The Epistle - Thursday, May 21

Read the latest church newsletter: The Epistle - Thursday, May 21

The Epistle, Friday, May 15

Read the latest church newsletter: The Epistle, Friday, May 15, 2020.

A Message from the Rector, Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. Both change and continuity seem to be before us right now. Some parts of life are moving back toward normal right now, with restaurants, hair salons, and retail stores get back to business. Some Christians are gathering for worship again, particularly our Roman Catholic neighbors. Plexiglass shields will be between their priests and people at Communion, and all will be wearing masks as they gather in gyms and halls, six feet apart. There are hints in their practice as to what we may have to be content with when our time to gather comes.

As it stands now, our bishop has suspended in-person worship through May 31 and will consider options for enlarging in-person worship when DHEC has posted 15 consecutive days of declining numbers of positive COVID-19 tests. We have had some days of consecutive declines, always followed by a day or more of increase, for some time. It is hard to speculate when that point may be reached. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Our worship life continues online, as do Bible studies and opportunities for fellowship. We’ll do what we can by these means as long as we have to. Please stay involved in the Body of Christ in these ways, trying as they may be. And experiment with them as you need to. I was with my family instead of at church last Sunday, when Fr. Scott was preaching. When all had been rustled from their beds and fed at 9 am, we worshiped using parts of the 8 am service recording. I had the boys read the lessons and then we listened to Fr. Scott’s good sermon. Then we prayed for the church and for the world, and I was pleased to hear my sons pray from their hearts. Think about what you might do to nurture your own spirituality and that of your household with the resources St. John’s is providing. One size doesn’t have to fit all.

We may need a measure of your understanding in the days ahead, as Michelle Rabon completes her long and faithful service as our Director of Parish Operations. We will post the position for applications this week but will be without a lead administrator for a while. The restrictions on our ministry make this a better time than some to be short-handed, but we will miss Michelle’s steady hand in the days ahead. I know you will be understanding of any bumps we experience. If you haven’t, please let Michelle know how much her work has benefited our ministry. I look forward to seeing the difference she will make at Still Hopes.

Most of St. Paul’s letters to young churches conclude with a section of exhortation, in which he encourages them to fight the good fight, to run with endurance, to discipline the will and the body. Philippians 4 says, “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” We are in such time, a time of keeping on keeping on and remembering what was and what can be again, in the great goodness and love of God.

Think on these things and keep on doing the things you have learned and received in Christ. Nicholas+

A Change in Parish Staff & A Note from Michelle Rabon

Dear People of St. John’s,
 
We are losing a valuable member of the St. John's staff to an Episcopal neighbor. Michelle Rabon, our Director of Parish Operations, has accepted the position of Director of Life Enrichment at Still Hopes. The job includes the opportunity to work with seniors, a passion of Michelle's, as well as managing a large staff and multiple programs.

I know we will all celebrate this significant advancement in Michelle's work, while regretting the loss of her many gifts at St. John's. We will miss her hard work, attention to detail, warm spirit, and her willingness to serve. Michelle has moved St. John’s forward on many fronts, particularly in building systems that have proven vital to our ministry during the pandemic. She has wrangled technology, facilities, and finance for us for many years, all in positive directions. Our loss is Still Hopes' gain. Michelle's last day will be May 20. 

We are still processing this news. Celebration and farewell are a little hard right now, but we will find some ways. You can certainly send Michelle a note at St. John’s or at her home address, 214 Valley Vine Court, Irmo, SC 29063.

God continually gives us opportunities to grow and change. We are thankful for the season Michelle spent with us and for her new challenges.
 
Grace and peace, Nicholas 

 

A note from Michelle...

It has been an amazing 10-year journey at St. John's. Through managing parish events; property issues, property renovations, expansions and campaigns; sewer back-ups and floods; leading IT and technology advancements such as live-streaming and upgrades to new software (ShelbyNext Giving, Financials and Membership) and lots and lots of hardware for Wi-fi and network connectivity; launching new communication strategies with the Good News ministry team - new website, online newsletter, videos -- not to mention steering and guiding through lots of transition; and yes, even burials and weddings on my own with guest clergy -- I hope I have served you well. At the very least, I leave you with some solid advances in infrastructure to propel the church forward in its future endeavors with the incredible members of the property and finance ministry teams. 

Most importantly, I leave you with a team of incredible, proficient, competent, and creative staff in Administration. None of the work accomplished during my tenure would have been possible without the drive and expertise of head sexton, Tony Taylor, and his hard working crew members Jeannette, Renee, Rosemary and sweet Mr. Isaiah; or the leadership of past finance administrators Barbara Catoe, Lori Anderson and your current fun and experienced finance officer Rhonda Gardner; as well as parish relations coordinators Bryana Close, Dan Benardo and our current parish administrative assistant, the very organized Megan Griffin. It has been a pleasure to work with these teams of people, alongside your outstanding program staff and clergy. I have learned so much from all of them, from all of you (too many to name here - much love to so many beautiful and good St. John's people who lead, support staff, and do the REAL work of the church). Each has made me a better professional, given me such joy, and filled my servant heart daily. 

I have loved and adored being a part of your family at St. John's. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, your parish and all those in between.  

In peace, 

Michelle Rabon

12 Days of Beautiful - Come plant flowers in the garden beds. Sign up this week!

Come plant flowers, prune, weed, and mulch garden beds during 12 Days of Beautiful. Presented by the Property Committee, work in different areas of the church grounds practicing social distancing. Choose one of three times - morning, afternoon or evening - from Monday, May 4 through Friday, May 15. Sign up your family (ex: The Bell Family) friends (ex: G. Bell & Friends) or yourself (ex: Gene Bell). Bring your garden gloves, gardening tools and protective gear. Flowers, mulch and water provided. Sign Up Here

Are you graduating this year? Email Maggie today!

Graduating? Email Maggie today!
If your child is graduating from high school this spring, please email Maggie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are working on ways to recognize our seniors before they begin their next chapters, and we don't want to miss anyone! 

The Epistle, Friday, April 30

Read the latest church newsletter: The Epistle, Friday, April 30

How Long?

How long?

By the Rev. Nicholas Beasley

Getting ready for a new class on the Psalms, I was reminded how helpful these ancient praise poems are for modern lives and certainly for the days we are living. The Bible study guide explains that the book of Psalms is “actually dominated by prayers that complain to God about a specific dire situation of an individual or group.” The words jumped off the page! We have all done a little whining this last month, even those of us with relatively little to complain about. For some, these days have been dire, leading to profound questions about God and human life, questions that may sound like complaints.

Several of the early Psalms open with questions, big questions, that the singers in the Temple and current readers of Scripture are led to offer to God, particularly in dire situations. Psalm 2 asks “Why do the heathens rage?” causing suffering for others. Psalm 10 wants to know why God stands so far off and is hidden in time of trouble and why the wicked should then be allowed to revile the Lord. Psalm 15 asks who is holy enough to approach the Lord. Nearest to our present concern is Psalm 13, which asks “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? “ The Psalm never offers a simple answer to its question. The answer is not, “until you humans start doing right” or “until I, the Lord, am done being angry.” Instead, having asked the question, the Psalm writer resolves to put his “trust in your mercy” and to “sing praise to the Lord, for he has dealt with me richly.” It seems that asking the complaining question opens the door to reassurance from God, to a renewed sense of what the gifts of God have been. We all know that spiritual cycle, don’t we? When frustration or low feeling or spiritual aridity have gone on too long, and we finally turn to the Lord about it, something happens, some gift is given. God acts, and raises our eyes to the gifts and the goodness of God.

“How long?” is also the refrain to U2’s rock psalm 40, which Selah led us in singing not many months ago at St. John’s. Bono lifted the song’s lyrics from the first two verses of Psalm 40, in a last minute song-writing session as a recording studio was about to kick the band out. He added the plaintive cry how long, seemingly from Psalm 13. Psalm 40 offers a key to reading all the Psalms of complaint and question: “I waited patiently upon the Lord; he stooped to hear my cry…lifted me out of the desolate pit…set my feet upon a high cliff…made my footing sure…[and] put a new song in my mouth.”  God heard, God lifted, God gave a new song. That new song of praise is the one Bono asks about the duration of; how long will I sing this song of joy in the Lord? That is a wonderful inversion of Psalm 13’s “How long,” asking not how long God will hide but how long we should sing the song of joy God gives to those who turn to him, even (especially?) those who turn to him in prayer of complaint. We should sing that song forever.

These psalms (and even Bono’s synthesis of them) together teach us that God hears the cries of his people, that God responds in many ways, including movements within us, prompted by the Holy Spirit. Our cries of complaint matter to God, and God transforms them into confessions of faith and thanksgiving, for the mercy of God we have received. We lose track of and are reacquainted with the mercy of God in our days. That dynamic is not forever; we are being moved toward a serenity, toward wisdom, toward the fullness of God’s presence and love. This season of pandemic is itself a spiritual experience and season, a time to ask “How long?” and to hear God’s answer in the faith and hope he renews in us. The pandemic won’t last forever; the love and glory of God in Christ will!

Prayers for Healthcare Professionals (Updated)

Prayers for Healthcare Professionals

We are grateful for the many healthcare professionals at St. John’s who are serving our community during the Covid-19 pandemic. Below is a list of some of those names. If you know of others, please send their names to Fr. Scott This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also find a collect below that you are welcome to use as you hold them up in prayer. We are setting aside Fridays at noon to say this prayer corporately (an additional prayer for Fridays is below). You may, of course, use this at any time, when you are moved by the Spirit.

Blessed Savior, at this hour you hung upon the hard wood of the cross, stretching out your loving arms that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may serve all those in need of your healing and wholeness; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Give your power of healing to all doctors and nurses; protect all healthcare professionals against infection; comfort them when discouraged or sorrowful; and strengthen them by your life-giving Spirit, that by their ministries the health of the community may be promoted; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Doctors: William Rambo, Rachel & Alex Pertile, Tim Close, Stuart Smith, Michael Barker, Bill Robinson, Greg Black, Eric Horst, Ted Belsches, Stephanie Paolini, Ted Law, and Andrew Mastanduono.

Nurses: Katie Gibson, Heather Overdyke, Norman & Sicily Loranger, Anna Rock Kirkland, Betsy Williamson, Sara Williamson, and Brenda Martinez.

Pharmacists: Julian Horst, Lisa Sherrer Fisher, Joan Law, and Madelon Kneece.

Therapists: Rebecca Coleman

Administrators: Davis Bourne, Diane Clarkson, Caroline Mulof, Eileen Schell, Sara Sterne, Bobby Hurst, and Rebecca Dillard.

St. John’s parish office is closed - Clergy and staff working safely at home

The City of Columbia has issued a stay at home ordinance closing non-essential city business and directing citizens to stay home except for the purposes of working at or conducting business with an essential service business provider. St. John’s is following this ordinance to protect the welfare of our clergy, staff, parish members and vendors by closing the office. Clergy and staff are working from home. Our finance team and sextons will continue to physically be onsite twice a week, briefly, to collect mail, make deposits, clean, and work with facility contractors. Clergy and staff can be reached by email or by calling the office at 803.799.4767 + their phone extension. Your voicemails are delivered to staff via email – so we’ll never miss your call – even though we are working remotely. Connect with Staff