MARCH 20, 2020
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Psalm 91:3-4
Shortly after Jesus died, in the ballpark of 30 years, the Jewish people tried yet another uprising against their Roman occupiers and lost. The Romans were sick of the subversion and they destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem - the holiest site, where God dwelled. This was the second destruction of the Temple. Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians long before. The Temple was the cornerstone of the Jewish worship structure. 

Now what?

It is an interesting reality that so much of faith and worship happen in the Jewish home. Shabbat, the weekly practice of greeting the sabbath most often happens at home. Sabbath worship the following day takes place in community, but the ritual begins with the household. All members of the family have parts to play and all work in the household stops. It becomes one work, a faithful beginning of the Sabbath.

Actually one of the holiest holidays in the Jewish faith is also celebrated at home. The Passover Seder is not a remembrance at synagogue but in the community of the family. The meal happens at home, with a long remembering and liturgy accompanying it. “Remember you were once a slave in Egypt,” the family proclaims, and they do, from the hidden worship, to the painful toil, to the tragic and triumphal Passover of the Lord, to the liberation of God’s people. 

“Remember,” their faith proclaims and within the context of the family, they do.

Here we are in the midst of a pandemic, asked to sacrifice part of humanity, our desire to live in community with one another, for the sake of protecting one another. The Christian faith began quietly in households, hidden from the authorities and law, cultivating faith within home-worship. We evolved, expanding our community of faithful as we became legal and then the preferred faith of the Empire. We built buildings we named churches, because they were where the church gathered. But we forgot. The church was always the people, never the building. We came together as the family of God, to get our fix of faith, and forgot that faith begins and ends each day as a household. 

We’ve grown accustomed to a faith that happens in large community - at potlucks and Sunday school, through priests and deacons, where we privately pray next to one another. 

And that isn’t wrong. Community has always and will always be a large part of what it means to be a faithful Christian. We don’t go it alone. Two by two the apostles were sent. In community we discern God’s Word. In community, we pray. 

But we have neglected (generally speaking) the household. How do we cultivate faith at the breakfast table? How do we share the stories of the faith with our children? How do we remember how were were once slaves in Egypt, we were once hidden away from emperors, once faith was the duty of the home?

This year, we will celebrate our holiest of holy days at home. St. John’s will do its best to provide tools to equip households to do so faithfully. For the foreseeable few weeks and months, we will worship as a community in our households - sharing words and scriptures but around separate living rooms and tables. We will be house-hold church again. 

See it as a time of blessing, not of one that we will be done with in a few months, but as a time that will reshape what it means to be faithful Christians, faithful Episcopalians, when we come out the other side of the pandemic. Reclaim this time so that we can nourish a faithful household so that when we come back together to worship on Sunday mornings, we retain the work that is the faith of the family. 

Find time to pray together, to punctuate your new normal with family prayer-time, whether through the daily office, the telling of faithful stories, or of routines of your own creation to cultivate faith at home. What we lose in the short-term of time in community, we gain in balance of our Christian formation.

In Christ,
Mo. Shivaun+
SUNDAY, MARCH 22
COVID-19 UPDATE

In accordance with the CDC’s recommendation to avoid public gatherings, the Diocese and Bishop Budde have suspended all public worship and other gatherings until May 16. Our journey in the wilderness continues, and we continue to be Church.
 
This extended closure means that Holy Week and Easter will be celebrated virtually. The Rectors and Choir Director have discussed this possibility and an outline for this coming season, which includes Holy Week and Easter is already being refined and details are emerging. While it will be different, it will also be holy.
 
As a reminder, the following activities remain suspended:
 
•    Sunday Worship, 8am/10am/5pm, in the church (online options available)
•    Wednesday Evening Worship and Soup Supper
•   Mindful Yoga with Lori
•    African Palms packing on Tuesday and Thursday
•    Visits, hospital or home, by Eucharistic Visitors or clergy
•    Lenten Small Groups
•    Monday Mission Society and other parish groups
•    All Sunday Morning activities
•    Adult Forum at 9am (online options available)
•    Sunday School (activities offered electronically)
 
As we journey in the wilderness our commitment to each other and to St. John’s remains; we are to continue to support one another in prayer and to continue to support St. John’s with our time, talent, and treasure. We are a community whose branches are from the same vine. 
Like singing and praying,
giving is essential to worship.
Supporting St. John's during these times is important.
This is a friendly reminder that you can continue your support
 by giving on line at STJEC GIVE.
Our Sunday (March 22) Adult Forum will again meet virtually to continue our discussion of Bishop Mariann's book "Receiving Jesus: The Way of Love".
This Sunday's discussion covers
Chapter 4: WORSHIP .
 Please join in the discussion.

You can connect via phone, or computer. The computer / iPad has the advantage of video so you are able to see one another. If you are connecting via computer / iPad for the first time please start about 10-15 minutes before the hour as there will be a file that is needed for download to work with the Zoom network. This is all very easy and self evident as you start the process.

To join in the discussion, please download and install the Zoom Application: Go to https://zoom.us/download and from the Download Center, click on the Download button under “ Zoom Client For Meetings”. This application will automatically download when you start your first Zoom Meeting.
Topic: STJEC Adult Forum 
Time: Mar 22, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

   Weekly on Sunday, until Mar 29, 2020
   Mar 22, 2020 09:00 AM
    Mar 29, 2020 09:00 AM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 218 711 385
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STAINED GLASS REFLECTIONS
A few thoughts by Fr. Henry+

Fr. Henry invites you to follow along as he blogs, and to share your own thoughts in the comments.
His blog post can be found HERE .

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Would you, or someone you know benefit from a DAILY CHECK-IN? 

Maryland is the first state in the country to start a free, opt-in, telephone service to check on Maryland's older residents, all across the state.

How Does it Work?
Every day a telephone call will be placed to a participant at a regularly scheduled time. These calls will take place between 8AM and 4PM as close as possible to the one-hour time block pre-selected by the participant. If the participant does not answer their first call, they will be tried two more times. If those calls go unanswered, additional calls will be made to notify an alternative person who is selected by the participant during program enrollment. This could be an adult child, a neighbor, or another loved one. The alternate will then be encouraged to check on the older adult program participant. The failure of the participant and alternate to answer may result in a Welfare Check by local law enforcement.
  
Who Can Participate?
Any Maryland resident who is 65 years of are or older who has a landline or cell phone (TTY is available). The participant and alternates should not have automated call blocking technology (or they should disable that phone feature for this program).

How to Apply?
Three options are available to apply:
  • Register on the Maryland Department of Aging Website - click here.
  • Go the the Maryland Department of Aging Website and download and print the application - click here.
  • Call toll-free 866-502-0560 and ask to have a hard copy application mailed to your home.

When Do Calls Begin?
Daily calls will not begin until the applicant/participant receives a call to verify all of their information. Verification will include a successful test automated call to both the participant and the alternate where applicable. After all information is validated, a Welcome Packet will be mailed to your home address. The welcome letter will include your start date.

More information, including frequently asked questions, can be found on the  Maryland Department of Aging Website .
1   Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10  no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
DAILY DEVOTIONS
Use this list to pray and to show your love and concern for the sick, shut-in, bereaved, or those merely in
need of prayer.

Ellen Dunn
Walter Oesch
Students stuck Overseas
Phil Cushman
Pam Brekke
The Williams Family
Catherine Cant
Joanne Brine
Melissa Bank
Craig Schumpert
Lori Billings
Jane Nicholson
June Thompson
Mary Almasi
Edith Pangisa
Lois Taylor
Mary Lou McMaster
Dorcas Taylor
Frances Hunt
Marilyn Lee
ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
3427 Olney-Laytonsville Road
Olney, MD 20832
301-774-6999