Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Eve Service 6 PM

Wednesday at 6:00 PM on Christmas Eve
Everyone Is Welcome Here

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Lesson in Carols - December 21


St. John's will celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent with a
special service, Lessons and Carols in our Sanctuary,
at 5 pm. Please join us as together we explore this special season
of the year through songs and reflections on the Christmas Story


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St. John's Holiday Schedule

St. John's Presbyterian Church campus will be closed Thursday, December 25, and Friday, December 26, for the Christmas holiday. The office will also be closed Thursday, January 1, and Friday, January 2, for New Year's. Your church staff wishes you a very enjoyable and healthy holiday season.
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St. John's Sock Trees

Two Christmas trees (one in the Narthex and one outside the church office) are in need of their holiday decorations – socks! Children's socks infant to kindergarten size are needed. St. John's Presbyterian Women will deliver the socks to the House of Tiny Treasures and Small Steps Nurturing Center.
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Welcome Steven Leach

Our own Steven Leach, now a student at Princeton Seminary, will preach on December 28. We welcome him home for Christmas and appreciate him filling the pulpit. Pastor Jon will be away from December 28-31. Pastor Scott Harbison from St. Luke's Presbyterian Church will be on call to provide pastoral care to St. John's members during this time.
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This Week at St. John's

Sunday, December 21 – Christmas Joy Offering, 4th Sunday of Advent
9:00 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship Service4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office
5:00 pm Lessons & Carols, Sanctuary

Monday, December 22
9:45 am “Growing Stronger Together”
5:00 – 8:00 pm Presbyterian Children's Christmas Party, McPhail Hall
6:30 pm “Walking Together”
7:00 - 8:30 pm Venture Scout Crew 688
7:00 pm Bell Choir

Tuesday, December 23
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Scout Troop 688

Wednesday, December 24 Christmas Eve
6:00 pm Christmas Eve Service

Thursday, December 25 Christmas Day

Friday, December 26 Church Offices Closed

Saturday, December 27
8:00 am Women’s Bible Small Group
9:00 am Daisy Troop 21174

Sunday, December 28, Christmas Joy Offering
9:00 am Church School
10:30 am Worship Service
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Join Us As We Celebrate!



December 21 Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lessons in Carols in Sanctuary, 5 pm
Join in the songs of the season and
reflections on the Christmas Story.


December 24 Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve Services, Sanctuary, 6 pm


December 31 New Year’s Eve Celebration
McPhail Hall, 7 - 9:45 pm

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Blood Drive— January 4

A blood donation truly is a "gift of life" that a healthy individual can give to others who are sick or injured. Please come to Building I (8am - 12 Noon) and make a difference!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent - December 14


Please join us as we celebrate
the Advent Season


December 14, Third Sunday of Advent
Nature Center Project, 4 pm
Living Nativity Scene, 5 pm

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Presbyterian Women's Luncheon and Program

All are invited to join us at 9:30 am on Tuesday, December 16, as we celebrate the holiday season with fellowship, food and music. Don't miss this special event! (Reservations not required)
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

St. John's Holiday Schedule

St. John’s Church office will be closed Thursday, November 27, and Friday, November 28, for the Thanksgiving holiday. The staff of St. John’s wishes you a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.
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Jon Burnham to Preach at Community Thanksgiving Service

Rev. Jon Burnham came to Houston in 2007 to serve St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 5020 West Bellfort. A native of Mississippi, Burnham studied at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA. He has served churches in Kennett, MO, and Batesville, MS.

"I always wanted to live in a city," says Rev. Burnham. As a teenager he read the Cross and Switchblade and Run, Baby, Run by Nicky Cruz. When he was four, he dreamed of becoming a missionary to Africa. St. John’s Presbyterian feels right to Rev. Burnham. He values its diversity and the urban setting.

Rev. Burnham will speak at the Community Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 23, at 4 pm. The service will be held at Westbury United Methodist Church, 5200 West Bellfort at Willowbend.

"It is great to come together and meet other people of faith and to worship in different settings. It is both educational and inspirational," he says. "Houston has a lot to be thankful for. I hope our community will turn out for this celebration."

The service is sponsored by the Southwest Houston Ministerial Association. An offering will be taken to benefit Braes Interfaith Ministries.
— Printed from The Word, Newsletter Westbury United Methodist Church

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Advent Celebrations - Mark Your Calendar!


Join us for one Sunday or all four!
Supper will be served each Sunday.

November 30, First Sunday of Advent
Hanging of the Greens Service, 5 pm

Learn why we hang garlands and wreaths and help decorate the Sanctuary for the Advent Season. Advent wreath kits (or replacement candles) will be available. St. John’s Advent Devotions books will be distributed. Children will receive an Advent guide just for them!

December 7, Second Sunday of Advent
Advent Festival in McPhail Hall, 5 pm

The Joy of Advent is thinking about others. We will do a service project for Small StepsNurturing Center and a service project for the Anchor House residents and shut-ins. Children will have a special activity area. Everyone will leave with at least one ornamentfor their tree. The evening will conclude with an Advent devotion time.

December 14, Third Sunday of Advent
Mini-Petting Zoo, 4 pm
Living Nativity Program on West Bellfort, 5 pm

December 21, Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lessons in Carols in Sanctuary, 5 pm

Join in the songs of the season and reflections on the Christmas Story.


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Harvest Sunday - Sunday, November 23

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, St. John's members work with other area churches to fill the BIM (Braes Interfaith Ministries) food pantry for Thanksgiving. Please place your check in the offering plate made out to St. John's with BIM on the memo line. For every dollar you contribute, BIM can buy $27 worth of food from the Houston Food Bank.
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Sunday, November 23, - Harvest Sunday – Bake Sale
9:00 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship in McPhail Hall
11:45 am- Worship Committee to decorate Sanctuary
4:00 pm Community Thanksgiving Service, Westbury United
Methodist Church, 5200 Willowbend Blvd.
4:30 pm Centering Prayer will not meet today.
Everyone is encouraged to attend the Community Thanksgiving Service
5:00 pm Presbyterian Youth Fellowship

Monday, November 24
9:45 am “Growing Stronger Together”
6:30 pm “Walking Together”
7:00 - 8:30 pm Venture Scout Crew 688
7:00 pm Bell Choir
7:30 pm Outreach Evangelism Ministry Meeting

Tuesday, November 25
9:30 am Presbyterian Women's Activity Day
1:30 pm Staff Meeting
6:00- - 9:00 pm Elder training
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Scout Troop 688

Wednesday, November 26
9:45 am “Growing Stronger Together”
6:30 pm St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Chancel Choir Thursday, November 27
9:30 am Community Bible Study
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”

Saturday, November 29
8:00 am Women’s Bible Small Group

Sunday, November 30 – First Sunday of Advent -
9:00 am Church School
10:30 am Worship Service
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office
5:00 pm Hanging of the Greens
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The Epistle for November 18, 2008

Bearing Witness to the Christ in Us
Challenging Us to Be Christ to Others


Dear St. John's family and friends of the church,

My goal in these emails is bear witness to the Christ in YOU and in US at St. John's and to challenge us to BE CHRIST to others. For instance, last Sunday I recognized Christ in you in the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the The Living Gift Market. What a treat to hear the Sudanese Choir sing a soulful hymn, to see the Appalachian deer head sling shot, to see the little toy tin man riding a bicycle from Ten Thousand Villages. And the taste of that soup (I tried every variety and was equally impressed with the quality of each one) was really noteworthy. I sensed the Holy Spirit in that place and I know some of you did as well because I have heard you say so. Thanks to Phyllis and John Freeman and the entire Outreach Ministry Team for going out of their way to make this event a great success.

We will have a special worship service on Harvest Sunday, November 23rd in McPhail Hall at 10:30 am. During the sermon time, you may share a brief testimony about what you are thankful for. Please let me know if advance if you plan to share a brief, 5 minute or less, reflection of what you are thankful for. The Ghanaian congregation will also joyfully worship with us. Be in prayer for this special service.  Also, plan to purchase some delicious cakes and pies from the Presbyterian Women's BAKE SALE. Look for their tables at the back of McPhail. These baked goods are in high demand and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, St. John's members work with other area churches to fill the BIM (Braes Interfaith Ministries) food pantry for Thanksgiving. Please bring non-perishable food items this Sunday and these items will be placed on the alter. You may also put in the offering plate a check made out to St. John's with BIM on the memo line. For every dollar you contribute, BIM can buy $27 worth of food from the Houston Food Bank. What a deal! Let's take advantage of it.

Volunteers are needed at Braes Interfaith Ministries (BIM) in the food pantry area unpacking boxes, filling grocery bags, and stocking shelves. If you can help, give your name to Vivian in the church office or any of the BIM volunteers - Vera Newell, Helen Roby, Georgiana Simmons, Simone Westmoreland, Elaine DeSouza, Dee Dennis to name a few. Men are especially needed for this work.

You are invited to the Community Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 4:00 PM at Westbury United Methodist Church, Willowbend at West Bellfort, next door to St. John's. This annual worship service is sponsored by the Southwest Ministerial Association of Houston and features a 50-voice Braes Interfaith Choir with Cantor Robert Gerber and I will give the message. Free childcare is provided and there is a reception following the service. (See the attached poster for more deatails) Centering prayer will not meet this Sunday so all may attend the Community Thanksgiving Service.

You are cordially invited to a memorial service for Frances Thomas at 10:00 AM this Saturday, November 22, FOLLOWED BY A RECEPTION in McPhail Hall. If anyone has a good short story about Frances, please phone Clayton's nephew, Rev. Ron Thomas, at (909) 260-2245 as he would like to hear personal stories and testimonies to share with the family. If anyone would like to visit Clayton before he moves to California this Sunday, you may visit him at Bayou Manor this week.

I leave you today with my reflection about Frances Thomas. She was a type of butterfly queen. She fluttered and flittered with joy. She and Clayton had a special relationship with St. John's Presbyterian Church. They were family to us and we were family to them. Some of you knew Frances longer than me but I still loved her too. These lyrics from Bob Dylan's song "I'll Remember You" catch the gist of my feelings about Frances.


I'll remember you
At the end of the trail,
I had so much left to do,
I had so little time to fail.

There's some people that
You don't forget,
Even though you've only seen'm
One time or two.

When the roses fade
And I'm in the shade,
I'll remember you.



Peace of Christ to you,
Pastor Jon Burnham


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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let's Pansy

Let's Pansy! This Saturday, November 8, from 8am - 12 noon.

Please email Murray Smith and assign yourself to one of the following teams. Or if you are shy about self-assignment, just let her know you want to help, and she'll find the job for you!

Food preparation - people willing to decide what to prepare and prepare it .
Food service - people who are willing and able to get the food into workers' hands.
Child Care/Safety - people willing to oversee the care of the children of the church who are present on Let's Pansy!
Day Child Entertainment - people willing to prepare and guide safe activities of the children of the church who are present on Let's Pansy! Day
Work Guides - people who are willing to be responsible for a particular area or flower bed - to tell others what needs to be done next.
Worker Bees - people who are willing to do what the Work Guides lead them to do.
Cheerleaders - people who can walk/wheel/amble among us and give us frequent words of encouragement and support

Please respond ASAP so that we can have a fun-filled and productive experience as we begin our Vision Quest! Call Murray at home (713-723-5285) to volunteer.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

BIM food pantry seeks volunteers

Volunteers are needed at Braes Interfaith Ministries (BIM) in the food pantry area unpacking boxes, filling grocery bags, and stocking shelves. If you can help, give your name to Vivian in the church office or any of the BIM volunteers -Vera Newell, Helen Roby, Georgiana Simmons, Simone Westmoreland, Elaine DeSouza, Dee Dennis to name a few. Men are especially needed for this work.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008, Living Nativity Scene

Volunteers and actors are needed to assist with the living nativity scene for this evening's program. We need help with scenery, sound, lighting, costumes, animals, a narrator and actors. If you are interested, please contact Jeanne Leach (713)524-8605.

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Haiti Clothing Drive

St. John's Outreach Ministry is sponsoring a clothing drive for all ages. Please bring your gently used clothing labeled for Haiti to the recycle room in McPhail Hall. 

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Reception and Pounding for Mary Sterner

Sunday, November 9

McPhail Hall, after worship


Welcome Welcome Mary Sterner
Our new Director of Christian Formation


pounding is the southern custom of giving groceries, etc., 
with each participant giving a pound. Today the custom also includes gift cards.


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Braes-Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, November 23, 4:00 pm

This year the service will be at Westbury United Methodist Church (5200 Willowbend Blvd.) and Pastor Jon will preach the sermon. 

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Living Gift Market on Nov 16

Come to the Living Gift Market, Sunday, November 16. Come and shop at our annual  Christmas gift market, in McPhail Hall after worship. Give a gift that keeps on giving. A highlight of this year will be a performance by the Sudanese Choir.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Special Invitation to St. Johns

We are invited to share a dinner of
traditional Turkish quisine at the new


Turquoise Center
9301 Bellfort

Sunday, November 9th
6:00 PM



The members and volunteers of the institute
of Interfaith Dialog (IID) invite us to share
a meal and have conversations together to
advance understanding, friendship, respect,
and harmony between our faiths.

We will have the opportunity to give a presentation
of our Presbyterian fiath and also hear about IDD
and the Islamic tradition in Turkey.

Last fall members of IID brought "Noah's Puding"
to share with us, and their Vice President,
Dr. Aslandogan, spoke about he Islamic dialogs.

RSVP to Phyllis Freeman
by Wednesday, November 4th
713-776-3548
November 4th

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pastor's Epistle from St. John's / October 28, 2008

Dear church family and friends of the church,

We had a great Stewardship Dedication last Sunday with a powerful worship service and a delicious barbecue brunch after worship. Thank you to all who have indicated what you think you will give. We are still looking for pledges and will put the amount received in the weekly bulletin for the next several weeks.

We are having a Blood Drive at St. John's this Sunday from 7:45 AM until 1 PM in the Scout Room in Building 1.

This Sunday is All Saints Day. During communion we will toll a bell for all church members who have died in the past year. All Saints' Day last year was November 4. The members that have died since that date are: Ed Clover, Ruth Davis, Abel DeSouza, Vera Hensley and Evelyn McLean.

This Sunday is CROP WALK Sunday. Youth and all walkers will gather at the church at 1:30 PM for the walk and will be finished about 4:00 PM. There will be no other PYF activities this Sunday. CROP Hunger Walks help to support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially the grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts of partner agencies in some 80 countries. See www.cropwalk.org for more information.

Our Director of Christian Formation, Mary Sterner, will be officially installed into that position during worship on November 9. A reception for her, including a "pounding" for her and her family (husband - Sean & puppy - Magnum) will follow in McPhail Hall. Let's be generous and creative in our "pounding" gifts to Mary. Gift cards are always an easy to buy and fun to receive. The Session has also scheduled a congregational meeting on Sunday, November 9, during worship, to hear a report from the Nominating Committee.

We've been listening to Moses in the past weeks sermons. This Sunday we will consider Deuteronomy 34:1-12. I wonder how the people of Israel were doing at the time of Moses death? Were they energized and ready to claim God's vision and move forward into the Promised Land? Or were they fatigued, worn out from wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, and needing rest and new energy before they could continue to claim the vision? Congregations go through life cycles. I wonder where St. John's is today? Are we ready to move forward with God's vision or are we exhausted and in need of a vacation before we are ready to move forward? I would not be surprised if this congregation needs some rest and rejuvenation considering all the pain and tragedy you had experienced recently. You have fought some hard battles the past several years. But we may now be getting ready to move forward. That is the feeling I got during the recent Vision Brunch. I got the feeling that the congregation is ready to move forward again. I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings about this. You may email me your response or phone me or speak to me next time you see me.

In a sense, timing is everything in God's timeless kingdom. This is expressed in the passage from Ecclesiastes that is often read at funerals:

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with."

There really is a time to mourn. And there does come a time when mourning ends.

"Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended." -Deuternonomy 34:7-8

What time is it for St. John's? Is it time to mourn? Or is it time that the period of mourning ended? Neither answer is right or wrong.

Ponder these questions as you experience the sights and sounds of Halloween this week.

Peace of Christ be with you,
Pastor Jon Burnham
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Shearn Elementary Mission Project Update

Aaron Jacobsen, David Wintersgill
and Marco Pina participated in the Shearn Elementary workday on Sat Oct 18. A larger scale work day is planned for the Spring. St. John's is also planning to participate in a mentoring program at Shearn. Stay tuned for more details.


Dear Gary and all members of Mission Houston,

I will send this properly in paper form but I wanted to tell you and your congregation a couple of things about your work here at ShearnElementary School.

On Monday when I got out of the car I smelled the mulch. The wonderful smell of working with hands, gardening, growing. Everything here feels softer, gentler. Most of our students have relatively hard lives. They live in apartments without yards, plants, and nature. All the greenery you put in has shifted the color of our place, and the "People" you put in are shifting the color also.

The volunteer mentors are giving our kids some connection to other adults who are awesome role models, good citizens, good listeners and people of faith. They see that inner strength, that peace that leads us to reach out. We do that because of God at work in our lives. The volunteer who helps me in the Library, Jean, provides me a chance to breathe by helping check out books and restoring books to their shelves. She is a little bit of the "cool waters" He provides.

One of my favorite quotes is by St. Francis of Assisi. He said "I always preach the Gospel, sometimes I use words." What you do for the least of these is surely a blessing. That work for an hour a week reverberates throughout each school day, each school hour and then…….it goes home. It will begin to work in so many ways and so many lives that the ripples will pass our horizon, certainly.

I thank you for your dedication, your time, for I know it is precious, your love.

Many blessings,
Catherine Nelson, Teacher, Shearn Elementary School


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome New Members

We welcome these new members who joined St. John's on October 19, 2008.


William, Suzana, Yor & Atillio


David


Kevin, Deborah, Kaelan & Gabriel

Samuel & Hamat


Marco & Mary

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Monday, October 20, 2008

“For Everyone” Bible Study Class: The Gospel Of John

Date   Assignment  Facilitator  
 

Sept 28  1:1-18; 19-28   Suzette    
 

Oct 5   1:29-34; 35-42  Bill 

Oct 12   1:43-51; 2:1-12  Fran 

Oct 19   2:13-25; 3:1-13  Suzette      

Oct 26   3:14-21; 22-36  Ann       
 

Nov 2   4:1-15; 16-26   Kathie 

Nov 9   4:27-42; 43-54  Evan      

Nov 16  5:1-9a; 9b-18   Kathie  

Nov 23  5:19-29; 30-38  Suzette   

Nov 30  5:39-47; 6:1-15  Mindi 
 
 

Dec 7   6:16-25; 26-35  Evan  

Dec 14  6:36-46; 47-59  John F 

Dec 21  6:60-71; 7:1-9  Ann 

Dec 28  7:10-18; 19-30  Leonie


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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shearn Elementary Workday – This Saturday, October 18

Volunteers are needed to clean up Shearn Elementary from Hurricane Ike damage.  A larger scale workday is planned for the Spring.  If you can help this Saturday or are interested in learning about future opportunities at Shearn, please contact Marco Pina at 713-283-6051.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blood Drive - Sunday, November 2

YOUR DONATION COUNTS!
HELP SAVE A LIFE!
BLOOD DRIVE

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2
BUILDING ONE
8 AM - 12 NOON

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St. John's Breakfast - Saturday, November 1

St. John’s Breakfast club will meet Saturday, November 1. Bring a couple of friends and your appetite. A delicious breakfast is served at 8 am. Our speaker will be one of the Houston police officers assigned to the Mounted Police Division. We have it on good authority that one of the "equine officers" will make an appearance. Bring carrots!
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Trunk-or-Treat - Sunday, October 26

Join the fun on October 26 from 5 to 7:30 pm in St. John’s parking lot. The activities will include face painting, bobbing for apples, pumpkin toss, cookie decorating and more. Admission is one can of food. Invite your neighbors and friends, there will be fun for all ages! Please come in costume (but no masks!).
Also, we need adults who would like to host a trunk. Call David or Christine Nelson at 281-438-9586 to choose from our list of activities or come up with one of your own.
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Braes Resale and Consignment Store: Grand Opening

Braes Interfaith Ministries is proud to announce the grand opening of their resale store, Braes Interfaith and Consignment Store, located at 10319 S. Post Oak Road. Please stop by and celebrate this special day.
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Presbyterian's Women Program and Luncheon - Tuesday, October 21

Please join us as at 9:30 am on October 21 as we welcome Sister Sara Kay Thompson of Magnificant Houses, Inc., an organization established in 1968 and serves the inner city. Lunch is served after the program. Please come - no reservations required.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Join us at St. Johns - Week of October 12

St. John's Calendar
Sunday, October 12 – Teacher Dedication Day
9:00 am Church School; Inquirer's Class, Pastor's office
10:30 am Worship Service
1:00 pm Christian Formation Ministry Meeting
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office
5:00 pm Presbyterian Youth Fellowship (PYF)

Monday, October 13
9:45 am Growing Stronger Together
6:30 pm Walking Together
7:00 - 8:30 pm Scout Troop 688
7:00 pm Bell Choir

Tuesday, October 14
9:30 am Presbyterian Women's Activity Day
1:30 pm Staff Meeting
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Venture Crew 688
7:30 pm Outreach Ministry Team Meeting
7:30 pm Night Circle

Wednesday, October 15
9:45 am “Growing Stronger Together”
6:30 pm St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Chancel Choir Thursday, October 16
9:30 am Community Bible Study
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Session Meeting

Saturday, October 18
8:00 am Women’s Bible Small GroupSunday, October 19 –
9:00 am Church School; Inquirer's Class, Pastor's Office
10:00 am Called Session Meeting, Room 209
10:30 am Worship Service
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office
5:00 pm Presbyterian Youth Fellowship (PYF)
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Vision 2009 Presentation Brunch - October 12

Mark October 12 on your calendar and plan to come to worship and stay for brunch. Childcare will be available. Come join us in the process of discerning God’s vision for St. John’s Presbyterian Church. God will use this process to produce a common vision for our congregation. Come and share in the excitement. Come help shape the vision. Come and see the Spirit present the vision through us and to us!

We will leave the brunch with a vision that the Session will use to determine our vision budget for 2009. The vision budget will be presented to the congregation in a series of "Minute for Missions" during worship on the Sundays after the Vision Presentation Brunch.
We have prayed and sought God’s will for this stewardship season. "And this is what the Lord has said to us: "And the Lord answered me, and said, ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables.’" (Habakkuk 2:2)

We hope you will participate in the Vision 2009 Brunch on October 12. That is when, calling upon the Christ in each of us, we will write the vision and make it plain upon the tables. The Session will then lead the congregation toward achieving this vision. The October 12 Vision 2009 Brunch will not replace the Stewardship Dedication Barbecue but will be in addition to it.
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Evening Circle - New Date

Please note the change of date!

The October Evening Circle will meet one week later, on October 14.
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Work Day at Shearn Elementary - October 18

Save this date! Calling all painters and all people who care about our neighborhood schools! St. John’s is joining together with other area churches to give a face-lift to Shearn Elementary, a neighborhood school with a significant at-risk population. Our project is to paint a science classroom. More details to follow.
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Trunk-n-Treat - October 26

Join the fun on October 26 from 5 to 7:30 pm in St. John’s parking lot. The activities will include face painting, bobbing for apples, pumpkin toss, cookie decorating and more. Admission is one can of food. Invite your neighbors and friends, there will be fun for all ages! Please come in costume (but no masks!).
Also, we need adults who would like to host a trunk. Call David or Christine Nelson at 281-438-9586 to choose from our list of activities or come up with one of your own.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Braes Resale Shop

Dear friends of Braes Interfaith Ministries,
 
Fantastic news!  The Braes Resale Shop is gettting ready to open and looks terrific.  Display fixtures have been set up, merchandise is being displayed, and people are really excited and anxious to see it opened.  If you haven't visited the shop, please come on over and have a look around.  It located on the corner of West Bellfort and South Post Oak next to the Aaron's Rental.  The address is 10319 South Post Oak.  Ralph Weed, shop manager, and Jeanne Escott, assistant manager, would love to meet you.  
 

The Shop is currently looking for volunteers from your congregation to accept, sort, and display merchandise; man the floors when it opens; and to get it ready to open.  Attached is a volunteer schedule to be placed as a bulletin insert/newsletter/website anywhere that it can be viewed by the congregants.  The shop will notify volunteers where there is a duplication and do its best to make adjustments.
 
Please return this sheet to either Ralph Weed (rlweed@sbcglobal.net) or Paul Brown (paulbrown717@comcast.net).  
 
Thank you for your help.

Eloy E. Montez, LMSW
Executive Director
Braes Interfaith Ministries
713-255-7032

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Congrats to Kruegers

Congratulations to Virginia and Kenneth Krueger on the birth of their first grandchild, Sean William Morton, who was born September 19 to their daughter, Karla, and her husband, Jason, in Houston at Texas Womans Hospital. Virginia reports, "He is beautiful. Of course. They are doing well"

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Outreach Vision 2008

View this powerpoint presentation about how we are reaching out into the world.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Epistle | Sept 9, 2008




The Epistle

Sept 9, 2008






Dear church members and friends of St. John's,

I hope this epistle finds you well. You are in my prayers today. Please keep me in your prayers. If you would like to talk about any of the contents of this letter or anything else that is on your mind, do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone. My church phone is 713  723  6262 and my cell phone is 281  838  5391. I like hearing your feedback. I would enjoy engaging you in a "live" conversation on these matters. If you have the time and interest, please let me hear from you.

Welcome Mary Sterner - our soon to be Director of Christian Formation

Yesterday Jon Yingst stopped by my office to say how excited he was that Mary Sterner will be starting work here as our Director of Christian Formation on September 22. Jon has worked with Mary in the youth ministry of our presbytery and he couldn't say enough good things about her. Michael Leach also worked with her in the presbytery youth ministry and he says Mary was his favorite adult to work with at the presbytery level. Mary is coming to us from First Church in Huntsville, TX, where she has served as full-time Director of Youth Ministries and Campus Ministries for the past 5 years. She has a B.A. degree in Christianity and Spanish from Houston Baptist University. During college she worked as Youth Director at First Presbyterian Church in Sugar Land. She comes highly recommended by the pastor there. She also comes highly recommended by Elder Mary Marcotte, Associate General Presbyter for Discipleship and Leadership Development. Mary will be our full-time Director of Christian Formation. She will work with all ages from infants through older adults. Mary is working toward certification as a Christian educator. Look for more about Mary as we anticipate her arrival here on September 22. Note her name change from Mary Defee to Mary Sterner due to her recent marriage.

Life Stories from St. John's

We all have a story to tell. Through our Storytelling Ministry, we are collecting and sharing stories of St. John's members from all stages of life. Our series began with the remarkable story of Marjorie Knight. We have now added Wilbert Harris. Other life stories will follow, including Felicity Bisase, Rose Muanza, and Léonie Tchoconté. Speak to me or the church office if you would like to share your life story and we will pass the word along to the Outreach Ministry Team who are in charge of this project.

Remember in Prayer

Frances Thomas has four malignant brain tumors. Remember her and Clayton in prayer. They have moved into another apartment at Bayou Manor. Ava Parker has a broken vertebrae and will have surgery on her back. This is not her first time to have back surgery. Keep her and Dale in prayer. Evelyn McLean has been moved to Brighton Gardens. Keep her in prayer.

Sundays in September

Mr. John Pflug from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary will preach this Sunday. John will join several Austin Seminary students who will be preaching in various churches in our presbytery this Sunday as part of an outreach effort by the seminary.

This Sunday afternoon we look forward to hosting guest speaker Mary Marcotte at 4 PM in McPhail Hall. She will give an overview of "Jubilee! Luke's Gospel for the Poor" which is the PW Bible study this year.

The "Moses Still Speaks" sermon series will begin on September 21.

The Inquirer's Class begins this Sunday, Sept 14, in my office at 9 AM. Coffee and donuts will be served. This class is for anyone who wants to learn more about the Presbyterian Church and who is considering joining St. John's.

September 28 is going to be a big day in the life of this congregation!

*September 28 we will have a reception marking the first Sunday of the beginning of the ministry of our new Director of Christian Formation, Mary Sterner. I know you will join me in welcoming her into our church family during the reception in her honor that day.

*September 28 is the worship service during which several new members will join the church.

*September 28 after worship we will celebrate with a Visioning Presentation Brunch that will be well worth your time and participation. We are developing a vision for 2009 and we need your help!


   
Outing Satan

    On their way to get married, a young couple are involved in a fatal car accident. The couple find themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven.
    While waiting, they begin to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven? When St. Peter shows up, they asked him. St. Peter says, "I don't know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out," and he leaves.
    The couple sat and waited for an answer . . . for a couple of months. While they waited, they discussed that IF they were allowed to get married in Heaven, SHOULD they get married, what with the eternal aspect of it all. "What if it doesn't work?" they wondered, "Are we stuck together FOREVER?"
    After yet another month, St. Peter finally returns, looking somewhat bedraggled. "Yes," he informs the couple, "you CAN get married in Heaven."
    "Great!" said the couple, "But we were just wondering, what if things don't work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?"
    St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slams his clipboard onto the ground. 
    "What's wrong?" asked the frightened couple.
    "OH, COME ON!!" St. Peter shouts, "It took me three months to find a pastor up here! Do you have ANY idea how long it'll take me to find a lawyer!
    
   That joke reminds me of the movie The Devil's Advocate starring Al Pacino, whose portrayal of Satan disguised as an attorney is scary.

   Another powerful movie on this subject is Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. This disturbing movie was Stanley Kubrick's last film and is a frightening portrayal of life among the upper crust of the high, high occult elite. This is not a movie for anyone under 21 years and is not for anyone who is feint hearted. The portrayal of the Satanic ritual in this movie is highly accurate since Kubrick was all too familiar with such activities from his own personal life. This movie provides a glimpse behind the curtain into the world of the small but powerful elite who run this world in which we live. They have a different religion than us "common folks" but according to Jesus they are not to be feared. 

    I wonder if many of the so-called "serial killers" we read about in the press are in reality fall guys for active Satanic cults. Plenty of evidence to make this case is provided in the book Programmed to Kill: The Politics of Serial Murder by David McGowan. We need to wake up to the reality of evil in the world if we intend to be mature Christians. 

     Last Sunday's sermon, "Disappearing Act," was a discussion of the reality of Satan and Satanism. Someone remarked to me on the way out the door after the service, "I don't know anyone who doesn't believe in Satan." To which I responded, "I don't many pastors who DO believe in Satan." I sometimes wonder if we mainline pastors have been so trapped in the web of political correctness that we have been marginalized to the point of insignificance. As C.S. Lewis demonstrates in The Screwtape Letters, Satan's best line of defense is to remain undetected. To quote from the review of that book by Patricia Klein on amazon.com:

"The most brilliant feature of The Screwtape Letters may be likening hell to a bureaucracy in which 'everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.' We all understand bureaucracies, be it the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, or one of our own making. So we each understand the temptations that slowly lure us into hell. If you've never read Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a great place to start. And if you know Lewis, but haven't read this, you've missed one of his core writings."

    Here is the text from last Sunday's sermon:


"Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, 
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 
Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, 
it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 
For where two or three are gathered in my name, 
I am there among them."
Matthew 18:18-20


Let us pray:

Loving God, we join in prayer with your Son, Jesus Christ, 

and pray that You will deliver us from evil. 

We bind Satan from working in our city, community, church and our personal lives. 

We thank you that in Jesus' name we are free to love and serve God

in this good world that you have created and which your love maintains. Amen.


May the Peace of Christ that passes all understanding
remain with you both now and always,
Pastor Jon Burnham


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"Life Stories from St. John's" presents Wilbert Harris

We all have a story to tell. Through our Storytelling Ministry, we are collecting and sharing stories of St. John's members from all stages of life. Our series began with the remarkable story of Marjorie Knight. More life stories will follow. Now, we hear from Wilbert Harris.

Wilbert Harris, a veteran of the Korean War, has led a life of strong conviction, shaped by his experience in the military. Wilbert recently joined St. John’s as a member after first attending for several years with his granddaughter Tatiana. Wilbert was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, and came to Houston at the age of four. At the age of 19, he was drafted into the Army and served on the frontlines in Korea. Wilbert grew up expecting to serve in the military, as did all his friends. Military service was a rite of passage into manhood. Wilbert’s days in Korea were spent digging foxholes and his nights were spent sleeping and then guarding his team, listening for the enemy, often in solitary two-hour shifts. After dinner, he wrote letters home by candlelight. Letters from home were the most important thing a soldier could receive – even more important than care packages! Wilbert enjoyed his service and time in Korea, but being on the frontlines and seeing death daily could be difficult. When he returned to the States, no one knew about post-traumatic stress syndrome, and Wilbert, like the other veterans, was expected to get on with his life and not complain. Wilbert grew up in those two years in the Army. He learned how precious life is and vowed not to waste his life. When he was discharged from the Army, Wilbert went to college and graduated in less than three years with a history degree. As a result of his service, Wilbert is also the proud recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.

Listen to Wilbert's story.



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Friday, September 5, 2008

Special Guests on September 21:

Reverend Boateng from Bethel Presbyterian Church will participate in our worship liturgy and the Beth choir will sing the offertory. We look forward to worshiping with these friends in Christ.
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St. John's Schedule

Sunday, September 7 Rally Day
9:00 am Church School
10:30 am Worship Service
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office
5:00 pm PYF Planning Meeting7:00 pm Brownie Troop 21151, Woodbadge Course
Monday, September 8
9:45 am Growing Stronger Together
6:30 pm Walking Together
6:30-8:00 pm Trafton, McPhail Hall7
:00 - 8:30 pm Scout Troop 688
7:00 pm Bell Choir
Tuesday, September 9
9:30 am Presbyterian Women's Activity Day
1:30 pm Staff Meeting
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Venture Crew 688
7:30 pm Outreach Ministry Team Meeting
7:30 pm Book Group
Wednesday, September 10
9:45 am “Growing Stronger Together”
6:00 pm Wonder Team Sandwich Makers
6:30 pm St. John's “Walking Together”
30 pm Chancel Choir
Thursday, September 11
9:30 am Community Bible Study
5:30 pm Girl Scout Troop 21151
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Congregational Life, Property, Support and Worship Ministry Mtgs.
Saturday, September 13
8:00 am Women’s Bible Small Group
8:00 am St. John's BreakfastSunday
September 14 – Beacon deadline
9:00 am Church School; Inquirer's Class, Pastor's Office
10:30 am Worship Service
11:45 am Christian Formation Ministry Meeting
3:30 pm Presbyterian Women's program. McPhail Hall, Speaker Mary Marcotte
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office
5:00 pm Presbyterian Youth Fellowship (PYF)
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

The story of Christ's birth is a subversive story of an upside-down kingdom. It's a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love that is still changing the world to this day. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling that we somehow missed its purpose.

Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again by turning our focus back to the birth of Christ? What could happen to your family if this focus was celebrated in loud, bold and totally unexpected ways? What if you could actually trade your season of stress for a season celebration and unbelievable memories with your friends and family? What if all of this could save a life at the same time? It can.



video


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Fall Christian Education Opportunities— Sunday, September 14

Inquirer’s Class— Pastor’s Office: Pastor Jon Burnham will teach an Inquirer’s Class for three Sunday mornings in his office from 9:00 - 9:45 am on September 14, 21 and 28. Those who take the class may join the church on September 28.

Godly Play, Children’s Church— Building One: Preschool through 1st grade experience Bible lessons taught in a Montessori approach that actively engages their hearts and their minds.

Workshops Rotation Sunday School Class— Room 209: The 1st through the 5th grade class is a state-of-the-art Sunday School class because our teachers have state-of-the-art hearts. Friends are always welcome.

Middle and High School— Room 207 & 210: Join the teaching team of Mary Gaber and David Rainwater (High School) and Murray Smith and Jennifer Durand (Middle School) as they explore the Presbyterian faith.

The Bible Study for Everyone Class — Room 203: The class study will be Tom Wright’s book, John for Everyone. The class is discussion with members sharing as facilitators. Books are available for purchase in the church office. Call Suzette Harrel (713-666-6218) if you have any questions or need more information.

Lectionary Study Class— Room 205: Do you want to understand the Lectionary readings each Sunday? Come explore the passages of the Bible. Facilitated by Elaine DeSouza.
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Rally Day - September 7

St. John’s begins the fall schedule with Rally Day on Sunday, September 7. Please gather in McPhail Hall at 9 am for a continental breakfast and information about the line up of fall educational opportunities for Christian growth. Learning about Christ is a lifelong pursuit. It doesn’t end when we grow up. If we are to love God with our minds as well as our hearts, our souls and our strength, we should keep learning at all ages!
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Focus 2008: October 4— Registration Deadline, September 15

The annual Presbytery Leadership Event will be hosted at Northwoods Presbyterian Church, 3320 FM 1960, in Houston. Nationally known preacher and author, Dr. Tom Long, will be the keynote speaker and will address themes raised in his book Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christian.
Dr. Long will be joined by a distinguished faculty of workshop leaders, including Jack Haberer, editor of Presbyterian Outlook and Joan Gray, past moderator of the PC(USA). Twenty-two workshops will be offered on topics of prayer, worship, theology, practical ministry and more. Breakfast, snacks and lunch are provided.
Brochures with the registration form can be picked up from the coffee table in Building II. The deadline to hand in your registration form to St. John’s office is Monday, September 15. Christian Formation will pay all early registration fees. If you miss the September 15 deadline, mail your registration form with your payment to Focus, 1110 Lovett Boulevard, Houston , TX 77006-3824.
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Special Invitation - Sunday, September 14

St. John’s Congregation is invited to hear Mary Marcotte, Associate General Presbyter, on Sunday, September 14. A light afternoon tea will be served at 3:30 pm and Mary will begin her presentation at 4 pm. She will explore the upcoming Presbyterian Women’s Bible Study, Luke’s Gospel for the Poor.Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to learn about Luke. This special program replaces the Presbyterian Women’s Septembers Association and Circle meetings.
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Looking Ahead

Have you marked these dates in your calendar?

Vision Presentation Brunch (September 28)
Blood Drive (October 5)
Peacemaking Offering (October 5)
Stewardship Sunday (October 26)
Veteran's Day Pot-luck (November 8)
Harvest Sunday (November 23)
Living Gift Market (November 16)

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Newsletter Articles Needed

Please deliver all Beacon articles for the September/ October 2008 issue to stjohns@stjohnspresby.org, Room 208 or the church office. The last chance to be part of this issue is September 14, at 12 Noon.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Marjorie Knight




Marjorie in her SPARS uniform.

Marjorie Knight, a member of St. John’s since 1961, has lived a life filled with adventure and service. At the age of 22, Marjorie took part of her lunch hour one day to visit a recruiting office for the Coast Guard’s Women Reserves (known as SPARS). Wanting an adventure, she signed up, and soon found herself on a five-day train ride to New York City with other recruits. After training in New York and Florida, Marjorie returned to her native California and served her country as a “storekeeper” for SPARS, processing vouchers and attending to other military details. Marjorie learned the important life lesson of learning to get along with others by living in a barracks with 11 other women and one bathroom! With her good humor and infectious laugh, Marjorie has continued to live out her passion for people and for service in her role as a volunteer with the Methodist service corps where she visits 30-35 out-of-town patients each week.









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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Favorite Hymns Sing-Along — Sunday, August 31

Start making your list of your favorite hymns and relive the wonderful memories they bring back! Bring your list to McPhail Hall on the last Sunday in August as St. John’s celebrates Labor Day with the "Favorite Hymns Sing-along" with Mark Swindler, starting at 9:15 am. It has been said that the choice of a favorite hymn isn’t made on the basis of the faith its words express, its theology or even its melody, but it becomes a favorite because of the memories the song evokes in the minds of the singer. Donuts and drinks will be served. All ages are welcome.
*Please note there will be NO scheduled Sunday School classes meeting on August 31.
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Health Opportunities at St. John’s

Let’s do the math. There are 1440 minutes in a day. Experts say we only need to exercise for 30 of those minutes. So why is it so hard to get motivated? Review the list below (I know, you’ve heard these before but they still hold true). Physical activity can:

• Lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
• Reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.
• Relieve stress.
• Strengthen your heart, muscles, and bones.
• Help insulin work better.
• Help with losing, and keeping off, weight.
• Keep your joints flexible.

St. John’s offers a variety of different classes. Over the next three months the classes will include Yoga for people with bad backs, Pilates, balance and aerobic classes.

Monday: 9:45 am: "Yoga for Bad Backs"
6:30 pm "Walking Together"
Tuesday: 6:30 pm "Stay Strong Stay Young"
7:00 pm Exercise video of choice
Wednesday: 9:45 am "Growing Strong Together"
6:30 pm "Walking Together"
Thursday: 6:30 pm "Stay Strong Stay Young"
7:00 pm "Yoga for Bad Backs"
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Holly Hall Book Review— Tuesday, September 30

Did you know that Einstein used both parts of his brain? He was both a scientist and a musician! Learn more about the story of his life and his loves when reviewer Rose-Mary Rumbley discusses Einstein, His Life and His Universe by Walter Isaacson as part of the Holly Hall Book Review Series. The review will be held at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer, at 10:30 am.
It’s not too late to purchase season tickets for the upcoming Holly Hall 2008-2009 Book Review Series. Season tickets are $25 for four book reviews. Proceeds raised from the sale of Book Review Series tickets are used to cover the cost for those residents of Holly Hall who over time may not be able to meet the rising prices. Holly Hall Retirement Community is located at 8304 Knight Road, Houston.
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St. John’s Book Group— Tuesday, September 9

Books are the windows through which the soul looks out.
- Henry Ward Beecher

The short story, "Mr. Green," by Allegra Goodman from Volume 4 of Listening for God will be reviewed. Books are available in the church office. Come and join in the spirited discussion at 7:30 pm.
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St. John's Breakfast— Saturday, September 13

Please make your plans to attend St. John’s first fall breakfast, with the wonderfully scrumptious breakfast being served at 8 am. At 8:30 am our featured guest, a fireman from Firehouse #48 (Chimney Rock Station) will begin his program. If you need a ride, call Linda Dobbin at 281-778-5348 or Thalia Bunnell at 713-723-5215. No reservations are required, and everyone is welcome. (Please note: The September meeting is on the second Saturday of the month.)
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The National Anthem by BrokeN Acapella



Mark DeSouza, Tenor I
Aaron Hyland, Tenor II
Joseph Adair, Baritone
Jacob Mttis, Bass

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Wonder Team Sandwich Makers - Wednesday, August 27

Come to McPhail Hall at 6 pm, August 27, to help make 300 sandwiches which are combined with fruit, juice and chips and then distributed to preschool children for lunch. Volunteer to help feed local Houston children! Come and help make a difference!
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Back Pack Blessing, Sunday, August 24

All children, youth and college students are invited to bring their back packs to church on Sunday, August 24, for a "Blessing of the Back Packs" in the children’s time during worship at 10:30 am in the sanctuary. All students welcome
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Sunday, August 24 Brunch

Welcome to the last brunch of the summer,
All are invited to McPhail Hall for brunch following worship service. Working in the kitchen today is St. John's Outreach Mission Ministry.
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This Week at St. John's

Sunday, August 24 – Scout Award and Back Pack Blessing
9:00 am Church School
-Joann Navratil: Social Issues in Room 203
-“How to Get to Solla Sollew,,”
Dr. Seuss' Parables in Room 205
-Parables of Dr. Seuss in High School Room 207-The New Millennium Church, Room 210
10:30 am Worship Service
11:45 am Brunch by Outreach Mission Ministry
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's OfficeMonday,

Monday, August 25
9:45 am Yoga for Bad Backs, Room 209
6:30 pm St. John's “Walking Together”
7:00 - 8:30 pm Scout Troop 688
7:00 pm Bell Choir
7:30 pm Outreach Evangelism Ministry Meeting

Tuesday, August 26
9:30 am Presbyterian Women's Activity Day
1:30 pm Staff Meeting
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:00 pm Nominating Committee Meeting
7:30 pm Venture Crew 688

Wednesday, August 27
9:45 am “Growing Stronger Together”
6:00 pm Wonder Team Sandwich Makers
6:30 pm St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm No Chancel Choir (Resumes Wednesday, September 3)

Thursday, August 28
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”

Saturday, August 30
8:00 am Women’s Bible Small Group

Sunday, August 31
9:00 am No Church School
9:15 am Hymn sing-along with Mark Swindler followed by donuts, juice
and coffee in McPhail Hall
10:30 am Worship Service
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

August Session Highlights

At their meeting on August 21, your Session:
*Hired Mary Defee as Director of Christian Formation beginning September 15, 2008. More information about Mary will be forthcoming soon.
*Approved a special offering on September 14 for Hurricane Dolly victims in Mission Presbytery. Our Mexico Mission Team will also give a report during that service.
*Approved the following elders to serve as commissioners to stated meetings of New Covenant Presbytery: George Dobbins in August; Marie Kutz in November; and Barbara Brisch in February.
*Began planning for the Vision Presentation Brunch in McPhail Hall on Sunday, September 28, immediately after worship.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

VBS 2008 Film

Here is a recap of our Vacation Bible School. As you can see, we had a good time!


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Development Officer – New Covenant Presbytery

Might God be calling you to use your gifts and experience to make a difference in the lives of children and families? PCHAS is seeking a full-time Development Officer, based in Houston to serve New Covenant Presbytery.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Development Officers are responsible for maximizing philanthropic support from, and promoting awareness of the agency's mission, among individuals, churches and other constituencies.
  • Some non-traditional hours such as evening and weekend hours for making presentations to churches/church groups and visiting with constituents.
  • Travel will be mostly day trips within assigned region with some overnight travel required.

Job Requirements:

  • Must be an organized and motivated self-starter and team player with proven fundraising solicitation skills.
  • Excellent communication/presentation and interpersonal skills needed to build, foster and manage long-term donor relationships.
  • Must have a personal commitment to PCHAS' mission of providing Christ-centered services to children in need and their families.
  • College degree, and 1-3 years relevant fundraising experience, including gift solicitation, is preferred.
  • Preference given to active members of Presbyterian Church(USA) congregations.
  • Must be proficient in MSOffice. Raiser's Edge and/or contact management software experience, and familiarity with the Benevon model of fundraising a plus.

Excellent salary (DOE), comprehensive benefits package and mileage reimbursement provided.

For consideration, please send resume, salary requirements and cover letter to esmith@pchas.org (email with MS Word attachment preferred); mail to PCHAS, 4407 Bee Cave Road, Suite 520, Austin, TX 78746; or fax to 512-476-8468.

Please note our application and screening process for qualified candidates will involve the following as per agency policy and in order to comply with state licensing requirements:

  • phone and in person interviews
  • personality and skills testing
  • drug testing
  • criminal background check
  • credit screening
  • reference checking.

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Blessing of the Back Packs - Sunday, August 24

All children, youth and college students are invited to bring their back packs to church on Sunday, August 24, for a "Blessing of the Back Packs" in the children’s time during worship at 10:30 am in the sanctuary. All students welcome
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God and Church Award -Sunday, August 24

Don’t miss this special recognition honoring Sean Coughlen, Troop 740, Brendan Ehrenstrom, Troop 222, Mitch Sawyer, Troop 740, and BJ Ragan, Troop 1020. These scouts successfully completed the "God and Church" program.
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2008 Advent Devotions Book — Pick Up Your Page On Rally Day, September 7


This year Advent starts on Sunday, November 30 and ends with the lighting of the Christ Candle on Christmas Eve.

St. John’s will celebrate the season with the publication of our annual Advent Devotions Book. The booklet will be 25 pages; each page will contain its own Bible verse. You pick your page and write your reflection. The reflection may be your thoughts about the verse or a Christmas memory that the verse calls to mind. The length is half a letter-size page.

Christian Formation will provide the page and answer all questions about content. Pages will be due no later than Sunday, September 28. Look for Jeanne Leach on Rally Day to pick up your page and answer your questions. Everyone in the congregation will receive a book for their use during the Advent season.

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St. John’s Cookbook

The first 50 copies of St. John’s Cooks have already been snatched-up, but don’t fear, more are on the way. The second printing will be available by the end of August. Thanks to everyone who submitted recipes!
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Ministry to the Port of Houston

It’s not too early to start buying things for the Seafarers’ Christmas boxes. We already have many items for the 30+ boxes Presbyterian Women usually pack and take to the center at Houston’s port. Still needed are 12 pairs of heavy work socks, a few more tooth brushes, and 2 dozen or so large bars of bath soap. Some of the other items needed are:

● Disposable razors
● Deodorant
● Toothpaste
● Lip balm
● Small Kleenex packs
● Nail clippers
● 2009 calendars
● Hard candy

A drop box is available in the recycling center in Fellowship Hall or, if you prefer, Joann Navratil will be happy to do your shopping for you.
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Focus 2008: October 4— Registration Deadline, September 15

The annual Presbytery Leadership Event will be hosted at Northwoods Presbyterian Church, 3320 FM 1960, in Houston. Nationally known preacher and author, Dr. Tom Long, will be the keynote speaker and will address themes raised in his book Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christian.

Dr. Long will be joined by a distinguished faculty of workshop leaders, including Jack Haberer, editor of Presbyterian Outlook and Joan Gray, past moderator of the PC(USA). Twenty-two workshops will be offered on topics of prayer, worship, theology, practical ministry and more. Breakfast, snacks and lunch are provided.

Brochures with the registration form can be picked up from the coffee table in Building II. The deadline to hand in your registration form to St. John’s office is Monday, September 15. Christian Formation will pay all early registration fees. If you miss the September 15 deadline, mail your registration form with your payment to Focus, 1110 Lovett Boulevard, Houston , TX 77006-3824.
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Rally Day - September 7


St. John’s begins the fall schedule with Rally Day on Sunday, September 7. Please gather in McPhail Hall at 9 am for a continental breakfast and information about the line up of fall educational opportunities for Christian growth. Learning about Christ is a lifelong pursuit. It doesn’t end when we grow up. If we are to love God with our minds as well as our hearts, our souls and our strength, we should keep learning at all ages!

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Fall Christian Education Opportunities— Sunday, September 14

Inquirer’s Class— Pastor’s Office
Pastor Jon Burnham will teach an Inquirer’s Class for three Sunday mornings in his office from 9:00 - 9:45 am on September 14, 21 and 28. Those who take the class may join the church on September 28.

Godly Play, Children’s Church— Building One
Preschool through 1st grade experience Bible lessons taught in a Montessori approach that actively engages their hearts and their minds.

Workshops Rotation Sunday School Class— Room 209
The 1st through the 5th grade class is a state-of-the-art Sunday School class because our teachers have state-of-the-art hearts. Friends are always welcome.

Middle and High School— Room 207 & 210
Join the teaching team of Mary Gaber and David Rainwater (High School) and Murray Smith (Middle School) as they explore the Presbyterian faith.

The Bible Study for Everyone Class — Room 203
The class study will be Tom Wright’s book, John for Everyone. The class is discussion with members sharing as facilitators. Books are available for purchase in the church office. Call Suzette Harrel (713-666-6218) if you have any questions or need more information.

Lectionary Study Class— Room 205
Do you want to understand the Lectionary readings each Sunday? Come explore the passages of the Bible. Facilitated by Elaine DeSouza.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hymn Singalong - August 31

Please join Mark Swindler in McPhail Hall at 9:15 am for a hymn singalong, followed by donuts. (Please Note: No Sunday School classes will meet during on this Labor Day weekend. )
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This Week at St. John's

Sunday, August 17 Beacon Deadline
9:00 am Church School
-Joann Navratil: Social Issues in Room 203
-“Oh, the Places you will Go,” Dr. Seuss' Parables in Room 205
-Parables of Dr. Seuss in High School Room 207
10:30 am Worship Service
11:45 am Brunch by Outreach Evangelism Ministry
4:30 pm Centering Prayer, Pastor's Office

Monday, August 18
9:45 am Yoga for Bad Backs, Room 209
6:30 pm St. John's “Walking Together”
7:00 - 8:30 pm Scout Troop 688
7:00 pm Bell Choir

Tuesday, August 19
8:00 am – 2 pm CBS Teacher Training, Scout Room
9:30 am Presbyterian Women's Activity Day
1:30 pm Staff Meeting
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Mission Outreach Ministry Meeting
7:30 pm Venture Crew 688

Wednesday, August 20
9:45 am “Growing Stronger Together”
6:30 pm St. John's “Walking Together”Thursday, August 21
6:30 pm “Stay Strong Stay Young” followed by St. John 's “Walking Together”
7:30 pm Session

Saturday, August 23
8:00 am Women’s Bible Small Group
8:30 am Presbytery Meeting, Grand Lakes Presbyterian Church, Katy

Sunday, August 24 Scout Award and Backpack Blessing
9:00 am Church School
-Joann Navratil: Social Issues in Room 203
-“How to get to Solla Sollew,” Dr. Seuss' Parables in Room 205
- The New Millennium Church in Room 205
-Parables of Dr. Seuss in High School Room 207
10:30 am Worship Service
11:45 am Brunch by Outreach Mission Ministry
4:30 pm Centering Prayer
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St. John's Cookbook

The first 50 copies of 'St. John's Cooks' have already been snatched- up, but don't fear, more are on the way. The second printing will be available by the end of August. Thanks to everyone who submitted recipes!"
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Special Invitation - Sunday, September 14

St. John’s Congregation is invited to hear Mary Marcotte, Associate General Presbyter, on Sunday, September 14. A light afternoon tea will be served at 3:30 pm and Mary will begin her presentation at 4 pm. She will explore the upcoming Presbyterian Women’s Bible Study, Luke’s Gospel for the Poor.

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to learn about Luke. This special program replaces the Presbyterian Women’s Septembers Association and Circle meetings.
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Monday, August 11, 2008

A Special Invitation - September 14


A Special Invitation
St. John’s Presbyterian Women invites YOU
Sunday September 14 at 4 pm*

Guest SpeakerMary MarcotteAssociate General Presbyter
Come learn about the upcoming Presbyterian Women’s Bible Study, Jubilee!
Luke’s Gospel for the Poor

Mary Marcotte will explore Jesus’ message found in Luke:
1."he has anointed me to bringgood news to the poor"….
2. "to proclaim release to the captives"
3. "recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free"

*A light afternoon tea will be served at 3:30 pm.

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Inquirer’s Class— September 14, 21 & 28

Pastor Jon Burnham will teach an Inquirer’s Class for 3 Sunday mornings in his office from 9:00 - 9:45 am on September 14, 21 and 28. Those who take the class may join the church on September 28.
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Focus - Registration Deadline

Focus brochures with the registration from can be picked up from the coffee table in Building II. The deadline to hand in your registration form to St. John's office is Monday, September 15. Christian Formation will pay all early registration fees. If you miss this deadline mail your registration form, with your payment to Carrie Walker at 1110 Lovett Boulevard, Houston, TX 77006-3824.

Focus Event
The annual Presbytery Leadership Event will be hosted at Northwoods Presbyterian Church, 3320 FM 1960, in Houston. Nationally known preacher and author, Dr. Tom Long, will be the keynote speaker and will address themes raised in his book Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christian. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Chandler Seminary teaches us how to bring faith to speech in the everyday occurrences of life – especially when we are not in church. In his words, "Unless you say it, you don’t really believe it." (Link to read, see and hear our Keynoter, visit www.30goodminutes.org)
Dr. Long will be joined by a distinguished faculty of workshop leaders, including Jack Haberer, editor of Presbyterian Outlook and Joan Gray, past moderator of the PC(USA). Workshops are on topics that will nurture your spirit, enliven your faith and motivate you to recommit to ministry.
On-line registration, brochures and interesting resources can be found at www.focushouston.org.
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blessing of the Backpacks

All children, youth and college students are invited to bring their back packs to church on Sunday, August 24, for a "Blessing of the Backbacks" in the children's time during worship at 10:30 AM in the sanctuary. Invite your classmates to visit us at St. John's on August 24 and bring their backpacks for a special back to school blessing.

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Retreat at St. John's with Mary Marcotte

You are all invited to a Christian Formation Ministry Retreat at St. John's with Mary Marcotte from 6-9 PM on Friday, August 8 and 9 AM - 12:30 PM on Saturday, August 9. She will guide us in a process of discernment about the direction of our Christian Formation Ministry on Friday evening and do some training with our leaders in Christian Formation on Saturday morning. Mary is the Associate General Presbyter for Discipleship and Leadership Development for New Covenant Presbytery. Mary serves as an advisor and facilitator for discipleship and leader development through the Congregational Resourcing Team and provides support to the educators of the presbytery through the Committee on Ministry. She promotes inter-congregational connections and supports various specialized group ministries (Youth Connections Council, Presbyterian Women, etc). and supports training opportunities for professional and lay leaders in our presbytery. Mary resources the Commissioned Lay Pastor subcommittee of the Committee on Ministry. Mary is a graduate of Rice University and is a Certified Christian Educator. She is an Elder and member of Pines Presbyterian Church. Mary and her husband have 2 adult children.

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Lafabah Recognizes St. John's

I accepted an award on behalf of our church family on July 26, 2008. The award reads: "La Famille Bamileke de Houston (Lafabah) proudly recognizes Saint John's Presbyterian Church for promoting human growth and development through spiritual enrichment and philanthropic contributions to the people in your community." This award is on display on the coffee table by Vivian's office. Lafabah is the expatriate community of Cameroonians and other Africans from various tribes who celebrated their 20th anniversary in Houston this year. Our own Léonie Tchoconté is a key leader in this group and we other African church members active in the group. It was a great celebration in the ballroom of the Courtyard Mariotte West. There were elaborate fashion shows by the children and youth and traditional tribal dances as well as general information and displays of food and cultural items. The hotel served a good meal as well. Our church has provided spiritual and material support to Lafabah over the years. Most recently we let them use McPhail Hall for a key planning event that led to the organization of a Medical School back in Cameroon. We certainly cherish our special relationship with Lafabah and pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in our midst.
Peace,
Pastor Jon B.

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Inquirer's Class in September

Pastor Jon will teach an Inquirer's Class for 3 Sunday mornings in his office from 9:00 - 9:45 AM on September 14, 21 and 28. Those who take the class may join the church on September 28.

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