E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 19

Movie Group Tonight, Pledge Drive, Advent Quiet Day and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 19    http://mailchi.mp/1b49371b8da8/ey7eu7o5mr-1305085

From the Stewardship Commission
Mr. John Harberts, Chair

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Our annual pledge drive is underway.  Since our start at the In-Gathering on Sunday, November 5, we have received pledges from two-thirds of those who pledged last year. Our average pledge has increased 14% to a current average of just over over $3,000! This is a terrific start and is encouraging to all of us on the Stewardship Commission.  Of course, we have a way to go to reach our budget needs for 2018, but we are encouraged with everyone’s response so far.  

Parishioners tell us that in the hustle and bustle of their lives, they sometimes just forget that the pledge drive is going on.  They want to pledge but they get busy.  “Please call me and remind me!” we often hear from parishioners.  So, we have begun calling this week.  If you have forgotten to pledge, you will most likely hear from your personal Stewardship contact person this week with a friendly reminder.  Please give them a warm and friendly greeting as sometimes this is a difficult task to call and ask for a pledge.  We so much appreciate your understanding.  We simply want to help you with a friendly reminder.  There are several ways to pledge – turn in your pledge card at church or mail it, call Cindi at 842-6260, or pledge on-line.  Just let your contact person know how you want to turn in your pledge. 

Please remember that the Stewardship drive is also about more than just pledging – important as it is.  In the packet we sent out last month, we wanted to be sure you knew we want to connect with everyone.  We want to see if there is something we can help with regarding your worship needs or spiritual life.  Please let us know how we can help or if you have an idea about something.  Perhaps you would enjoy volunteering in some capacity or maybe you want one of the ministries or Father Jared to contact you.  We will help make that happen.  We plan to connect occasionally during the year – just to say, “Hello,” and see how things are.  There is no other reason.  This is a start.

We also want you to be well informed about your church. We've shared with you what we did together last year in the Forward in Mission booklet, and now we are looking ahead. You should know that this year’s pledge drive is particularly important. Every year costs beyond our control go up—just like they do in your household.  We already run a very tight budget at St. John’s so there is very little if any “excess fat” for us to cut from the budget to meet increased costs when they come.  

So, we are turning to you.  We rely on your pledge to plan the budget and the canons of our diocese require each year's budget job be balanced. To get to that balanced budget continuing this year's ministry, we'll need total pledges of $318,000—just thirty-five more, if we keep our increased average of $3,000. We had 113 pledges last year, so we think a goal of at least 107 at this average is within reach… with your help. 

Parishioners have also told us they want us to do more with our ministries—both within the church and in the larger community.  Therefore, after we hit the goal for maintaining our budget, we are hoping to do more in these areas in the year ahead. You can read more about those goals for increased ministry in the Parish Council 2018 Vision.

I continue to be so impressed with the people of St. John’s.  Not only have we recently completed a successful Capital Campaign, our annual pledge drive is off to a good start as I mentioned above.  If we all work together, turning in a pledge to our community and getting 2018 off to a strong start, not only can we meet the needs of the current budget, but we can achieve the Vision for 2018—a total pledge goal of $362,600. If 120 of the 172 families at St. John's pledge at that $3,000 average, our goal for growth will be met.

This would be a stronger budget than we have built before, but it is possible with your help as you turn in your pledge—or even increase your pledge, if you feel called to go beyond what you initially wrote down. 

Again, I thank you so much.  Mary and I want to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We look forward to experiencing Advent and the Christmas season with all of you.  You have made Stewardship a joy for all of us on the Commission.

Sincerely,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 19  http://mailchi.mp/1b49371b8da8/ey7eu7o5mr-1305085

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, October 29

Ordination this Saturday, Next Week All Saints’ & All Souls’and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, October 29    http://mailchi.mp/97be2b70dc43/ey7eu7o5mr-1296297

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

Dear *|FNAME|*,

The ordination of John Infante to the priesthood, this Saturday at 11:00am, has been years in the making.

It was two and a half years ago that John Infante sat on the couch in my room at the seminary in Santo Domingo, listening with great interest to our parish's plans for Latino ministry.

I was down there working on my Spanish, so my conversations were broken at times. However, another new friend, Luis Hernández was sitting with us. He helped translate for me at times when I couldn't figure out how to say something in Spanish. I remember how surprised I was when John asked about coming to visit, offering to help us start this ministry. He had just met me and yet he was willing to uproot himself for several months and come be with us, to help us figure out how to start this thing.

Little did we know the love he would develop for you, the people of St. John's—both Latino and Anglo members. Little did we know that he would decide to move here, to leave everything behind in Colombia with a deep desire to be your priest.

Of course, the seeds of this weekend's event stretch even farther back than that time in the Dominican Republic. John's sense of calling to the priesthood has been developing for over a decade. He has consistently sought to offer himself up in service to Christ's work in the church. He has gone through training—a Licentiate in Theological Studies in Colombia along with Anglican Studies training at the seminary in Santo Domingo. He has worked through countless meetings exploring his sense of call to the priesthood.

For years, as a transitional deacon, he has stood to the right of the priest who is celebrating Eucharist, patiently waiting until it is time for him to occupy that position. 

And this Saturday, he will lie face down on the floor of St. John's while we pray for him, in both English and in Spanish. He will feel the crush of hands as priests from all around the diocese lay their hands on him along with the bishop's. And he will hear the bishop say, in John's own language, "Por tanto, Padre, por medio de Jesucristo tu Hijo, derrama sobre John tu Espíritu Santo; cólmale de gracia y poder, y hazle un sacerdote en tu Iglesia."

"Therefore, Father, through Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to John; fill him with grace and power, and make him a priest in your Church."

Yes, the events of this Saturday have been a long time in the making. Our beloved Luis Hernández, who sat with us in Santo Domingo so long ago and who sojourned briefly with us as we sought to reimagine children and youth ministry, he will also be there this weekend. He is flying in just to be with us all on this important day. 

I hope you'll be able to join us for this wonderful day, not only in the life of John Infante, but also in the life of our church. As he becomes a priest, he will now fully live into his role as our Associate Rector. No longer will he be "Deacon John." He will now be "Father John."

There is a custom in the church, at the ordination of a priest, that those attending greet the new priest by kneeling and asking the new priest to pronounce God's blessing—an authority newly given to the priest at ordination. I know I'm looking forward to kneeling in front of John and asking for him to pronounce God's blessing over me. He has already blessed my own life in countless ways—to hear that blessing pronounced formally will be a culmination of many things. 

And whether or not you can make it this Saturday, I'd invite you to the Spanish Eucharist this Sunday at 12:45pm. At that Eucharist, John will celebrate his very first time as a priest in the church. Your first celebration of Holy Eucharist is a powerful experience. If you're able, I'd invite you to join our Latino members Sunday, to stand with John as he finally prays a prayer he has longed to lead for all of us. 

Yes, these events have been long in the making. It will be a profound experience of grace to share them with you all.

Through Grace,

PS~ Click here for information on being a part of the parish gift to John for his ordination and the fundraiser for Latino ministry in his honor! We're already over 75% to our goal, with over $3,000 raised to help with costs of food, music, a special ordination gift for John, and a blessing of extra resources for ministry in the El Corazón Latino Ministry Fund! 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, October 29  http://mailchi.mp/97be2b70dc43/ey7eu7o5mr-1296297

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, October 22

Forward in Mission, Pledge Campaign, New FAQ about Worship and Parish Customary and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, October 22    http://mailchi.mp/4192c42f8bcb/ey7eu7o5mr-1292685

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

Dear *|FNAME|*,

The 2017 Forward in Mission Report has been published!!

By now you should have received one from your Stewardship Commission Liaison or in the mail. You can also read the report online here. It is full of great information about the 2016–2017 Program Year, interviews with our new staff, and a look ahead at the year to come.

This means we are also in the midst of our 2018 Pledge Drive. The Ingathering of Pledges will be All Saints' Sunday, November 5, at all three services. In between, at 11:30am, we will have our Annual Harvest Festival. If you have not yet signed up, please click here and the Parish Office will do it for you! Slow's BBQ of Grand Rapids will be catering again and you can even click here to give your suggested donation for the meal in advance, thereby speeding things up as we get to the great food and celebration!

The Parish Council met in retreat on Monday, October 18, and spent time in prayer considering their sense of God's call to our parish in 2018 and what sort of budgeted resources would be needed to answer that call. They've published their 2018 Vision & Budget Priorities online here and invite you to consider it as you prayerfully discern God's calling in your household's giving.

Every single one of the seven priorities identified could be reached through a variety of ways:

  • If we saw seventeen new pledges at the current average pledge level in our parish (last year, we had ten new pledges).
  • If existing pledges increased their giving so that the average of all current pledging households moved from $2,674 to $3,208 (an increase of $10 per week). Given the median household income in our area, that would require households to move from pledging, on average, 5.6% of their blessings to the ministry at St. John’s to an average of 6.8%.
  • If we had a combination of the two realities—if our average pledge increased only $5 per week to $2,934 and we saw six new households as well pledging to contribute to that average. 

The Parish Council knows this might seem like a tremendous goal for our parish, but if there is one thing we have learned this past year it is that our community  is one that can rally around the importance of mission and ministry. The Stewardship Commission invites you, the members of St. John's, to join them in supporting the important work our congregation is doing.

Thank you for your prayerful and careful consideration of this opportunity to be a part of a great moment in the life of St. John's. With a soon-to-be newly ordained Latino Associate Rector, a thriving music program, a revitalized children & youth ministry, and a growing faith formation and pastoral care ministry, you are the ones who enable this ministry to happen through your faithful giving.

Through Grace,

PS~ Don't forget to mark your calendars for John's Ordination to the Priesthood here at St. John's on Saturday, October 28, at 11am. Click here for information on being a part of the parish gift to John for his ordination and the fundraiser for Latino ministry in his honor! We're already over 75% to our goal, with over $3,000 raised to help with costs of food, music, a special ordination gift for John, and a blessing of extra resources for ministry in the El Corazón Latino Ministry Fund! 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, October 22  http://mailchi.mp/4192c42f8bcb/ey7eu7o5mr-1292685

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First Latino Priest to be Ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan

For immediate release.

October 13, 2017 Grand Haven, Michigan.

The Rev. John Infante at the Grand Haven Pier

It has been quite a journey from Bogota, Colombia, to Grand Haven, Michigan, for the Rev. John Infante, soon to be the first Latino priest ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan.

Born into the Episcopal Church in Colombia, his career path took him from a large hotel chain in Colombia, to law school in the evenings, and then a career as an attorney where he worked in Internal Affairs for the police in Colombia. During this this time, he served as Junior Warden and then Senior Warden of his parish and eventually as legal counsel for Province Nine of the Episcopal Church.

However, Infante had a deeper sense of calling for pastoral ministry in the church. He sensed a calling to priestly ministry and began the process of discernment and formation for the priesthood. He was licensed as a Lay Pastoral Minister in 2008 and appointed to work at St. Patrick’s Mission, outside of Bogota. In 2009, he began his studies at the Center for Theological Studies in Bogota, receiving a Licentiate in Theological Studies. He was ordained a transitional deacon in 2012 and assigned to continue his work at St. Patrick’s Mission.

In 2015, Deacon Infante began his final six months of Anglican Studies to be prepared for ordination to the Priesthood, studying at the Episcopal Seminary in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It was during this time of study that he met the Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer who was at the Seminary doing intensive Spanish-language training in preparation for a new Latino ministry at his parish in Grand Haven, Michigan. After hearing of the ministry in Grand Haven, Deacon Infante offered to come and spend six months at St. John’s, helping launch their El Corazón Latino Ministry Initiative.

The ministry initiative at St. John’s was named “El Corazón” because of its focus to grow a Latino community that would be at the center/heart (el corazón) of the congregation, instead of at the edges. According to federal data provided by the Fair Housing Center of Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids–Holland–Grand Haven metro area is the 20th most segregated in the United States. Grand Haven is located at the center of that segregation, an overwhelmingly white community, but with sizable Latino populations to the south in West Olive and Holland. That said, the Latino population in Grand Haven has been increasing over the years, now standing at 2.7% of the population—a nearly 44% increase since the 2010 data. However, there are still no churches in the Grand Haven area providing Spanish-language worship on a year-round basis.

In 2016, the parish applied to the Churchwide Office of the Episcopal Church to be named a Mission Enterprize Zone, giving it access to funding that, paired with parish and diocesan funds, could create a half-time Associate Rector position. Of the nearly seventy applications submitted across the Episcopal Church, only half were able to be funded—but St. John’s was among that half. Deacon Infante transferred his canonical residency to Western Michigan to complete his path to ordination and the Vestry of St. John’s enthusiastically called him as their Associate Rector.

The Latino Ministy at the Migrant Appreciation Festival

During 2017, Deacon Infante has been working with the Diocese of Western Michigan to finalize the steps for his priestly ordination while also working in and growing the Latino worshipping community at St. John’s. The parish hired a new bilingual Children & Youth Coordinator, Reyna Masko, to continue the work of the previous Coordinator, Luis Hernández, on bringing together the children and teenagers of both cultures. During this year alone, four new families have become a part of the Spanish-language worshipping community. The Mission Initiative ran a Taco Sale across from the grandstands of the United States Coast Guard Parade, raising nearly $1,000 for ministry. They spent an afternoon in the summer at the local Migrant Worker Appreciation Event, handing out food and household goods while also offering free face-painting and photos.

In August, the Latino Ministry celebrated its second anniversary and in September, Deacon Infante received his final approvals to be ordained to the priesthood. His ordination will take place at St. John’s on Saturday, October 28, at 11:00am, with a free celebratory catered luncheon of traditional Colombian food following for all who attend. Not only will Deacon Infante be the first Latino priest ordained in this diocese, but the ordination service will be the first ever bilingual ordination in the diocese. The celebrant will be the Rt. Rev. Whayne Hougland, 8th Bishop of Western Michigan, himself a descendent of Spanish heritage who is looking forward to speaking in both English and Spanish at the service. The preacher will be St. John’s Rector, Father Cramer, with the sermon being simultaneously translated into Spanish for the Spanish-speakers in attendance.

As the parish looks ahead, the excitement for their Latino ministry is evident. The cultures will continue to blend through offerings like regular bilingual liturgies throughout the year, the Día de Los Muertos Altar in November to celebrate All Saints’ Day and a planned Posada celebration in December that will culminate in the Lullaby to the Baby Jesus, a traditional Latino prayer service on Christmas Eve. The membership of the parish vestry now includes both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking members and they hope to continue efforts to ensure the community remains integrated in fellowship even as they worship in multiple languages.

St. John’s Episcopal Church is a diverse Christian community in the heart of downtown Grand Haven. One of the oldest places of worship in Grand Haven, they seek to blend historic liturgy with challenging education and active outreach. They gather together for Holy Eucharist on Sundays in English at 8:30am and 10:00am and in Spanish at 12:45pm. Additional information can be found at St. Johns website www.stjohnsepiscopal.com or Parish Office 616-842-6260.

October 13, 2017

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