Blog: We Gather

Big Birthday Bike Ride and Marriage Enrichment Odyssey

By Rand Garrett As I approached a milestone birthday, I knew where and with whom Iwanted to celebrate. My spot would be The Broadmoor Hotel in ColoradoSprings, CO… with Jan. To further celebrate the occasion, I wanted to dosomething else special. Ten years earlier as a post retirement adventure, Ihad bicycled from the west coast to the east coast, so I thought this wouldbe the perfect opportunity to bike from the east coast to the west coast,timed to spend my birthday at The Broadmoor.... Read More
Posted by Evan Hines at Monday, March 6, 2023

Our Neighbors at Elm and Mountain Manor Apartments

By Tom Schroeder Long before downtown living in Roanoke became popular again, St. John’s decided to invest in housing for our neighbors on Elm Avenue. In 1985, St. John’s, along with High Street Baptist Church, formed a corporation, Elm Manor Homes Inc., which purchased the Elm Manor Apartments located on the corner of Elm Avenue and 1st Street, right by the church. The purpose of the purchase was to provide affordable housing for low-income elderly members of the neighborhood th... Read More
at Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Forty Days of Wonder

By the Rev. Marisa Sifontes I have a question for you. I wonder if you might be willing to engage in a spiritual discipline with me for a season. Now, that might sound daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. We adopt disciplines in many areas of our life—some call them habits: brushing your teeth, going to the gym, listening to the same radio station when we’re in the car. Each serves a purpose in our lives. And over time, what begins as something new becomes second nature. Sp... Read More
at Thursday, February 2, 2023

February Workshop at St. John’s

By John and Cathy Shoulders, and Art and Carie Wimberly On February 3 and 4, St. John’s is excited to offer a day-and-a-half workshop on the spiritual tool of the Enneagram.  The certified facilitators, Cathy and John Shoulders (from Roanoke) and Art Wimberly (from Birmingham) will lead you on an exploration of the Enneagram through the lens of the book, The Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram – A Handbook for Harmony and Transformation.  What is the Enneagram?  T... Read More
at Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Women’s Retreat

By Stace Todd Women’s Retreat was formed in 2017, our own Shelley Long talked with some women about her experiences at her previous churches and how it gave women a time to be together and grow faith over a weekend.  This sparked interest which led to creating St. John’s Women’s Retreat. The first three years went very well – a different mixture of women, both from St. John’s as well as friends/family of St. John’s congregation. Although COVID has imp... Read More
at Wednesday, January 4, 2023

To be a part of Women at the Well

By Stace Todd Women at the Well was developed from an idea discussed at the Women’s Retreat in 2018.  A place for women to come together to share a meal and conversation.  To meet other women from St. John’s and the community.  To meet once a month to just be… a person – having roles of mother, daughter, sister, spouse, significant other, all the roles a woman plays in her life, this group offers a time to focus on self and those gathering for conversa... Read More
at Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The Christmas Truce

By Lawrence McConnell, Vestry Member Christians at St. John’s and around the globe look forward again this year to the Christmas season as a time of peace, a joyful occasion for families and friends to celebrate God’s gift to the world in the birth of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.     Perhaps unknown to many in our generation is a remarkable story of how 108 years ago, the peace of one Christmas season came to unite opposing troops just six months into World W... Read More
at Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Hope and Joy of the Incarnation

By The Rev. Eric Long The incarnation of God in Christ is the principal distinguishing characteristic of the Christian faith. The notion that a Holy God would inhabit human skin is alien—even abhorrent—to many faiths.  Yet this is our faith.      It is also our hope: that with the coming of this peasant newborn, God fully entered the human story to write it anew from the inside out. There is much mystery here, making the theology of the incarnation seem more r... Read More
at Tuesday, November 29, 2022

For All the Saints

By The Rev. Marisa Sifontes I’m not sure if I can pinpoint why, but All Saints’ Day ranks pretty high on my list of favorite days on the liturgical calendar. It sits behind Pentecost and Easter Sunday, but perhaps ahead of Epiphany and the Feast of the Transfiguration. Of course, there’s the combination of the lingering sugar high and unbridled joy of Halloween. The day also marks that last turn in the church year as we head towards the season of Advent.     ... Read More
at Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Fine Wines Fall Fun

Fine Wines Fall Fun By Hansford Leake and Donna Repa Fine Wines is a critical component of St. John’s Christian community that seeks to fill a void in the life of the parish for older adult parishioners. Don’t consider yourself a “Fine Wine”? Well, think again! The Fine Wines invites all 50 and above parishioners and “Empty-Nesters” to join our group! We strive to welcome, facilitate fellowship, have fun, and promote a sense of belonging to the Church com... Read More
at Friday, September 30, 2022

Connection: What We Are Made For

By The Rev. David Olson What are you doing?” I ask my daughter as I look at her crawling around underneath our dining room table.  “Looking for a piece of my puzzle that I dropped,” she says.  “I have to find it; every piece matters.” Our dining room table does occasionally have meals eaten at it, but it seems as if most of the time it is used for the puzzles laid out upon it in varying stages of completion. It’s a place where anyone walking by... Read More
at Thursday, September 1, 2022

A Local Pilgrimage

By Forrest Moore and Jane Coulter Re- entry into the world after a period of solitude we are discovering that much of life is beyond our control. What we can control are simple actions such as carving time out of our normal day for a small pilgrimage.  A spiritual journey, especially in a beautiful natural setting, allows for un-cluttered thinking that doesn’t happen in the midst of daily routines.     Consider taking a small pilgrimage to the Mill Mountain Wildflow... Read More
at Wednesday, August 17, 2022

“Sing to the Lord a New Song!”

By Mike Milam, Minister of Music Psalm 96 opens with these well-known and well-loved words. One of my fondest early memories of St. John’s is the first children’s choir rehearsal of the 2000-01 year. Approximately twenty-five elementary-aged children showed up on a Sunday evening, settled in, then stood up and began to sing to the Lord with strong, pure voices. The look on my face must have been one of shocked delight. I responded with an enthusiastic, “Wow!” which wa... Read More
at Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Slowing Down

By The Rev. David Olson David recently walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain with a group of St. John’s pilgrims. He shares some thoughts from a day on the trail. I take a step, then another one, then another. I’ve developed a rhythm to my walking that feels very familiar and comforting. The rhythm wasn’t always there. When I started this walking pilgrimage a few days ago, it wasn’t there. Starting out, I felt anxious. I was anxious to run, or hurry and push ahead a... Read More
at Saturday, July 2, 2022

A Time for Renewal

The Rev. Eric Long With gratitude to the people of St. John’s, I start my sabbatical this summer. My last priestly act for a while is officiating a wedding for Tray Light and Chesley Fobare the first weekend of June. After that, I will help my step-father rebuild our back deck (pray for us!) and then welcome family and friends for my daughter Abigail’s graduation from high school. On June 10, I fly to Dublin, where I join a pilgrimage in Ireland put together by my predecessor, ... Read More
at Monday, June 6, 2022

Stepping into History: The Camino de Santiago

By Christine Mortlock, Minister for Children, Families, and Lifelong Formation St. Francis of Assisi did it in 1214. Andrew McCarthy, who starred in movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink, did it in the early 2000s. And in the spring of 2022, eleven people from (or friends of) St. John’s did it too. We walked the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, in Spain. This May, our St. John’s group hiked the northwestern Spanish provinces of Leon and Galicia. Scall... Read More
at Thursday, June 2, 2022

Girls on the Run

This spring twenty girls at Crystal Spring Elementary School participated in Girls on the Run. Three of those girls were St. John’s girls—Abby Scaggs, Ada Emerson, and Virginia Bass. Christine Mortlock, Minister for Children, Families, and Lifelong Formation, and Carley Emerson, St. John’s member and Sunday School teacher, were two of the coaches. If you have a child who is interested in participating next fall, please be in touch with Carley at carley.emerson@girlsontherun.... Read More
at Thursday, May 19, 2022

Black in Appalachia

By Jenni Faires, Canon for Evangelism and Youth Ministry,  The Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of journeying with a group of diocesan youth, five of whom were from St. John’s, on the Black in Appalachia Youth Pilgrimage.  Our journey began on Friday night when we were visited, via Zoom, by the pre-eminent historian of black history in Appalachia. A native of Harlan, Kentucky, Dr. Turner has devoted much of his life to the stud... Read More
at Thursday, May 5, 2022

Easter People in a Good Friday World

By the Rev. David Olson As I drop my head, my eyes squeeze shut.  I hold them closed for a good amount of time, not ready to open them back up.  Eventually I know I must and so slowly I raise my head and open my eyes…but the picture is still there.  It’s of a pregnant Ukrainian woman on a stretcher. She is being rushed to get help after Russian forces bombed the maternity hospital where she was to give birth. Later I learned it was too late. She died, along with t... Read More
at Saturday, April 2, 2022

Making Time

By the Rev. Eric Long This summer I will do something I haven’t done in 23 years of ordained ministry. I am going on a sabbatical. While Episcopal clergy are generally afforded sabbaticals every 5-7 years, I have consistently found a reason why I could not take one. Whether it was starting a new church, leaving one parish for a new call (St. John’s), or a particularly busy or transitional season in my congregations, some issue, or maybe excuse, has convinced me I couldn’t ... Read More
at Thursday, March 3, 2022

St. John’s Literacy Ministry Team

By Kate Ericsson   On August 15, 2021, as the Afghan capital fell in a matter of hours, the world watched in disbelief. The evacuation operations were one of the largest airlifts in history. Between August 14 and 25, the US evacuated about 82,300 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport. The tragic images from Kabul brought the plight of refugees to our forefront and compelled us to take action. Last September, Christine Mortlock, Minister for Children, Families, and Lifelong For... Read More
at Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Listening for a Call

By the Rev. Marisa Sifontes Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 Six years ago this month, my Sending Parish, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, convened a Parish Discernment Committee for the purpose of exploring whether I was called to become a Deacon. At that very first meeting, someone announced that they didn’t see me as a Deacon, but they saw me as a Priest. The comment took me by sur... Read More
at Thursday, February 3, 2022

A New Normal

By the Rev. David Olson As much as I enjoy big events and occasions, the truth is I always look forward to things going back to normal once they are over. Even after Christmas, which is a wonderful time of year, once the presents are opened and the traditions have been meticulously enacted, I’m ready to drag the tree out the door and box everything up and put it all away.  Big events and special occasions are fun, but there is something comforting and relaxing too about just going... Read More
at Monday, January 3, 2022

The Gospel of Luke

By Christine Mortlock, Minister for Lifelong Formation With so much available for us to read, from John Grisham’s latest courtroom drama to Louise Penny’s newest Inspector Gamache mystery, why, pray tell, read the Gospel of Luke? The answer—for a multitude of reasons! One, we are going to be hearing a lot from our clergy from the Gospel of Luke this year. A lot. Many of you know this, some of you don’t know it yet, but we’re in year C (the Luke year) of our thre... Read More
at Saturday, January 1, 2022

A Thank You to All Those Who Made Canterbury Books and Gifts Possible

On December 8, 2013, Canterbury Books & Gifts held their grand opening at St. John’s. Items like personalized prayer books, holiday ware, and confirmation and baptism gifts were for sale. All profits benefited St. John’s Outreach Ministries. Over the last eight years, a host of volunteers and store managers have contributed their time, talents, and energy to a store where customers could find anything from a tumbler with the Episcopal shield on it, to a book by theologian Walt... Read More
at Monday, November 29, 2021