Chimes St. John's Parish Newsletter - December 2018

Cover image: St. John’s Advent Wreath, created by parishioners with guidance from Janet Beal and herbs from many gardens. Herbs for the Wreath welcome until December 30th.

Our Christmas Pageant is coming up on Sunday, December 16th! Details below.

In this issue

  • Jingle Bells Bazaar Recap
  • Adult Ed during Advent
  • Advent Wreaths
  • Christmas Pageant
  • Christmas Flowers
  • Christmas Services
  • Children’s Choir
  • Search Committee Update
  • Outreach Opportunities
  • Stewardship Update & Other Notes on Giving
  • Diocesan Convention Round-up
  • **New Feature** Recipe of the Month

A message from Bazaar Co-Chairs, Tori Pough and Suzy Shore

For more than 90 years, the St. John’s Christmas Bazaar has kicked off the holiday season for St. John’s parishioners and the community, and this year the tradition continued in grand style. Importantly, sales from the Preview Party, the Bazaar and the Mini-Bazaar generated $24,500 for local organizations supporting women and children in need. In addition to that significant fundraising achievement, the Bazaar succeeded in bringing together more than 120 St. John’s parishioners, staff and friends who volunteered their time and effort with camaraderie and good humor. That kind of fellowship is truly priceless.

While the Bazaar itself only lasts for a few hours, all the planning takes months. Organizing began over the summer and the process from set-up to clean-up extended across ten full days. Volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that every area included well-priced and attractively displayed items; even a surprise snowstorm mid-week couldn’t deter everyone from working to make each area organized and appealing. The list of special contributions that made the Bazaar a success is long and deep. To all those who set up, cleaned up, priced, sold, crafted, cooked, poured, ladled, came up with a new idea or lent some muscle power…Thank You!

Click here to visit the St. John's website for the full list of Bazaar volunteers. Additional photos are posted on our Facebook page, found here. Enjoy!

Adult ed during advent

Reflecting upon the Advent and Christmas Stories as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, led by Rev. Gwyneth

Have you ever noticed that only two of the four Gospels tell the story of Jesus' conception and birth? The Gospels of Matthew and Luke each tell the story .... but the two stories are very different. The facts don't agree, yet each story contains the same truth. Sound interesting? Please join us.

Using the late Raymond Brown's classic books "A Coming Christ at Advent" and "An Adult Christ at Christmas" as a guide, we will read, discuss, and reflect upon the Gospel stories. Copies of the book will be available to buy or borrow.

Adult Ed Scheduling
  • Sundays, December 9 and 16 between services (9:00 - 9:45 AM) in the Parish Office and after the 10:00 AM service (11:15 AM- 12:00 Noon), in the Living Room
  • Mondays, December 10 and 17 at 7:00- 8:00 PM Thorne Room
  • Wednesdays, December 12, and 19 at 12:00 Noon, Thorne Room

Making Advent Wreaths

On Sunday afternoon, December 9th, while the adults were upstairs at Round Table Conversation with the Search Committee, children from St. John’s Larchmont, St. Thomas Mamaroneck, and All Saints Harrison gathered to make Advent Wreaths.

We began by getting to know each other, then talking about the meaning of Advent and Advent wreaths. The children chose blue or purple candles, ribbons and other decorations to add to the greens, and created their own wreathes – no two were alike. Then Rev. Tami led everyone in blessing the wreaths. Assisting the children were: St. John's teens Emma van den Dijssel and Daisy Burkin; parents; our clergy; The Rev. Tami Burks (Associate Rector at St. Thomas and Priest-in-Charge at All Saints ) and Ms. Kate Beeby, Director of Christian Ed at St. Thomas.

Once the wreaths were made, everyone blessed the wreaths, and then one was lit.

2018 Christmas Pageant

Sunday, December 16, at 4:00 pm in the Parish Hall

For this year’s Christmas Pageant at St. John’s, we will be exploring the mystery of Christmas and the journey toward Christmas. Narrators will share the story with us as actors bring it to life, and we will all join in singing the songs of the season.

All are invited to join in the journey and experience the mystery on Sunday, December 16 in the parish hall. The fun doesn’t stop there, though! Following the pageant, all are welcome to stay for cookies, cocoa, and a very special story time.

More participants are welcome! As long as your child is old enough to move as directed with a group of other children (rec. age 3+), he or she is old enough for some part. Multiple narrator positions are available for strong readers. Musical or other special talents are great additions.

If any teens or young adults are interested in doing set work, assistant stage managing, or accompaniment, those gifts are also welcome, as are any adults interested in helping. Please contact Mo. Alissa directly: curate@stjohnslarchmont.org.

Rehearsal times:

Sunday, Dec. 9

  • 10am: Music rehearsal during Sunday School
  • 11:15am: Pageant run-through in the church

Saturday, Dec. 15

  • 10am-11:30am: Costume assignments and dress rehearsal in the parish hall

Sunday, Dec. 16

  • 10am: Music rehearsal during Sunday School
  • 11:15am: Pageant run-through in the church
  • 3:30: Arrive for pageant

Christmas Flowers

Each year as we gather to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, our worship is enhanced by poinsettias, trees, and greens. Your generosity makes this possible.

Please join in the time-honored tradition of festooning our sanctuary by making a donation to the Christmas Flower Fund (suggested donation $50). Please order online or contact the church office by Friday, December 14, 2018.

Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24

The Feast of the Birth of Jesus Christ Our Lord

3:00 PM Family Christmas Service. A service especially appropriate for young children and families, with Christmas Carols, Children’s Sermon and Holy Communion

5:00 PM Holy Eucharist, Rite II. Communion Service with sermon and carols.

10:00 PM Festive Choral Eucharist, Rite II. Communion Service with the St. John’s choir, sermon and carols.

Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25

10:00 AM Holy Eucharist, Rite II. Communion Service with sermon and carols.

Come sing with us!

The St. John’s Children’s Choir will reconvene in January

All St. John’s 3rd-8th graders are invited to participate in the choir!

Dr. Paul Maki will lead the children in weekly rehearsals on Wednesdays, 4:15 - 5:00 p.m. starting on January 9th. The rehearsals are a fun way to learn how to read music, sing from the heart, and share in fellowship.

The Children’s Choir sings during the Family Service the first Sunday of each month. It’s a wonderful experience.

If you have have a child that is interested please come to the January 9th! If you have any questions, are interested by cannot attend on the 9th or would like to sign-up ahead of time, please contact Karen Hall ka_in_nyc@hotmail.com.

St. John’s Men’s Group Meets Saturday Mornings: Please Join Us

We meet each Saturday 8:00 AM until 9:00 AM in the St. John’s parish office, except for the third Saturday of each month when we meet for breakfast at the BLD Diner in Larchmont (2399 Boston Post Road). Come as you are for an hour of informal fellowship over coffee. Weekly attendance not required. Join us whenever you feel like it. Questions? Contact Paul Schwendener: 77pws77@gmail.com.

The Search committee has been hard at work for the last couple of months working on the survey, the Parish Profile, and the Roundtable discussion on 12/2. We want to hear from YOU! We need your input in order to create a parish profile that accurately reflects our parish, where we are and where we’d like to be.

You can give your critical input in two ways:

1. Fill out the parish wide survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/stjohnslarchmont2018survey

We’d like to hear from all members of your family; just a heads up that you can only complete one survey per computer, so if more than one member is filling out the survey you’ll have to use different computers. You can fill it out on your phone as well! If you need help completing the survey, please let us know and a member of the committee will be happy to help. The survey will be active until Friday, December 14.

2. After both the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services on 12/9 and 12/16 members of the Search Committee will be available in the Living Room for conversations. These can be group chats, or if you prefer one on one we are happy to accommodate that as well. Just let us know.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We are counting on a broad response so we can accurately describe our parish to candidates and ensure we find a rector that reflects everyone’s needs, hopes and dreams!

Please let us know if you have any questions: searchcommitteestjohns@gmail.com.

Midnight Run

Friday, January 11, 2019

St. John’s Midnight Run is fast approaching. In the spirit of giving, we are asking for clothing donations. New or lightly used long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, pants, and coats, as well as hats and mittens would also be greatly appreciated. A donation box will be set up near the parish office next to the stairs going to church. Details about the January 11 Midnight Run will be available shortly. If you have any questions, please email Melissa Pierson at Sadiep19@aol.com or call the church office.

Join us for St. John’s 13th Trip with Bridges to Community

Where to: The Dominican Republic

When: Saturday, June 29 – Saturday, July 6, 2019

Who can go: All parishioners who are 15 years by start of the trip and have completed 9th grade (or 14 and accompanied by a parent) and all adults of the parish. One of the highlights of the trip is the intergenerational experience!

What will we be doing: Building houses in an impoverished community in the DR under the guidance of Bridges staff and local masons; learning about the DR and the local community; and getting to know the families, especially the children!

Interested to learn more: Come to an info meeting/pizza party at St. John’s on Sunday, January 6th at 6:30 pm. More information to follow.

Deadline to register: February 15, 2019

Questions: The Rev. Alissa Anderson: curate@stjohnslarchmont.org; Linnet Tse: linnet.tse@gmail.com; Carla Berry: carlacberry@gmail.com

Stewardship 2019

Stewardship Update From the Treasurer

Many thanks to all of you who have pledged for 2019! The good news is that 8 new households pledged this year. The stewardship committee had hoped to increase both the number of households that pledged as well the overall dollar amount so we are pleased to welcome these families. That said, we are not as far along as we expected to be at this point in the year. For example, 46 families who pledged for 2018 have not yet submitted their pledge for 2019 so that our overall dollar amount as well as the total number of households is down compared to this time last year. There is still time to pledge!

Pledges fund the bulk of everything we do as a community and we are finalizing our plans for next year. Please reach out to a member of our clergy or a member of the stewardship committee with any suggestions, questions or concerns. Remember: a pledge, regardless of the amount, is a symbolic commitment to St. John's and our community.

2019 Pledge cards are available in the church or you may make an online pledge through the St. John's website.

It's Not Too Late

Are you wondering where your giving stands for 2018?

If you would like to know where your year-to-date giving stands in relation to your pledge commitment, please contact Laura Rawlings in the parish office at 914-834-2981 or via email at office@stjohnslarchmont.org. Parishioners who wish their donation to be credited in the year 2018 need to have their check into the office by 12:00 Noon on Monday, December 31, 2018.

Would like to make a gift of Stock to the St. John's General Fund?

Please click here for instructions on how to donate securities. If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact Laura Rawlings in the parish office at 914-834-2981 or via email at office@stjohnslarchmont.org.

On Thursday Evening November 29th, over 150 people gathered in the Parish Hall to celebrate the 71st Anniversary of the The Larchmont Group, the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) group that has been meeting at St. John's Larchmont for many of its 71 years. The Parish Hall was decorated with balloons and streamers, tables with centerpieces and sparkles, and the potluck meal covered six tables. (For privacy reasons, there are no pictures of the gathering, but the picture of the cake captures the spirit of the event.) The Chair expressed the Group's deep appreciation to St. John's for welcoming them. Rev. Gwyneth spoke briefly to welcome the guests and to offer a prayer. She thanked the group for giving St. John's the opportunity to participate in AA's important work and ministry.

(AA groups meet at St. John's three evenings and five lunchtimes a week.)

Report from the Diocese of New York 242nd Annual Convention

On November 9 and 10, Parishioners Rick Berry and Jackie Plumez, and clergy Reverend Gwyneth and Mother Alissa joined representatives from the 198 other churches in the Diocese, our Bishops and Diocesan staff for the Annual Convention. In Jackie’s words “I wish everyone at St. John’s could have seen what an incredibly diverse and vibrant group it was, filled with the spirit ‘to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.’ ” The first day we had three workshops that focused on social justice issues and multicultural inclusion.

The first workshop on multicultural inclusion was led by the head of the Kaleidoscope Institute (a leadership development and training resource of the Episcopal Church to help equip church leaders to create sustainable churches and communities). Our table discussions focused on how can we repair people, institutions and systems that are broken? Parishes are asked to institute outreach programs that listen to what their constituents want rather than to give them what we think they need – which is aligned with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s* goal that we all form open and loving communities.

The second “workshop” was the performance of “A New York Lamentation,” a play written by an Episcopal priest about the New York Diocese’s involvement in slavery. This is an important element of the Diocese’s “2018 Year of Lamentations,” whereby we understand, acknowledge and lament our involvement in slavery and its old and new incarnations. Fifteen actors and musicians delivered a moving and compelling performance. One result of the ensuing discussion was a resolution that all parishes explore, understand and address their possible involvement with slavery. We are asked to heal the residual results of racism in our society.

Evening worship was “A Liturgy for Listening and Lamentation,” adapted from the #metoo liturgy done at the 2018 General Convention to address sexual abuse by clergy. The Church acknowledges that it has turned a blind eye to many men and women who were sexually harassed and abused. An apology was given for all the evil that church predators have done.

Take away: Big question for each of us: How can we listen to each other. How are you called to foster respect and healing at St. John’s and in the world??

On Saturday, Bishops Dietsche, Shin and Glasspool addressed the Convention and Rev. Law (the head of Kaleidoscope) preached at the Eucharist. Each gave a stirring talk calling on all of us to wake up and address the pain and suffering in our world. Bishop Dietsche addressed the issue of clergy sexual abuse, including that of the late Bishop Paul Moore, saying that Bishop Moore was “a man who did terrible damage while he did astonishing good.” We are all asked to speak up if we see this happening and the church will respond.

Some of the most impressive Diocesan committee reports were from Episcopal Charities (it supports outreach/support for churches that help the hungry, homeless kids, families in need and prisoners) and the Global Women’s Fund (giving grants for Anglican women in developing nations to go to college and seminary).

Then we voted on various Resolutions, including trying to end prolonged solitary confinement in prison and, “that no matter what the individual stand on immigration may be, we do everything in our power, both communally and individually, to prevent bloodshed at the meeting of the caravan and the border.” Elections were held to full various Diocesan posts. St. John’s former curate, Judy Ferguson, was elected to the Standing Committee.

In summary, it was a dynamic two days with the diverse and caring community that we call our church.

*The Presiding Bishop is the head of the Episcopal Church USA. The Presiding Bishop is elected by General Convention for a term of nine years.

Click here to view or download videos of the Convention, including the Bishops' addresses, the sermon, and liturgy. Click here to visit the Convention Report page on the Diocesan website, where you can read and/or download additional information and reports.

The interfaith clergy gather after the interfaith Thanksgiving service at the Larchmont temple.

Welcome to our newest feature: The Recipe of the Month! Each month we hope to feature a recipe from a parishioner. To get us started, we are pleased to share a delicious recipe from Linnet Tse, which was greatly enjoyed at a recent ECW dinner. Enjoy!


Adapted from kitchenconfidante.com by Linnet Tse.


  • 2½ -3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups farro
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 4 cups finely shredded kale
  • 4 oz. feta cheese (use more or less, to taste)

For the Cranberry Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (combination of balsamic and sherry vinegar, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (use about 1 part vinegar to 2 parts olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Placed the butternut squash and garlic (if using) on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss well, using your hands to evenly coat the squash. Roast the squash in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • While the butternut squash and garlic roasts, place the farro and about 4-5 cups of cold water in a saucepan, season generously with kosher salt, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once the farro comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover, and let the farro cook for up to 40 minutes, or until the farro has bloomed (may take as little as 20 minutes). Check your farro package for instructions, as some farro may cook faster/longer.
  • When the butternut squash is tender, remove from the oven and set aside. Squeeze the garlic out of the peel into a small bowl, mash with a fork, and set aside. Discard garlic peel.
  • In a deep sided sauté pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the shallots and roasted garlic and cook for a minute or two, or until the shallots are translucent. Stir in the kale, butternut squash, and farro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let it sit while you make the cranberry dressing. Note: If the farro and squash have just been made and are still warm, you can just mix with the dressing in a bowl, without sautéing.)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, cranberry juice, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Stir in about half of the dressing into the warm salad. Stir in the feta cheese.
  • Transfer the salad to a serving dish and serve warm, with additional dressing on the side.

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