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connect ST. JOHN'S
issue 02.09.23
This Sunday's Gospel reading explores being open to the unexpected. (Coley, Nathan, 1967-. There Will Be No Miracles Here, from Art in the Christian Tradition
connect GOD

In the past week, two Episcopal Seminaries have announced their plans to radically change their approach to theological education and formation. For generations, the primary approach to educating our clergy and other theological professionals has been through the residential seminary model. Today, seminaries are choosing to expand and evolve their approach to education. I think this change has been in process for years, and it’s interesting that both Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), located here in the Bay Area, and General Theological Seminary (GTS), located in NYC, have just announced their plans to move to a hybrid model of education.

In an article written about the changes occurring at GTS (which entered into an Affiliation Agreement with Virginia Theological Seminary last year), these changes are described as innovative, and a way to respond to “the changing needs of the church.” GTS’s Senior Vice President, the Very Rev. Michael DeLashmutt, Ph.D., said: “General Seminary is changing to meet the needs of a changing world. As it does, it remains grounded in its iconic home in Chelsea and its historic rhythms of daily prayer, while also modelling new ways of engaging ministry, worship, and leadership. We are embracing the Seminary’s third century of mission with hope for what lies ahead.”

It is interesting to witness so much change happening in our church, and to be reminded that it is part of our ethos and identity. The Episcopal Church often uses the image of a three-legged stool to describe its sources of authority. The stool is supported by three “legs”- scripture, tradition, and reason. More recently, reason has been reclaimed to also include experience. These changes happening in our institutions and structures are emerging from a dynamic conversation that is unfolding between who we are, who we have been, and who we might be becoming. 

It strikes me that those same conversations are happening in very personal ways as well, and while change can be exciting and hopeful, it always carries with it a sense of loss.

In a couple of weeks, the church shifts into the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday is on February 22). Similar to Advent, Lent is a season of preparation, a season of getting ready to receive a mystery. In Advent we prepare to receive the mystery of incarnation. In Lent we prepare to receive the mystery of resurrection. Often, people choose to give something up during Lent, to simplify their lives in some way so that they may be drawn closer to God. Others choose to take something on, to add in some devotional practice, or acts of service, to help reorient their lives around Jesus and his invitation to follow him. Whatever you choose to do (or not do) during Lent, hopefully it will be an experience that invites you into a deeper conversation with God, and will impact us, the church, as we continue to ask who we are, who we have been, and who we might be becoming. 

The Rev. Heather Erickson, Associate Priest
email Rev. Heather
Pastoral Notes & Prayer list

Ash Wednesday 
February 22, services at 12pm and 6pm
connect FAITH

Worship (inside)
9am: Family Worship (Held on the lawn, weather permitting, or in the Parish Hall.)
Worship (in-person & live stream)
Sunday School for children
Sunday School for youth 

Bible Study (Zoom). All are welcome.

7:30am: Christian Meditation (Zoom)
Click here to receive an invite for the online service.

One TUESDAY a Month
Dinner Church in the Parish Hall (2/21, 3/21, 5/16)

2nd SATURDAYS of the Month
8am: Men's Group 
Click here to request a meeting invite. 

Sermon Podcast Returns You can now listen to the Sunday sermon from the 10am worship service on the St. John's sermon podcast. Search for 'St. John's Ross Sermons' in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or any podcast directory. Or go to our sermons web page. to listen to a new episode each week.
connect GIVING

Annual Fund 2023 St. John’s is so grateful for your stewardship this year. This year we are asking for your support of our Annual Fund 2023 – ‘Connect to God through Stewardship.’  Your contribution makes a great impact on the financial stability and security of our parish. Please consider increasing your commitment by 10% to help us pay for higher operational costs caused by inflation as well as support of our vibrant parish programs. You can also go beyond that amount if you are able, increasing your commitment to God through Stewardship. Please give online or make a commitment. Your generous financial contributions will join with the other 295 pledging families making our one million dollar Annual Fund 2023 goal a reality. For assistance, please contact Lee Steward, Director of Stewardship via email or at 415.456.11023, x117.

St. Vincent de Paul Bagged Meals: This Sunday Please join us after the 10am service on February 12 to help prepare bagged meals which will then be distributed to those in need through the St. Vincent de Paul dining room. For more information, contact Rev. Heather.
The Men’s Group will meet for breakfast this Saturday, February 11 at 8am in the Parish Hall for fellowship, discussion, and a breakfast! The Rev. Skip Fotch will lead us in morning prayer. For more info email group facilitators Keith Granger of Paul Clark.

St. John's Pancake Brunch: February 19 Celebrate Mardi Gras a few days early! All are invited to a pre-Lent feast with pancakes, sausage, and bacon, at coffee hour in the Parish Hall on Sunday, February 19 after the 10am service. Please note that this gathering is in lieu of a Mardi Gras party on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. For more information or to sign up to help, please contact Rev. Heather.

MOC Leaders Meeting On Wednesday, February 15, from 7-8:30pm, Marin Organizing Committee will host a Leaders Meeting on zoom to plan for the upcoming Living Wage Action. Register here.

The next Dinner Church: Tuesday, February 21. Join us at 6pm in the Parish Hall for session #2 of our new theme, ”Grief and Finding Meaning”. Our aim is not necessarily to resolve grief, but to address it. At this month's session we'll dive into what we experience and feel when grieving. Come to share your stories and reflect. To cook with the volunteer kitchen team, sign up here. Dinner Church meets 2/21, 3/21, not in April, and 5/16. NOTE: COVID vaccinations required to cook for or attend Dinner Church. Suggested donation is $10 to cover the cost of groceries.

Winter Book Read: March 5 Our next title is Do I Stay Christian?: A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned by Brian McLaren. McLaren is a public theologian and author of several books including A Generous Orthodoxy, Everything Must Change, and A New Kind of Christian. More information about McLaren may be found here. We will gather for discussion and reflection on Sunday, March 5th, at 11:30am. For more information, contact Rev. Heather.
Spiritual Direction Are you a woman who has found herself at a crossroads? You might be asking yourself, "Where am I being led?" "Who am I, truly?" "How do I let go and allow the healing to begin?" If this resonates, spiritual direction could be the path for you. Spiritual direction is following the Divine into the questions, the unknown, the new seasons, and the heartbreaks; and discovering clarity, peace, a deeper connection with God, and your true self along the way. Parishioner and spiritual director, Jennifer Whitaker, is offering spiritual direction for the women at St. John's. If interested, please contact Jennifer here. She is a certified spiritual director, trained at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

St. John's Church Trip to Agape Farm in Malawi, Africa (July 10-20, 2023) The goal of the parish trip to Agape Farm, Malawi, Africa is to deepen our understanding of other peoples, their culture, traditions, and forms of religious practice. Parishioners will engage with the Agape Farm community by visiting the surrounding villages, meeting village chiefs and community leaders, assisting in the teaching and tutoring of school age children, partaking in the support groups, and/or contributing to the maintenance of the farm and its buildings. Please email Amy Rankin-Williams with any questions or interest.

connect CHILDREN
Sunday School @ 10AM Sunday School is open to kids from preschool to 5th grade. This Sunday we will have two classes, one in the Fireside Room for kids preschool to 2nd grade and the other class will be in the Garden Room near the Youth Room for kids 3rd to 5th grade. The kids will join their parents in the church for communion after the class.  If you have any questions, please email Sandra Pathik, Director of Children's Ministry.

Children's Worship Bulletin Download the Children’s Worship Bulletin for 3+ years old and 7+years old. Free online game included. Secret code to unlock the game: SKQA80. This Worship Bulletin is updated every week. 
connect YOUTH

Our New Handbells Due to a generous donation from two parishioners, St. John’s has acquired a one-octave set of handbells! Music Director John Karl Hirten is developing a pool of interested teens who would occasionally ring bells for the 10am Sunday service. No musical training or experience is necessary! Open to anyone between the ages of 13 and 18, the commitment would be once a month or even less, depending on individual availability. Please contact Music Director John Hirten via email or at 415.456.1102, x111.

Click here for our Spring 2023 Youth Calendar

Sunday Morning Youth Group There will be no Sunday Morning Youth Group this Sunday. Youth are encouraged to attend the 10 am service!

Sunday Evening Youth Group We meet from 5:00-6:30 pm on Sunday evenings. Join us for games, chatting, crafts, service projects, and more! Dinner is provided.

Evening Youth Group Dinner Volunteers We need volunteers to provide dinner for Evening Youth Group as we enter Spring 2023 of our program year. Sign up here
Your help is always appreciated!

Navajo Nation High School Youth Trip 2023 Join us for our next incredible High School Trip as we journey into the heart of Navajo Nation from June 11th to 17th. This trip is open to rising high school freshmen through 2023 high school graduates and costs around $1500 per person.* The sign up deadline in March 1st. For more information, please contact Maggie Doyle, Youth Minister or Sign Up here  *Scholarships available 

Youth Group on Instagram Follow Youth Group St. John's at _y_g_s_j_ 
connect MUSIC
This Sunday's Music  William Levi Dawson was a distinguished composer, professor and choral director who today is best known for his well-crafted arrangement of Spirituals. Born in Kansas City, MO, of African-American heritage, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and later at the American Conservatory of Music, where he attained a Master of Music degree. After teaching for a while in the Kansas City school system, he became music professor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he developed what would become a world-renowned choral program. Although he wrote music for orchestra and chamber ensembles, he is best known for his arrangements of spirituals. As was typical of the time, the lyrics attempted to reflect the cadences and dialects of African Americans. Ain-a That Good News! is typical of his spiritual arrangements, as they are both characteristic and respectful at the same time.

At its peak in the mid-19th century, the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, known more commonly asShakers, had between two and four thousand members. An offshoot of the Quaker religion, the movement started in England in the mid-1700's and made its way to the American colonies, starting their first community in Watervliet, NY. Other communities cropped up, some as far west as Indiana. 

Simple Gifts is described in Shaker communities as a "Gift Song from Mother's work," referring to spiritual revelations from Mother Ann Lee, one of the founding members of the movement. Elder Joseph Brackett was a member of the Alfred, Maine Shaker community and there are documented sources ascribing the song to him. Daniel patterson in his book The Shaker Spiritual, (1979), cites one Eldress Caroline Helfrich, "who remembered seeing Brackett sing the song in a meeting room, turning about 'with coat tails a-flying.'"

The St. John’s Choir sings weekly at the 10 AM Sunday service, as well as special services for the Christmas and Easter seasons. This warm and welcoming group sings repertoire from all periods and many different styles, from plainchant to polyphony, from Handel to Hairston. While there is no audition required to join, it is hoped that members are able to read music well enough to find their way around a musical score. Rehearsals take place Thursday evenings from 7:15 PM until 9 PM.

The St. John’s Choristers welcome all children ages 6 through 12 into the program. No prior musical experience is necessary and there is no audition to join. Currently, the Choristers rehearse on Sundays at 11:15 AM (or just after the 10 AM service) for about a half-hour to forty-five minutes. We learn the basics of reading music, as well as develop a Sunday morning repertoire through rote learning, which includes hymns, chants, and rounds.
Copyright © 2023 St. John's Episcopal Church, Ross, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
St. John's Episcopal Church
PO Box 217
Ross, CA 94957


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