JANUARY 8, 2021
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
Isaiah 60:2
In Peace we pray to you Lord God,
 
The celebration of the Epiphany is usually associated with the three wise men discovering the baby Jesus, worshiping him, and giving him gifts. The arrival of the Magi is a sign that Jesus’ birth is known to the Gentiles; it is a sign that this is a birth significant not just to the Jewish community, but to the whole world. And if Jesus is truly the King of kings, the Lord of Lords, then Herod’s reign does not have the same significance that Herod once thought.  
 
We have also come to think of an epiphany as an awaking, much like Saint Paul’s Damascus road experience; a moment when we see things in a new light. 
 
This year our celebration of the Epiphany was overshadowed by violence and destruction in the nation’s capital. “Coup”, “insurrection”, “attack on US democracy”, many words have been used to describe the horrific events in the Capital Building and surrounding grounds. The word that least likely comes to mind when viewing these images is “epiphany” but perhaps that is exactly what it was - an epiphany.
 
A Damascus road experience of seeing God for the first time would be a preferred epiphany, but seeing evil may be just as impactful - if we respond by turning to God.
 
Fr. James Martin, SJ said it well in a social media post on Wednesday: “Today's violence at the US Capitol, a national disgrace, is the inevitable result of the endless lies about the election… Here we see the result of these lies, the fruit of sin: anger, hatred, discord, despair and violence. This is what sin does, especially sin on such a large scale.” 
 
On Wednesday, The Feast of the Epiphany, we witnessed evil. The evil did not just appear on center stage, it has been cultivated over weeks, months, years, decades, and centuries. This evil has ebbed and flowed, and in recent years, with the fertile grounds of social media, has been carefully cultivated with many enablers refusing to trample it down. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” 
 
When Saul, a persecutor of Christians, traveled along the road to Damascus he was confronted not only with God, but also confronted with his sins against God. Saint Paul, literally blinded by the light, saw clearly for the first time. It would be my prayer that the events of Wednesday, which can not be erased, are also not wasted and now become for us an epiphany - a light by which we now turn away from evil, choose to trample sin, and turn to God. 
 
By most accounts it was about three years before Paul began preaching and traveling to spread the Good News of Christ. While his epiphany may have been instantaneous, it took time for reconciliation and reparations to be made so that he could spread the Good News. It took three years for Saul to become the Paul that we know and hold up as a saint. 
 
It too will take years for the work that comes from the epiphany that we witnessed over the course of several hours to take full effect. It is our responsibility to not let this moment, or any of the other times God has shown us the way, to go to waste. It will not be easy, but we are not alone in our work. God is with us for each step we take towards God. 

Peace,
Fr. Henry+
As a result of COVID-19 and out of convenience a number of St. John's parishioners have fulfilled their pledge contribution by using our convenient online giving option found on the WEBSITE. Please be aware that your 2020 online giving does not incorporate an end date for your transactions and will continue into 2021. If there is no change in your 2021 pledge contribution and you wish for last year's pledge to continue into 2021 nothing needs to be done. The amount and frequency will continue as it did last year. If however, you are making or have made a change to your 2021 pledge contribution, you have two options.

1. You can modify your existing pledge by making the change online, or
2. You can cancel your existing pledge and create a new one online. 
LIGHT A LAMP FOR JESUS

"For Where Your Treasure is,
There Your Heart Will Be Also"
WORSHIP CHANGES COMING YOUR WAY...
Starting NEXT week, Compline will shift to Wednesday evenings at 7pm via ZOOM. The zoom session will be recorded and uploaded to St. John's YouTube channel for those wanted to view it later and at their convenience.

ALSO...

Starting in 2 weeks, on the FIRST and THIRD Sunday morning at 10:30am Morning Prayer will be offered via ZOOM. Our way of keeping you connected by offering this as a time for people to worship together. ZOOM link, meeting ID and passcode will be available closer to our first ZOOM worship on January 17.

Morning worship will continue to be available on our YouTube channel for those unable to be with us on ZOOM.
SUNDAY FORUM
Sunday Mornings @ 9am

"Your Faith, Your Life: an Invitation to the Episcopal Church”
by Jenifer Gamber

Meeting ID: 833 0378 8008
Password: STJEC
COMPLINE
Now on ZOOM
Wednesday evenings at 7pm
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 867 2402 6403
Passcode: STJEC
SUNDAY FORUM is open to all those with an interest in learning more about being an Episcopalian and a Christian, please join us as we discuss and wrestle with what it means to be Christian in light of being Episcopal / Anglican. Jenifer Gamber's book “Your Faith, Your Life: an Invitation to the Episcopal Church” will be read and discussed. Jenifer Gamber, the book’s author, will join us for at least one session of the Adult Forum.

A deeper look at the Catechism, An Outline of the Faith which can be found on page 845 in the Book of Common Prayer will also be studied during the forum hour. The discussions will cover the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, our faith, our beliefs, our Church. 
CONFIRMATION CLASS

Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which one express a commitment to Christ by making a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop (BCP, p. 412). Confirmation class begins in February and will be entirely virtual every other week for an hour, through the month of April. "My Faith, My Life" by Jenifer Gamber, will be used for the class and is available on Kindle, through Amazon.
 
Interested in the confirmation class? Contact Mother Shivaun.  
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned with a loud voice glorifying God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
"Jesus said, "Were not the ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Were there not any found to return and give glory to God except this foreigner?"" (Luke 17:14-18)

Before the Twelve Days of Christmas spool into our memory of the strangest Advent and Christmas ever, we want to say Thank You.

The way you devised methods to keep us all together - to read what others had to say about their relationship with God during this time, to see each other in or around our homes as we read the Gospels, to sing together the hymns of the season, to simply step outside our own space and step inside someone else's for a brief moment, to hear the words of the Christmas Pageant and see those reading or acting - it was amazing.

Because our daughters live elsewhere we are not usually at St. John's for Christmas as we were when they were here. Because we'd been gone for a year and a half and had not been home for Christmas since 2016 our plan had been to be in Maryland for Christmas this year. A year ago we could not have imagined our Christmas being spent the way it has been spent. Because of your hard work and determination and genuine love for the family of St. John's we have been to St. John's more than most of the past years!

Thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do on our behalf.

Gail and Leslie Rucker
SUNDAY COFFEE HOUR
Sundays @ 11am - Noon

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Meeting ID: 870 3415 1920
Password: STJEC
ESTHER DEEL
Sundays @ 12 -1pm

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Meeting ID: 830 8468 5432
Password: STJEC
FAMILY COFFEE HOUR
Sun. January 10 @ 11:30am

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Meeting ID: 967 598 3901
Password: EpiscoKid
SUNDAY SCHOOL
PreK-2nd @ 9:15AM
3rd-5th @ 9:30AM

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Meeting ID: 967 598 3901
Password: EpiscoKid
YOGA WITH LORI
Thursday @ 7pm via ZOOM
*$10 donation per class

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Meeting ID: 886 0469 6309 Passcode: yoga
VIRTUAL RECORDING READERS
9am Thursday mornings in the church

*Please remember to wear a mask
for your safety and of others

Thursday, Jan. 14 - Steve Simpson
Thursday, Jan. 21 - ???
Thursday, Jan. 28 - Will Lederer
AT-HOME EUCHARIST

To receive delivery of
pre-consecrated Host,
contact the office at 301.774.6999
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Use this list to pray for the sick,
shut-in, bereaved, or those merely
in need of prayer.


Sherine
Ava
Richard Kusik
Bishop James Almasi
The Loudon Family
Pam Brekke
Shirley Talbot
Michael
Matthew Skube
Will Bartley
Frances Hunt
Catherine Cant
Peter
John Daniel
Stan Simpson
Linda Niemczyk
Beblon Parks
Cheryl
Mary Persinger
Maura Parker
Chris Prinz
ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
3427 Olney-Laytonsville Road
Olney, MD 20832
301-774-6999