Ministries and Committees (in alphabetical order)
We come together to serve in our worship and to serve others, whether our fellow parishioners, our local communities or the wider world. Join us!
The Acolytes assist the priests in the worship services of the parish. Their roles include: crucifers, servers, torch bearers and banner bearers. We currently have about 20 active Acolytes. We are always looking for more. Boys and girls in grade 5 and higher are welcome to become Acolytes. Theirs is a crucial role in the ministry of worship, and we are grateful for their faithful service. Training sessions are held twice a year with special practices for major services. We will gladly make special training arrangements for anyone wishing to become an Acolyte throughout the year. This is truly an important ministry of St. John’s.
Each Sunday during the program year St. John’s offers Adult Formation Classes between 9:00 and 9:45am, across the street from the church in the lobby of the Seacoast Rep Theater. Each class is taught either by a staff member or an invited guest. Join us each week as we discuss, learn, and grow in fellowship with one another in our life in Christ!
Contact: The Rev. Anne Williamson at 603-436-8283 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Altar Guild of St. John’s is a service organization within the church. Our primary responsibility is to prepare the elements of the Eucharist for presentation to the priest and to supervise the after-care of the altar. We also polish silver and brass and launder linens. Work is done in teams one month at a time. Another responsibility is to maintain a flower chart in the narthex for those wishing to donate flowers. We have a wedding consultant who helps with the many details and preparation of marriages at St. John’s. Presently we have 22 members and would welcome any one who would like to join in this very rewarding work of the church.
Contact: Bertha Rocray at 207-363-4803
At St. John’s, we have a rich history that deserves to be preserved and celebrated. The St. John’s Archivists are charged with this task.
Contact Sarah Hamill at 603-373-8288 or email@example.com
Building and Grounds Committee
The purpose of the Buildings and Grounds committee is to do the leg work for needed projects in and around the church. The committee is comprised of the Junior Warden and parishioners, many of whom are skilled professionals in construction related fields, but we welcome all interested parishioners!
The Jr. Warden presents the committee's recommended improvements to the vestry for funding approval.
St. John's Church passed its 200th birthday recently which attests to the loving care it has been given over those years and that’s our purpose really, to see that continue. Please join our efforts!
Contact: Gary Garneau, 603.822.6149
"Centering Prayer" is a method to practice the ancient prayer of the heart, commonly called contemplative prayer. It is a 20 minute time of silence where one seeks to be with God and consent to God's action and presence within. Following the period of silent prayer, there is a time for discussion of topics of spiritual importance ending with intercessory prayer. The Centering Prayer group meets every Thursday from 10:30 - 11:30 in the Philbrick Room. *The Centering Prayer Group does not meet in July and August*
Contact: The Rev. Dick Siener at 603-436-8283 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Coffee Hour at St. John’s is one of the central components to our fellowship on Sunday mornings. We are always looking for more help, both with coordination and with individual Sunday help.
Contact: Ann Schwartzwalder at 207-703-3375
St. John’s Church provides a free sit down lunch program in the parish hall every Thursday. The free lunch, known as "The Common Table” serves anywhere from 120-140 people who are homeless or low income as well as business people and seniors from the community. Diners who can afford to make a donation. The rest of the money for the meals is provided by donations from parishioners, members of the community and a yearly fundraiser, the "Uncommon Table".
The food is prepared in the kitchen by area volunteer chefs and 10-12 volunteers from the church and the community. Two teams of volunteers rotate weekly. Bakers are always needed to provide homemade desserts.
Contact: Lew and Judy Roberts at 778-2357
Cooking for Crossroads House
On the first Wednesday of each month a crew of enthusiastic and cheerful cooks gathers in the kitchen in Thaxter Hall to prepare a meal for the residents of Crossroads House, the local homeless shelter. St. John's provides the money for the groceries, but our group provides the imagination and energy to create an attractive and substantial meal for those with limited resources. It is a wonderful outreach opportunity.
Contact: Lacey and Andy Bangs 436-6218 or email@example.com
Come and visit the Economy Shop any Wednesday from 9-1pm and from 3:30pm to 5:30pm, located down stairs, literally under the church sanctuary. We are accepting gently used fall and winter clothing for all ages, as well as jewelry, housewares including small appliances, linens, belts, purses, books and children’s toys. Please, no non-seasonal clothing or large furniture or computers. There's something for everyone at the House of John!
EfM (Education for Ministry)
Every person is called to ministry. The Education for Ministry (EfM) program provides people with the education to carry out that ministry. During the Service of Confirmation we ask God to "Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at Baptism. Send them forth in the power of the Spirit to perform the service you set before them." EfM offers an opportunity to discover how to respond to the call to Christian service.
The St. John's Guild Auxiliary is a charitable organization. The funds are received from interest from “The Elwyn Trust Fund.” Spring and fall donations are given to charitable organizations in the name of St. John’s Church Guild Auxiliary. We welcome new members. Our meetings are held on the third Tuesday of March, April, May, October and November at 10:00 am in Thaxter Hall. In June and December we meet for a dutch-treat luncheon. We also take poinsettias to shut-ins at Christmas time.
Contacts: Ginny Edwards, Guild president, at 207-439-2119, firstname.lastname@example.org;
The Knitting Group meets twice monthly on Friday afternoons at 1pm. They knit prayer shawls to be given to those in need.
Contact: Mary Turner 603-436-7543
Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEM’s)
Lay Eucharistic Ministers administer the chalice during Sunday services. We are always willing to welcome more to the team!
Contact: Lacey Bangs at 603-436-6218 or email@example.com
The congregation at St. John's welcomes newcomers and visitors with a small loaf of home baked bread. Please join us if you enjoy baking bread and would like to help in this ministry.
Contact: Christine Niles at 603-502-0889, SeptemberLuna@comcast.net
A busy parish like St. John's needs lots of help with the administrative details. Newsletters need to be addressed and mailed, stewardship mailings must be prepared and sent, office supplies are ordered and put away, membership information is updated continuously, and Advent and Easter preparations take extra time. Volunteers are needed for specific projects, and for some regular tasks, some including computer know how. The St. John's staff is a treat to work with, and most appreciative of any help.
Contact: Lacey Bangs 436-6218, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. John's Outreach Committee mission is to evaluate, support with time and talent, and provide financial support when possible to local, regional and global charities. St. John's annual budget allocates funds to support these outreach efforts. Other outreach efforts, like Common Table are funded by fundraisers. Globally, through Episcopal Relief and Development we are fiscally supporting a project to reduce poverty in a Cambodian orphanage and a similar garden project in a Southern Malawi Africa village. In southern New Hampshire and Maine we donate fiscally and/or with time and talent to local food banks, Habitat for Humanity, Seacoast Family Promise, Crossroads, and the Salvation Army. We usually meet after coffee hour in the Philbrook room the first Sunday of the month to discuss projects and funding priorities. New committee members are welcome.
Contact: Charlie Nichols at 603-531-0715 or email@example.com
Pastoral Care provides a meal or a ride to a person from St. John’s who may be in need due to illness, recovery from surgery, at home with a new baby, or just need help getting to church or a doctor's appointment due to health concerns.
Contact person: The Rev. Anne Williamson at 603-436-8283 x 112 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Prayer Chain pray daily for those who call in requests. We pray for healing, not just of the body, but of the mind and spirit for those who are troubled in any way—finances, divorce, depression, alcoholism--and also for the conception and health of babies. All requests are confidential, and callers do not have to give a reason—they can just say they’re going through a hard time and would like to be prayed for. People can stay on the list for as long as they need, sometimes for years. Our list is different from — and a lot longer than — the Church list which is read on Sundays and Thursdays. To be on the Church list (and you can be on both) call the Parish Administrator. For the Daily Prayer Chain please...
Contact: Susan Mennel at 603-430-2830 or email@example.com.
Seacoast Family Promise
Seacoast Family Promise (formerly IHN) is a network of volunteers from various faith communities demonstrating their strength of compassion and generosity, putting faith into action. Through donations of time and funds, Seacoast Family Promise provides a safe place for families to turn for immediate food, shelter, and social services. Participating congregations reach out to families in crisis offering guidance and encouragement while preserving the dignity of families as they take important steps to regain independence. More than eighty percent of Network guests secure permanent housing. Though St. John’s cannot house people due to building regulations, we give financial and volunteer support.
Contact: Jerry Simpkins or Kathi Hardy, 207-439-7097
Salvation Army Soup Kitchen
On the second Friday of every month volunteers from St. John's are at the Portsmouth Salvation Army Soup Kitchen. The team prepares the food purchased by St. John's, serves the meal and cleans up between 3:30 and 6:30 P.M. If you are interested in volunteering with this important ministry,
Contact: Nancy Fessenden 603-436-4904, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of our stewardship committee is “At a time when we are so very fortunate for the abundance in our lives, we strive to assist the struggling, inspire our youth and share the Kingdom of God that is within each of us.” Please join the Stewardship committee to bring the mission to life.
Contact: John Tabor at email@example.com
Stewardship of the Earth Committee
In accordance with the Covenants of The Book of Common Prayer, this committee seeks to encourage and enable all parishioners of St. John's Episcopal Church to be aware of God's whole creation, be faithful stewards of this fragile earth and take action, within the parish and community, to preserve the environment for present and future generations.
Consider the air, water and soil - when we take care of creation, we take care of each other.
Please consider joining the Stewardship of the Earth Committee!
Contact: Carole Renselaer firstname.lastname@example.org or Judy Sabin 603-431-2542
Twelve Step Groups
St. John's provides meeting facilities for AA, NA and FA groups.
Contact: Joanne Ferguson, 603-436-8283, email@example.com
Ushers are the people you see every Sunday handing out bulletins, and guiding the congregation through the line for the Eucharist. We do not have a “Herdsmens Competition” like the Lutherans made famous by Garrison Keillor, so don’t be threatened. We definitely need more people to volunteer, and we will be happy to train them and start them gently in the task of shepherding the flock through the service.
Contact: Judith Perley at 207-363-5837 or firstname.lastname@example.org or
Jack Meffen at 603-749-0687 or email@example.com
The vestry is the term for the governing body or “board” of an Episcopal church. The vestry is charged with the oversight and management of church financial matters and with the calling of the rector. The vestry helps to develop and must approve the annual budget, and monitors monthly financial statements. The vestry is also the body that authorizes the rector to hire staff members.
Vestry members are parishioners in good standing who have been asked by the rector or executive committee to stand for election at the annual meeting. Members are asked to serve a 3-year term. The senior and junior wardens head the vestry and are appointed by the rector. The executive team is comprised of the rector, clergy members, the wardens and the treasurer.
Contact: Anna Kay Vorsteg, Senior Warden, firstname.lastname@example.org