202 Gordon Drive SE, Decatur, AL     (256) 353-9615

For the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost - Sunday, August 16, 2015


The View
Learning to Step Aside
Last night, I had a completely vivid, completely eviscerating dream. Another congregation was preparing for a big service ----the kind that requires lots of people and careful coordination ----and I knew that they would need some help. I showed up, vestments in tow, ready to offer my services. Despite having organized that same complicated service several times before, I, for the most part, hung back and let others take the lead. Instead of offering suggestions, I merely asked questions to highlight the critical issues that would come up during the service. (How noble of me!) A few minutes before the service was scheduled to begin, I stepped into the room where the clergy were to vest. As I began to get dressed, more and more clergy came in. People I did not recognize were already vested and ready to participate in the service. Suddenly I realized that every necessary role had already been filled. The whole time I was worried that they would need my help, and I was ashamed to discover that in actuality I was the only one who was not needed.
Surprisingly enough, I woke up remarkably refreshed. Although it can be difficult to learn that I am not needed, I find a genuine peace when I am reminded that I am not responsible for solving the world's problems. In fact, the less and less important I become the easier and easier it is handle whatever challenges life presents. As I become smaller, more room opens up for God to do his work. How remarkable that my own dreams could remind me of something I still need to learn!
In a world in which kindness is usually measured by the frequency and quality of thoughtful words and deeds, it can be difficult to remember that, more often than not, the most loving thing we can do for someone else is get out of the way. Whether we are dropping our infant off at the nursery or sending our child off to kindergarten or saying goodbye to our new college freshman, we must learn to let go. When our neighbor confides in us that her marriage is falling apart, she is not asking us to fix it. If our spouse blows the big deal at work, it is not our job to pick up the pieces. When the pastor's phone rings at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday, usually the best thing for everyone is let it go to voicemail.
A common theme throughout the gospel is humanity's resistance to our Lord's call to selfless service. All three synoptic accounts recall the moment when two or more of the disciples discussed among themselves who would be the regarded as the greatest. Typically, I see that discussion as an exercise in vanity, but I wonder whether the disciples' intentions might have been pure. Perhaps they were debating not who was the holiest among them but who had done the most to help others or who had given up the most to follow Jesus or who was prepared to risk the most in defense of his master. If so, their error was not one of self-aggrandizement but of misdirected zeal. Perhaps the gentleness with which Jesus rebuked them should inform our impression of the scene: "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves" (Luke 22:25-26).
As I learned waiting tables during my time in college, the best servers are the ones who are only around when needed. Although always available, they seem to disappear until they are called upon. They know that their reward, expressed as a gratuity, will not reflect their ability to invent reasons to help their customers but their availability to address the needs that present themselves. When Jesus likened the greatest among them to one who serves, he was not encouraging them to put on a superhero's outfit and fly around saving the day. He was inviting them to hang back, to practice the art of availability, and to acknowledge that truly selfless service begins only when one discards his or her own need to serve others.
Sometimes people come to me with their own problems, but most of the time people approach me because they are worried about someone else. "What can I do about this person I love?" I am often asked. "They need some help, but I don't know what to do." My response? "Exactly-do nothing; just pray." As last night's dream reveals, they are words I must speak as much to myself as to anyone else. We want to fix the world. We want to help other people. We need to be helpful. When someone we love appears to be in trouble, it is far easier for us to do something than to do nothing. But whose needs are we really addressing when we rush in to help?
The greatest among us will become like the youngest and the leader as one who serves. Take a step back from your own need to help others. Pray that God would give you the wisdom to recognize the line between your needs and theirs. Look for ways to be available to those you love, but resist the temptation to jump in. Remember that God is calling you to a life of selfless service and that a life of selfless service begins when we let go of ourselves.
Yours faithfully,
Evan D. Garner

News to Share: Hiring Nursery Staff

We are in need of help in our Nursery. Must be available Sunday mornings. Other work opportunities will be available on some Wednesday nights and during other special events. Starting wage will be $12/hr. New hires must be 18 years old, able to pass a criminal background check and have reliable transportation. No walk-ins. Access the following link for an application or contact the church office at 256-353-9615 to have an application mailed to you.

50th Anniversary: Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage


Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage Saturday, August 15
beginning at 11:00am in the Lowndes Co. Courthouse Square in Hayneville. Holy Eucharist will be celebrated from the judge's bench-turned altar. The Presiding Bishop-elect, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, will participate.

To reserve a spot in the carpool leaving from St. John's at 7:30am, please call the church office at 256-353-9615. For information about the Pilgrimage:  





Rally Day Ministry Fair & Lunch


Rally Day Ministry Fair & Lunch

Sunday, August 16 following the 10:30 service

The ministries of the church will be showcased, in a fun carnival-style fashion, our fall curriculum for Christian education will be presented and there will be opportunities for you to sign up and participate. There are a number of ways to connect in the parish - a variety of ministries to choose from. Come on out, enjoy the food and fellowship, and learn in an enjoyable way about who we are as a parish!


Sunday School Kick-Off! August 23   

Parish-Wide Sunday School Offerings for All Ages beginning at 9:30 am.





3rd Thursday: Beans & Rice, August 20


Bags of beans and rice are handed out on the 3 rd Thursday of each month from 9:30am to 11:00am in the St. John's parking lot.
Recipients don't even have to get out of their car! Share the news about this outreach ministry supported by the children of St. John's. If you would like to help with this ministry, please contact Sally Marsh at 256-353-9615.





Bake Sale Planning Meeting



Bake Sale Planning Meeting Thursday August 20 at Noon.

Bring a sack lunch and ideas to this bake sale planning meeting in the Parish Hall at 12:00pm.




Save the Date for the Simply Divine Bake Sale, Saturday, November14 





Parish-Wide Canoe Outing
Family Life Presents: Parish-Wide Canoe Outing  
Saturday, August 22
Meet in the church parking lot by 9:00am for carpools and caravans to Elk River Canoe Rental, just east of Fayetteville, TN, about an hour drive. It's about a 4-hour canoe ride down an easy flowing river. Cost estimate is $20/adult; $5/child under 100 lbs. riding as 3rd or 4th person. Cost includes paddle, life jacket, and transportation to and from river.
Pack a lunch and drinks in cooler. Bring a change of clothes for ride home.

Please register so we have a head count to reserve canoes. Sign up online at

Serving the CCC


Committee on Church Cooperation

119 First Avenue NE

Thursday, August 27, is our next opportunity to partner with the CCC and provide lunch for the Soup Kitchen.

Volunteer with St. John's Representative, Kathy Slaton,




Children's Ministry (PreK-5th Grade)

Sunday, August 16  
Rally Day Ministry Fair & BBQ Lunch following the 10:30am service! 
  • Continental Breakfast from 8:45am - 9:30am 
  • Childcare available from 9:00am through the 10:30am service
  • Holy Eucharist services, 8:00am, 10:30am, and 5:00pm
Summer Christian Formation - 9:30am combi ned classroom downstairs with Sally while the adults and youth participate in the newspaper class in the Parish Hall.

Back to School Swim Party

Sunday, August 16 from 3:00pm until ?? at the Burningtree Country Club (2521 Burningtree Drive Decatur) All children 5th grade and younger are invited to attend. We will provide a meal from the snack stand and also a celebration cake.  It is important to let us know if you will be joining us. Please call Sally at 256-353-9615 ext. 104.


Fall Sunday School classes begin Sunday, August 23 at 9:30am!
   Sally Marsh, Director of Children's Ministries: (256) 353-9615 ext.104 or 
EYC (6th - 12th Grades)
The Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage is this Saturday, August 15, 11:00am in Hayneville, AL. This is the 50th anniversary of the death of Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian who died while working to help register African Americans to vote. In his memory, we walk from the Courthouse Square to the jail where Daniels was held to the store where he was killed. After the pilgrimage, there will be a special service with our new Presiding Bishop-elect preaching. Let us know if you'd like to come!
Sunday, August 16: Rally Day
  • Holy Eucharist services, 8:00 & 10:30am and 5:00pm
  • Lunch & ministry fair after the 10:30 service  
  • Acolyte Training for all acolytes following lunch (about noon to 1 or 1:30pm)


Work Week Banquet, August 19
   Parish Canoe Trip, August 22
Sunday school & EYC Kick-off , August 23
Kristin Hanson, Director of Youth Ministries: (256) 353-9615 ext.104 or    
Sunday Schedule

For the 12th Sunday after Pentecost August 16

Holy Eucharist, Rite I
8:45am Continental Breakfast, Parish Hall
9:00am Childcare through 10:30am service
9:30am Christian Formation for All Ages
10:30am Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Followed by Rally Day Ministry Fair & BBQ Lunch, Parish Hall 
5:00pm Evening Eucharist, Chapel
Vestry Representative: Julia Roth 
LEM: 8:00am Lou Greene, D. Hall; 10:30am M.M. Tweedy, Huey Hall; 5:00pm Suzanne Thompson 
Bread Baker: Suzanne Thompson 
Altar Guild: Team 4
Lectors : 8:00am Julie Sneed; 10:30am Pamela Payne
: 8:00am Sam Clay S; Davis Wenzler C;  10:30am
McCauley Smith ES; Will Rogers, Jr. GS; Eppes Rogers C; Henry McFarland, Tripper Martin TB
Ushers: 8:00am Jud Pheny; 10:30am Don Kincaid, Aaron Lang, Jeff Leavitt, Jim Mitchell 
Childcare (9:00am through 10:30am service):
Joanne Peterson, Haley Melson
Continental Breakfast: Office Staff
Flower ReArranger: Dashiell McKay 
Flower Delivery: Pat Price, Lucy Key  

For the 13th Sunday after Pentecost August 23
8:00am Holy Eucharist, Rite I
8:45am Breakfast, Parish Hall
9:00am Childcare through 10:30am service
9:30am Christian Formation for All Ages
10:30am Holy Eucharist, Rite II
5:00pm Evening Eucharist, Chapel
6:00pm EYC Kick-Off 
Vestry Representative: Jack Thomas  
LEM: 8:00am Harry Moore, David Rice; 10:30am Kristin Hanson, Luke Slaton; 5:00pm Squee Bailey  
Bread Baker: Larkin Martin  
Altar Guild: Team 1
Lectors : 8:00am Karen Smith; 10:30am Chuck Puckett  
  Acolytes: 8:00am Blaine Irwin S; John Davis IV C;  10:30am Mary V Holman ES; Sophie Leavitt GS; Ethan Thomas C; Natalie Huber, Hilton Wiley TB
Ushers: 8:00am Mike Adams; 10:30am Harry Moore, Carolyn Price, Frank Price, Steve Price
Childcare (9:00am through 10:30am service):
Joanne Peterson, Haley Melson
Breakfast: Jim Smith 
Flower ReArranger: Dashiell McKay 
Flower Delivery: Janet and Danny Morgan; Eileen and Joe Sunstrom  


St. John's Supper Clubs
St. John's Supper Clubs
  2015-2016 School Year
Want to enjoy time with your St. John's friends? Want to get to know your parish family a little better? Want to deepen your relationship with God and the Christian community? Sign up for a Supper Club.
We invite individuals, couples, and families to sign up for a supper club for this school year. You may indicate your preferences in the online sign up (link below), and we will match you with other people of similar preferences. Each month, your group is invited to meet in a different person's home until the school year is over. Next year, we can try again!
If you have any questions, please call the Church Office (256-353-9615). Please respond by August 31.

New Parent Reception


Our first New Parent Reception, hosted by the Guild of the Christ Child, was held Sunday in the library following the 10:30am service. This "Sip and See" reception was a wonderful opportunity to meet the newest and youngest members of St. John's and parents and siblings. Thank you to Tia Martin and Amy Calame for organizing and to everyone who offered refreshments for the celebration!  



  Callie and Stuart  










Suzanne and Grant

Sara Reed, Anne Hatcher 












Elizabeth and Evan

Emily, Frances, Sam, Edison 











Our Prayers and Thanksgivings
We pray for family and friends who are ill or distressed: Susan Adams, Maggie Hennessy Bates, Karen Cunningham-Becker, Danny Berry, Mary Bingham, Dorothy Bollinger, Julia Bounds, Frances Bradley, Kenny Burnett, Jack Caddell, Ava Campbell, Gere Carnathan, Aaron Castell, Walt Chenault, Bill Clem, Nell Clem, Fionn Crimmins, Mary Daniels, Anne Draper, Debbie Dumas, Marlene Eads, Anne Eich, Linda Engelman, Jeannette Evans, Wally Evans, Eddie Finn, Chuck George, Richard George, Lori Grasz, Sally Jo Green, Avis Gunter, Stratton Hall, Jamie Harold, David Harris, Gwen Harris, Tania Harris, Jane Anna Hawkins, Randy Haynes, Marty Heaner, Harold Henneman, Helen Holland, Sherry Holland, Scott Howard, Duffie Hughes, Valerie Hunter, Barbara Johnson, Bailey Jones, Denise Jones, Katy Kavanagh, Karla Kohl, Roy Landers, Jane Hollon Lee, Dena Lewis, Carey Link, Don Logan, Mary McDaniels, Erin Merker, Tommy Meuth, Nancy O'Flinn, Bill Oliver, Will Parish, Joanne Peterson, Mary Ford Pheny, Bethany Pridmore, Melvin Pridmore, Muse Reed, Scott Richards, Braelyn Richardson, Fr. Joe Sanderson, David Schacht, Reece Seal, Paul Simpson, Cynthia Small, Austin Smith, Dwight Smith, Jeannie Smith, Nathan Smith, Scott Snider, Steve Sprague, Angie Steeno, Emma Strane, Hiram Sweat, Michael Terry, Kenneth Thomas, Paula Thomas, Suzanne Thompson, Sydnor Thompson, Stacy Singley Townsend, Geraldine Tubb, Bill Waldo, Chuck Weaver, Carolyn Webb, Judy West, Danny Williams, Nancy Turner Wilson, and Will Wright.  
We pray for those who serve in and with the Armed Forces, especially: Michael Blair, Steven Blair, Lindsey Cantrell, Trey Colantonio, Chad Harper, Christopher Harwell, Gray Keenum, Mark Nelson, and Virginia Schaefer.
We pray for: Pamela Payne, our seminarian; for a ll persecuted Christians around the world;
for St. Dunstan's, Auburn; for our companion diocese of Haiti and its bishops, Zaché and Oge; for the Cursillo Secretariat and the Cursillo community in Alabama.
If you are hospitalized or in need of a clergy visit, please notify the Church Office (256-353-9615). Please remember that area hospitals do not notify us about admissions.
Altar Flowers Contributions

Altar Flowers Contributions are given to the glory of God in memory of loved ones, or in thanksgiving for particular people, or in celebration of special occasions such as a birthday or wedding anniversary. A donation of $60 will sponsor the flower arrangements arranged by the Flower Guild. One dedication per Sunday.


Download and print a Flower Dedication Form. Please return form and contribution to the church office. Available Sunday Dates: September 20, October 4 & 18, November 1, 15 & 26, December 6, 20, and 27.


A Communion Wine Contribution is another way to honor a special person or event. Please call the church office, 256-353-9615. Wine dedications are $10 each.  




Planned Giving

Planned Giving: Give a Bequest in a Will

Wills account for 80% of planned gifts according to the Episcopal Church Foundation. The bequests can be as a specific amount, as a percentage or remainder, or as a contingent bequest. The bequest can be for a specific piece of property or asset. The bequest designations can by restricted or unrestricted.  


St. John's has a planned giving committee whose mission is to help any person who is interested in making a planned gift to St. John's accomplish that goal. You may read brief descriptions about types of planned giving from our website page  


If you are interested in learning more about planned giving, please contact the church office, and either Evan or one of the committee members will contact you. Your gifts are confidential.




United Thank Offering In-Gathering

United Thank Offering In-Gathering  

Sunday, October 11 During Each Service


Pick-up Your Blue Box and add your pocket change daily in thanksgiving for your many blessings. We will collect these on October 11 during each service. United Thank Offering (UTO) is a ministry of the Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. UTO monies support mission and ministry throughout the Episcopal Church. Learn more>>



St. John's Faithfulness
St. John's Faithfulness
  For the 31st week ending August 6, 2015
Required Weekly
Received this Week
Required YTD
Received YTD
$ 456,998
These figures reflect the 2015 budget for operating expenses, which includes pledges and other gifts received in the offering plates. They do not include gifts designated for specific purposes, which are not a part of the operating budget. A copy of the parish's full financial reports is available in the church office. If you have any questions, please contact the Treasurer, D. Hall
Stewardship at St. John's: St. John's holds tithing-the giving of the first 10% of our financial resources to God's work in the world-as the expected practice for Christians. We believe that proportional, sacrificial giving is integral to spiritual growth. We invite all households in the parish to join us in faithful stewardship by calculating what percentage of their resources they give to God and by developing a plan to become tithers. 
Upcoming Birthdays & Anniversaries

08/01 Dell Felts

08/01 Lance Wenzler

08/02 Woody Peebles

08/03 Tammy Snider

08/03 Kim Nickels

08/04 Anne Haynes

08/07 Dana Baggette

08/09 Pat Owens

08/12 Cookie Stoner

08/14 Melinda Dunn

08/15 June Hall

08/15 Lucy Haughaboo

08/17 Marilyn Volonino





08/17 Renee Wenzler

08/21 Melissa Christopher

08/24 Helen Holland

08/25 Tony Shubert

08/25 Frances Bibb

08/26 Huey Hall

08/26 William Hollon

08/27 Robert Bell

08/27 Welman Gebhart

08/28 Carolyn Jenke

08/29 Allen Stoner

08/29 Ashley Bolton

08/29 Cricket Powell

08/30 Bobbie Gordon

08/31 Ben Martin

Happy Anniversary!


08/14 Cathy & Glynn Tubb

08/14 Melanie & Henry McCrary

08/15 Lyla & Woody Peebles

08/17 Bunny & Bingham Edwards

08/17 Lisa & Andy Dye, II

08/18 Barbara & Earl Pettey

08/26 Lou & Bobby Greene

08/27 Larkin & John Thornton

08/28 Erika & Guenther Huber


If your celebration is not listed, please forgive us. Call or email the church office with any updates. 256-(256) 353-9615


















Blessing of the Backpacks

8:00am Holy Eucharist I

8:45am Continental Breakfast

9:00am Childcare through   the 10:30 service

9:30 Christian Formation

10:30am Holy Eucharist II

Followed by a New Parent Reception, Library

5:00pm Evening Eucharist


10:00am Rector's Bible Study


6-8:00pm EfM Info Meeting, Library






9:15am -2pm Long-Range Planning Staff meeting



8:30am Men's Reunion


8:30am Yoga-1


12:10pm Healing




9:00amCentering Prayer


5:15pm Theology on Tap, The Brick



7:00am Men's Reunion Group






7:30am Carpool from church parking lot for the Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage in Hayneville



Rally Day Ministry Fair 

8:00am Holy Eucharist I

8:45am Continental Breakfast

9:00am Childcare through 10:30service

9:30 Christian Formation

10:30am Holy Eucharist II

Followed by Lunch & Acolyte Training

5:00pm Evening Eucharist


10:00am Rector's Bible Study


5:15pm Vestry Meeting





9:15am Staff meeting




8:30am Men's Reunion


8:30am Yoga-1


12:10pm Healing




No Centering Prayer


9:30am-11am Beans & Rice


12:00pm Bake Sale Planning


5:15pm Theology on Tap, The Brick



7:00am Men's Reunion Group






9:00am Carpool
from church parking lot for the Parish-Wide Canoe Outing



Sunday School Kick-Off  8:00am Holy Eucharist I

8:45am Breakfast

9:00am Childcare through   the 10:30 service

9:30 Christian Formation

10:30am Holy Eucharist II

5:00pm Evening Eucharist

6:00pm EYC


10:00am Rector's Bible Study





9:15am Staff meeting



8:30am Men's Reunion


8:30am Yoga-1


12:10pm Healing




8:30am-11am CCC Lunch Prep


9:00am Centering Prayer


5:15pm Theology on Tap, The Brick



7:00am Men's Reunion Group







8:00am Holy Eucharist I

8:45am Breakfast

9:00am Childcare through   the 10:30 service

9:30 Christian Formation

10:30am Holy Eucharist II

5:00pm Evening Eucharist

6:00pm EYC



10:00am Rector's Bible Study


St. John's Parish Staff & Vestry


THE PARISH STAFF     Mon.-Thurs. 9:00 a.m.-Noon; 1:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Office 256-353-9615 | Fax 256-350-0514


The Rev. Evan D. Garner, Rector, ext. 102;

The Rev. J. Seth Olson, Curate, ext. 103;

Vickie Reed, Financial Administrator, ext. 101;

Sally Marsh, Director of Children's Ministries, ext. 104;
Kristin Hanson, Director of Youth Ministries, ext. 104;

Ann Stewart, Director of Communications, ext. 105;



Pamela Payne , Choirmaster
Foster Bailey, Organist
Joanne Peterson, Nursery
Haley Melson, Nursery
Ken Schuppert, Chancellor
D. Hall, Treasurer
Stan Evans, Assistant Treasurer



Class of 2015 Dodie Hall, Senior Warden; Janet Morgan; Karen Sawyer; Bobby Straub; Jack Thomas, Jr.

Class of 2016 Joe Propst; Julia Roth; Carol Sartain, Junior Warden ; Julie Sneed; Grant Thompson

Class of 2017 Squee Bailey; Harry Moore; David Rice, Steve Sandlin; Kathy Slaton

Martha Freeman, Clerk of the Vestry


St. John's Episcopal Church
202 Gordon Drive SE
Decatur, AL 35601
(256) 353-9615