St. John’s Weekly Newsletter

St. John’s Weekly May 24 – 30, 2021

1994 Mountain Road (P.O. Box 1175)
Stowe, VT

Sunday Online Morning Worship Service 10:00am


Our Mission is to be a welcoming Christian community of faith, loving and forgiving, questioning and learning, inviting and serving.

For the most up-to-date information, click on  “Worship and Activity Center



View the diocesan newsletter at:

Church Office and Pastoral Care

Contacts: Church office at 802-253-7578, Fr. Rick Swanson at 802-760-7787, Deacon Zarina at 802-535-7117 or Senior Warden, Dick Kraemer at

Thank you for your continuing support and generosity to St. John’s in the Mountains through your weekly, monthly or quarterly pledge.

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St. John’s in the Mountains, P.O. Box 1175 , Stowe, VT 05672

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The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Celebrated on May 31

Detail of Visitation by Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445

It is hard to imagine what was likely a twelve to fourteen year old Mary taking off alone into the Judean hillside on a four-day journey, even if it was to visit her cousin Elizabeth as two mothers-to-be. Many assume that this meeting was not specifically historical, but a literary and theological device used by Luke to bring the two together so that both may praise the God active in their lives and establish John, Elizabeth’s son, as Jesus’ precursor.

None of this reduces the magic and delight of the scene, however. I find that every time I read it I have womb envy. It reminds me of Jacob and Esau “leaping” as they struggled in Rebekah’s womb, portending future relationships and the movement of God always on the arc of the liberation of God’s people. Even the encounter of Mary and Elizabeth is rife with themes of liberation.

On the darker side it all has the scent of crisis moments found in the Hebrew Scriptures surrounding the Exodus saga. Mary flees much as Moses fled after his crime. She is “untimely pregnant,” outside of the likely clan arrangement of her day. Her pregnancy is an affront to the social and religious order and therefore a crime punishable by death. In the midst of it all, God is delivering into history the great liberator and prince of peace, Jesus the Christ. Light is promised.

Singing in exaltation infuses the moment as Elizabeth cries out her hymn, “Hail Mary.” Mary responds with the great hymn of liberation we know as the “Magnificat,” again connecting us to our Jewish roots through Hannah’s song of praise for God’s great acts of setting God’s people free. . . .
Mary and Elizabeth were open to the God-surprise in their own life circumstance. Each day gives us an opportunity to offer ourselves to this same possibility. We might even find ourselves singing new songs of hope and liberation for all God’s people.

Bishop Skip
The Right Reverend Gladstone B. Adams III

Magnificat, The Canticle of Mary


Artists: Jackie Francois and John Michael Talbot

Week’s Schedule

See Meeting and Service Zoom Log In Information Below or
on the St. John’s in the Mountains web site

WEDNESDAY, May 26, 2021
Zoom Lunch at 12:00pm noon
Lectionary Study at 3:00pm
Compline at 8:00pm

THURSDAY, May 27, 2021
Spirituality Group at 10:00am

SUNDAY, May 30, 2021
Sunday Zoom Worship Service at 10:00am
Coffee Hour

Liturgical Schedule

Sunday, May 30, 2021
Celebrant & Preacher — The Rev. Rick Swanson
Deacon — The Rev. Zarina Suárez O’Hagin
Intercessor and Lay Minister — Maria Davies
Lectors — Stephen Patching and Janet Patching
PowerPoint Service Technician — Janet



Sunday Reflection May 16, 2021

Father Rick Swanson reflects on the High Priestly Prayer in John 17 as Jesus raises up to God about his hope for us in all of life and how we can draw from it was re re-emerge as the COVID pandemic eases.

Fr. Rick sharing news from the . . .


From Fr. Rick.
St. Martin’s in the Fields during COVID.

We have a parishioner, GED Denning who attends St. Martin’s in the Fields.


Update from Bishop Shannon
and the Diocesan Restart Team

May 19, 2021

Dear People of God in the Diocese of Vermont,

Our state is continuing to make progress in curtailing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that means we can loosen some of the restrictions the Restart Team and I have put in place to help keep members of the diocese safe as we continue our common life together.

Please read the Congregational Restart Requirements for Phase 4 for complete information.

Congregations with an approved Phase 4 plan are now welcome to hold indoor and outdoor worship—including Holy Communion—in person. I am also permitting such congregations to conduct in-person meetings, both indoors and out.

The Restart Team and I are excited by this progress, and if infection rates continue to fall and vaccination rates continue to rise, we may soon be able to loosen other restrictions. Please remember, however, that we must continue to care for the more vulnerable among us. Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, and no child between the ages of 12 and 15 has had the chance to develop full immunity, even if they have been vaccinated. It is also the case that some of our members have medical conditions that make receiving the vaccine inadvisable. Because we do not expect our congregations to ask members and visitors whether they have been vaccinated—and because everyone must be welcome in our churches—we must continue to observe 6 feet of social distancing whether gathering for worship or some other purpose. We must also continue to wear masks both indoors and outdoors, except when we are receiving Communion or singing as part of a choir.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who has worked so hard during this pandemic to keep others safe, and to keep vital ministries functioning, and to keep the faith of our diocese strong.

Please reach out to the Restart Team if you have any questions or need clarification.

Peace and blessings,

Bishop Shannon


Launching a Dream Project:
Concert for the Human Family

Join us for a behind the scenes look at the two-year process of bringing the Concert for the Human Family series to the stage. In this first episode, we’re at the The Episcopal Church’s church center in New York City, where composer and pianist Kory Caudill meets with Canon Stephanie Spellers, Sandra Montes, and Jeremy Tackett to begin the process of crafting a concert experience around the Church’s Becoming Beloved Community initiative and the Book of Common Prayer’s Prayer for the Human Family.

Reserve your FREE tickets today for the first Concert for the Human Family – “In These Uncertain Times…” A virtual concert event with Kory Caudill feat. Wordsmith, filmed live at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral and streaming online May 22 at 6p ET.

With your reservation, you’ll also receive a link to an exclusive post-concert Zoom conversation with the concert series creators, hosted by Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry. Full details and tickets available here:


Visit St. John’s of the Mountains Facebook

For many update, articles and daily thoughts on life and faith.


Please keep Carole, Jean, Bernice, Peter, Janet, Ann, Marcia, Joan and David, Bill and Elaine Robinson, Kristen, Gail, Zarina’s mother, Adam, Ethel, Bidi, Sarah Morse’s nephew, David Sullivan, Paul, Lindsey, Leslie, Louise, Diane & Eliot and those who have contracted Covid-19 and their families. We pray that God’s healing hands be upon them.

We pray for all those who have passed away and for their families.

From SJW Editor: Please email or call Barbara Cunningham with additions or deletions to the Prayer List. or 802-253-3911

Sharing and Caring . . .

From Deb Clark. This is a wonderful reading and poem I thought you might want to include in SJW for Pentecost. From the Church of the Woods reading for this week!

Fire Lizard

In the past ten days, all of a sudden, these woods have become green after their long season of grey. New leaves are bursting open, spring wildflowers appearing, insects hatching, birds calling, and peepers peeping. Everything feels vibrant and alive. It is the season of new life.

In the beginning, as the Book of Genesis tells us, a wind from God blew over the face of the deep. The Hebrew word for wind, ruach, which also means breath and Spirit, communicates more fully than our three separate English words the utter mystery of the Holy Spirit. Ephemeral and invisible, Breath is what keeps us alive, literally from minute to minute. Without windspiritbreath, there is no life.

This Sunday, May 23, we celebrate the feast of Pentecost when the Spirit blows over the gathered disciples of the departed Jesus. As Luke’s gospel tells us:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability. (2: 1-4)

Among the many miracles that I perceive regularly at Church of the Woods, among the most startling is Fire Lizard. The first of the season appeared a couple of weeks ago, on a day both moist and mild, once the ground had warmed up. Now, on a rainy day, they are all over the place.

These magical, mystical creatures, colloquially called red efts, are the juvenile stage of the eastern newt, a salamander that occurs widely in the forests of eastern North America. I’m grateful for this biological knowledge, but drawn even more to the magical. The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that the name “salamander” is from the 14 century, meaning “legendary lizard-like creature that can live in fire,” from Old French salamandre “legendary fire beast.” No wonder they appear in these woods around the time of Pentecost!

Red efts display their in-dwelling fire through their coloration. Leaves in the fall do it through shedding their green pigments to reveal blazing orange and red. We mere humans we have to do it through more subtle energies — spiritual energies. Our spiritual fire may be less visible than that of the fire dragon, but as we let the Spirit feed our holy flames, we can blaze even more brightly.

To do so, we must trust and believe that the Holy Spirit burns hot within us — even when we don’t feel it. Breathe! and welcome the Spirit deep within.

yours, in the Fire of Love, from the poustinia,


The Faith and Race group (unofficial name) would like to start a reading group for anyone in the parish who might be interested. This would happen this summer. The book is The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice (96 pages) by Fania E. Davis.
More info to follow. Please contact Zarina if you are interested in participating.
Duncan Tingle
St. John’s Church Directory

If you would like a copy of the updated St. John’s Church Directory, please send email with your request to Barbara Cunningham. The Directory will be sent to you via email. If you need a printed copy of the directory, just let Barbara know and she will print and mail you a copy.

Finally, if you see errors or omissions, please let Barbara know so a correction can be made. Thank you.

Clothing for Refugees

Shalom Shuk is not taking clothes for refugees at this time.


Birthdays & Anniversaries in May


May 5 — Tom Gouert
May 10 — Peter Hoffman
May 10 — Ruth Matthews
May 11 – Evangeline Vandenberg
May 11 — Noah Vandenberg
May 12 — Carl Huber
May 13 — Griffin Johnson
May 13 — Mark Vandenberg
May 17 — Jean O’Rourke
May 29 — Toby Heidenreich


May 20 — Merry and Grady Vigneau
May 22 — Susu and Gordie Brown
May 24 — Carole and Tom Younkman
May 30 — Rachel and Mark Vandenberg
May 31 — Elizabeth and Bruce Hoffman

Sunday Zoom Worship at 10:00am

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Meeting ID: 838 8310 5723
Passcode: 802

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Meeting ID: 838 8310 5723
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St. John’s Knitters at 7:00pm

Second Tuesday of Every Month

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Vestry – Third Tuesday of the Month at 6:00pm

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Zoom Lunch / Chat ~ Wednesday at 12:00pm Noon


Come to lunch at noon. Sign onto Zoom, sit down with a sandwich and beverage and enjoy an informal chat with friends at St. John’s and from communities near and far. (Hosted by the Pastoral Care Group)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 893 2192 3442
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Lectionary Study at 3:00pm
Compline at 8:00pm

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Meeting ID: 817 3986 7194

Passcode: 802

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Women’s Spirituality ~ 10:00am to 12:00pm

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Meeting ID: 821 2132 8314
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Parish Contacts

If you have questions or concerns about our parish, or have a pastoral emergency, please contact:

Fr. Rick Swanson Rector
Zarina Suárez O’Hagin Deacon




Dick Kraemer, Senior Warden



  Bill Robinson, People’s Warden




Nancy Johnson, Theologian-in-Residence







2020 Officers and Members of the Vestry
Dick Kraemer (Senior Warden), Janet Patching (Treasurer), Maria Davies, Bill Robinson, Jerry Wood, Courtney Olmsted