Open Doors, Open hearts
A message from Rev. Lisa
From my first conversation with the search committee, I knew in my heart that St. John’s was, and is, a welcoming parish. From the carefully crafted questions asked of me by the search committee and later, the vestry, I knew this was a place and a people who loved God and each other. The rectory was made ready for our arrival, and the staff reached out to introduce themselves before my first staff meeting. My husband, Kirk, and I experienced both open doors and open hearts from the minute we arrived. While we are still learning our way around the area, and more importantly, getting to know the people who are St. John’s, we feel very much at home. Thank you for that; it means more than you will ever know.
You all are a parish who is faithful, courageous, and discerning. You have a long history filled with much love and some deeply challenging times. You are strong and you continue to love your church family deeply with open hearts. You are proud, in a healthy way, about the work you do as a church to make a difference in this community and beyond, and I sense a deep anticipation and hunger to learn all that God has in store for all of us. Thank you for entrusting me to be your 9th rector; I am honored and excited for the present day and for the shared years ahead.
Peace, Rev. Lisa+
Have You Seen Our New Prayer Nook?
The landing in the left staircase leading up to the balcony in Murray Hall is now set up as a place for prayer or quiet conversation. There is a prayer book, bible, and a few devotional resources. There are also some of my personal icons. In addition to the sanctuary, please feel free to use this room when you are searching for a time and place to be still and know that God is always present.
St. John's Makes A Difference!
The 2020 St. John’s Stewardship Campaign kicked off with a celebration on October 5th at the lovely home of George and Susan Matelich. Our St. John’s teenagers were instrumental in our evening with Tim, Sebastian, and Jem greeting parishioners at the door and Alex taking coats, while Maddie, Theo, Emily and Penelope helped serve the evening’s fare. We were thankful to celebrate with many parishioners, seeing some old faces and meeting new ones! The celebration kicked off the many ways St. John’s makes a difference in our lives and in the lives of others around us.
Thanks to the generous support of the St. John’s community, this congregation offers time, talent and programs to make a difference not only in our lives, but in the lives of the community around us. This time of year we reach out and ask for financial support in the way of making a pledge to St. John’s. You should have received the Stewardship 2020 mailing, including a pledge card. If you have not, there are pledge cards in the front and back of the church, or you can pledge online by clicking here.
We hope that you will thoughtfully and prayerfully reflect on the information sent to you from the Stewardship Committee, including information about how you can empower St. John’s to continue making a difference in your life, that of the community, and beyond.
Throughout our Stewardship Season, different people from St. John's will share their own reflections about how St. John's is making a difference in their lives.
On Sunday, October 6, Penelope Hall shared at both services how St. John’s has made a difference in her life and also how St. John’s has provided programs, including the Jr. Choir and Beyond Our Walls, for her to make a difference in the lives of others. On Sunday, October 13, Junior Warden, Paul Schwendener shared how St. John's has been making a difference in his family's life since he and his family started attending St. John’s and all the joy they’ve experienced, from Sunday School to helping with the Midnight Run.
Over the month of October, parishioners Peter Bennitt, Wendy McFee and Michael Raso will be sharing how St. John’s has made a difference in their lives. Click here to visit our Sermons page and listen to these wonderful reflections each week. And in the Parish Hall you will find stories by parishioners sharing how St. John’s makes a difference posted around the room.
How Your Pledge Furthers Our Mission
Come learn what your financial stewardship means in the life of your church. How is it spent? We will offer two sessions: Sunday, October 20, immediately following the 10:00 am service, and Thursday, October 24 at the rectory from 7:30-9:00 pm. All are welcome!
St. John’s Family and Friends Group Makes Its 13th Service Trip with Bridges to Community
By Linnet Tse
2019 marks the thirteenth time that members of St. John’s Church have taken a service trip with Chappaqua-based Bridges to Community (BTC) to build houses, and the second time to the Dominican Republic.
BTC, a community development and service-learning organization that promotes cross-cultural partnerships and sustainable community development, began its work in Nicaragua in 1993 and expanded to the DR a little over six years ago. St. John’s has made eleven trips to Nicaragua, switching to the Dominican Republic last year after political unrest in Nicaragua caused Bridges to temporarily suspend volunteer work in that country. Over the years, Bridges has developed a sustainable and replicable community development program in both countries focused on four key areas: housing, health, education and economic development.
This year, the 9-person St. John’s Family and Friends contingent was joined by members of McLean Baptist Church (VA). The 16-person team traveled to La Guama, a rural 1,500-person community in the western side of the country in the San Juan Province, about a three-hour drive west of the capital Santo Domingo.
During their five-day stay in La Guama, the team lived in the community and worked side by side with local masons and community members. Volunteers gained an appreciation for what life is like in the impoverished community of La Guama, where there is no running water and 60% of the people live under the poverty level.
The group built a cinderblock house for 56-year old Gumercindo La Pax and his family, which includes his wife, several daughters and grandchildren. Their old home was a tin structure which was in very poor condition with a leaky roof and dirt floors that eroded in the rain. The BTC team built the family a 6 x 8 metre cinderblock home with a tile floor and metal roof to provide a safe and sturdy home, fulfilling what the family thought was an impossible dream. In addition, they painted two other houses, and mixed and poured a cement floor for a fourth house.
This was the 8th house-building trip for parishioners Frank Pierson and Linnet Tse, both of whom are on the Board of Bridges to Community. The trip was 16-year old Tim Bennitt’s second. (He and his dad, Pete Bennitt and older sister Abby went to Nicaragua in 2017.)
The Bridges experience has had a significant impact on Tim. He says, “The Bridges trips are eye-opening. [Before traveling with Bridges,] I knew that there are areas of the world that live in poverty, but to see it and experience it is completely different…I feel like [many] people in the US know about the poverty that exists in the world, but they don’t feel like they can do anything to help. Going on a Bridges trip will change [their] minds about that. I have truly felt that I am doing something to help others. . . It is so satisfying to know that what we did will last a long time. Building a house for a family has an impact on many generations.” According to Tim, “immersing yourself in a new community and culture is one of the best experiences life has to offer. It is an amazing way to break down barriers and open oneself and grow.”
Friday, October 11 - ECW Fall Coffee
Congratulations to the Rev. Carol Gadsden and St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Mamaroneck on being awarded the Good Neighbor Award by the Washingtonville Housing Alliance (WHA) at its recent benefit on October 15. WHA, which is involved with housing initiatives and other supports for lower-income families in the community recognized St. Thomas for the many programs it runs for the Mamaroneck community, including its weekly Brown Bag lunch program.