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.

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.

 

 

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.

Faithfully,

Tom

 

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.

Capital Campaign: See God’s Beauty

Dear Friends,

When our vestry adopted a new mission statement last September, one of the primary statements that emerged was a call to “See God’s Beauty.” That statement emerged in part from conversations about the legacy of beautiful and historic structures that we have inherited from those who have come before us. On many occasions, a newcomer or visitor will comment to me about the spacious inviting beauty of our sanctuary, or of the quiet serenity of our garden. Yes, our buildings are beautiful.

God’s beauty shines through more than our stained glass windows, however. The vestry was also well aware that we behold God’s beauty in many other ways: we see it in a family gathered around the baptismal font as we welcome a new member into the Body of Christ,  in a 12 step recovery community gathered to support one another each week in the Parish Hall, or in our young children learning about the “ten best ways” to live in Godly Play – these are all windows as well in which and through which we behold the beauty of all that God has made.

Our new capital campaign, with a goal of $175,000 is designed to enable our parish to preserve and improve our church and parish house so that they will be places that help us to carry out God’s mission in the years to come.

I hope you will join us for one of our two remaining receptions: Wednesday, March 15 at 4 pm or at 7 pm. There you will learn more about our plans for improvements, and how you can participate. It will also provide you with an opportunity to have your questions answered and to share your thoughts. Each reception will be about an hour in length.

Together, we can do more than see – we can also help to create the spaces and community where people will continue to hear the Spirit, see God’s beauty, and act in love.

Faithfully,

Tom

 

A Lenten Offering for Syrian Refugees

Thank you to all who contributed clothing and stuffed toys at Christmas, which St. JOhn’s Church in Beverly Farms is transporting to Syria. Their parish has invited churches throughout the diocese to support Nuday refugee camps in Syria for those who have been displaced by the civil war there.

A fourth cargo container will be shipped to Syria, and the following donations are welcome:

-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

We will have a basket at church to collect supplies each Sunday throughout Lent. Consider these donations a “giving of alms” during Lent.

A Statement from Bishop Gates and Other Leaders Regarding Restrictions on Refugees

Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, together with Bishop Douglas J. Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, have signed a joint letter from 17 church leaders, issued  by the Massachusetts Council of Churches, opposing the White House executive action suspending refugee resettlement.

You can find the statement here, along with a message from Bishop Gates addressed to all of us in the diocese.

Living Stones

 

Iyad Qumri, presenting pilgrims with an overview of Jerusalem

Dear Friends,

Many of you know that I recently returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Traveling through Israel and Palestine, we saw places both ancient and modern, visiting sites associated with the stories of the Bible, all the while seeing and experiencing how this region is deeply divided.

Our guide for the tour was Iyad Qumri. Iyad describes himself as a Palestinian, an Arab, and a Christian. He is accustomed to people being surprised that he is both Arab and Christian. Our preconceptions and stereotypes are often broken apart when we travel, and that is one of the great benefits of a pilgrimage such as this.

The challenges faced by Christian communities in the Middle East has caused many Christians to leave. Many Palestinian Christians live in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and opportunities for work and freedom to travel, which we take for granted, are limited. Bethlehem, which in 1947 had a population that was 85% Christian, is now only 15% Christian.

What so impresses me about Iyad, his family, and others we met who are living under such challenging circumstances is their deep faith and resilience. Christians in the Holy Land are sometimes referred to as “the living stones.” Their faith is indeed alive, and a witness to us.

I look around us and see the divisions within our own country. I wonder if we can overcome them. And then I remember Iyad, and the way he faces even greater challenges,  faithfully bringing the Gospel alive for pilgrims with patience, confidence, and even laughter. And I am given hope.

Faithfully,

Tom