Thanksgivings for the Diversity of Races and Cultures
O God, who created all people in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by ever widening circles of fellowship, and show us our presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Reverend Zebulun Treloar
I am excited about working together with you as your rector, to lift up the voices of the oppressed and to have a lot of fun. I love community, food, fellowship, and relationship with all of God’s people, from all walks of life and backgrounds. I love hearing and sharing stories. I want to be a part of your lives, during times of joy and times of sorrow. I want to know the babies, the elders, and everyone in between. I want to be a part of community life, interwoven into the great work you are already doing. I want to share our ministry and mission with others. I want the entire community of Murray to know who we are and that there is a place for them at St. John’s.
A little about myself: I’m a pastor’s kid from Iowa City, Iowa. My parents and brother still live together in Iowa City. My mother went back to seminary when I was ten and has worked on and off in ministry since that time. She’s been a United Methodist pastor, an adjunct professor at a community college, a Friends Quaker pastor, a realtor, and now is a hospice chaplain. In each of these positions, she has done ministry. She strives to help people always, and her love of Jesus and her neighbor have deeply influenced me.
I came out my last semester of college at Nebraska Wesleyan University and explored my own identity as an LGBTQ+ Christian in that space. My heart is with all those who wonder how God could use them and their identities. I’m lucky that the question of whether my family would support me was never an issue, but I know what it feels like to question whether the Church will accept you, whether there is a place for you. I went to seminary at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, directly after undergrad and became an Episcopalian after my first semester. I was drawn in by the focus on prayer, scripture, and Eucharist alongside an inclusivity that allowed me to be completely myself. I found my own voice and place in God’s Kingdom in relationship with The Episcopal Church and LGBTQ+ Christians.
I want to be that person for young adults and anyone who is going through times of deep questioning, exploring their feelings with them, and affirming their sacred worth. I want to celebrate the beauty of a rainbow life while mourning the pain that comes from living in a world that does not readily embrace our unique identities. I have learned so much about love and the need for societal change on my own personal journey as an LGBTQ+ person, and I want to help others on their journeys, especially at a time when they are just learning how to be an adult as well. Inclusive campus ministry can enhance and even save lives, both of those who are LGBTQ+ and those who are allies. I want to be a part of that life giving work.
I met my husband, Jamie, while I was in seminary in Atlanta. We were legally married by my mother, with my father and brother as witnesses in Iowa in 2014, and had a church blessing in June of 2015, just a couple weeks before the Supreme Court’s ruling for marriage equality. I had just completed seminary, and we moved to the Des Moines Metro. I was quickly involved in ministry in the area, both within the Diocese and ecumenically.
In 2016, I co-founded a group called Breaking Bread with my friends, Rev. Lydia Bucklin and Rev. Lizzie Gillman. We met at places like breweries and even the Iowa State Fair for conversation and Eucharist, practicing radical hospitality. This ministry is probably not unlike the PB&J ministry that you currently have.
I have also worked closely with the organization, Center for Social Ministry. I have taken and facilitated many JustFaith modules through the Center. I am a big fan of JustFaith and the way their programming opens eyes and hearts to the needs of the world, inviting individual and communal change. JustFaith’s national headquarters is in Louisville, and their executive director, Susie Tierney, was previously the executive director of the Center for Social Ministry, so I know her well. I look forward to bringing a JustFaith ethos and programming to St. John’s.
I was ordained to the transitional diaconate in 2018, the same year that I was completing a chaplain residency at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, the local trauma center in Des Moines. That means that I spent a year in chaplain training, visiting people who were sick, caring for families during traumas, and as their loved one took their last breath. I learned much about coming alongside and supporting others during this chaplaincy and my transitional diaconate.
I became a priest on May 25, 2019 and after my chaplaincy training ended in August, joined the staff of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Des Moines, where I had been raised up and gone through the discernment process, as the assisting priest. During my priesthood at St. Paul’s, I have started family and children’s programming for our small group of young families, with children ages 0-7. I helped smooth the transition as our dean went on medical disability and a new provost came in, just a couple months before the pandemic changed the world. During the pandemic, I have helped record services and made videos for VBS, planned for outdoor worship, connected with congregants through mail and phone calls, done Bible study, provided pastoral care for high risk individuals, developed regathering plans, and worked with the Diocese through our Regathering Task Group, which develops and modifies the Diocesan regathering plan based on current research on the pandemic and reviews congregational plans. My final task at St. Paul’s is getting a new website online.
I’m a planner and organizer, so I already have two important tasks I want to accomplish when I arrive in Murray in June. The first is to get to know all of you. I want to connect with you and learn about you, your family, and your passions. The second is to get Communion to all who desire it. I know many of you have been without physical Eucharist for over year, and I want to end that fast. So look for calls and emails from my office. I will be working hard to connect with you.
May God bless all of us and fill us with faith and grace as we learn and grow together during the upcoming years. Amen.
Q: What does the Paschal Candle symbolize and why is it still lit?
At the Easter Vigil, the service begins in darkness, symbolizing the darkness of the sepulcher that held the crucified Christ. A new fire is kindled and the Paschal candle, a very large white candle symbolizing the risen Christ, is lit from the new fire. The candle is inscribed with a cross, the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, and the current year. This inscription reinforces the point that Christ is present among us now and through eternity. As the candle is inscribed, or the inscription is traced with a stylus, the following words traditionally accompany the inscribing: “Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end. His times are all times and ages; to Christ be glory and dominion through endless ages. Amen.” Five grains of incense are inserted into the cross with wax nails, representing the five wounds of Christ. As the candle is carried in procession into the dark nave, so Christ lights our way out of darkness. The candle is carried by the deacon, who pauses three times and sings or says, The light of Christ,” and the people respond, “Thanks be to God.” We are not merely recalling an ancient time, but rather sharing the message that the Risen Christ is present here today, with us and for us. After the candle is carried into the nave, its flame is used to light the rest of the candles including those held by members of the congregation. This action symbolizes the spreading of the light of Christ throughout the congregation and the world. The Exsultet is sung by the deacon after the Paschal candle is placed in its stand near the ambo. The Paschal candle is lit for all services during the Great Fifty Days of Easter, from Easter Day until the Day of Pentecost (May 23rd this year).
After the Day of Pentecost, the Paschal candle is placed in its stand near the Baptismal font as a visual reminder that in our baptism, we are crucified and resurrected with Christ. The candle is lighted at each celebration of Baptism, at which time small baptismal candles are lit from the Paschal candle and presented to the newly baptized. For funerals, the Paschal candle is lighted and placed in its stand at the head of the casket or near the container holding the cremains during the funeral rite. In a visual manner, the Paschal candle symbolizes our death and resurrection with Christ.
The Ven. Rose Bogal-Allbritten, Deacon
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 May 10th
Please join us for Game Night on Monday May 10th at 6 PM via Zoom. We will play trivia again and start with the ice breaker questions. You don't need anything extra to play and we will make this fun for all ages. Here are the meeting details:
There are upcoming blood drives at St. John's in the New Parish Hall from 11am-4pm. You can pre-register for your donation appointment here.
Librarian: Andrew Green
Upgrades to the Parish Library
The Parish Library has recently undergone some changes and "upgrades". There is a formal "Check-Out" system, with either a physical slip or filling out the Google Form to conserve paper.
The contents of the library have also been added to a Google Sheet so that you can see what is in each section, it will also be regularly updated if books are added or checked out. There are also free rosaries available next to the check-out slips.
May, June, July Edition
Forward Day By Day's Now Available
Both large print and regular print copies of Forward Day by Day's Daily Devotionals are available in the old parish hall for pick up. If you would rather have a copy mailed to you please contact Janie at the office and she will make sure a copy gets to you. Please indicate if you would like regular or large print when you request a mailed copy.
A Letter to St. John's
Love is the Way 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.
It is amazing that three years has already gone by since we started Rite 13! We will be beginning the last segment of our Rite 13 lessons in Sexuality. These lessons will take us to the end of our year and also the end of this Rite 13 class. However, this class will graduate to the J2A (Juniors to Adults) class next year.
Classes continue to be via Zoom, Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. If you have any questions, please contact me at (270) 816-4024 or Heavyn Taylor at (270) 317-6103. Heavyn and I look forward to seeing you each Wednesday for the next few weeks!
The semester is coming to an end as we are entering finals week, and with that ECF meetings are coming to an end for the semester as well. We have had a great semester and were able to start out via Zoom and transition to in person meetings with Zoom incorporated as well. This semester has been a learning experience as we had to adapt with the pandemic as we went along and tried to maintain as much normalcy as safely as possible.
As usual we will be taking a break from meeting during the summer but we will be back and ready to go for the Fall Semester! More information will be provided at a later date as the officers begin planning for what the fall semester will look like for ECF and what exciting things we plan on doing.
During the month of May, our monthly special collection will be designated for Laundry Love, the ministry that provides laundry assistance in the form of help with the cost of using the laundromat as well as detergent and fabric softener. We serve people in two locations: Murray-Calloway County and Cadiz-Trigg County. We share this ministry with First Presbyterian Church and First Christian Church in Murray as well as several congregations in Cadiz, but the this ministry is costly (approximately $1,700 per year) and our only funding comes from your generous donations. If you wish to help with this ministry, checks should be made out to St. John’s with “Laundry Love” in the memo line. If you would like to donate online, St. John’s Easy Tithe will also have a Laundry Love option during the month of May.
Twenty-five years ago, in July 1996, long-held hopes for a garden at St. John’s finally materialized. On a very small budget, workers—made up mostly of skilled volunteers, commenced the hard labor. Under the direction of well-known garden designer Dr. David Slawson, they built forms, poured concrete walks, built the gate, and formed the central mound, according to David’s plans. Construction continued throughout the fall.
During the following spring and summer, benches (from dead trees on the property), stepping stones, water basin, and stone lanterns were added. Trained in Japanese gardening ethics, David believed in responding to the natural environment rather than imposing conventional ideas of what a garden “should” be. Consequently, he sought out native plants and wildflowers, many also donated or seriously discounted, as well as local limestone. Much remained to be done, but on All Saints 1997, St. John’s formally dedicated the Memorial Garden.
Next came the construction of the spiral galaxy, which David based on the actual Whirlpool (M51) galaxy. With its curving stone wall and large central stone, this paved space provided additional needed room. Lighting and sound systems followed. Over time, land north of the garden was developed, still under David’s direction. He retired in 2012, just as the last stone walk connecting the Garden to the church offices was laid. In those 16 years, he had overseen, had input, and/or physically worked on every aspect of making the Garden.
A perfectionist, David could be demanding. And volunteers are known to have opinions. As one long-term volunteer said years after the major work was completed, “There were times when we all wondered if there would ever be a garden, but you look out there now and you see: there’s nothing that doesn’t belong.” David enormously enjoyed hearing about that exchange. He said, “St. John’s was probably my most difficult project, mostly because of working with so many volunteers.” Then he added, smiling, “And probably my favorite--mostly because of working with so many volunteers.”
During this time he taught classes at Carleton College, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Smith College, and Murray State University; he spent a semester teaching in Kyoto. In addition, he had created numerous gardens of all shapes and sizes across the country, including the four-acre “Garden of the Pine Wind” within Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs Arkansas. St. John’s is fortunate to be included in that company. Thank you, David. Rest in peace.
Margaret Vaughn, St. John’s member and former Garden volunteer, Nashville, Tennessee.
Note: Shortly after his retirement, David and I drafted for St. John’s archives the history of how the Garden was built. It is hoped that story, with photographs, will soon, finally, appear in print.
Blessing Box New Addition
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.