September 1, 2020 | 5:00 p.m.
August 13, 2020 | 8:55 p.m.
Dear St. John’s Community,
I have a two-part update to share with you about the date for the city’s fencing to come down and a plan in the works for the plywood over our windows. Here is a short video I recorded in the church this afternoon explaining it all, or read on below:
The city has informed us that they will take their fencing down at the end of this month. It will be good to have it down.
Before the fencing went up we were approached by an organization called P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute who were offering to have their artists paint the plywood over our windows with images and words calling for healing, love and justice. We felt we could not continue with that plan when the fencing went up, but they have let us know they are still interested! We are planning for them to paint the boards on Saturday, September 5th.
When you think of it, our stained glass windows are designed to bring art and beauty into the interior of the church, but now we have an opportunity to project art and beauty out toward our neighborhood. It is an honor that these artists are offering to bless our space with their artwork, and it is also exciting—for them and for us—to know that the Smithsonian has requested that when the boards eventually come down we will donate them to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
One final note is that we are devising a way to make at least a few of the boards set apart from the windows with enough distance to allow lighting in so that as we move gradually back into our church we will also have light coming in through them once again. I look forward to all of this.
June 25, 2020 | 5:45 p.m.
June 9, 2020 | 3:10 p.m.
Affirming that Black Lives Matter: A Message from the Rector and Wardens
June 9, 2020 | 2:36 p.m.
Ministry of Presence Transition – Action for Change & Healing
June 6, 2020 | 5:29 p.m.
Join us Sunday at 11:00 a.m. – Ministry of Presence
We at St. John’s are so moved by the volunteers from across the Diocese who continue to help us offer a visible presence of God’s love in action for justice.
Please join us Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. in front of St. John’s for morning prayers for peace and justice. We are honored that Canon to the Ordinary, Rev. Paula Clark has agreed to lead us in prayer as we ask God’s blessing on those demonstrating against injustice. We will remain in front of the church in witness through the early afternoon, offering prayer at regular intervals.
All volunteers should wear masks and maintain social distancing. We also recommend everyone bring water, sunscreen, and to fully charge your phones beforehand. Clergy are encouraged to wear collars. We also invite you make a sign you can hold in solidarity with those demonstrating.
We welcome donations of water or non-perishable snacks, but donations are not required. Your presence and prayers are the most powerful witness we can offer in support of justice, love, and healing.
I want to thank Rev. Glenna Huber from Church of the Epiphany for joining us this morning to pray on the steps of St. John’s. For those of you who were unable to be there in person, I invite you to join by watching here.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Clayton McCleskey at 214-673-1731 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you can join us tomorrow in front of St. John’s to offer prayer, solidarity, and witness.
With prayers for peace,
For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord;
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word.
Lead your people into freedom,
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how, through care and goodness,
fear will die and hope increase.
-From For the Healing of the Nations by Fred Kaan
June 5, 2020 | 10:06 p.m.
Images from the Plaza
Dear St. John’s Community,
This morning was yet another memorable day. As you may have read in the news, the Mayor decided to name the block of 16th St. above H St. as “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” She also had the entire two blocks between Eye and H painted with yellow lettering. I arrived while the painting was still happening, and upbeat music was blaring from speakers set up by the city between St. John’s and AFL-CIO. It was positively celebratory. What made it an even more personally moving experience for me was the gathering of black pastors, along with a number of rabbis, all gathered in front of St. John’s, and every person I encountered looked me in the eye and thanked me for what St. John’s has been doing to gracefully and steadily witness at this time. Our daily presence is being noticed. They told me that they are standing with us, too.
Below are some pictures from the day, including the afternoon prayer and presence we offered, this time led by Rev. Savannah!
June 5, 2020 | 7:17 p.m.
Ministry of Presence Update – Saturday & Sunday
June 5, 2020 | 2:00 p.m.
June 5, 2020 | 9:35 a.m.
Special Announcement – Event this Morning
Dear St. John’s Community,
Mayor Bowser’s office has alerted us to a special surprise that she will announce at 16th and H St. in front of the church today, Friday, June 5th at 11:00 a.m.
All are invited. I will say a few words at the event. It is expected to last only 30 minutes.
If you choose to attend, please wear a face mask and be mindful of physical distancing.
June 4, 2020 | 4:00 p.m.
June 3, 2020 | 9:21 p.m.
Some Images from Today
June 3, 2020 | 1:56 p.m.
Ministry of Presence Update – Vigil Today
Dear Friends in Christ,
Thank you for volunteering to join St. John’s ministry of presence as we join in solidarity to witness Jesus’ Way of Love by standing for justice, peace, and equality -and against racism, violence, and hate.
I invite you to join Bishop Budde, me, and other faith leaders in front of St. John’s today at 3:30 p.m. for a solidarity prayer vigil. We plan to remain in front of the church to continue our ministry of presence until curfew this evening. The situation remains extremely fluid, so please keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.
Due to the security situation, we are unable to store any supplies at the church. So we are not asking volunteers to bring water or food to distribute. The most powerful witness we can offer right now is our collective prayerful, peaceful presence. We do ask that all volunteers wear a mask and maintain social distance. We also encourage you to bring water for yourself, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer.
Going forward, we plan to gather daily at 3:30 p.m. for prayer in front of St. John’s, and then offer our solidarity and presence until curfew. On behalf of St. John’s, thank you for volunteering to join us in countering racism, inequality, and injustice by witnessing Christ’s love through presence and prayer.
If you have further questions, please contact ministry of presence volunteer Clayton McCleskey at 214-673-1731 or email@example.com.
O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand.
Where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us,
and heal our strife-torn world.
Keep bright in us the vision
of days when war shall cease,
when hatred and division
give way to love and peace,
till dawns the morning glorious
when truth and justice reign,
and Christ shall rule victorious
o’er all the world’s domain.
-From “O God Of Every Nation” by William W. Reid, Jr.
June 1, 2020 | 12:00 noon
June 1, 2020 | 9:00 a.m.
Dear St. John’s Community,
It has been a difficult night. If you have not seen it yet in the national news, a fire was set to St. John’s nursery tonight, but I am happy to report that the fire is completely out. I have just returned home from the church, and it is 1:58 a.m. as I begin writing this note.
My family and I had in fact left town on Friday for what we hoped would be a long weekend of R&R. We were essentially camping, almost totally off the grid. This morning our plan was to drive to where there was cell reception and watch the Pentecost service together. However, word got to me that the protest activity was intense and growing, so we quickly changed plans and drove back here as fast as we could.
In the car I was in touch with the wardens and also Bishop Mariann, with whom we have begun plans for making St. John’s a place for offering a ministry of presence—against racism and for God’s healing and compassion in the days ahead. I hope that many of you will join in this. (Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join this effort!)
The protests that began peacefully grew to something more, and eventually a fire was lit in the nursery, in the basement of Ashburton House.
Like many of you perhaps, I had little access to information about how bad the fire was while it was happening. It felt horrible to see glimpses of smoke rising by the stairs to our entrance on national TV, and then to have it confirmed with an up-close video showing the flames in the basement.
Fortunately, it was in fact completely extinguished. I just assessed the damage as best I could, in the semi-dark and with a flashing, bleating alarm system that I could not figure out how to shut off. My ears are still ringing, and I am still coughing a bit from various fumes I inhaled. But I am happy to share with you that I could see no other real damage besides that one room, and quite a bit of graffiti and debris around the exterior of the church. Protestors easily could have done a lot worse to our buildings, but they chose not to do that. (The damage I saw to other nearby buildings illustrated this point.)
None of this changes our purpose to be an instrument for God’s work through all of this, and in fact now more than ever. I pray for our collective wisdom, grace, courage and compassion as we move forward into what God is calling us to do and be next.
To the many of you who have reached out in various ways—thank you!