Blog: We Gather

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Disruption and Inspiration

Cara Ellen Modisett, St. John’s communications director for the past two years, has left Roanoke to begin studies at Virginia Theological Seminary as a postulant for priesthood in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia . Here’s a report at the end of her first month of school. I’m on an Amtrak train heading north, back to school after a short Labor Day weekend visit home with family. It feels in some ways as if it’s been years since I left Roanoke at the... Read More
at Monday, September 9, 2019
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Pampas Grass

by Gail Tansill Lambert While driving down Franklin Road across the bridge, I saw pampas grass glowing in the sunshine and swaying in the breeze over the Roanoke River. I couldn’t stop but promised myself I would return with a camera and capture the scene forever. I passed the same spot several times again and again and yet each time I was without my camera.  Frustration grew. I would miss the fleeting glory of these coastal plants.   Finally, on a Sunday outing, I had... Read More
at Wednesday, September 4, 2019
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Fall: A Season for Inspiration

by the Rev. David Olson I can always tell when summer is beginning to wind down because my tomato plants, which I plant fairly early in the year, stop producing tomatoes. Yesterday as I stood looking at their empty branches I couldn’t help but think about how fast summer seemed to go by this year.     But seasons change quickly and with the slow days of summer behind us, it’s time to turn to fall, what is so often for us the busy season. And for good reason.... Read More
at Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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