E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 20

Capital Campaign Update, Summer Worship Gathering, Celebrate our Latino Ministry, and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 20    http://mailchi.mp/7c791235a32e/ey7eu7o5mr-1265137

From the Parish Administrator
Ms. Cindi Sanders

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Since September 1999, St. John's has provided a meal to those who are hungry in our community. No questions asked. We also provide to our guests takeaway bags of five food items on Sundays. 

Recently we have had kitchen managers who have felt called to other ministries or to other projects. Do you feel a certain sense of fulfillment when you feed people? Does it make you happy to see family and friends gathered around the table eating food that you prepared? You may be called to be a Loving Spoonful kitchen manager.

The job of a kitchen manager is to coordinate with me what meal will be served on the day that the kitchen manager is in charge. The kitchen manager prepares the meal, along with volunteers who have signed up for that day, and then serves our guests. The kitchen manager makes sure all volunteers are wearing plastic gloves, hats, are following health department procedures, and supervises kitchen cleanup.

Right now we are looking for kitchen managers! The expectation would be serving as kitchen manager on Wednesdays and/or Sundays. Your start time would depend on the meal being served on your assigned date. Wednesdays we serve from 5:30 – 6:30pm and Sundays we serve from 1:00 – 2:00pm. Kitchen Managers would be scheduled once every 6 or 7 weeks.

This is a ministry that our guests have come to depend on and love. They have formed their own community inside of ours, our church is their church, our space is their space, too, even if only for a few hours, even though it's in a different way than we experience community and church.

One of our kitchen managers, Alicia Hager, wrote once about the different kind of communion that is offered in the Loving Spoonful kitchen. She wrote about how we are all finding grace, how we are all coming to the table and being fed. This is an important ministry and if you feel called to it I would ask you to get in touch with me so we can talk more.

If you don't feel called to be a kitchen manager, or don't feel that you can make the time commitment, there are other ways you can help! We have a whiteboard outside of the kitchen that lists our most common supplies and ingredients. Take a look, maybe you could donate some of those items. We have someone that has volunteered to go and pick up food from LOVE in Action every week or so. It would be great to have another volunteer, too. With another volunteer, you would only have to visit Love in Action once a month. 

There's an old saying about how it takes a village, and it does take a village to continue feeding 25 – 35 hungry people twice per week at St. John's. This is not something that I or the other kitchen managers can do on our own, we need your help.

Please prayerfully consider offering your assistance so that we can keep this ministry moving. Feeding people who are hungry, offering community to those who don't have any other, while we change lives. 
With Joy,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 20  http://mailchi.mp/7c791235a32e/ey7eu7o5mr-1265137

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 13

Guest Preacher this Sunday, Canterbury Choir News, Gearing up for VBS, and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 13    http://mailchi.mp/001c0b87b589/ey7eu7o5mr-1262817

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

Dear *|FNAME|*,

The guest preacher for this Sunday, Father Martin Smith, is a well-known figure in the Episcopal Church.

Father Smith has served as chaplain to the Episcopal Church House of Bishops from 1993–1997. He is the author of numerous books, the most well-known being The Word Is Very Near You: A Guide to Praying with Scripture, along with the acclaimedReconciliation: Preparing for Confession in the Episcopal Church.

I first met Father Martin Smith as a professor in one of my doctoral classes, a class on how the insights of the tradition of Spiritual Direction could be a way to approach pastoral ministry. For example, when someone says they don't like something, instead of feeling a need to explain why something is done a certain way, Martin would say, "Perhaps say to them, it sounds like this has had a deep affect upon your experience of God. That must be difficult… have you instead been experiencing God in other ways?" That way, what could be a question about preferences or personalities becomes a moment of discernment about the presence of God in our lives.

Don't get me wrong, I have certainly not mastered this ability—but it has been a part of my own priestly life I have sought to cultivate ever since. 

Later, I got to experience Father Smith's wisdom again at our Diocesan Convention a couple years ago. I remember being deeply moved by what he said, as he invited us to embody God's desire for the world.

What an amazing concept. Imagine God's desire for the world. Imagine the way he yearns for humanity. You and I are called to be the bodily manifestation of that desire.

That's actually a phrase we hear regularly at St. John's. One of the Postcommunion Prayers at the Wednesday noon service of Holy Eucharist & Healing includes us praying, "We thank you for feeding us with this bread. May it strengthen us that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may embody your desire and be renewed for your service through Jesus Christ our Savior." After hearing Father Smith use this concept at convention, it has always struck me more deeply.

I am very delighted by the honor of having him preach at our parish this Sunday, at both the 8:30am and 10:00am liturgies. You will not want to miss it.

I truly believe that you will likewise find your own faith strengthened, your hunger for God deepened, and your commitment to embody God's desire for the world further emboldened. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 13  http://mailchi.mp/001c0b87b589/ey7eu7o5mr-1262817

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Canterbury Children’s Choir opening to Tri-Cities students

For immediate release.

August 3, 2017  St. John’s Episcopal Church, Grand Haven, Michigan.

Canterbury Children’s Choir opening to Tri-Cities students

St. John’s Episcopal Church of Grand Haven is opening their children’s choir program to students age 8-14 throughout the Tri-Cities area starting this season.  The Canterbury Choir program involves an in-depth study of music through choral singing, instruction, and instrument playing.  We will hold an informational meeting for interested parents on Wednesday, August 16, at 7PM in the church’s “Guild Room”, 524 Washington Avenue.

Studies have shown that students who are engaged in learning how to read, play, and sing music do better in school in all academic subjects, and are more engaged in the life of their church and community.  St. John’s wishes to offer these benefits to all students, age 8-14, through teaching the art of choral singing and through intensive music instruction, including class piano (starting later in the season), and lessons in music theory, following the Royal School of Church Music curriculum.

The weekly schedule will consist of rehearsals on Thursdays 4:15-5:00PM, and Sundays, 2-3PM.  The first rehearsal will be held on Thursday, September 7.  Later in the semester, group piano and theory instruction will take place on Wednesdays, 4:15-5:00PM for participating choristers interested in this additional instruction. A published schedule of Sunday services and a spring concert will be available at the informational meeting on August 16.

Transportation after school can be arranged with Harbor Transit, and with other participating families.

Tuition for students will be $100 per semester, to pay for materials and instructors.  Additional book purchases will be necessary for those who choose to participate in group piano instruction on Wednesdays.  Full and partial scholarships are available and tuition is waived for member families of St. John’s.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, contact Nick Palmer, music director at St. John’s: 616-842-6260, ext. 27, or music@stjohnsepiscopal.com.  You may also come to the informational meeting on August 16 at 7PM in the Guild Room at St. John’s.

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 11:45am in the summer and 12:45pm the rest of the year.

August 3, 2017

# # #

E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 6

Coast Guard Saturday, Capital Campaign Update, Loving Spoonfuls Help, and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 6    http://mailchi.mp/6fec957f4de0/ey7eu7o5mr-1260405

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

Dear *|FNAME|*,

The United States Coast Guard was created by Congress in August of 1790. It was originally known as the "Revenue Marine" or "Revenue Cutter Service" and focused on the collecting of customs duties at our nation's seaports. In 1915, it merged with the US Life-Saving Service and became the modern Coast Guard. 

During times of war, the Coast Guard can be transferred to the US Department of the Navy, something that has happened twice, once during World War I and then again during World War II. That said, the Coast Guard has actually been involved in every US war from 1790 through the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Indeed, on its own, the Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force. 

The brave women and men who serve in the Coast Guard focus on maritime homeland security, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, and the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). It functions differently than other parts of the armed forces. It has a maritime law enforcement role in domestic and international waters but it also has a federal regulatory agency as a part of its mission. 

The Coast Guard is comprised of 42,000 active duty personnel, with an additional nearly 49,000 in reserve, auxiliary, or other roles. They serve bravely in their tasks, with an organizational structure that enables quick response to crisis and emergency. During this week, as we do every year in Grand Haven, we have been honoring the Coast Guard.

This Saturday, I invite you to join us for the Grand Parade. Come early at 10:00am for Morning Prayer with hymns, led by  the St. Cecilia Choir. Enjoy the luncheon fundraiser served by our El Corazón Latino Ministry, and then the parade itself. 

As you sing the opening hymn on Saturday, remember these brave women and men in their service—and perhaps pray the prayer in the extra verse to the hymn written specifically in their honor:

Eternal Father, Lord of hosts,
Watch o'er the ones who guard our coasts.
Protect them from the raging seas
And give them light and life and peace.
Grant them from thy great throne above
The shield and shelter of thy love.

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 6  http://mailchi.mp/6fec957f4de0/ey7eu7o5mr-1260405

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 30

Bishop’s Visit this Sunday, Capital Campaign Update, Coast Guard Parade, and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 30    http://mailchi.mp/ec044204e267/ey7eu7o5mr-1257629

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

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Each time a new bishop is ordained in the Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop says the following to the bishop-elect in the Examination:

You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ.

This simple paragraph lays out the ideal of the ministry of a bishop in the Episcopal tradition. It was a great joy only a few years ago to stand with many of you as our own bishop, the Rt. Rev. Whayne Hougland, received that very charge. 

And this Sunday, we get to see that charge in action as Bishop Hougland comes to St. John's for his official Episcopal Visitation. As a symbol of his role as the chief priest and pastor of our parish, we will only have one united service this Sunday. There will not be an 8:30am Eucharist or an 11:45am Spanish Eucharist. Instead, we will worship together in a joint bilingual service at 10:00am. 

Come early this Sunday for a special "Breakfast with the Bishop." Food will be ready at 8:45am and the bishop will have a brief presentation and time for Q&A. The 10:00am Eucharist will be a tremendous celebration, as we baptize Juan, a Cuban immigrant who, due to the repressive regime in Cuba, was never before baptized. Juan spoke powerfully at the Spanish Eucharist last Sunday about the many churches he has been to during his life and why he chose our church as the one in which he will become a baptized Christian.

This Sunday, after the baptism, we will also be commissioning Karen Nisja as a new Stephen Leader at St. John's. Karen committed significant time and expense to travel to the weeklong training to help lead this ministry and I know that Barb Giebel, our other Stephen Leader, is excited to have Karen come on the leadership team for this important ministry of Christians caring for one another. 

And, of course, after the service we'll have a special Coffee Hour Reception to honor Bishop Hougland and thank him for his ministry among us.

This Sunday will be a great day for St. John's, a great day for Juan and his family, a great day for Karen and our Stephen Ministry, and a great day for all of us who are blessed to be part of this community of faith.

I'll see you there!

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 30  http://mailchi.mp/ec044204e267/ey7eu7o5mr-1257629

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Finding a Way to Heaven on Earth, or, Raising up the House of God (Sermon for 7th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, 2017)

The first part of the sermon for today didn’t record, it was:

The reading for today from the Hebrew Bible, the twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis, is a reading that sort of begs artistic imagination. We are told in this reading that the patriarch Jacob lays down and has a vision. “And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” What must that ladder have looked like? Countless artists have sought to imagine the possibilities.

But, if we truly want to imagine this structure reaching up to heaven, the first thing we must do is to get rid of that word ladder. The Hebrew word is sullam, is what’s known as a “hapax legomenon”—that is, this is the only time the word appears in the Hebrew Bible. These are words that exist in Scripture, often with a footnote that says, “meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.” This means, quite literally, we’re not sure at all what in the world this word actually means. Sullam is derived from a word that refers to lifting something up and though our translation translates it as ladder, it can also be translated as stairway (hence Led Zeppelin’s song, which was apparently an exercise in Hebrew translation). It can also mean a raised mound. Some scholars have suggested it refers to the steps that were on ziggurats, those pyramid like structures you’ve seen perhaps in Mesopotamia or in Aztec ruins, steps upon which people would ascend to holy places.

I remember when I was doing archeology work in Israel, both in college and in graduate school, and we walked one particular site that was a series of rooms going from one place to another down a long row. My professor noted this was one ancient near eastern ritual form, as the worshippers would go through successive rooms, not ascending up to a physical height, but rather ascending spiritually as they came closer to the place where the divine dwelt. This could be a sullam.

The audio for the rest of today’s sermon for the 7th Sunday of Easter, Year A, is available below:


The video of the rest of the sermon is available below as well:

E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 23

Sunday’s Party, Parish Hall Renaming, Great Lakes Conference, and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 23    http://mailchi.mp/80918ff504bd/ey7eu7o5mr-1254549

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

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Are you ready for a party?

The Capital Campaign Kick-Off Event Team has been hard at work getting ready for this Sunday's Kickoff Event. Our event chair, Mary Harberts, has been leading her team in putting together an afternoon of food, music, and fellowship as we celebrate this moment in the life of our church. If you get a moment on Sunday, please share your gratitude with the Kick-Off Event Committee: Ellie Dekker, Shannon Donley, Mary Harberts, Sara Hasbrouck, Dale Rodgers, Jane Ruiter, John Scheid, and Daniel Snyder.

The party begins at 4:00pm and will be throughout our parish building and grounds. There is free childcare downstairs (if you will use it, please click here so Mary can ensure we have your kids on the list!) and we'll be ordering pizza for the kids.  In the Parish Hall, jazz pianist (and friend of SJE!) the renowned John Shea will be tickling the ivories. And in the St. Francis Garden we will have live music from local band Plain Jane Glory. In particular, enjoying the music and garden will certainly inspire all of us—knowing this will be the first Garden Party in the St. Francis Garden without Dick Swain, the parishioner who gave that garden to the parish and who died last July.

There will amazing food in the style of tapas—small plates of a variety of forms, suitable for eating and mingling around the parish. Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks will also be served. 

And, of course, there will be a special surprise announcement. One of the benefits of being the Rector is that I've been able to wrangle that surprise out of our Capital Campaign Chairs, John Harberts and Sue Morriss. It is….. something very very exciting!

You won't want to miss this. If you are unsure whether you have signed up to attend (or if you know you haven't!), just click here and Mary Harberts can make sure we have you down as coming.

We've been working toward this kickoff for quite a while. There have been studies and surveys and parish conversations. We have waded through what felt at times like an ocean of RFPs, RFQs, proposals, estimates, and quotes. Many many members of our congregation have shared their own insights and views, all of us working hard to come up with this Campaign for Stepping into the 21st Century, ensuring that this truly is a campaign that all of our parish will vigorously support.

Thank you. 

Bethany and I look forward to celebrating with you this Sunday. Over one hundred and fifty years of Episcopalians have entrusted us with this space. Now it's our turn to begin the work of bringing it into the 21st century so that the ministry of Christ in the Tri-Cities may be strengthened, supported, and expanded. 

Through Grace,

PS: We have a team of people helping set-up at 2:00pm (Dale Rodgers, Jill Wegner, and George Morriss), if you want to help, please feel free to show up. Similarly, we have a team of people working on clean-up after (Dale Rodgers, John Harberts, and Nancy Collins)—they would also welcome your help, if you are free. But please know that your help is in no way expected or required—it truly is the desire of all those volunteering for the party on Sunday to be a gift for all members and friends of St. John's. That said, please share your gratitude with them when you see them!

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 23  http://mailchi.mp/80918ff504bd/ey7eu7o5mr-1254549

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 16

Unity School Summer Fun, Capital Campaign Kickoff Party, Migrant Appreciation Event, and More in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 16    http://mailchi.mp/68bcdc404ddc/ey7eu7o5mr-1252029

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

Dear *|FNAME|*,

I'd like to introduce you to someone this week, people of St. John's. He's become known to our Latino members at the 11:45am Santa Eucaristía, but many of you have not had the opportunity to meet him.

His name is Juan and he was born in Cuba. Due to the repressive nature of the Castro regime when he was young, Juan was raised with a sense of faith but was never baptized. A couple months ago he and his wife Gloria began attending the 11:45am Santa Eucaristía, but Juan didn't come up for communion.

Our Associate Rector, Dcn. John Infante, spent some time getting to know Juan and Gloria better. Gloria is from Colombia, like Dcn. John, and so they had a natural immediate connection. Dcn. John then learned that Juan had never been baptized… but that he very much wanted to be.

It just so happens that a baptism opportunity is coming up at St. John's. In addition to the four days given in the prayer book for baptism (All Saints', Baptism of our Lord, Easter, and Pentecost), the occasion of a bishop's visit is always a fitting time for baptism. And our bishop is coming for his visitation in just a couple of weeks, on Sunday, July 30. So, Dcn. John and Juan have gotten to work, going through baptismal preparation classes to prepare Juan for his baptism.

According to the new customary for Episcopal visitations, when the bishop visits, there is only one service of Holy Eucharist. Bishop Hougland wants us to do this to underscore our relationship to him, that he is our chief priest and pastor. That means that on July 30, there will not be an 8:30am liturgy. There will not be a 11:45am liturgy.

Instead, we will gather together as one united church family at 10:00am. The bishop will do a few small sections in Spanish, and we'll sing the Spanish service music to which we've grown accustomed, but the majority of the service will be in English with a Spanish translation in the bulletin. 

Except for one important part. That will be when I say, "Juan, yo te bautizo en el Nombre del Padre, y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo. Amén." — Juan, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The Bishop will smudge sweet smelling chrism oil on Juan's forehead and say, in Juan's own native tongue, "Juan, quedas sellado por el Espíritu Santo en el Bautismo y marcado como propiedad de Cristo para siempre. Amén." — Juan, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever. 

It will be a special day.

And it's not too late. If you know anyone else who could be a candidate for Baptism on that day, please let the Parish Office know no later than Monday, July 17. 

And, if you have a moment, say a prayer for Juan as he undergoes the preparation for his baptism. And maybe say a prayer of thanksgiving as well for the many members of this parish who committed to making this Latino ministry possible, so that lives like Juan's could be touched by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 16  http://mailchi.mp/68bcdc404ddc/ey7eu7o5mr-1252029

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