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.



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.

Epiphany Potluck and Service, Friday January 6 at 6 pm

The Feast of the Epiphany is Friday, January 6. As the culmination of our Christmas celebrations, we remember the coming of the Wise Men to Bethlehem to worship Jesus. The word Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning “manifestation,” or “appearance.” The wise ones who travelled to Bethlehem are often seen as the first Gentiles to whom the light of Christ was revealed.

We will celebrate with a a simple potluck supper and service at in the Parish House, starting at 6 pm. It will be a child-friendly service, and Tom will present chalk for “chalking the doors” of the church and our homes – it is a tradition we have observed at St. John’s for the last few years, in which we bless our homes for the coming year with chalk inscriptions over the thresholds.

Do you have figures of the three kings or wise men at home? Consider bringing them on Friday and we will place all of them – whatever size – before the manger.

Lessons and Carols on December 17th

It is a much beloved tradition at St. John’s and one of the ways in which we offer God’s beauty to the larger community. Our Lessons and Carols service this year will be held on Saturday, December 17th at 5 pm. Both our choirs will lead us with anthems, and carols for us to join in, as we list to the story of God’s redeeming work told in scripture. As always, a delightful reception follows, and childcare will be available.

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst, (1590–1656)

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst, (1590–1656)

Advent Invitations


th-3Dear Friends,

The season of Advent is rich with opportunities for deepening our relationship to Christ. Some of those opportunities are in places beyond our parish, and meet a variety of needs. Look through what is happening at St. John’s and beyond, and discover ways to pray, worship, learn, and give this Advent. You’ll also find the schedule for Christmas services included here.

Faithfully in Christ,

ADVENT AT THE MONASTERY: Tuesday evenings in Advent at 5:30 pm
The brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge offer a preaching series at their Tuesday evening Community Eucharist, focusing on “radical practices.” All are welcome to join the brothers for these services, and to stay for a simple supper afterward. The first service is tonight. For more information, see: http://ssje.org

ADVENT SERIVE OF REMEMBRANCE AND HOPE: Wednesday, December 7 at 7 pm at Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester
For those who have suffered losses, either recent or long in the past, the holiday season can be a difficult time, when we are surrounded by images of happy families gathered about the tree or enjoying a festive celebration. This service of prayer, scripture, poetry, and music offers an opportunity to express our feelings around our losses while also hearing words of hope. For more information, see: http://www.3crowns.org

ADVENT QUIET DAY: Saturday, December 10th at Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester
The Rev. Martin Smith will lead a Quiet Day from 9 am to noon on Saturday the 10th at the Parish Of the Epiphany in Winchester. To be told one is “a godsend” by someone is a beautiful affirmation, yet this intriguing word is rarely explored for its depth of meaning. In this quiet day led by the Rev. Smith, noted writer and retreat leader, participants will ponder and pray about how each of us uniquely shares in the mission of Christ, as members of his Body, embodying God’s outreaching love in an incarnation that is ongoing. The suggested donation is $20, and childcare is available if requested. You can find out more by going to http://www.3crowns.org ;  registration is requested by emailing the church office at office@3crowns.org

ADVENT EVENSONG: Friday, December 16 at 6:30 pm at St. John’s
Our monthly Evensong service this month takes place on the third Friday of the month. Cherish the quiet contemplative nature of this service in the candlelight of the church.

SERVICE OF LESSONS AND CAROLS: Saturday, December 17th, 5 pm
Our choirs are preparing to lead us in scripture and in song as we celebrate with carols and anthems of Advent and Christmas. As always, a reception will follow the service in the Parish House. Please contact the church office if you  are interested in childcare for the service.

CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: Sunday, December 18th, 10 am
Our children will tell the Christmas story as part of our 10 am worship service on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Come look for a star and listen for an angel!  All children are welcome to participate, and the schedule for rehearsals is here:
Sunday, December 4, after the 10 am service
Sunday, December 11, after the 10 am service
Saturday, December 17, at 11 am, with pizza to follow

Saturday, December 24:
4 pm: Family Service with Choir and Holy Eucharist
10 pm: Holy Eucharist with Candlelight

Sunday, December 25, one service at 10 am

ADVENT GIVING – THE JESSE TREE: Opportunities to give in Advent
When you come to church this Sunday, you will see a bare branched tree with symbols of the Advent season. Known as a “Jesse Tree” it takes its name from one of the scriptures of the season: ” A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”( Isaiah 11: 1). Jesse was the father of King David, and the gospel writers trace the lineage of Jesus back to this family.

You can place gifts under this tree for families here in Charlestown and far beyond our community in Syria. Here is what you can bring:

Here in Charlestown: Through an arrangement with the Harvard-Kent School, gift cards of $10 or $20 from CVS, Whole Foods, Market Basket, or other local stores will benefit families in particular need here in Charlestown. Just place your cards in an envelope marked “Harvard-Kent.”

Two Options for Syrian Refugee Relief:
St. John’s Church in Beverly Farms has an ongoing ministry with women and children in the Freedom Refugee Camp in Syria. Cash donations are welcome (make checks payable to St. John’s, Beverly Farms). Warm clothing for women and children, blankets, scarves, hats and mittens, and stuffed animals are also on their wish list. Items do not need to be wrapped. Just place them under the tree – the sooner in the season the better. Checks should be in an envelope marked “St. John’s Beverly Farms.” You can find out more about the organization they work with, Nudaysyria, at:  http://www.nudaysyria.net

Marianne Lindahl Allen, a parishioner, works with Refugee Protection International, (RPI), an organization that focuses on refugees in urban settings near conflict zones. You can find out more about their work at their website, and make donations there: https://refugeeprotection.org



Christmas at St. John’s

Church Steps

Advent Evensong Service: Friday, December 16th at 6:30 pm
Our regular monthly Evensong service will be held on the third Friday of the month in December.

Lessons and Carols Service: Saturday, December 17th at 5 pm
At this beloved service, we welcome the entire community for a service of anthems, carols, and readings from scripture. Celebrate the coming of Christ with our choirs and candlelight. A reception follows in the Parish Hall.

Children’s Christmas Pageant: Sunday, December 18th, at 10 am
Our children enact the Christmas story at our 10 am worship service on the 18th. All children are welcome to join. Rehearsals are:
Sunday, December 4th, after the 10 am service
Sunday, December 11th, after the 10 am service
Saturday, December 17th at 11 am

CHRISTMAS EVE: Saturday, December 24th
4 pm: Family Service with Choir and Holy Eucharist
10 pm: Holy Eucharist with Candlelight

CHRISTMAS DAY: Sunday, December 25th
10 am: One service, with carols and Holy Eucharist



Preparing for Advent

Believe it or not, Advent begins in two weeks, on Sunday November 27th! We want to help you get ready. Plan to stay after the 10 am service on Sunday, November 20, for an Advent workshop – we will have greens and candles to make your home Advent wreath (please bring your metal Advent wring if you have it from past years. Tom will have his Advent calendar, with some enlarged copies for the youngest among us to color. We’ll also have other suggestions for how to observe this season on a daily basis at home. Unknown

The Harvest Fair is Here!

Join us on Saturday, November 11th from 9 am to 2 pm for the 178th Harvest Fair. Our Turkey Dinner is served from noon to 1:30 pm pm ($12 for dinner, $3 for apple pie and ice cream), and upstairs in the Parish Hall you will find baked goods, books, jewelry and designer clothes – and more!  Check out the array of gift baskets at the Silent Auction. 10% of the proceeds of the fair support our ministries beyond the local parish.