Vol. 80 Issue 10 | Week of March 7-13, 2022

Supporting Baptists Who Are Serving the
People of Ukraine

By Dennis W. Foust

Some of us want to do something in addition to our prayers for those who are suffering because of Russia’s evil invasion of Ukraine. The victims of this senseless act are refugees of war.

We can feel overwhelmed by the vast needs we perceive. Even if you do send a financial gift to alleviate some of the misery, how can you know that your gifts don’t just end up in a dark hole of wastefulness? After exploring each of the following options, I can verify these three channels are trustworthy.
First, you should know Baptists are the second-largest Protestant group in Ukraine with more than 100,000 members and more than 2,100 churches. In addition, the European Baptist Federation has worked closely with Baptists in Ukraine for decades. Therefore, numerous Baptist churches, pastors, and institutions are directly involved in providing ministries of assistance.

Several years ago, I asked our Mission Resource Team to include Baptist World Alliance as one of our Mission Partners. Today, BWA recognizes St. John’s to be a Global Impact Church. BWA links us directly with more than 51 million Baptists through more than 245 member bodies in 128 countries and territories around the world. For more than 100 years, BWA has helped Baptists around the globe collaborate in times of devastation. Today, BWA is directly providing essential supplies to those Baptist churches and institutions that have become humanitarian shelters and distribution centers for provisions. In addition, BWA is assisting Baptists in Poland and other European nations as they serve the refugees of war.

You may give to BWA by visiting their website at baptistworld.org and clicking on the message, ‘Praying for Peace in Eastern Europe.’ Enjoy the resources and scroll to the bottom of that section for giving options marked, ‘Help Us Respond Now.’ Or, you can mail your check (with Ukraine Ministries written on the memo line) to Baptist World Alliance, 405 N. Washington Street, Falls Church, VA 22046.

With gratitude to Joe Patterson and Chuck Howard, two St. John’s members who are trustees of Wingate University, along with Vint Tilson, Vice President at Wingate, I have learned of Ukrainian students on campus. One student, Aliya Pyzh, is the daughter of Yaroslav Pyzh, who is President of the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary in Lviv. This seminary usually instructs up to 1,200 students each year. It has become a humanitarian shelter only 40 miles from the Polish border. One option is to support their efforts directly.

You may give through the nonprofit partnership established to provide direct support of the efforts being extended by the seminary in Lviv (Ukrainian Partnership Foundation – EIN-27-4595107) by sending your check payable to Ukraine Partnership Foundation, 14027 Willow Breeze Court, Chesterfield, MO 63017. 


Another one of our mission partners is Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Their funds are currently being used to support the work of CBF field personnel Gennady and Mina Podgaisky and other ministry partners across eastern Europe to care for persons fleeing from war. They are also partnering with Baptist World Alliance to identify the most essential use of funds. You may give by sending your gifts to CBF (please reference Ukraine Relief Fund on the memo line) at P.O. Box 102972, Atlanta, GA 30368-2972. 
Celebrating & Envisioning 100th Anniversary Service

March 20, 2022 @ 10:30 am

Please invite friends and former members to join us!

Commissioning of Rev. Allison Benfield

Last Sunday, Rev. Allison Benfield was officially elected by Providence Church of Charleston, SC to be their Associate Pastor.

This Sunday, at the conclusion of worship, we will commission her to her new faith community as their servant.

We are grateful for all the good ministry Allison has invested among us for the past eight years and we are excited with her for her new ministry opportunities. Allison came to us in the spring of 2014 as a seminary intern and became the Minister for Children and Their Families.

We have been blessed by her and her gifts for organization, thoughtfulness, Godly Play, and love for our children. In recent years, Allison has also touched the larger church as she began serving in the role of Minister for Spiritual Growth. Please continue to be in prayer for Allison as she transitions toward this new role of ministry in early April.

Welcoming Al Staggs to St. John's in April!

On the weekend of April 2-3, we welcome Al Staggs to St. John’s! On Saturday, April 2 at 6PM in the Sanctuary at St. John's he will present his dramatic, one-person performance entitled A View From the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This performance brings the life of one of the great heroes of the twentieth century to the stage. The audience is brought into the prison cell where Bonhoeffer awaits execution and listens to his struggles with evil, injustice, and God. 

Register and purchase your $10 tickets for Saturday evening here: https://tinyurl.com/sjbcbon2022

On Sunday morning, April 3, Al will present a dramatic sermon representing Clarence Jordan, author of Cotton Patch Gospels and founder of Koinonia Farms, which was pivotal in the inspiration of Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity.


Our COVID-19 Task Force has decided we can move to a ‘Face Coverings Are Optional’ practice inside the facilities of St. John’s EXCEPT IN OUR PRESCHOOL AND NURSERY AREAS. This new procedure goes into effect as of Monday, March 7, 2022.

  • On Sundays, our volunteers in the nursery and preschool rooms will continue to wear face coverings. Each of these volunteers is also required to be fully vaccinated including all up-to-date boosters.
  • On weekdays, anyone in our nursery and preschool areas will need to wear face-coverings.
  • We will continue to be sensitive to persons who are living in ‘at risk’ situations. As an intergenerational congregation, we will always be protective of our preschoolers and those who are susceptible to infections.

Thank you for your continued kindness to one another.


A Trilogy of Sundays: March 13, 20, 27

This Sunday will be the first of three observances as we recognize the completion of our first century of ministry and begin our second. Please plan to be present each of these Sundays.
This Sunday, March 13, A COVENANT CHURCH REMEMBERS. Prior to worship this Sunday, about 10:20, we will enjoy popular music of the 1920’s played on the piano by Ethan Uslan. Ethan is a wonderful pianist who plays ragtime tunes. So, be in your pews early.

We will be called to worship by words from our Anniversary Hymn written by former member, Dr. Sharon Murray and sing verses of the hymn written by the late Clarence Eden, A Servant Church. We will also sing Standing on the Promises of God and hear the Chancel Choir present an anthem composed by former Minister of Music, Dr. Paul Langston, God of Grace and God of Glory. We will hear stories from Fredda Kimball and Linda Crowder and consider other words from our past. Dr. Foust’s message, ‘Ain’t It Good to Know?’ from the Carole King song, ‘You’ve Got a Friend, is based upon Genesis 26:12-22 and will reflect on our experience of a century of God’s faithfulness and dedicated discipleship. We will also sing Blest be the Tie and The Irish Blessing and commission Rev. Allison Benfield as she moves to Charleston, SC to serve Providence Church. (Please remember to sit your clocks forward an hour so you can be present for this service of remembering.)
Next Sunday, March 20, A COVENANT CHURCH CELEBRATES. We will sing a new hymn written for our centennial by Kevin Gray. We will welcome guest musicians and read our St. John’s Covenant. We will hear stories from the only living descendant of our charter members and offer a Prayer of Thanksgiving. Dr. Foust’s message is entitled ‘Where God Lives,’ based upon a phrase from Ephesians 2. We will conclude our worship by joining hands to sing The Lord’s Prayer.
On Sunday, March 27, A COVENANT CHURCH ENVISIONS. As Charter Members of our Second Century, we will consider how we can invest in our proven values in a new century. Special acknowledgements will be made to those who represent our future as we continue our centennial Sundays of rejoicing. Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 28 will guide us to explore Our Great Co-Mission as we begin to imagine the St. John’s of tomorrow.

Come, Join the Choir!

On March 20, we will be celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime event! I would like to invite any who are interested in joining the choir for our 100th Anniversary service to do just that JOIN US, even if just for this very special day.

What you need to do:

  1. Email me or call me at kgray@sjcharlotte.org OR 803-524-0287
  2. If possible, rehearse with the choir on Wednesday, March 16 at 7PM in the choir room. For the anthems we will be singing that day I have created rehearsal videos that can be utilized from home.

We are having a Saturday rehearsal on March 19, 10:00 -11:30 am in the Sanctuary to make sure all our ducks are in a row.
I hope to see a few new faces or faces that I have not seen in the choir. 😊
Kevin Gray

From the Heritage Room

From the Heritage Room

Please see the display in the alcove outside Dr. Foust's office. The items displayed include the first record book of organizational meetings of the church, the first membership book, the book with the first minutes of the Women's Missionary Society, and an early picture of the church given to us by Dr. Gaines' grandson, along with a transcription of the writing on the back of the picture (written by Mrs. Gaines).

There are also displays on the bulletin boards in the alcove and the hallway leading to the Children's area.

Following is a biography of Dr. Joseph Arnold Gaines, the first minister:

Rev. Joseph Arnold Gaines was the first minister of St. John’s Baptist Church. A call was extended to him soon after the church adopted its resolution of organization. Although Rev. Gaines did preach at St. John’s shortly after the organization. His first sermon as the minister was on May 7, 1922.

He was June 27, 1888, born in Bradley, SC. At the age of 13, he moved with his family to Trenton SC. He attended the University of South Carolina, Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Columbia, SC, and Southern Theological Baptist Seminary where he received a Master of Theology. His first church was in West Baden, Indiana where he served as minister for four years, followed by two years as a minister in Trenton, SC, two years with the SC State Mission Board, and two years as a minister in Timmonsville GA.

During Dr. Gaines ministry, the church grew and the need for a permanent church building was urgent. On May 4, 1924, Dr. Gaines wrote, “We enter our third year now, confronted by an immediate and imperative need, which calls for the undertaking of our supreme task. We must build our church”. The ground was broken in 1925 and the building was completed in 1926. Dr. Gaines was very involved in the design of the building, particularly the stained-glass windows.

He was married to App Permelia Estes. They had two children. Marianna who was seven when they moved to Charlotte and Joseph Arnold Jr, was born in 1923. His journals indicate he was a member of Myers Park County Club where he played golf. He also went hiking and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He was active in the Charlotte community (maybe a forerunner of United Way?) and records he attended the yearly Good Fellows luncheon
He resigned as minister at the end of 1928 and moved to Glasgow Kentucky where he served for twelve years as the minister of First Baptist of Glasgow. He died in 1941 of lung cancer.

In 2020, Dr. Gaines’ grandson and his wife, Joe and Judy Gaines, donated several of Dr. Gaines’ books and personal journals to the church. The journals detail his daily activities during the early days of his ministry along with his sermon titles and scripture selections.

Faith Journey Book Study Begins In Person Meetings!

The Faith Journey book study will begin in person meetings this Monday March 14 at 11:30 am in the church lounge. We will discuss chapter 6 this week. There are books available in the church office if you would like to join us in this faith study of Radical Hospitality. We will conclude this study on May 9. 

Tuesday Bible Study Begins a New Study!

Tuesday Bible Study (TBS) will begin a new six-week study of Amy-Jill Levine's Witness at the Cross, beginning Tuesday, March 29 from 11am-12pm and continuing each Tuesday at the same time. 

This study is designed as a one-hour weekly Lenten study for any person who wishes to explore a richer understanding of Jesus and the Easter Season. 

A Zoom link can be sent to you upon request. Contact Steve Hoffman (704-604-9634), Janet Wade (704-519-8149), Tricia Miller (704-364-3601), or and Keith Towery (704-770-1244) for additional information. 

Prayer Concerns, Thanks, Sympathy

Shirley Ballard, Katherine Barr, Martha Brown, Stan Brown, Tamara Edwards, Caroline Godsey, Tish Philemon, Jerry Stephens, Don Swofford, Elma Thomas, Dee Turner

Sympathy to the family and friends of Carole Ann Simpson in her passing on March 7. A service will be held in Locust, NC at a later date.

Sympathy to the family and friends of Katherine Barr in her passing on March 10. A service time and date will be announced soon.

Please email info@sjcharlotte.org to share a prayer request, thank you, or celebration.
Financial Ministry Plan Report
Week of March 1-7: $35,886
Income through March 7: $223,013
Annual 2022 Ministry Plan Budget Goal: $1,135,000
Community & State Missions: $1,860
Goal: $5,000
Recipients – Wake Forest Divinity School & Refugee Support Services
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

March 7-13: Lee Gray
March 14-20: Dennis Foust
March 21-27: Kevin Gray
March 28- April 3: Lee Gray

Staff Contact Information

Jenny Godfrey, Administrative Assistant - 704-333-5428, ext. 11
Dennis Foust, Senior Minister - 704-359-7234 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 12
Lee Gray, Minister for Congregational Care - 704-451-1309 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 15
Kevin Gray, Minister for Music and Worship - 803-524-0287 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 14
Jacquelyn McAbee, Church Administrator - 434-579-1177 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 20
Mallory Brown- 704-477-3349 (cell)