From the Priest in Charge

for November 2023

For the last several issues of Revelations, I have offered a little insight into the Episcopal Church in general and St. John the Divine in particular. The information, I trust, will be helpful to newcomers and others as well. The article, this month, looks at information one should know about the history of the Episcopal Church.

The word for “bishop” in Greek is “Episkopos” which means a person with supervisory responsibilities. Bishops, in the Episcopal Church are appointed as clerical authorities in the tradition of the Church, the twelve Apostles as the first bishops of the church.

From A.D. 313 until the Reformation (16th century), there were no denominations and the Church was under the control of the pope. (However, around A.D. 1000, the Eastern Orthodox Church, denying papal authority, separated from Rome.)

In 1534, the Catholic Church in England, under the reign of Henry 8th, severed its allegiance with the pope and became the Church of England. It was then that, the Church of England began much-needed reform and, in

1849, Archbishop Thomas Cramner provided the leadership which produced the first Book of Common Prayer.

The Episcopal Church became independent from the Church of England during the Revolutionary War and had its beginnings with the colonization of Jamestown, Virginia, where, in 1607, the Reverend Robert Hunt celebrated the first service of Holy Communion. In 1764, the Rev. Samuel Seabury of Connecticut was consecrated the first Episcopal bishop by bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. (Consecration by bishops of the Church of England was not possible because of existing English statutes that required swearing supremacy to the king of England.)

In 1787, The Rev. William White of Pennsylvania and the Rev. Samuel Provost of New York, because of an act of the English Parliament, were consecrated bishops by English bishops at Lambeth Palace.

In 1789, the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church was held in Christ Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first Book of Common Prayer was authorized to be followed by revisions in 1892, 1928 and our current BCP in 1979.

The Episcopal Church is divided into nine provinces, eight of which correspond, mostly, to regions of the United States.

Father Lee

SJD Has New Bulletins!

Hello SJD! For everyone's knowledge, we are putting out new Bulletins in November! This project has been in the works by the staff since 2022 and we are excited to show them to you. The goal was to both return to the booklet format we had pre-Covid, while still being legible online like the bulletins have been during and after Covid. Divine Details is also being inserted into these new bulletins which will provide the congregation information about SJD. We would like to invite everyone to view and enjoy the new format and please inform its makers via They are looking for comments, insights, suggestions, or whatever comes to mind. We hope these new bulletins are to your liking.


SJD Staff

Do you know of someone who would like prayer


Would you like to be a part of our Prayer Team?


Barb Gingrich at 813-633-5649 or


Val Bryant at 813-352-1207 or

Rector Search Updates

Members Of the Search Committee include: Jean Brown, Michael Carrano, Barbara Gentry, Barbara Gingrich, D.J. Holt, Susan Morgan, Natasha Nowak-Palma, Aubrey Thompson, Sharon Van Loan and Katie Arp as the Vestry Liaison

You may not know why, several months ago, a brief prayer for our Vestry was inserted at the beginning of the Prayers of the People. It was added when we embarked on our search process. It seeks guidance for the Vestry as they manage the search process and ultimately make a decision about who to call as our next rector, based on our Search Committee’s recommendation.


Currently the Vestry is adding final touches to the documents we will send to the diocese to make available to potential candidates. They include information from our parish-wide survey, as well as historical, programmatic and demographic information about us and our surrounding areas.


An executive summary of the results of the survey is being prepared for members of the congregation and will be available shortly.


Don Fisher, Senior Warden

Rector Search Video Updates

New Rector Call Status 3:

New Rector Call Status 2:

New Rector Call Status 1:

Two Things to Note

1. St. John the Divine is in the process of searching and eventually calling a Rector/Pastor. Yesterday I received from a friend of mine who himself is a rector the following statement. I think it is appropriate. Pastors/Rectors are not spirit beings. They are humans. It would help if we knew a few things about them.

1. Your Pastor can fall sick.

2. Your Pastor gets tired.

3. Your Pastor feels frustrated sometimes.

4. Your Pastor needs care.

5. Your Pastor needs a miracle too sometimes.

6. Your Pastor has needs.

7. Your Pastor is not flawless.

8. Your Pastor needs prayers.

9. Your Pastor needs someone to stand by him/her in times of trouble.

10. Your Pastor can make mistakes.

11. Your Pastor is called and anointed by God. But he/she is not God.

12. Your Pastor does not have all the answers.

2. The season of Advent is almost here. On December 3rd. we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. Our Liturgical Season changes from Green to Purple. As we prepare for the coming of our Savior, we renew our perspective, to recognize the things that are enduring from those that are transitory, to separate the valuable from the worthless. In Luke, Jesus assures us that though the earth seems permanent to us it will pass away. He advises us to be on guard, alert and praying, and be ready to stand in the presence of the Lord. Advent opens our eyes to the all-encompassing reality that Christ will come. If we are mindful of His teaching, we will also be aware that He always wants us to be filled with hope. Advent is the time for true hope.

In our daily lives we witness the continuing violence of war, arrogance, and greed. We experience the hopelessness of putting our trust in earthly institutions. When we become frustrated, and full of stress in our jobs and homes, as Christians, we are given hope in the promise that “Christ will come again.”

My sisters and brothers, as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus, let us not forget that the choices we make, shape the reality for which we prepare and may we continue to discern God’s call for us, and may the hope and promise of this Advent Season be with you and your family always.

In God’s Grace and Peace,

Aubrey V. Thompson

Head Verger




FROM YOUR HEALTH MINISTRY;  Remember B.E.F.A.S.T. if you think someone might be having a STROKE







Ramblings of an Over-Caffeinated, Sleep Deprived, Child Rearing, Millennial:

Technical Crash

Hello everyone! October was a very difficult month. As many have noticed since October 1st, Live Streaming has been different and many of the niceties in the sanctuary are gone. This all comes down to a single piece of vital equipment crashing. Leading to all other equipment connected to it (which is almost all AV equipment) no longer having a direct connection to the booth or out. Howard Roshaven and I worked tirelessly on October 1st but were not able to get the Live Stream to work without additional equipment. Since then, Howard brought the proper equipment and got the Audio back to the Live Stream while I use our network to regain the cameras. There are still more issues to correct, but this has gotten us back on while we get things fixed. At the time of this writing, the broken equipment is being diagnosed for possible repair or replacement. We ask for your patience as we work to correct all these issues.

Thank you all for your support,

Tristan M. Warner

Media & Tech Specialist 

Divine Jewelry Thrift Shoppe

The community is beginning to catch on to our new hours. The shop is now open Wednesdays & Saturdays 9 to 1 and of course Sunday morning for the congregation.

We will be rolling out Christmas/New Years on November 1st with some lovely holiday jewelry. Our motto: SPARKLE BRIGHTER THIS HOLIDAY SEASON AT A PRICE YOU CAN AFFORD.

We’ve added lots more new jewelry inventory AND scarves and purses. We are also welcoming two local vendors for the months of November and December. Beautiful hand painted glassware and Whimsical wine bottle toppers…. gifts perfect for a friend, family member or a unique hostess gift if you are going to dinner at somebody’s house. We’ve brought in items in keeping with our jewelry prices.

Please stop by and check out our “holiday look”. Of course, we continue to accept donations. By the way, we are offering Gift Certificates so your best buddy can choose her own gift. Thanks again for your support. We continue to fund projects around the Church so let us know if you are aware of something we might consider funding.

We thank you again for your support and hope to see you soon.

Barbara & Jackie


Experiencing a loss — whether it be the death of a spouse, a friend, a family member, losing a job, coping with an illness where you can no longer be who you want to be — can be an overwhelming and devastating experience. The emotions may range from intense sadness and shock, to confusion. Beyond the immediate emotional impact, there is also the challenge of moving forward with daily life. A loss can touch every aspect of your life, from family dynamics to social connections and even work responsibilities.

In your mourning, there will be many new aspects you will have to manage, starting with yourself:

  • Identifying your feelings.
  • Expressing them openly.
  • Asking for help if needed.
  • Sharing your pain and concerns.
  • Giving yourself time.
  • Not pressuring yourself to heal quickly.
  • Not demanding too much from yourself.
  • Not avoiding or denying excessively.
  • Being patient and considerate with yourself.

Accept that you are grieving a significant loss and will be in a painful situation that requires many changes for a considerable amount of time. Understanding and acceptance will help make it easier to adapt and manage various emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects that arise during mourning.

As you navigate, it’s important to remember that you do not need to be alone in your journey through your grief and mourning.

The Grief Support Group at Saint John Divine offers more than just discussions for those who have lost someone. Grief is a natural process. It isn't a disorder or an illness. You may be grieving about anything you've lost, whether it's a loved one or a job or something that had meaning for you.

We meet every month on the 2nd and 4th Mondays at 10:00 AM in the Dons Room in the Banner building. When you feel the need, we can be there for you.

Flower Guild

Tap Into Your Talent


Summer is a time to try something new! The Flower Guild challenges you to tap into your creative side and put it to good use, arranging flowers for

The House of the Lord.


In her book, The Church Ladies' Guide to Divine Flower Arrangements, nationally renowned flower arranging expert Gay Estes offers the following prayer: 



PLEASE don't let my flowers wilt,

my lilies stain the vestments

or my vase leak.

LET my arrangements neither fall,

nor catch fire from the candles.



 Although written with humor, the prayer expresses real thoughts of a church flower arranger. In addition, there is the desire to give life to surroundings in a church service, to create harmony between wood-and-glass and the congregation. Flowers enhance the beauty of a service and remind us of God's

promises and blessings.


Much thanks goes to current Flower Guild Members: Sharon Bakay, Marcel Butts, Sharon Pappas, Janice Robinson, Kathy Thomas, and Clare Thompson, with an occasional assist from Barbara Pfeil or Joyce Fisher. They invite you to join them and let your talents bloom for all to see!


 Yoniece Miller

 Flower Guild Director

Your Healing Center Open

Come for Prayers

St. John’s Healing Center is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and the prayer warriors are inviting all to come for private prayers. The prayers can be for major or minor 

concerns for ourselves, loved ones, neighbors, or the world. Our pets can also receive prayers. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Why not take advantage of that special promise in scripture!

The prayer sessions are approximately one-half hour and the person being prayed for asks for prayers for whatever they wish. There are always two people who do the praying, one is the main prayer person and the other is the intercessor. There is strict confidentiality and it is a loving environment and prayer ministry. The facilities are comfortable and handicap accessible through the Memorial Garden.

Appointments are suggested but not necessary. If you wish to make an appointment you can call 

The Healing Center at 813-633-2403. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. Come, come, come!

If you wish to give online, please scan or click the QR Code


Roy Childrey - 11/2

Philip Bethea - 11/2

Marianne Palmer - 11/3

Jean Bushart - 11/7

Marc Hilderbrand - 11/9

Jim Gammons - 11/10

Pat Wilbert - 11/13

Joy Johnson - 11/13

Jane Ashley - 11/13

Preia Hayes - 11/15

Karen Kelley - 11/16

Debra Middleton - 11/17

Ila Stamper - 11/18

Carl Lingertot - 11/18

Geoffrey Butts - 11/18

Alice Weisner - 11/18

Carlotta Maison - 11/19

Sharon Bakay - 11/21

Jacqueline Davis - 11/21

Diane Vogel - 11/22

Isabel DeTringo - 11/24

Faithe Silver - 11/25

Cis Gammons - 11/25

Linda Waring - 11/26

Yoniece Miller - 11/28


Bob & Judy Pieper - 11/10

Doug & Lin Roderick - 11/11

Tim & Alma Hudson - 11/12

Robert & Kim Sessoms - 11/12

Thomas & Joan Kramer - 11/17

Richard & Jo Ann Beebee - 11/23

Dick & Susan Callaghan - 11/27

Harvey & Betty Berk - 11/28


 Don Fisher -- Sr. Warden, Steve Van Loan -- Jr. Warden,

Val Bryant -- Clerk, Thomas Kramer -- Treasurer

Marianne Strehar, Linda Duhn, Mary Lane Kullmann,

Doug Roderick, Clare Thompson, Jackie Winder,

Dennis Accardo, Katie Arp

Clergy and Staff

The Rt. Rev. Douglas F. Scharf 

Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida

The Rev. Lee Miller - Priest in Charge

The Rev. Carl Buxo - Assisting Priest

Valerie Southwell - Music Director; Howard Roshaven - Interim Praise Leader

Connie Minnoe - Accounting Administrator; Cheryl Savini - Receptionist

Tristan Warner - Media & Tech Specialist

Vivian Smalls - Nursery Coordinator; Denise Smalls - Nursery Attendants

St. John Divine Episcopal Church

1015 E. Del Webb Blvd. Sun City Center, FL 33573


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