A note from our warden
Good day, all!
It's hard to believe we're only a couple of weeks away from Holy Week! Where does the time go?
Tomorrow, Saturday March 18th, I'm trying to get a clean-up crew together to dust and clean our church sanctuary in advance of Holy Week, and the Black Poster Project. We'll be cleaning the pews and floors and dusting away the cobwebs!
We'll begin at 10:00 A.M. and wrap up by 1:00 P.M. You don't need to stay for three hours if you only have one to spare. Many hands make light work, so if you have a little time, please come by and lend a hand.
Many thanks to all for all you do for our little church!
A note from Rev. Sharon
Dear St. John’s,
If you look at the service music on the first page of your bulletin on Sunday and think, “It’s Greek to me!” – you’ll be exactly right.
During Lent, many churches switch from singing the celebratory Gloria to the petitionary Kyrie. This is an ancient prayer of the church that translates to: “Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”
The editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica tell us, “The word Kyrie is used in the Septuagint, the earliest Greek translation of the Old Testament, to translate the Hebrew word Yahweh. In the New Testament, Kyrie is the title given to Christ, as in Philippians 2:11.”
So when we sing this prayer, we will be joining our voices with Christians who have prayed using these same words for centuries.
A few other important notes for Sunday:
A NOTE FROM rEV. sHARON
Dear St. John’s,
When I started seminary, one of the professors spoke at orientation about diversity and the value
in getting to know people different from us. She encouraged us, for example, to sit at meals with
people of other races or cultures. Following that advice turned out to be fun and the foundation
of new friendships, as well as an educational experience.
On Saturday, March 25, we will host a group of Turkish-American Muslims from the Peace
Islands Institute. This non-profit group promotes peace and understanding through interfaith
dialogue and friendship. Perhaps you met two of their members who recently attended one of our
Institute members will provide us with a delicious Ramadan iftar feast and an informative
program at 6:30 p.m. in the parish hall. We are hoping the two Afghan refugee families will
participate as well. And we are inviting members of some of our other regional churches to join
This evening will allow us to eat and talk together and learn about each other. I encourage you
all to come. Please let me or the office know if you can attend, so we can let the institute
members know how many people they are cooking for.
a note from rev. sharon
It’s safe to say, most folks don’t greet the season of Lent with the same enthusiasm as Christmas or Easter or even Advent. But Lent needn’t be all gloom and doom. We can embrace it as a quiet time to reflect on our lives and our values and what God is calling us to do. It can be a time of discovery and learning. It even can be fun.
Really! Just check out lentmadness.org
A colleague of mine created Lent Madness about a decade ago as a fun way to teach people about the individuals on the Episcopal saints calendar, from the well-known to the obscure. He arranged them in competitive brackets – like the college basketball March Madness brackets.
Each day of the tournament, participants vote for their favorite saint based on biographies and other information about them posted on the website. Over the course of Lent, the competition heats up, saints advance, and the ultimate winner receives the coveted Golden Halo.
Anyone can participate. You can sign up on the website for e-mail reminders about when to vote, or just visit the website each day. If you forget to vote, there’s no penalty. The only sin is attempting to vote twice!
On a more serious note, St. John’s will be raising awareness, providing education and exploring the spiritual dimensions of the addiction crisis in this country. Please read the attachment to this email to learn more, and let me know if you would like to participate.
Save the dates!
A NOTE FROM REV. SHARON
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria this week has killed more than 23,000 people and left millions in need of shelter. Our hearts ache at the scenes of destruction and the lives lost, and the knowledge that time is running out to find any more survivors.
How can we help?
As our bishop wrote to the clergy of this diocese, “While gathering goods to send to the area feels satisfying, with disasters of this magnitude financial support is critical and more helpful.”
One very effective place to donate funds is Episcopal Relief & Development. This agency of our church works with local partners on the ground to get immediate relief where it is needed after a disaster, and then to help with the short- and long-term recovery efforts afterward. You can donate to help the earthquake victims here:
We also can pray for all those affected by the earthquake. The bishop has asked our whole diocese to intentionally hold the victims, survivors, and recovery effort in prayer for the next six weeks.
Here is one prayer from the Episcopal Relief & Development website for times of disaster:
God, you are in the midst of those who suffer
May all affected by disasters feel your healing presence.
God, you are in the hands of those who reach out
Help responders in their courageous work.
God, you are in the hearts of those compassionate ones
Whose prayers cry out for their families
Whose prayers cry out for their neighbors
Whose prayers cry out even for strangers
Bless and comfort those who mourn.
God, you are in the still small voice,
The gentle whisper that follows
May our ears always hear
May our hearts always cry out for one another
May our hands always reach out to one another
And may we always walk like you walk
In solidarity with those who suffer
And so reflect your presence and comfort.
– Prayer adapted from Catholic Relief Services
A NOTE FROM REV. SHARON
A message from Rev. Sharon
Last fall, members of our congregation and the Boonton community recorded our hopes and dreams on a banner that now hangs in our parish hall. In November, we met with a member of the diocesan Visioning Team to delve a little deeper into our dreams for St. John’s. We discussed the strengths of our parish as well as our challenges and concerns; the ways we interact with the diocese; how we wish the diocese could support us; and our dreams for future ministry. This weekend, the St. John’s clergy and deputies will hear more about the diocesan visioning process and how that connects with our own ministries.
The process of discerning a vision for the future is an important and ongoing part of the Christian journey in our own lives, in the life of our parish, and in the life of our diocesan and the wider church. This is how we discover what God is calling us to do and how we plan to answer that call.
You can hear what our bishop says about the process now underway in our diocese here:
I’ve also attached the report from our listening session in November. I encourage everyone to read it. What do you agree with or disagree with? What would you add? These insights will help us as we plan for our future at St. John’s and how we will share God’s love with our community.
A NOTE FROM REV. SHARON
Have you ever played the online game where you match pairs of Mahjong tiles? Sometimes, no matter how long you stare at the screen, you can’t find any available matching tiles. You think the game is over. Then you press the “hint” button and discover one or more pairs that you missed, and the game continues.
This week commemorated the conversion of Paul, the great evangelist of the early church whose letters are the oldest writings in the New Testament. He started out persecuting Jesus’ post-Resurrection followers but completely reversed course and began proclaiming the gospel after Jesus appeared to him in a bright light while Paul was traveling to Damascus.
Sometimes conversions are like that. We experience a mighty revelation or epiphany in dramatic fashion, as Paul did.
More often, we experience smaller insights or “aha” moments in our lives. We suddenly understand something in a new way or feel called to try something new.
Sometimes we’re searching for a new direction or understanding or meaning in our lives, without success. That’s when it’s time to hit our spiritual “hint” button – to call on the Holy Spirit for help. Opening our hearts to the guidance of the Spirit can open our eyes to new patterns and possibilities.
Where might the Holy Spirit be guiding you this Epiphany season?
A note from The Rev. Michael Muller, Rector
St. Peter's Episcopal Church
Our 2nd "Got Faith" series of talks ended last night with a celebration of Holy Eucharist. We now will go back to the rhythm of a weekly celebration of the Word of God (Bible Study in a liturgical setting) and a monthly Eucharist. The pattern we will follow is:
In my previous call there was a stained glass depicting the Resurrection and it always struck me that it had some message about the future. Perhaps something can be seen in the depiction of the three figures - The Saviour, St. John & St. Peter.
a note from rev. sharon
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped with Saturday’s Celebration of Life service for Elizabeth Van Dine. I ask your continued prayers for Deacon John and his family.
This Sunday, our Gospel reading will describe Jesus’ call to some of his first disciples. Jesus continues to call disciples, asking us to discern how we can show God’s love to the world and join God in the work of justice and compassion.
Within our church community, how might God be calling you to participate in the work of St. John’s? Perhaps you’d like to use your cooking or baking skills for coffee hour or the Saturday Luncheon Socials. Maybe you’d like to help establish and maintain our new “pledge garden.” Maybe you’d like to serve as an usher or lector or on the vestry or in the choir.
For those interested in serving as an acolyte, eucharistic minister (who can serve the consecrated bread and wine during Communion) or eucharistic visitor (who can take the consecrated elements to someone in the hospital or elsewhere), I will lead a training on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 1:15 p.m. at the church.
Please let me know if you are interested in attending the training or would like to talk about other ways you might serve at St. John’s.
a note from rev. sharon
January 6 marks one of the major celebrations in our church, when we remember how wise men from the East followed a star to locate and pay homage to baby Jesus in Bethlehem. An epiphany is a revelation or manifestation of the divine. On this day, we rejoice at the manifestation of Jesus to the foreign Magi, demonstrating that the incarnate Word came into the world for all people.
This Sunday, I hope you will join us as we celebrate Epiphany and welcome Deacon John’s great-granddaughter Phoenix into our congregation through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. We’re also expecting a guest appearance of the three Magi!
As we contemplate the divine light that is Jesus, and the starlight that guided the wise men, let us also consider how we might share the light of Christ that is within us. One opportunity comes this Saturday, when St. John’s will provide the meal for the Saturday Luncheon Social. (If you can help, please let Sharon Liparini know at Sharon.Liparini@gmail.com.)
Our light also can shine brighter when we join in ministry with other light-bearers. This Wednesday, I invite you to attend a 7 p.m. prayer at service at St. John's with Bible meditations as we host members of St. Peter’s in Mountain Lakes and Church of our Saviour in Denville as part of the Got Faith? Christian formation program. This year, we also will continue to work with members of these and other congregations in supporting the Afghan refugee families in their resettlement.
I can’t wait to see how else St. John’s will spread light through our community in 2023.
I wish you all the joy of the Magi and look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Articles are posted by the Communication team, Rev. Sharon and others.