E-Newsletter for Sunday, March 18, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, Final Compline, Altar Guild Work Bee and more in the E-Newsletter for March 18, 2018 http://mailchi.mp/eeccc7b716bb/ey7eu7o5mr-1344733

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

I am not a musician. 

I had to come to an awareness of that reality early in life. Any musical skill I have, be it singing, poking around on a piano, or strumming a guitar, has been learned through effort. It does not come naturally.

But I do love music. 

When I lived in Texas and was slowly transitioning from the evangelical church of my upbringing to the Episcopal Church, I did a brief stint for several months in a Scotch/Irish Pub Band. My friend Robert, pictured in this photo on the left with the accordion, sang with me in the church choir and they were needing a new guitarist. I joined and played with them for several months in the spring of 2007, right before graduating from seminary.

I was not nearly as good of a guitarist as they truly needed—everyone discovered pretty quickly I have, like, one strum pattern I basically use. But they were kind and gracious… and we had a lot of fun together.

So, I'm really actually looking forward to the St. Patrick's Day party at church this Saturday. The SAVVY Ministry (Seniors Acting Very Very Young) is hosting the event, making it open to the whole parish. It will be a traditional Irish meal and you are invited to bring non-alcoholic drinks, wine, or beer (particularly good Irish beer!) to share.  

SAVVY is generously throwing this party as a small fundraiser for my upcoming Renewal Leave. I've been asked to come and sing for my supper. And that I will.

I may not sing perfectly. My guitar skills may not be the best. But I hope you will know as I sing and play, that I do it with deep joy and delight.

Not just because I love music. But also—primarily—because I love you. And your generosity in throwing this event to bless my Renewal Leave means the world to me.

Even if you haven't signed up, you're still welcome to come. There might even be some singing along and pounding on tables, in good Irish fashion…
Through Grace,

If you are unable to attend the SAVVY St. Patrick's Day Party & Renewal Leave Fundraiser this Saturday night, you can still make a gift to Father Jared's Renewal Leave Purse online here. 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, March 18  http://mailchi.mp/eeccc7b716bb/ey7eu7o5mr-1344733

Not subscribed to our Weekly E-Newsletter? You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/n0r8P

E-Newsletter for Sunday, March 11

From Your Senior Warden
Ms. Cathryn Marshall

Dear *|FNAME|*,

I am juggling so many different countdowns in my mind right now.

I'm juggling the number of days until we can say that Spring is officially here. The number of days until that heart-stopping, goosebump-inducing moment during the Maundy Thursday service when the choir stands in the back of the nave and quietly sings the haunting words “Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray, watch and pray”. The number of Sundays we have left before we embark on our Mutual Renewal time. The number of Vestry meetings before I have to take over as leader of the Vestry while Father Jared is away on Renewal Leave. The number of months until my youngest son’s wedding.
I am a list-maker and am somewhat compulsive about checking my calendar. What appointments and meetings are coming up? What tasks do I have to accomplish in the next few days? The problem with all of this is that I struggle to live in the moment. How can I experience God’s grace if I can’t focus on the present? That is my Lenten journey.
I hope that you are finding ways to experience God’s grace during this time. The sky is bleak as I write this, and there is a new batch of snow on the ground. But I know that Spring is on the way. The calendar says so, even if the weather does not. The hope in my heart for the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord says so, too.
Nevertheless, there is something on my countdown list that I want to share with you. As some of you may know, in 2016 Father Jared willingly sacrificed the money that had been accumulating for years for his sabbatical. We were in budget crisis mode. Father Jared gave up nearly ten thousand dollars so that all of the ministries that serve our parish could continue. He loves us that much. 
Now we have a chance to repay him is some small measure. On Saturday, March 17th, SAVVY is opening their traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner to the entire parish, in the hopes of raising a purse for Father Jared and his family. If you would like to be a part of this event, please do sign up on the Parish Information Table, or click here, so that there will be enough corned beef and cabbage for everyone to enjoy.  Traditionally, SAVVY invites a couple of younger folks to sing some Irish tunes. This year, Father Jared will “sing for his supper”.  
If you cannot attend, but still want to make a donation, you may drop a check to the parish office made payable to St. John’s with “Rector’s Renewal” on the memo line. Or click here.  
As we continue counting down to future events, my hope is that we can pause, if only for a few moments each day, to be fully present in God’s loving grace.
Yours in Christ,

P.S. Speaking of spring…don't forget to spring ahead your clocks 1 hour on Saturday night!

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, March 11  http://mailchi.mp/cd760f9ec5a9/ey7eu7o5mr-1341461

Not subscribed to our Weekly E-Newsletter? You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/n0r8P

E-Newsletter for Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mr. Rogers & Lent, Compline, Lenten Yoga and more in the E-Newsletter for March 4, 2018 http://mailchi.mp/cb0bfe3d6812/ey7eu7o5mr-1338837

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

As we continue our journey through the Season of Lent, I wonder how your experience of this season has been.

My and Bethany's daughter, Lucy, has reached the age now where we'll watch 30 minutes of television with her a few days a week. So far, we've only introduced her to two shows: Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

As we watched the grainy black and white footage together of Mr. Rogers' first show, I felt an immediate peace in my own heart when the familiar theme music began and his voice came through our television speakers.

It was actually fifty years ago on Monday, February 19, that the first episode of this beloved children's show was aired on public television. On that first episode, he asked how his viewers felt about new things. The episode talked about change, how it upsets us and makes us anxious. But he also talked about how change is a part of life. 

And, in the first original song of the show, he sang, "I Like You As You Are." 

Lucy was captivated by the show, the singing and the puppets. And, to be honest, Bethany and I were both a bit captivated by the young, gentle man on the screen. 

I say all this because Lent is, in may ways, a season of change. We specifically try to change things in our life, to give things up or take things on, to turn from our sins and seek a closer relationship with God. 

But it's important to remember why we do this. I actually saw a church sign in our community this past week that said, "Work hard in Lent to show God you love him." While I appreciate the call to the disciplines of Lent, I think that sign misses the motivation.

We don't walk through this season to show God how much we love him. 

We walk through this season to experience anew how much God loves us. 

That's the point after all. Whether it is giving up alchohol or meat, attending Compline on Sundays at 8:30pm, Lenten Yoga at 9am on Tuesdays, the Wednesday evening Book Study, or the Thursday Luncheon Bible Study… no matter what you are doing in this season, the goal should be to unclutter your life so that you may experience God more closely.

And whenever we experience God more closely, our experience is one of a love that is beyond understanding or measure.

So, as we approach the halfway point of the season, it's OK to change your approach to this holy time. Try some other changes, if the season has not yet been impactful for you.

But know this, no matter how well or how poorly you keep the season, God likes you as you are.

And I do, too.  

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, March 4  http://mailchi.mp/cb0bfe3d6812/ey7eu7o5mr-1338837

Not subscribed to our Weekly E-Newsletter? You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/n0r8P

E-Newsletter for Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nursery Care, Altar Flower Delivery, Compline and more in the E-Newsletter for February 25, 2018 http://mailchi.mp/44afeba5fd78/ey7eu7o5mr-1336197

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

It's not a small secret that there is one common thread that runs through every Parish Profile, every church mission and vision statement, every articulation of who a church wants to be.

We want to be a place that welcomes and encourages young families to be a part of us.

However, it's clearly one thing to want to welcome young families and another thing entirely to take steps to change who you are so that young families are enabled to be a part of you. 

At St. John's over the past couple years, the recommendations from our "Future Families Task Force" have been put into place, trying to lay the groundwork for a stronger and more vibrant ministry with children and youth. We now have a top-notch Godly Play program for kids and Journey to Adulthood program for teens. We have a single staff person, Reyna Masko, coordinating the volunteers who work in those ministries.

And for parents with small children, we have changed as well. In addition to the soft space at the back of the church, we have installed video equipment so that parents in the nursery with smaller children can still see and hear what is happening in the service upstairs. We invite the kids forward every Sunday to kneel at the altar rail and be up close to the Great Thanksgiving. 

But there is one thing our parents with smaller children have asked about several times… volunteers in the nursery. While they love having the ability to watch the liturgy downstairs when they need to, for some smaller children the parents would, in effect, need to be downstairs almost every week. 

So they are asking you to help.

We are trying to create a rotation of volunteers who will serve from 9:30am-11:30am downstairs in the nursery. With the video equipment, you will absolutely still hear and see what is happening in the liturgy. You will also give the gift of letting a parent with small children have a respite, some time to worship without keeping an eye out for a squirmy toddler. Eight volunteers would make this a weekly rotation. Twelve volunteers would mean you would only serve every month and a half or so. You get the picture.

If you would be interested in serving, please click here to let the parish office know. If you have a teenager who would like to help, and they are over 16, they can function as the second adult. If they are under 16, then we will still need two adults, but your teenager will be most welcome to be an extra hand. 

We have young families at St. John's. In fact, we have an increasing number of them. They love being a part of you… and would like your help so they can be even more engaged. 

Let's all demonstrate to them just how much we, as a congregation, value them and their children. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, February 25  http://mailchi.mp/44afeba5fd78/ey7eu7o5mr-1336197

Not subscribed to our Weekly E-Newsletter? You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/n0r8P

E-Newsletter for Sunday, February 18

Movie Group Tonight, Mustard Seed Sunday, Compline by Candlelight and more in the E-Newsletter for February 18, 2018 http://mailchi.mp/7eab572b15d3/ey7eu7o5mr-1333681

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Well, our Lenten journey has begun. 

Yesterday was a powerful beginning to the season. We expanded "Ashes to Go," adding a second location at the south end of town. We surpassed previous year's records, imposing ashes and handing out information about Lent and Holy Week at SJE to dozens of people. Over and over again, people told us how grateful they were for this opportunity, this invitation into the Lenten Season that met them right where they are.

The Ash Wednesday liturgies were well-attended too. At the noon liturgy, we enrolled three people into their Final Preparation for Confirmation, Reception, or the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. They joined me in the imposition of ashes. At the evening liturgy, Father John wound up unable to serve when Joanne fell and broke her wrist, requiring surgery. He had been planning on celebrating that bilingual Eucharist, but we all told him to stay with Joanne as she is cared for and I celebrated the bilingual liturgy in his stead. 

And this Sunday, the First Sunday in Lent, we will have our Lenten Mustard Seed Sunday. The children will be placed at the center of our worship, joining me in the Gospel Procession, sitting at the chancel steps with me for the homily, and standing with the other ministers at the altar for the Great Thanksgiving of Holy Communion. Be sure to bring your kids for what is always a special Sunday, as they help teach us about what repentance means. 

Also, according to church tradition, we will begin this Sunday's liturgy at all three services with the Great Litany. This is one of the oldest pieces of distinctively Anglican worship, the first piece of worship translated in the English Reformation—far before the prayer book itself. I trust you will find it a grounded beginning to this season of prayer. 

As you walk these Great Forty Days, I hope you find yourself brought closer to God. Take some time to review the Lent & Holy Week Bookmark (available online here and also at the Parish Information Table). Find a way to plug in to something that can support you in this journey of penitence, fasting, and prayer. 

The wilderness journey may be hard at times, but we know from Scripture that it is here, in the wilderness, that we most often encounter our God. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, February 18  http://mailchi.mp/7eab572b15d3/ey7eu7o5mr-1333681

Not subscribed to our Weekly E-Newsletter? You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/n0r8P