But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19.14)

Dear people of Saint Johns:
The parish is excited to see the beginning of a new school year. With the coming of the new school year we want to continue to deepen and enrich our children’s lives.  To that end we have updated our curriculum and are starting several new programs.  One that we are thrilled about is our Children’s Prayer Partners.  This is a ministry in which anyone and everyone can become involved.  The idea is a simple but important and meaningful one- we want to our adult parishioners to pray for the children of the parish. More specifically, we would like our adult members the opportunity to ‘adopt’ a child and let the child know they are being prayed for by writing letters encouraging and letting the child know that they are being prayed for (ideally at least once a month). While a simple act, it is one that reaps substantial rewards- and it is awesome and the kids and adults alike will love doing it!  So, we invite you to sign up to ‘adopt’ a child, either by using the sign up sheet on the bulletin board, or electronically here.  Once there are adults for every child, the office will place and adult with a child and give them the name and mailing address of the child.  Once the children and adults are matched, let the prayers, encouragement and letters begin!  Other churches who have done this have seen that is rewarding and consequential and I know we will as well!  So let the prayers begin!
God bless you all!

  • At the mass we will bless the children’s backpacks & give children a backpack medallion
  • Bring a flower from home to adorn the Icon of the Virgin Mary
  • Kid friendly menu

When we remember the Saints of the Church and celebrate their Feast Days, we normally remember them on the day of their ‘Heavenly Birthday’- the day of their mortal death when they passed into eternal light and life.  The feast of Saint Mary illustrates this fact beautifully.  Pious Tradition holds that as Mary’s death grew near, the apostles drew near, coming into her home and gathering around her bed in the same room where they had shared the Last Supper and received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. As she lay dying, it is said that Peter read psalms and scripture to her while the others silently prayed by her side.  After her death she was laid to rest in a tomb in the garden of Gethsemane.  Sometime later, again according to pious tradition, it was discovered (probably when they went to bury another family member) that her tomb was empty.  From this discovery, it was said that she, like Enoch (Gen 5.24 & Heb 11.5), Elijah (II Kings 2.11) and Moses (Mat 17.3) was assumed bodily into heaven.  This, of course is an entirely different matter than the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Christian church does not claim that Mary was resurrected from the dead, but rather that she was taken directly into heaven.

The life and role of Mary has always been an area of interest and debate.  At the council of Ephesus in the year 431, Mary was given the tile ‘Theotokos’ or God bearer and Mother of God and she has been known as such ever since.  She has always been seen as an extremely important figure in our faith and much loved as well.

There are many traditions that accompany the Feast of Saint Mary, some places having huge processions and festivals and parties.  Others are a bit more reserved, only remembering her in the prayer offices of the day.

We at Saint John’s will have a mass in the evening, beginning at 5:30, and following we will gather for a parish dinner. The evening will be ‘child friendly’ with an abbreviated liturgy and foods that kids like.   To honor the beginning of the school year, at the evening mass we will bless their backpacks and offer a blessed backpack medallion. We will also have an icon stand of the Blessed Virgin Mary wherein children and families can bring a flower from home to offer and decorate the Icon of Mary.

It should be a fun evening, a fitting beginning to the school year and a time to pause and give thanks for Saint Mary so please mark your calendars and plan to attend.

Adult Pilgrimage
The Way of Saint James
El Camino de Santiago

Twice in my eight years here at Saint John’s we have taken our EYC group on a walking pilgrimage to Santiago, Spain. Both trips have been extremely rewarding for those involved and will have a lifelong impact on their lives.  There have been several adults who have desired for the parish to offer an adult pilgrimage as well.  So, we are putting feelers out to see who among us might be interested in walking the way of Saint James.  This trip would be a religious pilgrimage, with the pilgrims having intentions and a desire to offer their walk to the glory of God. It is not what I would classify as a vacation as such.  Although we see beautiful things and places, the main focus of the trip is walking to the Cathedral of Saint James… around 20km a day for four or five days.  The time we would look to do this would be the end of May/beginning of June 2017 and would be gone for 10 days. If enough people show an interest, we would meet through the year to discuss the spiritual aspects of the pilgrimage and receive guidance so that the trip would be as meaningful as possible. The cost of the trip this past summer was $2900 per person (airfare + guided trip with most meals included).  You can watch the first youth pilgrimage on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/84339063 to get an idea of what we did, and email me at fr.reich@gmail.com to express interest, and if we have enough folks, we will meet and discuss this further.

Saint John’s Episcopal Church

Children’s Ministry

We are collecting stuffed animals for local paramedics to use to help comfort children involved in traumatic situations. You can participate by bringing new, cuddly stuffed animals (WITH THE TAGS ON THEM) and help us fill our “Teddy Bear Cave.”

Sign up to feed our E.Y.C.

We need your help feeding our E.Y.C. members on Sunday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the parish.  There is a sign up sheet located on the board in the sacristy hallway with dates that are available.  For more information, contact the Parish Office.

Liturgical Workshops at St. John’s
Saint John’s is excited to announce our upcoming Liturgical Workshops. If you have ever wanted to get more involved in the worshiping life of the parish, this is an event that is not to be missed! During the Wednesday evening sessions, we will provide training for those who are new to these ministries while at the same time honing the skills of those who already serve. Take the time to look through our offerings and make plans to attend!

Wednesday evening, August 24th

  • Session I: 6:00pm-7:00pm
    • Junior Acolyte Training (meets in Nave)
      • Junior acolyte training is for children who want to serve as acolytes but are not yet confirmed. In this training, Mrs. Pat Bailey will teach proper behavior and give instruction in bearing torches. This class is designed for new acolytes as well as for those who are already serving. If you have children ready to serve or who are already serving, this is the class to attend!
    • Junior Choir (St. Cecelia) introduction for Parents (Ages Pre K – 3rd Grade- meets in Chapel)
      • We are excited to extend an invitation to children in Kindergarten – 3rd grade to join the St. Cecelia Choir, which will meet each Sunday from 10:00-10:20 a.m. The St. Cecelia Choir singers will learn music fundamentals, explore the music of our liturgical traditions, and prepare for special presentations throughout the year. Plan to join Derrick Meador as we discuss the benefits of participating in a children’s choir for both the parish and your child. Growth and success start here!
    • Usher Training (meets in Parish Hall)
      • Mr. Geof Galaher will lead this workshop that will train new ushers, bring attention to some of the usher responsibilities for those who serve already and hopefully bring all of those whose serve into a more uniform pattern of service.  As our Sunday services evolve and change, it is important that we meet as a group to discuss the changes in the duties and expectations.
  • Session II: 7:00pm-8:00pm
    • Senior Acolyte Training (meets in Nave)
      • This class is designed for youth who have been confirmed and those adults who serve the altar, such as Lay Readers.         Mrs. Pat Baily and Fr. Jeff will lay a foundation for service while honing skills and helping standardize practices.
    • Senior Choir Introduction for Parents (Ages 4th- 6th Grade- meets in Chapel)
      • The St. Gregory Choir, rehearsal time TBA, will provide a strong musical foundation and give our young parishioners an opportunity to serve their parish through musical leadership. During this informative session, we will discuss musical goals and benefits, The St. John’s Children’s Christmas Pageant, and potential touring opportunities with other church choirs. The St. Gregory Choir will be a rewarding experience and provide valuable life skills that will benefit each chorister in their daily life.
    • Usher Training for those not able to be at the 6:00pm session. (meets in Parish Hall)

On Wednesday evening, August 31st

  • Session I: 6:00pm-7:00pm
    • Altar Guild Training part 1 (meets in parish hall)
      • Fr. Jeff Reich will provide an introduction into life and spirituality of serving the Altar Guild.  During the session he will talk about what it means to care for the Altar and items used in worship, as well as give tips and advice on service.  Whether you are thinking about serving on the Altar Guild and wanting to know more, or you are a seasoned veteran, Fr. Jeff’s class will help to make service on the Altar Guild a rewarding and meaningful experience.
    • Lector Training- first offering (meets in Nave)
      • Shelly Garlotte, D.M.A. will take lectors, new and seasoned, through a presentation on how to effectively prepare to read both by understanding more fully what you are reading and tips for preparing the lesson to effectively read.  There will also be a laboratory on diction and effective public speaking.  Her aim will be to coach the lectors to help them have a commanding presence and an effective and captivating delivery.  Her coaching will not only help with public reading in Church, but in your day-to-day life.
    • Adult Choir first offering (meets in Chapel)
      • Do you enjoy singing? Are you willing to share your musical talents with the Parish? You are invited to join Derrick Meador and members of the St. John’s choir for an evening of singing and fellowship. Come learn about life in the choir stalls as we explore anthems, psalms, and hymns for the 2015-2016 choral season. We welcome high school and adult singers of all ages who have a desire to serve our parish in this very important ministry.
  • Session II: 7:00pm-8:00pm
    • Altar Guild Training continued
    • Lector Training- second offering (meets in Church)
    • Adult Choir- Second Offering (meets in Chapel)

                         Fall Youth Events

Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi
(Adults Working With Youth) at Gray Center
September 23-25 – Sr. High DOY Retreat
(Division of Youth) 9th – 12th Grades at Camp Bratten-Green
October 21-23 – Happening #84 Staff Training at All Saints’ Tupelo
October 28-30 – Jr. High DOY Retreat
(Division of Youth) 6th – 8th Grades at Camp Bratten-Green
November 11-13 – Happening #84
10th-12th Grades at All Saints’ Tupelo
Registration forms and more information is available at diomsyouth.org or contact the Diocesan Youth Coordinator, Whitney Robinson, at wrobinson@dioms.org.

Connecting Ministry

We here at Saint John’s love reaching out to others and letting them know that they are loved by God, held in prayer and remembered.  Our Pastoral Care Committee, E.Y.C. and Daughters of the King society would love to write notes of encouragement, send small care packages and simply let others know that they are prayed for and remembered.  If you have a loved one who is shut-in, a college student or in the military, follow this link to fill out the form and let us stay in touch with them!  The form is here:  http://stjohnslaurel.com/?page_id=2037