Grace and peace to my parish family:

Summer has come and gone, people have gone in all sorts of directions, and I pray everyone had safe travels and made wonderful memories.  Summertime at Saint John’s is a mixed blessing- on one hand things slow down and there is time to plan, rebuild and take a breath… on the other hand, we loose touch with each other and the parish family becomes a bit more loosely joined.  With that being said, that makes tonight’s Marymas, Blessing of the Children’s Backpacks, and our parish dinner all the more special.  I hope as many of you as possible will try and attend.  Please take a moment to read the rest of the notes- we have our Liturgical Workshops upcoming and an for the parish ladies, we are trying to get a women’s Bible Study going.  See you all around the parish!

In Jesus

Ladies Bible Study

We are excited to announce that a Ladies Bible Study is forming and will begin Thursday September, 10th at 1:00pm.  Ladies are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch.  We will be using the book: Living a Life of Balance”.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Catharine Reich to make sure we will have a book for you.

Liturgical Workshops!

Wednesday, August 19th


Wednesday August 26th

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 19th

  • 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)

Wednesday evening, August 26th

  • 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.

“Choral music is not one of life’s frills. It’s something that goes to the very heart of our humanity, our sense of community, and our souls. You express, when you sing, your soul in song.” – John Rutter

  • Session II: 7:00pm-8:00pm
    • Altar Guild Training continued
    • Lector Training- second offering (meets in Church)
    • Adult Choir- Second Offering (meets in Chapel)

  • 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.

Upcoming at St. John’s

August 12          Feast of St. Mary Mass & Blessing of Backpacks
                            Followed by Parish Dinner
                            5:30pm Mass; 6:15 Parish Dinner
August 19          Liturgical Workshop
                            6:00 – 7:00 – Session I
                            7:00 – 8:00 – Session II
August 26          Liturgical Workshop
                            6:00 – 7:00 – Session I
                            7:00 – 8:00 – Session II
September 13    Back to Church Sunday
                              Sunday School Kick-Off
September 16    Men’s Nigh Out
                             6:30pm at the Parish

Sign up to feed our E.Y.C.
We need your help to feed 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. 


Imagine a child in a far away land who has never had a picture book or a story book.  With your help, a child can learn to read.  We at St. John’s are participating in the Miles of Pennies fundraiser with Church Periodical Club to help provide children with books.  Did you know:

     16 pennies = 1 foot
5,280 feet = 1 mile
$844.80 pennies = 1 mile

We need your help collecting pennies.  Save your pennies!  Ask your neighbors, parents, grandparents, and co-workers for their pennies.  There is a collection jug in the parish break-room.  Let’s fill it UP!

A Chance To Say Thank You

If you look in your pew rack you will find a blank ‘thank you’ note. You are encouraged to write  to someone- maybe an acolyte who has done a great job… maybe someone who helped with a parish dinner… perhaps someone who said a prayer for you… or someone whose work is behind the scenes and goes unnoticed and unthanked.  When you write your Thank You note- seal it in the provided envelope and put the persons name on the front of the card and then place the card in the offering plate, or on the back table as you leave.  The office will make sure the Thank You is posted in the mail or gets to the person you wanted to thank.

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:

A Tip O’ The Biretta

For the Year Actual Budget Over/Under
Pledges $ 165,237 $ 185,184 $ 19,947
Plate $ 15,876 $  5,925  $ 9,951
Other $ 25,849 $8,722 $ 17,127
Total $ 206,962 $ 199,831 $  7,131
Expenses $ 247,336 $ 240,234 $ 7,102
BUDGET TOTALS $ 40,374 $ 40,403 $     29
O God, our heavenly Father, make the door of this Church wide enough that all who need human love and fellowship and a Fathers care may find it, and narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and uncharitableness.  Here may the tempted find help, and the sorrowing receive comfort.  Here may the careless be awakened to repentance, and the penitent be assured of your mercy.  And here may all your children renew their strength in You, and go on their way rejoicing.  Through Jesus Christ Our Lord.  Amen.
Saint Johns Episcopal Church
541 North 5th Ave./ P.O. Box 1766
Laurel, MS 39441
601.428.7252 Office
601.422.7388 Mobile

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