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May Newsletter
Rector's Letter

Dear Friends in Christ,
This past year the Vestry has worked to discern and articulate vision for  our parish's life together, the directions we feel called to grow, and the  community we hope to become.  This vision stems from the cottage meetings  across the parish held last spring, and provide for us a basis from which to  consider our resources and what we need for ministry, particularly from and  for our buildings.  The vision statement is printed here and the Vestry  hopes that parishioners will come to a meeting on May 27 after services.  Please consider the vision and projects that support it and bring them with  you to meet with Vestry members who want to meet with you.
Mo. Rita+
Vision Statement

In the spring of 2017 members of the St. John's community took a deep look at ourselves through a series of "Cottage Meetings," in which parishioners were able to express their views on what we do well, what needs improvement, and how we might move forward into the future. A summary of our Cottage Meetings has been published previously. Having listened carefully to all voices, the Vestry has sought to synthesize the opinions and ideas expressed so that we may move forward into the next phase of our Capital Campaign. We therefore offer the following vision:

We as a parish envision our community reflecting more fully God's kingdom through increased diversity of age and background, race and culture. We hope to accomplish this through growth that is spurred on by enhanced and varied opportunities for worship, for gathering, and for service. We realize that this growth must be supported through partnerships with churches, organizations and institutions that connect us to the larger communities of our neighborhood, city, and region.

Continuing Anglican worship in the beauty of holiness and sharing God's presence through the Eucharist will always be central to our ministry and our mission. To implement this mission, we envision a secure, safe and stable worship space that is beautiful and welcoming, and that not only meets our present needs but also those of generations to come. Beautiful music has always been an important part of our corporate worship and is something that we are especially known for in the greater community, and we envision offering a range of musical expression in our renewed space.
We desire to reach out to new populations and to groups within our community. This means developing flexible and varied forms of worship that bring people together in non-Eucharistic and Eucharistic settings. Versatile worship and gathering space in our chapel can provide this as we look to offer contemplative services (such as Taize worship), family services, prayer circles, children's chapel, vigils, and other such options. Similarly, development of our outdoor space will support our outreach to individuals and families in our neighborhood. We look to enhance our ministry to neighbors and to make ourselves more accessible to strangers as we consider outdoor services in summer and opportunities for prayer and meditation in our garden.

To support this vision, we need gathering spaces that will nurture and foster relationships within our growing community. We need warm and attractive spaces. Along with the chapel space for small groups and discussions, we need to improve our Undercroft and make it easier to use for both large and small gatherings. Our Community Center and Parish House has rooms for meetings, potlucks, and classes, and they could be easily enhanced to foster community with simple improvements. We also recognize formation within our community as important to the spiritual growth of our members, both new and not-so-new. To this end, we envision a robust offering of programs within these spaces that meet the varied needs of our congregation. These include such things as a strong Sunday school program, formation for our teenage population, and adult learning opportunities.
We further envision ourselves as an anchor in our larger community, living in service to it. Offering our spaces in hospitality to recovery groups, to music education groups, to boards and community organizations is a crucial part of our ministry, and we wish to expand it. Our building is unique within our residential neighborhood, and it is an important asset to our ministry--one that must be protected, and can be further developed. We look to a future where St. John's is an incubator of new initiatives and ministries in our neighborhood. Possible examples of such initiatives include a drop-in evening recreation center for young adults, an afternoon center for elderly seeking companionship with games, hobbies, or classes, and a music center with classes for all ages.

As we look forward to the next stage of our capital campaign, we have realized that to grow into our vision for St. John's future, our buildings and grounds need attention. Repair, renewal, and transformation of our spaces is needed and can be achieved with multiple projects. The projects below have been identified to put our buildings and grounds in better service to our future, that we might live more fully into our mission: To the glory of God and for the common good, we make God's love known now and for generations to come, through worship and service to all.

Please consider what projects are most important to help us fulfill our vision, and of those, which should be part of a capital campaign. Please send your thoughts to our Jr. Warden or bring them to our all parish meeting on May 27th at 11:30 in the church.
Approaching a Farewell to St. John's
Robert Ludwig

As Nancy and I approach our final Sunday (June 10) to provide music at St. John's, our hearts are full of appreciation of the people of this special place and also a bit of excitement and anxiety about what the future holds for us. We still have nearly a month to enjoy our farewells - Alumni Evensong on May 20, Memorial Day weekend, our final Youth Sunday, and our last Sunday when the choir will sing Aaron Copland's "Shall We Gather By the River." We truly chose that piece because of the way it speaks of the eternal bond we have with each other, but if you want to interpret it as an invitation to visit us in Rangeley for a picnic on the Kennebago River, that works too! If you come see us in Western Maine on a Sunday, I'll be Director of Music at the only Episcopal Church for 75 miles - Church of the Good Shepherd in Rangeley. We received a letter today from a long-time friend and colleague from Virginia, giving us blessings as we "become 'small church musicians' (the churches being small, that is!) and enjoy that beautiful place on the lake and more snow I am sure than I could ever imagine and real Maple syrup and the occasional visit by a moose or two. I full expect to hear the Berlioz Requiem broadcast from Rangeley!" I don't know about Berlioz in Rangeley, but we do deeply thank Mo. Rita and this congregation for embracing our vision of offering great musical Requiems sung in the context of All Souls' Day Eucharists. In our six years here we've offered settings by Faure, Durufle, Rutter, Mozart, and Brahms - great music that gains so much by being sung during a worship service instead of on the concert stage. We'll save our inadequate thank-yous for later, but we do hope you'll be able to join us for Evensong on May 20 at 4:00 pm, when we'll have singers from the St. John's Choir, plus choir alumni from St. John's, Cathedral of the Incarnation (Garden City, NY) and Christ Church Cathedral (Lexington, KY).
Youth Sunday
Youth Sunday is on June 3rd. There will be no after service rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the service. Please use the links on our Parent Facebook page to practice the songs with your child. If you need the links emailed to you, please contact the office. Thank you! 

I danced in the morning 
I want to walk as a child 
This Little Light of Mine
Joyful, joyful, We Adore Thee 

On June 3rd, please have your Sunday School Student in the Chapel at 9:30am to meet with Mother Rita, and then they will have a brief rehearsal with Robert Ludwig. The children will be leading the congregation in song and handing out candles during the service. This will their only time to receive instructions and to rehearse together, so please make sure that your child is on time.
Announcements & Looking Ahead
Noted Jazz Singer in Day of Pentecost Service
On Sunday, May 20 we celebrate the Day of Pentecost when we remember the descent of the Holy Spirit of the Apostles. In the words of Acts 2:4 - "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability." Several of Robert and Nancy Ludwig's choristers from their previous churches are joining us for our Alumni Choral Evensong on May 20. One of them, Alma Thomas, sang with them as a choir girl at Garden City's Cathedral of the Incarnation for seven years. She is now an important voice in the jazz scene in Rio de Janeiro, featured regularly with her "Divas in Jazz" show at The Blue Note. At the 10 am service on May 20, Alma will sing and scat Duke Ellington's Come Sunday between the Epistle and the Gospel.

Pilgrimage to Taize - Our pilgrims are returned and will present descriptions and reflections on their time in Taize at a pancake breakfast for the feast of Pentecost on May 20th after the 10 am service.  Please come for fellowship and to welcome our youth home.

Choral Evensong for the Feast of Pentecost  - Sunday, May 20, 4 pm at St. John's Episcopal Church, 225 French Street, Bangor.  The St. John's Choir will be joined by choir alumni from St. John's as well as alumni from former choirs of retiring St. John's Organists/Choirmaster Nancy and Robert Ludwig. Music includes the St. Paul's Evening Service by Herbert Howells, William Mathias' festival anthem Let the People Praise Thee , and a newly published set of Preces and Responses by Robert Ludwig. 

Extra help is needed for our monthly serving at the  Soup Kitchen. We are scheduled to serve the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Salvation Army, from 10 am to 1:30 pm. Our next scheduled date is Tuesday May 22nd. For more information, please see Nancy Henry or Phil Ulrich.

On May 27th, immediately following the 10 am service, we ask that you remain in the pews for a brief All Parish Meeting to elect a new JR Warden.  

Following both services on May 27th, those who are interested in learning more about possible Capital Campaign projects are invited to join us for an update.  Those coming after the 8 am service will meet in the Chapel and those coming following the 10 am service will meet in the choir seats.

Extra help is needed for our monthly serving at Second Saturday, hosted here in the Undercroft. We are scheduled to serve next on June 9th from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. You don't need to sign up in advance, or even commit to coming monthly, just stop in to help out when you can. For more information, please see Nancy Henry or Phil Ulrich

We need hosts for Lemonade on the Lawn, which will be returning the week of June 10th. This is when coffee hour moves outside, weather permitting, so we can enjoy the beautiful summer weather as we gather for fellowship following the 10 am service. Please consider signing up to help host one day this summer. The sign up sheet is located in the Undercroft so you may sign up during coffee hour.
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