Angels I have known

Today we celebrate the legacy of St. Francis.  We’ve probably all heard stories about him – making you believe he was, perhaps, a little crazy – but he was a good man and loved to share the Good News of the Gospel. 

One story tells of an encounter with a flock of birds – doves, crows – all sorts of birds.  When St. Francis spotted them down the road, he ran toward them and expected them to scatter but to his surprise – and probably anyone else’s who may have witnessed this – the birds stood still and seemed to wait for him.  He was filled with awe and he asked them to stay and then proceeded to give them a little sermon, reminding them that they should always praise their Creator for he was the one who gave them feathers for clothes, wings to fly, and anything else that was needed.   “It is God who made you noble among all creatures, making your home in thin, pure air.  Without sowing or reaping, you received God’s guidance and protection.”  And so the story goes that from that day on, Francis made it his habit to invoke all animals to praise and love their Creator. 

But wait a minute, Francis.  While all of what you told those birds was certainly true –  if I may say so – you missed the bigger picture!  I believe that animals have a lot to tell us, to teach us, and to remind us of.  They are messengers and, I believe, vessels enabling 2-way communication with God.  So, Francis, perhaps spending some time listening to them would have done you some good, too. 

Click here to read the whole sermon preached by Susan Mitchell on Pet Blessing Sunday, 2019

Pet Blessing

October 6, 2019

All creatures great and small (and humans too) are welcome to Pet Blessings Sunday, October 6 at 8:00, 9:15, or 11:00 a.m.

At 10:15 there is a Memorial Service for those who want to remember their beloved pets who have died. (Weather permitting the memorial is in the garden).

art by Scott Gustafson

Purses, Aprons, and Politics

sermon on Luke 12:32-40
The Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer

I have a large cardboard box in my basement, filled with hardly used, basically new purses, wallets, backpacks and bags. They were once THE thing my daughters had to have to hold their wallets, laptops etc. but a second after they were purchased they were out of style, hence the large box of purses in my basement.

When I read the parable today I thought, “Great!” I don’t have to prepare a sermon this week, I can just bring that box to church and give everyone an almost new purse and tell you “Jesus said, sell all your things, give the money away. Make for yourself purses that do not wear out, treasures in heaven!”

I think I am in a cleaning mode because of this week’s news. Those of you who were alive on 9/11 will never forget where you were. I haven’t. It was the month we moved into a new apartment, before I started seminary. I was cleaning. And when I heard the news I just kept cleaning. Listening to the radio and cleaning. It is what I do when I am under stress, paralyzed by the world.

So I’ve called you here today to ask, “What should we do?”

Should we raise money and send all the lawyers at St. John’s to the border and to Mississippi? Should we gather the doctors, nurses and counselors that we know to go Dayton and El Paso and the streets of Chicago? Should we get all our writers and artists and musicians to Washington, DC to write new protest songs, bang on drums, make signs and not be silent until our elected officials do their jobs? And who will stay home to help Mark plan his mother’s funeral, and mourn with our neighbor whose husband’s funeral is next week? Who will take care of the kids and make dinner?

Suddenly the side door opens (the one by the organ that no one ever uses) and a stranger walks in. We’ve never seen him before, but we know exactly who he is. He looks at me and says, “Kara, sit down!” and at all of us and says, “Stop, breathe, hold on.”

“But Jesus! What should we do? Should we go to the border? To Mississippi and Dayton and El Paso. What about our own Chicago neighborhoods? And who will watch the kids?”

Jesus doesn’t answer. He goes downstairs. He puts on an apron, not one of the white ones, but that one from Nicaragua with all the embroidery on it. And he rummages in the fridge. And suddenly we are all eating. Nothing fancy, but good food, lots of fruit and vegetables, home-made, nothing processed…real comfort food. And Jesus serves the food and picks up the dishes. And washes them. And Jesus says “Stop, breathe, eat, enjoy each other’s company. You have everything you need. You are ready.”

“Now go and do what I have called you to do.”

Sermon preached on Sunday, August 11, 2019. For more sermons go to:

Gospel on the Green

Join us for worship in the garden! August 25 at 8:00 or 10:00 a.m., weather permitting. Bring dogs on leashes. Wear hats and sunglasses! We have bug spray and sunscreen.

Holy Week and Easter

Palm Sunday April 14, 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.

Weather permitting the 8:00 a.m. service begins outside the Byron Street door.
The 10:00 a.m. parade begins in the garden. The service will continue in the sanctuary at about 10:30 a.m.

Children’s Holy Week Wednesday, April 17, 5:30 p.m.
Experience all the stories of Holy Week, includes a simple meal.

Maundy Thursday April 18, 7:30 p.m.
Celebration of the first Eucharist, with the rite of footwashing.

Good Friday April 19, 12:00 and 7:30 p.m.
The Liturgy of the Passion

The Great Vigil of Easter Saturday, April 20, 7:30 p.m.
The lighting of the new fire, the first proclamation of Easter!

Easter Sunday, April 21, 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
The day of Alleluias! An Easter Egg Hunt follows each service.

Sunday Worship

Save a tree! You can download this pdf of our Sunday bulletins and follow along on your phone or tablet.

We invite you into our faith community!

St. John’s welcomes and values all people. Whatever your cultural or ethnic background, political or religious affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, or lived experience…you’ll find you are welcome here! At St. John’s, you’ll find a place to call home.

The Twelve Days of Christmas!

Friday, December 28 at 7:00 p.m. Cocktails with Connie and Maureen (email them for address) Adults only!

Sunday, December 30 at 9:00 a.m. Pancake breakfast. Wear your pj’s to church at 8:00 or 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, December 30 at approximately 3:00 p.m. Afternoon at the movies to see Mary Poppins Returns. Please sign up in the Parish Hall so we can get reduced group tickets. Contact organizer Mark.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019, Sunrise at Montrose Harbor. Meet Sue, Tom, Connie, and Maureen just past the bird sanctuary at Montrose Harbor. Watch the sunrise and then go out for breakfast.

Thursday, January 3, from 7:00–9:00 p.m. Game Night with the Singer Bradley Family (email them for address).

Friday, January 4 at 12:00 p.m. Ice Skating. Meet at St. John’s to carpool to the Wrigley Skating Rink; return
at 2:00 p.m. for hot chocolate.

Sunday, January 6, at 8:00, 9:15 and 11:00 a.m. DIY pageant. Sign up in the Parish Hall to help with directing, staging and costumes (optional!).