Through the power of the Holy Spirit, St John’s is called to be a parish community that worships and lives for God, constantly growing in our relationship to Jesus Christ and one another, caring about and helping our neighbours near and far; and sharing experiences of prayer, sacraments, learning, witness, outreach and fellowship.
Faith and Worship
We are called to understand, celebrate and respond to God’s work in us and the world through private prayer, common worship, study and music.
St John’s Altar Guild seems to take on new jobs every year. We have always looked after the sacred vessels and linens needed for all the church services church services throughout the year. We work closely with Connie Snelgrove and the Servers to be sure that everything needed by the Priests is ready.
The use of bread rather than wafers is working out well thanks to the volunteer bakers organized by Frank Kaijafes.
The Nave Altar has been a challenge because of the need to remove the linens and hangings whenever something is happening in the church that requires the altar’s removal. We are still working on hangings that will stand up to constant folding and unfolding.
Joan Dolphin and Wendy McCutcheon made lovely new hangings for Advent.
Arranging our own flowers has been working out very well this year. We owe a big vote of thanks to Vicki Milnes for her organizing ability. We also thank our volunteer flower arrangers Pat Bowen, Barbara Brown, Bev Bewley, Melodie Conlon, Barbara Dorrell, Vicki Milnes, Suzanne Nussey, Vicki Robinson and Gail Jennings. Anyone who has donated $50.00 for flowers this year knows that they are saving money and the results are outstanding. Why not consider celebrating special occasions in your life with flowers. You can take home the flowers you donated after they have beautified the Church. There can be more than one lot of flowers on the same date. Some dates are kept on a regular basis for people who have donated flowers on those dates for many years. Contact Vicki Milnes if you have any questions.
We have also taken on the job of looking after all the candles. We now refill the oil holders for many of the candles. The old holders came filled and sealed, which meant that they had to be replaced when empty. The new ones are checked and refilled every week by Vicki and Melodie. The saving is considerable. As you may have noticed we received the gift of beautiful new candles for the Advent wreath. Sherrie Dagg made the new candles for St John’s, a real labour of love. Thank you Sherrie.
The Church looked especially beautiful at Christmas this year, thanks to the ideas and hard work of Wendy Williamson Scrim and her sidekick Vicki Milnes. Many thanks ladies!
We would welcome new members to the Altar Guild. If you are interested in joining our “family” please contact Bev Bewley.
This year saw a time of both consolidation and exciting new ventures for the choir. We are about fifty singers – again this year we saw the loss of a few old friends, and the welcome arrival of new ones. The strong support of our choral scholars as well as our artist-in-residence, Cara Gilbertson, lends confidence to the choir during difficult anthems. We have also watched with pride their respective solo careers. Our repertoire, consisting of everything from Palestrina to spirituals, is growing.
Musically the year has been exciting. We have provided the musical setting for Sunday services throughout the year. In May we presented two performances of Franz Joseph Haydn’s famous oratorio The Creation, complete with orchestra and soloists. In December, our fourth annual Carols by Candlelight concert was warmly received by audiences at both St John’s and at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Kanata. Christmas Eve saw the choir rejoice in the birth of our Saviour with beloved carols and music.
Gordon took a sabbatical leave for the first three months of 2010, arriving back during Holy Week. In his absence, John Gallienne provided valuable leadership for the choir, and played the organ every Sunday. His musical and personal contributions to the choir and the congregation over the years have been extremely valuable; we could not have such an inspiring, exciting music programme today without his work over the past several years.
The choir is a closely knit group, and we derive great support from each other, in joy and in sorrow. We continue to enjoy the pleasure of making music together, and the immense fellowship we find here.
The major change in youth and children’s ministry is the departure of long-time Christian Education Coordinator Wanda Dillabough who is now serving the Church as a deacon in the Diocese of Québec. We are grateful for Wanda’s many years of ministry at St John’s and we are glad to see her continue her ministry elsewhere.
Youth: The definition of what is “youth” changes from Diocese to Diocese and from parish to parish. At St John’s “youth” are those between 10-18 years of age. We have two youth groups, one for Grades 5 - 7 and one for Grades 8 - 12. Each group meets at least once per month between September and June. Special events - retreats, sleepovers, regional events etc. are also planned throughout the year. Until the end of June, the Junior Youth Group was led by Tracy Baxter and Gennaro Busa and the Senior Youth Group by Wanda Dillabough, Michael Dowie and Beth Lorimer. Gennaro, Tracy, and Beth have retired from youth ministry at St John’s. We thank them for their time and dedication and wish them luck in the future. Our new team of youth group leaders includes Joe Jacques, VitoMichienzi and our new Christian Education Coordinator Caitlin Beck.
This year the youth group has seen the graduation of several members from high school (and consequently their graduation from youth group). We would like to congratulate Eva Dransch, Philippa Wolff and Dom Ménard on their accomplishments; we wish them luck in their future ministry and we look forward to having them visit us in the future.
In November, St John’s youth group participated in a regional youth event called OMG. This event gathered over 50 youth from parishes around Ottawa for games, dinner and worship at St Thomas the Apostle Church in Alta Vista. Eight youth from St John’s attended and volunteered to lead the whole group in their favourite sung grace before the meal. In addition Luka Lawford took a leadership role by doing a reading in worship. OMG was planned by a team of youth group leaders from four different parishes with the help of Diocesan youth worker Andrew Stephens-Rennie. A second event will be held in February 2011 at St Matthew’s and will include skating on the canal.
Sunday School: Our Sunday School is currently comprised of three different classes, based on age. The youngest class is for children who are 2 years old, up to Senior Kindergarten or Grade One. Our middle class is for children in Grades 1 - 3. Our oldest class is for children in Grades 4 - 8. The youngest class has a program that is liturgical and based on the seasons of the Church year, called “Worship With Young Children”. It also has a tactile, “Montessori-type” approach that appeals to the very young. The two older classes follow the curriculum, “Seasons of the Spirit”, which follows the lectionary and includes some form of re-telling the bible story, followed by crafts, discussion and/or drama. They also open and close each class with short liturgies that may include prayers and music.
We are grateful for the continued presence of veteran teachers and helpers: April Dickson, Kaori Horikawa, Margaret Kasurak, Peter Oliver, Mike Scrim, Mary Ann Varley (now teaching grades 1-3) and Sarah Whitehead. We have also added several new teachers to our roster: Patricia Baratta, Gail Beck, Luka Lawford, Andrew Pump, Audrey Starkes and Joe Jacques (one of our youth group leaders).
The Sunday School has also begun regular music workshops with Caitlin to learn the music used in worship. Our first workshop was the week before thanksgiving where we learned a new Alleluia which we then taught to the entire congregation.
At Thanksgiving, the Sunday school classes stayed in worship for the whole service in order to become more familiar with the order and flow of the Eucharistic service. We will continue our emphasis on worship with a new intergenerational liturgy study held every week before the service.
Special Events: The Children and Youth also hosted several special events this year including a Halloween party planned and hosted by the youth groups and the annual Children’s service on Christmas Eve. Both were a great success thanks to the participation and leadership of children, youth and parents. We would also like to thank our new official photographer and videographer Alex Horikawa for his hard work and his many wonderful photos of events at St John’s.
When the church offers the principal celebrations of the Holy Eucharist at the weekly services, special services, weddings and funerals, the clergy relies on the help of lay communion assistants with the distribution of the wine. Lay assistants are invited by the Rector, approved by Parish Council and licensed by the Bishop.
This past year was exciting and challenging for the team as the repositioning of the altar to the nave floor was introduced in February. Throughout the trial period changes in the altar and railings positions meant the communion administrators had to change their delivery system. Finally the system was established for just two administrators (one per side), instead of four (two per side) and this has worked very well. Many thanks to the communion administrators for their patience and understanding during this time of change.
The team of administrators for 2010 was: Peter Anderson, Rosemary Anderson, Karen Berg, Patricia Fisher, Margaret Capelazo, Kitty Cocks, Melodie Conlon, Joan Dolphin, Detlef Dransch, Alain Lanoix, Peggy Lister, Wendy McCutcheon, Don McGibbon, Monica Patton, Glen Robinson, Ken Ross, Marietta Stenman, Bryan Wannop and John Zegers.
The St John’s Handbell Ensemble continue to practice weekly and to assist in worship services on a regular basis. On occasion we participate in activities outside the parish such as this past year when we accompanied the Ottawa Carleton Roman Catholic Chamber Choir at a fund-raising concert for the Children’s Wish Fund. The bell ringers this past year were Mike Hart, Peggy Lister, Maura Beecher, Joan Dolphin, Marietta Stenman, Daphne Strange, and Jo Cassie. We are led by Gordon Johnston.
Liturgical dance deepens spirituality and enhances understanding.
In 2010, Anna Cameron, Miriam Kabugi, and Pat Fisher danced on Christmas Eve. It has become a tradition to dance with quiet harp music in the minutes of darkness just before the church bells ring, the trumpets, percussion, choir, congregation and organ proclaim the birth of Christ in hymn. This dance is the expression of the Christ light within and among us all.
With changes to the nave we can hope to have more liturgical dance. It is a sacred experience to dance our prayers. Please contact Pat Fisher if you are interested in learning more about this spiritual expression that integrates body, mind and spirit.
The year 2010 has seen a great deal of beautiful music-making at St John’s. Vocal and choral music as well as hand bells and other instrumental music create an atmosphere of creativity and learning, where we tune our spiritual senses through the harmonies of music.
Special emphasis is put on the involvement of young people in music at St John’s. Several members of the choir are university students; three of them are choral scholars who are pursuing professional careers in music. Two of our choral scholars graduated in June, and we said goodbye to April Babey (mezzo-soprano) and Gennaro Busa (tenor), both of whom had made a valuable contribution to music at St John’s over many years. In the fall we welcomed two new choral scholars, Ashley Cross (soprano) and Matthew Timmermans (baritone). Our artist-in-residence, Cara Gilbertson, continues to inspire us with her beautiful singing and with many educational events for performers, notably her Summer Vocal Academy.
Frequently the choir is joined by student instrumental players (strings, trumpets, oboe, kettledrums, etc.) who come for special occasions. These high school or university students enjoy the performance experience; they put many hours of practice into preparing the music they play at St John’s. When larger instrumental forces are needed, we often invite a teacher and a student together. Teachers appreciate the opportunity to work with their students in a real performing situation. St John’s is unique in Ottawa in this respect, and many young people’s lives are influenced by their participation in our music here at St John’s.
St John’s is home to several community choirs and music groups who rehearse and perform here. Every night of the week there is a choir rehearsing in the choir room; these include the St. Cecilia Singers, the Ottawa Bach Choir, the Ottawa Celtic Choir, the Canadian Armed Forces Choir, Tone Cluster (quite a queer choir), In Harmony women’s chorus, and the Ottawa Gay Men’s Chorus. In the summer, we are one of the main locations for concerts presented during the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by beautiful music!
There is a group of parishioners who are ready at all times to accept prayer requests and begin praying immediately. We are organized in such a way that requests can be transmitted quickly and in total confidence. This is helpful when praying is difficult or there is an urgent need for additional support. The prayer chain members pray for you or for your loved ones or a situation that is of concern. If you have a special prayer request, simply call the church at 613-232-4500 and ask for the Prayer Chain line (extension 21). Then leave a message. Your request will be transmitted in full confidentiality to the Prayer Chain members who will offer prayers as requested.
In 2010 we met very occasionally. In 2011, we intend to meet once per quarter of a year to strengthen our prayer practices.
Our small group is composed of conscientious individuals who undertake their serving responsibilities with care and attentiveness. This ministry is enriched by each of its members who not only represent the various generations but have a variety of cultural backgrounds.
The servers have been instrumental in all ordinary Sunday liturgies as well as the major festivals and celebrations throughout the Church’s seasons. Serving alongside our primate, our diocesan bishop and visiting priests, the servers have provided assistance in St John’s ways that are unfamiliar to them. Baptisms, marriages, funerals and memorial services have included servers’ involvement.
While some people have left for various personal reasons, others are now being welcomed. Marcela Gaxiola has begun to serve. Leximan, Laxmi, Sunita and Praikash Darjee will begin to participate soon.
Our togetherness is not completely liturgically focused! The autumn season was initiated by a pizza party. Other social gatherings, as yet unknown, are anticipated.
New members of this ministry, ten years old and upwards, are always welcome. Being members of the whole St John’s community, servers represent the participation of all of God’s people in every liturgy. This is indeed a privilege to be experienced.
Participation in Sunday Ministries enables members of the congregation to actively volunteer their time and gifts during Sunday services. The Roster is the four month coordination tool developed three times a year to organize these volunteers (Rosterians) in undertaking the diverse number of duties.
The Roster is prepared every four months and is sent out electronically to all Rosterians by the parish office. Those who have requested to receive a hard copy of the Roster continue to do so via the post. Rosterians are asked to advise the individual who develops the Roster (the Rostermeister) well in advance if they know of upcoming Sundays on which they are not available. If the day assigned is not convenient, an exchange with another Rosterian is always possible. The church office continues to notify Rosterians a week in advance if they are scheduled for a duty.
The functions encompassed by Sunday Ministries are diverse, and each one is crucial to the smooth running of the Sunday services at St John’s:
- Altar Guild members take care of the altar, its furnishings, the communion vessels and the flowers;
- Servers Guild members assist the clergy during the Eucharist;
- Wardens and Sidespersons greet all who come to worship (see above) as well as assist anyone at the Welcome Table;
- Readers read text from the Old and New Testaments to proclaim the Word (see above);
- Intercessors lead the congregation in prayer during the Prayers of the Faithful;
- Communion Assistants assist clergy during the distribution of the sacramental bread and wine during the Eucharist;
- Wheelchair Brigadiers help as required so that all may meet at the altar;
- Coffee Makers enable the social time after the Sunday service in the Parish Hall; and
- Tower Bell Ringers ring the tower bell prior to and concluding worship services sending out the message to the broader community that St John’s is open and welcome to all.
Weekly, at least twenty Rosterians volunteer their time to perform these duties during the Sunday services. Currently, there are 82 Rosterians. Please consider this an invitation to participate in Sunday Ministries at St John’s. Speak with either the Rector, the Rector’s or People’s Wardens, the Parish Administrator or Krister Partel for more information.
Readers: The Proclamation of the Word is a principle moment during the liturgy. It is the moment when the congregation listens attentively to “the Word of the Lord” and “what the Spirit is saying to the Church”. Readers are asked to prepare for this task each Sunday by having practiced reading aloud the lesson they will proclaim, and having reflected prayerfully upon its meaning. St John’s is very fortunate to have 29 men and women who are dedicated to this ministry of public proclamation, and we thank God for the time and energy they devote to enhancing our liturgy.
Sidespeople: Each Sunday four sidespeople are organized under the direction of the Duty Warden. They greet those entering the nave and transept and hand out pew bulletins, collect the offering and participate in the procession carrying to the altar the elements of bread and wine for consecration, the collection and donated gifts for the food bank. During the administration of the Eucharist they ensure the orderly flow of those receiving communion. After the service they may be asked to secure the collection or to tidy up the pews. Serving as a sidesperson is an excellent way to know your fellow parishioners. St John’s is blessed to have 28 dedicated individuals who volunteer their time welcoming those who entre our church and offering assistance to those who need it.
At 9 a.m. most Sunday mornings, a small group gathers to share through the reading of Holy Scripture. Most Sundays, the group reads together the lections appointed for that day, and discuss the readings informally. The Bible Study Group is an opportunity for open sharing – our experiences of life, our own personal stories while discussing that which resonates with us in our common sacred story found in Scripture. It is a time for sharing. We would be delighted if more would come join us for fellowship before Sunday morning worship.
We have had another enthusiastic year of ringing the Tower Bell for regular Sunday services, special community events, and weddings. We also tolled the bell following funeral and memorial services.
Although we have a faithful and supportive group of parishioners of all ages on the roster, we always welcome new recruits. If you are interested in learning more about ringing the Tower Bell, please contact Glen Robinson.
The worship committee, which is made up of those who work to put on the Liturgy, has worked very hard with lots of help from the congregation to make our liturgy run smoothly in the new configuration of the nave.
It was also an inspiration of someone on the worship committee to do the conversations during homily time on the subject of the Millenium Development Goals.
The worship committee is now working exclusively on a new re-write of the St John's Rite. It has been several years since this rite was produced and the suggestion came from a member of the parish to work on this.