I'm New Here
Whether you have already visited St. John's or you are just thinking about it, know that you are welcome. We are glad you are here and hope to get to know you as you get to know us. Our commitment to Faith, Family, and Friends is exactly that -- a commitment! Therefore, here is our commitment to you:
First, to welcome you. It sounds like such a obvious thing to do, but all of us have been in those situations where we have not felt welcomed. At St. John's our commitment is to make you feel right at home as quickly as possible. One of the ways the Episcopal Church does that is by inviting all baptized Christians to receive Holy Communion, regardless of what denomination they have come from. And for those not yet baptized, to welcome them to the Altar during Holy Communion to offer them a personal blessing as they continue their spiritual journey of discernment. Then, when a person is ready to make the decision to be baptized, to be there to instruct, nurture, and celebrate this ancient sign of Christian commitment.
Another way we express that commitment is by letting you decide the extend of your involvement in the life of the parish. For some people that means jumping right in and getting involved in all the exciting activities and events that happen at St. John's and Canterbury House, our residence for senior citizens. For others, it's the freedom to just come and be in a quiet place where they can rest, pray, and hear the voice of God gently whispering his love and grace into their heart. And then join the parish for a lively and filling "coffee hour" or "Spring Dinner."
Second, to give you a setting and a community where you can continue your spiritual journey. Bishop Sheen, one of the most noted evangelists of the mid-twentieth century once said: "There are only two classes of people in all the world. Those who have found God and those who are looking for God, and everyone is looking, thirsting, hungry, seeking." He is right. We are all seeking to understand our place in the universe and, maybe, what it means to be in intentional relationship with God. St. John's may have been here for more than 170 years, and Christianity may have been around for 2,000 years, but with each generation the central questions of life are asked again. Most people in asking such questions find the answers do not lie in the material possessions of life but in the depths of the human heart--a heart capable of goodness, love, gentleness, and compassion. At St. John's our commitment to you is to provide a setting where you can discover your answers to these questions in a context of historic, Anglican Christian liturgy, music, and worship.
Third, to provide an opportunity for you to make new friends. As many or as few as you want. The people of St. John's come from many places in the world. Many have spent their entire lives on Staten Island, yet well over a third of the congregation were not born in the United States. The richness of this diversity means you are sure to find someone who shares your background, your culture, and maybe even the country of your birth. But even if you don't, you will find people who enjoy people, and people who will enjoy getting to know you. Whether it is at a worship service, at the "coffee hour," or one of the many events the church hosts each year, you cannot help but make friends at St. John's. Our commitment to you is to enrich your life by the gift of friendship.