“That in all things God may be glorified!” - 1 Peter 4:11
November 28, 2023
St. John's Episcopal Church
to love, to serve, to grow in Christ
From the Eagle's Nest
An Advent Examen
This Sunday marks the First Sunday of Advent. It is not only the first day of the Church’s new year, it also the start of the season of hope, preparation, and expectation for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ at Christmas.
While Advent and Lent are not quite the same, they are both seasons of preparation and readiness. It is a time when, in the midst of the busy-ness of our lives, we begin to make room for God in Christ under the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.
Here is a simple tool that can help you make Advent a season of hope and preparation.
An “Examen” is a spiritual exercise that helps one look back on one’s day and to look forward to God’s hope-filled future. Most commonly associated with St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, it is also common in Anglican and Celtic spirituality. The Examen invites us to find God in all things in simplicity, honesty, and without judgement.
Finding God is all things means we are invited by God to pay careful attention to how the Holy Spirit is moving in each moment of our daily lives. We have to take a magnifying glass to the seemingly ordinary, seeking to encounter the Divine.
That’s why the Examen is such a powerful prayer! In it, we’re invited to encounter God, express gratitude for the gift and gifts of each day, the give thanks to God for the people we have interacted with that day, and to commit to make up for any mistakes we may have made.
Sunday, December 10 (Second Sunday of Advent), immediately following 9 a.m. service - Greening of the church.
Sunday, December 17 (Third Sunday of Advent): An Advent Service of Lessons & Carols.
Sunday, December 24, 4 p.m. - Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Family service with music and children's chat.
Monday, December 25, 9 a.m. - Christmas Day Service. Quiet Holy Eucharist.
NEWS, MINISTRIES, AND UPCOMING CHURCH EVENTS!
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St. Paul's Lutheran Church Advent Retreat
St. Paul's Lutheran Church will be facilitating conversation groups around Jan Richardson's 2023 Advent retreat material. St. Paul's is offering this at a deeply discounted rate as an extension of our contemplative outreach. We hope you will consider joining us on-line or in-person, starting the week of December 3. Conversation group times in-person and on zoom and other details are posted on St. Paul's website: Click here for Advent Retreat 2023
The angel giving tree is up in the church entrance. The tree contains tags with needs and wishes from 49 needy Belcher Elementary students. All gifts must be returned to the church wrapped with the tag attached on Sunday 12/10. Please remind anyone taking a tag to sign it out on the sheet by the tree so we can be sure all gifts are returned on time.
It is time for us to prepare our order for the florist and make the necessary arrangements to decorate our Church for Christmas. Flowers to beautify our Altar for Christmas may be given as a memorial to loved ones or in thanksgiving for blessings received. We ask for a minimum donation, if able, of $25 per plant.
Click HERE for the form. Please complete and return by Sunday, December 17 with a check payable to St. John’s and marked “Christmas flowers.” You may place the form and check in the offering basket or bring/mail them to the church office. Donations received by December 17 will be acknowledged in the Christmas bulletins. The forms are also available on the table at the entrance to the church.
Fr. Hugh Bell, the Rev. Canon Robert Warren, and Canon Andrew Gerns from coffee hour this past Sunday
Fr. Warren and his wife Vera were visiting St. John's from their home in the southwest of Ireland. Before retirement, he was the Rector of the Parish of Taney in Dublin which was at one time partnered with St. John's and is the subject of the painting seen in the parish hall.
The Case for Love: Bridging the Divide
Tuesday, December 5th
In this film produced by Grace-Based Films, the team travels across the country, interviewing everyday people from various walks of life and different ethnicities striving to live out a call to love selflessly. Well-known figures including weigh in on how love can bridge the divides we face today. Bishop Curry then helps bring the conversations into context to close the documentary.
This workshop will focus on the film's premise, how it came into focus, what the filming was like, and what we hope viewers take away from it with its national theatrical release on January 23, 2024.
Or we will be watching it here in the Parish Hall if you would like to watch it here.
Service for Pru Fabricand
There will be a service to celebrate the life of Pru Fabricand at St. John's on Saturday, December 9 at 2pm. A reception in the Parish Hall will be held immediately following the service.
Walk in Love: An Introduction to Episcopal Beliefs and Practices.
Take a journey through The Book of Common Prayer, the Christian life, and basic beliefs of our faith, in a class led by Canon Gerns, Karen Campanero, and Bob Courdway. We will walk through the liturgical year, the sacraments of the church, the habits of daily prayer, and the teachings of Anglican Christianity. See how our prayer shapes our belief and our lives and how our beliefs lead us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, as we prepare to make (or renew) a mature, adult, public commitment to follow Jesus when Bishop Douglas Scharf of Southwest Florida comes to St. John's on Sunday, January 7th!
We will be using the book "Walk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs and Practices" by Scott Gunn and Melody Wilson Schobe. We will meet on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 - 8 p.m. starting on October 25th.
Schedule: Wednesday evening, 6:30-8 p.m.
6, 13, & 20 December
The class will also be available via Zoom.
This class will prepare folks for the Rite of Confirmation, and for those who are coming to the Episcopal Church from another tradition; but this course is also for anyone who wishes to deepen their life in Christ or just wants to learn more about the Episcopal Church!
To learn more, please speak to, call/text, or e-mail Canon Gerns!
DOK is sponsoring an Advent Meditation/Reflection during the four weeks of Advent. The following people will lead the meditation/reflection at 6:30p eastern standard time. Each meditation/reflection is approximately 10-20 minutes long.
November 28th- Bob Courdway - Hope
December 5th- The Rev. Sandy Rogers - Faith
December 12th- Jane Searcy-1st VP National DOK - Peace
We will be decorating the church for Christmas on Sunday, December 10, immediately following the 9am service. Volunteers needed! Lunch will be provided.
Wednesday Morning Bible Study
We begin Advent with the study of Mark’s Gospel. This continues our practice of following the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday service. We begin at 10:00am and take time at the beginning of each class to discuss the daily Forward Day by Day reading, after we open with a prayer and reflection. Our discussions have been lively and we usually have six to eight in attendance, with a couple joining us via Zoom. There is always time for fellowship and snacks!
The Zoom link below is provided for those who can not attend in person.
The Lunch Pals program pairs students with PCS volunteers who meet for 30 minutes once a week during the student’s lunch. Through one-on-one interaction and attention, this program encourages students to be more communicative, practice good behavior, and invest in their learning by providing a supportive adult figure to students. A volunteer mentor supports a positive attitude towards school in order to achieve academic success and to help the student experience improved self-esteem.
Mentors must go through a 1-hour long training workshop and register as a Level 1 volunteer with Pinellas County Schools. Mentor workshops are hosted across the county and online.
Here is the link for register for a mentor workshop or see other dates/times/locationsHERE
You can register as a volunteer at this link: HERE
Thank you for being a dedicated supporter of Belcher Elementary School and Pinellas County Schools as a whole.
The Thrift Shop is looking for volunteers to work the front desk. There are two shifts - Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm or 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. (Through August 31, Tuesday & Thursday, 9:30 -12:30pm). Please contact Caroline Barnett
if you are interested. (727) 459-3650.
The Thrift Shop is in need of donations. If you have any small kitchen counter top appliances, kitchenware, dishes, tools, small household items, etc., please drop them off in the donation shed at the back of the church property.
The Chapel is open for anyone wishing individual prayer. Everyone is welcome to go to the Chapel to receive prayer with a member of The Daughters of the King. The Order of the Daughters of the King is an Order of Women that take vows to Extend Christ’s Kingdom by Prayer, Service and Evangelism. Prayer requests are held in strict confidence. Please feel welcome to come to the Chapel and Pray.
Join us in the Parish Hall immediately following the 9am service!!