Thursday, November 9, 2017

From Mother Vicki

From Mother Vicki

Collect For those who influence Public Opinion
Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices: Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

All Saints Sunday was wonderful at Saint John’s.  We thank God for the beautiful and energetic singing of our newly formed Saint John’s Children’s Choir, and for the witness of Egypt Allen, who was baptized at the 10:15 a.m. Service and is our newest member.  We pray for this Congregation that we may support and love each other even as we grow in diverse and wondrous ways.  Prayers for the Holy Spirit to be very present!

Thanks also for those who brought food on Sunday (an amazing array!) and for those who ran the joyous Penny Social Event.  Our last Farmers Market is on November 16th.  We are grateful to everyone who volunteers, including those selling food, bread and clothing.  Come down and check us out!

Join the Saint John’s Festival Choir to sing on Christmas Eve!  Bob Sirota will begin rehearsing with all interested singers (sopranos, altos, tenors and basses) on Wednesday, 15 November from 5:45-6:30 p.m. in the Church.  The next four rehearsals are all after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20).  For more information, please contact Bob Sirota (bobsirota@me.com).  Join the fun!

Our RenewalWorks Team meets again on November 15th .at 6:30 p.m.  Please continue to hold us all in your prayers for divine inspiration!

Please also spread the word about our Saint John’s Fundraising Concert on Saturday evening, Dec. 2. A superb string quartet will be playing the music of Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven in support of the needed repair of our historic stained-glass windows. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. preceded by sparkling cider, wine and cheese in the Narthex at 6 p.m.  Invite your friends!  Tickets can be bought online through Eventbrite.com. as well as at the door.  See below for more information.  If you wish to give more than the ticket price in support of the restoration work, we will be happy to list you on the program as a benefactor or sponsor!

Our Stewardship Mailing will go out next week.  We are dependent on your volunteer service and generous donations.  You matter!  Please prayerfully consider the surprising gifts that God has given you this year and be generous in your offer of continuing or new volunteer service and monetary pledge.  God loves a cheerful giver!  Pledge cards may be brought or mailed in to be place in the offering plate and blessed on Stewardship Sunday, Dec. 3, the First Sunday of Advent. 

The days are now shorter, darkness comes in the late afternoon.  It is easy to feel that evil is winning.  But it is not.  The love of God is more powerful than any force on earth.  May we work to change things during our precious time here.  We pray for our newly elected officials as they begin to consider the importance of their voices and callings in their elected positions.  We pray for those twenty-six adults and children who were gunned down in church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last Sunday, as well as those twenty who were wounded.  We pray for those who are mourning and trying to put their lives back together.  But we also need to work towards changing our society in ways that make it safer for all of us, not more dangerous.  I have attached a statement below from our seventy Episcopal Bishops who have joined Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Their last sentence is, “One does not offer prayers in lieu of demonstrating political courage, but rather in preparation.”

We are dealing with forces beyond our comprehension.  That is why we need to put on the whole armor of God.  As Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-13:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.  Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

What will help us in our struggles?  Putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and holding onto the word of God.  And we pray.  We pray for ourselves for humility and repentance, and for others that we might love them as God loves us.  As our Saint John’s Children’s Choir sang last Sunday:

For the love of God is like the deep blue sea, and it covers you and it covers me.
(Father Ed Waldron, 1965, Augusta, Georgia).

In Christ and with love,
The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota

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