Men’s Tuesday Morning Bible Study - Tuesdays, 7 am, Barr Center
The Men’s Bible Study is studying the book of Daniel. We’ll use a workbook, entitled, Spiritual living in a secular world. A permissive society, a power-hungry people, a nation without God. Daniel's situation in Babylon sounds quite a bit like our own. In the midst of such forces, how can we remain loyal to biblical values? How can we have a positive impact on those around us? This group meets Tuesdays, 7 - 8 am, in the Barr Center Dining Room. Breakfast is provided. All are welcome!
Rector’s Bible Study - Wednesdays, 10:30 am, Parlor
The Rector’s Bible Study will not meet this Wednesday, November 6.
Genesis is a great story of stories, taking us from the origins of the universe to the falling of the Hebrew people into slavery in Egypt. Basics of Christian belief emerge from its pages, as well as riveting family sagas.
"In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."
- Matthew 24:40
The St. John's Giving Tree has been a part of our Advent tradition for 30 years. It is our way to reach out to those in need or forgotten during Advent. This year we are giving to The Midlands Center, Hand Middle School, the Alston Wilkes Veterans, and the Angel Tree Prison Ministry. Please take tags and return the gifts wrapped, bagged, and tagged to the church by December 8. Please put the extra tag on your Christmas Tree and pray for this person during Advent. If you have any questions, call the contact on the bottom of the tag or Laura Williams (446-3504).
For everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom, and you are exalted as head over all.
By Michelle Rabon
Director of Parish Operations
There’s a twinkle in Sid Smith’s eye when he’s tending to the grounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays as the leader of the Lay-weeders. “It’s a labor of love,” he said cheerfully, straightening his work gloves. While Sid can be seen outside the parish office working in the gardens, he can also be heard. He’s singing while taking care of God’s creation; no doubt, it’s a joyous hymn from Wednesday’s Chancel Choir rehearsal.
Along with Sid’s voice, there are many others on the property ministry team who nurture our grounds, make repairs, and safeguard St. John’s beautiful buildings. Gene Bell, architect and chairperson of property, is drawing site plans to improve the back entrance of the church. The project will provide for a more functional and safe entry to the vesting room and sacristy from the parking lot, complete with hand railings, lighting, landscaping and a cellar-type door to cover the 107-year-old boiler room. “This is property’s signature project for next year,” said Gene with a bright smile, grateful for the opportunity to put his professional experience to work at his own church, and caring for the safety of the parish, the buildings and grounds.
Inside the renovated kitchen in the Barr Center, there’s a sparkle all about Ann Ruderman as she carefully measures ingredients for the dessert she’s preparing. Ann finds joy in cooking for events at St. John’s and in the relationships she’s made over the years with others preparing for Wednesday night suppers. Her favorite treat is not the dessert, though. It’s laying eyes on those young and old who come through the serving line. “I find value in those relationships at this church,” she said. “We are still small enough that I know who most people are, or at least which family they belong to.” And if she doesn’t know someone, Ann will get to know them sooner than later. That’s just who she is - and what she does at St. John’s - all the while continuing to be a good steward of God’s resources.
Lauren McCauley is like that too. Her work glows as the chair of the Good News ministry team, welcoming newcomers with the creation of the church’s new website and promotional video. Her team is researching new ways to connect with the parish as well as the community beyond St. John’s. A new logo, quarterly publications, and church signage are being considered for 2020. “We want to be ready to welcome all whom the Spirit draws to our church,” said Lauren.
As a part of all God’s creation, there is much to be in thanksgiving for at St. John’s. Our future is bright as we are open to lay down our gifts, like Sid, Gene, Ann and Lauren, and be led to accomplish together holy things that we could not do on our own. Join us in taking care of God’s creation, find your place among us at St John’s.
St. Monica's Guild
Tweenagers will not meet on this month on November 21. Instead, they will join St. Teresa's Guild and visit the Mepkin Abbey on November 20.
St. Teresa's Guild
Thank you for all the costumes you’ve donated so far! We have a good collection of options for our guests from Family Promise. Continue to drop off your gently used Halloween costumes in Maggie’s office or in the break room across from the parish office.
Keep signing up for Diocesan Events! Middle School Converge is next Saturday overnight in Spartanburg. Happening is coming up in November for 10th-12th graders, and Senior High Converge will be in December at St. Martin’s in the Fields! All of these events can be found at the diocesan youth site: https://www.edusc.org/
We will be returning to Ecuador to do service and mission through Education Equals Hope in late June, 2020. Please email Maggie if your child is interested, or if you would like to be a chaperone!
Friday, March 6 - Sunday, March 8
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.
In a culture of ever-busy business, we invite you to step away for a weekend to reconnect and breathe deeply in the mountains of Western North Carolina. During our time together we will share meals, play, pray, reflect on our own lives, and listen within God’s creation, as we seek right relationship with our neighbors, creation, self, and God. Together we will explore the sacred texts of Scripture, nature, and your own lives seeking God’s love.
Our speaker is the Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Director of Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina. Scott served as a pastor in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Fort Collins, CO, as well as in Houston, Texas. An Aggie undergraduate, he holds a Master of Divinity and a Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Scott enjoys accompanying people during transformative experiences, whether during hikes, spiritual direction, stories shared, service learning trips, live music concerts, camps or retreats. Prior to living in Asheville, Scott and his family served in the vulnerable cloud forest of Costa Rica. Scott continues to be reminded of his true self in forests, oceans, and deserts and seeks to invite others, particularly faith communities, into conversations regarding God’s creation.
This year we are sharing parts of our weekend with Holy Trinity Parish in Clemson. We’ll combine forces with them for our adult program, Sunday worship, and children’s programs, while still having ample time to be our St. John’s family together during the weekend.
Don't forget to place your order for fresh Carolina shrimp! The cost is $12 per pound, and shrimp can be purcahsed in 10 pound increments. Pickup for all orders will be November 7 at the King's Grant clubhouse, where there will also be a steak dinner served.
Adults: To Be Confirmed or Received into the Episcopal Church
Sunday, 9:30 am, October 27 - November 10, Room 9
Our bishop visits St. John’s on Sunday, November 17 to confirm and receive people from other parts of the Christian church, as well as to confirm our own youth candidates. These rites are for the baptized and are useful ways of marking the renewal of your Christian discipleship in the life of the Episcopal Church. The bishop confirms those who have not been confirmed before and receives those who were confirmed in another denomination. Either rite involves the renewal of your baptismal promises and the laying on of hands by the bishop. Preparatory classes meet at 9:30 on Sunday mornings through November 10. We would love to offer this further act of welcome and formation to those seeking God in the life of St. John's. Questions? Check with Scott or
Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom, and you are exalted as head over all.
When the Psalmist exhorts us to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” there are few details that need to be noted - mainly in what the Psalmist doesn’t say. First of all, there is no caveat indicating “Make a joyful noise. . . If you have a voice worthy of a multi-million dollar recording contract,” or “Make a joyful noise. . . If you can carry a tune,” or “Make a joyful noise - if you are part of the choir.” Second, it doesn’t say “Make a joyful Anglican choral sound” - it says “noise.” Third, it states that the noise should be “joyful,” not “perfect.”
So what does this analysis mean for my work at St. John’s. Foremost in my mind, it means we are all called to raise our voices in praise to God. The Chancel Choir, the children’s programs, and other music programs are all non-auditioned. I will teach anybody to sing, to ring a bell, to play a drum, you name it. If you are interested in contributing to the musical life of St. John’s, you are welcome. This calling isn’t limited to our ensembles, however. Everyone in the St. John’s family is called to sing. Some of my favorite moments in worship over the past year have involved my hearing the congregation joining with the choir, sometimes as we recess, boldly singing “God of Grace and God of Glory,” sometimes in more meditative moments, such as when we take a verse of “Amazing Grace” unaccompanied toward the end of Communion.
Certainly, there is also a place for the more rehearsed musical presentations of the Chancel Choir, the St. John’s Singers, the Drum Circle, and others. I am so thankful that, through the giving of our parish, we are able to retain four talented USC singers through the Choral Scholars program. Their presence has enabled the Chancel Choir to take on some challenging and beautiful music which we hope has been an uplifting experience for the congregation. Bringing in additional musicians for Christmas, Easter, and other services adds a wonderful extra sparkle, and the growth of the music program to include the joyful noises of the St. John’s Drum Circle has added new fervor to our worship.
The theme for our Stewardship season is “Yours, O Lord,” and I take this to heart in my week-to-week work and medium and long-term planning for the Music Ministry here at John’s. I am extremely grateful each time someone comes up to me an congratulates me on some musical element of our services, but I am mindful that the music ministry succeeds because many have given of their time, talent, and treasure to enhance our corporate worship. To borrow the words of the conductor Benjamin Zander, it is my job to help “awaken possibility” in the many participants in the St. John’s Music Ministry.
Let me leave you with an excerpt from one of the oldest Orthodox prayers for chanters and church musicians: “Help us to praise and glorify You through singing in a proper way, fervently praying and endlessly praising you for all the undeserved gifts you have poured upon us, and not to sing in vanity and to judge ourselves, but to join the Angelic choirs who constantly glorify You with your Eternal Father and with Your Most Holy, Meek, and Life-Giving Spirit now and ever and unto the ages of all ages.” Amen!
Our voices are very personal; I frequently encounter those who, upon hearing that I am a voice teacher, tell me I do not want to hear them sing. It’s never usually a case of, say a brass teacher being told by a new acquaintance that they do not wanting to hear that person play Flugelhorn. Our voices are tied to our sense of identity, hence the difficulty many people have not just with singing, but with public speaking. We fear that if our voices shake, crack, or sound feeble, we will expose our personal insecurities in front of an unforgiving crowd. This is before the subject of music enters the picture - and the situation applies to every one of us, even those of us who have been singing for years.
My first priority here at St. John’s is making sure that we all- not just the music ensembles - are engaging with the musical elements of worship, not just as listeners, but as active participants. Having a skilled organist, choir members, and other ensembles helps with this goal, but be assured that most of the time our goal is to motivate every one of you to sing.
One of my musical heroes, the conductor Benjamin Zander, has said in a number of his lectures that one of the most formative epiphanies he ever experienced was realizing that an orchestral conductor makes no sound; it is their responsibility to awaken possibility in the players they lead. This thought in many ways grounds and focuses my work as director of music ministry here at St. John’s. I am certainly able to raise my own voice in worship, but much more important than that is the task of helping singers, instrumentalists, and the congregation discover, develop, and raise their musical voices in corporate worship.
Directing the music ministry at St. John’s has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences in my work as a musician and music teacher.
and you are exalted as head over all.
By Maggie Mallette
Director of Family Ministries
An Episcopalian from birth, I come from a family of teachers and learners. My hometown of Oxford, Mississippi boasts just one sweet Episcopal Church, St. Peter’s, which is not too unlike St. John’s: it has a similar congregation size, a similar family atmosphere, and a similar outward focus. Like St. John’s, the people of St. Peter’s like to gather, both in formation and in fellowship. St. Peter’s cares about Christ, cares about its people, and cares about its community. Moving into my job as Director of Family Ministries here felt like coming home in many ways, and I am grateful that the good people of St. John’s were here to welcome me with open arms, words of encouragement, and willing service to the children and youth of the church.
Many of the memories that I now recall as formative in some way are from my experiences as a child or youth at St. Peter’s. I have memories of parades, Easter egg hunts, and other celebrations. I also remember “low Sunday” times of sitting on the butcher block island in the kitchen and singing church-y songs with church-y ladies. I’m sure many of the parishioners here at St. John’s have very similar memories in this parish. You may be the child in those memories, or you may be the church-y lady! In all of those times and spaces, I was learning. I was learning about expression, about community, and about compassion. Sometimes, my learning was more explicit - times spent at Vacation Bible Studies (VBS), in Sunday school classrooms, learning to acolyte, or learning to compose a sermon for Youth Sunday. I spent every Sunday morning at church with my family, every Sunday evening at EYC with my best friends, and many weekends a year at Camp Bratton-Green, the camp of the Diocese of Mississippi. In all of those contexts, I was learning.
I am learning here. I am learning from mothers of youth and children like Victoria Fleischer, Ashley Jaillette, and Catherine Lockhart, who have children’s ministry tricks up their sleeves from years of experience. I am learning from fathers of youth, like Brandon Templeton and Michael Burkett, who lead their families and their church family with servant hearts and spirits of thankfulness and humility. And I am also still learning from people who have graduated from the ranks of St. John’s youth and children’s ministries. We have former St. John’s youth who volunteer with EYC on Sunday nights, and one of my deepest college friendships was with a former St. John’s youth who was and is always teaching me something or other.
Mostly, though, I am learning from the youth and children at St. John’s. When they share their highs and lows of the week, I learn about vulnerability and trust. I learn about selflessness and endurance as we serve together in the brutal low country heat during Home Works at John’s Island. I learn about God through their openness about their experiences, and I learn about love for neighbor as I watch their friendships that have developed through the shared community they have in St. John’s. The children teach me openness, welcome, and faith. Their spirits of honesty and gratitude surprise and uplift me on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday evenings, sharing a meal in the Barr Center, singing “This Little Light of Mine” in the Children’s Chapel, or playing tag on the playground.
St. John’s should be proud of the ways it is teaching its congregants. It is teaching from the pulpit on Sunday mornings, teaching from experience through servant ministries, and teaching through hands-on activities at Sunday School. It is teaching through good-spirited guilds who minister to one another in fellowship and community. We are learning in Bible studies, through Southern Literature, and as leaders navigating church in the complex twenty-first century
I’ve still got a lot to learn - more than I even realize, at this point, I’m sure. I feel blessed that I get to share that with the youth, children, and families at St. John’s. What I do know is that I am so grateful to be here, and grateful for your generosity that makes our ministry possible. I am grateful for the hope and love that animate and invigorate our community of faith. It is a blessing to be a part of a gathering of people who value learning, who value teaching, who value the growth and community that we have here together, working towards and for the kingdom.