St. John offers a wide variety of ways in which to learn and serve. On Sundays there are Sunday School programs for both children and adults in addition to worship services. A children’s Sunday School and Adult Forum is offered in the Parish House between services. Apart from direct participation in worship services as lay readers, acolytes, ushers, greeters, Altar Guild, Flower Guild, Shuttle Drivers, Gatekeepers, etc., there are numerous ministries and activities that are open to all.
From time to time St. John in the Wilderness clergy identify parish members whose spirits would be lifted by a home-cooked meal. We call them "culinary hugs." These are usually people returning home from a hospital stay or facing a stressful or discouraging situation. An e-mail is sent out to ministry members telling of the need, and members who are available for that particular situation respond via “Reply All” so the coordinator can assign the meal to one of them or to several if the need is for more than one meal.
Needle Work Ministry
The Needle “Work” Ministry crafts an assortment of items from prayer shawls and small blankets to hats and mittens – all knitted, crocheted or quilted. The works of our hands are given to parish members, their families and friends, and to various charities in Henderson County. This ministry can take as much or as little time as you have to give. All skill levels are welcome from beginners to experienced needlers! We meet on the fourth Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Parish House Library, but you do not have to meet with the group to be part of it.
Funeral Reception Committee
One of the most meaningful ministries at St. John is the Funeral Reception Committee. Three rotating teams take turns providing a lovely reception in the Parish Hall for the family of a deceased parishioner. Each team serves approximately three times a year, depending on the number of funerals held. Ladies who serve on these teams choose how they wish to participate:
1) provide some finger food (sandwiches, baked good, fruit, etc.)
2) serve at the reception
3) do both, or
4) serve as a substitute when not enough regular team members are available.
If you can’t serve when your team leader calls, it is not a problem. It is understood that we all have times when we have conflicts; that is why we have substitutes.
Being part of this ministry is a great way to get to know other women in the Parish, and it is a very gratifying way to serve a family mourning the loss of a loved one.
Monthly Breakfasts Provided by the Chefs of St. John
On the first Sunday of each month, one of three rotating teams of men cook up a full breakfast that is served in the Parish Hall in between the two Sunday services, thus allowing parishioners from both services to come together for fellowship and a wonderful meal. It is a great way for men in the church to get to know each other, and the guys have a great time working together.
In 2021, St. John in the Wilderness joined a nationwide liturgical based ministry known as Holy Hikes. Hikes are typically scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month but may vary during the holiday seasons. Typical hikes are 2-5 miles in length and rated as easy to moderate. Various parish members serve as lead hikers and select trails that feature ridges, rivers, or waterfalls. During the hike, Father Josh leads us in a liturgy or Eucharist. The group then enjoys lunch or snacks “in the wilderness." For more information about Holy Hikes, click here.
Tuesday Night History Study Series
Tuesday Night History Study Series – This is a seasonal offering that runs between late spring and early fall. Participants meet at 5:30 p.m. in the Wilderness Room for a pot-luck dinner, followed by a video of an award-winning college professor giving a lecture on the topic chosen for the season. A short question-and-answer session follows, and the evening usually concludes around 7 p.m. Some subjects chosen for different seasons have been Winston Churchill, the Civil War, The Lessons of History, A Year That Changed the World – 1215, and the Magna Carta.
The Backpack Program began in 2008 when we heard that there were Henderson County school children deemed “nutritionally deprived” at their homes on the weekends. Parishioners and community members meet at Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday mornings during the school year. They form an assembly line to put into backpacks nutritious weekend food for 195-200 children identified by the schools as needing this support outside of the school environment.
Readers in the Wilderness
Think you might like to join a fun group of women to read good books and be part of the discussions they inspire? Our lively discussions expose us to new ideas and to differing viewpoints and to books that might not otherwise be on our reading list. In addition to discussing the book, we learn more about the author and pertinent background information. The meetings are informal and guided by a member of the group. Books are selected for six months from recommendations by our members. We meet the first Friday of each month, except January, in the Parish House Library at 10 a.m. You come when you can, even if you have not read the book.
This group provides and arranges flowers for all church services as well as the Christmas and Easter festivities. It is a very rewarding way to use your artistic talents to serve our church.
Episcopal Church Women (ECW)
All women who are members of St. John in the Wilderness are automatically members of the ECW. Our purpose is to grow spiritually and provide opportunities for knowing each other better while sponsoring activities such as a family picnic, women’s retreat, Christmas party for Head Start children and spontaneous gatherings.
St. John's Altar Guild is comprised of three teams which prepare for Sunday services and a member who serves at the Wednesday morning Healing Service. The Altar Guild is called upon to serve for funeral/memorial/baptismal services, as well. As an extension of the Altar Guild, the Candles and Brass Committee fills the liquid candles on a regular basis and maintains the wicks and cleaning of the brass.