Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures: Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Letter from the Senior Warden
Dear members of the congregation, The vestry is in the process of creating work groups to plan for resuming in-person services when we are able to meet in the future. We will be reviewing plans from each work group during our April Vestry meeting. Here are the work groups along with the facilitator for each group.
- Planning for small group gatherings - Barbara Wysock is leading a workgroup to organize informal small group gatherings as we reconvene in-person activities at church. She will communicate with members via the St. John’s gmail group and the newsletter as the workgroup organizes gatherings.
- Seating plans to allow for social distancing - Randy Patterson
- Promoting safety requirements - Sharon Hart
- Planning for nursery - Georgena Taylor
- Communication - Ed Cyzewski
- Future planning for streaming services: - Andrew Green - Bill Allbritten - John Hart
I will provide the overall plan and details to the congregation once the committees complete their work.
Search Committee Update The Search Committee met with Canon Amy Coultas and the Bishop recently. They provided insight and guidance. The meeting was very helpful as the committee continues to discern the best candidate for St. John’s.
Q. What is Holy Week? (In “normal times”)
A. Holy Week is the most significant week of the church year, beginning on Palm Sunday (March 28th this year) and ending on Easter Day (April 4th). Holy Week has been celebrated since the 4th century in the sanctuaries of the holy places in Jerusalem, as documented by the pilgrim Egeria. The Book of Common Prayer provides special readings for each day of Holy Week and special services for most of these days.
Palm Sunday, which is the last Sunday in Lent, and is also known as the Sunday of the Passion, commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. During the early years of the church (c. 381 BCE), the people, waving palm or olive branches and singing psalms, including Psalm 118, processed from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. A special Palm Sunday observance was generally accepted throughout the church by the 12th century. In the Episcopal Church, Palm Sunday begins with The Liturgy of the Palms (BCP, 270-272), in which the congregation gathers at a place “apart from the church” (at St. John’s, we gather in the Memorial Garden). Palm branches are blessed and distributed to those present. An anthem is sung and one of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is read. The congregation then processes into the church singing one of the hymns appointed for this occasion. The gospel used on this day is one of the three synoptic accounts of Jesus’ Passion (this year we would use Mark’s Gospel) and the congregation would participate in the reading. The service continues with the Eucharist.
Maundy Thursday is part of the Triduum, or three holy days before Easter. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum novum, or “new commandment” in John 13:34: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus “on the night he was betrayed” and this Eucharist is the only one which is celebrated between Wednesday in Holy Week and the Great Vigil of Easter. The foot washing was also referred to as “the Maundy.” A ceremony of the washing of feet follows the Gospel and homily (BCP, 274-275). At St. John’s, the Maundy Thursday service begins with an agape meal, a simple meal of bread, cheese, fruit, wine and juice, the type of meal that Jesus might have shared with his disciples. This meal, which is held in the parish hall, is followed by the Liturgy of the Word and the washing of feet. The congregation then moves to the nave for the Eucharist. Additional bread and wine, which will be used for administering Holy Communion from the reserved sacrament on Good Friday, is consecrated. Following the Eucharist, the reserved sacrament is placed in the tabernacle located in the chapel in the back of the nave, and the main altar is stripped and washed and all decorative furnishings are removed from the church. Members of the congregation keep vigil from the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday service until Friday morning.
Good Friday is the day on which the church commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a day of fasting and special acts of discipline and devotion. Two services are held during on Good Friday. At noon, the Way (or Stations) of the Cross, a devotion to the Passion of Christ which recalls a series of fourteen events at the end of Jesus’ life from his condemnation to his burial, would take place in the Memorial Garden. This service, which is found in The Book of Occasional Services, includes a reading, a versicle and response, a collect and a time for meditation for each station. The liturgy for the evening service includes John’s account of the Passion gospel, a solemn form of intercession known as the solemn collects and the veneration of the cross (BCP, 276-282). The Eucharist is not celebrated, but Holy Communion is administered from the reserved sacrament.
Holy Saturday commemorates the resting of Christ’s body in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. As on Good Friday, the altar is bare and there is no celebration of the Eucharist. There is a Liturgy of the Word followed by the funeral anthem “In the midst of life” and the service concludes with the Lord’s Prayer and the Grace (BCP, 283). Holy Saturday ends with the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
The Great Vigil of Easter is the service that begins sometime between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter morning. The Vigil marks the passage from Lent to Easter and Christ’s Passover from death to life in the Resurrection. Our participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus is the center of Christian faith. As we hear the “Word” and participate in the “Sacraments” we share in the Paschal Mystery. The Great Vigil is the fullest proclamation of that saving mystery. Christians in the early Church would gather in the hours of darkness ending at dawn on Easter to hear scripture read and to offer prayer. The nightlong service anticipated the baptism that would come at dawn and the Easter Eucharist. Easter was the primary baptismal occasion in the ancient Christian Church; this practice linked Christ’s death and resurrection to the understanding of baptism.
The service begins in darkness and consists of four parts: The Service of Light (the kindling of new fire, the lighting of the Paschal candle and the singing of the Exsultet); The Service of Lessons (readings from the Hebrew Scriptures, interspersed with psalms, canticles and prayers); Christian Initiation, or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows; and The Holy Eucharist with the administration of Easter Communion.
The kindling of a new fire in darkness is symbolic of the new life in Christ proclaimed by the resurrection. The Paschal Candle is lit from this new fire and brought into the darkened church; as other candles, including those held by individual worshippers, are lighted from the Paschal Candle, “the true light that enlightens everyone “ (John 1:9) is spread over the whole body of the faithful. By its light, the Exsultet, the poetic prayer for light which celebrates “the victory of our mighty King” (BCP, p.286) is sung. The Good News of Easter, begun at the singing of the Exsultet, is amplified in readings, psalms and collects which follow in the Liturgy of the Word. The celebration of Holy Baptism takes place after the reading of the lessons or after the Easter Gospel has been proclaimed. Baptism is structurally and theologically the climax of the Great Vigil. As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and our own participation in that resurrection, we add new members to the Body of Christ. The Great Vigil culminates in the celebration of the Easter Eucharist. As the altar candles are lighted and “Alleluia, Christ is Risen” is sung, we complete the passage from Lent to Easter and our passage with Christ from death to life.
The Ven. Rose Bogal-Allbritten Deacon Worship Committee
Join the Sunday Coffee Hour or Adult Forum Without Internet
Do you know you can join us for the virtual St. John gatherings even if you do not have internet at home? There are phone numbers for Zoom meetings in addition to the internet links. You can join by calling in and you will just be missing the video feed. We hope to hear you on the next coffee hour gathering!
For calling please follow these instructions:
1) Call the phone number for the meeting you want to join (listed below)
2) Enter the Meeting ID when prompted
3) No participant ID is needed so enter # when prompted
You can call the parish office at 270-753-6908 a few days before if you forget where to find the number.
Join us April 12th
Please join us for Game Night on Monday April 12th at 6 PM via Zoom. We are going back to trivia this month. But we will add a twist by allowing you to have a choice of the decade of the trivia. You don't need anything extra to play and we will make this fun for all ages. Here are the meeting details:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83483395832?pwd=bFZaN0VQQWsraW0ySTExVFpoa2QwZz09 Zoom Meeting ID 834 8339 5832Passcode GameNightPlease call or text Bill Mills at 270-350-2822 with any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!
Blood drives at St. John's in the New Parish Hall from 11am-4pm on the following dates: You can pre-register for your appointment to donate here.
Love is the Way Adult Forum Book Study
We will study Bishop Michael Currie's recent book, Love is the Way, for Adult Forum on Wednesdays from 7 to 8 pm, April 7 to May 12. Love is the Way offers a message of hope, inviting readers to embark on a journey of living the way of love. The study guide we will use is designed to lead small groups in a six-week journey of reflecting on the stories and thoughts of Bishop Curry to discover the gifts God has given us to live the way of love and bring hope to the world. You will be able to participate in Adult Forum even if you do not read the book or get behind in your reading!
Book Order: If you want Janie Green to order you a copy of the book, please contact her as soon as possible via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the church office (270-753-6908), otherwise it is available from most booksellers. If Janie orders you a copy, the book costs $17.33 and if you are able, please contribute that amount to the church. (The book is also available in Kindle format.)
Study Guide: The study guide is available in pdf format by contacting Janie at the church office or Barbara Wysock (email email@example.com). If you need a paper copy, please contact Janie at the church office.
Zoom Meeting Information: The Zoom meeting information is below and can also be found on the St. John's website under Christian Formation – Adult Forum.
Heavyn and I are very excited to start another phase of Rite 13 studies in 2021! We will be continuing our lessons on Spirituality and beginning lessons on our Prayer Life. We hope that all of us learn more about prayer and maybe even take it home to our families!
Classes will continue to be via Zoom, beginning Wednesday, January 13th, at 7:00 PM. Each class will be approximately one hour, each week through May 5th.
So far this semester we have met via Zoom and now have moved into a hybrid model to best suit our members. We are meeting in person socially distant along with the Zoom meeting available for our members who may want or need to be remote.
We have been listening to and discussing a podcast this semester called The Way of Love with Bishop Michael Curry and discussing our thoughts and things we have learned from it.
We are also incorporating activities and fun nights in which we play games or just hang out, connect and catch up with one another.
All Murray State Students are welcome!
Zoom meeting information for the Spring 2021 semester
On Sunday, April 4th, our Easter special collection will be split between the Discretionary Fund and the General Fund. Checks should be made out to St. John’s with “Easter Offering” in the memo line. You can either mail the checks to St. John’s or drop them off at the office. If you choose to donate electronically, please select the “Easter Offering” option on Easy Tithe (found on St. John’s website).
The blessing box has a new section added to it! We will now be including basic hygiene products along with feminine hygiene products. The new addition is a clear plastic waterproof box that latches closed right beside the blessing box.
Donations are always appreciated as we try to expand the blessing box ministry in this way. If you would like to donate items or have questions please contact Janie Green and she will help you.
Blessing Box Update
The items on the list below are the most frequently requested items, but all non-perishable foods are accepted. If you prefer not to shop and would rather donate to the blessing box fund, you can do so via Easy Tithe at the below button and the Parish Admin will do the grocery shopping for you with the donated funds. Thank you in advance, for the generosity that is one of the hallmarks of St. John's. If you have questions please contact Janie.
For several logistical reasons, the blessing box will be returning to single/loose items rather than meal kits for the time being.
Mac & Cheese; Mashed Potatoes with brown gravy packet mix
Peanut butter & jelly with saltine crackers
Jar baby food- variety of ages and flavors
Hamburger helper meals that can use chicken as the meat option
Canned spaghetti o's type products
Are you curious about how to submit information for the newsletter?
If you want to submit information to be included in the newsletter, please send your submission to Janie the parish administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will include it in the next month's newsletter if appropriate. Please contact Janie with any questions.