At St. John’s, we believe that we are called to be witnesses to the love of Christ, and that this translates into making a positive difference in the world, both within and beyond the walls of our church.
WHAT WE DO
WITHIN OUR PARISH
We care for our parishioners in need throughout their lives, from ministering to new parents to bringing the elements of communion to parishioners who are unable to attend services. St. John’s also has an active lay ministry that provides caring and support for those experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.
WITH OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
We actively engage with residential neighbors, planning officials, and developers on strategies for urban growth that enhance and protect our community. We also support a non-profit consignment and thrift shop in the neighborhood, St. John’s Opportunity Shop.
WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY AND REGION
St. John’s parishioners volunteer with several community organizations to provide food, clothing, shelter, furniture, coaching, education, and other support to help the hungry, homeless, and disadvantaged people in our community. For example:
- During the COVID-19 crisis, we founded Nourishing Bethesda and now feed around 300 families on a weekly basis.
- Teams of parishioners regularly provide, cook, and serve meals at a large soup kitchen in Silver Spring and two shelters in Bethesda and Rockville.
- We form teams to furnish apartments for refugee families and others in need in our region.
IN THE WORLD
St. John’s parishioners have made two pilgrimages to the Holy Land and formed the Holy Land Committee to support peace and justice in the Holy Land by, for example, sponsoring educational forums, selling fair trade olive oil from Palestine, and raising funds to help hire medical personnel at an Episcopal hospital in the West Bank.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
Whether at home, school, work, in the car, or at the grocery store, being a witness to the radical love and grace of God is what we strive to do. At St. John’s, we believe that we can make an even bigger difference together. Opportunities to “Make a Difference” range from one-time service, such as volunteering to serve a meal for the homeless, to an ongoing commitment with one of the Outreach ministries described below.
BOOKS TO PRISONS MINISTRY
DC Books to Prisons provides free books to individual prisoners and supports prison libraries. Work is done solely by volunteers using donated time and resources. DC Books to Prisons is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that each year sends more than 7,000 book packages to prisoners in over 600 prisons in the United States. The organization serves state and federal prisoners in 34 states. Contact Peg Sanders, parishioner.
The Clothing Ministry is an opportunity to give life to St. John’s mission: “building community at the crossroads of faith and life.” This ministry reaches out to those in need, whether they are current residents or have recently arrived, with only the clothes they are wearing and no money to purchase clothing or personal care items. The Clothing Ministry makes a difference in the lives of those in need. Volunteers welcome! Contact Denyse Corrado, parishioner.
The Eco-Action Team promotes consciousness of our charge to steward God’s creation and offers opportunities to explore and enjoy its beauty. Join in spiritual nature hikes and other activities to promote environmental responsibility. Contact Jane Houlihan or Tom Kerr, parishioners.
FAITH IN ACTION COORDINATING COMMITTEE
Our Faith in Action (FIA) team promotes consciousness of and opportunities for engagement on a broad range of social justice issues, including fighting hate and racism and promoting gender equality and immigrant rights. The group meets the first Sunday of every month at 12:00 noon. Contact Penny Winder, parishioner.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION GROUP (GVP)
Join fellow parishioners in efforts to prevent and reduce gun violence through prayer, education, and action. The Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) group meets on the third Sunday of the month at 12:00 noon and all are welcome. Contact Margaret Hilton, parishioner.
HOLY LAND COMMITTEE
The Holy Land Committee (HLC) builds knowledge of the Holy Land and engagement with its issues and people. Join in working to promote education, support humanitarian projects related to the Holy Land, and engage in advocacy and in activities which deepen connections among Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This committee meets on the last Sunday of every month at 12:00 noon. Contact Nancy Adams or Kirk Campbell, parishioners.
IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE MINISTRY
St. John’s has a long tradition of supporting refugee families, including two from Vietnam in the early 1980s, and in recent years, families from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and from Gaza. Volunteers help find and furnish housing, raise funds, tutor, organize medical care and employment, and help in financial planning. Join in this wonderful ministry to support our newest neighbors! Volunteers are very welcome! Contact Nancy Adams or Brooke Lindsay, parishioners.
St. John’s seeks to build strong connections with other faith traditions through our engagement with the Interfaith Council of Greater Washington, the Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Group, and relationships with diverse local faith communities, including Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh partners. Please join us in outreach to brothers and sisters of other faiths! Contact the Rev. Anne Derse, Deacon and Minister for Community Engagement.
Nourishing Bethesda is a church-led coalition of many local community partners and the County that seeks to meet important needs in our broader community, create discipleship opportunities, and build a stronger community response to food insecurity. There are many ways you can help! Contact John Ross, parishioner.
OLIVE OIL MINISTRY
The Olive Oil Ministry is a subset of the Holy Land Committee. As part of a larger inter-congregational effort, the Olive Oil Ministry raises awareness of the Middle Eastern conflict, promotes peace by selling olive oil on select Sundays, and donates the proceeds to Tent of Nations, an organic farm near Bethlehem owned by the Palestinian Christian Nassar. Tent of Nations seeks to build bridges between people, including neighboring Jewish and Muslim communities, and between people and the land. Contact Helen Habiby, parishioner.
St. John’s Opportunity Shop, a non-profit consignment and thrift store just two blocks from the church (4504 Walsh Street), supports our community and many outreach efforts of the parish through the sale of donated and consigned items. If you have a talent for retail or management, join the Op Shop team. Volunteer as your schedule permits. Shop assistants and cashiers are especially welcome, and the time commitment is only a couple of hours a week. Contact Liz Mullikin, parishioner.
Love and serve others through community projects and activities supported by St. John’s Outreach Committee. The Outreach Committee allocates a portion of St. John’s outreach funds to humanitarian non-profits, disaster relief efforts, and other St. John’s outreach ministries. The Committee also oversees hands-on outreach efforts by the parish. We welcome your ideas for such efforts! Contact Peter Plocki, parishioner.
Projects and activities supported by Outreach Include:
- American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) – St. John’s supports a nurse’s salary at St. Luke’s Hospital, Nablus, West Bank through AFEDJ and has also taken on special fundraising projects such as raising money for a new ambulance and an ultrasound machine for St. Luke’s and contributing to the operating budget of Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. Contact the Rev. Anne Derse, Deacon and Minister for Community Engagement.
- Bethesda Cares – St. John’s provides breakfast daily, helps fill other food needs, and conducts periodic toiletries drives for those experiencing homelessness in Bethesda. Sign up to drop off cereal, milk, and fruit as your schedule permits!. Contact Denyse Corrado, parishioner.
- Bethesda Help, Inc. – Bethesda Help is a local all-volunteer non-profit, that provides food and limited financial assistance to those in need in the Greater Bethesda area. Contact Peter Plocki, parishioner.
- Betty Ann Krahnke Center – The Betty Ann Krahnke Center (BAK) is Montgomery County’s emergency shelter for victims of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence. Contact Carolyn Schugar, parishioner.
- Bishop Walker School – Bishop Walker School is a tuition-free school of the Ep0iscopal Diocese of Washington for boys from traditionally underserved communities. Contact Peter Plocki, parishioner.
- Giant Grocery Cards – Sale of cards every Sunday morning supports our Outreach activities. This activity was suspended due to Covid, but will resume in the near future. Volunteers to sell cards are welcome! Contact Peter Plocki, parishioner.
- Housing Up – Help furnish apartments for families moving from homeless shelters into their own homes. Contact Earle O’Donnell, parishioner.
- Interfaith Works Women’s Community-Based Shelter – Join a team to prepare a meal for homeless women in transition at the Women’s Community-Based Shelter in Rockville, Maryland. St. John’s provides meals for one week twice a year, usually in February and August. Contact Rick McUmber, parishioner.
- Lutheran Social Services – St. John’s works with LSS on a range of activities, including our Refugee Ministry (see below). Contact Nancy Adams, parishioner.
- Nourishing Bethesda – Nourishing Bethesda is a church-led coalition of many local community partners and the County that seeks to meet important needs in our broader community, create discipleship opportunities, and build a stronger community response to food insecurity. There are many ways you can help! Contact John Ross, parishioner.
- Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington – Serve those experiencing homelessness and unemployment through administrative support, resume writing, computer mentoring, and more. Contact Roxy Wolfe, parishioner.
- Seabury Resources for Aging – Seabury Resources for Aging® provides personalized, affordable services and housing options to help older adults in the greater Washington, D.C. area live with independence and dignity. Contact Suzanne Welch, parishioner.
- Shepherd’s Table – Join St. John’s Shepherd’s Table team by shopping and delivering ingredients, cooking chili, and serving dinner to those experiencing homelessness at Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring, Maryland. We cook and serve dinner on the 4th Sunday of every month. Contact Julia Andrews, parishioner.
- A Wider Circle – A Wider Circle offers a range of volunteer opportunities to help fight poverty through educational programs and furnishing homes. Contact the Rev. Anne Derse, Deacon and Minister for Community Engagement.
RACIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY TASK FORCE
Our new Racial Justice and Equity (RJE) Task Force seeks to build a shared vision of the “Beloved Community” within the parish and to support the initiatives undertaken by church ministries, staff, and members. We seek to foster a welcoming and inclusive congregation through sustained efforts to undo structures and practices of racism and white privilege first within the congregation but also in the broader community. Contact Avril Barker or Mark Edwards, parishioners.
SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY COMMITTEE
Our advocacy team was founded to amplify St. John’s efforts to fight for social justice in our community. To this end, we seek to develop relationships with those who govern our county, state, and country and to lend our voices to the marginalized. Contact Lisa Raisner or Annelise Hafer, parishioners.
UKRAINIAN SUPPORT GROUP (USG)
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Support Group (USG) was created to provide parishioners opportunities for prayer, action and financial support for the people of Ukraine. Our partner in this effort is St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, Md. Led by Father Volodymyr Steliac who works directly with the Ukrainian government, St. Andrew is the premiere provider of humanitarian aid to Ukraine in our region. The current focus of the USG is to help keep the war in Ukraine and the needs of the Ukrainian people top of mind with our parishioners and the community we serve and to explore opportunities to support Ukrainian refugees. Contact Rob Hartmann, parishioner.