Red Door Sunday

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus and the beginning of the "Church." The liturgical color for this feast is red. 

At St. John's we wear red and serve red coffee hour treats to share the Spirit with our community and visitors. The annual photo of the congregation is also taken after the service. We call it our "Red Door Sunday."

All are welcomed and invited to join us at 10:00 AM, Sunday, May 15th. And, please stay and enjoy the creative buffet served by members of Daughters of the King. We'd love to get to know you!

Emblematic of many Episcopal churches, the red doors of St. John's are open to all.

Emblematic of many Episcopal churches, the red doors of St. John's are open to all.

Women's Summit 2016

All women in the diocese, of all ages, are invited to the 2016 Women's Summit, As the Spirit Moves.

It takes place Friday, April 22, beginning at 5:30 p.m., until Saturday, April 23 at 4 p.m., at St. Michael and All Angels, 6630 Nall Ave. in Mission.

Organizers are very excited to host the Rev. Becca Stevens as the event’s keynote speaker. Among her many ministries, she founded Thistle Farms, a sanctuary for healing for women survivors of abuse, addiction, trafficking and prostitution, in Nashville, Tennessee.

The cost is $50 per person. Registration, with payment by credit card, is online this year >>HERE.

The deadline to register is Friday, April 8.

Father Frank Holtz

Reverend Frank Holtz April 7, 1940 – December 17, 2015

April 7, 1940 - December 17, 2015

Frank John Holtz was born in Minneapolis, Kansas on April 7, 1940. When he was about a year old, his family moved to Clay Center where grew up. Baptized Methodist, he began attending the Episcopal Church at an early age and became very involved in youth activities. He was confirmed by Bishop Fenner in 1949.

After graduating in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washburn University and a Doctorate of Dentistry degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, he moved to Abilene to begin his practice, retiring in 2011.

He joined St. John’s Episcopal Church Abilene immediately upon his arrival. He was a member of the Episcopal Cursillo Ministry and a graduate of the University of the South’s Education for Ministry program. Seeing a need in his home parish he answered the call to professional ministry and became ordained first a Deacon and then a Priest in 1996. He served as Priest-in-Charge of St. John’s for ten years. “All things are possible in God,” was his favorite Bible verse.

Frank Holtz was a member of the Elks Club. He was a Mason and a Shriner, especially enjoying his affiliation with the Royal Order of Jesters. He quietly supported many charitable causes in the Abilene area and beyond. He treasured his many friends from childhood and school, patients, professional acquaintances, brothers and sisters in Christ, and members of his community. He will be greatly missed by them all.

He is survived by a niece Katie Brooke Holtz and a nephew Jacob Bilbee Holtz (wife Hilary) and their mother Gloria; grandnephew Hudson Bilbee; grandnieces Layla Marie and Katilynn Brooke; and his longtime friend Patricia Sweeney. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Olive (Novak) Holtz and brother, Douglas Burton Holtz.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and United Way of Dickinson County. Checks should be made to the organization and sent to Martin-Becker-Carlson Funeral Home, 414 NW 3rd Street, Abilene, KS 67410.

All Saints' Day Chili Supper

Join us for our fifth annual All Saints' Day Chili Supper on November 1st, 5:30 - 7:00 PM.

Join us for our fifth annual All Saints' Day Chili Supper on November 1st, 5:30 - 7:00 PM.

St. John's All Saints' Day Chili Supper will be on a Sunday this year. Take a break from making your evening meal and bring your family and friends for a choice of chili (mild, spicy, white, and vegetarian), chips, cornbread, dessert and drink for the thrifty price of $7. Takeout available.

All proceeds to benefit the Abilene Food & Clothing Center.

Sunday, November 1, 5:30 - 7:00 PM
St. John's Episcopal Church Abilene
6th & Buckeye, Abilene, Kansas
Please use rear entrance

 

 

Blessing of the Pets 2015

Please join us at Eisenhower Park near the gazebo south of the Rose Arbor at 10:00 AM Saturday, October 3rd. Bring your furred, finned, feathered or scaled buddies for a blessing in memory of St. Francis of Assisi's love of all creatures. Please make sure your pet is suitably restrained by leash, halter, crate, or cage. All are welcomed.

Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless our pets. By the power of your love, enable them to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.

Blessing of the Pets 2016

Blessing of the Pets 2016

All Parish Picnic 2016

This past Sunday instead of our usual coffee hour after church we trekked out to the country to the Selocks for what will probably turn out to be an annual event -- an all parish picnic. Fortunately, Kansas weather cooperated: first by being a wetter than usual summer meaning less dust and more green grass and second by providing a perfect day for the occasion, warm but with a cool breeze.

The Selocks home is on an acreage with a stocked fish pond so some of the kids tried their luck fishing. Croquet, badminton, lawn darts and exploring kept the rest of the crowd busy.  A couple of friendly dogs provided entertainment and affection to all whether welcomed or not! 

And then there was the food. I don't think a single picnic food was missing though instead of fried chicken, burgers and hotdogs were grilled to perfection. Rounding out the menu were salads of various kinds, at least half a dozen varieties of chips, deviled eggs, baked beans, baked potatoes, watermelon, fresh fruit, two kinds of chocolate cake and two kinds of pie. It pretty much put the "P" in picnic plenty.

It was hard to leave this small Eden but the promise of a repeat performance has us hoping for summer rains next year.

Most of the crowd at the All Parish Picnic 2016

Most of the crowd at the All Parish Picnic 2016


Life Outside the Church (LOTC)

Because being library keeper for the Little Free Library® on St. John's grounds requires almost daily visits to make sure the library is tidy and stocked, I've found, to my surprise, that our location has a whole other life when we're not around. Part of that life involves the LFL but there is more to it than that.

Since the Little Free Library® is new there have been any number of times I've found people either using the library or they stop and ask about it. One young man was leaving a note saying he wants to start other LFLs in Abilene as his senior project. 

Bill Hall, a tree trimmer, stopped by looking for our Junior Warden when I was tending the library. He was inspired to offer to trim our trees that are out of city compliance for free as his "contribution."

One sunny afternoon, I found a young couple taking photos of each other on our front steps. The said they liked our beautiful red doors. They were seeing them with new eyes. I recommend we regularly take personal family photos using our red doors as a background and we should suggest it to others. They really are pretty.

On another occasion a man from Salina was walking his two dogs by the church. He was in town getting his car serviced. As he passed he remarked what a beautiful church it was. It gave me the chance to tell him about the history of the building and invite him to come to our Blessing of the Pets service in October.

Just this past week as I came around from the back of the church I found a man sitting in the shade on the bench by the stature of St. Francis. He asked if there was a Chinese restaurant in town with a buffet. I was pleased to be able to reply affirmatively and gave him directions.

Of course, most of time the life I find is rather more subtle but because my awareness has been peaked I'm noticing it now. This morning it was bees covering the Autumn Joy sedum heads in the flower bed next to the parking lot. There were so many it would make you doubt there is a serious bee shortage.

I know there have been times when I feel our historic building is more of a burden than a blessing, like recently when the air conditioner compressor had to be replaced. But, I wasn't seeing the whole picture. God was using what was here. I just wasn't aware. Expect to see more reports on Life Outside the Church in the blog. Maybe you'll have some stories of your own to share or ideas for ways we might increase opportunities for maximizing the ministry of our location.

September's flowers waxing and waning in St. John's churchyard.

September's flowers waxing and waning in St. John's churchyard.

Parade Hospitality

Because St. John's is located on Abilene's main thoroughfare, our grounds are a prime location for watching Dickinson County's annual Central Kansas Free Fair parade. Experienced parade goers stake out their spots early in the day with an assortment of lawn chairs and picnic blankets along Buckeye Avenue in front of the church. 

Kids comprise the majority of the parade watchers. They are wise to the fact that many parade participants throw handfuls of candy and other treats into the crowd. The parade is a Norman Rockwell mixture of American flags, slicked-up horses, pretty girls, school bands, tractors new and antique, fancy pickup trucks, homemade 4-H floats, and local business efforts, a not-to-be-missed occasion in a small town.

As the parade falls in mid-summer, it is either hot and humid or hot and humid mixed with rain. This year it was just the former. To make our temporary guests more comfortable St. John's serves free iced tea and lemonade during the parade. We also provide access to our restrooms. It's a good way to get to know our neighbors and meet fair visitors from out-of-town. Maybe we'll see you here next year?

A patriotic parade watcher is temporarily distracted from harvesting parade candy.

A patriotic parade watcher is temporarily distracted from harvesting parade candy.

Little Free Library® is Open for Business

St. John's had a blessing and dedication service on Sunday, July 19th for our Little Free Library® recently installed on the south side of the church. The library was built by parishioner Justin Shaw with contributions of money, time, and talents from other members of the church.

Little Free Libraries operate on the principle of sharing - take a book, return a book - it doesn't have to be the same book. The idea is to share books and love of reading. This particular library is a literacy outreach project and will feature primarily children's books.

Do you have gently used or new books you would like to donate? If you just have a few go ahead and put them in the library. We'll make sure they get labeled. If you have more than a few, please bring them to the church between 10:00 and 11:00 AM any Friday. The back door will be open.

For more information on Little Free Libraries see: www.littlefreelibrary.org.

Young parishioners of St. John's Episcopal Church contributed books to the new Little Free Library and look forward to borrowing from it.

Young parishioners of St. John's Episcopal Church contributed books to the new Little Free Library and look forward to borrowing from it.

Little Free Library Opening Soon

Justin Shaw has constructed and installed our Little Free Library. Finishing touches and pre-opening punch lists are being completed.

If you have new or gently used children’s books you would like to donate, please bring them to the church. We will need to inventory and stamp them before they can be circulated.

The target date for our Little Free Library dedication and blessing is Sunday, July 19th.

Justin Shaw installing St. John's Little Free Library. Justin built the library over the winter.

Justin Shaw installing St. John's Little Free Library. Justin built the library over the winter.

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Our own Easter Bunny, AKA college student Amber Moretti, is doing her best to cover the churchyard completely in colorful eggs to the immense delight of our youngest parishioners. Good job Bunny but how are you going to top yourself next year?

The Easter Bunny AKA Amber Moretti and some little pals on Easter morning.

The Easter Bunny AKA Amber Moretti and some little pals on Easter morning.

Holy Week

March 29th is Palm Sunday, the celebration of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This service will begin on the south lawn at 10:00 AM, weather permitting. If the weather is inclement, we will begin in the undercroft (church basement). 

Holy Week services follow on Thursday, Friday (2), Saturday and Sunday. 

The 6:30 PM Maundy Thursday Liturgy begins with a Passover meal and continues in the sanctuary. To participate in the meal you must have signed up in advance.

On Good Friday, there are two services. At 5:30 PM is the last of the Lenten Stations of the Cross services. This short but meaningful service has been celebrated weekly throughout Lent. Immediately following Stations of the Cross will be the Good Friday Liturgy at 6:00 PM.

Saturday evening begins our celebration of the Resurrection with The Great Vigil service at 8:00 PM. The Great Vigil is the most important service in our church year. Participants are invited to bring a bell to ring in celebration each time the word "Hallelujah" is said during the service. Extra bells are available.

Easter Sunday service begins at 10:00 AM with decoration of The Flowering Cross. Please bring a flower(s) from your garden. Extra flowers are available to those without gardens. The Flowering Cross will be displayed in front of the church after the service to remind everyone of our risen Lord. A children's Easter egg hunt will immediately follow the church service.

St. John's is an inclusive church and all are invited to participate regardless of who you are or where you are on your spiritual journey.

Bells and flowers help us celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bells and flowers help us celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Children's Christmas Program

Each year the parish looks forward fondly to the Sunday before Christmas and the Children's Christmas Program. Teachers LaDona Selock and Kim Shafer coach the youth to act out a Christmas carol complete with props and costumes. This year's carol was The Little Drummer Boy. Though most of the participants were a bit shy they did seem pleased to have an opportunity to participate in a starring role in the life of the parish at Christmastime. Everyone attending appreciated their sweet performance and the guidance of their instructors.

2014 Children's Christmas Program

2014 Children's Christmas Program

Dinner for Five

St. John's tries each year to find a special family in our community who needs a little help in putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table. For this year's family of five, parishioners donated groceries for all the traditional dishes and a gift card was included for other family favorites. Everything was delivered a few days before Thanksgiving so there would be plenty of time for preparations. 

Thanksgiving dinner for five.

Thanksgiving dinner for five.

Benefit for Food & Clothing Center

St. John's fourth annual All Saints' Day Chili Supper was filled with good food and good friends. A dinner of four kinds of chili, sides, desserts and drinks at the thrifty price of $7 fed our guests and raised over $600 for the Abilene Area Food & Clothing Center. Like last year, a mini bazaar of handmade gifts was available for holiday shopping.

Guests at St. John's All Saints' Day Chili Supper.

Guests at St. John's All Saints' Day Chili Supper.

All Your creatures....

Though Saturday was rather cool and overcast, the atmosphere at the fourth annual St. John's Blessing of the Pets was warm and joyous. How could it be anything else with so many greatly loved creatures around?

Participants brought their animal companions to Eisenhower Park for special blessings in honor St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. St. Francis reminds us that we are stewards of all God's creation. As such stewards, we are responsible to interact with God's natural world wisely and preserve its blessings for the good of all. 

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures...

St. John's fourth annual Blessing of the Pets.

St. John's fourth annual Blessing of the Pets.

Blessing of the Pets

Saturday, October 4th is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. On this day we celebrate the patron saint of animals and the environment. St. John's traditionally has a Blessing of Pets at Eisenhower Park just south of the gazebo at 10:00 AM in honor of this feast. This year the feast day coincides with a Saturday. In other years the service is held the Saturday before the 4th.

All are invited. Please bring your pets, suitably leashed, crated or otherwise under your control for this brief but meaningful service in honor of God's creation of the natural world. If you can't bring your animal companion you may substitute a photo or collar. 

Blessing of the Pets

Four Confirmed

Top: Bishop Wolfe; Front L-R: Father Rankin, Mary Leach, Kathy DeVore, Charmaine Kessler, Terry Selock and Archdeacon Charles Pearce

Top: Bishop Wolfe; Front L-R: Father Rankin, Mary Leach, Kathy DeVore, Charmaine Kessler, Terry Selock and Archdeacon Charles Pearce

Bishop Dean Wolfe confirmed four members of our parish on Sunday, August 10th. Those confirmed are Mary Leach, Kathy DeVore, Charmaine Kessler, and Terry Selock. The Bishop joked that given the small size of our parish this confirmation made us the fastest growing church in the diocese.

After the service, a wonderful luncheon catered by Kevin Mickey was served to celebrate the Bishop's visit and welcome the confirmands into the church.

Bishop Wolfe confirming Kathy DeVore

Bishop Wolfe confirming Kathy DeVore