“St John’s Acts” : The Rector’s Message for January

Download the complete January issue here

I don’t know what your experience has been, but the timing of Christmas and then the weekend has certainly confused my internal liturgical clock. It will receive another jolt on Friday, January 1st, when we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ (the full title) with Sunday coming only two days later. The Feast of the Holy Name recalls the custom still practiced today in most Jewish families to name the male child and perform the circumcision on the eighth day.

January 3rd was the second Sunday after Christmas. I had hoped people would have returned from visiting relatives or hosting relatives and come back to church. Most did. This Sunday provided a great entertainment opportunity-the annual Twelfth Night choral festival-wherein choirs sing some of their ‘special’ music prepared for the Christmas season. We were commended by all as gracious hosts. This program aids EpiscoBuild, the work of the local Episcopal Churches with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh. Even if you couldn’t come, send a donation to St. John’s to help with this important work, Make the check to Habitat for Humanity.

The New Year is upon us, and there is much for us to unite around in terms of mission and ministry. I am reminded of the fact that while our church cornerstone was laid in 1858, much of the construction continued in 1860 in preparation for first services in 1861. This new year will see the work on the belltower begun and concluded. Our newly reconstituted Buildings and Grounds Committee will be focusing on upkeep and the little things that mean a lot in terms of presenting ourselves to those visiting.

It has been great to see our young people back from college, but I must confess several have really grown up and matured. It does a heart good. I hope they will take the opportunity to do a Habitat build during Spring Break. My daughters found these opportunities to be a wonderful annual experience.

We will be organizing confirmation training this winter. Please let me know if you want to be confirmed or received and we will send you off with some reading material. I do plan to have classes on what it means to be a Christian in the Anglican tradition. Confirmation is for both young people and for adults so consider the possibility and talk with me about it.

The first Saturday in January, I began a monthly men’s breakfast which started at 7:30 am. It was attended by 10 of our men, and Mike Doyle brought his father-in-law Bob Larson. Since I can no longer tolerate cigar smoke because of my asthma, I think this will be a good alternative.

Bea Demers has agreed to host the first of our 2010 newcomers meeting in her home. It is slated for January 24th at 3 pm. If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend one of these, please come even if you have been attending St. John’s for a while. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and discuss church-related subjects.

Finally, one of my areas of concentration in this year will be to enrich our spiritual experiences. As someone trained in spiritual direction, I think we can offer some wonderful opportunities for individuals to develop their experience of Christ. Please speak with me so that I can begin to allocate time to this important aspect of our common life together. I plan to offer a Spiritual Gifts Workshop on a Saturday morning soon.

I hope that our year together will be a joyful one of ministry and fellowship, education and mission, and fun!

Faithfully, Fr. Tom