Wow. Where to start with the thank-yous for everyone that helped make this Christmas season special. First of all, from Marge, a big thank you all of you who donated 2020calendars for the seniors/residents of the Union Plaza and Richmond buildings for their Christmas boxes. Marge later heard from one of the ladies who helped with boxes that she thought we couldn’t do it – maybe get 20- 30 calendars. Marge told her that St. John’s really supports others less fortunate and we did gather enough calendars (100) for all the people!
Thanks go to the Board of Directors members who went shopping for the children’s gifts, wrapped them, and brought them to church. Thanks also to all that brought theirfamiliesto church on Dec. 22 so that the gifts could be given out and the kids knew they were gifts from their church who values them so much. Thanks also for the booklets that were given to each family.
Back up a little and thanks go to the ladieswho pitched in and brought a Christmasdinner to the residents of one of the apt. buildings who otherwise wouldn’t have had one. The building manager said that this was a rare occasion when just about everyone came to dinner (not everyone is mobile but their caregivers took them a plate). They loved the home cooked meal, commented on how good it was, and ate it up!
Thanks to Natalia, Veronika, andAlina who made a goodie bag for everyone at Christmas Eve service. That was many bags! And they were yummy – I think Marge got into hers that night instead of Christmas morning.
Thanks to all who shared our services and to Father Stephen especially for the Christmas Eve sermon. His sermon is appropriate for every day, not just Christmas Eve.
It’s possible someone may have been missed but most certainly not on purpose. Thanks to everyone for being part of our journey January 5 - St. John’s Dinner Dinner will be in the Parish House after Divine Liturgy. Food, fellowship, and fun! Please let Pam know you are coming so we get a good head count for the food. Pam – 252-9446.
Theophany This day commemorates the baptism of Christ and the manifestation of God in three persons. You may bring your own container to receive Holy Water at this time or the church will have bottles to give you.
General Assembly Because of the snowstorm, our meeting was moved to December 22. All went well and due to some previous members retiring, we now have some new Board Members. For 2020, our Board of Directors will be Pamela Jacobsen, Sam Vlahavas, Tim Scheiderer, Lynnette Goldy, Fran Marsh, Kathy Clayton, and Marge Lindskog.
Pam gave a brief review of our 9th Annual Greek Night event. It was a great success, with close to 300 people in attendance. After finalizing all the receipts and expenses, Pam indicated that our profit from the event is $10,228.00. A greatful “thank you” to all those people who helped in one way or another. We are still waiting for a few more invoices to be paid. Next year’s event will be our 10th anniversary, on November 7th.
The St. John’s Association also held their meeting right after the General Assembly. They needed to elect a new member due to the passing of Chris Apostolides. Nonie Vlahavas was elected to their Board.
The Flood! As many know, we had a flood in the basement of the Parish house. To recap it briefly for others, here’s what happened. Pam Jacobsen got a call early in the morning of Dec.10 asking if she was aware that we had already used 30,000 gallons of water that day! Pam was immediately on her way to the church! There were 2 feet of water in the basement – on the way to becoming 3 feet. With the emergency help of the Water Dept. the water got cut off, a plumber was found to fix the broken pipe, and ServePro set up business to drain and dry the baserment. As we lost the furnace and the hot water heater, they also left some big heaters so we didn’t lose the rest of the pipes to freezing. We do have insurance but with a $1000 deductable. We also lost items on the lower 2 feet of the basement but thankfully our records were higher up on the shelves that Pam had Fr. Thomas build about 8 years ago. Dec. 16 – new furnace, new hot water heater, cleaned up basement! Future – we need to replace the rest of the pipes in the basement as they are quite old.
Stewardship Cards Stewardship cards are only good for one year and we start over with a new card each January. When you are a steward/official member of St. John’s, you are entitled to vote at General Assembly and can partake in such things as baptisms, marriages, funerals, etc. It has nothing to do with communion and confession. Your pledge is what you think you can contribute to God’s work through St. John’s during the year.
Some people pay their pledge in full - some people pay once a month – some people pay by the week. Most people make payments on their pledge. If something happens to change your family’s financial health, you just do what you can or stop. If you were a steward in 2017 and did not turn in a signed card in 2018 – you are no longer a steward/official member. However, stewardship cards are accepted all year long so you can become a member at any time. We have Stewardship Sunday to encourage people to turn their cards in so we have some idea about how our yearly finances look. There is no specified amount anyone should pay as the church is not a club with dues. It is between each person/family and God.
A list of stewards will be printed in the Messenger once or twice. Hopefully this reminds people who have forgotten to send in their card as well as letting everyone know who the stewards are. The amount of anyone’s pledge is kept private. The treasurer keeps records of identifiable contributions such as checks or money in envelopes, and, in January, sends each steward a letter confirming their tax deductible donations. Some check with the treasurer during the year to check what they have contributed and that is normal.
We have new people who haven’t had the stewardship cards explained and we have some members who may have forgotten to turn in a card each year. Hopefully now we’re all on the same page!
It is important that the pledge cards be returned in a timely manner so the Parish Council has an idea of the financial support for St. John’s in the coming year. For this reason, St. John’s will celebrate Stewardship Sunday on January 19, 2020. On this Sunday, we will put all stewardship cards in the offering tray and take them up to the altar. All cards mailed or turned in by that date will be included. At that time, Father Stephen will bless our intent and the support we offer to God and His work through St. John’s. It’s time to prayerfully consider what support you will offer and what your commitment will be. Members of the Parish Council and the Association are required to be in “good standing” and to turn their cards in during January as we expect them to lead the way. Reminder: Julie Marsh is still accepting reservations for the financial management class scheduled for Mondays from January 20 – March 16. It is to be held at St. John’s Parish House from 6-7:30pm and the cost is $99. Please contact Julie at 719-248-2990 for more info or sign up at: https://www.financialpeace.com/groups/1106463?c=ccf#
Review of Lexie's Little Lie by Emma Shevah (reviewed by Gina Schaarschmidt) Recommended for ages 10-13
As a middle school librarian, I encounter thousands of books and reviews a year. Of course, when I saw one about a Greek Cypriot family living in London, I had to read it, and now I'd like to recommend it to the St. John's community. Lexie and her cousin Eleni are best friends. Their mothers are sisters, and their close relationship extends to their extended family and church community. The cousins were born within days of each other and are inseparable. When a newcomer threatens their lifelong bond, Lexie questions what it means to tell the truth. Lexie’s and Elena’s yiayia tells the two girls that she wants Eleni to be the recipient of a family heirloom necklace, which would break with family tradition. A few days later, Yiayia dies. The family, reeling from the loss of their matriarch, argue over the necklace, all while Lexie frets about what to reveal. The argument escalates, splitting the family apart, the two girls’ mothers refuse to be in the same room together. In addition to the themes of family, honesty, and friendship, the author incorporates food into the story. Several recipes are included at the end, as well as notes regarding the cultural references. Lexie’s narration is hysterical. I giggled through the entire book, and it's now making the rounds through my family, even though none of us is near the recommended age for reading. Brava, Emma Shevah!
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St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church 1010 Spruce St * Pueblo, Colorado * 81004