St. John's Episcopal Church

Welcome to the E-Notes!

February 7, 2018

Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent,
 is Wednesday, February 14.

We will have two services: 12:00 noon and 7:30 PM.

Secrets of the Vestry Part 4
By David Weir
     If you are like me, you sometimes wonder exactly what God's calling you to do. This is because we only see "through a glass darkly". Despite this uncertainty, there are clues as to what the nature of your ministry should look like. For example, when God was calling people in the Hebrew Bible, not once did He say, "Just stay where you are and keep doing what you are doing". Instead, beginning with Abraham and continuing with Moses, the Prophets, as well as ordinary men and women, God's call was one of action. It meant taking positive steps for change. They left their individual comfort zones and marched forth in faith towards new and uncertain horizons. The New Testament reveals a similar Godly theme. Jesus's speech is filled with action verbs, "come follow me", "go into the world and preach the Gospel", "feed the hungry", "cloth the naked".

     You may not know if you should serve on the Vestry, or what a remarkable experience you will have. Yet, if you do feel a calling for Vestry service, take a few moments and let the thought sit with you. Ponder what it would mean to you and the gifts you could bring. And, if you do decide to take action you will become part of a story that has been ongoing for over 160 years...this is story of St Johns' ...a story that began in 1844.

   The Reverend William F. Lockwood is considered to be the founded of St John's. Between 1844 and 1849 he managed to raise about $1000 dollars to build the church. On August 7, 1848 local supporters met and selected a site on donated land off of Mount Gilead Road. The construction of St John's took place in less than a year. On July 14, 1850 the Bishop John Johns of the Virginia Diocese led the services of consecration at the new church.

     Despite this bright beginning, ominous signs soon appeared as the country rushed towards the maelstrom known as the American Civil War. In June of 1861 thousands of troops poured into the Centreville area. Military Encampments surrounded St John's and parishioners fled for their safety. By the time the Civil War ended, St John's had been totally destroyed. Despite the utter devastation, a few of St John's families began to hold services in their homes. They had a dream of rebuilding the church...and they did. The church was rebuilt in 1872 and concentrated anew.

   Over the years St John's parishioners have continued to contribute to the Kingdom of God and to the local community. This is a faith and a mission that continues to this very day.

 Pancake Supper - Tuesday, Feb. 13 
5:30 PM - 7 PM 
Join in our traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on
Tuesday, February 13 (the day before the start of Lent) in the parish hall.  Traditionally, households had to use up the lard they had in their pantries before the start of Lent. Making pancakes was a good way to do that. Come join us for fellowship and delicious pancakes on February 13! 
Donations gratefully accepted. 

  • Vestry Candidates 
At our Annual Parish meeting this Sunday, we will be electing candidates to the Vestry to serve three year terms. Two parishioners, Lisa Heller and Susie Pike, have put their names forward for election. Here are their bios:
Lisa Heller 
My husband and I first came to St. Johns when we were married here in the fall of 1996.  Over the next couple of years, Jim was confirmed in the Episcopal church and our daughter Katie was baptized here.  Throughout the years as we have come and gone with the Foreign Service, St. Johns has been our church home in the Washington area.  We have just recently returned after eight years in Seoul and Beijing and are happy to be back with the St Johns community.  For the last several years, I served as the treasurer and, later, board chairman of our worship community in Beijing, the Congregation of the Good Shepherd.  During that experience, my faith grew considerably as I saw God's faithfulness carry us through some very difficult times.  Although that group and St Johns face a different set of challenges, they have in common a small group of people very dedicated to their faith and to finding ways to serve God in their communities.  If given the opportunity, I hope that I can help continue the work that has made St Johns the exceptional place it is for so many years. 
Susie Pike  
Susie and her husband, Larry, have been members of St. John's Church and choir for over 20 years. She has been a youth group leader and a member of the history committee. Her research on the bell in front of the church is included in the book, St. John's at the Crossroads.    While serving on the vestry back in the '90's she was the church representative to the Board of Zoning Appeals which approved the annexation of the Hunsberger property, now known as Gilead Green.  When Susie returned to public education (Westfield High School) she was unable to give much time to St. John's as her students were her focus. She was proud to have had several St. John church members in her theatre department. Recently retired, Susie now has the time to return to the vestry and support the mission of the church.  
We can elect a total of 5 people to the Vestry. If you are interested in serving, please see Carol Hancock or David Weir, Senior Warden, before the Annual Meeting this Sunday.
  • Confirmation classes scheduled
If anyone, age 14 or older, is interested in being confirmed when Bishop Jones is here, please let Carol know as soon as possible. The Confirmation classes will meet on Sundays from 10:50 - 12:00 noon, starting on Sunday, February 25 for 5-6 weeks.
  •  Annual Meeting February 11
 Our Annual Parish Meeting will be held after the service this Sunday, February 11. It is important for all parishioners to attend. We will present the budget, elect Vestry members, and hear reports from our various groups. Please make every effort to attend.
  • 2018 pledges reach an all-time high!
The 49 pledges that we have received to date total over $206,000!!! We have not been over $200,000 since 2009! Many people made significant increases to their pledges this year for which we are grateful. We also had some new pledgers this year. Many, many thanks to all who pledged and help us get to this milestone. (If you have not yet pledged, it's not too late. Extra pledge cards are on the back table in the church.)
  • WFCM says "thank you"
 Western Fairfax Christian Ministries sent a note expressing gratitude for the food that St. John's donates to them each week. In 2017, St. John's donated 1330 pounds of food and toiletries (compared with 823.5 pounds in 2016). "Your contributions will help us continue to provide food to persons in crisis, reducing their risk of homelessness and empowering them towards greater self-sufficiency. This work would not be possible without your generous support." Many thanks go to everyone who has donates food through our Sunday collections. Let's keep up the good work!
  • Lenten service, supper and program
Beginning on Wednesday, February 21, we will have a service at 6:00 PM, followed by a light supper of soup and bread, and program for the 6 weeks of Lent. The program will be a discussion of the book "Walking Home: From Eden to Emmaus" by Margaret Guenther. She says, "The book is a series of meditations on the "walking stories" of Holy Scripture, beginning with the expulsion from Eden. Jesus walked everywhere with his disciples. He was always arriving, on the way somewhere else, or departing. Adam and Eve walked out of the garden, Abraham and Isaac walked up to Mt. Moriah, the Israelites walked for 40 years in the desert, the Prodigal Son walked home barefoot, and the disciples encountered the risen Christ when they walked to Emmaus. If we take the walk of faith, our feet will get dirty, worn and blistered. But the walk demands that we stand on solid ground, that we feel the earth beneath our feet, when we go barefoot from the garden to begin our lifetime of walking." The books are $20 each and will be on sale soon.
  • We welcome two new Lay Eucharistic Ministers
Two parishioners have answered our call for additional Lay Eucharistic Ministers - Tanya Peake and Meg Crossett. Monti Zimmerman has trained them for these duties and they will begin serving in the next few weeks. Thanks, Tanya, Meg and Monti!
  • Ever wonder why we light the small peace candle on the credence table? Lisa Heller has the answer!
    Below is the hand-out we used in Beijing with the peace candle that explained how it got to our Congregation.  [We always called ourselves a "congregation" rather than "church" to emphasize that we weren't associated with any denomination and were self-governing.]  Since 1994, we have given out hundreds of the candleholders as an expat congregation whose members were constantly coming and going.  The Congregation had a special arrangement with a group of Christian woodcarvers from down in Zhejiang province -- they have a thriving business making crosses, creches, Noah's arks and church decorations out of wood -- and eventually hired their manager as the Congregation's administrative assistant, so the wooden pieces were one of our hallmarks.  I'm not sure if the candleholder at St. Johns was one that Jim (Heller) and I gave the church some years back or was the one the Beijing congregation gave Howard Kempsell when he came to visit - there may be more than one around.
                    Congregation of the Good Shepherd - A Candle for Peace
The small candleholder enclosed is a gift from this Congregation to yours as a small symbol of peace and as a reminder to us all to pray for peace between all peoples of the world.
A similar candle was sent to COGS from the Church of St. Barnabas in Khandallah, New Zealand.  St. Barnabas received the candle from St. Mary's Church in North Melbourne, Australia after a candle was sent on from St Mary and All Saints, Kindderminster Parish, Worcester, England.  This chain reaction began in 1986 when an American clergyman from First Presbyterian Church of York, Pennsylvania was visiting a Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. An elderly Russian woman thrust a 3 ruble note into his hand with the request that he light a candle in his church as a symbol of peace.
From there the message has spread through many churches who have in turn sent candles to other places, eventually reaching us in China in 1994.  Since then, COGS has sent hundreds of candles out all over the world.  We, in turn, are sending you this candle in the hope that the wish of that Russian woman will continue to spread throughout the world and that the peace of Christ will rule in hearts all over the world.
The Congregation of the Good Shepherd, Beijing

Online Lenten Offering
Again this year, Virginia Theological Seminary has teamed up with the Society of St. John the Evangelist to provide a Lenten program. "Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John" provides an online opportunity for you to watch a short daily video, ponder the verse for the day, and then write or draw something you want to remember in your journal. Journals can be downloaded from the website. To sign up to receive the daily videos and other resources, go to 
  • 2019 Trip to Israel
If you are interested in the trip to Israel in January 2019, you need to contact Andrew Wade    as soon as possible.The trip is filling up fast and there is a limit of 40 people. Each person planning to go must make a reservation with St. George's College in Jerusalem and make a $500 deposit. We will be traveling with parishioners from Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Delaplane.  
St. John's Recycling Fundraiser
***Have you gotten a new phone lately? Consider donating the old phone to St. John's! 
Protect the environment and clean out those used electronic items that clutter closets & drawers!
Nothing to buy! Nothing to sell! Just bring in the used electronic items that you have replaced or that have broken. We will package the items and send them to Eco-Phones for recycling. Eco-Phones pays us for these items -
working or not. Here's what we're collecting:
cell phones - ipads & tablets - inkjet cartridges
Eco-Phones will not accept desktop computers and is no longer accepting laptops.
Bring your items to the church and place them in the "Eco-Phones" box in the breezeway. If you have any questions contact Penny Parker at 703-791-3482 or 

as LEM, Crucifer, Lector, Usher, Verger, Torch Bearer at a Sunday Service.

click here: 
You will receive an automatic reminder a few days in advance. ( If you would like to become an altar server, please see the Rev. Carol Hancock.)

for coffee hour after the Sunday Service in the Breezeway.

 click here: 
You will receive an automatic reminder a few days in advance. Coffee hour is an important part of fellowship - staying connected with each other and welcoming newcomers.

for a Sunday service throughout 2018.

click here:
You may sign up here to donate the flowers to be used on the altar for each of the Sundays in 2018. Click to read additional info before signing up.

We can prepare our hearts and minds by
reading ahead for the Sunday Service lessons.  

February 11, 2018
  9:30 AM      
The Transfiguration, detail of mosaic 
The First Reading:
2 Kings 2:1-12 
Elijah is about to depart the earth. His disciple and successor, Elisha, mournful, determined, and full of faith, follows Elijah against protests. With boldness and humility, Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah's prophetic spirit. 
The Psalm:   50:1-6
The Second Lesson: 
2 Corinthians 4:3-6  
The apostle Paul explains to the Corinthians that God prepares the hearts of those who receive the Gospel, revealing the truth of God through the light of Jesus Christ to those who are willing to submit themselves to his lordship. 
The Gospel:
Mark 9:2-9
At a turning point in Jesus's ministry, his closest disciples witness his transfiguration. Jesus is buoyed by the companionship of Elijah and Moses. The light of God is revealed.


FROM 10:50 - 11:50 am

(Rm. 205) 
During the Service

  Each week, St. John's children
join with three of our Ministry Partners: 
Fairfax Chinese Christian Church, 
Wellspring UCC
& Grace Baptist Church

 for Sunday School
10:30  - 11:30 A
We  offer 3 classes:
PreK: Rm. 205;  
K - 6th grade: Rm. 207/208;
 7th - 12th grade: Rm 206
Every Wednesday evening, we have a service of Holy Eucharist and healing at 6:00 PM. The service is about 30 minutes. It is a perfect alternative for those who cannot come to church on Sunday mornings, as well as a good spiritual boost in the middle of the week. Come join us!
What is distinctive about Christian ethics of compassion is the person of Jesus Christ. We understand our love and compassion for others to have its source in the person of Christ himself-Jesus present and active within us. We embody or incarnate love, which has its source in Christ.

My email address is,
and the office number is 703-803-7500.  
May our ministry together spread God's love to all whom we encounter.

       - Carol
       The Rev. Carol Hancock

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