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Chimes Advent 2019

A wonderful and diverse choir blessed those gathered at St. John's for this year's Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.

In this issue

  • An Advent Message from Rev. Lisa
  • Stewardship News
  • An Invitation from Rev. Lisa to Join Her on the 2020 Bridges to Community Trip
  • Fall Happenings at St. John's
  • Save These Dates - Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, & More!
  • Christmas Flower Fund
  • 2019 ECW Christmas Bazaar
  • Good News!
  • St. John's Special Advent Wreath
  • Recipe of the Month
Prepare the way...

Advent: preparing your heart for the coming of Christ!

The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new year in the life of the church. The colors in the church change from green to purple, which was the color of kings in Jesus's time. In our life of corporate worship, Advent marks the entrance into a new season in our three-year lectionary cycle upon which our Sunday readings are chosen. This year we are entering Year A, and the gospel shifts from Luke to Matthew. The word advent literally means "to come," and in this season, we are preparing for the one who is to come. We know the one who the prophets proclaim is coming, has indeed come, in the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, but we are also preparing for the second coming of Christ. We live in the in-between times, between the already and the not yet, the Kingdom of God that burst into the world with Jesus' birth but yet will not be fulfilled until Jesus returns.

Christmas is a wonderfully complex mystery that might be missed or rushed right through, caught up in the distractions of shopping, cooking, decorating, and wrapping. That is why the church gives us Advent. Take some time to set aside and think about what the gift of the coming of Jesus means in your life. Think about how you respond to God’s generosity. What needs to be cleaned out of your heart so that the love of God and the mercy of Jesus might more fully reside there and be poured out? How can you more fully receive and share God’s love which is manifested through Jesus’ birth?

May this Advent be one of preparing our hearts and our lives to receive Christ, both as the Christ child lying in a manger, and as a king returning in clouds of glory. May we be rededicated to being God bearers in a world yearning to hear good news.

Amen.

Peace, Rev. Lisa+

Gus just loves Miss Laura, and can't wait to help answer the phones!

Stewardship News

I am thankful.

There, I said it. You probably weren’t expecting the treasurer to open his stewardship update letter with those words.

Yes, I am thankful for all of you who have responded to our invitation to support the mission of St. John’s and, through St. John’s, make a difference in our own lives and that of others. Many of you heard and were moved by the stories from fellow parishioners about how St. John’s made a difference in their lives. I’m sure you all have your own equally moving stories. I certainly have mine. I think that’s why so many of you responded so generously.

The good news is that 88 parishioners have returned pledge cards totaling nearly $500,000. That’s nearly the total for all of 2019 (a real good start to getting back to the levels in prior years).

The better news is that 50% increased their commitment to St. John’s by nearly 18%. In addition, another 20% renewed at the same level as 2019.

And even better news is that we had 16 pledges that didn’t pledge in 2019, five of whom had never pledged before.

That all being said, we still need to hear from more of you. There are still 40 pledges from 2019 that have not been returned. There are an additional 60 pledges from 2017 and 2018 that didn’t pledge in 2019 and haven’t pledged yet for 2020. If you are one of these 100 or so prior pledgers or are new to St. John’s and haven’t pledged before, I ask you to think about your relationship with St. John’s and how it has made a difference or could make one with your support. I also ask that if you’re going to pledge, please do so in the next week or two.

As the vestry moves forward with planning for 2020, we want to keep the momentum that began with the calling of our new Rector, Lisa Mason. We want to continue building on the solid foundation of prior stewardship to live out our mission to be a family called by Christ to grow spiritually, to share our life with others and to make His love known through word and deed.

Frank Pierson, Treasurer

Sunday, November 3rd was a truly joyous day at St. John's. Reverends Lisa, Alissa and Dorothy together baptized five candidates, the pledges for Commitment Sunday were blessed, and the closing hymn to our All Saints’ Sunday was “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God”! Alleluia! The gathering Rev. Lisa and Kirk hosted at the Rectory after the 10:00 service was a most joyous and lovely occasion enjoyed by many, many parishioners - old and new!

Encountering God on unknown ground

A Message from Rev. Lisa regarding St. John’s 14th Service Trip with Bridges to Community (June 27 - July 5, 2020)

The final day of our 2019 trip.

God calls us into mission and ministry in so many different ways throughout our lives in all times and in all sorts of places. Sometimes we get so focused on or consumed with what we are doing in our local context that we lose a sense of God being in the midst of us. When that happens to me, I know I need to step out of my routine and experience God in a whole new way. Going to an unknown, unfamiliar, or far off place to be with the people of God in a new way can increase your awareness of the breadth and depth of God at work in people everywhere. Are mission trips challenging? Yes, they require both our best efforts and trusting that God will equip us. That is what grows our faith and knowledge of God. I have experienced the face of God in the people I have encountered though mission work in Haiti, Belarus, Honduras, Mexico, people and places affected by hurricanes, and soon, the Dominican Republic. Everywhere I have been and will go, I know God is already waiting for me there through the people, culture, and work we do alongside those who welcome us into their lives.

Take a leap of faith and say yes to a new way of experiencing mission and ministry, by joining me and Bridges to Community in the D.R. this summer.

Peace, Lisa+

St. John's will be returning for a third year to the Dominican Republic and we are delighted that Rev. Lisa is joining the trip! Open to all parishioners who are 15 years old by the start of the trip and have completed 9th grade (or 14 and accompanied by a parent) and all adults of the parish. Informational meeting in January to be announced. Meanwhile, if you have questions, please contact Linnet Tse or Carla Berry.

2019 ECW Christmas Bazaar RECAP

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this year's ECW Christmas Bazaar a huge success. Through dedication and positive volunteer spirit, we continue to keep this long standing tradition alive and vibrant at St. John's. The bazaar was not only a success in terms of funds raised, but also for the incredible fellowship and fun the week fosters.We are pleased to share that this year's bazaar raised approximately $30,000 for local charities. Great job everyone! With our gratitude, Jill and Linnet

Additional photos from the Bazaar are posted on our Facebook page, found here. Enjoy!

save These Dates

Thursday, November 28 - Thanksgiving Day

You are invited to a yoga class at 9:30 AM led by Susan Malcolm in the parish hall. At 11:00 AM, we will have a Holy Eucharist worship service. Please invite your friends and neighbors. All are welcome. Come as you are.

Sunday, December 1 - Advent Begins
  • 3:00 PM Acolyte Meeting & Training
  • 4:00 PM Intergenerational Advent Wreath Making - parishioners from St. Thomas Mamaroneck and All Saints' Harrison will be joining us in the undercroft
  • 5:30 PM High School Youth Group meets (parish hall balcony)
Thursdays in Advent (December 5, 12, & 19) - Holy Eucharist at 7:00 am

Time to Order Your Beautiful Christmas Wreaths!

The ECW's much-loved Christmas wreaths will be delivered right to your door, on or about Saturday, December 7th. The wreaths are sourced from the Connecticut Audubon Society. Your order will benefit their work, as well as the ECW's outreach efforts.

Order online by clicking on the button below, or complete an order form at the parish office.

Order deadline is Monday, December 2nd so we can tie the beautiful bows and get the wreaths ready to be dropped off at your doorstep!

Questions? Contact Becky Kirkham

Tuesday, December 3 at 7:00 pm - ECW Christmas Wreath Bow Making

Calling all bow makers! Please join us at Ann Kirkham’s home to make bows and put them on wreaths. We’ll have refreshments and fun. Please click here to RSVP directly to Ann.

Thursday, December 5 at 7:00 pm - ECW Event - Thresholds into Advent

The ECW (Episcopal Church Women) has sent an Evite to the women of St. John’s in which you are invited to a very special evening at the rectory. Join us at 7:00 PM for appetizers, with dinner at 7:30 PM. Rev. Lisa will then lead us in an Advent reflection at 8:00 PM, followed by fellowship and dessert. Dinner will include a vegetarian/gluten-free option. If you have other dietary needs, please let us know!

In keeping with our ECW tradition this time of year, we will be collecting grocery gift cards for families in need at Mamaroneck Avenue School.

Please RSVP to your Evite, or contact the parish office.

Saturday, December 7 at 9:00 am - Advent Retreat at St. John's

You are invited to take a mini-Sabbath on December 7th, from 9:00-11:30 a.m.at St. John’s, led by The Rev. Lisa Mason. We will have three meditations in the sanctuary space, followed by some free time in which to reflect using different practices including, but not limited to art expression, taking a walk, reading from available material, or meeting with a clergy person. We will close with an informal Eucharist. All are welcome. Please RSVP if possible to Rev. Lisa. Come as you are.

Sunday, December 8 - St. Nicholas Visits St. John's

Don't miss the 10:00 am service when we will receive our special seasonal guest, St. Nicholas!

We are excited to experience the Christmas Pageant during the 3:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service. There is a part for you! Please contact revlisa@stjohnslarchmont.org if you are interested in participating. Practice sessions are as follows:

  • Sunday, December 15, before and after the 10:00 am service - Costume fitting and speaking part practice
  • Sunday, December 22, after the 10:00 am service - Pageant practice

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24

3:00 PM Family Christmas Service with Pageant. A service especially appropriate for young children and families, with Christmas Carols, our Christmas Pageant, 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, Wednesday, December 25

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

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 13, 2019.

Friday, January 17, 2020 - Midnight Run

Our next Midnight Run is scheduled for Friday, January 17, 2020. We've already begun collecting needed items. Please click here for additional details, and mark your calendars now. Thank you for your continued support and participation in the Midnight Run!

Saturday, January 18, 2020 - Rev. Lisa Mason's Institution as St. John's Ninth Rector

All are invited to this wonderful festive occasion when The Rev. Lisa P. Mason will officially be instituted as the ninth rector of St. John's Episcopal Church! The service will be at 4:00 p.m. with a reception to follow in the Parish Hall. The Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche, Bishop of the Diocese of New York, will celebrate and the Very Rev Dr. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, will preach. This is a joyous day of celebration for the community, and we look forward to you being with us. Mark your calendars now, and don't miss it!

The Rev. Dorothy Greene & The Rev. Hilary Greene in The Episcopal New Yorker

Our very own Rev. Dorothy Greene submitted an article to The Episcopal New Yorker "Women's Issue" about the ordination of her daughter, The Rev. Hilary Greene. Read all about the journey with Christ shared by this amazing mother-daughter pair, which was nurtured right here at St. John's. Congratulations!

To read the article, you may click here to go to the whole issue online, or click here for the pdf of page 13.

Baptism Blessings

On November 3, we had an amazing celebration of All Saints Sunday, including the baptism of FIVE wonderful children! Congratulations to the newly baptized, and their families.

Tyler Jack Arone

Blair Catherine Berce

Joseph John Fleury, Jr.

Sutton Emily Lambert

Camden David Singer

St. John's Parishioners Do Very Interesting Things!

Abby Beal shared that her story will appear, along with 100 others, in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Forgiveness Fix. The book was published on November 5th and is now available on Amazon! Click here to find it.

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Sally Cantwell is the Co-Captain of the Women's Love 50 tennis league at the Larchmont Yacht Club, an open and inclusive tennis group.

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On Sunday, October 13th Lila Bankston and Dami Burckin walked with a group of Larchmont friends in support of Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation addiction causes families. The intention of the walk was to raise awareness, raise funds and to de-stigmatize addiction. It was a moving day and both ladies intend to walk again next year as well.

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Patti and Michael Roberts made their Broadway producing debut with Hadestown, which opened in April and won 8 Tony awards including Best Musical! The Roberts are also helping produce the history making play The Inheritance which will open soon on Broadway.

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Carollyn Gallaher returned from a one month wonderfully educational trip to Istandbul, mainland Greece, Mykonos and Santorini as well as 2 weeks on Crete with Global Volunteers. With 10 other volunteers she taught English to adults and teenagers, cleaned an apartment that the town will use for refugee family, and worked with the Mother's Association on a craft-fundraising project to benefit their orphanage. Cultural immersion is part of the experience so they visited an olive press operation, a winery, Knossus, the reknowned Archeological Museum and became close to the family that ran the hotel. Board members of Global Volunteers were entertained with a video which caught Carolyn and her students practicing right, left, in, out, and around with an hilarious rendition of "Do the Hokey Pokey" which she hopes to eventually live down. Global Volunteers is a US service organization with opportunities to help in various regions of the world.

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Sarah Jane Gallaher, who grew up at St. John's, helped fold the Mexican flag over her father-in-law, Gilberto Aceves Navarro's coffin at a Belle Artes tribute and funeral recently. Navarro's paintings and sculptures are in a number of museum collections and he is considered a treasure of the Mexiano state. Sarah Jane is the daughter of parishioner Carolyn Gallaher and sister of Andrew Gallaher.

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

St. John's Special Advent Wreath

By Janet Beal

This year, on Sunday, December 1, we begin our liturgically-dictated season of waiting for Christmas. Less formally observed in some other Protestant denominations, Advent lets us explore in depth the prophecies, hopes, fears and historic events leading to the arrival of God’s Son on earth.

One of our tokens of Advent is a green wreath bearing three dark purple candles and a rose-pink one. In some churches, the three or all four are dark blue. Each week candles are lit progressively to mark the four weeks of Advent; on Christmas, a taller white candle at the center announces the birth of Christ.

The gardens—and gardeners—that fill our community make our wreath particularly meaningful, and unique every year. Our grounds provide enough boxwood for a solid, fresh-smelling wreath base. Home gardeners plunder their windowsill herb gardens for aromatics and shelter colorful berries and interesting foliage from hungry critters and the cold. Self-taught preservers dry seed-heads for early-on and a wealth of rose-buds to honor Mary on the third Sunday, when the rose candle is lit. Homegrown holly takes us into the joy of Christmas, along with trails of ivy. And for several years, sprigs of forsythia tucked into the wreath were known to bloom on the Feast of the Epiphany—global warming, perhaps? Some other mystery?

Those who contribute to the wreath can give a little or a lot. A little is one to three sprigs of something. A lot is three to six sprigs or small branches. The Altar Guild patiently navigates around a messy cluster of vases in the Flower Room; bring your gift any day (including Sunday!), or tuck it into the wreath if you see a good spot. Since we groom and water the wreath each week, we ask that you not remove anything, even if it looks tired. The best part? You don’t have to know the name of the plant(s) you are contributing! The only exception? Holly! If you have it, you need to know—and we’d be grateful if you can share.

Every year the wreath looks different. Weather plays a big part. There’s the bit about the forsythia, and recently we had larch cones, looking a bit like dinosaur food. Contributors bring more than bits of greenery. One of our crew brought the custom of roses for Mary from her childhood church, and it has stayed, along with her home-grown eucalyptus. Another year we had beauty-berry from members of the choir. As always, the layers will build quietly and show us unexpected beauty.

Bring us something from your yard and take home a new feeling of Advent.

HOW OUR ADVENT WREATH BEGAN

Parishioner Mary Ann Johnson, who originated our current practice of collecting cuttings from the church yard and our neighborhood, was a conservationist who loved what grew around us during the season when amateurs would say “nothing is growing.” In her day, Larchmont gardens routinely contained an abundance of evergreen shrubs, trees and small plants. The current fashion for broad-leafed perennials makes adding variety to our wreath a bit more challenging, but contributors are creative. Mary Ann and her husband Jimmy believed deeply in the importance of treating nature with respect. Her efforts preserved large portions of Premium Marsh and its unique wetlands environment. Jimmy was critical in rescuing the 60-acre Larchmont Reservoir property, now named for him, from sale to developers in the early 1970s. Their stewardship shaped the community we so enjoy.

Our wonderful rector, Rev. Lisa Mason, offers this month's recipe, just in time for your out-of-town guests this holiday season. Enjoy!

Mom's Egg Soufflé

  • 1 lb. sausage
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices white bread, cubed (crusts removed)
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Cook sausage and drain fat, set aside. Beat eggs, add rest of ingredients and mix well. Pour into 1-1/2 quart casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cook, covered, for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, and cook for 15 minutes longer to brown top.

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Have a recipe to share? Join the fun and send it to communications@stjohnslarchmont.org. Yours just might be the next Recipe of the Month!

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Likewise, 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!