The Word

News from St. John’s, Lafayette Square

The Week of Sunday, December 10

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This Sunday

The Second Sunday of Advent

7:45 a.m.

Eucharist—Sermon by the Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell

8 a.m.

Parish Choir (Parish House Fourth Floor)

8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Nursery (Parish House Second Floor)

9 a.m.

Choral Eucharist—Sermon by the Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell

10 a.m.

Coffee Hour (Plaza, weather permitting, or Parish House First Floor)

Speaker Series (Togo West Parlor; see below)

Church School (Parish House Second Floor)

Youth Group (Parish House Second Floor)

Bible Study (Parish House Third Floor)

St. John’s Choir (Parish House Fourth Floor)

11 a.m.

Choral Eucharist—Sermon by the Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell (Watch live on Sunday)

Children’s Chapel (Children begin in church)


Coffee Hour (Parish House Lower Level)

Parish Lunch (Parish House Lower Level; see below)

Church Tour (Meet guide Richard J. Price at the front of the church near the baptismal font.)


The Speaker Series is held most Sundays from September through May at 10 a.m. in the Togo West Parlor on the first floor of the Parish House. An audio recording will be available on our website the week after each talk.

December 10: Simon Johnson, the Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund, will give a talk entitled “Power and Progress: The History and Economics of Major Technological Transformations.”

Johnson has worked on global economic crises and recoveries for 30 years and published more than 300 high-impact pieces in leading publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and Financial Times. His most recent book, Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle over Technology and Prosperity, explores the history and economics of major technological transformations up to and including the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence.

January 14: Alan Cooperman, Director of Religion Research at the Pew Research Center, returns to St. John’s to speak on current public opinion on religion. An expert on religion’s role in United States politics, he has also reported on religion in Russia, the Middle East, and Europe. Before joining Pew, Cooperman was a national reporter and editor at The Washington Post, foreign editor of U.S. News & World Report, and a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press.

January 21: All in for DC Kids. Communities in Schools of the Nation’s Capital (CISNCAP) is the Washington, DC affiliate of Communities in Schools (CIS). The mission of the nationwide CIS program is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Three speakers will describe the challenges facing many DC students, as well as the numerous supports offered to them by CIS. Rustin Lewis, the executive director of CISNCAP, has more than 20 years of experience building organizations that empower at-risk students. Monique Baker has been with CISNCAP for nine years, as a site coordinator at Cardozo School and now as the program director for all the DC CIS schools. Yohanna M’Bedgue started at Cardozo School as a sixth grader, having just arrived from Cameroon and speaking no English. This fall, she is a freshman at American University studying public health.


This Sunday at noon

Sunday lunch at St. John’s is a longtime tradition in which every member and every visitor can participate. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones—a time for fellowship and for hearing another’s story. The lunch is held most Sundays in the Parish House. Contributions of $5 for adults and young people 13 and over and $2 for children under 13 are requested to help defray the costs of the lunch. All are welcome. Valet parking hours are extended to 2 p.m. any Sunday with a parish lunch. Hosting this week: St. John’s Book Group.

Sunday Reminders


Children are welcome at all worship services.

A nursery for infants and children up to age three is available most Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Parish House.

Children in pre-K through fifth grade may participate in Church School on the second floor of the Parish House, most Sundays from 10 to 10:50 a.m.

Children from birth through grade 5 are invited to participate in Children’s Chapel, a special liturgy just for them most Sundays during the sermon at the 11 a.m. service. Parents may accompany their children, and are encouraged to do so for those younger than three.

Children’s Bulletins with coloring pages of stories from this Sunday’s scripture readings are posted here each week in time for Sunday services.

For more information about our children’s ministry, please contact the Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell.


Most Sundays from 10 to 10:50 a.m., middle and high schoolers are invited to Youth Group on the second floor of the Parish House for an exploration of life and faith with their peers.

Youth in sixth grade and above are also invited to join the Acolytes ministry. Acolytes assist with 11 a.m. worship by serving as torch bearers or crucifers and by helping set the altar for communion. To learn more, contact Nora Haugh.

For more information about opportunities for youth, please contact the Rev. Shawn Evelyn.


Sundays at 10 a.m.

This group gathers most Sunday mornings, using a hybrid approach, with some joining via Zoom and others in person. The group is studying the structure, audience, and themes of the Gospel of Matthew. Conversations explore the connections with the Sunday lectionary lessons and sermons. To receive class notes and Zoom login information, please contact Jack Reiffer.


You are invited to take a blank prayer card from the narthex (the entrance of the church) and write down something or someone you would like to pray for. You can hand your prayer card to the ushers when they take the collection, and your card will be blessed and prayed over during the week.


We look forward to welcoming you to worship, either in person or online.

Directions and Parking

Sunday Livestream and Bulletins (Materials posted in time for the livestreamed service)

Give to St. John’s

Submit a Parish Announcement (Deadline: Mondays at noon)

Add a Name to the Parish Prayer List

Visit for more information.

Find us on YouTube and Facebook.

Of Special Note

Thank you very much to those who have already pledged for 2024! As of Wednesday, December 6, we had received 234 pledges, for a total of $937,026. By making a pledge, you are helping ensure that the vestry and rector will be able to plan for another great year of ministry, music, outreach, and fellowship. We welcome all pledges, large and small—and, of course, if you are able to increase your pledge this year, it will make a big difference as we grow our programs to better serve our diverse parish community. If you haven’t already done so, you can register your pledge by returning the completed card that you received by mail last month or you can pledge online here. Thank you!

—Toby Stock, Chair of Stewardship


Here’s how to make your gift to St. John’s do a bit more

Using your company’s matching charitable gifts program is an easy way to make your gifts to St. John’s and the community we serve count for even more. To find out whether your organization has a matching gift program, please contact your company’s corporate giving officer, who can also help you navigate the gift portal and make sure that St. John’s is listed as a verified recipient. (You can also contact the Parish Office for assistance.)


You can direct some or all of your Required Minimum Distribution from an IRA to St. John’s before year’s end

We are grateful for all of the ways St. John’s members give to the church. If you are in a position to give from your retirement account, now may be a good time to consider directing some or all of your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) to a charity, including St. John’s as a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) as part of your annual giving or as a one-time gift. If you are interested and would like to learn more, please contact the Parish Office.


St. John’s is considering a trip to South Africa and the Kwasa College in July or August 2024 for individuals, families, and youth. In addition to spending time at Kwasa, past St. John’s trips have visited Johannesburg, a game park, and Cape Town. If you are interested or want to learn more, please contact Lisa Koehler.



This Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In the spirit of our Christmas gift drive, we will have a special gift-wrapping event on Saturday, December 9, for all of our Angel Tree Gift Drive donations. Whether you are great at wrapping gifts or not so good with your hands, come along. This will be a fun gathering with food and music to help us prepare to distribute gifts and make someone’s Christmas a little extra special this year.


Sunday, December 17, at 10 a.m.

Help us spread comfort and joy this holiday season by decorating cookies and making Christmas cards for those who could use some cheer. Materials provided. This activity will take the place of Church School. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to join in the fun.


Sunday, December 17, at 5:30 p.m.

Join the combined choirs of St. John's for one of our most beloved holiday traditions. Sung in the beauty of a candlelit church, the service begins with the singing of "Once in royal David’s city" followed by nine lessons interspersed with carols and choral anthems. Complimentary valet parking will be available starting at 4:45 p.m. The service will be followed by a reception in the Togo West Parlor. Invite your friends and family to join us for this special holiday offering. The service will also be livestreamed for those who cannot be with us in person.


Sunday, December 17

Please plan to deliver at least one Christmas poinsettia to fellow parishioners who cannot be present with us at worship at this time. The plants will be in the Parish House parlors on Sunday, December 17, paired with cards addressed to parishioners who live near you in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, D.C.



Third Thursdays at noon: Next meeting, December 21

This lectionary-based Bible study for men of all ages is convened by parishioner Carter Keithley, who holds a master’s degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. The group meets on the third Thursday of every month for a brown-bag lunch with fellowship and a wide-ranging, scripture-based conversation. Contact Carter for more information.



10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday of Advent—Sermon by the Rev. Shawn Evelyn

4:30 p.m. Pageant & Choral Eucharist with Choir (see details below)

7 p.m. Festal Choral Eucharist—Sermon by the Rev. Rob Fisher

10 p.m. Festal Choral Eucharist—Sermon by the Rev. Rob Fisher

Each service on Christmas Eve will be preceded by 30 minutes of carols and music—come early and get into the spirit! Worship begins at the listed time.


11 a.m. Choral Holy Eucharist—Sermon by the Rev. Will Morris

Please note: The Parish Office will be closed December 25–27 and January 1.


Sunday, December 24, at 4:30 p.m.

The annual Christmas Pageant will take place on Christmas Eve beginning at 4:30 p.m. Children ages three and up are invited to participate in the pageant as an Angel, Shepherd, or Friendly Beast. All children who wish to participate should attend the rehearsal on Saturday, December 23, at 10 a.m. Register your child here. Walk-ons will also be welcome, either at the rehearsal or on Christmas Eve. Questions? Contact the Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell. A prelude of anthems and carols will begin 30 minutes before the start of the service.


We invite you to make a contribution to support the special music that happens on Christmas Eve. Our goal is $3,000, and gifts of any size are gratefully appreciated. If you would like to contribute to the Special Music Fund for Christmas, please contact Director of Music Brent Erstad.


Deadline for listing in the Christmas order of service: Tuesday, December 12

The poinsettias and evergreens that enhance the beauty of the church and parish house at Christmastide are given by parishioners as memorials for those who have died and as thanksgiving for those who are living. Please consider remembering those who are important to you. The suggested donation is $50 per name. Your support of this important ministry is greatly appreciated.

To pay by check, please print and complete this form, enclose it with a check payable to St. John’s Church, and send it to the Parish Office, Attention: Finance, with “Christmas Flowers” noted on the outside of the envelope—or simply place the form with your check in the offering plate on Sunday.

You may also make your payment online. Choose “Special Flowers” from the dropdown menu. Under memo, list the name(s) and indicate whether your gift is in memory of or in thanksgiving for.



Wednesday, January 3, at 12:15 p.m.

Our monthly Midweek Music concert series continues in the new year with an organ recital by Janet Yieh, hailing from Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City. Midweek Music performances take place during the lunch hour on the first Wednesday of each month from October through May and are open to the public free of charge.


Sunday, January 7, at 5:30 p.m.

Join the combined professional choirs of St. John’s, Lafayette Square, and Christ Church, Georgetown, for the second annual joint service of Lessons and Carols for Epiphanytide. The liturgy will feature readings interspersed with seasonal hymns and anthems. Richard Webster, retired Director of Music and Organist at Trinity Church, Boston, will serve as guest conductor. All are invited to a reception in the Togo West Parlor immediately following the service. Complimentary valet parking will be available beginning at 4:45 p.m. The service will also be livestreamed.


Wednesday, January 10, at 7 p.m.

Mark your calendars for the monthly gathering of the Latrobe Young Adult Fellowship, an active and engaged group of adults, primarily in their 20s and 30s. We typically gather at St. John’s at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month; note this month’s change of date due to the holidays. Questions? Contact the Rev. Shawn Evelyn.


Thursday, January 11, at 7 p.m.

Join us in person at the church or via Zoom to discuss The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. This Booker Prize winner tells the story of an affluent Indian family and tragedy that befalls them. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie, and an event that changes the family forever. The book group typically meets on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.; note this month’s change of date due to the holidays. For more information, contact Janet Edmond.

Important Reminders


The next dates for Baptism and required pre-baptismal classes with the clergy at St. John’s are as follows:

Sunday, January 7, 2024, at 9 a.m. (Class: Saturday, January 6, 10 a.m.)

Sunday, February 11, at 9 a.m. (Class: Saturday, February 10, 10 a.m.)

Sunday, April 7, at 11 a.m. (Class: Saturday, April 6, at 10 a.m.)

If you are interested in baptism for yourself or a child, please contact Lisa Koehler. Please note that the parents or grandparents of children being baptized must be active, pledging members of St. John’s. Adults interested in baptism must also attend an Adult Inquirers’ Class, offered each fall and spring, and be active, pledging participants in the life of the parish.


We typically offer the following midweek services, except when precluded by a special event, funeral, federal holiday, or office closure:

Mondays and Fridays at 12:10 p.m.: Noonday Prayer

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 12:10 p.m.: Eucharist


The parish lunch tradition relies on volunteers to prepare and serve a meal. We encourage individuals, families, groups, and ministries to sign up to host just once between now and the end of May. Hosts may be reimbursed for expenses or receive a tax receipt. Not sure what’s involved? Want to claim an open date? Contact coordinator Holly Sukenik.

December 10—St. John’s Book Group

December 17

December 24—No Lunch: Christmas Eve

December 31—No Lunch: New Year’s Eve

January 7—Vestry

January 14

January 21

January 28


Want to get more involved at St. John’s? Hoping to make some new friends? Check out our ministries at and contact individual leaders from this list for more details or to sign up.


The flowers that enhance the beauty of the Church and Parish House are made possible by gifts from our community and are often dedicated to the memory of a loved one or to mark a birth or birthday, a wedding, an anniversary, a graduation, or another special event. To make a dedication, pick up a flower card at the entrance to the Church.


A pledge is a commitment of financial support over the course of a year, to be paid weekly, monthly, or on another schedule. By making a pledge to St. John’s, you enable us to plan for the work we will undertake in mission and ministry. It’s easy to make a pledge commitment online on our website. Thank you!

Prayer List

Our prayers are requested for the special needs and concerns of this congregation, especially:


From our parish: Judy Campbell Bird and Garry Dalby.

Friends and family of our parish: Martha Brame (Frances Tyler), Barbara Virginia Abalos Branes (Joanne Hutton), Bob Brow (Lauren Moriarity), David Cannon (Kat Kehoe), Billy Beardsley Conderman (Margo Arnold), Rhys Conlon (Frances Tyler), Freya Panduro Davis (Kaye Edwards), Bruce D’Innocenzo (Jim and Michele Mullins), Marilyn Dimock (Ann and John Gardner), Ed Eder (Joanne and Powell Hutton), Oliver Evans (Casey Evans), Reagan Eudy (Alfred Thesmar), Elaine Gravatt (Margo Wiegenstein), Grace Grifferty (Kerri Stelcen), Linda Young Gsell (Rick Young), Jackie Hanson (Brent Erstad), Morgan Hickenlooper (Livy More), Doug Holy (Joanne Hutton), Jack (Marta Cook and Cal Trepagnier), Latithia and Charles Jones (GeeGee Bryant), Charlotte Crowley Junilla (Margo Arnold), Jim Kasson (Rob Fisher and Sarah Wood), Olivia Kehoe (Kat Kehoe), Lynne Kessler (Mary and Carl Raether), Lori LaPoint (Brent Erstad), Elizabeth Lee (Clayton Crawford), William Markiewicz (Matthew Taylor), Jim Martella (Livy More), Tammy McCleaf (Matthew Taylor), Ann McClellan (Frances Tyler), Barbara and John McGraw (Mary and Carl Raether), Katy Montgomery (Nora Rigby), Bruce Mortimer (Nancy Mathis), Kathy Mullins (Jim and Michele Mullins), Cecile Richards (Livy More), David Row (Livy More), Nancy Stphenson (Ann and John Gardner), Scott (Marta Cook and Cal Trepagnier), Lou Thesmar (Alfred and Hilary Thesmar), Sallie and William Wilkie Thompson (Cecelia Thompson), Theresa Weber (Kerri Stelcen), Edward Leland Williams II (Virginia Bader), and Linda Woolley (Blount and Charlotte Stewart


Friends and family of our parish: Carol Bradley (Larry and Krista Bradley), Henry Farrington (Wendy J. Fibison), and Lisa Peña (Autumn Brown).


From our parish: Eve Atkeson, Jack Kinsey, Barney Malloy, Marcella Odom, and Becky Schergens.

Friends and family of our parish: George Corbin (Shawn Evelyn), Wilma Daubs (Kay Gilley), Pat Morris (Will Morris), Cawley Scott (Robyne Johnston), and Carl Wright (Frank and Nancy Klotz).


Friends and family of our parish: Ralph Stuart, December 5 (Tim Stuart).


Douglas Arnold, Charles Bader, Bob Beizer, Mary Jane Checchi, Linda Gaines, Annie Gardner, Debby Hailey, Kate Huffman, Joanne Hutton, David Kieve, Ailin Lovelace, Grant Lucio, Roslenn Richardson, Randall Roe, Sandy Sierck, and Richard Young


Alex and Jessica Sanchez.



Friends and family of our parish: Janie Abernethy (Elizabeth Lewis and David Abernethy) and Philip L. Faris (Caroline and Steve Faris)

Please click here to add, remove, or change the status of someone on the prayer list.

Do you need to publicize a parish event or a parish-wide notice? Click here for our online submission form. Please submit information three weeks in advance of the event to allow adequate time to spread the word.

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