Blog: We Gather

The Q&A: Where do you feel a sense of community at St. John’s?

Cayce and Anne Myers “Our daughter’s baptism at St. John’s was a day that was very special for our family. Not only did it mark the beginning of her belonging to the Christian community, but also the community at St. John’s. During the baptism the congregants say ‘We will’ when asked if they will support each baptized child in their lives in Christ. We and our daughter experience that pledge of ‘We will’ each Sunday at St.... Read More
at Monday, August 19, 2019

St. John’s, Shaping and Changing Lives

A reflection on giving back, by Wharton Ramsey Why would someone consider leaving an endowment to our church? After all, we seem to be getting along okay, don’t we? This is how I look at it. We all enjoy our beautiful church, and on a year-in-year-out basis we pay for its expenses, including upkeep, clergy, staff and outreach. However, none of us now living paid for the initial land and buildings, and the costs over the years to hand it down to our present... Read More
at Friday, August 9, 2019

St. John’s, the Building: A Conversation with David Tucker

This interview is the first in a three-part series about our church facility and keeping it sustainable for future generations. | by Carolyn H’Doubler “Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple – open the doors and see all the people.” How many times have we said this little rhyme to our children or grandchildren over the years? It is certainly true at St. John’s that upon opening the doors, we see many, many people, and not just... Read More
at Monday, August 5, 2019

Exuberance, Trust and Unexpected Life Turns

At the 20th anniversary of his diaconal ordination, the Reverend Eric Long looks back over his time with three different communities of faith. Wednesday, June 26 wasn’t just a normal Wednesday for me. It was a day of reflection, and truthfully awe in the winding ways my life has taken. That is because that day marked the 20th anniversary of my ordination as a transitional deacon in The Episcopal Church (Episcopal priests are first ordained deacons and then... Read More
at Thursday, August 1, 2019

Bach on a Thursday Morning

Marta Lemley, a parishioner and choir member at St. John's, also has a long background in church music, serving as organist for St. James Episcopal and Lewisburg United Methodist in Lewisburg, W.Va., All Saints Episcopal in Union, W.Va. and St. Elizabeth's Episcopal in Roanoke, Va. before coming to St. John's. She subbed this past Sunday while associate minister of music/interim minister of music Mike Milam was out of town, and we caught some of her Thursday morning practice on... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Friday, July 19, 2019

The Q&A: What is your favorite parable?

In many issues of The Record , we ask several parishioners a question and publish their answers. In the July Record, the question was about favorite parables. Here are the answers! Margaret Grayson The Romans during the time of Jesus were at the height of their power and glory. They had conquered and made provinces of much of the known world. Judea was a Roman province… one to which no Roman proconsul wanted to be assigned. Judea was too small, too poor, and the Jews refused to... Read More
at Monday, July 8, 2019

Finding Friendships, Strengthening Faith

Jonah Vanke writes about finding inspiration and welcome at Kanuga’s youth events. This past year at Kanuga , one experience that stands out the most to me has been my decision, motivated by a strong reluctance to leave, to wake up at 5:30 on the last morning to spend as much conscious time at Kanuga as possible. I walked to the edge of the lake (conveniently very close to my cabin) and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise, and was surprised to meet a few other friends I’d made during... Read More
at Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Summer in the Mountains, Faith Across Generations

When the Reverend David Olson picked up his children at Camp Lutherock this year, it brought back memories of his own summers there. Lutherock , in the mountains outside Boone, N.C., isn’t a traditional camp. It’s an outdoor adventure camp, which means it mostly just has a few rustic buildings and tents because most of the activities are outside. Everything from backpacking to river rafting to caving to rock climbing. As I drive across the creek and start up the steep... Read More
at Sunday, June 30, 2019

Family Corner: Mealtime Blessings

Al Cole sent this prayer from “my Lutheran aunt and uncle. Said at most family gatherings.” Come Lord Jesus, be our guest. Let this food to us be blessed. Dreama Maxey sent “a mealtime blessing my family used. It was one that my dad, Davis T. Maxey, said.”  Oh heavenly father, make us thankful for these and all our blessings. Pardon our sins and save us, for Christ’s sake. Amen. Did you have a bedtime prayer growing up, or one... Read More
at Saturday, June 29, 2019

St. John's: A Part of Our Lives

A reflection on giving back, by Rand Garrett I never realized how much St John’s really meant to me until several years ago when I took a seven-week bike trip across the country. As I finished up my trip, I entered some of my feelings into the journal I was keeping. I wrote that, in addition to my family, what I missed most about being away for such an extended time was being separated from my church community. Maybe, like most of us, I took for granted that St. John’s will... Read More
at Thursday, June 27, 2019

Reflections: Diocesan Spring Youth Event

On May 3-5, 2019 a number of our youth went to Camp Bethel for diocesan Spring Youth Event (SYE), a diocesan weekend retreat where fifth through eighth graders can explore their faith and God’s love for us with other Episcopalians from all over southwestern Virginia. The event is led by the Youth Mission Team, including a number of St. John’s high school youth. This year’s theme was True Colors, encouraging participants to show who they truly are knowing that God’s... Read More
at Monday, June 24, 2019

Remembering Rachel Held Evans

A reflection by Jenny Fife Rachel Held Evans died on May 4, 2019 at age 37. You’re either grieving this “fearless seeker of truth and servant of Jesus” according to Bishop Curry or you’ve never heard of her. Google her.   I “met” Rachel Held Evans in a journey group last fall, reading her Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again. This spring I joined another journey group, reading Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett

April Retreat: Two Reflections on Friendship

At the end of April, 29 of us gathered by Smith Mountain Lake to eat, drink, laugh, talk and simply be together. The first night, as we selected temporary tattoos to start off our time together, I looked at all of the options on the table and a small infinity sign caught my eye. Within the symbol was the word kindness, written in small cursive letters. After my annual announcement that these last for a week (and to think twice before putting it on your forehead), I chose neverending kindness.... Read More
at Thursday, May 30, 2019

Top 10 Reasons to Join the Summer Choir

10. It's a better place to sing than in the shower. 9. No audition or long-term commitment. 8. You don’t have to worry about what you wear to church. We give you a robe! 7. Walking and singing simultaneously is good coordination training. 6. The view is even better from the chancel. 5. No kneeling required. 4. We throw awesome parties. 3. Meet wonderful, interesting people. 2. Become part of WORSHIP. 1. When you sing, you pray twice. Did you ever think... Read More
at Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Relationship of Prayer

by the Reverend Mary Mackin When I was a child, my family gathered together each morning around the table for breakfast. But before we ate, my mother always read a passage of scripture and prayed. I can’t say I didn’t fidget during that five minutes, but nonetheless we all listened and prayed as well. My mother called this time our “devotions,” and we repeated this activity in the evening before going to bed, with a longer piece of scripture and more prayers. Though... Read More
at Wednesday, May 1, 2019

All Things Come of Thee

A reflection on giving back, by Gates DeHart As a single man endowed with a modicum of wealth and few financial responsibilities or burdens, it has always been my pleasure to pledge at least a tithe of my income to the church each year. As my sister, Betty Stanley, says, "Gates, it's all God's money." I believe this with every fiber of my being, else I could not, in good conscience, say, "All things come of Thee, oh Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee."... Read More
at Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Easter: Coming Home Again

Friends, A few weeks ago in worship we heard the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32). This most famous of Jesus’ stories tells of a son who does the unthinkable – basically wishing his father dead by asking for his premature inheritance, only to waste every bit of it in a foreign land and then be left starving in a pigsty (a shameful fate for a Jewish boy). Finally, at the end of himself, the boy “comes to himself,” and remembers that he has a father and... Read More
at Friday, April 19, 2019

Addiction: Finding Hope, Love, Transformation

Drs. Dave and Cheri Hartman spoke at our Sunday services on March 17, 2019 about addiction and recovery. They each have more than three decades’ experience working with individuals in addiction and recovery including work in private practice and at Carilion and the Bradley Free Clinic. David : “I have the honor to work with a number of these individuals in six groups a week, and through the use of medication-assisted treatment as well as group therapy, we’ve been... Read More
at Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Different Stories, Same Home

A Lenten reflection from the Reverend David Olson I’m sitting in the middle of a long table, and looking around, I see all kinds of different faces looking back at me. They are all men, as this is a meeting of my St. John’s men’s group, but beyond that each face represents a totally unique individual. Each is a different person.  Each has his own path. Each has his own beliefs and ideas about politics, social issues, life. No two are exactly alike, and no two believe... Read More
at Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Listening for the Voice of God

Eloise Chandler, a senior at Roanoke Catholic, gave this sermon for Youth Sunday this year, on March 24. A bush on fire but not burning? God calling a shepherd to save the Israelites, an entire population of people? It makes sense that Moses was confused and frightened by the will of God. Moses was afraid to look at God. Moses stumbled upon God’s mountain by mere circumstance. He did not know God’s plan for him but proceeded to follow God’s instructions. He was afraid... Read More
at Sunday, March 24, 2019

A Prayer for our Muslim Family

As so many are, I have read with sadness of the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. I share this prayer with the recognition that it is an explicitly Christian prayer offered on a day when those suffering are Muslims, victimized by sectarian, tribal hate. But I do so, as a Christian, because the best of our faith is a universal – never tribal – regard for all of humanity, as this prayer attests. We pray and stand together with our Muslim brothers and... Read More
at Friday, March 15, 2019

Ash Wednesday: The Public and the Personal

Ash Wednesday sermon by the Reverend Mary Mackin Today, we begin the season of Lent, a time when we are called to reflection and repentance in order to prepare ourselves to walk with Jesus during the events of Holy Week and Easter. We spend time in self-examination, study and various spiritual practices that will bring us closer to Jesus and to the way of the cross.  Our gospel for today is a section of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus focuses on some of the spiritual... Read More
at Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Conversation Between Priests

The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson, former rector of St. John’s and now dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston , Texas, will be at St. John’s in early April to read from and sign copies of his book, God in the Midst of the City. Barkley, along with the Reverend Eric Long and communications director Cara Ellen Modisett, talked via e mail about ministry, cities, Lent and politics, for the March issue of The Record . You are both priests in larger churches (one a... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Friday, March 1, 2019

St. John's and a Connection to Kenya

by Christine Mortlock, minister to children and families Since November, Eva Mdachi has been visiting her sister Sheila Mdachi, a longtime Roanoke resident and attendee of St. John’s. Eva returns to her home in Nairobi, Kenya, in March. They worship at either the 8 a.m. or 10 a.m. service, while Sheila’s son, Joshua, a first-grader at Roanoke Catholic, participates in St. John’s Sunday School. During her stay, Eva is volunteering her time to help in our children and... Read More
at Wednesday, February 13, 2019

When Pure Love is Present

Closing remarks to St. John’s Episcopal Church, February 10, 2019 David-Charles Campbell, Minister of Music “When pure love is present, who is giving and receiving become so elided that neither is distinguishable from the other” (C. Anne Hallmark, interim rector, 2010) And so it is that pure love, at many levels is present here today. Who would have imagined that when Tom O’Dell (rector, 1994-2000) hired me on a handshake in May of 2000 that today we would be... Read More
at Monday, February 11, 2019

The Epiphany of Epiphany

A reflection by the Reverend Eric Long, first published in the February 2019 edition of The Record The Epiphany of our Lord is an ancient Christian feast which dates from at least 361 A.D. and falls on January 6 every year. With it, we move beyond the twelve days of Christmas into the startling discovery of just exactly what the hubbub surrounding this baby’s birth is about. The Greek meaning of the word Epiphany is “appearance” or “manifestation.” In common... Read More
at Friday, February 1, 2019

Putting Theology into Practice

Christine Mortlock, minister to children  and families, writes about her experience  as a first-year student in Education for Ministry. E very Tuesday evening at six o’clock, a group of people gather in the fourth-floor conference room at St. John’s for Education for Ministry (EfM), a four-year certificate program started at Sewanee in 1975. We share a snack and fellowship; we wrestle with our readings and challenging theological questions. Our literacy... Read More
at Monday, January 14, 2019

Finding Home... Not a Moment Too Soon

An Epiphany reflection by the Reverend Mary Mackin In T. S. Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi,” one of the wise men recalls a journey to a far country that he made in his younger days. “'A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of year for a journey, and such a long journey: the ways deep and the weather sharp, the very dead of winter.’” It was “a hard time,” he says, but they arrived “not a moment too soon.” I... Read More
at Monday, January 14, 2019

Christmas is Coming!

As Advent draws to a close and we approach the celebration of Christ's nativity, be with us for our special services starting this Sunday! Children’s Christmas Pageant Sunday, December 23 at 5 p.m. followed by a hot-chocolate-and-cookies reception hosted by the youth! Christmas Eve ~ Monday, December 24   4 p.m. Family Holy Eucharist, Rite II * 5:40 p.m. Festival Music for Christmas Eve 6 p.m. Festival Holy Eucharist, Rite II * 9:40 p.m. Festival Music... Read More
at Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Youth@Convention, 2019

My first Youth at Council (called Convention since the diocese has changed the name of the annual meeting) was January of 2002. I was in eighth grade and had no idea what to expect. Born and raised in Lynchburg, I was aware of Roanoke and had come down for family reunions in some of my earliest years, but was generally unfamiliar with the city. I never anticipated after my first experience with a diocesan youth event that some 15 years later I would be the minister to youth at the hosting site,... Read More
at Friday, December 7, 2018

Worth the Wait

As we continue our journey through the season of Advent, the Reverend Whitney Burton reflects on the joys that come with anticipating. On a Saturday in July, my boyfriend Steven talked me into going on a work errand with him. I didn’t want to, I had better things to do, but he guilted me into it. So we headed to Lexington for the Hot Air Balloon Festival, to tag along with Steven for work; or so I thought. When we got there, it became clear that we were actually going up in one... Read More
at Thursday, December 6, 2018

Outreach Challenge 2018: Help Us Meet a $20,000 Matching Grant

We’ve nearly reached the end of our 126th year of ministry from our corner of downtown Roanoke. For the last 12 of those years, a generous and anonymous parishioner has promised to match all contributions to the St. John’s outreach fund up to $20,000. So we extend that invitation to you! Whatever you give - $1 to $1,000, and anywhere in between or above – will be doubled. That means your gift has a little more power to change lives here and away. Here’s a look at... Read More
at Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Fine Wines Supports Blood Drives at St. John's

In addition to providing wonderful fellowship for seniors at St. John’s, the Fine Wines are also committed to serving God and our neighbor. Thus, as a group, we will begin a new service project - helping with the bimonthly American Red Cross blood drive held at St. John’s every eight weeks on Wednesdays from 12 noon until 6 p.m. Coordinator Harriet Robison needs people to provide food and to serve as greeters and hosts to the donors. Those who can provide food are asked to make... Read More
at Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Snow Days...

Winter seems to have arrived a little sooner than expected this year, and so we're publishing this reminder of our winter weather policies. If Roanoke City Schools are canceled, our offices will automatically be closed until 10 a.m. Prior to 10:00, we will make the decision whether to open for the remainder of the day, and will send that information out via social media and Constant Contact. As always, stay safe! Good sites for checking closures: The Roanoke Times WSLS Channel... Read More
at Tuesday, December 4, 2018

It's Poinsettia Time!

Remember or honor a loved one with a poinsettia this Christmas! Make your check payable to St. John’s Episcopal Church for $20, and send to the church, attention Lisa Cayse. Order form can be found online at stjohnsroanoke.org under “Upcoming Events” (click on the link here ). Print and mail to PO Box 257, Roanoke VA 24002. Read More
at Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Vestry nominees, 2019

Sunday, December 2 we host our annual meeting, with the Reverend Eric Long's state of the parish address and voting for the 2019 vestry slate (there will also be an opportunity to vote during the 5:00 Gathering service). Please be with us in the parish hall at 9 a.m.! Following is our slate of vestry nominees. Thomas Bass Works in sales and marketing for the oil industry At St. John’s for 13 years; Sunday School teacher, ushering team; board chair for Family Service of... Read More
at Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Legacies of Family

The Reverend David Olson reflects on our saints that have gone before,  our stewardship of what they have left behind and what we leave to the future. Before I left, my grandmother handed me a clear plastic bag, I could see that inside of it was a large amount of tightly folded papers that looked like they were starting to fall apart, the paper flaking away and collecting at the bottom of the bag. “These are for you,” she said. “I think you will appreciate... Read More
at Wednesday, October 31, 2018

St. John’s Outreach is About Joy

This reflection by Gates DeHart is one of a series of videos this stewardship season focusing on the ministries that St. John’s parishioners make possible through their gifts and resources. You can watch these videos on our YouTube channel . For the past 25 years, I have been coordinating a program for homeless families here at St. John’s under the aegis of Family Promise of Greater Roanoke. Every three months, four families comprising of no more than 14 individuals, spend a... Read More
at Friday, October 5, 2018

Becoming Stewards of Life

A reflection from the Reverend Eric Long   "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  –Genesis 2:15   The day before Hurricane Florence hit, a parishioner came into my office, someone who owns property directly in the path of the storm. One would think she would be consumed with worry about her vacation home. Instead, I had to bring it up, after which she waved it off with indifference. Many... Read More
at Monday, October 1, 2018

CYP and T.R.U.E. Receive Grants

The Kiwanis Club of Roanoke has awarded grants totaling more than $2,000 to two of St. John’s ministries. Community Youth Program (CYP) received $1,250 to cover the costs of hosting the Kids’ Farmer’s Market. “We held three farmer’s markets on-site during the 2017-2018 school year,” says CYP executive director Jackie Smith. “Each kid took home 10 pounds of fruits and veggies – they use play money to buy the items from volunteer... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Sunday, September 30, 2018

Perspectives Urban and Personal: New Books with Local Connections

At a time when it seems increasingly difficult to separate the political and the religious and when friends and neighbors are polarized along partisan lines, In the Midst of the City: The Gospel and God’s Politics collects sermons and essays both political and religious by former St. John’s rector Barkley S. Thompson, now dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas. The book, released by Bright Sky Publishing, views politics, patriotism and national concerns through the... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Saturday, September 29, 2018

CYP: Two New Roles, Two Familiar Faces

Community Youth Program (CYP) has undergone some staffing changes as former executive director Kathleen McEvoy heads to graduate school in Georgia. Jackie Smith, previously serving as program coordinator, steps into the role of executive director, and we see a familiar face back with us in the position of program coordinator – Kenny Nguyen, who worked with CYP in 2016-2017 through AmeriCorps. “After his year of service  with CYP as an AmeriCorps volunteer he took a job... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Friday, September 28, 2018

Announcing: Music on the Corner, 2018-2019!

The 2018-2019 season of Music on the Corner has been announced - five concerts between October and May, including guest conductor and composer Dan Locklair for our annual All Saints’ concert on November 2. We’ll precede that concert with an informal talk and Q&A with Locklair, and the Saturday rehearsal on October 27 will be an open rehearsal, a great opportunity for composers, conductors, music teachers and students to experience this work. The season: October 5: Blow It... Read More
at Monday, September 17, 2018

Fall Classes: Practicing Faith in Our World

Every day, I read the news. I scan through six or eight news sites at my desk, wanting to stay informed personally but also wanting to understand what people are experiencing, seeing and hearing. There are so many issues out there, important issues that need to be talked about, but it also seems to have become increasingly difficult for people to do that in civil and patient ways. Events and emotions are supercharged. Conversations are angry and loud and people from all sides of these issues... Read More
at Monday, September 17, 2018

It started with Handel...

A history of Music on the Corner... The vision began with a well-loved choral work, Handel’s  Messiah , in Advent of 2000. In a community of talented musicians, St. John’s Episcopal Church, in downtown Roanoke on the corner of Elm and Jefferson, founded a music series with that legendary oratorio. Nineteen seasons and 91 concerts later, Music on the Corner has deepened the musical fabric of Roanoke. Music on the Corner brings to rich life the music of Brahms, Puccini,... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Seeking Sunday School Teachers!

Are you interested in teaching Sunday School at St. John’s? We are looking for a few new teachers to add to our great roster! The time commitment is low – you teach about once every four to six weeks. This ministry is a wonderful way to share your love of God with our children. Spark House’s Whirl curriculum clearly guides you through the lessons and crafts, and another adult will always be with you in the classroom. If interested, please email Chrissy Mortlock, Minister to Children and... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Sunday, September 2, 2018

Calling All Young Singers!

Calling all kids! The St. John's Music Academy (K-5) and the St. John's Singers (grades 6-12) are getting ready to launch their new year. Do you have children/teens or grandchildren interested in music? Here's more information on both programs – register now for this great year-round program of learning, creativity and singing in worship. The St. John's Music Academy is for children in grades K-5 and meets on Wednesdays afternoons, 4:30-5:45. A valuable part of children's... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Final Report from General Convention 79

St. John's parishioner Billy Kingery was one of our diocesan deputies for The Episcopal Church's 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas this year. He reflected on his nine days there for the August Record : This is my sixth General Convention and each has been different – different challenges, different opportunities. This year our deputation had old and new faces, but still a sense of collegiality, respect and, most of all, the desire to listen to each other and hear what each valued... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Sunday, August 12, 2018

Seeing More when We Slow Down

I'm a trail runner. Which means that when I am able to find the time to run, I like to run on trails – roots, rocks, dirt, hills and all.  The woods are where I find peace and I use running down a trail as a way to clear my mind and exhaust my body. It's how I keep myself sane in the midst of a typically insane schedule. So I'm a trail runner – but not today.  Today I am walking down this trail – slowly walking down this trail, I might add. I can see two of my children out ahead of me... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Sunday, August 12, 2018

August 19: Back to School Donations and Backpack Blessings

The kids who are part of the Community Youth Program and Congregations in Action communities need supplies for back to school – on Sunday morning, August 19, please bring donations – see the list below. Also on that day, we'll be blessing backpacks – kids, bring along yours and you'll receive your very own tag with a prayer on the back of it! August 19 is the day of our parish picnic. Come to the 10:00 for blessing of the backpacks, school donations and to meet our new minister to... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Wednesday, August 8, 2018