Chimes St. john's parish newsletter August 23, 2018

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46)

"There are times when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while a do nothing." (Thomas Merton)

I write from the Isle of Iona, one of the Inner Hebrides, islands off the coast of western Scotland. This is a place to which people have traveled for centuries, perhaps millenia, to experience ... what is hard to put into words. A place which Celtic spirituality calls ''a thin space." A thin space is a place, time or experience where the perceived distance between heaven and earth, the sacred and the profane decreases. Iona is said to be a place "where the veil between heaven and earth is tissue thin." (George MacLeod, founder of the modern Iona Community at the medieval Iona Abbey.)

Native peoples across the globe, including in what is now the United States, have discovered thin spaces, which often become the site of tribal and religious ritual. St. Benedict's Monastery Retreat Center, home of Centering Prayer, is located in the Colorado mountains in a place long held sacred by Native Americans.

When a person approaches and inhabits sacred thin space with an attitude of reverence and a desire to experience the sacred, not only is the person changed as s/he is immersed in the energy of the space. The veil itself becomes thinner because of what the person brings. At St. Benedict's, there is a room in which retreatants gather three times a day for an hour and a half of meditation, divided by meditative walks around the room. I have been there for ten day retreats. Each day, the energy grows deeper and more substantial, yet also lighter and softer. Once I spent a day in my room (due to a cough). When I returned I could truly feel how the energy had intensified. It was as if our meditation was both fed by and fed the room.

The idea of thin space is related to the ethos of Sabbath. Sabbath is created by humans when we consciously create time away from our daily work and routine. Scripture tells us to keep the Sabbath for two reasons. God rested on the seventh day of creation (Genesis); and God brought the people out of slavery into freedom (Exodus). The former teaches us the need for rest, re-flection and re-creation. The latter teaches that we are not to hold anyone in or be held in bondage. The specifics of Sabbath observance reflect both. Everyone rests - masters, servants, animals. Every seventh (sabbatical|) year people give the land a rest. The principle and practice of Sabbath is essential for the well -being of all creation.

Sabbath is a way of life. It is letting go of the illusion of control and the illusion that our actions are essential at all times. It is the practice of taking "spacious time" for true rest and re-creation: spending time being rather than doing; or doing something that brings joy and refreshment. It is also about not worrying. Sabbath grounds us in what is important so that we return to work stronger, healthier, calmer ... in much better shape to address what we were worried about. There is a Rabbinic tale of a man who resisted the temptation to tend his grapevines on the Sabbath. But he spent the day worrying about the vines ... they withered, because his worry had broken the Sabbath.

For many, summer is a time of rest, re-creation and fun - Sabbath. As we gear up to start a new year, I invite and encourage you to ponder how you might weave the ethos of Sabbath into your life. The Bible prescribes a full day of rest, sundown to sundown. This may not be possible. But it is possible to schedule a Sabbath hour or hours. (Eventually the time may expand.) Sabbath looks different for different people. One family plans afternoons or evenings when all devices are turned off and they go for a walk, talk, or play a board game. For one friend, gardening is Sabbath because she feels at one with creation, peaceful, close to God. Gardening is not Sabbath for a friend who finds the mere thought of it tedious.

A colleague says that it is better to say "could" rather than "should" ... so I'll suggest that your Sabbath could include time for prayer, reflection, meditation. This will bring you closer to God and to yourself. (Apparently, meditation lowers blood pressure. Just sayin'.)

I wish you and your families a good ending to summer, and a gentle, thoughtful transition into the rituals and routine of the new year. May you know the joy and fruits of Sabbath.


Rev. Gwyneth / Rev G

The Jingle Bells Bazaar – now ringing!

The fun is about to begin for planning the 2018 Christmas bazaar to be held on November 17th and we’d love for all parishioners to get involved. From volunteering to co-chair one of the table areas, making DYI crafts for that homey holiday gift, or stashing away all of your treasures to sell at Collectibles, White Elephant or Renewables, there are plenty of opportunities just suited to your talents.

Of priority, we have an *immediate* need for volunteers to co-chair the following areas, so if you’ve ever thought about getting a bit more involved, you’ll reap the benefits of great comradery, satisfaction of knowing you’ve made a difference, using your skills of organization and time management, and of course, not to mention a sneak peek at all the treasures you’ll be selling!

  • Books/DVDs - put your love of literature to work here.
  • Café - coordinate the execution of our famous Lunch in the Undercroft. We need two volunteers to head up this important area.
  • Children’s Games/Toys – calling all young parents. Just pretend you’re shopping!
  • Decorating the Parish Hall – if you have a flair for the festive, then this is your spot!
  • Electronics/Renewables – calling the tech and gadget gurus to manage this area.
  • Holiday Home table – stylish home & entertaining items that are more ‘upmarket’ than White Elephant.
  • Preview Party - if you love to entertain, plan parties and have a good time, we need you!

The time requirement for the area co-chair is mostly the week leading up to the bazaar when the donations need to be sorted, priced and displayed and managing the day of the bazaar. Beforehand, you’ll reach out to rally your friends and parishioners to help sell.

A kick-off leadership meeting will be held after the 10 am service on September 9th, so please thoughtfully consider how you can help – and email, text or call Tori Pough to get involved asap. Tori.pough@gmail.com 917.714.7898

There is no better way to kick off our Stewardship Season than with a community event. Stewardship is the act of caring - for our parish, for one another, for our community and for our planet. This fall we will begin with our pledge drive when we ask for financial contributions that care for the building and maintenance of our physical church, the salaries for our clergy and staff, as well as a contribution for our diocese.

In the spring we will focus on contributions of time and talent. How can we more fully participate in parish life at St. John’s through our ministries? We will present opportunities for everyone to get involved. Some ministries care for one another and others focus on helping others outside our parish. We will also begin to discuss terrestrial care of the environment and how to best care for God’s creation.

It is for this reason that our theme this year is Stewardship as a Way of Life. Stewardship is more than filling out a pledge card; it is the act of actively participating as Christians in our parish. So please save the date and join us on Sunday, October 14th for our annual Chili/Pot-Luck Social.

The annual and very popular St. John's Men's Dinner will be held on Friday, November 2, at the Larchmont Yacht Club. Cocktails begin at 6:30 PM. The cost of the dinner is $60 with a cash bar before the meal.

Bell Tower Update

Work on the bell tower and roofs is moving along at a good pace. Most of the work has gone very smoothly, thanks to the efforts of our contractor, architect/engineering firm, and Francisco's steadfast oversight! •

  • Bell Tower - the new copper roof was completed last weekend, with only some pointing on the windows left to be done. • C
  • Cloister Roof Area - the roof installation has been completed. Some soldering of metals around the roof and through-wall flashing work are being completed. •
  • Parish Hall - the fluid-applied roof at valleys has been completed. Flashing and related slate work are underway.

This week, our contractor is addressing the minor repointing work on the education building in addition to continuing work on the primary projects.

The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool will be making a Visitation to St. John’s on September 30th. She will preach and celebrate, and then join us for coffee hour. As is customary with an Episcopal Visitation, at the service the Bishop will do Confirmations and Receptions. Confirmation is for individuals who have been baptized and want to make an “adult” commitment to following Christ. If you were baptized in another denomination, this is also how you officially join the Episcopal Church. If you were Confirmed in another denomination and would like to join the Episcopal Church, then you are “Received” into the Church by the Bishop. This is also an opportunity for Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. People reaffirm their Baptismal Vows for different reasons, including returning to church or to Christ after a period of absence, or to signify a deepening of faith and commitment.

The Bishop will preach and celebrate at both services - 8am and 10am

She will meet with those being Confirmed, Received or Reaffirming Baptismal Vows between services.

She will meet with the Vestry after the 10 AM coffee hour.

If you are interested in learning more about Confirmation, Reception or Reaffirmation, please leave a message with the Parish Office or speak with Rev. Gwyneth.

We look forward to starting the Search Committee process in September. Parishioners will receive applications in the mail the week of September 10. Deadline for applications is September 28.

Listed below are a few of the most important qualifications for serving on the committee.

• Mindset—a firm belief in the process, the importance of listening, collaboration, consensus building, and the power of prayer

• Time— the search will include weekly meetings for most of the year, homework, and travel to parishes that could be across the country. We know no one will be able to make every meeting, but if your job entails extensive travel this might not be a good fit.

• Knowledge of and love for the parish of St. John’s, the larger Episcopal Church and our place in the community and the world.

We will be looking to form a committee with diversity of thought, backgrounds, experiences, needs and expectations. Robin Ingram, our Junior Warden, served on the last Search Committee and would be happy to answer any questions over the summer as to the commitment and expectations: juniorwarden18@stjohnslarchmont.org.

As stated by the Vestry: “All parishioners over the age of sixteen will be able to apply to serve on the Committee, provided they attend services regularly and contribute financial support to St. John’s.”

We very much appreciate the notes we have received with support and advice. Please continue to share your thoughts as they occur to you. And please keep St. John’s in your prayers. For more info please email: searchcommitteestjohns@gmail.com

This year, the parishes of St. Thomas (Mamaroneck), All Saints (Harrison) and St. John’s (Larchmont) are inviting parishioners from all parishes to participate in our Adult Education programs. Below is the fall program.

St. John’s Church, 4 Fountain Square, Larchmont

Same class offered twice.

Mondays 7:00 – 8:00 PM (Starting Monday, October 1; no class Columbus Day, October 8) Celtic Prayer and Spirituality: Celtic Prayer service followed by conversation and reflection about Celtic Spirituality as a foundation for life in the 21st Century.

Wednesdays 12:00 noon – 1:00 PM (Starting Wednesday, October 3) Celtic Prayer and Spirituality: Celtic Prayer service followed by conversation and reflection about Celtic Spirituality as a foundation for life in the 21st Century.

At St. Thomas’ Church in Mamaroneck, 168 Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck

Mondays 11:00 - 12:00: (All year) Bible Study. All are welcome, whether you've studied the bible extensively or have never cracked a page. We read, discuss and reflect on how the Bible speaks to us today. In Parish House (Middle door in lower building) (Offered every week throughout the year)

Wednesdays 7:30: (All year) Brief contemporary Eucharist in St. Luke's Chapel. (Door closest to Boston Post Road in lower building)

The first and third Wednesday of each month, we follow the Eucharist with a faith discussion group which begins at 8:00. Contemporary readings, videos, news items, etc. serve as a jumping off point for discussion about how we live out our faith in our day to day lives.

At All Saints, Harrison, 300 Harrison Ave., Harrison

Thursday morning Bible Study ....time and starting date TBA.

2018 Mission Trip

Domincan Republic

St. John’s Church Makes 12th Service Trip with Bridges to Community

High school students embrace experience, cite impact of trip on their perspective

By Linnet Tse

In June 2018, members of St. John’s Church in Larchmont, NY made their twelfth house-building service trip with Ossining-based not-for-profit organization Bridges to Community (BTC). Although Nicaragua has been the group’s usual destination, this year, political unrest in Nicaragua resulted in their heading instead to the Dominican Republic, where BTC also operates.

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 five years ago. Over the years, Bridges has developed a sustainable and replicable community development program focused on four key areas: housing, health, education and economic development.

This year, nine people participated in the St. John’s Family and Friends trip at the end of June. They joined a 26-person contingent from Grace Episcopal Church in Nyack, NY. The 35-person group – 27 of whom were high school students – spent an intense four days working alongside community members to build three houses in the very poor mountainous community of Caimonial, half an hour from the Haitian border.

It was the first time many of the high school students had been exposed to the widespread level of poverty they observed in this rural part of the DR, where homes have dirt floors and there is no running water. Volunteers were particularly struck by the friendliness of the local people and the joy of the children, despite their poor living conditions and meager prospects.

Asked to reflect on how the experience impacted them, many students, including Mamaroneck High School rising junior Luke Swanezy, indicated that they wanted to volunteer more in their local communities, and would be much more comfortable working with Spanish-speaking people despite their limited knowledge of Spanish. Some commented that being unplugged for the week made them realize the value of spending time talking to friends and getting to know people better. For other students like rising Hackley School junior Maggie Broaddus, the week-long trip caused them to think more broadly. Maggie shared that “the trip was very impactful to me. It made me realize how our society is so different; most people at home put a priority on their own needs instead of building something bigger than their individual selves. I am guilty of this mindset, so I hope to bring back to Larchmont some of the community values they had in the DR . . . I hope everyone can have the opportunity to experience a trip like this.”

2018 trip participants included: Maggie Broaddus, Kira McCarthy, Megan McCarthy, Hannah Mockenhaupt, Jane Moore, Frank Pierson, Harry Sober, Luke Swanezy, and Linnet Tse.

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