St. John's Church
let us beat our swords into ploughshares, vuchetich
 This Sunday, December 1, 2019
The First Sunday in Advent
First Fruits Sunday
                                       8:15 a.m.           Holy Eucharist (no music)
                                               9:15 a.m.             Adult Forum, Parish Hall
                                               10:30 a.m.          Holy Eucharist
                                                                               Children’s Chapel, Keeper’s Cottage
                                               11:45 a.m.          Advent Workshop & Coffee Hour, Parish Hall
                         Nursery is available in the Parish Hall from 9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Sunday is A First Fruits Sunday
Please bring your non-perishable food gifts for the Christ Ascension Food Bank with you to church on Sunday so that you can deposit them in the box at the chancel steps on your way to communion. Thank you for your gifts.
Important Note: Recently, the clientele at the food pantry has doubled; therefore, Christ Ascension greatly appreciates additional food donations.  

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From Amelie, with Love

Dear Friends:

As Advent has approached this week, I have had vigils on my mind. That is because over this past week, several members of our congregation have kept vigil at the bedsides of loved ones, waiting with them during their last hours of life. My role as these vigils are kept is mostly to wait with the waiting, offering prayers or presence or sacrament to support the family as their beloved makes the holy transition from this life into the nearer presence of God. 

This time of waiting has been punctuated with two weddings in the congregation, the celebration of my 60 th birthday, and a long-awaited visit from my sons who live in California. All of them, life passages and occasions of anticipation that have colored the way I enter into this season of Advent, this season of expectation. 

Depending on what we have been or are currently are dealing with, the expectations we carry as we await our life passages may be colored with gladness or hope, anxiety or sorrow. When we have had an experience of waiting that ended in sadness instead of joy, when we have kept a vigil that drew us into grief instead of celebration, it can be challenging to know just how to navigate the call that lies at the heart of Advent: to wait, to watch, to wake.

This year, as Advent begins and I wonder about what it means to wait, I cannot ignore the sense that there is a vigil being kept for me, for all of us: that we are being waited for, that we are being watched over, that there is one who lingers at the edge of our awareness, breathing with us and blessing us as we move through these days. As I ponder our gospel reading for this Sunday, which tells us to be ready for the Christ who will come at an unexpected hour…it occurs to me the God we await might actually be waiting for us, with us, alongside us…

In the words of Jan Richardson, “Advent asks us to keep vigil for the Christ who comes to us anew in this season. It invites us to keep our face turned toward the horizon in hope. But Advent asks us also to open our hearts to the Christ who keeps vigil for us, the Christ who stands not on some distant horizon but, instead, is already with us, waiting for us to open our eyes to his presence that stays with us always.”

As Advent begins, may you be blessed in your own vigil: the one you keep, the one being kept for you. And in that vigil, I pray that you find your deepest welcome and know yourself to be at home.

In Christ,

An Advent Message
from the Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff

"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
Advent Is Almost Here:
We Hope to See You at the Following Events

Advent Decorating in the Church Tomorrow This Saturday , November 30, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to help with this festive kick-off to the holiday season.  Contact Horace Dowdy to participate.

Advent Wreath and Reverse Advent Calendar Box Decorating Workshop This Sunday, December 1, during coffee hour in the Parish Hall.

Three Notch'd Road Christmas Concert Saturday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m. See details below.

Church Hill Vespers —Friday, December 13, at 7:00 p.m. After the service, everyone will walk with bagpipers by candlelight from Patrick Henry Park to Libby Hill Park for caroling. Please consider ushering for this service so that we can present a warm welcome to our neighbors. Contact Patty Duffy if you can help.

Christmas Decorating in the Church —Saturday, December 22, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to help and to enjoy donuts and a hot cup of coffee.  Contact Reeves McCune .
Adult Forum Advent Series,
Prepare the Way ,
Begins Sunday

This Sunday, Ellen Stamps kicks-off our Advent series, presenting a session on Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch woman who, along with her parents and sister, helped many Jews escape Holland during the Holocaust by hiding them in their home, an account of which you might have learned about in her book The Hiding Place.  

Ms. Stamps served as Ms. ten Boom’s personal assistant for nearly ten years as Ms. ten Boom shared her story on international tours. Ms. Stamps wrote about her experiences in her book My Years with Corrie .

 Sundays at 9:15 a.m.
The Parish Hall
Nursery available 
Interfaith Holiday Memorial Service

The holiday season elicits powerful memories and emotions, and it can be a particularly painful time for those who have lost a child. For those who have experienced such loss, a special service co-sponsored by St. John’s Church will be held at St. Stephen's.

This interfaith Holiday Memorial Service is sponsored by area congregations and schools—Protestant, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Jewish—to provide a setting for families and loved ones to remember the children they have lost, whether the child died 30 years ago or three weeks ago, whether as an adult or as a child. This service is open to all.

A simple reception will follow the service.

For additional information, contact Amelie Wilmer or click here.

Monday, December 2
7:00 p.m.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study Returns
for Advent Season

Wednesday evening programming returns next week, December 4, with a continuation of our study of the Gospel of Luke.  We will discuss Unit 9 of the study guide by Thomas Walker and selected material from Luke 16-23. Light snacks will be provided, and you are welcome to bring some to share.  

Wednesday Evenings, December 4-18
7:00 p.m. Discussion Group
Three Notch’d Road
Holiday Concert

The Charlottesville Baroque ensemble Three Notch’d Road will perform O Beauty: A Baroque Christmas from Around the World, a mix of traditional folk tunes from around the world and works of the great composers of the era, including J.S. Bach and Henry Purcell.

Admission is $25 per adult. Parishioner admission is $12.50,  payable at the door .

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here .   

Saturday, December 7
7:30 p.m.
St. John's Church
Soon-to-Be Famous St. John’s Toffee Orders This Sunday

Toffee master Susan White reports that it’s “chocolate, buttery, crunchy, nutty, delicious, made by human hands—a great gift for you or someone you love.” It’s St. John’s Toffee. Having made its debut at this year’s Church Hill Irish Festival, St. John’s Toffee returns for the holiday season. Place your order this Sunday, December 1 during coffee hour. Each bag is $10.

You can help make the toffee Saturday, December 7, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Parish Hall.

For more information, contact Susan White .
A Note about Pastoral Appointments and Emergencies

To schedule an appointment with one of our clergy, please contact Amelie directly at her email or her voicemail at 649-7938; you will hear from her or another member of our clergy staff within 24 hours. 

If you have an emergency, please contact Patty Duffy at 649-7938, and she will ensure a more immediate response.
Property Meeting, December 9

The Property Committee will meet Monday, December 9, at 5:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall. If you’d like to be a part of this important and exciting ministry, please contact Jamie Isaacs.

Next Evening Contemplative Service, Saturday, December 14

St. John's offers an evening service the second Saturday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Each service includes Holy Eucharist, contemplative music, a quiet, candlelit atmosphere, and the rite of healing.

We hope you will find this service to be a relaxing supplement to your Sunday morning worship. Invite friends who prefer a more contemplative form of worship.

Also, please consider serving at this service when you sign up for your service slots.
St. John’s Young Adults
Christmas Party

More details are on the way, but if you’re in your 30s to 40s-ish, we look forward to seeing you at our annual Christmas potluck meal and White Elephant gift exchange ($10 limit.)

Saturday, December 14
6:00 p.m.
Sarah Lineberger's home

Young Adult Outing--Light Up Libby Hill
Young Adults will meet-up in Libby Hill Park Saturday, December 21, at 3:00 p.m. for this event organized by Church Hill residents. For more information, click here.
Christmas Poinsettias
for the Church

Remember or honor loved ones by purchasing poinsettias at $15 each to decorate the church at Christmas. Make checks payable to St. John’s Church. Forms are available at the back of the church and in the Parish Hall.

Place your order in the offering plate or deliver it to the church office by Tuesday, December 22. Or, click here.
Christmas at St. John’s

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24      
 5:30 p.m. Family Eucharist
 10:30 p.m. Festival Eucharist
Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25 
10:00 a.m. Christmas Eucharist

First Sunday in Christmas, December 29   
8:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist
10:30 a.m. Lessons & Carols

Epiphany Eve, Sunday, January 5                
4:30 p.m. Bonfire and Epiphany service, with reception
Stewardship Season

This year's stewardship theme, "Wonder in All,” is inspired by words found in the Prayer after Baptism in the Book of Common Prayer: “give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.”

As you discern your own commitment of time, talent, and treasure during 2020, we encourage you to reflect prayerfully on how you are being called to create “wonder in all” of our shared life through your gifts, then fill out and return your card, either by mail, by placing it in the offering plate Sunday,  or by clicking here.

Matching Challenge
A small group of our parishioners has agreed to commit to a pledge equal to last year’s and to increase their pledge and offer that increase as a matching challenge to others.

This generous group has funded a matching pool of $9,150. This means your new or additional pledge will be matched one-for-one, dollar-for-dollar. The matching funds would double the impact of your first-time pledge or your increased pledge over last year, and is a great opportunity for all of us to make an impact on our ministries.

If you have any questions about the match or your pledge, feel free to contact Marshall Schutt, Stewardship Chair.

We are grateful for your generosity and all you do for St. John’s Church.

So far, 65 families have pledged $162,795, bringing us to 94% of our goal. We are especially grateful for the 15 families who have pledged to St. John’s Church for the first time this year.
Gentle Yoga with Andrea Bleck-Smith

After Thanksgiving, join Andrea Bleck-Smith for a class meant for those who enjoy moving more slowly and who are looking to maintain or increase strength and flexibility.

We focus on moving joints and muscle groups, alignment, and breath awareness to maintain and restore balanced body function.

Each class ends with relaxation to balance the body. $54 for the 6-week session or $10 drop-in per class. Classes meet Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

Thursdays (except December 26) at 4:00 p.m.
The Parish Hall  
Spotlight on Outreach

St. John's is committed to living our Baptismal Covenant
to seek and serve Christ in all persons,
loving our neighbor as ourselves
and respecting the dignity of every human being.

It's Time to Organize Our Reverse Advent Calendars: Celebrate Advent this year by creating a Reverse Advent Calendar. Each each day of Advent (December 1- 24), place a non-perishable food item in the box. To get your family started, wrapped boxes will be available for pick up in the Parish Hall this Sunday, December 1.

On Sunday, December 29, bring your box to the Parish Hall during coffee hour. All food donated will benefit the Christ Ascension Food Pantry as part of our First Fruits ministry. Items most needed are canned tuna and chicken, dry or canned beans, low sodium veggies, hot and cold cereal, canned spaghetti sauce, and spaghetti noodles.

Ongoing Opportunities
Join the $5 Club : Pledge to spend at least $5 a month on non-perishable foods to feed others. Bring your donations on the first Sunday of each month, or deposit them in the basket at the rear of the church at any time.
First Fruits Sundays : First Sunday of every month. Bring non-perishable food items to church for donation to the Christ Ascension Food Pantry. The food pantry always needs canned spinach, cereal (small boxes), pasta, canned tuna, and peanut butter. Next First Fruits Sunday—This Sunday, December 1
Important Note: Recently, the clientele at the food pantry has doubled; therefore, Christ Ascension greatly appreciates additional food donations.  
Volunteer at Re:Work Richmond

New volunteer opportunities are continually being identified at Re:Work Richmond, the East End employment initiative that St. Peter's Episcopal Church has launched through a collaboration of churches and community organizations. You are invited to complete one of the "Good Neighbor Network" cards available in the Parish Hall. Place your completed forms in the basket provided. For more information, contact Diana Vasquez .

Children’s Chapel now has an Instagram account: @stjohnsrvacc
Sign-up at Kroger
 for the Good of St. John’s

St. John's participates in Kroger's Community Rewards program, receiving funds based on a percentage of total purchases made with Kroger cards linked to St. John's. To link your card, sign up here.

Use account code 81386 and click "Search.” Funds received support St. John’s ministries, and we are grateful.
Next Vestry Meeting,
Tuesday, December 10,
at 5:30 p.m.
in the Parish Hall

All members of St. John’s Church are welcome to attend vestry meetings as observers. Minutes of recent meetings are posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall foyer. Please share your ideas or questions about the life of our parish with a vestry member.
Prayer Group & Sunday Prayers
Bring your prayers to the Wednesday morning prayer group. Pray with us silently or aloud as the Spirit leads you, and let us surround you with love and prayers. Find sacred silence and hear the still, small voice of God. Simply stop by the Keeper's Cottage any Wednesday at 10:00.

Prayer ministers also offer individual prayers Sundays during communion at the 10:30 a.m. service.

10:00 a.m.
Keeper's Cottage (to the left of the church)
To learn more,   contact Carolyn Dallas
Strategic Plan Information Available

The Power Point presentation of this year’s Strategic Plan , including our goals and objectives and the tasks we have identified to accomplish them, is available here.

Hard copies are available in the Parish Hall.

We encourage you to view the slides and provide input as we work together to implement our shared vision for St. John’s in the year to come.

Click here to read the 2018 St. John's Church Annual Report. You may pick up a hard copy of it in the back of the church or in the Parish Hall. If you have any questions about the report, please contact our Rector, Amelie Wilmer , or Senior Warden, Horace Dowdy.
St. John's Church
2401 East Broad Street

Office: 2319 E. Broad Street RVA 23223

The deadline for submitting copy for the weekly bulletin insert and parish-wide email is Wednesday morning , but earlier is always appreciated. Please send your content to  Patty Duffy . Please note that content may be edited to accommodate space limitations and style guidelines.