This year Vacation Bible School returned with a message of Transformation through Faith, Love, Grace and the Light of Jesus in our lives. Despite the controlled chaos, our kids learned important lessons of Transformation and Redemption from Bible stories ranging from Bartemaeus to Zaccheus. Our krewe of helpers put together thematic snacks, songs, stories, games, science fun, a treasure hunt and crafts to reinforce the theme of each day: becoming fishers of men, being kind to one another, giving thanks and more.
We could not have accomplished all this fun without the help of our many, many volunteers. Our thanks to all who came out one day, or 5 days.
FYI, we’re already working on VBS 2023. Hint: Second line.
Thank you for making our ride on the Redemption Railroad a safe and successful trip to Transformation Station. And, if you see any of these fine folks, give them a hug !
Our Fearless leader Debbie Anglin
The kitchen Krewe Buster Misted Sandy Dowdle Bets Enochs Mellody Jenkins Ida Curtis Diane Bailey
Team Leaders and Helpers Heather Wood Cecily Cummings Hannah Bell Libby Koch Allyson Winter Kerry Hudson Lee Ann Callahan Cheryl Perrette Rachel Hawkins Ally Funderburk
The Music Man and Game Masters Father Patrick Sanders Hill Hawkins and Mason Bell
Rhythm section Scott Andersen
Treasure Hunters Christine and Teddy Harris
The Science Guys and their assistant Michael Mucha and Chip Hawkins Bonnie Andersen
The Crafty Gals Gail Hendrickson, Jane Glenn, Tracy Williams and Addy Knight
Special thanks to Marjorie Hendrickson for our t-shirts and our Vestry for the after party !
FOUR CHURCHES. ONE MISSION.
Thanks to everyone who supported our inaugural fundraiser for the Honduras Medical Mission. The crawfish were not the only thing that was hot ! YES ! Inaugural ! We’ll be doing this again next year.
Thanks to our hosts at St. Mark’s and Father Chefs Patrick Sanders and Chris Robinson.
Tuesday, June 28th the ladies of the parish are invited to The Downtown Bistro on 25th Avenue. Gather about 5 dinner at 6. Contact Maryem Hopkins, Jan Shook or Jane Swett
Men’s Grillin’ Group Tuesday, April 26th in the parish hall. ALL men of the parish are invited. RESERVATIONS are REQUIRED – please contact Mike Cassady at 228-326-6601
CAMP ABLE IS BACK ! After a 2 year hiatus !!! Camp Able Coast at St. Peter’s By-the-Sea is a week-long day camp specifically created to provide a unique experience for persons with diverse-abilities. Learn more: https://www.campable.org/
CAMP ABLE returns ! June 28 – July 1 and Staff Training June 26
Details coming soon. Volunteers needed !
This year’s theme: LIGHTS, CAMERA, CAMP ABLE !
WE NEED VOLUNTEERS ! Contact Father Patrick
ThE WEEK ahead
Wednesday Wave, June 22 12:05 Litany of Healing, ~12:40 Via Media Live Stream
FRIDAY JUNE 24th The Feast day of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
The Collect Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Mark your calendars for our next Music Mass AUGUST 20th, 2022 Fish and Whistle celebrating the Life and Music of John Prine.
Weekly Worship Schedule
12:05 pmLitany of Healing in the Chapel ~12:40 pm Via Media on the Internet
8:00 am Rite I Service 9:30 am Coffee and Adult Sunday School in the Great Room 9:30 am Kids’ Sunday School 10:30 am Rite II Service* In-Person and LIVE Streaming Service* 10:30 am Children’s Church Child Care Available
Support our ECW with the purchase of a St. Peter’s Ornament!
Commissioned in 2009, and the 4th in a series of Downtown Gulfport Landmarks, these cast pewter ornaments are the original work of artist Maurice Milleur. Measuring approximately 2 3/4″ tall. These make great gifts and help support our ECW. Ornaments are $20/each and may be purchased by contacting any ECW member or the church office.
The Feast Day of the Nativity of John the Baptist – June 24, 2022
The Nativity of John the Baptist (or Birth of John the Baptist, or Nativity of the Forerunner, or colloquially Johnmas or St. John’s Day (in German) Johannistag) is a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of John the Baptist. It is observed annually on 24 June. The Nativity of John the Baptist is a high-ranking liturgical feast, kept in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran churches. The sole biblical account of the birth of John the Baptist comes from the Gospel of Luke. Christians have long interpreted the life of John the Baptist as a preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, and the circumstances of his birth, as recorded in the New Testament, are miraculous. John’s pivotal place in the gospel is seen in the emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself, both set in prominent parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus.
The sole biblical account of the birth of John the Baptist comes from the Gospel of Luke. John’s parents, Zechariah or Zachary – a Jewish priest – and Elizabeth, were without children and both were beyond the age of child-bearing. During Zechariah’s rotation to serve in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was chosen by lot to offer incense at the Golden Altar in the Holy Place. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife would give birth to a child, and that they should name him John, a name which was unfamiliar in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s families. Acts 4:6 refers to a “John” (or “Jonathan”, a name combining “John” with “Nathan” such that the “n” at the end of “John” is also used as the first “n” in “Nathan”) among the high priests who challenged the apostles’ preaching after Pentecost, so the name was not unknown within the wider priestly family. However, because Zechariah did not believe the message of Gabriel, he was rendered speechless until the time of John’s birth. At that time, his relatives wanted to name the child after his father, and Zechariah wrote, “His name is John”, whereupon he recovered his ability to speak (Luke 1:5-25; 1:57-66). Following Zechariah’s obedience to the command of God, he was given the gift of prophecy and foretold the future ministry of Jesus, this prophecy forming the text of the Benedictus canticle. At the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she would conceive of the Holy Ghost, he also informed her that Elizabeth, her cousin, was already six months pregnant (Luke 1:36). Mary then journeyed to visit Elizabeth. Luke’s Gospel recounts that the baby “leapt” in Elizabeth’s womb at the greeting of Mary (Luke 1:44).
The Nativity of John the Baptist on June 24 comes three months after the celebration on March 25 of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy, and six months before the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus. The purpose of these festivals is not to celebrate the exact dates of these events, but simply to commemorate them in an interlinking way. The Nativity of John the Baptist anticipates the feast of Christmas. The Nativity of John the Baptist is one of the oldest festivals of the Christian church, being listed by the Council of Agde in 506 as one of that region’s principal festivals, where it was a day of rest and, like Christmas, was celebrated with three Masses: a vigil, at dawn, and at midday. It is one of the patronal feasts of the Order of Malta.
Ordinarily, the day of a saint’s death is usually celebrated as his or her feast day, because it marks his or her dies natalis, or “birthday”, into eternal life. To this rule there are two notable exceptions: the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of John the Baptist. According to Roman Catholic tradition and teaching, Mary was free from original sin from the first moment of her existence (her conception itself is commemorated by a separate feast), while John was cleansed of original sin in the womb of his mother (which is not taught in other Western Christian traditions). The Nativity of John the Baptist, though not a widespread public holiday outside of Quebec and Puerto Rico, is a high-ranking liturgical feast, kept in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches. Since in the Roman Rite it is celebrated since 1970 as a solemnity, in the 1962 form of that liturgical rite as a feast of the first class and in still earlier forms as a Double of the First Class with common Octave, it takes precedence over a Sunday on which it happens to fall; however it does not take precedence over the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so in years (like 2022) where it falls on the third Friday after Pentecost, the liturgy for the Nativity of John the Baptist is transferred to June 23. (It also does not take precedence over the Feast of Corpus Christi, which can also fall on June 24.) The Reformed and free churches give this celebration less prominence.
Like the Birth of the Virgin, the subject is often shown in art, especially from Florence, whose patron saint John is. It was often given a prosperous contemporary setting, and often only the presence of a halo or two distinguishes it on a desco da parto or birth tray from a secular depiction of a mother receiving visitors while lying-in. The scene in the fresco cycle of the life of John in the Tornabuoni Chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence is probably the most famous, created by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop between 1485 and 1490. The reformer Martin Luther wrote a hymn about baptism, “Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam”, which became associated with the Baptist’s day. The feast was celebrated in Lutheran Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach composed three church cantatas for the occasion, especially a chorale cantata on Luther’s hymn: Ihr Menschen, ruhmet Gottes Liebe, BWV 167, 24 June 1723 Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 7, 24 June 1724 Freue dich, erloste Schar, BWV 30, 24 June 1738 or a later year The question would naturally arise as to why the celebration falls on June 24 rather than June 25 if the date is to be precisely six months before Christmas. It has often been claimed that the Church authorities wanted to Christianize the pagan solstice celebrations and for this reason advanced Saint John’s feast as a substitute. This explanation is questionable because in the Middle Ages the solstice took place around the middle of June due to the inaccuracy of the Julian calendar. It was only in 1582, through the Gregorian calendar reform, that the solstice returned to June 21 as it had been in the fourth century. Therefore, a more likely reason why the festival falls on June 24 lies in the Roman way of counting, which proceeded backward from the Kalends (first day) of the succeeding month. Christmas was “the eighth day before the Kalends of January” (Octavo Kalendas Januarii). Consequently, Saint John’s Nativity was put on the “eighth day before the Kalends of July.” However, since June has only thirty days, in our present (Germanic) way of counting, the feast falls on June 24. Nevertheless, the fact of the feast falling around the time of the solstice is considered by many to be significant, recalling the words of John the Baptist with regard to Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease”.[John 3:30]
In the 1590s, William Shakespeare penned the line, “What’s in a name?” as part of a longer soliloquy that Juliet speaks to herself. She discovers Romeo’s family name and is dismayed – the Montagues and the Capulets have been feuding for years. The boy she is interested in is expressly forbidden to her. And so, she begins to work it through. “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” she begins. As she goes on, the line comes out, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” As in – the name for something or someone doesn’t matter – it is one’s essence that makes a difference.
This line reverberates through these readings because of their connection to identity – to names and namelessness. What’s in a name?
The man we encounter in Luke’s gospel is never given a name. He is not introduced through a name or a family bloodline, but through how he is living. This man has been naked, living not in a house but in a graveyard, among the tombs. At times, those in the community have shackled him, tying him up with chains to keep him away from them and to keep themselves safe.
Despite this identity, despite the torment he has experienced, which our gospel says is his being possessed by demons, the man still comes to meet Jesus. Perhaps this is the first thing we really know about his identity – not about the chains which keep him bound or the demons who possess him – but about him. We know that the man has come to meet Jesus.
Jesus first asks his name, and he answers, “Legion.” This name is not his, but that of the demons inside him. Legion is not the name of the man, but the name of the chains which bind him. Legion doesn’t describe him, legion isn’t his essence.
After learning what constricts the man, Jesus has a conversation with the demons. In the end, Jesus gives the legion of demons permission to enter a herd of swine, causing the pigs to drown. This part of the story is violent; the demons are re-homed in unassuming livestock and the livestock are then killed in a way that might seem cruel or wasteful to our modern ears. But this was the extraordinary measure taken to save this man. The lesson here might be that there is nothing too extraordinary for God when God is fighting for us. God is about our freedom from all things and in all things.
The people from the city hear about this miraculous occurrence and come to see what has happened. When they come to the scene, scripture tells us, “They were afraid.”
Let’s pause for a moment here. Before this moment, there was a man living on the outskirts of the city – a man who was naked, sometimes tied up, and living in a graveyard. That was what the people were used to. It was business as usual. Now, they have heard of something miraculous: that the man is no longer tormented by demons and has been cured. And indeed, when they come to find out for themselves, the man is sitting at Jesus’ feet. And yet it is here, after the miracle, after the healing, that they are afraid. When they realize what had happened, after the whole story about the demons and the pigs was told to them, they ask Jesus to leave, for they are seized with great fear.
When we think we know someone, it can be difficult to make room for a new identity. The people of the town didn’t know this man, but they were familiar with the legion within him. When that was taken away, a new identity shone forth. And because it was different, the townspeople were afraid.
I wonder – when have we been witness to the miraculous and then been seized with great fear? When have we been too afraid to see someone’s true identity shine through? When have we kept someone in shackles, tied to their old identity? When have we ourselves been bound to an outdated version of who we once were?
When Jesus is asked to leave, the man asks if he can come along. But Jesus sends him away, telling him to return home and to declare how much God has done for him. The encounter that Jesus has with this man gives him an identity. He may not have a name, but he is known to the living God. And being known by God is being loved by God.
The encounter with God sets him free. He is no longer confined to the outskirts of his community, forced into isolation but brought back into the fold. When he tries to go with Jesus, he is gently redirected, for it is in community that we become known as our true selves. It is in community that our identities are formed.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he refers to us as children of God. He calls us into our identity beyond our names, beyond the categories we turn to as ways of definition, claiming our belonging to God as the most important thing about us. In God, we are not divided from one another but drawn closer.
In God, the man who was tormented by demons isn’t confined to his place among the tombs. He is brought from a place of death and despair into his community, into the life of God’s people.
When we have an encounter with the living God, those things which torment us – those things which keep us shackled – fall away. Those demons – self-doubt, judgment, criticism of others – God calls out and gives us permission to be exactly who we are.
So, what’s in a name? Not as much as we might think. Our identities are manifold, expansive, and individual. But one identity holds precedence over all the others. One identity calls us into a community of love and into relationship with a living God. That identity isn’t one we have to earn or one we can lose. It stays with us from birth to death, no matter what paths we may have chosen: We are children of God.
The Rev. Jazzy Bostock is a strong, proud, kanaka maoli woman. She serves two small parishes on the west side of Oahu, one Episcopal and one Lutheran. She and her wife tend to a small garden together, delighting in the way food grows. She loves to laugh, walk barefoot, cook, and feel the sun on her skin.
From the Episcopal Church website: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/sermon/whats-in-a-name-pentecost-2-c-june-19-2022/
Elijah has been very busy doing the work of a prophet, but it seems like his fortunes have changed. He is exhausted and one can imagine that he feels alone, isolated, and no longer favored by God. God’s response to his moment of weakness and despair is to send an angel to tend to both his physical needs with cake and water and his emotional and spiritual needs with encouragement. This tells us something about the fundamental nature of God: God meets us where we are in our moments of dire need and is present in those needs and meets those needs.
Elijah now has the strength to travel the long distance to Mt. Sinai, also known as Horeb. There is an echo of the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness and Moses’ encounter with God at Mt. Sinai, signaling that Elijah has the opportunity to encounter God. We can assume that this angel has helped Elijah to recover physically and spiritually to prepare for this encounter. He is removed from the danger of the evil powers of the world and can now encounter God. But this is a relationship of mutuality, as well. Elijah has been delivered from his fear, despair, and helplessness, but what is offered by God is not simply given. Elijah must still discern that God is found in the simple silence, the antithesis of the power shown in the wind, the earthquake, and the fire. It is easy to hear this passage for the miracle that it is, but the profound truth is that what God invited Elijah into was a deeper relationship of love than what propelled him to the glory of his victory over the prophets of Baal. Now he experiences God in a much more intimate way and is prepared to pass on his mantle to Elisha. God offers this deeper relationship that is more than just restoring Elijah physically or even emotionally – it is personal transformation.
Describe a time that you felt God’s presence. Was it in silence or in some other way? How did you know it was God?
Psalm 42 and 43
How often have our souls longed for God because of the trials of our lives? The writer of this powerful poem of lament evokes those feelings that we all have had – or will experience in the future – of loss and longing. In those times, when we are faced with despair and sorrow or when the darkness surrounding our souls is so thick, following the writer’s command to trust in God and give thanks can seem like an impossible task. One of the beautiful elements of these psalms is that the writer acknowledges those moments of darkness for what they are. We can take solace in knowing that we are not alone in those feelings and that God is there in those moments as well.
These psalms, which really are one single poem, invite us to see hope and restoration by trusting in God that the very acts of worship and giving thanks to God will result in that restoration. When there are times when that seems to be too much and the heaviness of the soul seems too great a weight to bear, we can take heart that the strength of God that we experience is through relationship. Our relationship with God is not contingent upon our own actions or even generating our own sense of hope. God dwells in that space of darkness too and will be present with us even when all hope seems lost. From that place, we can worship God through our longing and experience that strength and renewal.
What does “heaviness of the soul” mean to you? Do you feel God in that feeling?
Describe a time when you have experienced a sense of separation from God. Did something change to help you feel closer to God?
Did you know there are RCL (Revised Common Lectionary) Readings for each day ? While there is a little overlap each day, they are posted on-line as a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library: Daily Readings
“O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.“