Lenten Offering for Syrian Refugees

Donations for Nuday Syria before the altar

Our collection of craft and school supplies for refugees in Syria is growing. These Lenten offerings will be shipped by St. John’s Beverly Farms to the Nuday refugee Camp in Srria for those who have been displaced by the civil war there.

We have placed the donations in front of the side altar in the church. In the last few years, that altar has become a place of prayer and devotion when we have remembered those who have died from domestic and international acts of violence. With these gifts, we offer our prayers for those who are persevering and building their lives in the midst of great tragedy.

We welcome the following items:

-Book Bags for children
-School supplies, such as pencils, markers, and notebooks
-Yarn,  Fabric and Art Supplies: the women in the camp have expressed interest in making clothes, sweaters, and art projects with children
-Cash donations are also welcome; checks should be made out to St. John’s Beverly Farms

Your donations can be placed  in front of the altar.

Holy Week and Easter Schedule

Passion/Palm Sunday
Sunday, April 9
Services of Holy Eucharist at 8 am and 10 am
Blessing of the Palms and Reading of the Passion Narrative at both services, with festival procession at the 10 am service

Holy Week Evening Services
Monday, April 10

Tuesday, April 11
Wednesday, April 12
Services of Holy Eucharist at 7 pm
These contemplative service lead us through the week leading up to the time of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion

Altar of Repose

Altar of Repose

Maundy Thursday Supper and Service
Thursday, April 13
Potluck Supper at 6 pm, with Holy Eucharist, Footwashing, and Stripping of the Altar
This much beloved gathering at St. John’s begins with a simple potluck supper at 6 pm. Traditionally, we bring olives, hummus, pita, and other simple foods, sharing supper and communion at our tables, as we recall Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. We process to the church for the ritual of foot washing, as Jesus invited his disciples to do to demonstrate their love for one another. That is followed   by stripping of the altar, reminding us of the desolation facing Jesus on the cross. The evening concludes with time before the Altar of Repose, where we are invited to watch and with with Jesus as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Good Friday Services
Friday, April 14
Children’s Service at 4:30
Prayer Book Service at 7 pm
The 4:30 service, a participatory service, is especially designed to lead our children through the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. At 7 pm, we hear the Passion of Jesus Christ  according to St. John. The service begins and ends in silence.

Holy Saturday
Saturday, April 15

The Altar Guild gathers to polish communion vessels and prepare for the great feast ahead. Join them at 10 am in this ministry as we anticipate the great joy of Easter.

The Great Vigil of Easter 
Saturday, April 15, 7 pm
We gather as night falls to light the new fire of Easter. In a darkened sanctuary, we listen by candlelight to the story of God’s redeeming work from the beginning of creation. We then gather round the baptismal font  for the baptism of a new sister in Christ, and renew our own baptismal vows. We then hear the first proclamation of Easter, and begin the Easter feast with the celebration of Holy Communion around the altar. It’s our first chance to sing “Alleluia” after the long Lenten fast. Bring bells of any shape and size to help ring in the resurrection news. A simple but festive reception follows, and you are invited to bring anything you would like, sweet or savory, to add to the table.

Easter Day at St. John's

Easter Day at St. John’s

Easter Day
Sunday, April 16
Service of Holy Eucharist at 8 am
Festival Service of Holy Eucharist with Choir at 10 am

The joy of Easter continues on Easter morning. Come for one of our services. After the 10 am service, we gather in front of the church for our traditional “parish photograph, and a bountiful reception follows in the Parish House. Our younger children will meet us for their Godly Play class, and there will also be be an Easter craft activity for them during Coffee Hour.

Everyone’s Gift Matters

Dear Friends,

I hope by now you have received information about our Capital Campaign, “See God’s Beauty.” Some of you have already made a pledge to the campaign, and I am delighted to share the news that we have now have $102,500 in commitments. That is exciting news, but we still have quite a way to go to reach our goal of $175,000.

We have already begun work on two of the projects that will keep our buildings in good condition for years to come. The Building Committee has been addressing drainage issues in the Parish House basement, and is now making plans for repairs and painting of the exterior of the Parish House. And there are more projects to come, including more welcoming office space.

I hope each of you will consider making a pledge for the campaign. The vestry and I know this will involve sacrificial giving; we hope that campaign pledges, made for a one, two, or three year commitment will be made beyond the annual pledge that people make for our stewardship  campaign. You know best what you will be able to say “yes” to, and we make this invitation not to add a burden to anyone’s life. The best gift you can offer is the one that can be made with a glad and generous heart.

Some of you met Brian Raiche from Cornerstone Fundraising at one of our receptions. He has worked with many churches like ours to achieve their goals. He shared two stories at the reception that describe that kind of joyful giving. The first was of a woman who reflected on the fact that she was paying the mobile phone bills for three of her children. When she calculated what a three year gift might look like broken down to a monthly gift, she realized it equaled one more phone bill. She decided she could make that pledge, almost as if she were adding one more phone bill to her commitment to her family.

Brian also told of a Unitarian church where a young girl who was present to hear about the campaign  was inspired to fill out a pledge card. She proudly pledged $1 to the campaign. Her total commitment and enthusiasm energized and inspired others.

No gift is too small, and no gift is too large! This Sunday, we will invite you to place your pledge card in the offering plates as they are passed for the offering. Please prayerfully consider your gift, and join others in helping us all to see God’s beauty.



Vestry Update

The 2017 vestry met for the first time on Tuesday, March 21 at the Parish House. Here are some highlights from their meeting:

  • New vestry members were welcomed: Lorraine Gagnon, Rosemary Kverek, Catherine Womack, and Sarge Locke (Treasurer). Paul Newell, our new Clerk, could not join us for the meeting.
  • The vestry heard updates from the Building Committee and the Garden Group (copies of their minutes are available on the vestry bulletin board in the Parish House. They also had an update on the Capital Campaign from Fay Donohue, Cochair of campaign. The first two projects being undertaken with campaign funds are the drainage project in the Parish House basement and the painting of the exterior of the Parish House.
  • Tom Mousin and Doug Heim led a conversation about the planned sabbatical for Tom, which tentatively will start on August 1, with Tom returning in mid-November.
  • Maureen Lavely was elected as a delegate to Diocesan Convention.
  • The vestry approved a resolution to apply for grant money from the Wynn Casino mitigation funds for the painting of the Parish House.
  •  The vestry approved the rector’s recommendation to hire a bookkeeper for one to two hours a week to assist the treasurer and Parish Administrator in handling parish finances.


Holy Week – What’s the Deal?

Everything, actually. Sunday April 2nd, join priest associate Dick Simeone after the 10:00 service for “Holy Week on Steroids”, a quick look at the liturgies of Holy Week. Find out why the distant events of Jesus’ last week speak directly to our life now. Pick up your coffee and munchies and join Dick in the Godly Play room.



Ya Gotta Laugh – March 12, 2017

A Sermon for St. John’s Episcopal Church
Charlestown, Massachusetts
March 12, 2017
by the Rev. Lyn G. Brakeman

Genesis 12:1-4a     Psalm 121     Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17     John 3: 1-17

May I speak to you in the name of God who rebirths us—again and again and again—to BE a blessing.

It’s born-again Sunday! To be born again is a laughable idea, in ancient times and maybe for some today. But born-again is an idea with such creative depth and oddness that even Jesus might have laughed. To be born again means to be baptized, blessed and born into Wonder day after day. It’s laughably remarkable AND it’s how we can BE a blessing—day after day after day.

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Hear the Spirit: Consider your Call

Dear Friends,

On each of the last two Sundays, we heard stories from scripture in which Jesus heard the words of the Spirit, “This is my beloved Son, with whom  I am well pleased.” The stories suggest a voice that rang out with clarity. As we listen for God’s guidance in our lives, the voice is not always as clear or convincing.

Nonetheless, as our Mission Statement suggests, we are invited to listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as discern how we are to respond to Jesus Christ’s call to be a disciple.
I know that my call to ordained ministry did not come as a result of one clear voice or vision, but rather from an accumulation of voices – from friends, mentors, and others, as well as the interior and repeated promptings I was hearing in my own heart.

As I or others at St. John’s invite you to consider engaging in particular ministries, I hope you will be attentive to how the Holy Spirit is moving in your life. Yes, sometimes coincidences are just coincidences. It is also true that there are times when we cannot ignore the number of people who have addressed us about a particular gift we have that could be shared; it is more than a coincidence. The Spirit also may be  speaking to us when we have a thought or impulse to offer ourselves, especially if we keep tucking it away  but keeps returning. The Spirit may be speaking to us when we hear an invitation and discover a strange combination of fear and joy stirring in our hearts.

This week, there are several invitations below for ministry, here and beyond the parish. I hope you will hearing in  them whatever the Spirit may be saying to you as you consider how to respond.




Immigration and the Church

The current discussion of U.S. policy on immigration raises issues of justice and values in the church and society. In response, Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris are convening a special event for education and strategizing about the church’s response and responsibility in ministry with immigrants.

“Immigration and The Church 101: The Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land” will be held on Sunday, March 26, 4-8 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston. Guest speakers will share expertise in legal and other aspects of the issues at hand.

All clergy and lay leaders in the congregations of the diocese are invited to participate.

Refreshments will be served. To ensure that there will be enough food, seats and materials for everyone, RSVP by March 22 to Marsha Searle at msearle@diomass.org or 617-482-4826, ext. 445.

A Question for Lent – March 5, 2017

A Sermon for St. John’s Episcopal Church
Charlestown, Massachusetts
March 5, 2017
by the Rev. Thomas N. Mousin

Matthew 4:1-11

Just who do you think you are? That is a question we often ask of another when her or she is getting too big for their britches, or acting out of turn, or trying to make us do something we do not want to do. Just who do you think you are?

Of course, tone and inflection has a lot to do with what we mean by that question. I could ask it in another way, with a different inflection: Just who do you think you are? Asked that way, it becomes not an accusation or question made in anger, but instead an inquiry, an invitation to the one being asked to consider his or her identity.

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