“A Picture of the Parish”
by Taryn Chubb (a former Senior Warden)
For me, the essence of St. John’s is the people who make up the congregation. It reminds me of a Jackson Pollock painting. At first glance, it draws you in with a variety of colors and shapes all woven together in a complex pattern, but then it begins to seem complicated and chaotic—there is a lot going on at once and things are constantly shifting, as they do in this community. It is only when one takes a deep breath, looks closer, and begins to distinguish all of the colors, lines, and shapes that the whole makes sense. Nothing is linear, nothing is perfect, and you see something new every time you take another look. There is evidence of our success in programs and ministries that work well just as there is ample evidence of our imperfections and failures. What gives me hope for the future is that the colors, lines, and shapes continually shift and intersect, but they always work together to reveal new ideas and new opportunities. A lot of people dismiss Pollock’s paintings as too complicated to take a second look, but the beauty of his work is that it demands prolonged contemplation and new ways of thinking. This congregation is a lot like that for me—sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks that must be completed, the programs and ministries that need to be improved, and the people and places that we are called to serve, but I feel immense satisfaction when we find new ways to work together to accomplish some of these goals, even if it takes a while.
St. John’s is known in the larger community as the place where the hungry are fed.
We have been blessed to host Loaves & Fishes, an ecumenical ministry of hospitality and advocacy, since its inception in 1983. Over 2,500 free meals are served each month, five days a week. You may wish to volunteer in the kitchen, but you are more than welcome just to come and eat and offer the gift of simple companionship.
Like Ithaca, parish life at St. John’s continually changes. We have an Outreach Committee and we seek to respond and to feed the hungry on many levels. This year we will have had a Lenten Book study.
Social events, a function of the Fellowship Committee, have included parish breakfasts & suppers, picnics, goods and personal services auction, cookbook parties, Mardi Gras, and Advent Events.
Coffee hours after both Sunday services are a good way to discover the variety of opportunities at St. John’s. We serve punch, coffee and tea, and a variety of finger food, much of it baked in parishioners’ kitchens.
You may wish to join such traditional groups such as Altar Guild or Episcopal Church Women, or you may wish to suggest forming an entirely new group or activity. At St. John’s we change and are changed!
Opportunities for joining in efforts of the Pastoral Care Committee to keep in touch with homebound parishioners are many. They include sending cards, knitting shawls, delivering flowers and/or communion, giving rides, or making and delivering meals.
Ecumenical Activities: St. John’s also participates with other people of faith in outreach activities by participating in the Kitchen Cupboard, our local food pantry, and in the annual CROP Walk. The downtown churches sponsor an annual Good Friday series of services.