Volume 9 | September 1, 2020
by Fr. Kevin Warner

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.        [John 13:35]

My wife used to be a Kindergarten teacher. One of the things about Kindergartners is their natural curiosity, mixed with only partially formed boundaries, which nets out in their trying to “help/boss around/direct/etc.” their classmates. In our increasingly polarized society, I have seen way too many people trying to “help/boss around/direct/etc.” This usually plays out in three areas: Covid, politics and race.
Regarding Covid, reasonable people become unreasonable when those around them are not doing what “they should” vis-à-vis: wearing/not wearing masks, sending kids to school/home schooling, eating out/staying in, etc. Everyone has an opinion on everything and are way too willing to share those opinions with others in a less than loving way. That said, the “experts” have been very confusing in their dissemination of information as illustrated by this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Osbxp8pyBGk.
Next of course is politics, and with a general election looming, I am disappointed at how alleged Christians are speaking to one another. I know the media pander to the divisive and simplify complex issues into black/white choices. Social media takes it a step further, collecting meta-data on us and then feeding back “news” that agrees with our “profile” that has been built through the unending collection of our online purchases, clicks, etc. I have friends that I can no longer discuss anything political with as they have been driven to one extreme or the other.
Finally, race has become another divisive issue in America and among Christians. Racism, and discussions on how to combat it, should not be politicized, but have been, and so twisted into the same polarizing mess as politics. While most listened carefully and applauded my Sermon following George Floyd’s death, some heard the topic “white privilege” and immediately went to various political agendas, most of which have nothing to do with racism.
So, what is the answer? My former bishop and good friend Wendall Gibbs talking about church politics said once: “The problem with the far right and the far left is that they like to lob grenades at one another. The only problem is their tosses are short and the people in the middle are the ones that get blown up.” One of Christ’s most fervent teachings was on unity. The inability of His church to even “agree to disagree” has got to hurt His heart.
Might I suggest that we Christians set an example for the world.
Instead of yelling at others to “wear a mask” let them know that you feel unsafe and would they “mind putting one on?” And, if someone asks you to wear a mask, put one on, not because it is required but because it helps your brother or sister feel safe. When surveyed about returning to school vs. E-learning parents, and teachers, were split down the middle. If you know a parent that has had to make a choice I suggest: “Wow, that must have been a hard choice. I will pray it works out for you.” Support and love are needed during the pandemic; judgement is best reserved for Him.
“How could any Christian vote for _____?” I have heard this from a number of people from both perspectives. It saddens me that such an attitude would exist between fellow Christians. The lack of respect and arrogance that goes into the statement is appalling. The Church is tremendously diverse, and Christians of good conscience have a variety of views on a variety of issues. The environment, fiscal policies, stance on abortion, capital punishment, state’s rights, military deployments, etc. How each of us weigh these issues and come to a decision is unique, and hopefully involves prayer. Thus, agreement is not required but respect is demanded.
Finally, trying to make sense of racism and how best to approach the problem begins with knowledge. Fr. David, Pastor Zelvis and I did three podcasts on “Race in America” starting with “How did we get here?” followed by “The Church’s Response” and finally “Where Do We Go from Here?”. The answer to racism, and much more of the world’s problems, is not who we elect, but honoring and serving the one who we call Lord. Christ’s command that we love one another is not idle rhetoric, but how we make this world look more like heaven.
After all, they will know we are Christians by our love.
Fr. Kevin+
II Timothy 1:11

Jesus was never dishonest; He promised us a cross.
The Sigmund Freud concept of the adult personality that adheres to the notion a person’s character and disposition may, in later years, be altered but not changed is meeting with much disagreement.
Psychologists now say a person is not really washed up if the first three years of his or her life didn’t quite jell. Carl Jung described personality as a growing process – not what one is, but what he or she can become. 
Any vacuum can be filled. One never eliminates hate until that person pours out a lot of love. One never eliminates anger until that person becomes saturated with understanding. One never eliminates greed until that person can place another’s happiness on an equal level with one’s own. Gossip is never eliminated until one starts looking for the good instead of the bad. 
Is this not true of God’s mission for His Church? We should understand even His chosen ones may turn against Him. (John 6:70) Let’s eliminate those qualities within ourselves that do not work for the building of the Kingdom.
                                                      Father Lee
Rumblings of an Over-Caffeinated, Sleep Deprived Millennial
Website Updates

Hello! We have updated and made new pages for the website. Check out our updates under the tab marked: About, then drop down to Meet the Clergy with new photos and bios. Under Meet the Team you will also find updated pictures of the staff and the inclusion of our new sexton Anthony Patino. If you had visited the Meet the Team page in the past, you may remember our Vestry Officers represented there, but now they share their own page with the rest of the Vestry! Take a look at our new page: Meet the Vestry to see current Vestry Members, their Sweeps assignments which will help you know who to contact when you have a question. 

Also, we have a new Support SJD page! This page tells you about all the ways you can help support SJD monetarily from Direct Giving, Amazon Smile, and Divine $’s (Scrip)! Both Amazon Smile and Divine $’s support SJD with purchases you would have made anyway, costing you nothing! Check out this page and learn how you can help SJD.

As most things are in the software industry, we work under the philosophy that nothing is finished, it is just published. We will continue to improve the website and hope these new pages and updates serve you well. Please let the media team know about any issues or suggestions for the website. Easiest way is to email media@stjohndivine.com.

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
Dominican Republic Mission
The Dominican Republic Mission Team would like to thank the following St. John Divine family members for assisting us with our recent fundraising efforts on Tuesday August 18.

Katie Arp Coordinator, Curt Arp Supervisor, Susan Arp, Linda Burmeister,
Hal Drury, Mike and Sandy Gaudet, Isabell DeTringo, Sharon Rose, Ella Blades,
Mark Hunter, Supervisor, Annie Hunter Asst. Supervisor,
Roger MIlls Asst, Supervisor, Connie Minnoe and Anthony Primiano
We split into 2 Teams at 2 South County Library Drop SItes. Each election year we volunteer to work the Hillsborough County Drop Sites for the return of Voter Equipment/Ballots Etc. at the conclusion of Primary and Regular Election Days. The County Supervisor of Elections reimburses us for our work and this money goes into the DR Mission Fund.
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"

Back-to-School Pandemic Style
As I compose this newsletter article Hillsborough County Schools have started their “Smart Start Week” of online education. Those families who have decided that their students will return for in person instruction will start going to school next week. The return of teachers and students to the classroom has been, and continues to be, hotly debated. The largest teacher’s union in the State of Florida has filed a lawsuit to stop the state Department of Education from requiring in-person instruction and we are currently awaiting the judge’s ruling.

Regardless of your position about returning students to school, parents are facing an incredibly difficult decision to either keep their children at home or to send them to school. I’m sure all of you are wondering, “But what can the Church do to help?” Well, I’m glad you asked!

1.      Pray. Pray for families, that the decisions they make will be the best for their children and their families. Pray for the health of students, teachers, and school staff. Pray for an end to this pandemic. Pray for grace, that all of us may extend God’s love to one another.

2.      Prayerfully consider volunteering your time. If Hillsborough County Schools makes the decision to close schools for in person instruction SJD will open the parish hall as an e-learning site. A plan has been designed to safely welcome up to 20 students who need a place to attend virtual classes. I have already gathered a pool of volunteers to help supervise students, but more hands make lighter work. If you are interested in helping in the event adult volunteers are needed, please let me know.
My prayer, as always, is that everyone stays safe and healthy.
Fr. David+

Every year, we look forward to our Fall Festival and sharing the creative talents of our vendors and crafters. But given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the Fall Festival this year.
Our top priority is the well-being of our vendors, crafters, committee members, and event attendees. We have been closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19, and after much consideration, we have made the decision to cancel.

We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our community and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.

We look forward to seeing you next year for a time of crafts, baked goodies, and fellowship.
Chér J Cerebe
And the SJD Fall Festival Team 
September Birthdays
9/1 Barbara Sirois 
9/2 Connie Keister 
9/3 James Ray 
9/3 Tom Winder 
9/4 Jack Phillips 
9/4 Deb  Risner 
9/4 Tristan Warner 
9/8 Iva  Patterson 
9/9 Carol Fahnestock 
9/9 John Howell 
9/10 Linda Jeker 
9/12 Art Nardi 
9/13 Vince Robbio 
9/15 Barbara Baker 
9/15 Joyce Fisher 
9/16 Robert Arndt 
9/16 Connie Minnoe 
9/17 Cynthia Watson 
9/18 Sandra Gaudet 
9/18 Donna Lohren 
9/18 Sharon Pappas 
9/19 Patrick Soja 
9/20 Diane Hernaez 
9/21 Clare Thompson 
9/23 Pauline Andrews 
9/23 Mary Arendt 
9/23 Ed Brown 
9/23 Linda Floyd 
9/24 Walter Croll 
9/26 Florence George 
9/26 Mary K Merrill 
9/27 Harry Benter 
9/27 John Frizzola 
9/29 Barbara Noone 
September Anniversaries

9/1 Yoniece & Lee Miller 
9/13 Maureen & Justin Hill 
9/14 Alyson & Dick Barrett 
9/22 Joyce & Don Fisher 
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
Vestry Officers

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       office@stjohndivine.com   www.stjohndivine.com