St. John's Church
visitation , fra angelico
We Would Love Your Help Tomorrow
Decorating the Church
for Christmas

We will finish the  “greening of the church"  tomorrow, Saturday, December 22, beginning at 9:30 a.m.,  hanging the garland and wreaths, and placing fresh greens around the window candles.

Please let  Reeves McCune  know if you will help, even if it’s only for a little while. 

If you have money plant, magnolia and/or nandina in your yard, please bring some.

On  Sunday morning, December 23, following the 10:30 service,  we would appreciate everyone's  help taking the poinsettias from the Parish Hall to the church.  
 This Sunday, December 23, 2018
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
                                               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
                                               11:30 a.m.             Coffee Hour, Parish Hall
                               Nursery is available in the Parish Hall from 8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

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From Amelie with Love

Dear Friends:
For the past four weeks, our congregation has been discussing the songs or “Canticles” in Luke that accompany the story of Jesus’ birth. This Sunday, we will be singing the first and most familiar of these, “The Song of Mary,” The Magnificat. This is what Mary sings when she visits her cousin Elizabeth, who confirms that the child Mary bears is indeed the Holy Child of God. 
In response to this affirmation, Mary bursts forth, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” And then her song goes on to do just that. To make more visible and clear - to  magnify for the world - a God invested in lasting change and wholeness for all of creation. Mary describes a reality in which a broken and unjust status quo is magnificently reversed: the proud are scattered and the humble honored. The powerful are brought down, and the lowly are lifted up. Mary describes a world reordered and renewed - a world so beautifully characterized by love and justice, only the Christ she carries in her womb can birth it into being. 
And yet, the message of this lovely canticle has not always been welcomed over the centuries, not unlike like the message of Jesus himself. This fact became even clearer to me in a commentary I read this week:
“Mary's song is so subversive in its cultural, socioeconomic and political implications, it has been banned many times in modern history. When the British ruled India, the Magnificat was prohibited from being sung in churches. Similarly, during the "Dirty War" in Argentina, after the mothers of disappeared children postered the capital plaza with the words of the Magnificat , the military junta banned all public displays of the song. Too much hope, they decided, is a dangerous thing.
But ‘too much hope’ is precisely what we're called to cultivate and proclaim on this fourth and final weel in Advent. The Messiah is almost here, Mary tells us, and the promise of his lasting reign changes everything. There is no unjust system, oppressive hierarchy, or arrogant leadership structure that God will not upend. No promise God will fail to keep. No broken, exploited life God will not save.”*
Mary found her voice and sang her song, and shared it with her world, small as it was at the time. What would it mean for us to do the same? What does your Magnificat sound like? How is God magnified through your unique perspective and vision? What words have you found to express the radical, revolutionary hope that you carry?
May your soul magnify the Lord,
*Debi Thomas, “A Visit and a Song” in Journey with Jesus
Adult Forum During Advent
“Songs in Waiting”

During the season of Advent, we have waited and watched for God to enter our lives in ways we might have missed before, ways that might surprise us. Sunday, our Adult Forum concludes its exploration of the meaning of the Canticles (Songs) that accompany the story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke and the role they play as a response to God’s unexpected arrival in the lives of the most unlikely people.

  This Sunday  The Song of Simeon ( Nunc Dimittus)—“A Released Life” by Denise Bennett

Sunday, December 23
9:15 a.m.
The Parish Hall
Nursery is available.

Adult Forum will be on Christmas break after this series ends and will return with "Seeing God in a New Light," January 6, 2019. Stay tuned for details.
It’s Time to Submit
Your Advent Calendar

Please return your Reverse Advent Calendar Box, filled with the food you collected for the Christ Ascension Food Bank, to the parish hall before the end of the year. (There are 2 Sundays left in the year.)

Christmas at St. John’s

Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24
5:30 p.m. Family Eucharist (Nursery available)
10:30 p.m. Festival Eucharist (Note the new time this year)

Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25
10:00 a.m. Christmas Eucharist

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

Epiphany, Saturday, January 5 (tr.)  
4:30 p.m. Bonfire and Epiphany service
Please contact Patty Duffy if you are available to serve at any of these services .
Wednesdays Evening Formation Returns January 9

Wednesday evening formation will not meet December 26 and January 2 but will return after Christmas on January 9. Stay tuned for more information about the inspiring sessions we’ll offer then.
Epiphany Eve Bonfire
and Service of Light

St. John's will host its second annual Epiphany Bonfire and Service of Light Saturday, January 5, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Participants will bring remnants of their Christmas greens to burn as a symbolic "ushering in" of the season of light. In the words of Billy Joel, “we didn’t start the fire”; it is an old tradition in the church. 

After the bonfire, we will have a brief Service of Light in the church, including a procession of the Magi to the singing of “We three kings.”

We need volunteers to tend the fire, participate in the service, and assist with a simple reception in the Parish Hall afterward. We also need volunteers to read or dress up as one of the "Three Kings" for the service. Please let Amelie know if you are willing to help, and of course, all are welcome to just show up and enjoy.
Saturday, January 5
4:30 p.m.
Financial Gifts Due by December 31, 2018,
to Qualify for 2018 Tax Deductions

In order for your gifts to St. John’s to qualify for tax deduction in 2018, they must be submitted to the office or postmarked no later than December 31, 2018. If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact Patty Duffy

We are grateful for all of the ways y ou bless the St. John’s.
Parish Office Holiday Closings

The parish office will officially close at noon on Monday, December 24, and reopen Wednesday, January 2. However, staff will be available during this period to respond to year-end bookkeeping and pledge inquiries. We wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and we will see you in 2019.
The Party’s Back On! 
Annual Christmas Peter Paul Luncheon for Seniors Rescheduled

Our annual Christmas luncheon for senior adults at Peter Paul Development Center, which was delayed because of snow, is now scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, same time, same place.

Festivities will begin at 11:00 a.m., and will still include Ed Schutt, the highlight of the occasion for our guests, accompanying songs on the piano, followed by Zumba (still, sadly, not led by Ed Schutt) at 12:00 p.m. and lunch at 12:30 p.m.

We need your help serving lunch and chatting with the seniors. You will be finished by 1:00 p.m.-ish. If you can help, please let Barbara Bayler know. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 15
11:00 a.m.
Peter Paul Development Center
We Need Creative People for Special Events

As our church and our neighborhood continue to grow, we are seeking new opportunities to engage our community in events that will inspire, educate, and build fellowship while raising awareness for our ministries and hopefully some funds to support them, as well. 

Plans are already underway to participate more fully in the Irish Festival in March. If you are interested in helping out, please contact our Junior Warden, Horace Dowdy.
Stewardship Update

We are grateful for the 59 pledges totaling $133,215 that we have received so far, bringing us to 71.5% of our goal of $186,325. 

We look forward to receiving the additional $53,110 in pledges that we need to fund our ministries during 2019. 

As you discern your pledge for 2019, consider the details of St. John’s ministries and budget provided in the pledge packet you received in the mail ( also available online ), and the role you feel called to serve with your time, your talent, and your treasure.

Please submit your pledge card via the offering plate or online . Additional cards are available in the back of the church.
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.

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 currently needs peanut butter, cereal, canned fruit, rice , canned pasta, tuna, and peanut butter.

This month, you donated 159 pounds of food, despite the fact that we had already exceeded our goal of collecting 1,500 pounds in 2018. Thank you and bless you for donating 1,951 pounds of food this year.  

We will continue to collect in 2019, when our goal will be 3,000 pounds of food.
Next First Fruits Sunday—Sunday, January 6
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, January 19

Laundry Love Activity Table The Outreach Team needs new or gently used donations for the kids' activity table at Laundry Love, a place for safe play and learning while parents are busy with clothes. Possible donations include:
  • addition/subtraction flashcards
  • Play-doh
  • simple puzzles
  • picture books, coloring books
  • markers, crayons
  • small Lego sets
  • simple craft supplies (pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, glue, etc.). 

A box for your donations is in the Parish Hall. This is an ongoing collection. If you have any questions, please contact Liz Broda.
Next Vestry Meeting,
Tuesday, January 8,
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 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.