AUGUST 5, 2022
Come, follow me,” Jesus said, 
“and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Matthew 4:19
Grace and Peace,

Queries have often arisen over who is the “John” of St. John’s Olney, who is our patron saint.  There are more than a few significant people in the Bible named John, for starters we have:

John the Baptist
John, son of Zebedee
John, the beloved disciple
John the Evangelist
John the Elder
John, father of Peter
John, relative of Annas
John the Divine

Of these, John the Evangelist is the patron of this parish; but as we will see, a few of these other references may also be part of our DNA.

Traditionally, churches have been named for the Baptist, the Evangelist, and the Divine. One not so obvious indicator of our association with John the Evangelist is that churches have been very good about being specific in their naming convention if they are associated with the Baptist or the Divine. By default, if there is no reference to the specific John it is usually the Evangelist.

There are also visible clues as to our patron saint. The Saint John window, now located in the transept but prior to the 1970s hanging above the altar, shows a young man. Saint John the Evangelist was always referred to as the youngest of the disciples. At the feet of the man pictured in the window is an eagle; of the four living symbols of the Gospels the eagle is the symbol of the Gospel of Saint John the Evangelist. The other Gospel symbols are a man for the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, a lion for Saint Mark’s Gospel, and an ox, bull, or calf for the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 

John, the son of Zebedee, is the brother of James, and partners with Peter and Andrew in the fishing business; all four are called as disciples and sent as apostles. As much as John, and his brother James, were rebuked by Jesus on multiple occasions, it was also this John who persuaded the gate keeper to admit Peter into the palace at the time of Jesus’ trial. Peter, James, and this John, were part of Jesus’ inner circle. 

John, the beloved disciple, or “the disciple Jesus loved” is a term used four times in the Gospel of John. This is the one who reclines with Jesus while at table and who ran to the tomb faster than Peter. There is a certain irony that the writer of the Gospel According to John is also the one who refers to John as “the beloved disciple”. Scholarship and tradition identify John the beloved disciple as John the son of Zebedee, a member of the inner circle. 

The link between John son of Zebedee and John the beloved disciple continues. The epilogue of the Gospel of John says “This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.” While the authorship of the Gospel of John is, for some, considered uncertain, the authority of the Gospel lies clearly with John son of Zebedee. 

If you are following along, the link between John son of Zebedee, John the beloved disciple, and the John the Evangelist / the Apostle is certain; they are one and the same. 

What is less certain is the authorship of the Gospel of John, John’s letters, and the Book of the Revelation of John. It is possible that the fourth Gospel was written by a follower of John the son of Zebedee, one of the early church fathers notes that there was an elder also named John and that there are two tombs in Ephesus ascribed to John. This John the Elder is likely responsible for at least 1, if not 2, of the letters of John. He may also have been the scribe who recorded the words of John son of Zebedee/the Evangelist. This makes sense in that he could have immodestly written “the disciple Jesus loved”. Most suggest, but there is still disagreement, that the fourth Gospel and the first letter of John were written by John the son of Zebedee/the Evangelist, and that the 2nd and 3rd letters were written by John the Elder, a follower of our John. 

As we progress in our discussion more confusion comes along; John the Divine, also known as John of Patmos, is considered to be the author of the Book of Revelation, but authorities are uncertain as to whether this is the same person as John son of Zebedee/the Evangelist.

Early teaching and tradition attribute the fourth Gospel, the three letters of John, and the Book of Revelation all to John son of Zebedee / the Evangelist / the Apostle. Recent scholarship calls into question the authorship, but not the authority, of the fourth Gospel, and the authorship of one and possibly two of the letters, along with the authorship of the Book of Revelation. Our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters attribute all the writings to John the Evangelist and they let the scholars have their arguments, for it makes little difference in our reading of Scripture as the Word of God. You will be in good company if you too choose to assign all of those writings to Saint John.

Tradition also suggests that John the Evangelist was the one disciple who was not martyred so that he would be able to live long enough to care for Mary, mother of Jesus. Another tradition suggests that John’s faith was tested by being forced to drink a chalice of poison, and only by God’s intervention did he live; a chalice with a snake in it is pictured in our Saint John’s window as a reference to this tradition, as are images of his writings.

While God’s word is certain, Biblical scholarship can be uncertain. Our patron saint, beloved John the Evangelist, son of Zebedee, and Apostle has influence on the church, perhaps on a par with Peter. We walk in the footsteps of Apostles and prophets, we walk among the great cloud of witnesses. Our own witness with Saint John leads us and guides us; may John also be your beloved disciple.

Fr. Henry+ 
2022 Summer Reading

Discussion Groups on:
Sunday, August 14th @ 9am Tuesday, August 9th @ 10am Friday, August 12th @ 6pm


Sacred Ground is a film and readings based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups, or circles, are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.

In September of 2021 St. John’s Olney offered its first This Is Sacred Ground Circle; we are pleased to offer a second circle beginning September 15, 2022. The circle will meet 12 times, 6:30 to 8:30 PM Eastern time from September 15, 2022, to March 16, 2023, via Zoom. Most months the meetings will take place on the first and third Thursdays of each month. The circle meets via Zoom because this format allows participants to join from anywhere and removes the need to travel at night or when the weather is inclement.
This is Sacred Ground is a creation for, and of, the National Episcopal Church. The catalyst for it came out of the 2015 Episcopal Church's 78th General Convention Resolution - Work for Racial Justice and Reconciliation, and was reaffirmed at the 80th General Convention held last month in Baltimore. Since its inception there have been over 1,000 circles held with over 25,000 participants. The clear message is there is no turning back, or slowing down, the work of Becoming Beloved Community.
For more information about This Is Sacred Ground, click SACRED GROUND.
Interested in participating in this up-coming circle, or have questions?
Please contact Gail Rucker at: LGRUCKER@VERIZON.NET.
Meetings will resume for prayers via ZOOM on Monday, August 8th. 
JOIN ZOOM MEETING | Meeting ID: 821 4337 7915 | Passcode: STJEC
The September 12th meeting will be an in-person at the home of Mary Ellis
Partnering with Olney Help St. John's is collecting school supplies for 70 MCPS children to be delivered by SUNDAY, August 7th.

Collection baskets are in the solarium and outside the rector's office
Our Outdoor Food Pantry is in need of protein sources other than beans. We need peanut butter, canned sardines, canned or foil packs of tuna and chicken; Chef Boyardee spaghetti and ravioli fourteen-ounce cans with flip tops, canned fruits and some vegetables. Thank you for helping.
August 28th at 2pm
Finding the beauty through mending the fracture.
Experience and learn kintsugi with teachers from Makoto Fujimura’s Academy Kintsugi. 
Open to high school age and beyond.
We have 1open seat.
If you served in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines, Space Force, Public Health Service, or NOAA as active duty, retired, separated, National Guard, or Reserves, we would like to document your experience and help preserve this living history for future generations! To share your story, please contact Joy Reiff at

Barry Gough
Scotty Puente
Heather Skrivanek
Reshan Selvarajah
Bryson Turett
Samuel Wack
Anna Mazzucco
John Flickinger
Marley Gilchrist
Nick Reiff
Justin Rose
Johan Wilkinson
Benson Gilchrist
Brian Olkewicz
Nancy Benson
Javier Diaz
Scott Hartranft
Cecelia Majors
Ryan Mayhew
Isaac Williams
Owen Legrady

Today we celebrate
the life that
God has given you,
and give thanks to Him
for the many blessings
you bring to the lives
of others.

May the LORD bless you
on your birthday,
and may your days be filled with joy and your year full
of many blessings.
Sunday mornings
9am Lower Level Parish Hall

Meeting ID: 833 0378 8008 Passcode: STJEC
Wednesday Evenings
7pm on ZOOM

Meeting ID: 892 8549 6618
Passcode: STJEC
Saturdays Mornings @9am
or on ZOOM.

Meeting ID: 856 0058 2904 Passcode: 393887
Use this list to pray for the sick, shut-in, bereaved,
or those merely in need.

John Rentz
Tim Wittig
Rev. Nancy Soukup
Akie Abe & Family

Tara Dowling Yell
Scott Smith
Dorothy Brightman
Peter McWilliams
Rinchen Khandro
Jon Rucker
Joseph Sears
Lu Soukup
Frances Hunt
Mary Persinger
Chris Prinz
Dear God,

We place our worries in your hands and we place our sick under your care and humbly ask that you restore your servants to health again.
Grant us the grace to acknowledge your will and know that whatever you do, you do for the love of us.

Church Offices will be opened 9am to 2pm Monday through Thursday
Closed on Friday
GIVE online or MAIL your gift to:
St. John's Episcopal Church
PO Box 187,
Olney, MD 20832
3427 Olney-Laytonsville Road
Olney, MD 20832