Blog: We Gather

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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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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
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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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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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