A Voice in the Wilderness. Newsletter of the Church of St. John in the Wilderneess | April 2022

Pain, Ukraine, Faith and Hope

The Ukrainian Tree artist is Richard Peck, Jane Peck's son. It is part of this year's 100 Days of Art on Instagram (28/100) and it is for sale. His signature and series number are on the print in the lower right. 

Editor's Note

Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and all the horror of its war-criminal acts on the people of this peace-loving democracy is hard to bear.  What can we do?

In this issue's Senior Warden Report, Brian Boom provides a link to Episcopal Relief And Development, which is active in Europe, helping with the humanitarian crisis.

Art can help us while we pray for better news.  Richard Peck, son of A Voice In The Wilderness' indispensable Jane Peck, painted the beautiful image above, dubbed Ukrainian Tree by himself and Lucy Eldridge.

Listen to the Ukrainian National Anthem sung a cappella by a coterie of Ukraine's opera singers on the streets of Lviv. You can hear their passion all the way through and especially at the end.

Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine!)

That's what Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy says, and so do we.
- Patricia and Jim Wann, Editors

Thoughts from the Wilderness

Easter, 2022

Father John and Cleo   This is a message of hope as we move through Holy Week into the Easter season. It’s a bit shorter message as your Rector has been slowed down by serious exacerbation of normally manageable neck pain since the first week in March. I need that hope right now as there is nothing like a big increase in chronic pain to narrow one’s focus.
   My specific hope of course is for a decrease in pain. I’m taking various steps to alleviate the pain including medical appointments which I have to wait some time for.
   The book of Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” These Scriptures give us the assurance that our faith and hope can be fulfilled and that they are necessary.
   But it’s tricky. We may pray with faith and hope for something we have no doubt is worthy of answered prayer or fulfillment, and it doesn’t necessarily happen or doesn’t happen on our timetable. Which is very frustrating, and challenges the faith and hope we are encouraged to have in these same verses. When we experience the pain of suffering or unanswered prayers or hopes, we may also be quite angry with God, questioning his love or even his existence. 
   God doesn’t expect us to be perfect in faith and hope, for most fundamentally, faith and hope are gifts from God in the first place to us. These Scriptures about faith and hope are not meant to discourage us – they are meant to encourage us. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” – even if it takes a long time, even if we get a different gift than the one expected.
   “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” – even when we doubt God, even when we are angry at God. This Scripture encourages us to hang in there with God or simply turn back to God if we’ve walked away. And this Scripture encourages us to believe that God rewards us.
   Finally, we hope for even more than relief of pain and suffering. We hope also for peace, joy and fulfillment. And beyond that we hope we can help others to be relieved from pain and suffering and be blessed with peace, joy and fulfillment. We know much help is needed in the tragedy of the invasion of Ukraine. I have been encouraging us to donate to Episcopal Relief and Development in their support of Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees. Please see Senior Warden Brian Boom’s article in this issue as he discusses ERD supporting Ukraine. Brian gives the online and snail mail contact information for all who would like to give to ERD in their support of Ukraine.

- In peace, John+

Word from the Senior Warden

Brian Boom   I am honored to serve as Senior Warden for 2022 at the Church of St. John in the Wilderness. This is my second tour of duty in this role, and I am humbled to be entrusted again to fulfill it, which I will do to the best of my ability.
   I want to thank the St. John’s lay leadership team that rotated off the Vestry as of the 2022 annual meeting this past January 16 for their valued service, namely Elen Freeston as Senior Warden, and Vestry members Lucy Eldridge and Jane Peck. I also want to acknowledge and thank the Vestry members whose terms continue in 2022, Jay Corcoran, Ginny Johnson, Charley Musselman, and Mibs Zelley, and new Vestry members Arthur Eppler and Jim Wann and new Junior Warden, Judy Whitbeck. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank Father John Thompson for his ongoing, inspired spiritual leadership of our church, and for the much valued continued service of Karen Flynn as Treasurer and Wendy Langlois as Clerk of the Vestry.
   As attested by the 2021 Annual Reports presented at St. John’s Annual Meeting on January 16, 2022, held by Zoom, our vital ministries remain active and the finances of the church are sound. There is much planning afoot for completing existing capital projects and for planning additional projects, and these plans are outlined in the Capital Campaign Update in this issue of the newsletter.
   Of course, there have been pandemic-related delays in acquiring building materials and hiring contractors, and unpleasant surprises, such as a leak in the roof of the Sacristy, but these issues are being sorted out and 2022 is looking like a year for great activity. Monthly Vestry meetings are still being held by Zoom, which is a great convenience for all concerned, but at least for now Sunday morning Eucharists are back live in the church and coffee hours are happening, so thankfully a semblance of normalcy is returning at St. John’s. 
   Unfortunately, there are plenty of places in the world where normalcy is ever more elusive by the day. I am thinking particularly about the current war in Ukraine and the humanitarian crises in that country and for the refugees who have managed to escape to surrounding countries. As of this writing, over 4 million refugees have left Ukraine, while an estimated 6.5 million people have been displaced within the country. I wanted to know how I could help these people, and so I turned to one of my favorite charities, Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD), for ideas. 
   ERD is working with Anglican and ecumenical partners in Europe to provide aid to people displaced by the crisis in Ukraine. According to Abagail Nelson, Executive Vice President, Episcopal Relief & Development, “The most effective way to help right now is through prayer and by making a financial contribution. This will help us equip our local partners to get the specific emergency supplies they need, from local and regional sources, which will support the local economy.”
   Donations online to the Ukraine Crisis Response fund will help meet critical needs of Ukrainian refugees.
   To send a contribution by mail, indicate in the memo section of your check “Ukraine Crisis Response” and send to:
Episcopal Relief & Development
PO Box 7058
Merrifield, VA 22116-7058
– Brian Boom, Senior Warden

Capital Campaign Update

   As mentioned in the most recent edition of this newsletter, St. John’s Capital Campaign Committee, in consultation with the Buildings and Grounds Committee, has been working on prioritizing and revising the cost estimates of projects to complete the current Campaign in the best possible way. Following our committee’s meeting on March 24, 2022, we are pleased to report that this review of projects is completed, and we would like to share the results now.
   The planned projects address one or more vital issues: safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, and connections to the community (past, present, and future).

   These projects are as follows:
  1. Restoration of Pomeroy Graveyard 
  2. New accessibility entrance to the church
  3. New parking area and blacktop
  4. New shed/pavilion
  5. New woodland gathering/prayer circle
   The locations of these planned projects are indicated by red numbers superimposed on the Preliminary Landscape Plan for St. John’s property, produced by Jamie Purinton in July 2018. 
    We are pleased to report that, considering the $257,954 that individuals and organizations have already graciously donated, only $35,000 more is needed to complete the projects currently underway (i.e., upgrades of mechanical and electrical systems and restoration of the Sacristy) and all the projects planned listed above. This is a very achievable goal and we have a strategy for making it a reality.

The Capital Campaign Committee would like to thank the many generous individuals and families and the organizations that have contributed to the $257,954 raised so far in this effort.  

   We especially want to acknowledge the Sacred Sites program of The New York Landmarks Conservancy for a $3,500 grant in support of the architectural and engineering fees for the first phase of the Capital Campaign’s implementation, the Rheinstrom Hill Community Foundation for a $5,000 grant in support of the Sacristy renovation and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation for a $15,000 grant for the repair and renovation of the fencing of the Pomeroy Graveyard in St. John’s cemetery and stabilization work on the adjacent embankment. 
   To raise the additional $35,000 needed to complete current and planned projects, the Capital Campaign Committee is applying to additional private foundations as well as planning to send out letters to members of the Church of St. John in the Wilderness asking for new or renewed pledges to the Capital Campaign. We also decided to extend the period of the Campaign for an additional year, through 2023, because of COVID-19 pandemic-related delays and disruptions over the past couple of years.

In forthcoming issues of this newsletter, we will continue to provide updates with news on successes in obtaining new grants from organizations and new pledges from individuals.

   Please remember when you receive a letter requesting pledges for the Capital Campaign, every dollar counts, and we ask that you be as generous as you are able. But more important than the size of the gift is to achieve as broad a spectrum of individual participation in the Campaign as possible, as we build together the foundation for sustaining people, place, and peace at the Church of St. John in the Wilderness into the future.

- Brian Boom and Lucy Eldridge, co-chairs

2022 Church Calendar



Sunday, April 10: Palm Sunday
Thursday, April 14: Maundy Thursday Service, 7:30pm
Friday, April 15: Good Friday Service, 7:30pm
Saturday, April 16: Easter Egg Hunt, 11:00am
Sunday, April 17:  Easter Service, 10:00am


Friday-Sunday, June 3-5: 154th Diocesan Convention, Silver Bay
Saturday, June 11: Memorial Service for David Chittick, 11:00am
Sunday, June 19: Father’s Day Plant & Bake Sale, Noon-4:00pm


July (Date TBD): New York Landmarks Conservancy, Sacred Sites Open House Weekend

Spring Happenings at St. John’s

   St. John’s will welcome children and parents to an Easter Egg Hunt on the grounds of the church on Saturday, April 16 at 11:00am. A Pizza and Prize party will be held on the Rectory porch at the conclusion of the Hunt.
   And, in June, we will hold a Father’s Day Plant and Bake Sale, Sunday, June 19, Noon-4:00pm. Hanging  baskets, herbs, perennials, annuals and yummy baked goods will be on sale. Come, pick up some colorful plants, delicious baked goods, swap gardening tips with fellow community members, and enjoy!

- Lucy Eldridge

St. John in the Wilderness

Clergy The Rev. John P. Thompson, Rector

Brian Boom (1/23) Warden
Judy Whitbeck (1/24) Warden

Virginia Johnson (1/23)
Milbrey Zelley (1/23)
Jay Corcoran (1/24)
Charley Musselman (1/24)
Jim Wann (1/25)
Arthur Eppler (1/25)
Jane Peck, Interim Clerk of the Vestry
Karen Flynn, Treasurer

Church Organization and Functions
Music: Edith Hedrick, Choir Director/Organist
Church School: Wendy Langlois, Director
Buildings/Grounds: Marjorie Hoog, Chair
Voice: Jim and Patricia Wann, Editors/Publishers
Website: Jay Corcoran, Editor
Altar Guild: Elen Freeston, Director

Eucharist Ministers
Peggy Anderson
Harry Koeppel
Brian Boom
Wendy Langlois

Copyright © 2022 Church of St John in the Wilderness, Copake Falls NY, All rights reserved.

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