
You can help make these events a success by attending the breakfasts (they offer a great opportunity to invite friends to church!), volunteering to be part of the crew to cook, serve or clean up -- hours and assignments are flexible -- and/or contributing one of your special home-made coffee cakes or breads. If you would like to volunteer or contribute baked goods, please contact Joy Johnson at (757) 876-5235 or morris.johnson1@verizon.net.

Dick Gingrich - 1/2
Kim Sessoms - 1/2
Linda Burmeister - 1/4
Linda Barnum - 1/5
Mary Lane Kullmann - 1/5
Hilda Knight - 1/5
Emma Madigan - 1/7
Daniel Gifford - 1/7
Susan Howell - 1/8
Frances Doyle - 1/8
Peyton Espinoza - 1/10
Patty Bohart - 1/11
Winnie Wright - 1/13
Georgiana Merish - 1/14
Juliet Thompson - 1/14
Asher Fraser - 1/14
Steve Csintyan - 1/16
Kathy Thomas - 1/16
Armand Villemaire - 1/16
Chet Budziak - 1/16
Frank Ray - 1/18
Thomas Blair - 1/18
Sue Warner - 1/19
Diane Wiggins - 1/20
Lynn Selke - 1/23
Yvonne Clarke - 1/23
Maryln Cordle - 1/28
Magda Bell - 1/29
Peggy Kleven - 1/29
Karen Stapleton - 1/30
Paulette Diehl - 1/31
Berne Clary - 1/31

Greg Diehl, Linda Floyd, Allie Maiocchi, Debbie Carlisle
Linda Duhn, Chuck Lieble, Anthony Primiano, Doug Roderick

Vestry Officers

 Howard Roshaven - Sr. Warden, Annie Hunter - Jr. Warden
Valerie Bryant - Clerk, Lisa Galbraith - 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
Scott Gardner - Praise Leader, Aline Giampietro Trifonov - Music Director
Tristan Warner - Media & Tech Specialist, Tommy Blair - A/V Assistant
Connie Minnoe - Accounting Administrator, Denise Smalls - Nursery Attendant
Mr. Thomas Kreidler - Director of Christian Education

St. John Divine Episcopal Church
1015 E. Del Webb Blvd. Sun City Center, FL 33573
813-633-3970       office@stjohndivine.com   www.stjohndivine.com