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Volume 28.1

St. Johns
United Church of Christ

St. Johns is a community of faith
centered in Jesus Christ, seeking
guidance and direction through the
Holy Spirit, and demonstrating
Gods love to all people in words
and deeds.

An Open and Affirming

503 Stuart Circle
Richmond, Virginia 23220
Telephone: 804.358.9291

Web Site:

Published monthly
2013 St Johns UCC

From Rev. Tom Gerstenlauer...
I was reviewing a list of
cathedrals in the world recently.
The information provided includ-
ed name, location, size, volume,
date of construction, and
denomination. All of this is
quite interesting, but of particular
interest to me were the last two
points of information. The oldest
cathedral on this list is called
Hagia Sophia. It is an Eastern
Orthodox church located in
Istanbul, Turkey and built in 537.

Thats right, the cathedral Hagia Sophia was built nearly 1500 years ago to serve the Eastern Orthodox
Church. It was the largest Christian place of worship for 1000 years following its completion. For much of
the 13
century it served as a Roman Catholic sanctuary, and then it was reclaimed by the Eastern Orthodox
church with which it remained until the mid-15
century when it was converted to a mosque. The cathedral
was secularized in 1935 and now serves as a museum.

I must admit that my research on this was partly motivated by simple curiosity. There is an obvious parallel
in that we occupy a large Christian place of worship in this part of the world. But here is a less obvious
comparison that I want to make for you here: like the Hagia Sophia, we are a sacred body experiencing
transition. Perhaps for the building in Istanbul the times of transition as a place of worship are finished, but
not so for St. Johns UCC in Richmond, Virginia. We are in the midst of a transitional period that will lead
to a new chapter in the vibrant life of this faith community.

This month you will see a history project of our own develop in the Guild Room across from the Fellowship
Hall downstairs. The purpose of this project is to provide a space where we can all participate in a review
of the history of building and transition that has made St. Johns what it is today. The purpose is also to
help the search committee and church leadership gain a sense of what we are becoming as a church and
what resources are available or needed in order to make it so. Resources meaning not only stone and
cement, by the way, but living stone in the sense employed by the writer of 1 Peter: Welcome to the
living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of
honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which
youll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. (vs 4-5, The Message)

Pastor Peter refers to Christ and those who have answered his call to discipleship as the substance of a
vibrant sanctuary. Today and in this place, we are the stuff of this ongoing construction, this cathedral-in-
transition. I invite you to watch for our history project as it begins and to find your piece or pieces to
contribute. It is vital to the work of your search committee but even more, to the work of Divine creation
that continues in this place.

The translation of the full Greek name of Hagia Sophia is Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God, which is
the second person of the Holy Trinity which is Christ. As those who have said Yes! to Gods
invitation in Christ, we are indeed the building stones of this church. It is exciting to see what is being
revealed here in this transition time. I know it will be even more exciting in the days ahead, as you work
with God to continue the creative project of building the Body of Christ.
Peace be with you all, and always! Tom
2 The Messenger | JANUARY 2014
...from the President
The New Year has arrived and we have been blessed with a
wonderful season of Advent taking us into a continuation on our
journey ahead at St. Johns UCC in 2014.

Our confirmation members and their families were our Advent candle
leaders and to them we say thank you for your participation. The
Fellowship again provided us with a beautiful Tea after worship on the
15th and we are very grateful for such a wonderful tradition. We loved
it! The event is always so beautiful and the food is delicious!

Sunday, the 22
was so much fun and meaningful to have All
participating in the Christmas story. The children were wonderful. Our
thanks go to the staff, Rev. Tom, Julia, Thea, Tony and all who
helped with this wonderful service.

The Christmas Eve Service, a tradition here at St. Johns was
beautiful and enjoyed by many. It always takes a group of wonderful
members to help make the holiday season a real joy and our thanks
and blessings go to all members.

Church Council has many challenges ahead for them in 2014 and we
accept these challenges with a dedicated spirit on behalf of you, our
members. We will be having a Leadership Retreat in Mid-February
and will continue on our journey with Rev. Tom during his interim time
with us for the next 12-18 months. The Search Committee is well at
work and you will be hearing from them during the first part of the
year, as they put together a Church profile with your help.

Thank you again for all you do for St. Johns and may God Bless you
and your families and may 2014 be a meaningful and healthy year for
all of you.

Betsy Bighinatti
Council President

Church Council Meeting - January 13
The next Church council meeting is scheduled for Monday, January
13th at 7:00 pm.
Members of
Church Council
Betsy Bighinatti, President
Jeff Hetzer, Vice President
Helena DeLigt, Secretary
Bryan Anderegg
Marjorie Barbour Allen Caraher
Teresa Jolles Desiree McNeice
Kenn Shirley Dreama Terrill
Bill Watson Karen-Marie Yust
Members of Pastoral
Relations Committee

Lex Tartaglia, Chair
Elisabeth Burnette
Marjorie Barbour
Billy Poarch

A search committee has been formed to find and
recommend to the congregation for approval, a new
senior pastor for St. Johns. The members of this
committee are: Justin Barbour, Elisabeth Burnette, Sam
Dalton, Kristina Gilbert, Jeff Jacobs, Desiree McNiece,
Rob Osborn, Lynn Snyder and Don Stiegler.

The first objective of the committee is to develop a
church profile which will be used to advertise, in the
UCC community, the vacant position at St. Johns. We
will need the congregations help to develop this profile
and will keep you informed of our progress.

The facilities committee under the leadership of Richard
Bighinatti works very hard to keep ahead of our aging
building and we thank them for their dedication. As you
all know, we had a new hot water boiler installed and
this unit provides heat to our Sanctuary and Fellowship
Hall. Some minor repairs have been done on the
controls of the boiler that provides heat to the rest of our
building. These repairs seem to have given us even
heat around the church.

There are some minor repairs that will go on during the
first quarter of the year. The facilities committee is
looking for some more active members who have some
special skills and or have time to give to some minor
repairs and painting that needs to be done around the
church. Please see Richard or Joe McGregor if you can
help the committee out.
3 The Messenger | JANUARY 2014

.Circle Center Day Services

On December 15
, through the wonderfully generous support
of St. Johns congregation, $122.00 was raised for Circle
Center Day Services. If you would still like to make a
donation, we are continuing to collect funds for the center
through January 5
. St. John's played a founding-role for the
Circle Center, which provides day services to frail and elderly
adults while their caregivers go to work; they also help to
educate and support the caregivers.

$50 provides a lunch for one person for a month, $60
provides 5 showers for those who are no longer able to
shower at home. Checks can be made payable to St. Johns
UCC (Circle Center in the memo line) and can be placed in
the offering plate or mailed to St. Johns. Thank you again for
your support

Generous Response to Angel Tree

Thank you for your
most generous re-
sponse to the Angel
Tree requests for
gifts for our adopted
St. Johns families
this year. Because
of your donations 16
children and adults
were able to have a Christmas. Gifts included bikes, skates,
work boots, jackets and so much more (over 70 presents).
Those who received your donations want to express their
deeply felt gratitude for your giving. Their appreciation will
last long after the Christmas season is over. Again, thank

Christmas Fund For Veterans Of
The Cross
We are continuing to collect funds through January 5th for
our Veterans of the Cross. Funds are used to provide supple-
mental monies for pension and health insurance premiums to
low-income retirees as well as emergency assistance to
clergy and lay employees and their families throughout the
year. Please consider giving a gift to help care for those who
have cared for us during their lifetime of ministry to our
Souper Bowl of Caring is youth
across the nation working to fight
hunger and poverty in their own
communities around the time of the
Super Bowl football game.

In the weeks leading up to or on
Super Bowl Sunday, young people
take up a collection (many use a
soup pot), asking for one dollar or
one item of food for people in need.
They give 100% of their donation
directly to the local hunger-relief
charity of their choice.

In 2012, more than 10,000 groups
collected more than $9.8 million in
dollars and food for local hunger-
relief charities. That's a total of more
than $90 million collected since the
movement began in 1990! Help
us grow this movement and tackle
hunger in America!

St. Johns Youth will be collecting
donations on February 2, 2014
Adult Ed
Science and the Bible January 19 and 26
VCU professor Dan Smith defines faith as a belief in some-
thing that cannot be proved. But what happens to that faith
when some potential proof is offered? Come to the adult
class January 19 and 26 and find out. We will examine
several spectacular Biblical events in light of 21
scientific knowledge to determine how they could have oc-
curred. During a previous discussion of these topics in 2005,
concern was expressed as to why we doubted that God creat-
ed the universe. The answer was that we believe that God
did create the universe. We are just trying to figure out how
he did it.

Wednesday Evening Bible Study
January 15, 22, 29, 2014
Rev. Tom will be leading three specific studies on PRAYER
during the WEBS
gathering on
January 15, 22, and
29. Everyone if
invited to attend.
Come to the
Pastors Study
around 7:00pm to
join in on this study.

Children/Youth Ministry in January
On January 5
our children will learn about the visit of the Magi to
the infant Christ child in Bethlehem and explore the meaning of the
Christian celebration of Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas.
Our focus for the other Sundays in January will be on the sacra-
ment of baptism, hearing and discovering the story of the baptism of
Jesus, and experiencing a baptism on January 19
as we baptize
Alex Ward during the worship service.

The older children will continue their study of the disciples then
and now looking at the life of the disciples James and John.
Our youth will continue their discussion each Sunday morning with
Elisabeth Burnette and Mike Woods.

Faith Place is open for all each Sunday morning starting at 9:45 am.

Re-form: Encounter, En-
gage, Respond
Centered on questions
youth would actually ask
about their faith.

Our confirmands will meet on January 5
, 12, and 26 with Tom and
The Messenger | JANUARY 2014
Reception for Rothea Kornelius
Come and celebrate the ministry of Rothea Kornelius on January 26
. Thea, as she likes to be called, has
been our intern since the beginning of September assisting with the Christian Formation program, leading
worship, and attending to various
committee and administrative duties
with staff. In her short time with us,
Thea has developed strong bonds with
our children and parents, our staff, and
many of you. She has been an
enthusiastic presence in our midst!
Please join us as we wish her well in her
future endeavors and as she continues
to discern Gods call to ministry.
Sunday, January 26, 2014 ~ NOON
5 The Messenger | January 2014
Covenant Care Groups:
#1 Billy Poarch 359-6131
#2 Adrianne Dery 262-7072
#3 Lex Tartaglia 369-9171
#4 Kim Vann 323-9086
#5 Bryan Anderegg 317-1941
Lynda Merry 756-0270
#6 Rob Osborn 795-2058
Helena DeLigt 795-2058
#7 Cheryl Goode 901-6594
#8 Jo Ann Jellison 525-5536
Johanna Gilbert 270-6056
#9 Ginna & Sam Dalton 378-3386
Rev. Gerstenlauer - 358-9291
Julia Eliades - 358-9291
Church Council:
Betsy Bighinatti - 379-3572
Richard Bighinatti - 379-3572
Jeff Hetzer - 550-3928
Worship & Music:
Kenn Shirley - 502-1002
Mission and Outreach:
Bill Watson - 873-2837
Membership Development:
Dreama Terrill - 972-5669
St. Johns Financial Picture YTD as of 11-30-13
Christian Formation:
Bryan Anderegg - 317-1941
Community Development::
Desiree McNeice - 323-9086
Congregational Care:
Helena DeLigt - 795-2058
Vivian White - 379-2049
The Fellowship:
Joe McGregor - 364-4078
German Fest:
Jeff Jacobs - 355-1115
St. Johns Players:
Tony Sharpenstein - 762-4870


Finance and Stewardship Report
The Proposed 2014 Church Council Approved Ministry Plan Budget was approved by our congregational during a special called
congregational meeting on November 24, 2013.

We would like to encourage those that have not submitted a 2014 Pledge Card to please do so. Pledge Cards are available at the
Church Office or available from the Welcome Team. 54 Households have pledged for 2014 with a total amount of $118,035. Our
goal is $126,000.

Budget Actual


Pledge Payments* $110,000 $97,119
Cash Offerings $18,333 $30,235
Other Income (Endowment Contributions $125,548 $125,426
Parking Lot Rental, Wedding Income, etc.)

Total Income $253,881 $252,780

Personnel 162,526 150,808
Committees 19,012 16,639
Operations/Maintenance 102,416 99,785
Local Benevolences 8,144 5,899
Other 7,275 7,275

Total Expenses 299,373 280,406

Income/Expenses Total (45,492) (27,626)
surplus (deficit)

* 55 pledging households.

6 The Messenger | January 2014
January Lectionary Readings
Second Sunday after Christmas
January 5, 2014

Jer 31:7-14

Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14 John 1:10-18
First Sunday after Epiphany
January 12, 2014

Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43 Matthew 3:13-17
Second Sunday after Epiphany
January 19, 2014

Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalm 40:1-11
1 Cor. 1:4-9

John 1:29-42
Third Sunday after Epiphany
January 26, 2014

Isaiah 9:1-4

Psalm 27:1, 4-9
1 Cor. 1:10-18

Matthew 4:12-23

Still Speaking Daily Devotional

Inward Outward

The Plough

Bible Gateway Daily Devotionals
Start 2014 off right by focusing on a daily time with God
and Gods holy word. Here are some suggestions for
online daily devotionals ...
7 The Messenger | November 2013

Its once again time to fire up those crockpots and crack open your secret chili recipe and participate in the much awaited,
ever more competitive St Johns 3
Annual Chili Cook-off.

All you need to do is: Bring in a crockpot of your chili.
Make your chili from scratch (cant buy it or use canned.)
Be ready for the competition by 11:00 pm on January 5, 2014.
Winners will be announced during the fellowship gathering after the

Prices will be awarded for best in category from spicy hot to veggie,
best presentation best overall, among other prizes. If you believe that
you have the best chili recipe then this contest is for you.

Come and enjoy a little friendly competition, yummy chili, and great
Contact Desiree McNeice by email at or
Kim Vann by email @ by Dec 31
to enter
the competition and for more information.

De-greening the Church will follow right after the Cook off
Inclement Weather Procedure

Should we get winter weather and are forced to cancel worship,
please watch for our listing on channel 12 TV, call the churchs main
phone number at (804)358-9291 and listen to the recording, or check
your email for an e-blast.
Please find a substitute if you are unable to perform your ministry and contact
your team coordinator AND the office to let them know who will be filling in for
you. Thank you for making our church ministries run smoothly!
Acolytes Lay

January 5

Bill Watson


Ashley Quick


Vivian White

Melissa and

Rob Osborn

Bill Watson

January 12

Doug Waldrop

Jeff Michel

Bryan Etter
James Cook

Sal Anselmo
Jo Ann

Richard and

Chris Miles

Jeff Jacobs
Iola Miller

Bud Higgins

January 19

Doug Waldrop

Jeff Michel

Bryan Etter
James Cook

Mike Woods
Jeff Jacobs

Beth and Don

Laura Totty

Jeff Jacobs
Iola Miller

Bud Higgins

January 26


Jo Ann

Lydia Woods

Billy Poarch
Sarah Allen

Don Warren

Marjorie &

Mark Souza


January 5 January 12 January 19 January 26
Chris and
Abby Ward

To order fresh flowers to be placed on the altar in honor of a special occasion or
person or in remembrance of someone, please sign-up on the flower chart on the
bulletin board in the hallway near the nursery or contact Sonny Darnell at
743-7528 or
$45.00 for two beautiful bouquets.
Fellowship Coordinator: Sal Anselmo 358-1696
Tellers Coordinator: Bud Higgins 301-5059
Lay Readers Coordinator: Sal Anselmo 358-1696

3 Rick Pearman
4 Mike Woods
5 Zeke Alderfer
6 Frieda Walsh
8 Kathy Freise
10 Judy Brown
10 Stephanie Workman

14 Hank Allen
14 Suzanne Foltz
20 Fritz Will, IV
21 Maude Ganzert
22 Bruce Miller
23 Vicky Lyle
24 Bryan Etter
25 Joachim Altenkirch
25 Charlotte Quick


Office Closed
11:30 am NA Meeting

7 pm Choir Rehearsal



9:45am Christian
11 am Worship
Noon Chili Cook-Off
De Greening


10 am Staff Mtg.

11:30 am NA Meeting

5 pm Card Ministry
5:30 pm NA
7 pm WEBS

11:30 am NA Meeting

7 pm Choir Rehearsal


8:30 am India Orthodox

9:45am Christian
11 am Worship
Noon Confirmands
CCG # 7 and 6
Church Council 7 pm
10 am Staff Mtg.
11:30 am NA Meeting
5:30 pm Pastor
Search Mtg.
5 pm Card Ministry
5:30 pm NA
7 pm WEBS
11:30 am NA Meeting

7 pm Choir Rehearsal


9 am Breakfast
9:45 am C Formation
11 am Worship
12:30 pm Facilities


10 am Staff Mtg.

11:30 am NA Meeting

5 pm Card Ministry
5:30 pm NA
7pm WEBS

11:30 am NA Meeting

7 pm Choir Rehearsal


9:45 am Christian
11 am Worship
Noon Reception for
Thea Kornelius

27 28
10 am Staff Mtg.

11:30 am NA Meeting
5 pm Card Ministry
5:30 pm NA
7 pm WEBS