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Pastor's Blog

Mid-Week Video Series on Gratitude.

Dear Ones,

As we enter into the Fall, with its harvest season, it is my pastoral invitation to you to make room and space for gratitude in your life. Much has happened so far this year. We are very aware of the heaviness and uncertainty of it all, and yet as the mystics would say, even our suffering and tribulations belong in God. Nothing is wasted or dismissed in the ever-enfolding love of God. And even in the muck of it all, we have experience glimpses of beauty and goodness; for that, we give thanks to God.

It is my hope and prayer that we all find moments of gratitude in each of our days. Thanksgiving for a warm cup of tea, a finished puzzle, a call from a friend, the laughter of a grandchild, an opportunity to help others, a good book, completing some house chores, for having a house and chores to do, for the good stewardship of our church building by the Vestry and Building Committee, for stable internet connection during Zoom meetings, for medical teams and essential workers, for God’s eternal love for us… there so many reasons to be generous with our gratitude.

For the next 6 Wednesdays, I will be sending a Mid-Week Email Message focused on the transformative power of giving thanks. Contact me via email if you are interested in joining this series.

In these videos, we will hear Dr. Diana Butler Bass explore why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls. The course towards changing the way we see and act in the world, according to Butler-Bass, is remembering the truth about God’s abundance and welcoming one another to a communal table where every need is met. Inspired by her book, this film series is a continued dialogue about what we’ve done with/how we misuse power, how to find an abundance within, what it looks like to be a cooperative culture rather than a competitive sharing, connecting.

GRATEFUL
The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
This series includes six sessions:

Session One // Where Is God?
Session Two // A Table of Gifts
Session Three // Table Ethics
Session Four // Grace, Gratitude, and Gifts
Session Five // Gratitude and Abundance
Session Six // Table Memory

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News & Events

Faith-Filled Generosity: Looking into our Hearts


Dear St Johns Family and Friends,

I am hoping you are in a positive spirit and are healthy and happy. I would like to thank you ALL for your continued support of St Johns both financially and spiritually during this last year under such challenging times. Your generosity has helped to maintain our operations. Even though we have not been able to attend services in our beautiful building, we have still needed to maintain our regular expenses. Your continued support has helped us to maintain our goal of sharing the Gospel within and without our community. Your continued support of St John’s leadership and guidance is greatly appreciated.

This is the time we look in our hearts and respond to what our next year of stewardship means to each of us. How are we going to support the mission of God as expressed within St John’s and without?  As you drive by our beautiful church, you can see we are still moving ahead, continually improving the facility where we will gather. Even though we cannot gather within just yet. I hope and pray we will be able to gather within soon, as I miss seeing my friends and family.

Please look in your heart and please pledge to support St John going forward. If you support our mission, our leadership, please know your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Blessings,

Jane Berard
Vestry Member

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News & Events

Faith-Filled Generosity: What do we mean by Stewardship?

Recently Father Eliacin asked me to write a few paragraphs relating to “Stewardship”; a simple enough task as I had performed this task before. But as I started to think about it I realized so many things had changed and so much was different than when, many years ago I produced my Stewardship Presentation for St Johns congregation. Also I had experienced a subdural hematoma which required a craniotomy which impacted my brain causing me initially to be unable to find words with meanings I wished to express in sentences and also a loss of the meanings for some words. Most of these problems have receded as a medical team have worked on my rehabilitation but nevertheless I felt a need to ask myself the question “what does Stewardship mean” in the context of St Johns?

Such a question took me back many years to my Professor of Philosophy, Dwayn Richens. He started our first class after he introduced himself with the question, “What do you mean by…” (and here insert a word). What ensued was absolute silence. And so he tried again with another word, still silence and then followed another word, and another. Finally I thought he must be seeking a reply from the class and so I responded, probably with a synonym. At this there was a little curl upwards in his lips as a smile formed. He had obtained his objective, and he walked up to my desk and with twinkling blue eyes said, “You sir are in a state of intellectual chaos.”

He then proceeded to teach the class the importance of how the real meanings of each word should be defined with clear boundaries so that in their use the meaning was unambiguous and communication was absolutely clear. To be sure my brain with it’s impairments needed a clear and unambiguous definition. I turned to what I had been taught, that was finding root of the word and proceeding from there. From the dictionary I obtained only an old word from which “steward” is derived. By explanation a number of persons with different specific responsibilities were described, none associated with the church and none expressly spiritual. My professor was right about ambiguity and no clear communication. How to proceed?

The old, not ancient, word for steward was “stiweard”, which when the derivation is broken down is a melding of “stig” a word for house or hall, and “weard”, a word for ward. That word for ward, what is its meaning. Referring again to the dictionary “ward” is defined as “Have in Keeping, to protect, (chiefly now of GOD).”

So now let us see what Stewardship has come to mean from researching the root of the word. It means to “Have in keeping, and to protect the house of God.” So what does that mean?

These words make me think in a way I have not thought of Stewardship before. I looked at the work being done by my fellow Parishioners. Those working on the fabric of the building were certainly working on the secular House of God and doing more than their fair share. Those working on Finance also contributed more than their fair share considering the amount of time they contributed struggling to keep inadequate sums funding the many needy projects. Then there are many others that go unrecognized. These are the Good Stewards who are committed to “selfless service”, in the words of Jay Morris, and who are a model upon whom we each need to model and measure ourselves.

But when we talk of the House of God what do we mean? Here we are trying to understand Stewardship in the spiritual world. The House of God in keeping and protection. This conjures up for me the vision of what I must do to keep the vision, the values and the commandments that Jesus taught and that causes me to return to the words he uttered in the Sermon on the Mount. For those he blessed in Matthew 5, verses 3 to 10, surely we can find ways to help them.

The problem is in this modern world that everyone is often too busy for those with families to care for and to contribute much of their time. For many of those who are retired the cost of living and medications weighs heavily on their finances and savings. To preserve the House of God it seems to me that we must ask those who do not have the time to contribute of their treasure and for those with little or no treasure to contribute of their time.

This is happening in St Johns with the Good Stewards but we must all be Good Stewards. The question is can we all measure ourselves against them and become their equals in how they contribute so that Gods House as well our St Johns building becomes safer and stronger as they grow into the future.

David Hannaford
Vestry Member

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5.3-10
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Online Sunday Service

10/25/2020 Morning Prayer Service

Fr. Eliacín leads the congregation in Prayer. Deacon Liz shares a reflection on the Gospel.

Link to PDF version of the Service Bulletin: https://bit.ly/2TiUmLG

Link to Online Giving & Offering: https://bit.ly/366HvDM

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News & Events
Diocese of Olympia Annual Convention 2020 
 October 23 & 24
The following folks are representing you and all of St. John’s next week at the annual diocesan convention. Like so much of our world these days, the convention will be online in a virtual platform. Will you please pray for them throughout the next 8 days?

DELEGATES: Dave Baldwin, Candace McKenna, Nancy McConnell & John First
ALTERNATES:  Carol Bassett
CLERGY: Eliacín Rosario-Cruz, Liz Van Dyke 

And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more in real knowledge and in practical insight, so that you may learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent, and that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ; filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  (Philippians 1:9-11, Amplified Bible)

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News & Events

Do you knit or sew? Opportunity for Service

Looking for a way to help others this month?
Do you KNIT or SEW?  Or know someone who does?
Every year, the Seattle Seafarers Center gives out Ditty Bags to the seafarers on merchant vessels calling at the Port of Seattle. These are filled with practical items that convey the love, concern, and compassion of our local churches to the seafarers working to bring us the items we use and wear on a daily basis. Making and filling these ditty bags provides church congregations an opportunity to take part in an international and ecumenical outreach ministry. To read more about the Seattle Seafarers Center,  CLICK HERE

To see patterns…

for knitting a hat 
or sewing a ditty bag    CLICK HERE
Bags & hats for 2020 are needed by mid-November. However, you can work on this project all year long. Bring them to St. John’s and SSC will come pick them up! Easy peezy!
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News & Events

2020 COLD WEATHER SHELTER AT FAIRGROUNDS

2020 COLD WEATHER SHELTER AT FAIRGROUNDS

Are you interested in volunteering at the Cold Weather Shelter in our area? This year, there will not be a CW Shelter at the Snohomish Evangelical Free Church, nor at the New Hope Fellowship, Monroe. However there are plans to open a shelter at the Evergreen Fairgrounds that will be large enough to serve guests who came to both shelters. Additionally, plans are in place for there to be 2 paid staff people at the shelter throughout the night when it is open.

Volunteers will be needed to assist in opening the shelter in the evening and to close it in the morning. Currently the schedule would be to open the shelter about 8:30 pm or 9 pm. Lights out would be at 10 pm. Guests will be wakened at 6 am and the shelter will close at 7 am. If this schedule is adopted, we will need about 2 volunteers for 2 shifts: 8 pm-10:30 pm and 5:30 am – 8 am. The schedule might adjust a little but it would still be 3 or less hours in length.

We plan to have a start date of November 1 and will go through March 15. As you may recall we open the shelter when the temperature is forecasted to be 34 or lower. We will use sign up genius and will schedule volunteers by email. There is a recorded shelter training to view .

If you are interested in working at this shelter, the Sky Valley Shelter, please email Therese Quinn, Emergency Management Specialist | Emergency Preparedness at Snohomish Health Districttquinn@snohd.org

Categories
Online Sunday Service

10/18/2020 Morning Prayer Service

Fr. Eliacín leads the congregation in Prayer and shares a reflection on faith-filled generosity. Candace McKenna and Deacon Liz lead the readings.

Link to PDF version of the Service Bulletin: https://bit.ly/3424ej1

Link to Online Giving & Offering: https://bit.ly/366HvDM

Categories
Online Sunday Service

10/11/2020 | Morning Prayer Service

Fr. Eliacín leads the congregation in the Morning Prayer Service and shares a reflection on receiving God’s invitation to a great feast. Ricci Kilmer and Deacon Liz Van Dyke lead the readings.

Link to PDF version of the Service Bulletin: https://bit.ly/3ddHbV6

Link to Online Giving & Offering: https://bit.ly/366HvDM

Categories
Online Sunday Service

10/04/2020 | Morning Prayer Service | Preaching Bishop Greg Rickel

Fr. Eliacín leads the congregation in the Morning Prayer Service. Bishop Greg Rickel is the special preacher this Sunday. As celebration of the Feast of St. Francis, Fr. Eliacín will bless the pets at the end of the service.

Link to PDF version of the Service Bulletin: https://bit.ly/34fLwmX

Link to Online Giving & Offering: https://bit.ly/366HvDM