Chimes January 2020

In this issue

  • Epiphany Message from Rev. Lisa
  • Annual Meeting - January 26, 2020
  • Vestry Slate
  • Coming Soon - Mark Your Calendars
  • Reflections from Diocesan Convention
  • Good News
  • Scenes from Advent & Christmastide
Epiphany Message from Rev. Lisa

Epiphany is a season of light, discernment and revelation. I like to describe an epiphany as an “a-ha moment” or a moment of clarity in which your awareness of the presence of God is vivid. For me, epiphanies often happen in creation, especially sunrises, which signify the gift from God of a new day. These revelations of who God is also happen through the presence of other people we encounter in our lives. The scripture readings during this season in the church are all about God revealing Jesus to the world. From the arrival of the Gentile magi from the East to the manger where they recognize they are in the midst of holiness, to the baptism of Jesus, where the voice of God can be heard saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” to the call of the disciples, to the Transfiguration, God reveals God’s presence and God’s mission in the world.

I pray that you take some time this Epiphany to be aware and be present to how God reveals God’s presence in your life. Look for the places and people of light God puts in your life, for the moments happen if we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to receive.

Rev. Lisa+

Please attend to get an update on St. John's finances, outreach, and other ministries. . . and so we can hear your views!

This year’s annual parish meeting will take place on Sunday, January 26. Here are the details:

  • Immediately following the 10:00 am service, we will move to the Parish Hall for the annual meeting.
  • Babysitting and childcare will be provided and light refreshments will be served.
  • We intend to conclude the meeting after one hour.
  • The nominations will be presented and we will vote for this year’s Nominating Committee.
  • We will elect the Junior Warden and 5 Vestry members. As we have announced since December, the 2019 Nominating Committee has nominated the following slate: Candidate for Junior Warden (two-year term): Christina Battalia Maggard; Vestry candidates for a three-year term: Lila Bankston, Todd DeSimone, Mike Raso, and Paul Schwendener; Vestry candidate for one-year term: Tom White.
  • We need 3 people to assist with counting ballots.
  • We welcome volunteers to assist with setup for the meeting.
  • We will post and circulate a link to a pdf of the annual report ahead of the meeting so people will have a chance to read the reports in advance. (A small number of hard copies will be available at the meeting as well.)
We aim to engage and hear from as many parish members as possible and make the best use of everyone’s time, so please attend!

The Nominating Committee, comprised of Rick Berry, Charlie Chubet, Diane Goodman, George Matelich, Janet O’Connell (Committee Chair), Mike O’Connell, and Trish Patterson, is very pleased to announce the slate for the Class of 2020 Vestry members.The committee very carefully considered St. John’s current needs, and sought candidates who would bring the necessary background, skills, and leadership and represent different segments of the parish.

Junior Warden

Christina Battalia Maggard

Christina was raised in the Town of Mamaroneck, one of six children, whose family parish was Sts. John and Paul, and later as a member of St. Augustine’s. Her marriage to Ollie Maggard (one of eight and a third generation St. John’s parishioner) brought Christina to us. Christina is a mother of 3, and stepmother of 2, which she and Ollie affectionately call their ‘bonus kids’! Christina says she was drawn to St. John’s by its welcoming nature and robust community involvement. Since 2007 she has served in the elected position of Mamaroneck Town Clerk, where she interacts with the public daily, and finds it very rewarding to be making a positive difference in her community. Quite different from being Town Clerk, Christina received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University, and continues to practice her art. Active in the Midnight Run for 5 years, Christina maintains the Midnight Run closet providing the supplies needed for the run. Currently she sits on the Buildings and Grounds Committee and has been instrumental in a number of projects including the preparation of the Rectory for the Masons. In addition to art, her passions include cooking, reading and entertaining her large extended family. When asked, Christina graciously said she would be honored to serve as Junior Warden.


Lila Bankston

Lila is currently an independent jewelry appraiser, having previously worked as a jewelry specialist first at Phillips and then at Christie’s auction houses. A native Alabamian and lifelong Episcopalian, Lila, her husband Roland, and daughter Evelyn (age 7) moved from New York City to Larchmont and St. John’s in 2015. She had the pleasure of serving on the 2018-2019 Search Committee, recently joined the ECW, has served as a Sunday School volunteer, and has also participated in various events at St. John’s, including the annual Easter Egg hunt and Christmas Bazaar. Lila’s family enjoys travel and she is hoping her daughter will learn to enjoy hiking as much as she does. One of her favorite things about St. John’s is it’s warm and welcoming community. She is honored to serve on the Vestry.

Todd DeSimone

Todd and his family moved to Larchmont in December 2015 from Manhattan. Todd grew up in Pound Ridge, New York. Todd and his wife (Brandis) have two children, Blakely (5) and Ryan (2.5), both of whom attend St. John's Nursery School. Blakely was baptized at the Church of the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Manhattan. Ryan was baptized at St. John’s. Todd’s family have been active parishioners of St. John's since 2016. In that time, Todd has provided Midnight Run supplies, he has attended the Men’s Dinners, he has ushered, and his daughter has participated in the Christmas Pageants. Todd is also a member of Larchmont Yacht Club, where he serves on the legal committee. Todd is the General Counsel of an East Coast-based construction company and he brings a wealth of experience in real estate, construction, insurance, and finance that will be helpful to assist St. John’s with its management of finances and the church facilities. Todd became an Episcopalian after being raised in the Catholic Church.

Michael Raso

Mike’s connection to Larchmont goes back to his grandfather who ran a few businesses on Palmer Avenue. He and his wife Wendy have lived in Larchmont since 2000. They have two children, Andrew (16) and Katie (14) and have been attending St. John’s for over 3 years, moving over from St Augustine’s. As an Interfaith family, they are also celebrate the Jewish Holidays. From the first time they entered St. John’s they were made to feel welcome and part of the community immediately. Mike currently serves on the Investment Committee, attends the Men’s Dinner and is involved with Youth Soccer and Wrestling. Mike works in private equity focusing on business development and investor relations. Mike received his MBA in International Finance from Fordham University and graduated from the University of Scranton with a BS in Economics/Finance.

Paul Schwendener

Paul and his wife Barbara visited St. John’s the first weekend after they moved to Larchmont in 1998, and that was the end of church shopping! Children Leon (23) and Lily (20) attended Sunday School and took part in activities like the Christmas pageant which Paul directed for seven years. A lifelong Episcopalian, Paul has been a member of the Vestry 2001-2003, and served a one-year term as Junior Warden in 2019. He has been involved at various times in organizing the Ivoryton family retreat, the Midnight Run and the Easter Appeal. He is currently leader of the Saturday morning men’s group. Paul has worked in the classical music recording business since 1989, with projects ranging from a complete Mozart Edition to an Archive of Jewish Music to the All-Star Orchestra series on Public Television. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.

One-year term

Tom White

My family and I became active parishioners at St. John’s in 1984: Liz (our only child then at home) in the youth group and as an acolyte; Joan in the ECW; and I on the Vestry. Joan died of cancer in 1991, and our children were then spread between Boston, NYC, Charlottesville and Miami. However, I continued active at St. John’s: as a member of the 1992 Search Committee; Lector; Licensed Eucharistic Minister; and a delegate to conventions of the NY Diocese, including two convened to elect new Bishops. In 1995 I was asked to serve as a church visitor for the Diocese’s newly initiated congregational support program. This led to my serving on the Diocesan Council and Human Resources Committee and as Chair of the Congregational Support Plan Committee. In 2005 Bishop Sisk awarded me The Bishop’s Cross for my service to St. John’s and the Diocese. In recent years, however, my active participation in the life of the parish has been largely limited to reasonably regular attendance at Sunday services of worship at 8 o’clock. I look forward to serving again on the Vestry.

Coming Soon

Mark Your Calendars!

Friday, January 17 at 6:00 pm - Midnight Run

We are collecting needed items. Please click here for additional details in the Signup Genius and click here for our Amazon wishlist to purchase needed items directly. Please mark your calendars now and plan to join us for this powerful outreach ministry. Thank you for your continued support and participation in the Midnight Run!

Saturday, January 18 at 4:00 pm - Rev. Lisa's Institution as our Ninth Rector!

Please plan to join us for this wonderful celebration of new ministry! All are welcome for the service and the festive reception to follow.

Sunday, January 26 at 11:15 am - Annual Meeting

Please be sure to join us!

Book Study with Rev. Lisa

Join Rev. Lisa for a weekly study based on the book, Searching for Sunday: loving, leaving, and finding the church, by Rachel Held Evans.

Women: there are two opportunities to join this group day or night depending on your schedule; you do not need to commit to the same time for all sessions. Monday evenings 7:00-8:30 PM, and Wednesday mornings 9:30-11:00 AM in the Thorne Room. Mondays: Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24 Wednesdays: Jan 29th, Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26 (time for the last class may vary due to Ash Wednesday).

Men: Thursday evening 7:00-8:30 PM in the Thorne Room, Thursdays: Jan 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27

This is an invitation to grow closer to God and your understanding of your faith journey in community. With questions or for more information, please contact the Rev. Lisa Mason, 210-854-4811 or email, revlisa@stjohnslarchmont.org.

Thursday, January 30 at 7:00 pm: Bunco Returns!

It's not too late to sign up. Girls' Night Out: January 30, 2020 at 7:00 P.M. in the Chapter Room. Remember Bunco? It's easy and fun. Chase the winter doldrums. Snacks, wine and soft drinks will be served, and there will be prizes. Open to non-parishioners as well, so please bring a friend. Cost: $30. To sign up, please contact Janet O'Connell. Proceeds of this evening go to the ECW's outreach.

Tuesday, May 19: ECW Trip to The New York Botanical Garden

Save the date for a very special ECW Spring Outing and Luncheon for all women at St. John's: A VIP tour of Kusama: Cosmic Nature at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, with a buffet lunch to follow. Note that the day will begin with a prompt 8:45 am arrival at the NYBG. Details coming soon.

Phil and Diane Oldham who run the Lions Club organized a "Points of Light" gala on December 8th to bring all the service organizations together. Carolyn Gallaher introduced Mary Lee Berridge who was honored for her many years of service to our Larchmont Mamaroneck community with the first Jack Coughlin Community Service Award.

Carolyn and Mary Lee were also featured in a picture in the Larchmont Ledger with Christine Arrington, Susan Amlicke and Carolyn Chubet. They are part of PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization) which held three events this fall to raise scholarship money for young women. Sophie Kent, while not pictured, was active in the fundraising efforts.

Have good news to share? We'd love to share in your joy! Please email any good news to communications@stjohnslarchmont.org. Thanks!

Reflections from Diocesan Convention

by Roxanne Goh

First of all, out of fairness, I need to tell you that you should be beating down Rev. Lisa’s door to ask to go to the Diocesan Convention in 2020. I am telling you this now, because I will definitely ask to go again this coming year and you should have a fair chance to go. It is a not-to-be-missed experience. Ask the vestry. Ask Rev. Lisa. Let them know to count you in. You will see your church in a whole new way.

At Convention, you see clergy in community, not leading their congregations, but as part of a collegial, worshiping congregation of both clergy and lay members. There is camaraderie and a joy of togetherness. Convention reminds us of our broader Episcopal community and helps us be inspired by and join in the efforts of our neighboring congregations. It reminds us that we are called to live lives of love, grace, and compassion - not only with our individual choices - but in community.

You might ask, “What is the Diocesan Convention anyway? And, for that matter, what is the Diocese?” Good questions! St. John’s is a member church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York which encompasses a wide swath of New York State from the urban to the rural, including the boroughs of Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx, and seven counties - Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Our Diocese maintains its offices at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the upper west side of Manhattan. It is headed by the Right Reverend Andrew Dietsche, our diocesan bishop (sounds like Deet-chee), the Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, suffragan bishop, and the Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, assistant bishop, in concert with the Convention, the Standing Committee, and the Diocesan Council - which is to say, our diocese is representative, not just governed from the top down. Our Diocese is both our regional governing body, which can provide guidance as necessary or at the request of a congregation, and coordinates outreach initiatives across the many member congregations in our area.

The Diocesan Convention is both exactly what it sounds like and simultaneously not at all what you would expect. Yes, it’s a two-day, annual convention in which member clergy and lay representatives vote on seemingly dry, but necessary budget and committee appointments. But wait! There’s more! Our Diocese is doing some very important and moving work. In 2019, we passed several resolutions which go to the heart of how we are called to live and which bear on our commitments here at St. John’s. In particular, Convention passed significant resolutions on reparations and the environment and one resolution in support of our own Bishop Mary Glasspool, her spouse, and all married gay bishops. We also watched a two-person play, The Red Altar, about the discrimination and depth of physical violence faced by early Chinese Americans in California. We sang and worshipped together and heard a sermon from our guest, Rt. Rev. Enrique Treviño Cruz, bishop of Cuernavaca, Mexico, and, of course, we heard Bishop Dietsche’s annual presentation to Convention.

Over a three-year period, the diocese has been examining its role and seeking reparation for the sin of slavery. The culmination of this effort will be in 2020 with a Service of Apology, so again, you’ll want to be at Convention for that moment this coming November. At Convention, we passed a long-overdue resolution originally made in 1860 by John Jay II that the Episcopal Diocese of New York denounce slavery and work towards its abolition. In 1860, that resolution was tabled to prevent a vote. Although all slaves in New York had been freed as of 1827 and this resolution was made at the brink of the Civil War, New York ships were still involved in the slave trade. The local economy, various church members, and even churches had owned enslaved people or benefited from their labor and the slave trade. Although this resolution should have been passed over 150 years ago, it’s passage now is not merely a symbolic condemnation of past slavery, but also commits our diocese to work to end human trafficking and modern forms of slavery that continue in our midst even today. In a resolution from the floor, which passed resoundingly, Bishop Dietsche further proposed that the Diocese commit $1.1 million in funds towards reparations for slavery. He cited recent reparations payments announced by Virginia Theological Seminary of $1.7 million and Princeton Theological Seminary of $27.6 million. During 2020, a task force will investigate how this $1.1 million fund should best be applied — whether as educational grants or otherwise. Rev. Dietsche explained,

With these examples in front of me, I began to think about an appropriate level for this resolution, and arrived at 1.1 million dollars, which represents two and a half percent of our endowment. Much smaller, and the resources for significant reparation would be insufficient; much larger, and it might not be something we could do.

We also heard how various diocese churches are investigating their historic relationship to enslaved people. One parish discovered that its structure was built in part by slave labor. The Diocese’s “Black Presence Project” website archives these historic relationships as parishes conduct their specific research. Poignantly, St. James Church in Manhattan recently memorialize its history and debt with a plaque on the church that reads:

Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." -- John 8:32

In solemn remembrance of the enslaved persons whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of St. James' Church, Hamilton Square, 1810.

Christ, have mercy.


Christ, have mercy.

Convention also addressed the environment by passing a resolution that makes real commitments to impact climate change. New York City has implemented a “Green New Deal” requiring buildings to reduce their carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2030, but excludes houses of worship. Convention voted to meet the city’s target reduction. All Diocese buildings and parishes will need to undertake environmental assessment of their buildings, heating, and cooling to achieve this carbon footprint reduction.

Finally and importantly, our convention passed a resolution that specifically supports our assistant bishop, Mary Glasspool, but also more broadly affirms the acceptance, welcome, and equal treatment due to all gay clergy and their spouses and, by implication, all people whether straight or gay. Many of you may know that the Lambeth Conference of Anglican/Episcopal bishops is held in Canterbury, UK every ten years. Spouses are specifically invited to attend. For Lambeth 2020, Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, specifically disinvited spouses of gay clergy — which at the time of the statement referred solely to Bishop Mary Glasspool and her spouse, so this was a very personal action. In it’s opening words, Lambeth’s website describes the conference this way, “The Lambeth Conference is a hugely significant event in the life of the Anglican Church. It brings together all active bishops and their spouses from across the worldwide Anglican Communion – that’s more than 165 countries.” All spouses… except gay couples. Our Diocesan Convention passed a resolution requesting that the Archbishop reconsider the invitation and backing all gay bishops and their spouses, which now number three such couples.

Here is my take-away from Convention, even as we attend to the specific work and mission of St. John’s, we should strengthen our ties within our diocese both with it’s leadership and with other member churches. Our diocese is the next step up in our broader Episcopal community and we can accomplish more together than individually. Convention brought to mind the “Agent of Change” Girl Scout badge that my daughter’s troop earned. The badge is made of three concentric circles working from the individual at the core, to group, to community at the outer ring. We might pray like St. Francis to “make me a channel of your peace,” asking God to help us be an agent of God’s will first in our individual actions, but then in ever widening circles of community. Make me a channel of your peace, your love, your mercy as an individual, but also in concert with others. Convention also reminded me of Paul’s metaphor of the Body of Christ in his first letter to the Corinthians. Our full calling is not just as individuals - a hand, foot, or mouth - but also in communion with one another. We are called to function together as a whole. We have a joint calling and need each other to accomplish it.

The Episcopal church is fortunate to have an organizational structure that provides us continuity, coordination, and guidance without being exceedingly hierarchical. We vote at convention and lay representatives vote right along with clergy. Our Standing Committee is made up half of clergy and half of lay people. That’s pretty notable and significant. Bishop Dietsche stood out in the convention hallway looking at convention table paraphernalia and chatting just like the rest of us lay representatives and clergy — approachable and real. There’s a strength to that sort of culture - organized, but collegial and democratic. Our diocese is doing powerful work both at the parish level and as coordinated by the Diocese. Go to Convention. Take me along too, if there’s room.

Scenes from Advent & Christmastide

Our annual staff luncheon, thanks to Rev. Dorothy Greene

Babette gave Kirk a customized ornament for the tree

There was a great turnout for the parish sing-a-long

Ready for the pageant

Your photos and news from your ministries are always welcome. Please forward your submissions to communications@stjohnslarchmont.org.

Let your ministry's light shine through Chimes!