Parish Ministries

St. John’s Parish Ministries

Please join us in serving God through St John’s Parish! (You are invited to join one or more of these ministries at any time.  Please send email to the Parish Office, or phone the Parish Office at 607-273-6532)

Parish Ministries
Acolytes Hospitality Personnel
Altar Guild Liturgical Planning Property
Communications Mission Stewardship
Education Music Other Ministries
Finance & Proxy Review Pastoral Care


Acolytes are people who assist with services at St. John’s.  The word “acolyte” is derived from the Greek ancient word “akolouthos”, which means “attendant” or “helper”.

At St. John’s, acolytes are responsible for lighting the candles before the start of church services and for extinguishing the candles at the end of the services.   Acolytes also serve in several other significant duties. One acolyte, known as the crucifier, carries a long staff topped with a cross. Two acolytes known, as torchbearers, walk two steps behind the crucifier and carry mounted candles.  Another acolyte, known as the server, carries a Bible from which the priest reads the Gospel.

An acolyte known as the server assists in the preparation of the communion table.   The server is usually responsible for passing the sacred vessels to the priest as he or she consecrates the elements of the Eucharist. After communion is finished, acolytes are responsible for clearing the altar.

An acolyte also receives the offering from the congregation at each service and presents it to the priest.

People of any age are welcome to serve as acolytes at St. John’s.

Contact: Amber Crowley

Altar Guild:

Members of this ministry are servants of the liturgy.  This ministry involves preparing St. John’s worship space with the furnishings, vessels, elements and linens used in all of its services.   At the heart of the altar guild ministry is the mission to reach out and welcome folks through care-filled preparation and hospitality and to enable them to feel peace and harmony when they enter St. John’s sanctuary.

While altar guilds can trace their roots to the women who cared for Jesus, at various times in the history of our church altar guilds have been composed exclusively of men or exclusively of women.  Today, anyone can be a member of the altar guild.  Anyone, men or women, young or old, may have a vocation for altar guild service.

Joining the altar guild means learning many fascinating aspects of church tradition, including the esoteric names for all the various vessels, vestments and linens we use in worship.  Most importantly, serving on the altar guild is a spiritual exercise. Caring for the altar is a way to act out our relationship with God.  It is quiet, prayerful work.

You don’t have to have any experience to join the altar guild. Your training will consist of hands on instruction from experienced altar guild members, plus some background reading.

Contact: Susie Backstrom


  • Prepare press releases about St. John’s
  • Write articles, take photos and lend tech support for the parish newsletter and website
  • Help with the design and maintenance of the parish website
  • Develop other publications and means of communicating, within the parish and to the larger community.
  • Advises the vestry and Rector about the information technology needs of the parish and parish office

Contact: Jamie Parris

Education (Christian Formation):

  • Help develop or provide Christian education for all ages
  • Teach children’s Sunday School
  • Serve as a mentor in education classes for junior and senior high students
  • Help teach the class for special needs adults
  • Participate in adult Bible study on Sunday mornings
  • Enroll in Education for Ministry

Contact: Muriel Everhart

Finance & Proxy Review:

  • Serve as a counter for Sunday offerings
  • Monitor appropriate procedures for fund deposits
  • Review St. John’s monthly financial statements for the Vestry
  • Assist in preparing the proposed annual church budget
  • Review St. John’s stock proxies from the perspective of our role as a Christian community and our call to be socially responsible
  • Recommend voting positions on proxies to the Vestry

Contact: Mary Arlin


  • Participate in welcoming newcomers to St. John’s
  • Serve as a greeter at church services
  • Be a coffee hour host or baker
  • Plan or participate in parish meals and other parish social events

Contact: Margaret Johnson

Liturgical Planning:

  • In cooperation with the Rector, plan and execute special worship services
  • Serve as a reader of the first lesson, the Epistle or the Prayers of the People at worship services
  • Serve as a chalice bearer at communion services
  • Serve as an acolyte, crucifer or torch bearer
  • Serve on the Altar Guild
  • Arrange for flowers and candles to adorn God’s altar

Eucharistic Ministers must be 21 years of age or over.

Contact: Pam Talbott


Identify and link opportunities for parishioners to serve beyond our church walls (including participation in local programs such as Loaves and Fishes, Area Congregations Together (ACT), Kitchen Cupboard and Christmas gifts to needy persons, and in wider-scope activities such as Love Knows No Bounds (LKNB), Feed My Starving Children, United Thank Offering (UTO), and Episcopal Peace Fellowship)

Contact: John Jackson or Matthew Sanaker


Our music ministry embraces all who attend our sung services. The voice of the congregation is supported by our 40-rank pipe organ and enhanced by our Chancel Choir, a four-part ensemble that offers weekly anthems. The Balcony Bells play regularly in select services. Our multi-generational choral and handbell groups offer a spiritual context for fellowship in their rehearsal and worship life. Both ensembles warmly welcome and support new members. St. John’s nurtures the rich tradition of Anglican music and shares the American legacy of folk hymns and spirituals. All members, friends, and guests are invited to share in renewing and affirming this transcendent heritage every week.
More information: Music

Contact: Karen Hindenlang (Director of Music)

Pastoral Care:

  • Develop and promote an environment for parishioners to care for one another
  • Make hospital and home visits to shut-ins and the sick
  • Send birthday, get-well and seasonal greeting cards to home-bound parishioners
  • Knit or crochet lap robes and shawls for the sick, shut-ins and newborns
  • Bring communion to sick or home-bound parishioners
  • Bring altar flowers to sick or home-bound parishioners

This ministry promotes an aware and loving environment for our parish family to care for one another, giving us opportunities both to give and to receive.

Contact: Lisa Tatusko


  • Review and prepare compensation benefit packages and job descriptions for lay employees
  • Assist the Rector with interviewing and hiring new lay employees

Contact: Sara Van Looy 


  • Ensure that St. John’s buildings, grounds and facilities are repaired, equipped and maintained

Contact: Brett Oakes


  • Educate the congregation about being stewards of God’s gifts.
  • Plan and roll out the annual pledge drive
  • Develop and implement new forms of financial support, such as planned giving

The Episcopal Church sees stewardship as more than simply contributing money to the church; it is also about contributing time and talents, and volunteering for ministry and mission.   It is about reaching out to build relationships from a perspective of abundance instead of scarcity

Contact: Michael Roman 

Other Ministries: