Congregation Close-up: St. John’s, Toledo

Congregation Close-up: St. John’s, Toledo

St. Francis Day Animal Blessing 2018

By the Rev. Dr. Gavin Shumate, priest-in-charge

Bonded together as family, the people of St. John’s have proudly weathered many storms together in this historic building since 1937. We were even listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990! Facing down financial difficulties with love and determination, learning to embody the “institution” of church as well as the “family,” we’ve now got a new young priest-in-charge (who is being installed on March 31s at 1:00pm – we hope you’ll join us to celebrate our new ministry together!) who brings kids, new music, and social media into the mix! It’s exciting, but also challenging as we are trying to figure out how to be a church moving together into the future and beyond our own four walls. 

Gavin+ is consistently quoting Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, challenging us to be “Christians who are as crazy as the Lord. Crazy enough to love like Jesus, to give like Jesus, to forgive like Jesus, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God—like Jesus. Crazy enough to dare to change the world.” And we have already done some crazy things together to change our corner of the world: 

  • we’ve started a Fred Meyer Community Rewards Program (our organization ID is UY682, if you’re looking for a program!);
  • we have a lively and successful Bible Study/ Inquirers’ class in progress, with four confirmations (a lot for any size congregation!), and a Celebration of New Ministry planned for the Bishop’s visit in March;
  • we’ve started a Liturgy Guild to give people the opportunity to participate in the planning and implementation of Sunday services;
Blessing of the Animals, October 2018

All this while continuing our Thursday Soup ministry, monthly Karaoke Fridays, quilting ministries, and other community presence. Potential future ministries include starting a dinner church at a local restaurant, reaching out to homeless high school students, building a youth presence at St. John’s, and expanding our feeding ministries. 

Our goals in the year to come include exploring our understanding of who we are as a community, and who we want to become. We want to ask ourselves these questions: At St. John’s, what is our goal, what is our dream, and how can we use our gifts to work together toward those goals and dreams? How do we work together as a team to bring out the best in each other, to serve Christ in serving each other (both within the church and outside in the greater community), and to maximize what we’ve been given? How can we be Christ’s hands and feet in this world?

Stay tuned: we are few but formidable, excited, energized, and filled with the Spirit!

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