November 2012


The Saint John's Herald
November 2012 
What Does It Mean to Give?
        Last month I wrote a short reflection on what it means to share. This month, anticipating Stewardship Sunday, I want to reflect on what it means to give. And in many ways, the difference between sharing something and giving something away is so slight as to be hardly worth remarking. In each case, we are relinquishing something to another, at some cost to ourselves. In each case, a part of what we're relinquishing is control. And for some of us-for me, for instance-control is the hardest property to relinquish. Even more valuable to me than my money, my car and my coffee pot (my shrine: my tabernacle: my idol) are my prerogatives. I am usually happy to share anything I have-at least in principal, with certain caveats, under certain conditions, chief of which is that I retain ownership of the object I am sharing.
         This is a perfectly reasonable expectation, it seems to me, and most of the people with whom I share my possessions agreeably honor it. But this perfectly reasonable system of mine begins to break down when the object I am sharing is my time. If I retain control of the time I am spending on another-if, as is my wont, I insist on deciding for myself how the time I share is spent, and to what end--then I am not really sharing my time. In fact, what I end up doing is consuming someone else's time. I am imposing my own agenda, and turning the hour I "share" to my own purposes, because the hour I am "sharing" remains very firmly in my grasp.
You can see that when it comes to the object of time, the difference between sharing something and giving something away completely dissolves. When it comes to any object, the difference between sharing and giving is no more than slight. But the slight difference, for some of us, is enormous. For some of us, the slight difference bulges with the prerogatives we insist on retaining. When I share something, I retain ownership-and appropriately so. When I give something away, I renounce ownership and its every prerogative. I must cut every string attached the object. I must sacrifice even my right to expect gratitude for my gift. I must sacrifice my right to feel resentment if my gift is neglected or abused or otherwise misappropriated
Hence, as poor as I am at sharing my things, I am even worse at giving things away. I like to keep a string attached to the presents I give. I usually keep several strings attached to the presents I give. The poor souls treated to my generosity find themselves entangled in so many attached strings-so many words of unsolicited advice, patronizing suggestions, implicit expectations or conditions--that the present I "give" is practically useless to them. The gift I give is practically a curse to them.
How much easier this would be for those who patiently endure my generosity if I would only learn to part myself from what I give away, instead of retaining control of it. But how much easier this would be for me. How much freer I would be if I surrendered my control, not only of the things I give, but of the things I retain. How much more generous I would be. How richer I would be. How much more like God I would be.
In the end, that is why we are asked to give, and to give cheerfully, with no strings attached. Because that is how God gives. That is how God lives. And we, who are baptized, have been set free to live the life of God in a world desperate to receive what we have been given.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Steve 
4th Annual International Festival and
St. John's Was There! 

St. John's participated in the 4th Annual International Festival, hosted by Troy Little Italy, on Saturday, September 22. The event was held in the outdoor marketplace on Hill Street. The Festival is a celebration of the rich cultural and religious diversity that characterized Troy's South Central neighborhood in the early 1900's. Each organization that participates in the Festival represents one of the ethnic-cultural groups that has called South Central "home." This year, St. John's represented the English. We served tea and British cookies and made new friends 

St. John's Church
Agape Apostolic Church
Of Deliverance
Pantry Dedication
Saturday, November 3
From The Deacons Den
By Deacon Paul 
This is the time of the year that we start to think about Stewardship. What is Stewardship? It is the giving of Time, Talent and Treasure. We often think of the first two, Time and Talent as the easy part. I suppose it could be, but there is one thing that I want you to think about. Here at St. John's we often see much of this going on, which is great. But what do you see? As I look around, I see many of the same people tending to Time and Talent. Fr. Steve, Deacon Sandy and I are very grateful and appreciate immensely those parishioners who are always there to help. Did you ever watch geese flying south for the winter? They always have a leader that takes the flock safely and securely to their destination. Watch them closely. Every so often the leader will drop back and the very last one in the group takes his place. What I propose is that those of us who have enjoyed the leaders sharing of Time and Talent, step up and give them a well-deserved vacation. I had a partner once that always said, if you do something once, it's your job for life. This shouldn't be. So don't be afraid, everybody has some Time and Talent and I look forward to seeing those new smiling faces.
The last part of the equation is always the part that we often have a hard time talking about, Treasure. What is Treasure? Treasure is giving back to God a portion of the blessings you felt God has given you. The Bible refers to this as a tithe or 10 percent of your earnings. When we teach this to children, we sometimes use the illustration of ten apples. Ten apples represents our treasure. Take one away and return it to God. What do you have left? That's right, nine apples to keep for ourselves. When we look at it this way it seems like a very easy thing to do, but in reality we cringe at the thought. The next question that might pop up is, do we tithe gross or net? Marilyn and I tithe what I take home at the end of the week. This is a personal decision that everyone needs to make on their own, and I'm sure if I'm wrong, God will forgive us. Many of us will say. I couldn't possibly do this. Let me tell you our journey. We started giving a very small amount and over the years we built up to 10 percent and it has become part of our lives. We did not do this overnight. Everyone has to make their own personal decision. I only ask for you to give what you feel God has given you! God bless and see you in Church.

 The Thrift Shop now has been very busy this fall. Already most of our winter clothing in the big room is depleted, so if you want to clean out your closets now is a good time. We are preparing for our Christmas room which will have its opening on Dec. 1st. We always have a big turnout and our customers are waiting in anticipation. All our items are new to us this year. Thank you all for your donations and to all the volunteers. 

Sue Palmer
News from the St.  John's Vestry
If you would like to keep up to date with parish news please read the minutes from our vestry meetings.   
For two weeks beginning Monday evening, November 19 and ending Sunday night, December 2, St. John's will again be hosting the Joseph's House Shelter Overflow Program. Each night from 9:30 PM to 7:30 AM
we will welcome up to ten men as our overnight guests.
In order to make our guests feel at home we would like to be able to offer them some "home" comforts. Gifts of homemade "goodies" are always appreciated... soup, chili, sub sandwiches, baked goods, fresh fruit, etc. are welcomed. These are especially appreciated since many of our guests come straight from late hour jobs. These fellows also enjoy "take with" foods such as granola bars, packaged nuts, crackers, etc. And as we head into the cold months gifts of socks, hats and gloves are always gratefully accepted.
Other needs include quilts, blankets, sheets (especially twin size), pillowcases, towels and washcloths.
Monetary donations are welcomed...we will do the shopping.
If you would like to contribute something please contact Carol Daniel...
283-4836     229-8664
All gifts are welcomed, but we especially appreciate these items:
                           Toilet Paper                           Toothpaste/Soap
                           Coffee/teabags                      Soup/crackers
                           Peanut Butter/Jelly                Small juices
                           Cereal                                    Pancake Mix/Syrup
                           Canned Tuna                         Canned Chicken
                           Mayonnaise                           Salad Oil
                           Pasta/Pasta Sauce               Rice Mixes/Pasta/Mixes
                           "Ready to Eat" Meals             Canned Fruit/Canned Vegetables
Price Chopper Gift Cards
Cash Donations
(checks payable to St. John's Food Pantry)
DOK Logo
  Next Meeting:  Monday, November 5th 
6:00 p.m. 
The Thompson Room 
 bread ministry
Join us on Saturday morning...
come share a cup of coffee, you just might be surprised!
You might even meet an angel.
Saturday Mornings
9:00 AM to 12:00 noon
Father Steve's Community Bible Study at 10:00AM
EXCEL News!  
Excel is Youth for Christ's annual conference for high school students and their adult leaders. Excel combines praise and worship, prayer, drama, comedy and music with strong biblical teaching to bring you to a life-changing encounter with God. It's held at the Saratoga Springs City Center and the Saratoga Hilton Hotel Fri night thru Sunday evening, January 18-20. It is an exhilarating event led by gifted artists and speakers. I invite you to ask any of our J.A.M. alumni about their experience. For more information and to see exciting video go to
and click on Excel. Any questions/ concerns- please see Katie.
Nancy Lyon's new office hours are as follows:
Monday through Friday 8 am to 12 noon
It's not just for toast. toast
It's not just for musicians. music
It's not just about traffic.
Jesus and Me.
It's about a relationship.
 J.A.M. will meet Wednesday October 10th and October 24th 6-7:30.!  
Morning Prayer and Healing Prayer
Wednesdays  at 7:30 am
in the Thompson Room
Join us in the Thompson Room every Wednesday morning for a most unique service to pray, share, learn and laugh.  The service is led by Deacon Sandy and includes Eucharist and Healing.   A light breakfast is also enjoyed. The menu is provided on a rotating basis by the members of the group. 
Please Join us.
It will start you day in a most uplifting way!

The St. Nicholas Fair needs you!
Save the Date:
Saturday, December 8, 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Here are just a few ways to help:
*    Fill GIFT BASKETS for the Fair - available in the Thompson Room
*    Co-chair BAKE SHOP or other areas-we need you & it's fun!!!
*    HELP across the board on Friday morning and Saturday
*    BAKE / CRAFT items for the fair...DONATE to the Chinese-style Auction
*    Make a RECIPE for the luncheon Café or help serve
*    Work with our kids during the fair-crafting, storytelling
*    Sell lots of RAFFLE TICKETS for our GROCERY GIVE-AWAY
A Special Request to all our St. John's friends:
Please invite friends to our Saturday fair...they will enjoy everything we have prepared in the true spirit of the season...nibbling a sweet by the cozy fire in our tea room...finding just the right gifts from our budget-friendly offerings...enjoying a visit from St. Nicholas-share a little comfort and joy this holiday season!
Volunteers...we need you...many hands make light work.
Raffle Tickets: Jean Carey, Lois Hodkinson
Magi Gift Shop: TBD    
Tea Room & Publicity: Cindy Schmehl 
Gift Baskets: Olivia Prout, Chelsea Dawes
Wreaths & Bows: TBD
St. Nicholas Auction: Lois Hodkinson
Candies & Preserves: Lissa Prout and Martha Leckonby
Fair B