Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Sunday, April 22, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is also called Good Shepherd Sunday. In our Gospel reading from John 10:11-18, Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. We are reminded of his great love for us and the fact that he conquered death forever through his own death and resurrection. Jesus actually says that he has other sheep that do not belong to this fold and that ultimately there will be one flock, one shepherd. I love the ambiguity of this. We do not know exactly what this means, but we do know that God’s love is greater than we can imagine. Therefore, there is no need to judge other people or other religions. We leave that up to God. But we rejoice that Jesus knows us each by name and try, in all that we do and say, to spread Christ’s message of love.
Please consider joining our lay led Bible Study on Sundays between the services (9:20 – 10:05 a.m.) in the Library. This is a smart and enthusiastic group! Feel free to drop in any Sunday. For more information, please contact Jen Longley (email@example.com) or Tara Seeley (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am very excited that we are beginning a course of study entitled “Via Media”, or “The Middle Way” in May. This is a course that was very popular when I led it at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. It includes videos and hand-outs that are helpful to understanding more about faith and the Episcopal Church, as well as small group discussions. The eight classes will be offered on Monday nights beginning in May (see below for specific dates). Please let me know if you are interested or if you know someone who might be interested (email@example.com; 914 969 2969).
Our next big service is Pentecost Sunday, May 20th. Both choirs will be singing, along with our wonderful tenor soloist (who last sang with us on Easter Sunday) Jason Slayden. I am happy to meet with adults who might be interested in the Sacrament of Baptism, seekers who might wish to find out more about Baptism, or parents who want their child to be baptized on that Sunday. Both the Saint John’s Children’s Choir (from 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.) and the Saint John’s Festival Choir (5:45 – 6:30 p.m.) will be rehearsing Wednesdays from April 25th through Wednesday, May 16th in preparation for Pentecost Sunday. It is not too late to join us! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in Baptism or joining our choir.
Psalm 23 is our psalm this Sunday, “The Lord is my shepherd.” The fourth verse is “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me.” We have not been abandoned when we face life’s crises, especially the death of a loved one or our own mortality. God is with us.
May God bless you with Easter joy!
In Christ and with love,
The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota