828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

St. John's web presence has moved...

As of Tuesday December 10, 2013; routine blog posts and Church information will be located on our website:

Blog: http://StJohnsEpiscopal-Suffolk.org/blog

Thank you for your support on our blog over the years and we invite you to join us on our website.

Peace and blessings,

Rev. Leslie Ferguson

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Reflection and Sermon for December 8, 2013

Even amidst the drizzle and chill we come together to share in the Advent journey from Pentecost to the celebration of the Nativity. We continue to share worship space with friends new and old – finding and opening space to witness to God’s presence among us in the world and in our families. We heard the choir offer an Advent anthem in response and in honor to our communion feast. We hope and pray that everyone is safe and healthy as the first winter storm blows through the region.

Our Advent journey is one where we search for hope that arises from Jesus' birth in our past and the promise of hope at Jesus' second coming. We are called to find hope not simply by wishful thinking but by reconciling with God and humanity through our repentance and penitential reflection on what separates us from God. We are invited to live a life of hopefulness and share the truth of hopefulness founded on God in Christ. I bid blessings to all in their Advent Journey and in the days to come.

I invite your comments,

Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

St John's e-News for December 8, 2013

Christmas Poinsettias – It is time to place your order for the Christmas poinsettias. The order form is included in the bulletin. The deadline for getting your order in is Dec 15th. Additional order forms will be in the Narthex on the usher’s table.

Annual Parish Meeting – The Annual Meeting will be held Dec. 22 in the Sanctuary immediately following worship and before the greening of the Church. We will discuss the Vestry and elect new members.

Stewardship – As the end of the year approaches your Vestry has been looking at the expected budget for 2014. Pledge cards, as our response to the thanks we have to give for the abundance bestowed on us by God, are forthcoming.
          Please take some time to consider your gift to the Church as we consider how we use those gifts to be God’s missionaries in the world and helping others have changed lives through their relationship with God. A projection of our expenses are available for any who want to see them and that information will be presented at the Annual meeting in January regardless.
          In coming months you will see how we are using the financial offerings you give are making real, tangible changes in people’s lives in Suffolk. I invite you to join us in our mission to tell God’s story of redemption through Jesus Christ in the world and to help us become more effective through your financial pledges.
December 8, 2013, 10:30 am Holy Eucharist Rite II
Lessons for the Second Sunday of Advent
First Lesson:  Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm:  Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Second Lesson:  Romans 15:4-13
Gospel:  Matthew 3:1-12

Lay Participants for December 8, 2013 - 10:30 am service
Eucharistic Minister:  Leone
Lector:  Kevin
Prayers:  Terry
Ushers:  Nick and Tina

Refreshments:  Growth Team

Sermon for Sunday, Dec. 1: http://chirb.it/r6x6nt
Greening of the Church - This will be done on Dec. 22 following the annual meeting. More information to follow.

Philippines Relief – Episcopal Relief and Development is gathering funds to assist recovery efforts in the Philippines. If you would like to give, let the Office/Rector know and we will forward to the Diocesan Office for consolidation.

The Benefits of Membership at St. John’s – You may wonder “what are the benefits of being a member at St. John’s and what does it cost to be a member?” The easier answer is the cost: it costs whatever God puts on your heart in pledge or in offering – no one keeps track of what a member gives. The benefits: intrinsically there are no special bonuses to being a member. However, membership allows people a vote in the governance of the Parish and its mission. If you have any other questions about membership please contact the Rector, one of the Vestry members, or Don in the Parish office.

Advent Supper and Program – The Rector is planning on offering a short, three week program Wednesday evenings during Advent, Dec. 4, 11, and 18. There will be a simple soup supper and discussion beginning at 6:30 and ending at 8:00. We plan on completing a survey of Advent, its meaning, and practice. There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.

Fall Wednesday Book Study – We are studying the book The Practice of Prayer by Margaret Guenther. We will meet this coming Wednesday, December 14 to discuss recap the. All are welcome to attend, even if you have not attended any of the previous days. Fr. Ferguson has a book to borrow if necessary and if you would like to participate please contact Fr. Ferguson or Margaret.

Today’s Psalm – We will sing the portion of the Psalter together using a metrical version of the Psalter from A New Metrical Psalter by Christopher Webber as we sing Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 together. The Psalm will be set to Hymn 72, “Hark! the glad sound!” (Richmond) from the Hymnal 1982. The words and music will be found on a bulletin insert.

Suffolk Night Stay Program – The Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk (CAPS) is preparing to start a winter homeless shelter in the City of Suffolk. It is a distinction that Suffolk is the only City in Tidewater that does not have a homeless program. The vision of the Night Stay Program is to provide overnight lodging, dinner and breakfast for homeless people in Suffolk. CAPS is striving to begin January 1, 2014 and can provide more information about the mechanics of hosting – whether a church is a solo host or a number of churches partner to host for a week. Contact the rector for more information.

Formation ClassesThis week we will discuss Isaiah 11:1-10, “’The Peaceful Kingdom’ and ‘Return of the Remnant of Israel and Judah’” from 9:15-10:15 am in the Parish Hall. Next week’s class will discuss our Old Testament reading Isaiah 35:1-10, “The Return of the Redeemed to Zion.” All are invited to come together in the Parish Hall from 9:15 to 10:15 am.

Thought for the week – Preparation: Advent is a season of waiting, of anticipation, of preparation. We are waiting expectantly for the Lord and preparing ourselves to meet him when he comes. But how exactly do we prepare for the coming of the Lord? The answer suggested by the gospel might surprise us. John [the Baptist] says, “Repent!”
- Br. David Vryhof, SSJE
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
Upcoming Events:
Daily Mon.-Thu.      * Daily Morning Prayer – 9:00 am (Parish House)
Wed. Dec. 4th        * Book Study – 10:00-11:30 am (Parish Hall)
                             * Advent Study – 6:30-8:00 (Parish Hall)
Thu. Dec. 5th         * Choir rehearsal – 7:00-8:30 pm (Choir Room)
Sat. Dec. 7th         * Suffolk Night Stay Training – 8:00 am – 12:00 pm (Main
                             Street United Methodist Church)
Wed. Dec. 11th       * Book Study – 10:00-11:30 am (Parish Hall)
                             * Advent Study – 6:30-8:00 (Parish Hall)
Thu. Dec. 12th        * Choir rehearsal – 7:00-8:30 pm (Choir Room)
Mon. Dec. 17th        * Vestry Meeting – 7:00 – 9:00 pm (Parlor)
Wed. Dec. 18th       * Book Study – 10:00-11:30 am (Parish Hall)
                             * Advent Study – 6:30-8:00 (Parish Hall)
Thu. Dec. 19th        * Choir rehearsal – 7:00-8:30 pm (Choir Room)
Sun. Dec. 22nd        * Parish Annual Meeting – Following worship
                             * Greening of the Church and Soup Luncheon
Tue. Dec. 24th        * Carol Sing – 9:00-9:30 pm
                             * Festive Christmas Candlelight Mass – 9:30-11:00 pm
Sun. Dec. 29th        * A Service of Christmas Lessons and Carols – 10:30 am
Pray for Katherine, our presiding bishop; Holly, our bishop; and Les our priest.

Marianne, Meriwether, Allen, Shirley, Suzanne, Janis, Lon, Barbara, Kathleen and Fergal, Steve, Morse, Rick, Tony, the Terry family, the Arnold family, Bob, Marvin, Kaille, Lillian, Opal, Elvira, Eddie, Pam, Dorothy, David, Howard, the Broom family, and Arthur.

Serving in the Armed Forces and Overseas: Bryan, Elizabeth, Dane, Leon, and Patrick

Deceased: C. J.

Typhoon Haiyan: Pray for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation.

Parish Cycle of Prayer: Alva.
Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: The Rev. Leslie & Kathy Ferguson; The Rev. Peggy Newman.
Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor – The Bishop of Western North Carolina.

Birthdays in December
Marcella 02                 Gary 08
Rev. Les 08                 John 14
Burr 18                        Kevin 19
Jim 19                          Will 28
Susan 30                      Don 30

Anniversaries in December
Bob & Bette 03                       Don & Marcella 17
Shannon & Dotty 20               John & Elizabeth 28
Steven & Susan 30                  Nick & Tina 31

If you are in need of Pastoral Care
Please call Father Ferguson.
Home:  757-484-8409

Contact Minister of Music Roger Peyton

Website: http://StJohnsEpiscopal-Suffolk.org
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St. John’s Episcopal Church, Suffolk VA

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christian Formation for Dec. 8 - Isaiah 11:1-10; The Peaceful Kingdom and the Return of Israel

Dec 8, 2013 – 2 Advent
Isaiah 11:1-10
The Peaceful Kingdom
Return of the Remnant of Israel and Judah
Background: The first 39 chapters of Isaiah are considered a unit, typically referred to as First Isaiah. In this section Isaiah prophesies against the Israelites and lays out God’s complaint against God’s chosen people. Isaiah has devoted much of the first nine chapters to laying out God’s complaint.

Theme: In this passage God promises that he will send someone to save and deliver Israel from their oppression. God’s promise is “a shoot shall come from the stock of Jesse.” The implication of God’s deliverer (messiah in some translations) will not only restore Israel but will make dramatic and world-changing differences.

Questions to Ponder:
* Read Isaiah 11:1-10.
* Briefly describe the political, social, and religious situation in Israel for this passage. To whom do you think the prophet speaking in this passage?
* Who is Jesse and why would “the one who is to come” would rise from the stock of Jesse?
* In Isaiah’s description of the coming savior, it appears that the savior is not of this earth. How would that assumption be critical in the real change that is needed for the Israelites?
* Why might the “messiah” be grafted into the stock of Jesse as opposed simply coming from heaven?
* How is God’s judge different than earthly judges? What standard would be used by humans and what standard does God’s messiah use?
* How might the heavenly judge “[decide] in righteousness” as opposed to what he hears or even sees?
* What do you think the implication of righteousness and faithfulness being the belt around the judge’s waist and loins might be? What image does “wearing righteousness like a belt” bring to mind?
* Describe what the imagery in verses 6 through 8 evokes? What point is the prophet (and God) trying to make certain to Israel? How the point that God is making different from the reality Israel is facing or that they had faced in the past?
* At least in these verses, what seems to be missing with regard to humans and their responsibility or an action that would be required to bring about the change? Why might there be no indication of Israel’s requirements with respect to the Messiah?
* Verse 10 seems to make the Messiah’s action and leadership universal as opposed to solely for the Israelites? Do you think that is the case – is the Messiah’s action for all?
* What is the message of hope we are called to share from this passage?
* What are the challenges for us in our society, like the challenges for Isaiah in his society?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Reflection and Sermon for December 1

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We look forward to a new liturgical year with many new opportunities to share God's word. Today's sermon took a look at what Advent is - a time of preparation and hope in the birth and future return of Christ. Today's message compared the desired state the Church invites us to - one of contemplation and reflection - and what the world presents - a life of chaos and disorder. Our work in Advent is to live in the tension between God's ideal and the world's reality; to help build a bridge between the two; and to celebrate each day as a new beginning and a time to connect with God and our Community.

I invite your comments,


Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44