The Fledgling--Week of December 18, 2020

From Mother Megan:

(Thank you all for your kind wishes and prayers!  With two negative covid tests under our belts, I can jubilantly say that Ben and I are officially back safe and sound from Missouri.)

This week, we have the annual St. John's Advent Lessons and Carols.  This is always a wonderful occasion--made all the more poignant this year by the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

One of the carols our choir will include is an arrangement of Adam Lay Ybounden.  I really like this carol, both because it's one of the more famous Anglican choral works (you always hear it during Lessons and Carols from Kings College on Christmas Eve), and because it's a wonderful, strange text.

From all we can gather, the text of the carol is from at least the 15th century, though it probably dates earlier in oral tradition.  The words describe a medieval belief that Adam (and Eve, one guesses) spent 4,000 years bound in hell after the Fall in the Garden, until such time as Christ descended into hell and brought them out.  All of this was for an apple, the text marvels, with the implication that it might have been some divine overkill.

However, the text goes on to assert something that we don't hear often--if the apple had never been eaten, then never would Mary have had cause to bear the holy Child--and for this reason, we may sing, Thanks be to God.  Essentially, it flips original sin on its head, and rejoices that even our faults become the site of God's redemption. 

This isn't as wacky as it might immediately sound--Thomas Aquinas (again, 15th century) mused that stealing the apple was "Felix culpa".  But it's also not a strand of thought we in the modern church hear much of.  It's easier by far to categorize sin as a simple shameful thing, rather than a complex mechanism that eventually brings about God's glorious redemption.  

Truth is, perhaps, that both are true.  That God somehow, even in the midst of our poor choices and our stumbling, manages to bring something even more glorious out of it.  And that, while we can still regret and lament the consequences of our sins, that God's work in the world is entirely unhampered by our human mischief.  God brings about humanity's redemption and flourishing whether or not we manage to get it all perfect.  

So, as we approach the waning days before Christmas, rest assured in the knowledge that Christ appears in our world, whether or not we achieve perfection--or even mediocrity!--in these times.  Christ appears just by his own power, and his own deep, boundless love.

If you have a submission to the Fledgling, send it to the office by Thursday morning for inclusion on Friday.  Bulletin announcements should be into the office by Wednesday morning.
  • If you know of someone who would like to receive the Fledgling, please send their email to the office. 

Prayer for the week

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen..

Readings for the week 

Have you had coffee/tea/hot cider with Mtr Megan?  Send me an email and we'll set up Skype/Facetime and chat!  It's fun (I promise) and we can still meet while we're staying safe right now.
Re-Gathering at St. John's

ADVENT LESSONS & CAROLS NEWS - Sunday, December 20, at 10:30, our Cyber Choirs and parish musicians offer an online service blending scripture and song in worship as we prepare for the Birth of Jesus.

Incarnational News: We will have two Christmas Eve services.  The 5pm service will be live-streamed from the sanctuary, and will be Evening Prayer.
 The 7pm service will be prerecorded, and feature choral music and beloved sing-along carols. We will also have a live-streamed Morning Prayer on Christmas Day at 10:30am from the sanctuary.

The diocese will also have a Christmas Eve service (including music from our stellar choir and music director!) at 4pm.

Very Silly News: A few brave parishioners have been hard at work on a Christmas Pageant, to brighten this dim season of 2020.  Look for its appearing on FB and YouTube on Monday, Dec 21. 

Envelopes are here! If you regularly use stewardship envelopes, it is likely we ordered them for you for 2021. Please contact the office to arrange how we can get them to you.

We are wrapping up our Annual Stewardship Campaign over the next few weeks.  If you haven't returned your Pledge card, please drop it by the Office, or put it in the mail.  If you need another pledge card, email AnnMarie and she will send you one.  

Most of all, thank you to everyone for your prayers, your faithfulness, and your support of the work we do at St. John's.
Laundry Love Returns!
We are working to re-open Laundry Love, in a pandemic-safe way.  If you would like to volunteer, and help our neighbors obtain clean clothes in these uncertain times, please send the office an email.  Because Loaves and Fishes is no longer serving in person, our hours for LL may change from when we were previously open, but by getting on the volunteer list now, you can ensure that you'll be the first to know!  
Schedule this week:

Daily Morning Prayer: 9:30am on FB Live and YouTube Live 

Adult Education:  9am: Reclaiming the Book of Revelation:  Zoom link here

Sunday Morning Worship: 10:30 on Facebook Live or YouTube Live

Wednesday Evening Eucharist: On Pause due to bishop's directive

Virtual Coffee hour Zoom at 11:30am (We have a new Zoom Link!  It's below!)
NEW Zoom link here.  

Adult Forum is unpacking the book of Revelation!  Ever wonder about the apocalypse?  Worried 2020 might be it?  Come ask any and all questions as we dive deep into the scariest/most misunderstood book of the Bible!  The book we will be reading alongside is Barbara Rossing's Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation   Everyone is welcome!  Zoom link is here
Important Announcement:
IN PREPARATION FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING IN JANUARY 2021 please take note that qualified voters are defined by NYS law and the canons of the Diocese as follows: persons of full age belonging to the parish, who have been baptized and are in regular attendance at its worship and contributors to its support for at least twelve months prior (i.e., since January 2020).
            If you have any question about your membership at St. John's, please contact AnnMarie in the office for clarification.  If you are new to St John's since February 2020, and have not yet transferred your membership in writing, please contact the office so that you will be eligible to vote in 2021.  If you have not been a regular contributor  (i.e. made and fulfilled a pledge or been a regular contributor of record), please contact the Treasurer (Mary Arlin) to rectify this before December 31.
            Anyone standing for election as a vestry member must meet these same qualifications.  Wardens and delegates must also be confirmed members of The Episcopal Church.

Annual Meeting will be held immediately following the service on January 21 via Zoom. 
Advent 4 Resources

Bulletin for Lessons and Carols is here
Online Prayerbook is here

Resources for Anti-Racism/Solidarity Work:

Are you in need of a new faith based podcast to listen to? Why not choose one from a voice from someone different than you?  There's this one, called Prophetic Resistance.  Give it a shot!

We're about to hit the new liturgical year, and that means resolutions.  If you want to do more intentional anti-racist work, but don't know where to start, check out My Work To Do: an online group for white folks who want to talk about race, but don't know how, or where to start.  (Bonus: it's pay what you want, too!)

Did you know about the Episcopal Public Policy Network? This is an office of the Episcopal Church in Washington DC that is responsible for conveying the values expressed by General Convention to federal lawmakers.  And you can help!  You can sign up to be informed about weekly actions they take here, and write your representatives with your concerns as a faithful member of the church. 


We will continue to post information on protests and ways to support in a timely fashion on the parish FB page.



Good Things:

Places for Spiritual refreshment:

Our beloved local Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers have an online concert coming up December 20th.  It looks to be a wonderful way to celebrate the approaching Christmas feast and to throw some support to a renowned local institution that, like all our non-profits, has been struggling throughout 2020.  More info here.

If you've noticed others posting about #AdventWords, they're participating in a global devotion out of Virginia Seminary.  (Same thing happens during Lent!). Every day, a word appears in your email, and you are asked to reflect on your faith in light of that word (drawn from the scripture for that day.) Get in on the fun here.  (Good for all ages!)

The Diocese of Jerusalem has put together an online Advent calendar featuring photos of its many ministries.  If you're in search of an Advent devotional, this might be right for you!  Check it out here.  

PHOTOS are needed to accompany some of the music in our online services. If you’ve shot some scenes in and around Ithaca that Karen could use with your permission, please send them to the church office; thank you!

SING with our Cyber Choirs and refine your vocal, musical, and technical skills while you serve our parish in worship.  Have a look here for more information!


How can I help?:

We have a few more slots available on our Parish Giving Tree.  Sign up here to take part in making Christmas happy for someone in our community. 

CHRISTMAS FLOWER MEMORIAL DONATIONS time is here! Please donate in memory of a loved one- just drop a note to the office. You can also donate on-line, and mark your donation "Christmas Flowers". Please e-mail names to The names will be published in the Christmas bulletins.

Loaves & Fishes Requests Donations for Holiday Gifts
Loaves & Fishes will continue its tradition of providing special foods and gifts during the December holiday season, despite having to serve meals to-go only due to COVID.  They are asking for help with donations of new adult hats, new adult gloves and homemade cookies.  
Starting December 1st, unwrapped new adult hats and gloves may be dropped off (contact free) at Loaves kitchen entrance, accessed through St. John’s parking lot.  Hours are every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 am-1:30 pm and Tuesday/Thursday 2:30 pm-7:00 pm.  Beginning December 17, cookie donations may be dropped off at the kitchen during the same hours.
For additional information or questions, email or call Katy Noonan.
To date, Loaves & Fishes has served 38,000 meals since the onset of the pandemic, 100% more than last year.

Loaves & Fishes has a pressing and ongoing need for community volunteers

Staff and volunteers are providing to-go meals for nearly 3 times more guests this year than last and this number is likely to stay high for the foreseeable future. L&F is strictly screening all volunteers to make sure that the workspace is safe for everyone. The minimum volunteer age for now is 25 with no upper age limit. For more info, click here  Or send an email to


Lots of ways to support St. John's!

We've partnered with to offer the option of online giving for St. John's. Go to the website at, and look for the donate button in the upper right corner. It's safe, secure, and VERY convenient!


You can also download the app on the iTunes store or Google Play store to your smartphone, and search for St. John's Episcopal Church, and give that way.  It will even set up automatic payments so you never have to remember your checkbook again!


Help support St. John's while you shop! If you are shopping on Amazon, use our unique link and Amazon will return 0.05% of your purchase price to St. John's.


Mtr Megan's sermons
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St. John's Episcopal Church · 210 N Cayuga St · Ithaca, NY 14850-4333 · USA

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