Newsletter & Events
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June 1, 2014, 12:00 AM

The Rev. Danny Schieffler, June 7, a way to "Let go and let God"

Saturday, June 7th, St. John’s will hold a workshop on prayer led by the Rev. Danny Schieffler from St. Mark’s Little Rock.  Danny will focus on centering prayer also known as prayer of the heart.

The workshop will be from 9:00 am on Saturday, June 7 until noon.   It will begin with a talk by Danny on centering prayer  followed by a 20 minute practice session.  We will break for light refreshments followed by discussion.  Danny will conclude with a brief talk and another practice session on what we have learned.  He is also bringing books that we might be interested in reading.  The most famous book on centering prayer is Cloud of Unknowing, by an unknown 14th century author. It is a form of Christian contemplation that provides an opportunity to sit quietly in God’s presence in loving awareness.  The workshop is from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon with a short break in the middle.

When asked to characterize the impact of centering prayer in his life, Danny simply summarized, "Other than the Eucharist, centering prayer has helped my spiritual life more than anything I have ever done. For nearly 20 years, it has been a way for me to 'let go and let God' and find a peace that passes all understanding." That speaks for itself, and it also tells us what a treat this will be for us at St. John's to have one of our own return to teach and share this powerfull personal committment and vision.

The class will be conducted in the undercroft. We hope you will clear your calendar and plan to attend!


More information can be found at this website:

"Centering Prayer is a receptive, deep method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him.

The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of Centering Prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love."

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April 28, 2014, 4:48 PM

Musing on Easter lections

Many of our readings in this first part of the Easter season highlight how truly seeing something can lead to inner conviction, followed by profound change in our lives.  This past Sunday, this was the case in the classic account of the apostle Thomas' encounter with the risen Lord.  This coming Sunday, the same theme applies.  In the reading from Acts, Peter intends for his fellow Israelites to see, as he has, the truth of the gospel:  " . . . let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him [Jesus] both Lord and Messiah . . . ." (2:36)  According to Luke (the author of Acts), his audience's eyes were opened.  They were "cut to the heart" by Peter's message.  When they asked Peter what they should do, he said they should repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.  Once again, as with Thomas, profound change came from seeing the truth and being inwardly convinced.

This coming Sunday's gospel also seems to bear out this theme.  Disciples walking toward Emmaus on Easter afternoon at first do not recognize the risen Christ when he joins them.  It was only after Jesus had opened up the scriptures to them and had blessed and broken bread with them that "their eyes were opened" and they saw the truth.  Looking back on the day, they reflected that their hearts had indeed burned within them "while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us."  Inner conviction came with the breaking of the bread (they "saw").  Then they knew joy beyond anything they had experienced before and their lives were forever changed.

Perhaps on Sunday I'll preach about how God lures us, one way or another, into seeing the truth and allowing our lives to be turned around, based on that truth.


April 18, 2014, 3:37 PM

Easter Message From Bishop Benfield

Bishop Benfield  grabs our attention with this:

     "Ongoing Easter" - A Message from Bishop Benfield

     "Easter is not an historical event. Does that comment shock you? Have I gotten your attention? I hope so...."

Read his message here:



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April 2, 2014, 12:03 PM

Wednesday Night Study Group

We are having a great time in the Wednesday night group. Tonight will be our fourth meeting, and I think most will agree that the video presentations have been very interesting, and our discussions following the video have been thoughtful, engaged, and occasionally emotional.

If you missed the first three meetings, let me explain why tonight would be a good time to jump on board. Meeting #1 was a broad overview of the course, which runs twenty-four lectures total. Meetings #2 and 3 dealt with the making of the hebrew scriptures which we call the Old Testament. Tonight we will jump into "The Birth of the Christian Bible", which goes fast and covers a lot of ground in thirty minutes. Our discussion always starts with the video which we have just watched together, so everyone starts out on an equal footing.

There is never any homework or assigned reading, and no one will ever be called on or put on the spot for an answer. We do frequently have suggested material for "going further", so you can get as much out of this course as you put into it. We gather after Holy Eucharist on Wednesday, and start the presentation promptly at 6:30. We have coffee, but please bring your own sandwich,  snack and/or soft drink. We should finish by 7:45.




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April 1, 2014, 4:25 PM


I don't yet know how, in my Sunday sermon, I will approach the gospel text about the raising of Lazarus (John 11: 1-45).  However, there may be food for thought in Jacob Epstein's sculptural representation of Lazarus, bound with strips of cloth, after Jesus called him out of the tomb.  I saw this in 1979 in the chapel of New College, Oxford, when my college choir was touring England.  Obviously, it left a lasting impression on me.

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