55 Montclair Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
Ample on-street parking.
All our facilities are handicap
accessible and listening
devices are available
in the church for the
We strive to be a barrier free community.
ST. JOHN'S IS AN INCLUSIVE, PROGRESSIVE, AUTHENTIC AND JOYFUL COMMUNITY.
WE DARE TO SEE THE WORLD AS IT IS AND STRIVE TO CHANGE IT INTO THE WORLD THAT GOD WOULD HAVE IT BE.
Interim Rector: The Rev. Dr. J. "Barrie" Bates
The Rev. J. Barrington "Barrie" Bates is our interim rector during the transition time of searching for a permanent rector. Barrie was trained for ordained ministry at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Berkeley, California. He also holds an M.A. from the Graduate Theological Union, an S.T.M. from the General Theological Seminary, and both an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in liturgical studies from Drew University. His undergraduate degree is from Boston University.
Aside from Sundays, Barrie can be reached through the church office (973-746-2474), via his cell phone (201-390-8270) or through his dedicated St. John's email. This week he is in the office on Tuesday from 10:00-1:00. If you would like a pastoral or hospital visit, please contact Barrie to arrange the details.
Our Parish Profile
A core excerpt from our Parish Profile:
"St. John’s has long been a multi-generational, family- oriented community and a pioneer of inclusion in the Episcopal Church. Families and individuals come from “many paths” to St. John’s but are attracted by the opportunity to grow spiritually on our “one journey” to God. St. John’s offers Adult Education groups, parish- wide retreats, meditation and prayer groups as well as a youth community who have banded together for week-long mission trip to New Orleans and the Jersey Shore and for day trips to South Philadelphia."
"Our community has a tradition of a joyful, lingering exchange of peace during our worship ceremony. During this exchange, followed by the announcements about events of the coming week, any newcomer will begin to understand how a small congregation fosters an intimate, loving community. We like to consider ourselves as the little church that could. We often amaze ourselves with what we have accomplished spiritually, musically and in outreach to the larger community."
MORE ABOUT US
History of St. John’s
St. John’s Episcopal Church was established as a self-supporting parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark in June 1902. It began as a parochial mission of St. Luke’s Church in 1896 and, until 1901, held services in a rented store on Walnut Street. The following year, construction was started on what is one of the most distinctive stone churches in the area.
In recent years, St John’s has had several Rectors, each with distinctive styles and talents. Diana Doyle Clark served as our Rector for nineteen years until her retirement in 2010, and brought an engaging talent for talking about spirituality in a way that parishioners found helpful and inspiring. She also brought innovations such as a Taizé service and the use of a Labyrinth for meditation. Under Diana’s leadership, a major capital campaign resulted in the restoration and updating of St. John's to a compelling worship space in preparation for our 100th anniversary.
Andrew Butler served as our Rector for three years. He had a talent for ecumenical outreach, such as organizing a shared worship service with a Muslim congregation and youth group missions to do relief work in New Orleans and on the Jersey shore.
And we also were blessed for six years with a gifted Deacon, Peter Jackson, who led Pastoral Care and attracted people with a healing ministry. Working with the Diocese of Newark, he developed relationships with the Diocese of Panama on the Diocesan and Parochial level, and led an adult mission trip to Panama in 2013. Peter taught intellectually inspired adult education forums.
Barrie Bates has been our interim Rector since September 2013 and has brought an interest in liturgy and church history which has enhanced and enlivened our worship service.
St. John’s Gothic Revival stone church was opened in 1901. It accommodates 140 persons and features oak floors and pews, an exposed beam vaulted ceiling and a free-standing, handmade rosewood altar. In 2007, a new Allen Renaissance Quantum organ was installed.
The two-story Parish Hall, built in 1923, reflects the style of the church and was renovated in 2008 bringing the structure up to current building codes, increasing the number of rooms available to the Church School as well as creating a dedicated church office. The large multi-purpose community space is reminiscent of the Church sanctuary architecture with exposed beamed vaulted ceiling. The first floor has a commercial kitchen, accessible toilet and storage space. The large Rector’s Office is on the second floor and overlooks the Parish Lawn and Memorial Garden.
The Memorial Garden, located directly adjacent to the church, was dedicated in 1994. It contains the cremains of several parishioners, and is used as a beautiful outdoor site for baptisms. It features a hand- carved stone cross and seating for quiet meditation. The Parish Lawn is nestled between the Church / Memorial Garden site and the Parish Hall. In the spring, flowering Dogwood and flowers grace the Lawn. During the summer, it is the site of our coffee hour, commonly known as "lemonade-on-the-lawn."
The Rectory was built in 1913 and is located next to the Parish Hall on a quiet, shaded Montclair residential street. Many homes in the neighborhood date to the late 19th century. The Rectory was built in a late Victorian-Craftsman style. It features seven bedrooms, two and a half baths and a remodeled kitchen with stone counters. With the exception of the kitchen and baths, all the floors are hardwood and were refinished in 2010. Many holiday parties and parish celebrations have been hosted in the Rectory.
A capital campaign raised $900,000 and all funded improvements were completed in 2010. The Parish Hall, Rectory and Church received new roofs, plumbing and electrical upgrades. The exteriors were painted. Both the Parish Hall and the Rectory were converted from oil to gas.
The main entrances to the Church and Parish Hall were made fully accessible.
Who We Are
St. John’s has long been a multi-generational, family- oriented community and a pioneer of inclusion in the Episcopal Church. Families and individuals come from “many paths” to St. John’s but are attracted by the opportunity to grow spiritually on our “one journey” to God. St. John’s offers Adult Education groups, parish- wide retreats, meditation and prayer groups as well as a youth community who have banded together for week-long mission trip to New Orleans and the Jersey Shore and for day trips to South Philadelphia.
Our community has a tradition of a joyful, lingering exchange of peace during our worship ceremony. During this exchange, followed by the announcements about events of the coming week, any newcomer will begin to understand how a small congregation fosters an intimate, loving community. We like to consider ourselves as the little church that could. We often amaze ourselves with what we have accomplished spiritually, musically and in outreach to the larger community.
Our Community – Montclair, NJ
The site of Montclair was an established homeland of the Lenape Indians who lived here many years ago. In the late 1600’s The Dutch created a settlement called Speertown and the English created one called Cranetown – both transformed the landscape forever. The current Valley Road of today provided a link between the two settlements. By 1868, these settlements merged to form Montclair as we know it today.
In 1873, five New York City commuter train stops were built which today make it a 35-minute direct train ride to midtown Manhattan. One of the stops, the Walnut Street Station, is a five minute walk from St. John’s. The town of Montclair has grown into a vibrant community with a richly diverse population. Montclair State University, the second largest public university in New Jersey, calls Montclair home. People come from the surrounding suburbs to Montclair’s theaters to watch movies, concerts, and live performances, usually held at the Wellmont Theatre. There are also such attractions as the Montclair Art Museum, The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, The Montclair Film Festival, The Yogi Berra Museum of Learning Center and the weekly farmers market located at the Walnut Street Station.
With 18 public parks, Montclair offers something for everyone from Brookdale Park’s large dog park to the ice skating rink at Edgemont when the pond freezes over. Montclair has 175 acres of open park space. There are also close to 200 different restaurants with a large variety of cultural food, among the thriving retail districts and small boutiques found throughout the town.
Our Life in Christ
Our Weekly Services are traditional in style, yet intimate and familial in tone. We use the Episcopal liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer, and we have been open to using prayers and readings from other sources and traditions. We have had a Rabbi give guest sermons, and have shared a service with a Muslim congregation. We encourage the children and youth of our parish to participate in our services by making presentations and giving individual readings and musical solos. Those who participate in our worship are nourished by the experience and contribute to making it a sacred experience.
There are many Ministries for Worship that contribute to our services. We have had a Deacon and Seminarians in the past, and hope to have them again in the future. We have devoted Acolytes and Lectors – many of whom are from this year’s confirmation class. Dedicated Sacristans assist the priest and Eucharistic Ministers take communion to shut-ins after the service. Our music director and choir contribute artistically. Ushers, counters and childcare volunteers and the staff take care of practical responsibilities.
Our choir enhances our worship. The choir has prepared and presented a Christmas Cantata service in the last few years, as well as the Hallelujah Chorus for Easter. Though we focus on classical and traditional music, we have also performed popular music. We use the Episcopal and Lift Every Voice & Sing hymnals.
“I’d like to point out that our services are full of what most people would call “mistakes”: a wrong note gets played, a verse is not sung, a lector can’t pronounce a biblical name, an acolyte stumbles on the way to the altar. None of these things matter. This church is a safe place and when you are part of the service you are not judged. Your offering is accepted, however humble or awkward it may be! And, in each misstep, there is a recognition that we are not perfect and that that’s okay in God’s church. In fact, that is most often when we feel filled with the Holy Spirit, because we have dropped our expectations and our pride and opened our hearts.”
Christian Formation at St. John’s takes many forms. Our Sunday School, run by parents and other volunteers, uses the curricula Godly Play® and Seasons of the SpiritTM. Classes are 40 minutes long, and children join the church service in time to receive communion with their families. During 2012 and early 2013, we hosted a special service, All God’s Children. Designed for children with special needs, the services were accessible to all children. Because the response to a special service was low, we have adapted elements of the program to the children’s service that is now part of our regular Sunday School.
Our current Confirmation Class of nine students is following the Confirm, Not Conform curriculum which is stimulating lively discussion. Confirmation has found its way into our services in the form of sermon stories and in the participation of the confirmands as acolytes, lectors and ushers.
Our Youth Group made week-long mission trips to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and to the Jersey shore after Superstorm Sandy to do relief work and to assist in rebuilding those shattered communities. Led by the Rector and volunteer chaperones, the teenagers experienced the personal satisfaction and spiritual growth of helping others restore their lives.
There is also an Adult Education component to Christian Formation at St. John’s. Some of us have enjoyed going as a group to hear the annual John Shelby Spong Lectures to hear leading scholars such as Karen Armstrong and Elaine Pagels. Others have participated in more personal discussion groups on the porch of the Rectory and in the Powell Room. The most popular of these have included Bible study and explorations of spirituality.
Outreach at St John’s takes many forms, most currently by providing meals to the homeless as part of the MESH program, a network of religious and civic organizations. One to two times each month, our volunteers prepare and host a dinner in our Parish Hall. For over 20 years, we have provided meals to the St. Paul’s Men’s Shelter in Patterson. In December 2013, we gave a Christmas Party for the children of incarcerated parents as part of the Diocese of Newark’s PATCH program. We regularly collect food for Human Needs Food Pantry. We collect diapers and infant supplies for North Porch, an Episcopal ministry for indigent women and children.
Our Stewardship campaigns have emphasized the traditional Episcopal values of contributing time, talent and treasure. This year, as in previous years, the campaign has featured Stewardship Witnesses, the personal stories of some of our parishioners who have seen how personal and concrete participation in the life of St. John’s has changed their worship experience and has led to personal growth for their families and for themselves. We use programs from the Diocese of Newark and from The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) to guide our efforts.
We have a Pastoral Care Team, consisting of a chairperson and volunteers who stay aware of who in the congregation may be sick or bereaved or homebound, or who may be experiencing hardship in any way. Volunteers visit those in need, make them meals and assist in other ways.
St. John’s is a sociable and friendly parish. We try to foster opportunities for Fellowship. Sometimes events are organized for the fun of it, and other times for liturgical, charitable or fundraising purposes. Our Rector has regularly hosted a Christmas Open House in the rectory, with potluck participation by all. Until last year, we have had Ash Wednesday Pancake Suppers. In 2013, we changed to a Mardi Gras Party. We have celebrated All Saints’ Festivals and Blessings of the Animals and other seasonal events.
Our Coffee Hour follows the 10:00 service on Sunday, which turns into Lemonade on the Lawn in warm weather. This is an opportunity for socializing and catching up with friends, but is also sometimes the occasion for adult forums or for presentations about special ministries. Each week, a different set of volunteers host coffee and provide baked goods and other food.
The Tuesday Group started out as a group of older ladies in the church who gathered on Tuesday mornings for fellowship, and to knit or to sew items for hospitalized children or for the Seaman’s Institute. In the spirit of Episcopal inclusivity, their gatherings have come to include men as well as women, and all ages and conditions of people.
On occasion we have gathered by gender in traditional Women’s and Men’s Groups. The women have organized programs on spirituality and have also gotten together for social occasions. The men have taken turns leading their own discussions or have simply gathered together for fellowship.
We Are Seeking a Rector
We seek a new Rector who is enthusiastic, energetic and will bring an infectious feeling of joy in Christ to our worship.
We are just on the verge of being an incredibly vibrant community; we just need a leader with the right combination of inspiration, motivation, organization and administration to push us there. We appreciate a preacher who understands that St. John’s is an intelligent congregation looking for spiritual inspiration, authenticity and relevance to current issues and daily life.
We seek a Rector who has a love of liturgy and the Book of Common Prayer, and who is comfortable with liturgical exploration.
The youth of our parish are a top priority. We expect our new Rector to reach out to and engage our youth in Christian formation and fellowship programs.
We need a Rector who makes pastoral care a main concern and will visit and counsel members of the parish. The Rector will be a person who is compassionate, empathetic and patient, and who relates well to the elderly and to people of all ages in spiritual need.
Our new Rector will take a hands-on leadership role in reactivating the broader involvement of the congregation in ministries, events and activities, and help the parish prioritize what we can do effectively as a community.
We expect our next Rector to be a leader who provides stability and maturity. We look to the Rector to draw on the congregation’s knowledge and skills, build teamwork, help make connections, set direction and develop commitment to goals among members of the parish.
St. John’s has a strong tradition of diversity. We welcome all of God’s people in all of their wondrous diversity. Our next Rector should help and challenge the congregation to draw new members into St. John’s. It’s essential that our new Rector enjoy parish life and activities beyond official duties.
Lenten Disciplines, 1, 2, 3
Lenten Discipline 1- LOVELIFE
The Society of St. John the Evangelist, a monastic community in Cambridge, MA committed to helping others cultivate a deep, committed spirituality, invites us to participate in the Lenten program Lovelife. It is a free video series that explores the Gospel of John's message of love, which "can unlock our hearts and transform our lives." Beginning March 5, 2014, short daily videos from the brothers will be delivered to your inbox. A free downloadable workbook is available, as well. Lovelife is a meaningful and convenient Lenten study that can be done entirely on one's own. However, if you decide to participate in the series, and would like to form a small group that would gather three times during March and April to discuss the series, please contact Danielle Thompson. Learn more and sign up by clicking Lovelife.
Lenten Discipline 2 -HUMAN NEEDS FOOD PANTRY
In light of the increased number of our brothers and sisters going hungry and not having enough food, what about seriously contributing to the Human Needs Food Pantry? Over 3,600 people or 400 families from the community are served by the Food Pantry every month, and the numbers are increasing. Remember these people when you go grocery shopping and bring whatever you can afford to the Church. You can also make a cash donation directly to them by clicking food.
Lenten Discipline 3- POTLUCK AND PRAYER - 3/19
Barrie is leading an informal, low-impact Lenten discipline, on Wednesday, March 19. Come at 6, leave by 8. Bring something to share and a willingness to pray, discuss the Scripture, and share with your fellow St. John's members.
Adriana Clavijo and Mary Frances Hildebrant will be married at St. John's on Sunday, March 16, at 3:00. The Rev. Diana Clark will be the celebrant, as she was a long time back. Everyone is welcome to attend the service and wish them a continued fruitful blessed life.
St. Paul's in Paterson 3/14
Most of the slots are filled but we could still use a vegetarian entree and some servers on Friday March 14. Can you help out? Click yes to sign up.
The Lanterns - Women's Spirituality Group 3/26
Bring a friend and come to our meeting in the rectory on Wednesday 3/26, 7:30 -9:00. The program will be led by Marlene Smith, (MDiv from Union Theological Seminary) where she currently serves as Teaching Fellow in the department of Integrative Field Education. A life long, if wayward, Anglican, Marlene's vocational and spiritual journeys have been shaped by the pastoral concerns and questions she brings to Scripture, to Christian tradition and to communities of faith. Plus, she is Reina's sister! Bring refreshments to share if you are inclined. Contact Felice Rubenstein 973-868-1379 with questions.
PFLAG - 3/13
PFLAG (Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays) is a monthly support group facilitated by St. John's parishioner Cheryl Restaino. They meet in the undercroft (basement) of the church at 7:30. This month they will feature two inclusive clergy, Bishop George Lucey from St. Francis of Assisi church in Glen Ridge, and Rev. Pamela Bakal of Grace Episcopal Church in Nutley. All interested are welcome to attend.
John Shelby Spong Lecture - 4/26
James Cone will be this year's speaker at the John Shelby Spong Lecture Series at St. Peter's Church in Morristown. Cone is a Black liberation theologian and author of the new book "The Cross and the Lynching Tree." As in past years, when we have heard Karen Armstrong and Elaine Pagels, some folks from St. John's are going as a group to hear him, from 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, April 26th. For information and tickets click St. Peter's.
To join the group for fellowship, carpooling & lunch, contact Jon Stout.