I started coming to St John’s because I was looking for something. Something bigger than me. I have sometimes been conflicted about organized religion but needed help to teach my son that giving to others and thinking beyond yourself is the greatest blessing. That was 12 years ago. What I found and why we have stayed at St John’s is because we found a true community with many different sizes, textures and flavors but one built on love for each other and a real passion to find ways to serve others in need.
Being a member of St. John’s is truly a gift to ourselves. It is like finding a home, and feeling welcomed and nourished every week. Ever since my husband and I came through St. John’s doors seven years ago, we have felt part of a very giving community. Renewing old friendships and meeting new people while participating in worthwhile endeavors is all part of the St. John’s experience.
— Bruce and Nancy Phillips
What I love about St. John’s is the St. John’s family is always there for me. Members are ready to help see me through the difficult times and to join in my celebration of the good times.
During the past, few years, my husband has had several serious health issues. Most recently, he had a series of grand mal seizures that hospitalized him for ten days, three days of which he was in a medically induced coma. Next came the four months of tests, doctor visits, and uncertainty until we received the devastating diagnosis of brain tumor. During this very difficult time, we felt the healing love of our church family through their prayers, meals, hugs, cards, visits, and flowers. They lifted our spirits and helped us through some very dark days.
Five months after the seizures, my husband had successful brain surgery to remove the tumor. Patrick, our pastor who had been at St. John’s less than a year, met our family at Jefferson Hospital at 5:00AM the day of surgery. He came to offer us strength and support. Several images remain with me from that day: My husband dressed in a patient gown, IV lines in place, and lying on a gurney. The five of us holding hands in that curtained pre-op area while Patrick led us in prayer. We were an island of quiet calm amid a busy, noisy pre-op ward.Patrick killing the long hours of waiting in the neurosurgical waiting room with my daughters and me. Even after the doctor told us the operation was successful, Patrick stayed. “I promised I would see him in the recovery room.” And he did. My husband has no recollection of all this, but the support, the prayers and the presence of Patrick meant so much to me and says so much about Patrick.
A year after the seizures, my family had a team, the Brainstormers, in the National Brain Tumor Society’s annual Race for Hope in Philadelphia. Once again, our church family supported us both through donations and as Brainstormer team members. Our St John’s family joined us in celebrating a successful 5K race and in making it through the year. They continue to celebrate with us every four months when my husband has a brain MRI and it remains unchanged.
So, for me, what I love most about St John’s is that they’re there for me; I can count on them; they have my back. They’re my church family!
We have been thinking about comments made by our friends and fellow worshippers at St. John’s and there seems to be a theme… we are a Church family and we support each other in good times and bad. We agree.
Ours is a Christ-centered Church where we take seriously the Lord’s words “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Doing that, by words and deeds, takes us down many avenues, exemplified by the numerous outreach programs St. John’s is involved in throughout our community, nation and worldwide.
Within St. John’s, the love and support we all feel when the inevitable difficulties occur in our lives, can be amazing. When my Mother died, among the many different expressions of love, 65 cards and notes showed up in our mailbox, and then there were the flowers, hugs and (most importantly) the prayers. Lee once said that “if you are sick and the Deacons find out, best you have a second refrigerator in the house.” We try to coordinate visits to those in the hospital or house-bound in order that we don’t create a traffic jam.
Much more could be said about the Christ-centered love exhibited by this wonderful church, but space is limited. However, there is one more aspect of this conversation that we would like to enunciate. When we give of ourselves we inevitably come away feeling Blessed and sometimes wondering “who got the most out of this, me or the one in need?”
— Lee and Virginia
What I love about being a part of our St. John’s church family is the caring support that our members give one another. People reach out and genuinely try to help if you are going through a difficult time. When I was caring for my dying mother, our pastor, Patrick Marshall, came to visit my mom even though he didn’t know her. Members of our church made the 45 minute trek to my mother’s house to bring flowers, books, DVDs and meals. One member sent a care package filled with items that she had found useful when she was fighting cancer and thought they might help my mom, too. Hearing that my mom was a huge Phillies fan, two other members delivered a basket filled with Phillies paraphernalia that brought a smile to my mom’s face. I can not begin to express how grateful I am for the support of my St. John’s family.
— Barbara M.