Offering Meaningful Worship
Teaching the Gospel
Caring for God’s People
by Fr. Kevin Warner
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. [John 13:35]
What’s Going On?
(Marvin Gaye, 1971)
(Cyndi Lauper, 1986)
(4 Non Blondes, 1993)
It seems like every decade the question is asked, in one way or another, “What’s going on?” In these days of the pandemic it is hard to always know what is happening at the church, or elsewhere.
It is especially difficult to know what is going on as things change so often. Day-to-day we cannot be sure what the infection rate will be, whether things will be opening up more or scaling back. I give thanks for the hard work of the staff and lay leaders as we all must pivot, sometimes instantaneously, and change plans when dictated by circumstances.
Harder still, is making plans in the face of so much uncertainty. Decisions that used to be simple – let’s just do what we did last year – are now head-scratchers as we try to hit an ever-moving target. Communication then, becomes last minute, and what was OK last week doesn’t work this week.
So, below is a list of current or upcoming items that you might want to know about, but remember, things can change in an instant:
- We will continue to livestream both the 8:30 and 10:00 services which are both open for live attendance. At some point we will probably return to a three-service schedule but that seems distant as we are not close to filling the seats available. Currently we are permitted 25% capacity which is 63 people at either service. 8:00 service is running about 15 and the 10:00 service about 25. With the Snowbird season coming up we expect that number to rise, we just don’t know how much thus we are not predicting when things will change.
- The Wednesday Healing Service has returned for in-person worship at 10 a.m. and there is plenty of room for all at this mid-week Eucharist.
Morning Prayer continues M-F at 9 a.m. and is available on our Facebook page. There is plenty of space for in-person worship.
- Youth Group and Sunday School:
- At his kick-off event Fr. David had 24 youth and parents. He has formed a Youth Advisory Council and plans are underway for an exciting program year for the Middle and High School kids; they will be meeting Sunday evenings.
- Sunday School is in a “wait and see” mode and Fr. David is in contact with the parents waiting for the right set of circumstances to restart.
Adult Education: Small Groups, the Wednesday Bible Study and The Cost of Discipleship book study are all running, both in-person and through zoom. Check the calendar on our webpage www.stjohndivine.com/calendar for days and times.
Healing Center: Some of you have noticed there is construction fencing back by Grace Garden. Please find an article from Sharon Van Loan on page 4 to learn more about the Healing Center . It will be similar to the Healing Center at St. Boniface, Siesta Key.
Soccer: We will be hosting a Soccer Camp for ages 4-10. This will be a wonderful opportunity to introduce younger families to SJD and realize our long-standing goal of being a multi-generational church.
Divine Marketplace: The Divine Marketplace makes its return in November beginning Saturday, November 21 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon.
I hope this gives you a little bit of an idea of “What’s Going On” at SJD. Please do not hesitate to call me, Fr. Lee or Fr. David if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat. Covid will not separate us!
P.S. Make sure you click on, at least, the last hyperlink under the title for a fun cartoon.
II Timothy 1:11
From the high rafters of a barn, the spider slid down a single filament of web to place itself on a lower level. As the story goes, in this old Danish fable, the spider built a fancy web around itself and simply rested as flies in abundance were caught in its trap. Becoming somewhat “fat and sassy,” the spider observed an annoying single thread above its web. “That’s rather tacky,” he thought while clipping the thread. Of course, that web was his lifeline, and his entire web collapsed around him.
How like the story Jesus tells of the farmer who went out to sow his seed. Those seed, sown on rocky ground, hear the word and receive it with joy. Then comes the stinger: they have no root. How important is that root – that lifeline to God. There is an important message here to Christians who begin to disciple other babes in the faith. Never abandon those little ones. Until their faith is rooted in the Lord, they will not be able to handle trouble and persecution very effectively.
Mark quotes Jesus, “…but they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away”.
We are responsible, as followers of Jesus, for sowing seed. Remember, too, we should check the soil. It’s not a bad thing to check our own roots, too.
Rumblings of an Over-Caffeinated, Sleep Deprived Millennial
Hello everyone! This article will be quick to inform you all that we are making some major changes to the website. These changes should be going live in October, though some may have already started to show up on the website. After a very productive meeting between myself, Don Fisher, and Fr. David Wyly we now have an inkling of how we want our website to be formatted moving forward. So you have an idea of what I am talking about, feel free to look at our media page at www.stjohndivine.com/media. All major subjects, like Events, About, Support SJD, and others will look like the media page. That way it is easy to find the information you are looking for when viewing the website on any device. Thank you for your patience, as we continue to improve the website.
I hope this article finds you well,
Tristan M. Warner
Media & Tech Specialist
WOW!!!! Words cannot express how awed I am with this 'family in Christ' at SJD...I have always known that we are a parish family that cares for each other and all in need, both w/prayer and giving where there is a need for food and financial aide, but, in the response in your giving to the Christians in South Sudan, I know you made Bishop Moses and the Diocese of Maridi smile and maybe even do some dancing as they prayed at church for you with much thanksgiving and for sure you made God SMILE .. and maybe even danced with them.
Thank you....May God bless you and this church and it's leaders..
Blessings, Isabel DeTringo
The Divine Marketplace
The Divine Marketplace at St. John Divine Episcopal Church is opening for business beginning November 21, 2020.
The Marketplace offers opportunities for crafters and individuals prohibited by Homeowner Associations to sell your garage sales items. In addition, we welcome food vendors and food trucks to our campus. We are also searching for fresh vegetables/fruits, plants, and we provide small business owner display opportunities. St. John Divine located at 1015 East Del Webb Blvd. in Sun City Center. The outdoor event features spacious Covid-19 spaces with adequate room for displays, tables, and parking on 10 acres on the East side of the Sun City Center/301 corridor.
The Divine Marketplace will run the third Saturday of every month from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.
First Time Participants of $15 for crafters, business’ and garage sale.
First Time Participants of $20 - $30 for Food vendors and food trucks.
Applications are now being accepted with limited space available, so don’t delay get your application in today.
For more information please call 813-296-4033
Or visit the church website for online applications at Stjohndivine.com and click on events.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels will begin in November again this year. And the need in our community is just as great as it was last year.
Starting in early October we will again be asking for your assistance to meet our commitment to the Sun City Center community. With Covid-19 signing up in person will be challenging, but we are planning a work around for this. So please, if you are watching our church services via the YouTube app or online listen for future upcoming announcements about Meals on Wheels.
This is a simple way to volunteer in a team setting, but is so rewarding and only takes about an hour for each time slot. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.
Annie Hunter, Meals on Wheels Coordinator
813-645-8366 Home - 813-842-0755 Cell
"The Good News"
The United States is no stranger to nasty presidential elections. From our founding, politicians have engaged in rhetoric that is as ugly as it is uncivilized. Thomas Jefferson was once described by an opponent as “a mean-spirited, low lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father,” hardly rousing political discourse!
For those of you who passed on watching the first presidential debate this year, you can rest assured this election will be one of the nastiest in our history. For those of you who tuned in, you saw a firsthand look at what unproductive, disrespectful, useless talking (I considered using the word debate but just couldn’t) looks like. Unfortunately, when the leadership of our country displays this kind juvenile behavior it can set the tone for the discussions we have with one another. I have already seen the dismissive and harmful discourse on social media. My concern for our community is that our passionate ideological differences will cause us to lose sight of the fact that God calls each of us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Note, there are no qualifiers in that command. It does not say love our neighbor unless they are a Democrat or unless they are a Republican. All of us, who have spent anytime in the Episcopal Church have promised each other and promised God that we will “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving [our] neighbor as [ourself]” and that we will “respect the dignity of every human being.” These promises apply, even in political discourse!
My concern for the days and weeks leading up to and after the election on November 3rd is that regardless who wins many of us will be tempted to embrace polarizing behaviors such as stereotyping, dismissing, ridiculing, or holding contempt for those who voted differently. I want to suggest there is a different way. That we, those who follow a Lord and Savior who commands us to love God and love our neighbor (note again, no qualifiers) can find a way to respect those who believe differently that we do, to hold no malice for “the other side.” But how can we do that?
The first thing we can do is respect each other. Conversations (in person and online) need to respect the intelligence and good will of people on “the other side.” Avoid characterizing others as deserving disdain or pity. Next, we need to have humility. When we talk about “our side” we need to know our leaders are not perfect and no one person holds all of the solutions to our nation’s complex problems. Then, be honest. Allow people to feel the way they feel, regardless of where you and they stand. Do not ask people to hide their joy at the outcome or their anger. Lastly, be a responsible citizen. It is up to each of us to be responsible for depolarizing our political discourse.
There is an organization called Braver Angels who has developed curriculum around depolarizing political discourse. Part of the program is to take their pledge: "Regardless of how the election turns out, I will not hold hate, disdain, or ridicule for those who voted differently from me. Whether I am pleased or upset about the outcome, I will seek to understand the concerns and aspirations of those who voted differently and will look for opportunities to work with people with whom I don’t agree." If you would like to help depolarize the political discourse in our country I invite you to visit the Braver Angels website (Click link here
) and take the pledge. I did!
As always, if you have questions or would like to discuss these issues, I welcome the opportunity to speak with you!
St. Francis Day is Sunday Oct. 4th !
St. Francis, an early 13th Century Catholic friar, mystic, and philosopher founded The Order of St. Francis, in the Roman Catholic Church and later became associated with patronage of animals and the natural environment. It is customary in many Christian denominations to hold ceremonies of pet blessings in his commemoration. Help us celebrate the Christian life and ministry of St. Francis of Assisi by bringing your pet after the 10am service to receive a blessing! I cannot think of a better time to pray the prayer attributed to him:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that
we are born to eternal life. Amen.
THE HEALING CENTER
WHAT ARE THOSE BARRIERS OUT THERE?
The barriers on the rear church property are to protect trees from damage during construction of a Healing Center. My husband, Steve, and I offered a donation to SJD of a small building to be used for prayers of healing and intercession. The Priests, Vestry and Diocese accepted. The building will be a quiet place of prayer and contemplation and the actual building will compliment the Church, the Banner Building and the property.
Because Sun City Center is home to older residents the need is great. When we or our dear ones are ill or dying or given a worrisome diagnosis or just bad news as life can bring, this sacred place of healing will be here. The close proximity to the memorial garden also lends itself to being a quiet and private place for bereavement. There is nothing similar in the surrounding areas and all will be welcome.
Completion will take time in this era of pandemic and we will need patience as to its finish. It is the goal that every person who comes for prayer or to pray in this serene place of healing will leave feeling that they are loved by Jesus and have felt His presence and the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer. Thus, they will have experienced healing in spirit, mind and body as set forth in the Bible.
Sharon Van Loan
October Outreach Program
The Outreach Program for October is for Elmira's Wildlife Sanctuary. Elmira's is located in Wimauma is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation. Elmira's is home to over 40 different animals ranging from birds and lemurs to bears and tigers. All donations go directly to the care of the animals. There are no paid staff. Guided tours of the sanctuary are offered for a small fee.
You can click on the link below to see some beautiful pictures of the animals and learn more about Elmira's. Thank you for your support.
SJD Vestry Organization
St. John Divine has a twelve member vestry, composite of four members elected by the parish members to a three year term. The officers of the vestry are the Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Clerk and Treasurer. The senior warden is appointed by the rector with consultation with the vestry, junior warden is elected by the vestry and the clerk & treasurer can be elected or appointed.
The ministries of the church are divided into six vestry ministry groups. The groups are Service, Worship, Education, Evangelism, Parish Life and Stewardship. These groups are referred to by the acronym, “SWEEPS”. The SJDs 60+ ministries are assigned to one of the SWEEPS.
The vestry meetings currently operate using the consent agenda model: Agendas and all supporting material are sent in advance of each meeting and vestry members come to the meeting prepared to vote on items needing a decision with minimal review and discussion.
Below are the Vestry Ministry Teams, vestry member’s associate with each team and the associated ministries
VESTRY MINISTRY TEAMS 2020
Service- Annie, Don Worship- Aubrey, Jim Education- Allie, Val
Dominican Republic Vergers Play Ground
Interfaith Council Worship Leader Adult Education
Outreach Committee Acolytes/Lectors/Ushers Bible Studies
S. Hills. Ministerial Assoc. Altar/Flower Guild Nursery
Lord’s Light House A/V Booth Sunday School
Miracles Outreach Compassionate Friends (funerals) Youth Group
Meals on Wheels Eucharistic Ministers Vacation Bible School
South Sudan Organist/Choir
Evangelism- Liz, Howard Parish Life- Linda C, Linda F Stewardship- Greg, Curt
Media Specialist DOK
Branding Small Groups Sexton (Custodian)
Direct mail/Reporter/ Bazaar/Rummage Sale ACS
New Ads/Current Ads/ Book Club Amazon/Divine $/Box Office
Newsletter (Revelation) Grief Support Buildings and Grounds
Reporter with camera WSJD Event Coordination
Social media Eucharistic Visitors Finance Committee/Counters
WEB – Design, Master MSJD Fundraisers
Welcoming Ministry Parish Nurses Grace Garden
Newcomers/Prospects Prayer Chain Kitchen Crew/Hall Decorator
Alpha Pastoral Care Committee Personnel Committee/Staffing
Cursillo Fellowship Stewardship Committee
10/2 Jean Pollard 10/3 Hunter Arndt
10/4 Margaret Beaumont 10/4 Elizabeth Hood
10/5 Alex Schmidt 10/5 Catherine Patterson
10/8 Lucrecia Smith 10/8 Lin Roderick
10/8 Edwin Detweiler 10/14 Marjorie Moore - Pyles
10/14 Joan Allen 10/14 Lee Miller
10/15 Melissa Long 10/17 Audrey Bussey
10/17 Ann Ellis 10/17 Carol Ermann
10/18 James Diehl 10/19 Meredith Joerg
10/20 Richard Beebee 10/22 Charlene Wirick
10/22 Jay Sparkman 10/23 Maria Martucci
10/23 Shirley Lingertot 10/24 William Duhn
10/24 James Ruggles 10/25 Pamela Myers
10/25 Carrie Van Gelder 10/26 Shannon Arndt
10/27 Robert Lamp 10/27 Peter Grady
10/28 Brendan Madigan 10/29 Daniel Cardillo
10/29 Kevin Warner 10/29 Anthea Parris
10/31 Sharon Armour
10/3 Mary & Marcley Hilderbrand
10/7 Donna and John Kustron
10/16 Nancy & Jack Phillips
10/21 Sharon & Steve Van Loan
10/29 Wendy & Mike Fitzgerald
10/31 Michelle & Peter Grady
St John Divine Episcopal
Church 1015 E. Del Webb Blvd.
Sun City Center, FL 33573
Curt Arp, Aubrey Thompson, Linda Floyd
Liz Hood, Jim Smith, Annie Hunter
Allie Maiocchi, Linda Cardillo, Howard Roshaven
Don Fisher, Sr. Warden, Greg Diehl, Jr. Warden
Valerie Bryant, Clerk, Susan Arp, Treasurer
Clergy and Staff
The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith
Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida
The Rev. Kevin Warner, Rector
The Rev. Lee Miller, Associate Rector
The Rev. David Wyly, Assistant Rector
Scott Gardner, Praise Leader, Joan Frankel, Organist & Choir Director
Tristan Warner, Media and Tech Specialist, Connie Minnoe, Accounting Administrator
Candy Allman, Office Manager, Sharon Bakay, Kitchen Manager
813-633-3970 firstname.lastname@example.org www.stjohndivine.com