Dear Parish of St. John’s,
This past month has been a difficult one for the parish, as we have said good-bye to three individuals who were beloved, long-time members. Over the past year, several other parishioners passed away, including some who had moved away years ago, but were still connected in heart and soul. I want to acknowledge your individual and collective loss. One of the strengths of the parish is that there are many people who have been here for decades, even generations. This creates a strong community. Your love for one another runs deep. When someone dies, the grief is as deep as the love.
For each service, many, many members of the parish volunteered to help in many ways. On behalf of the families and the staff, thank you. I remember my Judaism professor explaining that in Judaism one of the three greatest mitzvot (good deeds) one can to is to care for the body of one who has died. Because the good deed cannot be repaid, it is a true gift. It is indeed a privilege to be able to do something for or on behalf of a loved one who has died.
When someone we care about is grieving, we want to be able to do something. Please know that, in addition to the concrete things you have done, your care and concern also make a difference. Often people tell me that “I don’t want to write to the bereaved because I don’t know what to say” or “I don’t want to mention the person who died as it might make them sad.”
I appreciate and respect the concern and, to be sure, sometimes people say things that are not helpful. So I offer a few suggestions
- Offer condolences. Tell the person/family that you are sorry for their loss.
- Share a story or remembrance of the loved one. This will not make people sad; they are already sad. It may make them smile or even laugh. Memories are such a gift – they are always with us, even if the person we love is not.
- If you know the person is religious or spiritual, tell them that you will remember them in prayer.
- Though this is certainly optional, offer to help out in a specific way. You may know of something that would be helpful.
Wishing you the joy of the light of Epiphany. I look forward to seeing you at Annual Meeting.
With love and prayers,
Please attend to get an update on St. John's Rector Search, finances and other ministries. . . and so we can hear your views!
This year’s annual parish meeting will take place on Sunday, January 27. Here are the details:
- We will have one worship service at 9:00 AM that day so that the entire community can share this important time together. The service will be shorter than a "regular" service.
- Immediately following the 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.
- The Search Committee will provide details about their progress, and there will be brief reports from 4-5 people on developments.
- We will elect the 2 Wardens and 6 Vestry members. As we have announced since December, the 2018 Nominating Committee has nominated the following slate: Candidate for Senior Warden (two-year term): Robin Ingram; Candidate for Junior Warden (one-year term): Paul Schwendener; Vestry candidates for a three-year term: Betsy Bradley, Dami Burckin, Justin Goh, and Jackie Plumez; Vestry candidates for one-year term: Christina Battalia Maggard and Mike Raso.
- 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 Jill Brennick, Carolyn Gallaher, Angela Nesbitt, Susan Swanezy, Jan Van Den Dijssel, and alternates Chris Burrows and Mike Smith, is very pleased to announce the slate for the Class of 2019 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.
Robin brings a wealth of leadership experience and a long history of involvement with St. John’s and the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Robin and her husband Dave have been members of St. John’s for almost 20 years. During that time, Robin has served on the Vestry, the Stewardship Committee, and the Rector Search Committee, represented St. John’s at two Diocesan conventions and has served at eight General Conventions. Robin has been Coordinator of the Midnight Run, a Nursery Advisory Board member, an Open Arms Volunteer, and continues to be an active member of the choir and a Eucharistic Lay Minister. She has served on the Diocesan Standing Committee (2012-2016) and was a member of the Diocesan Strategic Planning Committee (2015-2016). After heading the middle school at Horace Mann School for 14 years, Robin is now working as an Associate in the Admissions Office. Robin became an Episcopalian after being raised in the Baptist Church.
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 (22) and Lily (19) attended Sunday School and took part in activities like the Christmas pageant which Paul directed for seven years. A lifelong Episcopalian, Paul served on the Vestry 2001-2003, and has been involved at various times in organizing the Ivoryton family retreat, the Midnight Run and food delivery to Open Arms Men’s Shelter. 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.
Betsy was baptized and confirmed at St John’s, where she sang in the Junior Choir and spilled candle wax on many pairs of cotton gloves as a teenage acolyte. She lived and worked in New York City for twenty years before returning to Larchmont and St. John’s in 2016 with her husband, Eric Lai, and their daughter, Phoebe (who was baptized at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn). Betsy, who graduated from Harvard College and has a Ph.D. in American Literature from New York University, currently serves as the Senior Director of Programs and Engagement for Historic Hudson Valley, and she is the author of several books about New York City history and culture. She chairs the Author Visits committee for the Murray Avenue School PTA, and recently retired after a decade on the board of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Betsy is looking forward to her daughter being old enough to participate in the Midnight Run, but for now she and Phoebe content themselves with making spectacular bag lunches for the event.
Dami and her family first moved to Larchmont in 2006, left in 2013 and returned again in 2016. She has two children, the youngest of whom was Baptized at St. John’s. Dami was raised Catholic but became an Episcopalian at St. John’s in 2013. Her husband, Jon, was raised in the Reform Jewish tradition and although her family fully participates at St. John’s, they consider themselves to be an Interfaith family and also celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days. Dami served as secretary of the ECW prior to their 2013 departure and has since served on the Stewardship Committee at St. John’s. She also enjoys the Contemplative Prayer Group and credits it for deepening both her faith and her experience at St. John’s. Dami has a BA in History from the University of Virginia and worked in the entertainment industry prior to taking time to raise her family.
Justin, his wife Roxanne, and their two children, Spencer and Giselle, have been attending St. John’s for five years. They have been active members of Episcopal parishes in several cities, and the children were baptized at St. John’s. Justin currently serves on the Investment Committee, previously served on the Stewardship Committee, and has participated in several Midnight Runs. The rest of the family participates in multiple church activities including ECW, Voyagers, Sunday School, and the Christmas Pageant. Justin and family feel blessed to have found St. John’s and be part of the Church fellowship. Justin is a Managing Director at ORIX Corporation, a global financial services firm, where he is focused on alternative investments and asset management. Justin graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Politics.
Jackie Plumez joined St. John's in 1979 when her baby daughter was baptized. Since then she has been an active member holding such positions as co-chair of the Bazaar, chair of the silent auction, member of the search committee and the ECW Board. She has worked with the Diocese on various projects including being a founding member of Anglican Women's Empowerment, which for many years brought women from around the world to the UN to learn how to lobby for social justice in their home countries. Dr. Plumez is a practicing psychologist and career counselor in Larchmont. She has written four nonfiction books and is currently attempting to be a novelist. She is a frequent public speaker and media interviewee.
One of six children, Christina Battalia Maggard was raised in Larchmont where her parish was Sts. John and Paul, and later, 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. A proud accomplishment is restoration of the Town’s historic books; one dating from 1862, is displayed at the Town Center. This is a far cry from her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University. Active in the Midnight Run for 4 years, Christina maintains the Midnight Run closet providing the supplies needed for the run. 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 on the Vestry.
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 (15) and Katie (13) and have been attending St. John’s for 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 finance and is focused on alternative investments and asset management. Mike received his MBA in International Finance from Fordham University and graduated from the University of Scranton with a BS in Economics/Finance.