St. John's Episcopal Church

Welcome to the E-Notes!

November  29, 2017 

Advent through the eyes of those who waited
This Sunday, December 3, begins the four week season of Advent, a time of waiting and preparing for the coming of the Christ child. It is also the start of a new liturgical year, as we end Year A and start Year B of the lectionary cycle (the Sunday readings). For the next four Sundays, we will take a look at those who waited for the birth of the Messiah - the writers of the book of Isaiah, John the Baptist, Mary and Elizabeth. This class will meet in Carol's office at 10:50 AM. Come join us - no sign up is necessary.

Cleaning and Greening the Church
In preparation for Christmas, we will "clean and green (decorate)" the church on Saturday, December 16 at 9:00 AM. Please bring work gloves, rags and cleaning supplies. After we clean the church, we will decorate it for the Christmas services. If you would like to donate to the purchase of poinsettias and greens to decorate the church, please use the envelopes that are on the back table in the church.
Christmas Food Baskets - Assembly and Delivery 
While some are "cleaning and greening", we will need other folks to put together 12 food baskets for those in need. The baskets will be delivered after the service on Sunday, December 17. We will need folks to help Marie McDermott shop for the food, put the baskets together, and deliver the baskets. Please let Marie know how you can help. We are still collecting funds for the Christmas baskets. Envelopes are on the back table.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day service schedule
Sunday, December 24 - 9:30 AM service, Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 24 - Christmas Eve services - 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM (special music 
      begins at 9:30 PM)
Monday, December 25 - Christmas Day service - 9:30 AM
Sunday counters needed
We are looking for a few new counters to add to our roster.  On a rotating schedule, two counters count the weekly offering and take the deposit to the bank.  If you want to learn more, please contact Marie McDermott at  
Interested in Traveling to the Holy Land?
Trip:  January 29 - February 7, 2019  - 'Footsteps of Jesus' Program through St. George's
Have you ever thought about visiting the holy sites in Israel?  We have found a cost effective, educational, and affordable way to make it happen!  The program we are using is through St. George's College, Jerusalem.  Parishioners from St. John's here in Centreville as well as Emmanuel in Delaplane, VA will be traveling together.  

Planning Timeline:
January/February 2018 - Confirming Attendees
Spring 2018 - Joint Parish Educational Meeting at St. John's in Centreville
Fall 2018 - Joint Parish Educational Meeting at Emmanuel in Delaplane
December 2018/January 2019 - Joint Parish / Send off Dinner
Trip:  January 29 - February 7, 2019  - 'Footsteps of Jesus' Program through St. George's

Interested? Talk with Andrew Wade or Walt Cooner for more information.
Congratulations go to Gail and Jerry Weirich on the birth of their grandson, Mark Owen Umana, who was born on November 17. Mark joins older siblings Martin (5) and Emily (3).
Please sign up to provide altar flowers, coffee hour snacks, and help with Sunday services
You can sign up online! Just scroll further up this page to the sign up block. Click on "altar flowers" or "coffee hour" or "altar servers" and sign up for the date you want. We really need YOUR help. If you would like to be a lector, crucifer, usher or Lay Eucharistic Minister, please let Carol know. Training is provided.
St. John's Recycling Fundraiser
St. John's is conducting a fundraiser that helps protect the environment and helps you clean out those used electronic items that clutter closets & drawers! Nothing to buy! Nothing to sell! Just bring in the used electronic items that you have replaced or that have broken. We will package the items and send them to Eco-Phones for recycling. Eco-Phones pays us for these items - working or not. Below is a list of what we are collecting:
cell phones
ipads & tablets
inkjet cartridges
Eco-Phones will not accept desktop computers and is no longer accepting laptops.
Bring your items to the church and place them in the "Eco-Phones" box in the breezeway. If you have any questions contact Penny Parker at 703-791-3482 or 
"Our Neighbor's Child" 
Giving Tree will be set up in the Breezeway  
again, this Sunday, December 3 -  
only 3 ornaments are left!
This year, St. John's is helping 15 children have gifts to open on Christmas!
Gifts must be returned  
to the church on or before Sunday, Dec. 10.

as LEM, Crucifer, Lector, Usher, Verger, Torch Bearer at a Sunday Service.

click here:
You will receive an automatic reminder a few days in advance. ( If you would like to become an altar server, please see the Rev. Carol Hancock.)

for coffee hour after the Sunday Service in the Breezeway.

 click here: 
You will receive an automatic reminder a few days in advance. Coffee hour is an important part of fellowship - staying connected with each other and welcoming newcomers.

for a Sunday service throughout 2017.

click here:
You may sign up here to donate the flowers to be used on the altar for each of the Sundays in 2017. Click to read additional info before signing up.

We can prepare our hearts and minds
by reading ahead for the Sunday Service lessons 
December 3, 2017
Psalm 80:3  
Restore us, O God;  
let your face shine,  
that we may be saved.    
 The First Sunday of Advent 
The First Reading:  
Isaiah 64:1-9 
Isaiah calls out to God on behalf of the people. They have spent long enough in exile and oppression; they are desperate to be rescued and to be cherished; they see how their own behavior has brought them here, and they are ready to repent. 
The Psalm:  80:1-7, 17-19  
The Epistle:  
1 Corinthians 1:3-9 
The Corinthians are encouraged by the opening words of Paul's letter: that God's Holy Spirit is active in their midst and is a witness of their faithfulness. 
The Gospel:
Mark 13:24-37 
There are sequences to nature, and there are signs of changes coming, but for the coming of the Son of God, there is no sure sign. Jesus gives warnings to be always prepared and vigilant. 

FROM 10:50 - 11:50 am 

(Rm. 205) 
During the Service
   Joint Sunday School
  Each week, St. John's children join
 with three of our Ministry Partners: 
Fairfax Chinese Christian Church, 
Wellspring United Church  of Christ
& Grace Baptist Church 
 for Sunday School 10:30  - 11:30 A M .  
We  offer 3 classes:
  PreK: Rm. 205;
 K - 6th grade: R m. 207/208;
 7th - 12th grade: Rm 206
          to see artworks and text relevant to this Sunday's readings 
Annual Pledge Campaign
We have received 38 completed pledge cards so far for 2018. If you have not yet returned your pledge card, please do so as soon as possible.
                                                    "The many rings of giving thanks"
                                                         by Tom McDermott, Treasurer
It seems natural to write about giving thanks in November; after all it's a national holiday with turkey and all the fixins. The origin of thanksgiving as taught in the schools is the famous story of Pilgrims, Indians, harsh winter and coming together to celebrate and thanking God for getting them through it all. Giving thanks is not a foreign item in today's society.
When I think of giving thanks, I think in terms of concentric circles. Each circle or ring revolves around how important the ring is to me personally and spiritually. The closer the ring, the more it's important;
·         The furthest ring out is the Frivolous ring and it's almost an automatic reflex. I say thank you as I was taught good manners as a child: Would you like a cookie? Yes, thank you! comes immediately to mind as an example of the frivolous circle. Very little thought or commitment is involved.
·         Next ring closer is the Factual ring where we truly are thankful for the actions of others.   In this ring, the thank you is not an automatic response like the frivolous ring, but it is usually based upon specific content with little personal involvement. Thank you for cleaning your room without being asked comes to mind as an example. We are thankful but it's based upon something we wanted.
·         Next ring closer is the Fellowship ring. This is the ring where we share ideas, judgments and philosophical ideas.   Into this ring goes giving thanks for the volunteers of Saint John's, the ministry groups, the youth leaders, this year's vestry, coffee hour hosts and all others working behind the scenes for the common purpose.
·          The next closest ring is the Feeling ring where we not only share ideas and core beliefs but also at times express the reasons behind our beliefs. We let others know how important they are. In this ring I say thank you for many close friends and family that influence my life.
·         The closest and last ring is the Freedom ring. In this ring I place my spouse and immediate family that allow me to share feelings, mood swings, and deepest dreams without fear of rejection. In this ring lives intimuce - the Latin for "innermost". It is this ring that gives definition to the word love - to be completely known, vulnerable and not be rejected.
How I give thanks is proportionate to where in the ring I assigned the item's value.   Each of us assigns "value" individually, and "value" can be reassigned at any moment in time. An example would be going to a restaurant. If the host is cordial, an automatic thank you (value) on a refill of water could be enough; if the service is good, a thank you and a modest tip may be the "value". If the meal was fabulous, perhaps an over generous tip might be the "value". The value assigned (the thanks) is up to each of us and as such "value" then differentiates where one invests ones time talent or treasure.
 The question then for each of us to decide is into which ring do we place God and St. John's? To God and St. John's we give thanks through the S word -Stewardship. Admittedly, each time I hear the S word I cringe. So I'm asking to substitute for a moment the word value. Looking at the rings as outlined, where does St. John's fall in our ring of importance? Is St. John's role to be just a church visited on Sundays, or is its role to build a community? The more value the relationship has, the more time, talent and treasure is needed to sustain it.   How much "Value" (the thanks) are we willing to invest? Is God in the same ring as St. John's or is he closer or farther away? What will it take to put them both in the inner ring?   These are personal value decisions for each of us to make through thoughtful prayer. May I recommend this thanksgiving the prayer: Thank you Lord, for these thy Gifts, and those gifts which we are about to receive, through thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Every Wednesday evening, we have a service of Holy Eucharist and healing at 6:00 PM. The service is about 30 minutes. It is a perfect alternative for those who cannot come to church on Sunday mornings, as well as a good spiritual boost in the middle of the week. Come join us!
Be tender to someone today; and you will be the face of God. Perhaps someone will be tender to you, and you will see in them the face of God.

My email address is,
and the office number is 703-803-7500.  
May our ministry together spread God's love to all whom we encounter.

       - Carol
       The Rev. Carol Hancock

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