Deans' Note January 30, 2022

Last Sunday we heard a reading from the Book of Nehemiah read in the liturgy. Nehemiah and Ezra were two leaders who helped the Jewish community rebuild and reform after the trauma of the Babylonian Exile. The walls of the city were being rebuilt, the people were finally starting to restore their lives. They needed to be re-formed as God's people in this new situation so they listened to Ezra read the Torah, the law of Moses. They realized that their life of faith needed rebuilding as much as their city did.

While we have not experienced the trauma of exile, we are emerging again out of the trauma of the pandemic that has consumed so much of our communal life over the past two years. We too need to rebuild our life of faith, to be re-formed as the community of Christ at St. John's.

As we gather this Sunday for our annual meeting, we will discuss our financial life, select our Vestry leaders and hear about the building of our future development project. This is not unlike the people of Israel restoring their city. But we also need to re-form ourselves in the faith through the many opportunities available to us. Maybe this is the year you explore a fresh start to your Christian life by participating in the Basic Christian Formation Program (Learn more), or join our weekly Christian education forums especially in February as we dive into the Gospel of Luke. We have three amazing presenters joining us for three of the weeks of this class. (Learn more) Mother Lyn will be leading a midweek series on spiritual practices and we want to know specifically what you would be interested in exploring, so meet with her Wednesday February 13 at 6:30 pm.

Then there are opportunities to reconnect with outreach ministries. In particular, come help with our food pantry ministry. This year we also hope to have some ways we can help serve our partner elementary school Birdielee V. Bright. These are ways we can love our neighbor.

As you feel comfortable, we believe it's now appropriate to come back to church in person again. Our Covid protocols are still in place including our mask, vaccination, and booster mandates. While digital worship is a wonderful option, being with one another physically provides a dynamic that is not possible to achieve through digital presence. This will especially be true on February 6 when we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation, the anniversary of the dedication of our building, and all who are present will receive blessed candles to take home with them.

In this time of renewal, we encourage you to take steps to learn anew what it means to be the church gathered, and to form and re-form ourselves as Christ's body.