The Word

News from St. John’s, Lafayette Square

The Week of Sunday, October 1

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Your pets are invited to this Sunday’s 9 a.m. service for a blessing. (And if they don't travel well, feel free to bring a picture or a stuffed animal instead.)

This Weekend

The Feast of Saint Francis

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 with Blessing of the Animals—Sermon by the Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell

10 a.m.

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

Church School (Parish House Second Floor)

Youth Group (Parish House Second Floor)

Parish Lunch 101 Tutorial (Parish House Lower Level; see below)

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)


This Sunday at 9 a.m.

Humans of all ages and pets of all varieties are welcome! This year, the Blessing of the Animals will take place within the context of the 9 a.m. service. Leashed and crated pets are invited into the sanctuary for worship that will last less than an hour. The Blessing of the Animals is often held in early October to coincide with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4), the patron saint of animals and the environment.


This Sunday at 10 a.m.

If you have never participated in preparing Parish Lunch or have gotten fuzzy on the details, please join Holly in the kitchen for a tour, a review of the process, and menu ideas. For more information, contact Holly Sukenik—or simply stop by the kitchen on Sunday and inquire.


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.

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)

Visit for more information.

Find us on YouTube and Facebook.

Of Special Note


Tuesday, October 3, at 11 a.m.

Christopher Warren Danello died on September 26 at age 33. Chris attended Maret School, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. After clerking for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Chris joined the law firm of WilmerHale and later the Federal Reserve Board, where he was serving as a senior attorney at the time of his death. The grandson of former St. John’s rector John C. Harper, Chris loved St. John’s. He regularly attended the 11 a.m. service and was a reader, an active member of the Latrobe Fellowship, and an Assistant Head Usher. He is survived by his parents, Daniel and Betsy Danello, and his younger siblings, Liza, Sam, and Mike, A service will be held at St. John’s on Tuesday, October 3, at 11 a.m., with a reception in the Parish House to follow.


From September 29 to October 10, a delegation from St. John’s, including the Rev. Rob Fisher, is traveling in the Holy Land. Please keep them in your hearts as they experience the sites where Jesus walked, that they may grow in faith and return with fresh inspiration to live into their calling as disciples of Christ.


Stewardship season is here! Along with the slight nip in the air, the changing colors of the leaves, and the whiff of pumpkin spice latte at your neighborhood Starbucks, the Stewardship Committee is once again gearing up for our pledge campaign. You should receive a letter from us in your mailbox within the next week asking for a pledge for 2024. We hope that you are encouraged by the vibrant, growing, and re-energized ministries here at St. John’s and will help us to do even more together in the next year. A pledge of any amount is welcome—and if you are in a position to increase your pledge in 2024, it would be much appreciated. You can pledge online here or use the card that comes to you in the mail. Thank you!

—Toby Stock, Chair of Stewardship


You can direct some or all of your IRA’s Required Minimum Distribution to St. John’s

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 before the end of the year. If you are interested and would like to learn more, please contact Lisa Kirchenbauer, Chair of the Planned Giving Committee.

Click here for more about planned giving at St. John’s.


The Refugee Committee is furnishing an apartment for a newly arriving refugee family, and we’d love to have your help making it a home. Here are three ways to get involved:

Purchase home essentials through our Amazon wish list.

Donate new or lightly used furniture—We are still in need of a queen or double bed frame and standing lamps.

Help us move larger furniture—specifically, by collecting donated items over the next few months and setting up the apartment when the time comes.

Please contact Lacy Broemel for more information or to volunteer.


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.

October 1—Parish Lunch Kickoff and Tutorial

October 8   

October 15   

October 22—Kwasa Reception

October 29—No Lunch: Marine Corps Marathon

November 5   

November 12—New Members Reception

November 19—Sisters at St. John’s

November 26—No Lunch: Thanksgiving Weekend

December 3   

December 10   

December 17   

December 24—No Lunch: Christmas Eve

December 31—No Lunch: New Year’s Eve



Wednesday, October 4, at 12:15 p.m.

Our monthly Midweek Music concert series resumes with a performance by Baltimore-based organist Jordan Prescott. The program includes selections from J.S. Bach’s seminal collection of organ works titled Clavier-Übung III. Midweek Music performances take place at 12:15 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month from October through May and are open to the public free of charge.


Wednesday, October 4, at 7 p.m.

Join Latrobe for a short service and fellowship. This month, we’re cooking an Italian dinner to share; we will eat a portion, and the rest will be reserved for our unhoused neighbors who attend Grace’s Table. Please respond by Monday, October 2, to let us know if you are coming—but don’t let a lack of RSVP stop you from joining if your schedule allows! The Latrobe Young Adult Fellowship is an active and engaged group of adults, primarily in their 20s and 30s. We gather at St. John’s at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. Contact the Rev. Shawn Evelyn for more information and to RSVP.


Thursday, October 5, at 7 p.m.

Join us for a discussion of Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel by Bonnie Garmus on Thursday, October 5, at 7 p.m. in person at the church or via Zoom. This is the story of single mother Elizabeth Zott, a “brilliant chemist in a man’s world—1960s America—as she becomes an unlikely cooking-show host and the role model her daughter deserves.” In November we will discuss March by Geraldine Brook. For more information, contact Janet Edmond.


Saturdays, October 14 and 28, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Would you like to be baptized, confirmed, or received into membership in the Episcopal Church at St. John’s? If so, please join the Fall Adult Inquirers’ Class. This two-day class will meet on Saturdays, October 14 and 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Rev. Rob Fisher, Rector of St. John’s, will lead the sessions.

All are welcome, whether you are a newcomer or a longtime parishioner. This is an opportunity to learn more about our Christian faith, the Episcopal tradition, and the ministry of St. John’s Church. To register, please contact Lisa Koehler.

Those who participate or who have completed another inquirers’ class are invited to celebrate with a Service of Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows at Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, November 4, at 10 a.m. Adult baptisms will take place at St. John’s on scheduled Sundays; see upcoming dates under “Baptisms” below.


Saturday, October 14, 4–6 p.m.

Join in an afternoon of fall fun at the church. We’ll have pumpkins to decorate and games to help build community among kids and caregivers. Dinner provided. RSVP to the Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell.


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.

October 15: Shibley Telhami, a noted Mideast expert, will speak about recent developments in the region. Telhami is a nonresident senior fellow with the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, and the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. He has also served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of State, advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, advisor to Congressman Lee Hamilton, and member of the Iraq Study Group.

October 22: The Rev. Sharron Dinnie, head of Kwasa College in Springs, South Africa, will speak about the work of the college. Kwasa, St. John’s partner in South Africa for 19 years, supports education and other services to 600 children living in an informal settlement near Johannesburg.


A delegation from Kwasa will be here October 16–24

We are excited to report that the Rev. Sharron Dinnie, head of the Kwasa College (a.k.a. the Kwasa Centre) in South Africa, is bringing a small delegation from the school to visit St. John’s in a few short weeks. You will have a chance to meet them on Sunday, October 22, when they will attend services, meet with members of the Church School, and offer the Speaker Series presentation. Come learn about the 19-year partnership we have had with Kwasa, which supports education and other services to 600 children living in an informal settlement near Johannesburg.

If you want to help provide a warm welcome to members of the delegation, contact Holly Sukenik. We are looking for folks to help provide transportation or meals and accompany them on tours of Washington, or who are able to set up meetings with government and nonprofit officials who might be interested in Sharron’s work to bring hope and education to young people in South Africa.


Wednesday, October 18, at 5:30 p.m.

Evensong is sung by the St. John’s Choir on the third Wednesday of each month from September through May, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and followed by a reception in Togo West Parlor. Parking validation is available in the C & C Parking Garage at 818 Connecticut Avenue, NW. A validation ticket can be obtained from an usher before or after the service. The service will also be available via livestream.



Third Thursdays at noon: Next meeting, October 19

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.

Important Reminders


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


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

Sunday, November 5, at 9 a.m. (Class: Saturday, November 4, 10 a.m.)

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.)

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.


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!


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.

Prayer List

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


From our parish: Linda Gaines and Carl and Mary Raether.

Friends and family of our parish: Barbara Virginia Abalos Branes (Joanne Hutton), Bob Brow (Lauren Moriarity), Sandra Brown (Becca Brown), David Cannon (Kat Kehoe), Billy Beardsley Conderman (Margo Arnold), Mary June Cook (Marta Cook and Cal Trepagnier), Ed Eder (Joanne and Powell Hutton), Reagan Eudy (Alfred Thesmar), Pamela Evelyn (Shawn Evelyn), Elaine Gravott (Margo Wiegenstein), Grace Grifferty (Kerri Stelcen), Linda Young Gsell (Rick Young), Jackie Hanson (Brent Erstad), 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), Tammy McCleaf (Matthew Taylor), Barbara and John McGraw (Mary and Carl Raether), Katy Montgomery (Nora Rigby), Bruce Mortimer (Nancy Mathis), Carl Raether (Allie Raether), David Row (Livy More), Scott (Marta Cook and Cal Trepagnier), Lou Thesmar (Alfred and Hilary Thesmar), Sallie and William Wilkie Thompson (Cecelia Thompson), Theresa Weber (Kerri Stelcen), and Edward Leland Williams II (Virginia Bader)


Friends and family of our parish: Bob N. (Wendy J. Fibison) and Amy Tejral (Jill Dowell).


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).


From our parish: Christopher Danello (September 26).


Marta Cook, Nicole Crochet, Oliver Evans, Juliet Faris, Deborah Fuller, Susan George, Chuck Hagel, Peter Hailey, Budd Hallberg, Dolph Hatfield, Meg Hauge, Alex Hergenroeder, John Herzog, Matilda Jeffries, Wande Johnson, Kenny Kraft, Clayton Lewis, Aurie Lucio, Nancy Martin, Thomas Andrew McKinnon, Michael Neufeld, Zachary Northcutt, Chris Wall, and Alexander Williams


Jeanne and Keith Arnold, Kate and Nick Hailey, Budd and Susie Hallberg, William Mackey and Elizabeth Oblinger, Jim and Michele Mullins, Michael and Nicole Neufeld, Dixie and John Noonan, and Edward and Lacey Szczepanik.



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

Please help us keep this list updated: Contact us with corrections, additions, and updates on status.

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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