Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Saturday, June 20, 2020

From Mother Vicki

From Mother Vicki

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:34-39 NRSV

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

This week has brought some surprising shifts in our common life.  We are grateful for the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows DACA young people (dreamers) who have grown up in America to remain here.  It is fascinating to note that over 29,000 are health care workers, such as doctors and nurses, who have been heroes in fighting this current COVID-19 pandemic.  And then there is the Supreme Court ruling coming in Pride Month that bars discrimination against LGBT workers.  These two decisions help our country to be a more just society.

Meanwhile the protests continue here and abroad as people refuse to go back to the way things have been, the old “Normal.” Systemic racism and white privilege, unacknowledged for so long, are now very clearly in the public eye, thanks be to God.  We who are Christians know that if are following Christ, we must change.  Love for all people must define our actions.
This Juneteenth feels different than others.  More people understand the profound significance of this celebration for the end of slavery and what it means for America.  In a Diocesan zoom meeting on Friday about antiracism, Carla Burns, our wonderful leader who has been chairing the Diocesan Antiracism Task Force for 10 years, said very succinctly at the end, “We are all racists.” Her point was that we live in a society that has provided one sector of our population with incredible privilege that has not been acknowledged as such. This bias is everywhere, even if we are not aware of it, and is over 400 years old. Being aware is critical to the changes that are needed.   The Diocese will be encouraging us to read a book together (this will be rolled out officially on July 5th) entitled How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.  As one of the participants said this morning, the only way to begin any long journey is with a single step.

Happy Father’s Day!  What a joy it is to thank all of our fathers for the gift of life and family.  One website points out that Father’s Day celebrates “fatherhood and male parenting.”  That’s a wonderful way of reminding us of all the good men who have taught, mentored and parented us throughout our lives.  Fatherly love and motherly love are different.  We rejoice in all that we learn of God’s love for us from good parenting and mentoring.

That’s also what makes this Sunday’s Gospel reading particularly difficult.  This is a day when we want to say only loving and kind things to our Fathers, but Jesus is making sure that his disciples understand that they cannot idolize or worship their father or mother, son or daughter more than him.  Our love for God has to be at the root and source of all our love for others, otherwise we will never understand what real self-giving love is, and what life on earth is really all about.

We are so very proud of our high school seniors who have just graduated or will be graduating!  Briana from Lincoln High School and Alicia from Roosevelt High School Early College.  Elijah will be finishing up this summer from Gorton High School. Hooray!  This is a huge and wonderful accomplishment.  Congratulations!

We continue to pray hard for change in our country, for Black Lives Matter, and for compassion and a new understanding of the sins of systemic racism and white supremacy and the energy and courage for systemic change.  Thanks be to God for the courage of protestors throughout the country who will not let down on the insistence that this is the time.  Please continue to pray for the profound healing that will be needed in order to right those things that have been very wrong.

Please check out our new website at stjohnsgettysquare.church.  Jan Valentine, our Administrative Assistant, has worked hard on this important new platform for Saint John’s Church.  The fact that it ends in dot church will help people to find us among the many, many "Saint John's" institutions throughout our country that include schools, hospitals, etc.
For this Sunday, the Third Sunday after Pentecost, Jason Slayden begins our service with Hymn 686, “Come, thou fount of every blessing” (I love the third verse, “Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee….”) The selection from Jeremiah, a prophet who struggled mightily in his relationship with God, and verses from Psalm 69 (both read powerfully by Tara Seeley) speak about suffering and our difficult struggle on earth.  Our newest reader, Karen Marchewka (thanks Karen!) reads the rather complex passage from Romans reminding us that “we are buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  The Gospel reading from Matthew continues with Jesus’s teaching his disciples about what is more important—our relationship with God.  We end our service with Hymn 675, “Take up your cross, the Savior said, if you would my disciple be.”   Verse 2 is especially helpful right now,” Take up your cross, let not its weight fill your weak spirit with alarm; his strength shall bear your spirit up, and brace your heart, and nerve your arm.”

We ask your prayers this week for our country in the midst of celebrations, a pandemic and protests for protection and compassion for each other, with continued healing prayers for all who are ill, especially for Anthony Giannone Sr. and Lynette Lewis as well as the Montero family. And thanks to Deborah Holcombe, whose beautiful poster on the Hudson Street fence reminds us, “Protected is better than infected.” “Please wear a mask.”

Please join us this Sunday, June 21th, Fathers’ Day, for our worship service that will be sent out by email early Sunday morning. If you know of someone who would like to be on our email list, they can sign up at on our new website stjohnsgettysquare.church or yonkerschurch.org (scroll down and at the bottom of the lighter green column on the right side, click on "Sign up for our Email List"). If you are NOT receiving these emails and had been in the past, please sign up again!  It probably means that you hit "unsubscribe" by mistake.  As it turns out with this particular system, we cannot unsubscribe you, and cannot subscribe you back again if that has happened.

Please feel free to join us for our Zoom coffee hour, which we are holding on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to about 12:10 p.m.!  It is a joy to connect with you! You can always call in even if you can't get Zoom. The link is below.
Stay safe, dear people of God, wear your masks, and keep the faith!
Blessings, joy and much love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria Sirota
mothervsirota@gmail.com; cell phone 443 257 9963

Sunday Worship

Hymn 686

1 Come, thou fount of every blessing,
   tune my heart to sing thy grace!
   Streams of mercy never ceasing,
   call for songs of loudest praise.
   Teach me some melodious sonnet,
   sung by flaming tongues above.
   Praise the mount! Oh, fix me on it,
   mount of God’s unchanging love.

2 Here I find my greatest treasure;
   hither, by thy help, I’ve come;
   and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
   safely to arrive at home.
   Jesus sought me when a stranger
   wandering from the fold of God;
   he, to rescue me from danger,
   interposed his precious blood.

3 Oh, to grace how great a debtor
   daily I’m constrained to be!
   Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
   bind my wandering heart to thee:
   prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
   prone to leave the God I love;
   here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
   seal it for thy courts above.

Words: Robert Robinson (1735-1790), alt.
Music: Nettleton, melody from A Repository of Sacred Music, Part II, 1813; harm. Gerre Hancock (b. 1934)

Opening Sentences
Read by Mother Vicki


Jeremiah 20:7-13
Read by Tara Seeley


Psalm 69:8-11;18-20
Read by Tara Seeley

Epistle Romans 6:1b-11
Read by Karen Marchewka


Gospel Matthew 10:24-3
Read by Mother Vicki

Sermon by Mother Vickihttps://youtu.be/AfBvnQlo7Yg

Prayers of the People and Benediction
Read by Mother Vicki and Bob Sirota


Hymn 675

1 Take up your cross, the Savior said,
   if you would my disciple be;
   take up your cross with willing heart,
   and humbly follow after me.

2 Take up your cross, let not its weight
   fill your weak spirit with alarm;
   his strength shall bear your spirit up,
   and brace your heart, and nerve your arm.

3 Take up your cross, heed not the shame,
   and let your foolish heart be still;
   the Lord for you accepted death
   upon a cross, on Calvary’s hill.

4 Take up your cross, then, in his strength,
   and calmly every danger brave:
   it guides you to abundant life
   and leads to victory o’er the grave.

5 Take up your cross, and follow Christ,
   nor think till death to lay it down;
   for only those who bear the cross
   may hope to wear the glorious crown.

Words: Charles William Everest (1814-1877), alt.
Music: Bourbon, melody att. Freeman Lewis (1780-1859); harm. John Leon Hooker (b. 1944)

Prayers of the People Sunday, 21 June 2020, The Third Sunday after Pentecost

Prayers of the People    Sunday, 21 June 2020, The Third Sunday after Pentecost

With all our heart and with all our mind, let us pray to the Lord, saying, “Lord, have mercy.”

For the peace of the world, for the welfare of the Holy Church of God, and for the unity of all peoples, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For our Bishops Andrew, Allen and Mary, and for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For our President, Congress, for the leaders of the nations, and for all in authority, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

For this City of Yonkers, for every city and community, and for those who live in them, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

For the poor and the oppressed, for the hungry and homeless, for the unemployed and the destitute, for prisoners and captives, and for all who remember and care for them, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering and for all who have asked our prayers including all who are marching in peaceful protest and all who are in danger by virtue of their labor (including Anthony, Nathan, Aaron, Michael, Olivia, Mary, Amy, Elaine and Ashley), all who have COVID-19 and their family and friends, for continued healing for Kathleen and Gustavo Aguilera Torres, Carmen Hanchard, Martha Wright, and Raul Chavez, and for all who need God's healing grace and presence including Lynette Lewis, Anthony Giannone Sr., the Montero family, Val DeBride, Shelly Henderson, Kelly Chadwick, Aida Carino, Mary Sullivan, Stevan Cavalier, Karen Marchewka, Al DeFeo, Deacon Luis Rivera, Bill Randolph, Lisa and Squire Osborne, Lara Pilla, Claudette Buffalo, Naomi Henderson, Shaadira and Roland Smith, Wendy and Corey Maxwell, Carla Jean DeBride, Felix Benzan, Tom O’Connor, Ruby Dixon, Joan Smith and The Rev. Canon Claudia Wilson. We pray for Anthony Johnson, a Postulant for diaconal ordination, for all who have lost their jobs and all of those who are struggling to pay their rent and other expenses, for the Scavenging Workers’ Children in India, and for all who have been treated less than justly due to the color of their skin, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For the blessings you have bestowed on us including the gift of Fathers and all men who have mentored and taught us, for the Emancipation Proclamation and the hope of justice for all, for Alicia and Briana who graduated from Yonkers High Schools this week!!—with prayers for Elijah who will finish up this summer, for those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries this week, for the birth of Michael Richard Sullivan (Angie’s great nephew), and for this neighborhood of Getty Square, all who live and work here, all who come here for goods and services, for The Sharing Community and Westhab, The Salvation Army, YWCA and the YMCA, the Yonkers Fire and Police Departments, for Saint John's Riverside Hospital, Saint Joseph's Hospital, for all hospitals, nursing homes and group homes, and all who work to help others, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For all who have died unjustly at the hands of the police, including Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among many others, and for the more than 121,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, and for all the departed, including Hampson Sisler, Milton Williams, Vicki Salvatore, Ralph Tremonte, Cory Tabb, Jackie McKernan, and Dennis Drap. We also lament those who have died over the centuries due to slavery, lynching, racism and the unequal and unjust treatment of peoples in this country, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For deliverance from all danger, violence, oppression, and degradation, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

That we may end our lives in faith and hope, without suffering and without reproach, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

In the communion of Saint John and of all the saints, let us commend ourselves, and one another, and all our life, to Christ our God. To you, O Lord our God.

Virtual Coffee Hour

Virtual Coffee Hour June 21, 2020 11:30 AM

Link to the Third Sunday of Pentecost readings

Link to Third Sunday after Pentecost readings, track 2


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We offer our sincerest thanks.