A note from the Rector... Let us be, as much as we can, untroubled by these things...

A Note from the Rector
Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). I am sure we have all been troubled in the last week. The wardens and I were troubled about the decision to suspend worship and all other gatherings, as I am sure many of you have been. Isabella Fleischer and her team were troubled by the postponing of Happening after so many hours of loving care in preparation. We are troubled by financial losses and economic uncertainty. Above all, we feel disquiet about illness and the prospect of death coming near.

We know the worldly antidotes to such fears; preparation without panic, focus on needs in a shorter term, awareness of the best public information, and the washing of hands. In the longer run (the longest run really), the eternal life of God, into which we have been invited by Christ, is what our troubled hearts need. Come what may, we are well in God by the work of Christ, his saving death, his loving Resurrection. Believing in God and Jesus, who he sent, gives us strength for these days.

Let us be, as much as we can, untroubled by these things. A faith-filled response will be better for our souls, for our relationships, and for our neighbors, who we are still called to love. Remember this week what Jesus said: Do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me.

In God’s love, so abundant in our church, Nicholas
 
Our Sunday Worship is Online March 22 and 29
This Sunday's lessons take up the theme of vision, in Jesus' healing of the man born blind and in the calling of David, by the God who sees not as others sees but who looks to the heart. We see much happening around us in this strange season. Let us pray for eyes to see what matters most, those hidden realities and unexpected graces that lead us to perceive the action of the Spirit and the opportunities we have to cooperate with the will of God.
 
Our first Sunday of streaming worship was a success; we hope to improve the experience this week. We are making several improvements to our audio and video capacity, will share a bulletin in advance (by email and via Facebook), and will also offer a service at 8:00 am. 
 
Sunday Services for The Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 22
8:00 am Morning Prayer (spoken) and Sermon
10:30 am Morning Prayer and Sermon, with the St. John's Choral Scholar.

Worship and Pray Online During the Week
Noonday Prayer Offered Online Monday - Friday... at Noon
Begins today at 12 Noon
Join your clergy and others for prayer, for our church, our city, and the world, each weekday at 12 Noon. This brief service will be offered via our Facebook page. You don't need a Facebook account to join us. That service is found on p.103 in the Book of Common Prayerhttps://www.facebook.com/StJohnsEpiscopalChurchShandon/
 
Evening Prayers and Devotion Wednesdays at 6 pm
In place of our in-person gatherings on Wednesdays, let's come together for a time of evening prayer and devotion on Wednesdays at 6 PM. One of the clergy will lead the prayers on Facebook and offer a message appropriate to the season. You don't need a Facebook account to join us. https://www.facebook.com/StJohnsEpiscopalChurchShandon/
 
St. John’s Youth Lead Compline Prayer at 7 pm on Instagram 
Compline will be at 7 pm on Instagram, co-led by the youth of the church. We will gather virtually Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of each week. Come with prayer requests and calm your minds! All are welcome. https://instagram.com/stjohnscola_youth?igshid=169u94qw2ox2g

Families of youth: please email Maggie if you want a study option to then be discussed virtually. Maggie has some fun ideas that we can use, but doesn’t want to add to the noise. mThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Help in Time of Need
Several of you have been in touch with the clergy about ways to help those most vulnerable to infection, with offers of errands, shopping, and meals. We are compiling a list of helpers at this point and developing plans and leadership for the group. If you are a lower-risk person and would be willing to be a helper, please email Angela Daniel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Separately, Fr. Scott is developing a plan for a telephone calling ministry, to check-in with our more vulnerable church members. Please let the clergy know about your needs for prayer and pastoral conversation.

And don’t forget to reach out to each other. Call your pew neighbors, members of your guild, those who share in your committee work. We can do much to maintain the bonds in the Body of Christ and care for one another with personal caring and initiative.
 
Church Office Hours
St. John’s office will be open from 10 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday during this extraordinary time. During that time and out of it, staff will be available by email and telephone. Voicemail messages left at the church are automatically emailed to staff members, including the clergy. These reduced hours will allow the staff to work from home when that is prudent. Your visits for pastoral conversation with the clergy are welcome, but always consider the telephone or a videoconference as a fitting substitute.
 

Suspension of Worship Gatherings at St. John’s

Dear People of St. John’s,

Friday’s coronavirus news has included the declaration of national and South Carolina states of emergency, preceded by the cancelation of almost all public gatherings of any size. Friday, our bishop also offered guidance that all meetings and church social events should be suspended. Happening at Camp Gravatt was canceled. Many argue that all reasonable steps should be taken to slow the spread of the virus, so that our medical resources are not overburdened.

Thus, it seems prudent to pause the life of St. John’s for two Sundays, as have other congregations in Columbia and across the country. We will not gather in person for worship on Sunday, March 15 or Sunday, March 22. The 10:30 service will be streamed live via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/StJohnsEpiscopalChurchShandon/) this Sunday. There will be Scripture, a sermon, prayers, and intercession for our neighbors and the world at this troubling time. Words of hope, assurance, and a call to courage will be there, too.

This means all church classes, youth ministry, Wednesday night, guild gatherings, and meetings at St. John’s will be suspended for the same period. This will be a good time for all of us to stay home, if not out of a sense of risk to self, then out of a commitment to the common good. Accepting these restrictions is a way to love our neighbors, as the Lord commanded.

Your staff and Vestry will be thinking about ways to maintain our common life and commitment to each other and to the Lord during this time; even without worship, there will be other ways to provoke one another to love and good deeds. We’ll share more by email in the days ahead. For pastoral needs, Fr. Scott and I are available by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), and we will get any voicemail messages you leave for us at the church office. The church staff will keep normal working hours. If it seems prudent to extend this period, we will let you know.

With hope and in Christ,

 

Nicholas
The Rev. Nicholas M. Beasley
Rector

Men of St. John's Oyster Roast & Action - Postponed - An invitation to support charitable organizations and ministries

Out of an abundance of caution in light of COVID-19, the Men of St. John's are postponing the annual Oyster Roast & Auction scheduled for March 27, 2020. We look forward to hosting a larger and even more festive gathering later this year, so please stay tuned for details in the future!

In the meantime, we invite you to join us in supporting some of the outstanding charitable organizations and ministries to which the proceeds of our events are distributed. Financial contributions to these groups can have a significant impact, especially during this time when the needs of those they serve may be increasing.

Below please find a list of organizations that support potentially vulnerable populations and links to make a direct contribution if you so desire:

  • Hand Middle School Backpack Programwhich provides backpacks of food each week during the school year to needy Hand Middle School students. This is considered St. John’s signature project and donations may be made via the church website by selecting "Helping Hands Backpack Program" from the drop-down menu
  • Harvest Hope Food Bank, which feeds the hungry across 20 South Carolina counties, distributing over 22.9 million meals last year and feeding approximately 40,425 people a week
  • Family Promise of the Midlands, which supports families experiencing homelessness by providing shelter, food, and hope for a better future through volunteers in local faith-based congregations, like St. John’s, who provide radical hospitality to guest families
  • The FriendShip, a Columbia-based nonprofit dedicated to helping older adults lead healthy, independent, and active lives in their own homes and communities through programs and services like transportation, home maintenance assistance, and social engagement opportunities

Thank you, as always, for your support of MOSJ and the worthy charities and ministries with whom we are proud to partner.

Men of St. John's Episcopal Church, Shandon

 

Stay Tuned to the Oyster Roast & Auction event page on FaceBook for more information as it becomes available: https://www.facebook.com/events/144266796627480/  

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