Vol. 80 Issue 13 | Week of March 28-April 3, 2022

St. John’s, what now? After taking three weeks to observe our centennial by Remembering, Celebrating and Envisioning, what now? In these early days of our second century, I want to share with you a few aspects of my vision for our future. In the coming weeks, I will share more detailed perspectives. I look forward to conversations with you about your hopes, ideas, and initiatives as we journey into these first years of our second century with renewed vision.

As I look to the road ahead, I am re-energized and excited about our future. I hope you are also.
The road ahead will – as always – include turns, twists, unforeseen grace, unanticipated challenges, congestion, and vistas of beauty. We will travel this road together. We will learn together and change the world together. We will accomplish goals together and welcome new pilgrims on the journey together. One thing is clear: as we enter our second century and emerge out of a two-year pandemic, we have tremendous opportunities to serve God’s purposes in a changing world.
Here are six initiatives I am already working on:

  1. Increasing the number of members involved in worship planning and leadership. Kevin and I have been discussing this initiative for a few months and will be implementing pathways for increased participation in April.
  2. Updating and expanding how we share our message with the people of Charlotte. For several months, our Messaging and Media Resource Team has been working on ways to enhance our message through the digital media of this 21st century.
  3. Renewing our efforts in essential relational ministries of hospitality and outreach. These past two years of living in isolation amplifies our need for one-anothering.
  4. Magnifying our support of teachers and groups focusing on spiritual growth. I will be leading our Spiritual Growth Resource Team to resume the work we initiated prior to the pandemic.
  5. Clarifying ways staff and members work together to accomplish ministries. I cannot say enough positive words about how the parents of our youth and children have stepped forward to provide leadership during these interim months. As we search for ministers to join our staff team, we are also developing insight into how staff and the participation of parents and other members can best complement each other.
  6. Envisioning new ways to help our members connect their neighborhoods with our church. Although we live in a variety of areas and zip codes, people all around our city would be interested in aspects of a church like St. John’s if they only knew about us. I will initiate a few conversations related to identifying creative approaches for a new venture I want to try. As of now, I am naming this initiative ‘Affinity Roundels’ in reference to our sanctuary windows. I will initiate conversations in Broach Hall asking you to identify where you live or work (Elizabeth, Cotswold, Uptown, South Park, Plaza Midwood, Matthews, Weddington, Waxhaw, Mint Hill, Indian Trail, Eastover, Myers Park, Huntersville, Davidson, Mooresville, Harrisburg, Lake District, Pineville, Rock Hill, etc. Watch and listen for this conversation to begin in late April and May. Let’s create something new together.
And while we are taking steps into our future, we continue to do the many good things we are already doing. As you are being a servant church, remember to love one another by praying for one another, encouraging one another, and helping one another. And, please know that I love you and value your partnership in the ministry of God’s good news. To the future!
Due to Al Staggs and his wife testing positive for COVID this week, we are postponing the event that was to be held this Saturday. We will announce the future date from the rooftops when it is determined.
Saturday, April 30 at 6PM and Sunday, May 1 during worship
All are invited to attend an evening with Rev. Karen González, on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 6PM.

González is the author of

The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong (Herald Press, May 2019), which recounts her personal immigration story as well as the immigrants found in the Bible. Starting at 6PM on Saturday evening, she will offer a lecture and lead a discussion of her book in Broach Hall with a book signing to follow.

González will be our guest proclaimer on Sunday, May 1 during worship.
Purchase your $10 tickets for Karen González through Eventbrite here!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

St. John’s Baptist members and guests will be going to see the Charlotte Knights play the Norfolk Tides on Sunday, May 22, at 1:00PM.

The cost per ticket is $15.50 for the game only (food and beverage at your own cost). There will be an opportunity to ride the streetcar to the game, if the group is interested. Please join us for a casual time for fun and fellowship!

Deadline to sign up is Wednesday, April 20. 

Purchase tickets with the button below or contact Lee Gray.

Your registration is not complete until you receive a confirmation email. 

The Weekday School Memorial Fund recently received a donation in memory of Janie Kendrick. The fours and TK children made a thank you note for their generosity!

2022 Community & State Missions Offering

We have surpassed our goal by receiving $5,490 as of this week!

Thank you for your generosity!

Ken Sanford

Founding members of St. John’s were fortunate in launching the church during the boom time of the 1920s. They were able to build a beautiful and functional sanctuary and to see the congregation grow in numbers in that first decade. They were able to call a capable new minister, Dr. Chauncey Durden, to replace the Rev. Joseph Gaines who had helped lead them in their formative years. Dr. Durden, however, had hardly had time to unpack when the global economy shattered any complacency the congregation might have felt. Dr. Durden had preached his first sermon on April 7, 1929, and the stock market crash took place in October of that year.  

The Great Depression that followed presented a challenge during the decade of the 1930s that tested the church and helped shape its future. The financial burden the church undertook for its beginning was said to be large in proportion to the size of the congregation. When the depression hit, a $10,000 note was due and other notes with interest totaling $20,000 were hovering over the church as the new decade unfolded in 1930. That first crisis was overcome when Dr. C. N. Peeler presented a gift of $10,000 with the challenge that a like amount be raised from the congregation. The faithful membership met that challenge.

Yet, the depression continued and deepened to the point that bills were coming due without cash on hand, and salaries were going unpaid. The church discovered a solution with the adoption in 1935 of the Belmont Tithing Plan, created by a small church in Virginia.  As a result, 325 members of St. John’s accepted a plan of contributing ten percent of their gross income for a period of thirteen weeks. After the thirteen weeks ended, the church found itself in a much sounder financial condition. Church Historian Richard Young wrote, “The spirit of St. John’s was manifested and the response from the membership was so great that not only was the debt paid in full but $3,000 additional was spent for the redecoration of the church from current funds.” Roberts Lasater, who served as an associate minister, wrote that Bea Livermon told him she and her husband parked their car for three months to be able to contribute to the church. Many members of the church felt so blessed that they continued tithing in upcoming years, relieving the financial stress on the church. More than 100 continued to tithe after the immediate crisis was resolved.

Despite the financial crises of the 1930s, membership grew to 1,164 by 1940. The Sunday School grew along with the overall congregation, passing a total of 904.In 1940.   

Meantime, the population of Charlotte by 1940 passed the 100,000 mark, considered a significant milestone. Fortunately, Charlotte’s economic growth did not come to a complete halt as it did in many places during the depression. Houses were built even during the slowdown. 

The Great Depression called for sacrifices on many levels, but members of St. John’s were so dedicated to their faith that they put the church at the top of their commitments, setting the stage for a healthy church in the decades to come. 

Prayer Concerns, Thanks, Sympathy

Shirley Ballard, Martha Brown, Stan Brown, Caroline Godsey, Tish Philemon, Jerry Stephens, Don Swofford, Elma Thomas, Dee Turner

Congratulations to Sarah and Chip Cromer on the birth of their son,
Cooper Charles Cromer, on March 26.
Please email info@sjcharlotte.org to share a prayer request, thank you, or celebration.
Financial Ministry Plan Report
Week of March 22-28: $6,598
Income through March 28: $317,430
Annual 2022 Ministry Plan Budget Goal: $1,135,000

Community & State Missions: $5,490  
Goal: $5,000
Recipients – Wake Forest Divinity School & Refugee Support Services
You can make contributions, view your giving history and pledge status, as well as update your pledge and giving information anytime by accessing your personal Realm profile online or via the Connect App.
Ministers On-Call Schedule

March 28- April 3: Lee Gray
April 4-10: Dennis Foust
April 11-17: Kevin Gray
Staff Contact Information

Jenny Godfrey, Administrative Assistant - 704-333-5428, ext. 11
Dennis Foust, Senior Minister - 704-359-7234 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 12
Lee Gray, Minister for Congregational Care - 704-451-1309 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 15
Kevin Gray, Minister for Music and Worship - 803-524-0287 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 14
Jacquelyn McAbee, Church Administrator - 434-579-1177 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 20
Mallory Brown- 704-477-3349 (cell)