Vol. 79 Issue 26 | Week of June 28-July 4, 2021
Worship on July 4, 2021
Online Only Worship

Please note that WE WILL NOT GATHER FOR WORSHIP IN-PERSON on Sunday, July 4th. The church offices will be closed on Monday, July 5th.

We will post the worship video online in the morning on Sunday, July 4, as we have been doing throughout the pandemic.

We will return to gathering in the Sanctuary on Sunday, July 11th. We encourage you to enjoy the long weekend with friends and family. The church staff has had few opportunities to get away or to visit family during the pandemic. So, we are doing so between now and autumn.

The only other Sunday we plan to post a video (rather than gather in person) is Labor Day weekend, Sunday, September 5th. We plan to gather in the Sanctuary on all other Sundays during our summer of regathering. Then, beginning on September 12th, we anticipate returning to a more normalized schedule of activities in every area of congregational life and ministry.

Dr. Foust will offer our message called, "The Trouble Is," with a focus on the next part of the Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6:12.

Will you join us online for worship? The worship video links will be sent out via email each Sunday at 8am.
Jesus & Praying for a Divided Nation on July 4th
by Dennis W. Foust

When presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” he wasn’t describing the kind of political divisions which are commonplace today. He was speaking to a nation divided over slavery which ultimately resulted in a civil war. The next words spoken by Lincoln following the ‘divided nation’ reference were these: “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.” Historians suggest there was a collective gasp in the crowd when Lincoln pronounced what almost nobody would say aloud. Few historians mention that Lincoln was quoting Jesus.

Matthew 12:22-28 records a story in the ministry of Jesus in which Jesus pronounced what almost nobody would speak aloud. And Jesus, the misunderstood Jewish rabbi, said the words which would later be quoted by Abraham Lincoln. Here is what Jesus said: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

Jesus’ words were precipitated by another encounter with the Pharisees. Jesus had just healed people who were demon-possessed, blind, and mute. The multitude of persons witnessing these healings were trying to understand how Jesus was able to transform those lives. They were questioning, “Could this be the messiah?” As the Pharisees heard the people asking this question, they sought to dissuade them by saying, “No, this fellow is casting out demons because he is a representative of Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

Jesus immediately confronted the Pharisees’ manipulative fear tactics by the words quoted above. Then Jesus added these words: “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? …But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Beloved, as we celebrate the 245th anniversary of our nation’s independence, it is worthy to note that this year’s institution of observing Juneteenth (June 19th) as a national holiday does not create two independence days. However, it is another step forward in the healing process of a divided nation. Through our ministries in the world, we continue the healing work of Jesus Christ who helped people see, helped people walk, and helped people move beyond the control of demonic thoughts and actions. By following Jesus, we cast out demons by the Spirit of God. 

Beloved, this past year and a half has been a grievous and anxious time. However, this summer, as we gradually emerge from the cocoon of this pandemic, let us ask God to help us rid ourselves of any divided loyalties within our individual and communal lives so we can stand strong to face the future. The kingdom of the Spirit of The Living God is our primary commitment and unites us through our discipleship of Jesus Christ. This is one result of us living ALL TOGETHER THROUGH PRAYER.
Through this summer, as part of our “Altogether through Prayer” emphasis, please include the following prayer focus points in your prayers each day.

  • Thursday, July 1 – Persons Suffering from Wildfires and Floods
  • Friday, July 2 – Leadership Enlistment for 2021-2022
  • Saturday, July 3 – Our Medical Professionals
  • Sunday, July 4 – Thanksgiving for Religious Freedom
  • Monday, July 5 – School in Nyarweng, South Sudan
  • Tuesday, July 6 – Mallory Brown, Administrative Assistant
  • Wednesday, July 7 – Personnel Resource Team
  • Thursday, July 8 – People Traveling on Vacation
  • Friday, July 9 – Men’s Softball Team
  • Saturday, July 10 – Parents of Preschool Children
  • Sunday, July 11 – Didymus Sunday School Class
  • Monday, July 12 – Persons Victimized by Asian Hate
  • Tuesday, July 13 – Prisoners and Their Families
  • Wednesday, July 14 – Mission Resource Team
  • Thursday, July 15 – Widows and Widowers
  • Friday, July 16 – Families Living in Poverty
  • Saturday, July 17 – Parents of School-Age Children
  • Sunday, July 18 – Noel Lance, Organist
  • Monday, July 19 – Finance Resource Team
  • Tuesday, July 20 – Together in Christ International Ministries
  • Wednesday, July 21 – Membership Resource Team
  • Thursday, July 22 – Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department
  • Friday, July 23 – Persons Who Have Been Sexually Abused
  • Saturday, July 24 – House and Grounds Resource Team
  • Sunday, July 25 – Pathfinders Sunday School Class
  • Monday, July 26 – Baptist World Alliance
  • Tuesday, July 27 – Worship Greeters
  • Wednesday, July 28 – Heritage Resource Team Planning our Centennial
  • Thursday, July 29 – Students Preparing to Return to University Studies
  • Friday, July 30 – Persons Who Have Been Abused by Churches
  • Saturday, July 31 – National Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
From the Heritage Room

Does anyone know what happened to "The Church on the Rock" window?

At the time the Chapel section of our building was added in 1951, there was a stained glass window at the end of the hall on the third floor opposite the window that still faces Fifth Street (the "Clasped Hands" window).

Based on a letter from Dr. Broach to the manufacturer, the name of this window was, "The Church on the Rock."

When the building housing the gym was added in 1964, this window would have been removed since a new stairwell was added to connect the two building sections. We would really like to know what became of that window. If anyone has any memories, thoughts, etc., please contact Fredda Kimball at [email protected] or (704) 577-8953 or Linda Crowder at [email protected] or (704) 544-9834.

NEXT, St. John's is gearing up for our centennial celebration on March 20, 2022!

What events or activities would you like included as we celebrate this historical event in the life of St John’s?

  • As of now, the plans include the publication of an Anniversary Book, authored by Sally Young with contributions by several other St John’s members. If there is some area in which you have been involved and for which you would like to contribute a section to the book, please contact Fredda Kimball.
  • Derek Henson is working on a new pictorial church directory using Realm. Please make sure you have updated your account in the membership section of Realm, including uploading a picture. Please contact Derek with any questions.
  • The Mission Resource Team has been discussing initiating a “100 Hours of Service” challenge for all St. John’s members. (More info to follow)
  • The Women of the Church is planning to celebrate WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) at their fall annual fall luncheon.
  • We have the script of a play written by Virginia Burkhead for the 50th Anniversary. There are tentative plans to update this script and present the play.
  • Also discussed have been community events for the Elizabeth neighborhood, including tours of our building, coordinated with the Elizabeth Neighborhood Association.

Please contact Fredda KimballLinda Crowder, or Sally Young with your ideas and suggestions. Click on their names to email them.
Realm Information Sessions

Join Derek in Broach Hall on either Thursday, July 8 at 6:30PM OR Sunday, July 11 at 9AM to learn more about Realm, our new ministry tool at St. John’s. In each session, we will review how to view and update your church information, as well as explore how to use the communication features. Each session will last approximately 90 minutes. Register below.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame

St. John's Men's Softball games happening now at Providence Baptist Church!

The men's church softball league started games last week and invites you to come, bring a lawn chair, and cheer on St. John's on the fields at Providence Baptist Church on Randolph Road.

Upcoming Games:

  • Thursday, July 1 @ 6PM vs. Hawthorne Lane
  • Monday, July 12 @ 6PM vs. Providence White
  • Wednesday, July 14 @ 7:15PM vs. Providence Gray
  • Monday, July 19 @ 7:15PM vs. Providence Red
  • Wednesday, July 21 @ 7:15PM vs. Providence Blue
  • Monday, July 26 @ 6PM vs. St. Gabriel
  • Tuesday, July 27 @ 7:15PM vs. Hawthorne Lane
Save the Date!

St. John’s Women’s Retreat 2021

  • Retreat Title - The Wholeness of God: God Beyond Gender
  • Scripture - Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one."
  • Location - St. John’s Baptist Church
  • Date - Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, November 5 and 6, 2021

The Women of the Church Spiritual Growth Team has, like every other facet of our church life, wrestled with how to plan for events in the midst of the pandemic. Last year we had a “Zoom retreat” facilitated by Stephanie Massey when we explored “Wintering” times in our faith life.

2021 would have been our year to return to Blowing Rock for a weekend away, but, well you know the rest of THAT story. We won’t be in Blowing Rock this year, but we are truly excited about the plan that has developed.

The great news: our facilitator will be our own, beloved, Martha Kearse, D.Min.! Dr. Kearse will be our guide through the retreat as we explore the Wholeness of God: God Beyond Gender. We will use this time to travel from the ways God has been historically presented through the traditional, patriarchal language, into the under-represented feminine expression of Divine Wisdom, and ultimately beyond either of these dualities of God. We will consider how God is far beyond our conception of male or female and yet inherently expressed through infinite, individualized versions of being human. The intent of our retreat is not to offer an educational event (though we will most assuredly learn from it), but to go deeper into our relationship with our Creator. Falling deeper into this essential relationship then becomes our pathway to understanding our human relationships more clearly.

Please save the date and join us! More details to follow.
The church office will be closed on Monday, July 5th.

Remember, there will be no in-person worship on Sunday, July 4th. The worship video will be posted online on Facebook, YouTube, and the SJ Website.
Prayer Concerns, Celebrations, Thanks & Sympathy
Polly Hull, Gene & Carol Poole, Elma Thomas,
Barbara Ledford, Carol Hager (sister of Betty Harkey),
Tish Philemon, Andrew Adair, Carol Drye

The memorial service for Linda Walker will be on Thursday, July 22 at 11am in the Sanctuary with a reception to follow in Broach Hall.
The memorial service for Janie Kendrick will be on Saturday, July 31 at 1pm in the Sanctuary with a reception to follow in Broach Hall.
Please email [email protected] to share a prayer request, thank you, or celebration.
Financial Ministry Plan Report

Week of June 22-28 $6,027
Income through June 28: $562,680
Annual 2021 Ministry Plan Budget Goal: $1,175,000
You can make contributions, view your giving history and pledge status, as well as update your pledge and giving information anytime by accessing your personal Realm profile online or via the Connect App.
Ministers On-Call Schedule

July 5-11: Kevin Gray
July 12-18: Lee Gray
July 19-25: Dennis Foust
July 26-August 1: Nate Dove
August 2-8: Allison Benfield
August 9-15: Kevin Gray

Staff Contact Information

Dennis Foust - 704-359-7234 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 12
Lee Gray - 704-451-1309 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 15
Nate Dove - 704-662-2154 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 13
Allison Benfield - 828-448-8412 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 18
Kevin Gray - 803-524-0287 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 14
Jacquelyn McAbee - 434-579-1177 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 20
Mallory Brown - 704-477-3349 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext 11
Derek Henson - 704-333-5428, ext. 10