Volume 29.12

St. John’s
United Church of
St. John’s is a community
of faith centered in Jesus
Christ, seeking guidance
and direction through the
Holy Spirit, and
demonstrating God’s love
to all people in words and

An Open and
503 Stuart Circle
Richmond, Virginia 23220
Telephone: 804.358.9291

Web Site:

Published monthly
© 2015 St John’s UCC

I love this time of the year.
I have always loved Advent.
The home rituals of stopping each day and
lighting the advent wreath or the advent
candle for prayer time. Enjoying the ever
shorting days with candlelight and quiet or
winter music. The beginning of a new church
year and how Advent just is off a beat from
the rest of the world, reminding us that
God’s time and ours is not the same.
I know that for some of you it is a struggle to be in this season of
preparation, but Advent prepares us for Christmas and the incarnation like
lent prepares us for Easter and the resurrection. We need the time of
preparation to be ready to receive the miracle in our own faith life.
At the church you will find devotional booklets. I encourage you to use them,
or your Upper Room devotional, to light a candle and have a devotional time.
Choose an evening each week to allow the quietness of shorter days to enter
your heart. Maybe do not turn on the TV or computer after dark that day,
allow yourself to rest: go to bed early, read a book, write in a journal, or do
something creative. These are ways to prepare for the season of Christmas
which begins on December 25th on the church calendar.
Here’s to you having a wonderful and holy Advent that your heart might be
ready to greet the Christ child of Christmas.
Advent I, November 29 - This is the beginning of the church year. This year our Gospel
focus is on Luke so we will focus on Luke’s
introduction and what it tells us about the
story ahead.
Advent II, December 6 - We will look at the
figure of John in Luke’s Gospel as we prepare
for the one who comes after him.
Advent III, December 13 - Luke tells the
story of two strong women Anna and Mary and
how their faithfulness and willingness create
the setting for the birth of Jesus. How do they
give us a model of both Jesus’s ministry and
our call to faith?
Advent IV, December 20 - We will celebrate
with a service of lessons and carols. Come hear
the story as it is told in Luke’s Gospel and sing
the carols.
Christmas Eve, December 24th - We will
have a traditional service with a half hour of
music before. Music begins at 10:30 with the
worship service at 11pm. The service will
include communion and candle lighting.
December 27 we will pr epar e for the New Year with a watchnight ser vice.
January 3rd we will celebrate Epiphany.


The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015

Dreaming our future

9:30 AM - 2:00 PM

Please join us. It's very important that you are part of the conversation and the
decision making.
We will discuss and move to approve two amendments to the 2016 Budget. The
amendments are to cover the expenses for a building architectural and engineering
assessment and to address urgent facility repairs.
Total cost of these amendments is $65,000. We will also discuss other business as

The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015


Are you our next Treasurer?

At the end of the year, Fritz will be retiring from many years as our Treasurer. We are looking for someone to step in as our new
We will be outsourcing payroll beginning January 1st (see “Quick Updates” below), the responsibilities of the Treasurer will consist of
managing the church budget and generating monthly budgeting reports.
If you are feeling called to be our next Treasurer please contact Desiree McNeice or Elisabeth Burnette.

Reminder Congregational Meeting Dec. 6th

We will have a Congregational meeting on Dec. 6th to vote on how we will fund the Architectural and Engineering assessment as well as
some needed repairs to our building. Please join us to participate in the discussion and decision making.

Mark your calendar

Visioning (Dreaming our Future) session - Sunday Nov. 7th. Please refer to Linda’s message.
Congregational meeting – Dec 6th. Budget amendments and fund drive.

Our Operational Audit kicked off on Friday Nov. 13. The Audit Committee chaired by Chris Ward will facilitate the audit along with Lane
and Associates, P.C. Chris will notify you if you will be needed to help facilitate the audit.
Smoke detectors will be installed throughout the building in the next 2 to 3 weeks. The addition of the smoke detectors will not only keep
our building and those in the building safe, it will also give us an opportunity to lower our insurance premium in 2016.
Beginning Jan 1st we will outsource the payroll component of the Treasurer role to SurePayroll - a division of Paychecks for $660/year.

Quick updates

Pastoral Relations Committees

The Pastoral Relations Committees for Linda and Julia are now up and running. The committees will serve as a liaison between Pastor
Linda and the Congregation and Julia and the Congregation. They will help to keep open communication between the Pastor and the
Linda’s Pastoral Relations Committee

Julia’s Pastoral Relations Committee

Kristina Gilbert

Charlotte Quick

Scott Siefert

Lex Tartaglia

Lynn Snyder

Abby Ward

Please feel free to reach out to any
of these people to learn more about the
role of the Pastoral Relations Committee.
They will also be happy to share your
feedback with either Linda or Julia.

Don Stiegler


There are still many opportunities to share your gifts of talent
and time on any of our committees. If you are interested in
participating on a committee please contact the Committee
Chair or myself.


Worship and Music



Karen-Marie Yust


Jeff Hetzer


Chris Ward

Congregational Life and
Christian Formation

Scott Siefert


Elisabeth Burnett

Mission and Outreach

Don Warren

Kristina Gilbert


The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015

Hello All,
During our November congregational meeting we approved our 2016 budget for $348,564. Our projected income for 2016 is $247,150.
This year we will have a deficit of $101.414. Now is the time we need to think creatively about how we will cover our deficit. For 2016
and 2015 we forecasted that our expenses would exceed our projected income leaving us with approximately $100,000 deficit each
year. The deficit has been covered by the Endowment. This trend is raising some difficult and challenging questions for which we need
to find solutions.

The first question we begin with is how will we find solutions to these difficult questions? In response to this question, Pastor Linda and I
formed the Revitalization Taskforce in August. The purpose of this taskforce is to bring together leaders of the congregation to assist in
gathering necessary information
to share with
the congregation.
During our 2016 Congregational Retreat we will take this information
and together participate in the needed discussions required tobusiness
answer the
difficult questions. The Revitalization Taskforce consists of
Pastor Linda, Julia, Desiree McNeice (Council Chair), Elisabeth Burnette (Council VP), Helena DeLigt (Council Secretary), Beth
Oxenham (Endowment Chair), Rob Osborn (Trustees Chair), Karen-Marie Yust (Facilities Chair), Jeff Hetzer (Finance Chair) , Scott
Siefert (Congregational Life and Care Chair) and Kristina Gilbert (Christian Formation Chair).

November 15, 2015

The Taskforce has two parallel efforts underway. The first is the Visioning effort which requires participation from the congregation. This
effort aims to understand what our aspirations are for our future. Do we want to have a bigger presence with the wider community and if
so what does that look like? Do we want fewer, more or different programs for members of the congregation? How will we facilitate our
programs? How do we foresee increasing membership? Please be aware the Visioning work is not about creating a mission statement,
although a new one may form as a result of our work. Instead it is about visualizing and planning our future.
The state of the property effort aims to gain a much better understanding of how we can more effectively use our space as well as the
market value and condition of our property. This information is being gathered for the Sanctuary, the education wing and the parking lot.
Two key developments have come forward from this effort. The Trustees recommended and the congregation agreed, during our
November Congregation meeting, to conduct an Architectural and Engineering assessment of our property. The Council, on the advice
of the Facilities Committee, recommended the need to address urgent building repairs and again the congregation agreed during our
November meeting. The remaining question is how to fund this work. Funding will be the topic of the December 6th Congregational

The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015

Let use this diagram to help guide our path between now and the time of our 2016 Congregational Retreat.

Reflecting and celebrating all of our hard work in 2015
At times we let the state of our facility cause us stress and allow it to overshadow all the wonderful things that we have done together
throughout the year. As I reflect on 2015, I find that there are many things to celebrate and to give thanks.
 In the first quarter of the year the Pastor Search Committee concluded their 18 month search and recommended Linda as our
Sr. Pastor. In April the congregation voted unanimously to welcome Linda to enter into covenant with us as our settled pastor
and this summer we celebrated her installation. At times it is hard to believe that Linda has only been with us for 6 months.
 We spent many weeks preparing our church and creating a new shower room for CARITAS. With the work of so many we were
able to extend our extravagant welcome and together hosted over 40 women for the week.
 We confirmed 4 youth in June each having gone through a 3 year confirmation program. That’s dedication!
immediately following worship
 The German dinner was another great time for fellowship and of course German food. Many enjoyed the modified menu.
the 2016 budget and any other business necessary
 The Fellowship group had another successful year with both their Bazaar and their book sale.
 In early October we shared our history with one another at our Homecoming Celebration. We learned that we have supported
social justice causes throughout our time, we have overcome challenges and we have physically moved our congregation as the
need required.
 St. John’s Players concluded their production of Godspell in November. It was the last of three productions this year, each
welcoming hundreds of people to our church.
 Members of the Council, Committees, Trustees, and Endowment Board and staff continued to work throughout the year to lead
the church.
 This year ten people joined St. Johns UCC.
This is a short list of the things that come to mind for me. I am truly thankful for all of you that participated in each of these and many
other activities. As you reflect on the year - what wonderful moments come to mind for you? Please consider thanking those who
have meant so much to you this year.

November 15, 2015

As I’ve said before we have great deal to be thankful for and I believe our path forward will become clearer as we define our vision for
the future.
Desiree McNeice (Council Chair)



The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015

Advent Devotional Booklet
Pick up a copy of Partners in Prayer: Advent 2015 in the Parlor and use it to help
bring some quiet and centeredness to the hectic Christmas season.
This booklet provides daily short bible readings, meditations and prayers that can be
used any time during the day, including as part of an Advent wreath candle-lighting

Wednesday Study Group Planning – December 2
Would you like to help determine the focus of future Wednesday evening adult
education offerings? Word on the street is that some folks want to explore
provocative topics and we need help to figure out what those topics might be.
Gather in the Pastor’s Study, 5:30-6:30 p.m. to contribute your ideas.
See Cheryl Goode or Julia Eliades for more information.

Wednesday Advent Gathering –
December 9
Take time out from the busyness of the holidays to learn
more about how the four Gospels tell the Christmas story
 Why is Matthew the only Gospel to mention the
 Which Gospel doesn’t have a Christmas story?
 How is the Christmas story relevant today as
something other than a nice Christmas Eve
We’ll explore these questions and others on December 9,
6:30-8:00 p.m., while enjoying some fellowship and
Christmas snacks.
Leaders: Julia Eliades and Karen-Marie Yust

The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015


NOVEMBER 29, First Sunday of Advent

All ages are invited to come and explore symbols of the Christian story from 9:45-10:40 a.m. We will gather
in the Parlor to learn about Chrismons and make some for St. John’s and our trees at home. Discover how
different types of angels, stars, and crosses remind us of different biblical stories and themes of faith. There will
be Chrismons of varying degrees of difficulty for everyone to create. Leaders: Kristina Gilbert and Julia Eliades

At 11:15 a.m., children will have an opportunity to make a Christingle, a Christmas craft made from an
orange that symbolizes God’s love for the world.

DECEMBER 6, Second Sunday of Advent
Adults and youth are invited to gather in the Pastor’s Study at 9:45 to learn about celebrations of light within
many religious traditions. Come learn about Diwali, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and various Christian
traditions that focus on how light comes out of darkness. Leader: Linda Higgins
 In Faith Place at 9:45 a.m., children will encounters angels and learn about these messengers of good news.
We will explore the various angelic visits that are part of the Advent and Christmas story. Children will make an
angel ornament to take home.
 At 11:15 a.m., children will learn about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. We will play dreidel and light a

DECEMBER 13, Third Sunday of Advent

All ages are invited to explore a world of crèches from 9:45-10:40 a.m. Come see
the Christmas story through the eyes of people from different countries and share with
one another how your family displays a nativity during Advent and Christmas. Do you put
the baby in the manger from the beginning or wait until Christmas Eve? Are the wise men
standing guard from day one or traveling around the room until they arrive on Epiphany?
Leaders: Julia Eliades and Karen-Marie Yust

At 11:15 a.m., children will hear the Christmas story told and then act it out for

DECEMBER 20, Fourth Sunday of Advent

Adult education and Faith Place do not meet today. All are invited to stay after
worship for the annual Christmas Tea.
 Children and Youth are invited to participate in the Advent wreathe candle-lighting
on this Sunday. They should arrive by 10:30 a.m. and meet in the Faith Place classroom to prepare.
 At 11:15 a.m., children will celebrate Jesus by throwing a birthday party in his
honor. They will enjoy fun Christmas birthday games and snacks.

Christmas Sunday – December 27

Adult education and Faith Place do not meet today. Childcare will be provided for children 8 years and younger during worship.

Epiphany Sunday – January 3

Adults will continue their exploration of world religions with a study of Neo-Paganism from 9:45-10:40 a.m. in the Pastor’s Study.
Are pagans mostly Satanists or people who practice witchcraft? Do they share any beliefs of values with Christians?
Just who are these fascinating people that we mostly see on TV.
 In Faith Place, children will explore the story of the wise kings who came to visit Jesus after Christmas.
They will act out the Epiphany story and make some stars to help them remember how the kings found their way.
 At 11:15 a.m., children will continue their exploration of Epiphany and will return to worship during the offering
to reenact the giving of gifts.


The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015

Angel Tree
In the spirit of giving
and spreading hope,
again this year,
St. John’s will collect
items for two specific families in need of assistance through our
Angel Tree ministry. The Christmas tree in the Parlor is loaded
with ornaments with gift suggestions. Please take the ornament off
the tree, purchase the item listed, wrap it and use the paper
ornament as the “gift tag.” Then return the gift to the church
placing it under the tree NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 20th.
St. John’s mission elves will deliver the packages in time for

December Circle Center Offering
Thirty-seven years ago, St. John’s and four other Stuart Circle
churches worked together to create the Circle Center, an adult day
care center that has now grown into the biggest and best
organization of its kind in Virginia. The Center provides a way for
frail or functionally impaired older adults to continue living at home
with their families instead of in a residential institution. Its
participants receive professional care during daytime hours,
including an innovative, Montessori-based activity program for
those with dementia.
The Center uses donations from individuals and organizations to
provide scholarships for Richmond families and to make up the
gap between costs and Medicaid reimbursement.
On Sunday, December 6 during our worship service, we will hear
more about the Center’s ministry and be invited to financially
support. Please listen, pray and be generous!

Thanks to your generosity, we were
able to give $455.66 to help support
the CROP Walk for Hunger.

On Christmas Eve,
December 24, we will
receive an offering for
retired United Church
of Christ ministers and
their surviving loved ones. For 110 years, the Christmas Fund
offering for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund
has been a means by which the members of the United Church
of Christ live out the mandate to be Christ’s body in the world.
The Christmas Fund is one of four Special Mission Offerings
received annually in the UCC. It is a ministry of compassion and
care to those who have served our church. Please reflect upon
the ways your life has been touched by a pastor, Christian
education director, church secretary or minister of music, and
consider a generous gift to honor and assist others like them in
difficult times.

Richmond PAL Concert Here
December 13
We hope you will come out and support the Richmond Police
Athletic League’s Christmas Concert which will be held here, in
our sanctuary, on Sunday, December 13th @ 2:00 pm.

The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015

December Worship Schedule


December 6
Second Sunday of

Luke 1:57-80
Luke 3:1-6
(“John” Sunday)

December 13
Third Sunday of

Luke 1:38-55
(“Mary” Sunday)

December 20
Fourth Sunday of
December 27

THEME/Sermon Title


Preparing the hearts to know


Mary’s Vision.


Lessons and Carols
Revelation 21:1-6a
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

Ring In the New Time

St. John’s United
Church of Christ

10:30 pm ~ December 24



10 The Messenger | DECEMBER 2015

St. John’s Financial Picture YTD as of 10-31-15
2015 Budget

Budget YTD

Actual YTD

Pledge Payments*
Cash Offerings
Other Income
(Endowment Contributions
Parking Lot Rental, Wedding Income, etc.)
Development Fund-$36,000 (not implemented)
Total Income







Local Benevolences
Development Fund
Total Expenses




Income/Expenses Total
surplus (deficit)






Stewardship Update:

1. Income includes a total of $85,000 annual contribution from
Endowment Fund ($7083 monthly)
Please to
2. Annual Deficit
beincovered by Endowment Fund
3. 2015 Pledge Budget is $110,000. 55 pledges for $118,000
cards any time
were pledged.
between now
4. Developmentand
Fund was not implemented in 2015 as planned
and is noStewardship
longer shown as a YTD Income and Expense.
Several Contributions
November 8. have been received for facility

As of the printing of this newsletter…

Extra cards
and envelopes
are available
in the office
or from
an only 32% of planned expenses
A. Pledge income
B. Personnel expense is 54% of planned expenses

C. Operations/Maintenance
expense is 33% of planned expenses
Thank you.
D. Gas, Water and Power expense is $34,000 or $2,833 per

51 households have turned in
pledges for 2016
12 of these are new pledgers
(they did not pledge in 2015)
The total pledged amount to date for
2016 is $118,564

The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015 11

We welcome the following
new members to our

Chris Hagan
Beverly Lindsey
Daniel Martin
Jennifer Martin
Georgianne Stinnette

Christine Hagan
Chris has lived in the Greater
Richmond area for 34 years, coming
here from the Pacific Northwest,
Alaska, and the D.C. area. She is
happy to be retired, married, and a
new member of St. John's.

Rev. Beverly Lancaster Lindsey
Beverly joins by Letter of Transfer from the
Congregational and Baptist Church of
Chester, New Hampshire (UCC & ABC)
where she served as Pastor for 20 years
before retiring in June of 2014. Beverly was
a member of St. John’s in the 1970s. In
1978, she and her husband, Charles moved
to Western MA (Beverly’s home turf) so that
Charlie could pursue further vocal studies.
After 36 years in New England, they chose
to return to Charlie’s home turf to be closer
to family. They live in N. Chesterfield right
around the corner from Sonny Darnell.

12 The Messenger / DECEMBER 2015

Georgianne Stinnett
Georgianne has been attending St. John’s for quite a
while! She currently serves on the Altar Guild and is
very active in many of our mission and ministry
projects here. She and Erin Burnette are engaged.

Jennifer and Daniel
Daniel and Jennifer have lived in Richmond
since July 2014. They are originally from
Cleveland, Tennessee, though Jennifer moved
around often as a child. Daniel works as a
science and math teacher at Grace Christian
School and Jennifer is a staff writer for Topix
(and also contributes to UPROXX and
Gawker.) They have two boys, Donovan (who
is 5 and goes to preschool) and Henry (who is
2 and goes to daycare).

The Messenger | DECEMBER 2014 13

This Christmas, for all that each of you do at
St. John’s, it is my pleasure to throw a party in
YOUR honor.

14 Malvern Avenue apt 3 in Richmond.

December 11 ~ 4-7 pm.
December 11
from 4 to
at least 7 !

Come and be my guest!
As each of you have welcomed me to
St. John’s...
I wish to welcome you into my home.


Christmas Tea December 20
The Fellowship will host the Christmas Tea, a favorite holiday
tradition at St. John’s, on December 20 following worship.
Bring a guest and celebrate the joyous season.
This is a special tradition that brings joy to those who have been faithful
in their love of the church across the years.
Volunteers will be asked to provide food for the occasion.
Speak with Laura Totty if you would like to help.

Youth Parking Fundraising—December 5
Our youth will be up early on Saturday, December 5th to raise funds for the upcoming National Youth Event that they will be
attending in July 2016.
Arriving at the church at 8:00 am, the youth will be in our parking lot to collect $5 from cars parking for the annual Christmas Parade.
Last year the youth raised over $300 on this fund raiser. The Richmond Christmas Parade is a tradition for many Richmonders and for
visitors from around the state. The parade
begins at 10:15 and goes on rain or shine.
For many it is the kick off of the Christmas
season. So come support your young
people and enjoy the fun!
And, please continue to support the youth
as they raise funds for the National Youth
Event in 2016. It happens only every four
years and has a lasting impact on our youth
who attend.

Dec. 6

Dec. 13

Dec. 20

Dec. 27

Welcome Team

Doug Waldrop



Lynn Snyder


Jeff Michel



Chris Ward


Bryan Etter
Sal Anselmo

Sal Anselmo

Sal Anselmo

Linda’s Pastoral

Julia’s Pastoral

Church School

Nursery Helpers



Altar Guild

Tellers Coordinator:
Bud Higgins 301-5059
Lay Readers Coordinator:
Sal Anselmo 358-1696

Sal Anselmo


Advent Candle

Fellowship Coordinator:
Sal Anselmo 358-1696

Altar Guild Coordinator:
Sonny Darnell 743-7528
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

To volunteer please speak with Sal Anselmo on
Sunday mornings, or call him a 358-1696

Abby and Chris

Laura Totty


Sonny Darnell
Dorothy Cook

Mark Souza
Betsy Bighinatti

Mark Souza
Betsy Bighinatti

Bud Higgins
Rob Osborn

Joe McGregor

Joe McGregor

Bill Watson

Bill Watson

Erin Burnette

Cheryl Goode
Arthur Dewey

Dorothy Cook
Sonny Darnell

Johanna Gilbert
Bryan Anderegg



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 Pastor’s Office or contact Sonny
Darnell at 743-7528 or
$45.00 for two beautiful bouquets.




10:00 am Staff
6:30 pm Cong. Life Mtg
11:30 am NA Meeting
6:30 Mission &
Outreach Meeting




9:45 am Faith Formation

10:00 am Staff

11 am Worship
Noon Congregational

11:30 am NA Meeting


8:00 Youth
Parking Lot




11:30 am NA Meeting

Office Closed


7:00 pm Choir
6:30 pm Adult
Christmas Study

1:30 pm Greenfield
Bible Study

2 pm PAL Concert

6:30 pm Church



9:45 Faith Formation
11 am Worship



5 pm Card Ministry


9:45 Faith Formation
11 am Worship

5:30 pm Study Group
Planning Meeting

11:30 am NA Meeting
5:30 pm W & Music
6:00 Congregational
Life meeting
7:00 pm Choir


4 pm Linda’s
Open House






10:00 am Staff

5 pm Card Ministry

11:30 am NA Meeting

Office Closed

8:00 am Indian Orthodox



11:30 am NA Meeting

7:00 pm Choir




10:00 am Staff

5 pm Card Ministry

10:30 pm



11:30 am NA Meeting

11 am Worship


10:00 am Staff
11:30 am NA Meeting


Robert Wieckmann
Ulysses Hall
Jeff Hetzer
Catherine Jacobs
Anita Sharpenstein
Chris Burnette
Patricia Mutia
Logan Vass


Eric Hetzer
Julia Eliades
Christine Krausse
Dean Eliades
Gloria Van Houten
Chris Etter
Kyra and Lacy Miller
Iola Miller