St. John's Church
st. francis and the animals, norton

This Sunday, October 7, 2018
The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
First Fruits Sunday

Nursery—9:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m  
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.   Coffee Hour, Parish Hall
4:00 p.m.   Animal Blessing, Blessing of the Animals, Churchyard

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This Sunday, bring your non-perishable food items to church and, on your way to communion, deposit them in the baskets at the chancel for donation to the Christ Ascension Food Pantry. The pantry greatly appreciates canned fruit, and they always need cereal, canned pasta, tuna, and peanut butter.
From Amelie, with Love

Dear Friends:

Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, which falls each year on October 4. Many churches including ours, are getting ready for a blessing of the animals this coming Sunday. The opportunity to bless the foreheads of the beloved pets brought to St. John’s by our members and neighbors is among the most sacred moments in my ministry. And each year, it is always filled with wonder and surprise – last year our guests included a goose in a baby carriage!

St Francis believed that nature itself was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters”, and even preached to the birds and supposedly persuaded a wolf to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf. In his “Canticle of the Creatures” (or “Canticle of the Sun” ), he mentioned the “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon”, the wind and water, and fire.
St. Francis also had a strong commitment to living the way of Jesus, and is known for the saying, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” This quote, while attributed to St. Francis, is probably an adaptation of what he actually wrote: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”
For Francis, this meant walking outside the walls of the church and into the streets; and he was widely known for preaching sermons in the open air of piazzas and pastures. He used styles and tactics borrowed from the troubadours of his day, both through romantic prose and foolish frolicking. Without rejecting the traditional liturgies of the Church, he broke past the conventions to preach in ways that caught people’s attention.
Even when he did preach in churches, Francis would use living examples and props to bring life to the message. One of the best-known traditions popularized by St. Francis is the live nativity. While we might see this as a creative and sentimental example, it was actually a powerfully prophetic gesture. He brought into the heart of the church and Scripture the messy reality of the nature of the incarnation (cow manure and all). He saw the story of Scripture to be something to be lived and experienced, not just commemorated. So, while preaching was central to Francis’ example, he preached in ways that were intentionally disruptive to "faith as usual," pointing instead to active participation in the Communion of Christ as His Body. 

After communion this Sunday, we will read the well-known Prayer of St. Francis , which captures the essence of this active participation, “Make me an instrument of thy Peace.” But here is another prayer attributed to St. Francis that also embodies this active spirituality, in ways that can be uncomfortable, disruptive, and even foolish.

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

In Christ, 

This Sunday's Plate Offering Supports Hurricane Florence Relief through
Episcopal Relief & Development

This Sunday our loose plate offering will be designated for hurricane relief through Episcopal Relief and Development.

You may make gifts for hurricane relief before then by clicking here.
Sunday’s Adult Forum:
Beloved Pets: Prayers, Passages
and Pastoral Care

In honor of St. Francis’ Day, Amelie will lead a discussion on the church’s pastoral response to our relationships with our beloved pets. In the past decades, the Episcopal Church has developed liturgies, prayers, pastoral support, and access to hospice chaplaincy for parishioners as they navigate passages in the lives of the animals they love. 

We have also become increasingly aware of the capabilities of animals who serve as therapy and companion pets to provide healing, wellness, and other forms of assistance.  

Everyone is welcome, and invited to bring stories to share.

Sunday, October 7
9:15 a.m.
The Parish Hall
Child care is available
Blessing of the Animals This Sunday

We hope to see you and your furry, feathered or scaly family member this Sunday, October 7, 2018, at 4:00 p.m., when they will receive their annual blessing in the churchyard of St. John's in honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. All creatures of our God and King are welcome; no exceptions. Please leash or cage your pets, and invite your friends to bring their pets, too. Refreshments and treats for both human and animal guests will be provided.

Two Shrine Mont Rooms Available

Two more rooms at Shrine Mont have become available, and if you’d like to join us on our annual Parish Retreat the weekend of October 19-21, please let Patty Duffy or Amelie know. 

Scholarships are available; please don’t be shy about asking for one. You’ll only make the weekend more fun and meaningful for everyone, if you decide to join us.  

Wednesday Formation Book Study
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

Our Wednesday evening programming is currently discussing, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Journalist Kathryn Schulz. In it, the author explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error impacts our relationships—whether among family members, colleagues, neighbors, or nations.

Drawing on thinkers as varied as Augustine, Darwin, Freud, Alan Greenspan, and Groucho Marx, Schulz proposes that error is both a given and a gift—one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves. 

Each evening’s session begins in the Parish Hall with a simple supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by our discussion at 7:00 p.m. This week, we plan to discuss chapters 2-4.

Copies of the book are available for purchase online in hard copy or in electronic (see below) format. Several copies are available in the Parish Office for those who need assistance with the purchase.  

Wednesday, October 10
Dinner 6:30 p.m.
Study & Discussion 7:00 p.m.
The Parish Hall
Fancy Me Mad
Tales from Edgar Allan Poe & Graveyard Tours

Walk among spirits in the graveyard, including Eliza Poe, mother of Edgar; T.W. White, Poe's Editor at the Southern Literary Messenger; George Wythe and his murderous nephew; Dr. McClurg, Revolutionary War surgeon; and more!    

There are two seatings in the church, where Edgar Allan Poe will read tales of mystery and suspense (30 minutes each seating). Spirits walk the grounds all evening.

Members of St. John's are invited to help with refreshments in the Parish Hall.

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for children ages 7-12. 6 and under are free. Visit Historic St. John's Church for more information.

Please contact Amelie or Amy Swarz if you are interested in helping out with this event.

Saturday, October 20
5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
St. John's Church
Discerning our Gifts in Community: Asset Mapping Workshop

The Rev. Deacon Theresa Lewallen will facilitate a discussion to help us determine our individual strengths, skills, and resources, which we can share with others.

This “asset mapping” will assist us in knowing, as a community, how we can better support other organizations, such as Episcopal Community Services.

Coffee and breakfast food will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m., and lunch will be served following the session. Please RSVP to David Curtis by October 23 at 5:00 p.m. 

Saturday, October 27
9:00 a.m.-12:00 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.

NEW Opportunities
Bellevue Elementary needs mentors, lunchroom buddies, and tutors. Scheduling is flexible and during the school-day. If interested, please contact Ms. Charla Armstead . Requirements: background check and orientation meeting.
Kairos Prison Ministry needs your cookies. Homemade cookies help express God's love to a population that often feels deeply unloved. Please see the handouts in the Parish Hall or at the back of the church for details.

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. Last month you contributed 243 pounds of food, meaning our year to date total donation is 1,353 pounds of food, or 90% of goal at only 75% of year! Thank you for your generosity.  Christ Ascension Food Pantry greatly appreciates canned fruit donations. They always need cereal, canned pasta, tuna, and peanut butter.
Next First Fruits Sunday— October 7, ( this Sunday)
Laundry Love : Third Saturday of every month from 11:45 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Help do your neighbors' laundry at the laundromat at 25th & Nine Mile. Please contact David Curtis for more information.
Next Laundry Love Day—Saturday, October 20
Canned Chicken and Tuna Donations
for the Community of Deacons
The Community of Deacons in the Diocese of Virginia will sponsor a canned tuna and chicken collection at Annual Convention in November. They will disburse this collection to food pantries and ministries throughout the Diocese.

Since we support Christ Ascension's Food Pantry with First Fruits, we will give half of our collection to it, and the other half to the Convention collection. We will also include the full amount we collect in our First Fruits totals for the year. 

Please deposit your donations to this drive in the collection box in the Parish Hall. You may contact David Curtis at with any questions.
Altar Flower Remembrances

We encourage everyone who is a part of the St. John’s community to remember or honor loved ones and special anniversaries and events by sponsoring the flowers at the altar for a specific Sunday. The cost is $30. You may pay via cash or check in the offering plate or in the church office, or through Paypal. Sign up for the Sunday when you want to sponsor flowers on the sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall foyer.
Next Vestry Meeting,
Tuesday, October 9,
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.
You Are Invited
to Sarah Kye Price’s Ordination

The St. John's community is invited to Sarah Kye Price's ordination to the transitional diaconate (all ordained priests are first and always ordained deacons). Everyone is invited; no exceptions.

Saturday, November 10, 2018
5:30 p.m.
New Small Group Ministry
for the Victims of Abuse

Over the past year, there has been a growing interest among some of our members in forming a support group for those who are currently dealing with abuse or those who have been victims of abuse in the past. If you are interested in participating in a group that would meet regularly to read and discuss selected books on healing and transformation and to offer companionship, prayer, and mutual support, please contact Amelie.
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 prayer Sundays during communion.

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

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.