Newsletter for May 31, 2018

Sunday, June 3
Second Sunday after Pentecost
8:00 a.m. Spoken Holy Eucharist
10:30 a.m. Choral Holy Eucharist
12:30 p.m. Pipes Alive! organ concert (details below)
4:30 p.m. Celtic worship service (with sing-along starting at 4:00 – details below)
  • There will be a children’s sermon during the 10:30 service, and child care for ages 0 to 5 will be provided from 10 a.m. to noon in the Good Shepherd Room.
Click here for a service preview – Besides a preview of the service music and bulletin for upcoming services, this link also provides access to sermon texts, podcasts and live-stream service videos.
Join us for the final Pipes Alive! concert of the program year, this Sunday, June 3, at 12:30 p.m., featuring Susan Carroll of Asylum Hill Congregational Church. A light soup lunch will be available after the 10:30 service for those who stay for the concert. The concert is free and open to the public; donations are accepted.
Sunday afternoon Celtic service
The monthly Celtic service, held at St. John’s in partnership with St. James’s, is this Sunday, June 3. The service will be held outside in the Cloister Garden (weather permitting). In honor of this being the last Celtic service before a summer hiatus, worship will be preceded by a sing-along of music featured throughout the past year. The sing-along starts at 4 p.m., and the service begins with an extended period of silence at 4:30 p.m. Celtic services will resume on the first Sunday of the month from October 2018 to June 2019. All are welcome—if you’ve never attended a Celtic service, give it a try!
“Love Welcomes” project at St. John’s
St. John’s recently purchased several items from Thistle Farms, an organization founded by the Reverend Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest in Nashville. Thistle Farms provides supportive housing and employment to women who are recovering from addiction, abuse and violence.
One of the items we purchased is this welcome mat, which will be used on the altar this Sunday in lieu of our regular linens. These mats are woven out of used life vests by refugee women who have made the dangerous overseas journey from the Middle East to Greece.
According to Thistle Farms, they have named this project #LOVEWELCOMES in an effort to “keep the emphasis on welcoming refugees and recognize that love is the most powerful force for change. A couple hundred people still arrive in Greece every day. Daily life in the camps is hard and legal assistance for relocating to a permanent home can be a long waiting game. Women sit with idle hands with a low sense of drive for day to day living. #LOVEWELCOMES has been a pivotal movement to employ and support women in the camp. Through their weaving, the #LOVEWELCOMES team are able to provide key services to the whole community.
One mat at a time, these life vests, once representing tragedy and loss, are being transformed into a symbol of prosperity and hope.”
The $100 purchase price for each mat is divided in the following way:
$50 for the women weaving
$20 for transportation to legal meetings, food markets and medical appointments and for I AM YOU, our wonderful partners on the ground (in Greece)
$30 to Thistle Farms for shipping, materials, and administration
Please welcome Christa Rakich to St. John’s
We welcome Christa Rakich as our new organ artist-in-residence. Christa will be assisting Scott with service playing on occasion, especially when there are complicated organ accompaniments for pieces sung by our choir. While this is primarily an honorary position in exchange for regular practice time, Christa will also fill an important role as primary supply organist when Scott is away. More important, Christa and her wife Janis have come to love our community here, and are excited to make St. John’s their spiritual home.
Christa recently retired as music director at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in West Hartford. She lives in Bloomfield and maintains an active career as a performer and recording artist. She has served on the faculties of Westminster Choir College, Brandeis University, New England Conservatory, and the University of Connecticut, and as assistant university organist at Harvard. Previous artist-in-residencies have included the University of Pennsylvania and First Lutheran Church in Boston. She recently performed at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. You can learn more about Christa at, and be sure to greet her warmly after church this Sunday.
NOTE: Summer parish office hours, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, will begin on Monday, June 11 and go through Friday, August 31.
Supplies for Dominican Republic mission trip: Six of our young members will be going on a mission trip with the Episcopal Church in CT this summer. They will be helping with a Vacation Bible School for 400 children and need craft supplies to take with them. We are collecting the following items, either new or gently used:
  • Popsicle sticks (the craft kind, not the kind with leftover grape or cherry flavor on them…)
  • School glue (liquid)
  • Scotch tape (on its own roll)
  • Kid scissors
  • Markers and crayons
  • Beads
Please drop them off in the parish office or give them to Mary Scripko, our religious education assistant.
Cloister Garden work morning June 9: Our beautiful Cloister Garden, which serves as a final resting place for those whose ashes are interred there as well as a peaceful spot for quiet reflection, needs some basic maintenance. Please join us for a Cloister Garden work morning on Saturday, June 9 at 9 a.m. (rain date June 16). Work to be done includes weeding, dead heading and pruning as needed. We could especially use someone who knows enough about gardening to provide some guidance and instruction. If you can help (as either a garden guru or a worker bee!), please call or email Ellen in the parish office ( or 860-523-5201). Work will only take a couple of hours with sufficient help.
Musicians for Hughes Home services: Throughout the year, St. John’s volunteers lead a 10 a.m. Sunday morning service at Hughes Home, just across Farmington Avenue on Highland Street. We need additional people to accompany hymns on the piano (or another instrument, such as guitar). If you’d like to help, contact Kim Byrd. We need accompanists both during the summer and during the program year. If you’d like to help lead the services instead, consider becoming a St. John’s layreader. Layreaders at St. John’s wear many hats—they read scriptures and the Prayers of the People at our services, serve as chalice bearers for communion, and lead services at Hughes Home. We’d love to have new people join this ministry! Contact Kim Byrd or the rector for more information.
Community garden update
Thanks to everyone who came out last weekend to get our new vegetable garden planted! J.P. Evans, who is helping to coordinate this project as part of his Eagle Scout award, brought some fellow Scouts over Friday evening to begin filling the raised beds with soil. That work continued on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon, with volunteers helping to finish filling the beds and plant vegetable seeds.
J.P. will be working with the parish office and our partners at Congregation Beth Israel to schedule volunteers for regular weeding, watering and harvesting. Vegetables will be provided to our neighbors in need of healthy food. Stay tuned for details!
Please respond to our BRIEF survey!
Please take a moment to respond to a very brief survey (only three questions!) about child care on Sunday mornings. While we especially need to hear from parents of young children, all are invited to respond. Click here to access the survey, which will only take a minute or two. THANK YOU!
Categories: Blog