Thursday, September 21, 2017

From Mother Vicki

Collect for Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
We thank you, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Thanks so much for everyone who contributed to a joyous Homecoming Sunday. How wonderful it is to reconnect! In addition to our faithful members, there were a number of new people, family members and friends, that added to the celebration. We commissioned our Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors, our RenewalWorks Team, and all of our many volunteers—acolytes, altar society, greeters, readers, faith friends, farmers market, outreach committee, Sunday school teachers, penny social, officers, vestry—and marveled at just how many people give of their time and talent to Saint John’s. And what a fabulous luncheon we had following! Thanks to everyone who brought delicious dishes and desserts for us to feast on. It was spectacular! Thank you for the excellent and abundant food and wondrous hospitality!

On September 21st, we celebrate the feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Matthew was a tax collector who, when Jesus said, “Follow me,” just got up and left his business. This courage to follow Jesus and give up what we think is safe to follow what we think is risky may actually be the most important decision we make in our lives. Following Christ is frightening—but it is also a new life that is actually worth living.

I am touched that our Episcopal Bishops have just signed a joint letter in support of not ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Their powerful letter to the President was published in the NY Times today (see below). We pray for these “dreamers” and continue to pray for all immigrants and refugees.

We have started a program this fall called RenewalWorks that encourages all the members of the congregation to take an anonymous Spiritual Life Inventory. This is not about numbers and figures, but about our hearts and souls. This survey takes about 20 minutes or so, and is accessed on-line https://www.research.net/r/RenewalWorks2110 or in paper form. We only have until midnight October 1 to input all of the data, so if you are filling out a paper copy, please deposit them in the box on the back table in the Narthex, or on the table in the hallway by this Sunday, Sept. 24. We will have the paper surveys at Coffee Hour on Sunday, so you can fill them out right there, if you wish! Also, if you need help in filling out the form on Sunday, Vestry members will be happy to assist you.

Once all the surveys have been completed, our RenewalWorks Team will be given the results and guidelines for deeper discussions about new opportunities and programs for spiritual growth at Saint John’s Getty Square. For more information, feel free to contact me, Tara Seeley (RenewalWorks Facilitator), Jen Longley (RenewalWorks Communicator), or our RenewalWorks Team (Samuel Akhtar, Linda Brown, Carol Craft, Debbie DeBride, Aaron McKinney, George Morrison and Carrie Parkey). This is an exciting venture and we hope and pray that you will be part of it!

I began the Saint John’s Children’s Choir on Wednesday, September 20 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. with the help of Jurhee Hong and Shelley Henderson. What a wonderful group of children we have! They can actually sing!! This choir will meet every Wednesday, and is open to children grades 1 through 5. A snack is provided. I am teaching them some sight-singing, basic music notation, as well as learning and memorizing some wonderful songs about God’s love. It’s not too late to join!

If you are interested in joining the Order of Urban Missioners, a spiritual support group for lay and ordained people working in urban settings, please contact me (mothervsirota@gmail.com). Our Service of Covenanting will be held at our church, Saint John’s Getty Square, Yonkers, on Thursday, 28 September at 6 p.m., The Right Rev. Allen Shin, preaching and presiding. The description of the Order and the dates for the fall of 2017 are listed below.

Please spread the word about our Saint Francis Blessing of the Animals on Saturday, October 7 at noon in the parking lot in front of the Church Door. Also, this Saturday, September 23 at 10:30 a.m. in the same place, I will be blessing a dog and a cat who are very ill.

Please don’t forget to make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development to help those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria, as well as the devastating earthquakes in Mexico. The loss of life and property has been immense. Your prayers and donations, no matter how small, are desperately needed.

Our new year has begun at Saint John’s Getty Square with much love and joy. May you have the courage to follow Christ in new ways!

In Christ and with love,

The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have issued the following statement concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

September 5, 2017

Today our hearts are with those known as the Dreamers—those young women and men who were brought to this country as children, who were raised here and whose primary cultural and country identity is American. We believe that these young people are children of God and deserve a chance to live full lives, free from fear of deportation to countries that they may have never known and whose languages they may not speak. As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children. In this moment, we are called by God to protect Dreamers from being punished for something they had no agency in doing.

Since 2012, individuals who are undocumented and who were brought to the U.S. as children have benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through this program, those eligible have the opportunity to obtain a work permit and can secure protection from deportation. The nearly 800,000 recipients of DACA have proven that when given the opportunity, they succeed and contribute positively to our country. Without protection afforded by DACA or a legislative solution, these young people will live in fear of arrest, detention, and deportation to countries they may not remember. In six months those fears may become reality, so we must use that time wisely to advocate for their protection.

The Episcopal Church supports these undocumented youth as part of our decades-long commitment to walking with immigrants and refugees. Out of that commitment, we call on our nation to live up to its highest ideals and most deeply held values, and we call on Congress to take action to protect these young people and to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy that is moral and consistent and that allows immigrants who want to contribute to this country the chance to do so while keeping our borders secure from those whose business is in drugs, human trafficking or terror. We are committed to working actively toward both the passage of a bipartisan Dream Act by Congress and comprehensive immigration reform, and we will provide resources for Episcopalians who want to participate in this work.

For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, our Christian values are at stake. Humane and loving care for the stranger, the alien, and the foreigner is considered a sacred duty and moral value for those who would follow the way of God. In his parable of the last judgment, Jesus commended those who welcomed the stranger and condemned those who did not (Matthew 25:35 & 25:43). This teaching of Jesus was based on the law of Moses that tells the people of God: "The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:33-35).

We stand with the Dreamers and will do all that we can to support them while we also work for the kind of immigration reform that truly reflects the best of our spiritual and moral values as people of faith and as citizens of the United States.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry                The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
Presiding Bishop and Primate                     President, House of Deputies
This is the text of the letter sent from the
House of Bishops to the New York Times, September 21, 2017
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing so, some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews13:1)

President Donald Trump and Members of Congress,

As bishops of the Episcopal Church we implore you not to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. To do so would endanger the lives of thousands of young people and their families and run contrary to the faith and moral traditions of our country.

It is unfair to threaten the well-being of young people who arrived in our country as children through no choice of their own. Ending DACA without a similar replacement program will force these young people to face the future in this country with little access to education and employment, and ultimately, could very well lead to sending them to countries where they did not grow up, have few support structures, may not even speak the language and may be vulnerable to violence and persecution.

Any of these scenarios, we believe, is cruel.

The alternative for us as a country is to move forward, to celebrate and benefit from the presence of these 'Dreamers' and to provide a pathway to citizenship that enables them to remain and strengthen our country.

The Episcopal Church has long advocated for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reforms that prioritize family unity and humanitarian concerns. It is time for Congress to develop long-term solutions for immigrant families.

In front of most of the Episcopal Churches across the country is a sign that says, 'The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.' We have this sign because we are followers of the way of Jesus of Nazareth, and our Christian tradition shares with many other faith bodies the absolute importance of welcoming the foreigner in our midst. Throughout the centuries this tradition has brought us great wisdom and strength as the foreigner among us has become a part of the fabric of our country's life.

In recent years, our congregations throughout the United States have witnessed firsthand the benefits that the young 'Dreamers' have brought to our community programs and life. We have been inspired by, and gained much from, their American spirit.

We urge you to enact permanent, meaningful legislation that will protect 'Dreamers' and enable these young people to remain a part of our country-which is also theirs.

Renewal Works

Renewal Works

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We are excited about the nationwide Episcopal program that we will be using this fall entitled RenewalWorks. RenewalWorks will help us look at our spiritual lives, and figure out individually and corporately what might be missing, as well as how to encourage a deeper spiritual relationship with God. 

In order to begin this process, we are rolling out a Spiritual Life Inventory. This is a totally anonymous survey that we would like everyone in the congregation to take between September 10, this Sunday, and October 1. The on-line link specific to Saint John’s Getty Square is: https://www.research.net/r/RenewalWorks2110 

RenewalWorks suggests you allow 30 minutes to complete the Spiritual Life Inventory on-line. 

I have taken it, and found that it asks interesting questions and is not at all difficult to complete. You can change your answers on a page while you are filling it out, but once you press "next" you have to keep going. The answers are all multiple choice. This is totally anonymous. There is a graph at the bottom that tells you how much you have completed.

If you prefer to take this Spiritual Life Inventory on paper, paper copies will be available this Sunday, September 10 until October 1. Please place the completed survey in the box in the back of the Church or in the Guild Room. Please do not include your name. Vestry and Team members will be available after services on the next three Sundays if you need help completing the Survey.

The next steps are the serious work of the RenewalWorks Team of Saint John’s Getty Square. The RenewalWorks national organization will create a report for the parish, compiling all of our individual answers into a composite "snapshot" of St. John's parish. Our Team will meet four times from October into December to process the survey results and figure out how this information might be useful as we prayerfully look to our future in Christ. Our RenewalWorks Team Facilitator is Tara Seeley; Jen Longley is our RenewalWorks Team Communicator. RenewalWorks Team Members include: Samuel Akhtar, Linda Brown, Carol Craft, Deborah DeBride, Monica Harmon, Aaron McKinney, George Morrison and Carrie Parkey. If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to ask me or any one of these RenewalWorks Team members.

Thank you so much for being part of this exciting work! 

Blessings and love,

The Rev. Canon Victoria Sirota

Children's Choir

Farmer's & Flea Market

Blessing of the Animals

Bring your Pets and Friends to the


Blessing of the Animals
Saturday, October 7, 2017
12 Noon in the Church Yard
St. John's Church, Getty Square
1 Hudson Street, at the Corner of S. Broadway
Yonkers, NY 10701
(914) 963-3033  

Please bring pets appropriately restrained

Rain or Shine!