Blog: We Gather

Every Single Time

By the Rev. David Olson I couldn’t help but laugh along when I saw the tears of joy rolling down her cheeks. She was laughing so hard. We were at a retreat weekend for students at Elon University and were playing a game called, “Who Would Win?” In the game two people draw a character card and then an event card. They then try and make their point about why their character and not the other would win whatever event was listed, with the rest of the players acting as the... Read More
at Monday, April 12, 2021
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A Resurrected Jesus

To the Families of St. John’s, Greetings to you! I’m Dawn Rundman, the director of resource development at Sparkhouse, a publisher of curricula used in children and youth ministry at St. John’s. I’ve been asked to write about how your families can celebrate the season of Easter. In my role as a resource developer, I’ve been listening to and talking with ministry leaders serving families of children and youth throughout this challenging year. What have I learned... Read More
at Wednesday, April 7, 2021
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A Letter from Katy Gattuso, Inaugural St. John’s Youth Intern and Now Coordinator for Children, Youth and Family Ministries at College Lutheran in Salem, Virginia

St. John’s Youth Internship will continue in Fall 2022 when we welcome Roanoke College student Lauren Roth. Dear St. John’s Episcopal Church, I come to you with immense gratitude for the opportunity to have been your intern. You all have a strong youth ministry team. Christine Mortlock, the Reverend Whitney Burton, and the Reverend David Olson have helped me every step of the way. St. John’s has shown me what a sustainable youth ministry looks like in action. You all... Read More
at Tuesday, February 23, 2021
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Creator Spirit, Come

Art and music inspire our own creativity in a variety of ways. They draw us in and deepen our relationship with each other, with the world around us, and with our Creator. Enjoy these music-inspired photographs submitted by parishioners. Lynne and Harry Kessler in the St. John’s Choir, were inspired by John Rutter’s arrangement of “ For the Beauty of the Earth. ”  This is the eastern view from their backyard in Craig County as the sun sets in the west, creating... Read More
at Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Webinar on Foster Care in the Roanoke Valley

St. John’s youth Channa Levine organized and moderated this webinar to discuss foster care in Roanoke Valley. Channa is a Girl Scout who organized this webinar as part of her Silver Award. The webinar features guest panelists Ben Jones, Amber Tiller, and Stephanie and Dustin Wimbish. Ben and Amber are from the Roanoke County DSS and Stephanie and Dustin are foster parents of eight. Thank you, Channa, for your work advocating for foster children in Roanoke Valley! ... Read More
at Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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God of Wonder

By The Rev. Whitney Burton-Smith "O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”    The collect for the Feast of Epiphany from the Book of Common Prayer ushers us out of the twelve days of Christmas and into the season... Read More
at Wednesday, January 6, 2021
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A Brief Introduction to the Gospel of Mark, and An Invitation

By Christine Mortlock Last November 29, on the heels of eating too much turkey and pecan pie, we began the season of Advent, the start of the new church year. This year almost all our gospel readings are from lectionary year B, the Gospel of Mark. In other years we read from lectionary year A, the Gospel of Matthew, or lectionary year C, the Gospel of Luke. Stories from the Gospel of John, a mystical outlier amongst our gospels, are peppered throughout the three years, and Luke rears its... Read More
at Friday, January 1, 2021
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Lament

by Christine Kimel O Lord, we suffer plague Friend and foe alike fall ill And die, untouched by human hands   The dead pile up Few grieve at their graves They go to their rest unsung   The hungry, the oppressed, the victims of violence to body and mind The children, hidden and afraid Their cries rise to You, unheard by human ears   Our hymns are silent No longer do we gather to praise Your name Our priests pray in empty spaces alone... Read More
at Wednesday, August 19, 2020
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Sacred Ground Resources

A number of St. John’s parishioners and others from the community are participating in Sacred Ground, the Episcopal Church’s curriculum on race and faith.  Facilitators from St. John’s have recommended the following resources for those who would like to explore these topics further.  The Starter Kit: Waking Up White by Debbie Irving So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo The Uncomfortable Truth (Amazon Prime) The 1619 Project – New... Read More
at Thursday, July 30, 2020
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House Church

by John Jackson When my grandmother had her 80th birthday in the early 1980s, my family came to Roanoke from our home in Richmond to celebrate. We called my grandmother, Grandma Edie, and she was my last living grandparent. My mom (her eldest daughter) stressed the importance of being present for this special occasion. The weekend was filled with parties, a reception at her assisted living home, and house church. My aunt and my grandmother both attended Christ Lutheran at the time,... Read More
at Monday, May 18, 2020
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Laughter, Lilacs, and Board Games

      by Al Cole On a walk around the neighborhood last weekend, I happened to overhear a conversation between a parent and child, who were also out on a walk. They were playing a story-telling game. The rules were that each could only say one sentence at a time. There was laughter at the silly story, and even more laughter when the rules were altered to only say one word at a time. I was happy to share in their joy, even as I walked out of hearing distance of their... Read More
at Monday, May 11, 2020
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Night Prayer

by Lolly Rosemond “The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end.” It is quiet now.  Trouble, our twelve-year-old hound, has settled down after sending his final message to the dog two blocks over.  The TV is off.  Any news can wait until morning. I pull out my prayer book and open to Compline, then scroll down on Facebook to pick up the night’s offering. “Our help is in the Name of the Lord The maker of heaven and... Read More
at Monday, May 4, 2020
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Journeying through Film

by Alan Perry I always await the start of Journey Groups with great anticipation. There are a couple of reasons for this; I know I will learn, but the best reason is the interaction with the St. John’s community.    This winter and spring, I was in a Journey Group that looked at Jesus and Mary Magdalene in film. I didn’t know much about the topic and I still know only a little. Even so, watching the movies and... Read More
at Friday, April 24, 2020
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Guess that..........Parishioner!

Guess that………Parishioner!  These photos were recently unearthed deep in our church archives. Can you guess the parishioner? Make your guesses and share your memories of St. John’s in the comments portion on Facebook! Make an appointment to visit our remarkable History and Archive Room on the fourth floor to find more photos from church directories, back-issues of the church newsletter dating to the 1920s, photos spanning the 20 th century, memorabilia,... Read More
at Thursday, February 20, 2020
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St. John’s Youth Group: Lots of Fun While Learning about the God Who Loves Us

by Jackson Wills A lot of kids around my age think Youth Group at church is not for them. They’d rather spend their Sunday nights doing something else. Those kids may be missing out on one of the best experiences of our young lives. Each Sunday after the Gathering Service and Sunday Supper, I look forward to spending an hour with friends, learning about God, and unwinding before school the next day. Youth Group also opens doors to opportunities like diocesan events such as Youth... Read More
at Wednesday, February 5, 2020
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Epiphany Dawns

by the Rev. Dr. Jenny Call I first learned about epiphany from childhood cartoons.  Back then, I recognized it as the “a-ha” moment when Tom the cat would have an idea to defeat Jerry the mouse and a lightbulb would appear over Tom’s head. Suddenly he had grasped a solution to his problem…at least for the moment, until his nemesis outwitted him once again.  Growing up as a low church Baptist whose major holy days included only Easter and Christmas, I... Read More
at Thursday, January 23, 2020
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Moving into the New Year—With Gratitude

by Al Cole Gratitude for the Big and Small For a few years running, I made a New Year’s resolution to write something I was thankful for every day on a sticky note and add it to a jar. On the following New Year’s Eve, I read through a year’s worth of accumulated notes with my partner. We laughed and cried as we remembered our year together. The content of the notes ranged from the mundane (a favorite food!) to the extraordinary (a promotion at work!). Whether big or... Read More
at Thursday, January 9, 2020
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A Heavenly Host

by Lucy Burnett Christmas Eve of 2014 was my family’s first Christmas Eve service at St. John’s. I remember staring at the stained-glass windows during the service and drawing my own version of an angel from the stained glass windows (yes, I took some artistic liberties). The next year, I came across my drawing whilst nostalgically flipping through my old artwork and decided to make an updated version with the skills I’d learned over the year. Since then, I’ve made... Read More
at Thursday, January 2, 2020
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A Christmas Reflection

by Phil McNeish Christmas is the day when it all began...again. On Christmas, God’s love for you and me began to be manifested in a way never before imagined. How could it be that God loved us so deeply that he would send his own son to the earth to redeem us? What father could give up his son—even for a short time--so that others could live eternally? It is unthinkable. And yet He did it. The ancient prophet Isaiah recorded the words that God himself put so well: “As the... Read More
at Friday, December 27, 2019
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Exploring Racism and Faith: An Invitation to Walk on Sacred Ground

by M. Todd Null I am not a racist.  I believe that all human beings are created in the image of God and are therefore of equal value.  But I’m also white, male, cisgender, and solidly middle-class.  These identities convey significant unearned privilege within the social, political, and cultural systems in which I live.  Maybe I benefit from racism? I am not a racist.  But I was born in the richest and most powerful nation on the planet.  A nation that... Read More
at Monday, December 16, 2019
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Sunday Supper: So Much More than Food

by Martha Keely I could report the stats of attendance and meal costs associated with our Sunday Suppers. These figures can be obtained from our financial secretary.  These dispassionate metrics do not reflect the many ways God’s grace and love shine during this time. Numbers would not indicate that Sunday Supper at St. John’s is about so much more than food. Sunday Supper is a time when we are enabled to do God's will. It is a time of healing and a time when... Read More
at Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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Q&A: Why Is Worship Important to Me?

Five St. John’s parishioners reflect on the meaning of worship for them. Their reflections continue the theme of the article “Why Worship?” on page 3 in the December Record . As you read this Q&A and the article, perhaps you too will consider the meaning of worship for you.   By Janet Johnson Worship is a two-way conversation between God and me with prayer.    Those conversations include adoration and praise, thanksgiving for the blessings I... Read More
at Wednesday, November 27, 2019
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The Font: The Place from Which We Begin a Life of Love

by Phil McNeish Not long ago, I sang first tenor in the St. John’s choir for the better part of two years. Each Sunday the choir processed into the nave side by side. As we passed through the door coming into the church, we first encountered the baptismal font situated in middle of the center aisle. We moved around it, one line passing to the left, the other line passing to the right. It always called to my mind a rock jutting out of a river with the water flowing around it on either... Read More
at Thursday, November 21, 2019
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St. John’s Children from Fall Faith and Fun Journey Group Create Art for Forthcoming Book "Making Room for Everyone: More Stories for Building a Children’s Chapel"

by Bill Gordh I smiled when I saw the art the children of St. John’s journey group created to go with the story “A Night of Peace.” The Scottish story tells of God speaking to the animals about a forthcoming night of peace. God tells the animals that when they see a mighty star in the sky, a star shining down on the little town of Bethlehem, they will feel peace in their hearts and in the world. The images the St. John’s children created—a wolf on a hill, a... Read More
at Thursday, November 7, 2019
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Saints of God: Living the Way of Love

by Pattie Ames, Christian Formation Missioner, Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia One of my favorite hymns is “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.” I sang it almost every day in chapel at the Episcopal Day School I attended. Our rector talked a lot about saints and shared their stories. He also reminded us of the last verse of the hymn which tell us that you can meet saints anywhere. I have met a lot of saints in my day, both in and out of the church. To me, they are... Read More
at Friday, November 1, 2019
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