Dear St. John’s, We are in the midst of tumultuous times. We see hope in places like our Faith Walk, for which participation has grown exponentially since it was mentioned in a sermon less than 2 weeks ago. We find hope in our continued outreach to our neighborhood through our ministry with HELP and our Lil’ Free Pantry. Hope and grace abound. Yet there is tension as well, specifically racial tension. That tension has reached not merely every state in our union, butprotests are happening all across the globe. These protests were sparked by the murder of George Floyd, but that was just a match that lit a fire. These protests and marches have brought healthy debate and changes in policy. There has also been violence and pain. It has also brought confederate monuments back to the front of the conversation.
We have the only confederate monument/memorial in Hampton. It is in honor of the confederate dead and was given by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1901. Given that we have many confederate soldiers buried in our beautiful cemetery, it is appropriately located. Unfortunately it is located right in front of our church. It is one of the first things visitors see. Many Africans Americans find it unwelcoming. Several African American members have commented to me how difficult it is to walk by in when entering the church. I have received several e-mails and phone calls from parishioners over a very short period asking that it be moved. I am aware of the enormity of this situation. It was given in honor of beloved family members who died in a horrific war. Those men deserve to be remembered. Normally, this would be a time for extended conversation and debate. Unfortunately the vestry and clergy are concerned that given the current racial tension, it could be vandalized as so many others have. Just this week, a monument in front of an Episcopal Church in Maryland was vandalized. It was
in honor of confederate soldiers buried on the grounds of the church. We would much prefer to be proactive rather than reactive. The vestry unanimously approved the following motion: ” The vestry recommends that St. John’s moves forward with examining the options for relocating or modifying the Confederate Memorial.” Please note that no decision has been made. We know that some of you may have strong opinions on this very emotional topic. If you would like to share your feelings, please reach out to our subcommittee that is examining options. Their names and contact information is below. Please know that we have been in conversation with the Heritage Committee and members of the Cemetery Committee to ensure we have a thorough conversation and explore all options. The vestry will prayerfully consider all the important input we receive before making a decision.
Samantha Vincent-Alexander Charlie Edmonson
Rector Senior Warden
Subcommittee: Charlie Edmonson 757- 810-3185 (cell)
Bettyrene Pope 757-879-4625 (cell)
Dan Clark 757-810-3620 (cell)
Sunday Service at 10:30 am on YOUTUBE: Our service is once again pre-recorded. This allows us to include more people in our church family. You will find the service here: https://youtu.be/lwhyGcj9IuQ The link will also be posted on facebook. You can also find links on our Website: www.stjohnshampton.org
Re -Opening Committee: The church re-opening committee has been working hard examining the protocols given by the diocese and creating a plan to implement those protocols.The plan will be sent to the vestry for their approval. If the vestry approves the plan, we will then send it on to the diocese for the Bishop’s approval. At this time, our tentative start date is July 12th. We will send out more information about what this will look like next week. We will also be asking people to fill out a survey so we can get a sense of how many people are ready to return. We will continue to live stream the services even after we begin in person worship.
Locks and Codes: We decided in this downtime when we do not have a lot of people coming in and out, it would be a good time to change the locks and codes. The diocese is now requiring that we have the name of every person who has access to the building (key or code). Every person with the lock or code must take online “safe church training.” The rationale is that someone who has access to the building, has access to the nursery or any children’s classrooms. It is therefore important, for the safety of all, that we have restrictions on who can enter. If you need access, please contact Shannon Olson at email@example.com. She will let you know what you need to do.
Online Giving: We have a new online giving platform making it easier to give online. You can find the link on our website here: https://tithe.ly/give_new/www/#/tithely/give-one-time/1893308
Cleaning supplies: We have some disinfectant wipes, but could use more. We are desperately in need of disinfectant spray. If you can donate any, please do!
Lil’ Free Pantry Supplies: We are looking for donations of shelf-stable, easy open, ready to eat products along with individually wrapped utensils, clean socks, and water. Our youth saw a need to serve their local community by creating a place for “Ready-to-Eat” food available 24/7.
To Contribute: Place items in the pantry (Note: it is a public space, so sanitize hands afterward) Or place items in the tub located by door under the green awning of the parish hall. Questions: 757-722-2567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bible Study Re-Zooooms: Our Wednesday Bible study has restarted and we will meet via Zoom on Wednesday at 3:00 PM. We are continuing our study on The Revelation to John. Contact Mark if you would like to join in on the discussion. Mark@stjohnshampton.org or 757-722-2567.