Building Community

St Paul describes the Church as the Body of Christ.  He uses this analogy in order to point to how the members of the Church should work together as one, help each other when one member is weak and when another member is strong, rejoice together, weep together, grow together, learn together, experience Christ together.  In order for the Church to truly function this way, there needs to be true community.  We commune with each other each time we partake of the Eucharist, but are we also living out that communion through the rest of our lives?  In many cases, absolutely!  We have a truly lovely community!  In others, we need work.
In order to help to build up community, we will be implementing a couple of new things.  One is a new weekly schedule and the other is a “Meet Our Family” initiative.

New Schedule – Beginning in September
Tuesday @ 5:30 pm – Each Tuesday we will have a non-fasting dinner and fellowship together.  Following dinner, at around 6:15 there will be a time for teaching for all ages.  The youngest will be able to go to the atrium and the older ages will have specific lessons for them with an adult teaching as well.  Following the lessons, families are welcome to connect with each other and continue to fellowship at the Church.  On one Tuesday a month, we will not have a lesson but have an evening of simply dinner, games and fellowship.

Wednesday @ 6 pm – Vespers – It is good and important for us to have regular opportunities to pray together during the week.
Lord willing, this new format will allow for added times of communal prayer, fellowship, conversation, and learning together to continue to build up community.

“Meet Our Family”
Many of us love to look at the wall of pictures in the hallway heading to St Raphael Hall.  These pictures help us to learn about the members of our Church.  In order to continue to facilitate getting to know individual members and families, in our weekly email update we will be spotlighting a different family in the Church.  Participation is completely voluntary.  There will be a questionnaire that each family can fill out and submit a picture.  Lord willing, this will continue to help us know a little more about the people we commune with each week!


May God continue to strengthen and grow our Church community!

Family Fun Night

Our final Family Fun Night of the summer will be Tuesday, August 27.  Rather than having an event at the church, we will have a movie night at Malco Ridgeway to see Parallel Love.  Parallel Love is the story of the 1990’s band, Luxury, and their journey which led 3 of its members to become Orthodox priests.  Tickets are available at the door or for advanced purchase at Malco.



Baby Elliott is home and the Elliott, family of 5, is ready to receive mercy meals.  If you would like to provide a meal, you may sign up using this link.

Many years, Elliott family!

Dormition Fast begins August 1

The DORMITION FAST lasts from August 1 through 14th.  The traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine and oil) is observed during this fast with katalysis for wine and oil on Saturdays and Sundays, and for fish, wine and oil on the Transfiguration [August 6th].

Click here for service schedules for Paraklesis and Vespers during the fast.

Catechumen/Inquirers Class

Tuesday, August 20 at 7:00 p.m.   Catechumen/Inquirers class is open to anyone interested in learning more about our faith.


Family Fun Nights

Join us for a night of grilling and games on  Tuesday, July 30.  Grills will be fired up and ready to go at 5:30 p.m.  Burgers and hot dogs will be provided – we do ask each family to contribute a side or dessert to share.  BYOB.

Sacristan Garden

What is the Sacristan Garden?  It is a garden or gardens planted by the sacristan – or, in our case, members of the parish – full of beautiful plants and flowers with Biblical meaning.  St. John is blessed with a group who feels strongly about sharing our Sacristan Garden with others, especially children.  All are welcome to help work in the garden itself, and all are welcome to cut the flowers and bring them into the church.  Contact Sarah Ortwein or Lynda Spinolo with any questions.

Sacristan Garden Events

  • August – (Christ-centered) Fairy-tales and Flowers  – During Orthros throughout the month of August, all children are invited to come  to hear stories of the flowers contained in our garden.

The Sacristan Garden is looking for the following donations:

  • Lenten Roses
  • Obedient Plant (can be found at Memphis Botanic Garden)
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Natural dog/animal repellent
  • Cotton Burr Compost (Back to Nature brand)
  • Materials for breezeway shrine (see Sarah Ortwein)
  • Icons:  Joy of All Who Sorrow and Let the Little Children Come Unto Me
  • Monetary Donations:  If you would like to donate financially to the garden, please make the check out to St. John Orthodox Church with SACRISTAN GARDEN in the memo line.

Teen Group

  • Tuesday 6/18 – Family night! Come join us at the Church for games, food, and fellowship! The evening starts at 5:30 and we will be grilling hotdogs and hamburgers. Bring a side dish to contribute if you would like.
  • Wednesday 6/19 – Teen group following vespers with dinner. I am hoping we can do our discussion on community but I’d like to do that with everyone there. Please encourage your teens to come if they are free.
  • Sunday 6/23 – The Harvey’s have invited the teen group over to their house to celebrate Fiona’s birthday together! They will be grilling and will have games as well. the plan is to go straight from coffee hour and for teens to be picked back up at their house. The address is 3687 Philwood Ave.


  • Thursday 6/27 – Pool party to really celebrate the start of summer! The Williams have offered to host and I am confirming that with Mindy. The plan is to start the party at 6:00pm.
  • Sunday 6/30 – Camp St Thekla! We are leaving from the Church at 6:00am to try and be at camp by 3:00 for all who are riding in the van. Let me know if there are any further questions about this.

Book Clubs

AWSJ Book Club will meet Monday, July 1, 7:00 p.m. at Kh. Pamela’s home.  They will be discussing A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Church School

The final day of Church School for the school year will be Sunday, May 19.  We will resume in September.  Thank you for sharing your children with us!