St. John's Family News

Week of September 12-18, 2022 | Vol. 81 Issue 36 | @sjbccharlotte

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Does Following the Way of Jesus Make a Difference?

by Dennis W. Foust, Senior Minister


A few years ago, a person who had left the organized church remarked, “I just decided that following Jesus doesn’t make any difference in my life. I am good enough without all those teachings about discipleship, loving God, and loving my neighbor.” What do you think? Do you find that following the way of Jesus guides you in your relationship with God? Does your discipleship make a difference in your life? Does discipleship help you build a better world?


Reflecting upon my conversation with this fellow, I had many thoughts. One of those was that the Jesus he was rejecting was not the Jesus who lives in my heart. There are so many concepts of Jesus floating around today that the historical Jesus is often unrecognizable. We are living in a time when information is prevalent, but the truth is intermittent. Persons who are truly committed to following The Way of Jesus must strengthen the roots of our discipleship, so we are able to produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Today's world cries out for disciples to take Jesus' lordship seriously.

The truth of the person, message, character, and teachings of Jesus is often kidnapped by special interest groups, political parties and candidates, lobbyists, athletes, and entertainers. Social causes from the extreme right to the extreme left have purported that Jesus is on their side. In addition, today’s growth of Christian Nationalism is more than an oxymoron; it is evil. It violates our Baptist principle of religious freedom for all persons and threatens foundational principles of our democratic republic.


Therefore, to highlight the nature and mission of Jesus Christ and to strengthen the foundations of our discipleship, I am offering three sermon series through the 2022-2023 Church Year on The Way of Jesus. These series are:

  • The Way of Jesus: Identity and Influence (September 18 – October 30);
  • The Way of Jesus: Attitudes and Actions (February 26 – April 2); and
  • The Way of Jesus: Victories and Visions (April 9 – May 21).

We will begin this series over the next two Sundays by considering foundational questions.

On Sunday, September 18, we will explore this question: ‘When we refer to Jesus as God’s Christ or The Christ, what do we mean?” My sermon asks, ‘Is Jesus Christ for You?’ We will read Matthew 16:13-20 and John 18:33-38.


The following Sunday, September 25, we will observe The Lord’s Supper as we consider the question, “Why does this world need a savior?” My sermon asks, ‘Saved from What, to What, for What?’ as we focus on God’s gift of salvation as a spiritual phenomenon

providing both personal and social transformation. We will read Luke 15:1-13 and John



Beloved, it is my firm belief that when we sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus,” we are confirming our commitment to be disciples – obedient learners. We are not mere supporters from afar or good humanitarians. Yes, following the Way of Jesus makes a difference. The Way of Jesus begins with his identity and our identity in relationship to him. The Way of Jesus includes his influence in the world and his influence on us, among us, and through us.

I’ll see you Sunday along the Way of Jesus.  

Please mark your calendars for the following important dates in September and October:

Sunday, September 18

  • Women of the Church Luncheon in Broach Hall

Friday, September 23:

  • Heritage Organ Concert in the Sanctuary featuring Maureen Howell, Noel Lance, Andre Lash, and Dr. Matthew Manwarren at 7:30PM

Saturday, October 15

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer portrayed by Al Staggs in the evening

Sunday, October 16

  • Clarence Jordan portrayed by Al Staggs, during worship
  • Craft & Bake Sale
  • Health Fair
  • CROP Walk

Wednesday, October 26

  • BUILDING A BETTER WORLD: In Solidarity with Refugees & Immigrants (see article below for details)

Please visit the Heritage display in the Broach Hall lobby honoring the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) in connection with the WOC luncheon



As we entered our search for our next Church Administrator, our Personnel Resource Team decided to cast the net wide. We are living through changing times as we wiggle our way out of this pandemic. News reports of the great resignation inform us that 50% of employees across the country have considered leaving their jobs. Prompted by this reality, we decided to take ample time in receiving resumes. More than twenty-five applicants sent their resumes to us. We set up interviews with eight and, after a second interview, were unanimous in our decision to offer the position to Jill Rackley.

Jill grew up in Clinton, SC and is a graduate of Lander University in Greenwood, SC with a degree in Business Administration and Management. She has more than twenty years of experience in office administration managing operations and human resources. Her broad understanding of financial accounting, business procedures, payroll, benefits, policy development and implementation, budgeting, supply management, vendor relations, insurance, audits, contracts, software management, income and budget forecasting, strategic

approaches to reduce expenses, preparation of financial reports, assuring compliance of all certifications, facility oversight, bank reconciliations, staff supervision, customer service, and communication clarity will provide professional knowledge that will continue the high regard we have for the person in this role.

Her references describe her with phrases such as, “extremely detail-oriented, highly organized, positive attitude, team player, and hardworking with a professional demeanor.” She has developed these skills in positions of regional operations manager and office administrator in dental and medical offices. 


Jill reported that, through prayer and reflection, she sensed the desire to express her skills in a setting such as a local church and came across our position through a mutual friend of one of our members. 

As you become acquainted with Jill, you will learn about her close connections with her family. She is very connected with her parents who live on a farm near Clinton, South Carolina, and her brother and sister-in-law who live near her parents. She is extremely close to her two nieces who are pictured with her above.

We look forward to Jill beginning her work alongside the staff on September 26. Please join us in welcoming Jill to the church staff as we begin our second century.

Salt Shakers: Getting to Know One Another

Salt Shakers is a church-wide effort to provide a setting for this opportunity to get to know one another a little better! Salt Shakers is designed to provide four evenings of dinner and conversation for any adult who wants to participate.

Four couples or single adults (different ages, interests, and stages in life...) will be grouped together to compose each Salt Shaker group. You may or may not know your dinner partners before your night out. But hopefully, by evening’s end, you will have made some new friends at St. John’s! This fall, we will offer four Salt Shaker dates: October 21 or 22, and November 18 or 19.

Click below to view a Salt Shaker brochure for even more details and a paper form you can print out and turn in. OR register on Realm with the button below. OR Email Lee Gray at with the heading “Salt Shakers.”

Register Online for Salt Shakers
Salt Shakers Brochure

Join St. John's for an Organ Extravaganza!

On September 23 at 7:30PM in the Sanctuary, St. John’s will celebrate one hundred years of witness and service through music.

We have invited two former organists, Dr. Andre Lash and Maureen Howell, back to our glorious Letourneau organ console to make our sanctuary sing! They will be joined by our current organists Noel Lance and Dr. Matthew Manwarren.

The concert will be about an hour and fifteen minutes in length and will feature a whole host of musical styles and keyboard ensembles. If you enjoy piano and organ literature this is going to be a concert you will not want to miss this concert!


Al Staggs Coming in October!

In 2020, Al Staggs was scheduled to come and present his one-person show, "A View from the Underside: The Life and Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer." Then, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated our world, causing us and so many others to cancel long-planned and highly anticipated events.

We had hoped to bring Al back in May of 2020. That, of course, did not happen.

Then, we had plans to bring him back in the spring of this year. Unfortunately, he had to cancel because of COVID.

Now, in the fall of 2022, two years after our original plan with Al Staggs, we finally have him coming to St. John's to present his dramatic play from the Sanctuary on Saturday, October 15 at 6PM. This play, "A View from the Underside," brings the life of one of the great heroes of the twentieth century, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to the stage. The audience is brought into the prison cell where Bonhoeffer awaits execution and listens to his struggles with evil, injustice, and God. Join us as Al Staggs presents his depiction of Bonhoeffer.

This is brought to you by the McLeod-Brown Fund of St. John's Baptist Church.

Purchase your $10 tickets TODAY through Eventbrite. Click the button below to purchase.

*If you purchased tickets for this event in 2020 or this spring, please contact Mallory for a special code to receive free tickets for October 15.

Al Staggs Tickets

Charlotte CROP Hunger Walk

Join us for the Charlotte CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, October 16!

The Walk has a flexible start at 1:30 p.m. (each group can begin walking as soon as they are ready).

We are walking around the field at Memorial Stadium, so you can walk as little or as much as you like, or come sit in the stands and cheer on the walkers. Micah Belong is our team captain and you can reach them at e-mail or by text or phone at 541-210-1357. Links to the signup page coming soon.

How are CROP Walk funds used?

Twenty-five percent (25%) of the funds raised are used locally by Crisis Assistance Ministry, Loaves and Fishes/Friendship Trays, and Second Harvest Foodbank of Metrolina to help people in need and at risk of hunger in our community.


Seventy-five percent (75%) of the funds raised support the efforts of Church World Service (CWS) to fight hunger and poverty across the globe by providing disaster relief, sustainable agricultural skills, water resources, education and innovative economic development for the most vulnerable communities.

Brave Enough: St. John's Women's Retreat

Women's Retreat

November 4-6, 2022

Blowing Rock Conference Center

The spiritual growth team of the WOC is excited to offer a retreat experience guided by the story of “The Woman with The Alabaster Jar.” Following her example, we will explore how to cultivate deeper intimacy with The Divine and deeper connectedness with one another.

This year, our speaker for the retreat will be our very own Lia Benton. Lia is an M.Div. graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte and a Candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church, USA. She has completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Atrium Health-CMC Main and is a practicing lactation consultant with Atrium Health. She is married to Kevin and is a mother to David, Tyler, and Nora Frances Benton. We are looking forward to hearing from Lia during the retreat.


$168 Triple Occupancy

$185 Double Occupancy

$248 Single Occupancy

(Prices include all meals at the retreat center!)

Those who are not lodging at BRCC have the option to pay $100 for meals and the program.

Please register and pay via Realm. If you do not want to pay online, follow these directions: 

  1. Write a check made payable to "St. John’s Baptist Church" then either:
  2. Give the check to Amanda Morrison in the church office.
  3. Mail checks to the church c/o, Amanda Morrison.
  4. Or drop checks in the "Sunday/After Hours" drop box outside Amanda’s office.

Note: If you do not receive a confirmation email from Realm, you have NOT completed your registration for this event.

Women's Retreat Registration

Craft & Bake Sale: October 16

The Needle and Craft Ministry will be having a Craft Fair & Bake Sale this fall on October 16 after worship service.  Our proceeds will be donated to a worthy cause not yet determined. Please put this date on your calendars.

We need your help with any Craft items or Baked goods you could donate. We also need some help with sewing some items we would like to offer.  We have some fabric and can cut the items out if you could help us with sewing them. Please call Tricia Miller (704-562-4818) if you can help.

From the Heritage Room: Controversy in the 1960s

One of the most significant events in the church's life occurred in the late 1960’s.

Prior to that time, the church had played a major role in the work of the Mecklenburg Baptist Association. As mentioned before, the church was asked by the Association in 1956 to sponsor a new congregation, Sunset Road Chapel, and remained a large financial supporter of that church until 1969 when Sunset Road voted to become autonomous. Along with Hickory Grove, St. John’s hosted the annual meeting of the Association in 1966. The minutes from that meeting indicate that St. John’s was one of the four largest financial contributors to the Association- First Baptist ($4,800), Pritchard ($4,000), St. John’s ($3,700), and Myers Park ($3,300).

However, long time relationship became highly divisive when St. John’s adopted a new baptism policy on March 19, 1967, which, in part, stated the following:

1) We consider baptism to be an act of obedience following conversion. Such baptism is “believer’s baptism”.

2) We will baptize new converts by immersion, the mode used in New Testament times, and which most fully portrays the symbolic meaning of baptism, death, burial, and resurrection.

3) In the reception of candidates from other denominations, we are primarily concerned about the reality of the candidates’ experience of conversion and commitment. We will accept a candidate’s baptism as valid, without regard to mode, if it was an act of obedience following conversion.

4) If a candidate’s baptism was other than believer’s baptism, the candidate will be immersed.

5) We intend this affirmation of belief and practice shall lead to a deeper appreciation for historic and present meaning of baptism in the life of the believer, and in the life of the church.

Read more here

Prayers, Thanks, and Celebrations

  • Tarsha Williams, Arnold Philemon, Martha Brown, Joyce Ehrenberger, Sue Veach, Sierra Leone 

Financial Ministry Plan Update

  • Weeks of July 1 - 15: $36,820
  • Income through July 15: $707,395
  • Annual 2022 Ministry Plan Budget Goal: $1,135,000

Minister On-Call Schedule


  • Week of September 12-Haley 
  • Week of September 19-Dennis
  • Week of Oct. 3-Kevin
  • Week of Oct. 10-Haley

Staff Contact Information

  • Haley Blackwell, Minister for Youth & Young Adults - 620-515-3558 (cell)
  • Dennis Foust, Senior Minister - 704-359-7234 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 12
  • Lee Gray, Minister for Congregational Care - 704-451-1309 (cell)
  • Kevin Gray, Minister for Music and Worship - 803-524-0287 (cell)

  • Chloe Hall, Children's Choir Director
  • Noel Lance, Organist
  • Matthew Manwarren, Associate Organist
  • Amanda Morrison, Ministry Coordinator - 704-333-5428, ext. 11
  • Lydia Olmstead, Weekday School Director - 704-333-5428, ext. 39
  • Mallory Brown, Media Coordinator - 704-477-3349 (cell)
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