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The Chalice
Friday, June 26 2020

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last week, Bishop Wolf preached that she has hope that we can overcome racism in America. I have hope that we can overcome racism, sexism, and homophobia. The reason that I believe this is that Jesus calls every Christian not just to welcome their neighbor, but to love them as God loves you. This call comes from our creator in heaven, who sent his only Son to be a model of love in the flesh. God empowers each of us through the Holy Spirit to see the world in a new way. I want you to reimagine church and reimagine racism from the perspective of the way of love.

My brother was playing golf with me the other day and I said something stupid. He said that I often have strong opinions and that nothing anyone could say would change the way I think. Well, this pandemic and the actions of the police around the country have opened my eyes. I admittedly did not agree with Colin Kaepernick disrespecting the flag that so many died for, but I am rethinking my worldview now. While I did not support his methods, I do support his cause. Maybe we all need to suck up our selfish pride and take a knee with the folks at Black Lives Matter. I will personally never disrespect the flag, but the issue is not patriotism, it is racism. The truth is that Jesus came in the flesh so that everyone might have abundant life. The fact is that we as a nation need to make some changes. We need to respect the dignity of every person that enters our church and welcome them with open hearts and an open mind.

In the second quarter of 2019, the top 1% of households and nonprofit organizations held 32.4% of all net worth in the United States. During the same period, the lower 50% of households and nonprofit organizations held 1.9% of all net worth in the United States. This has become not only a problem in terms of fairness to all of us but is exasperated by systematic racism. The median African American has a net worth of $11,000 and the top 1% have an average $42,000,000 in net worth. This disparity has led to issues in health care, education, housing and opportunity.  

There is a lot of anger, hurt and confusion in the world because of all the inequity. We have had to reevaluate what is essential in our lives. Richard Rohr says that we need to reclaim Jesus and find the deeper ground of self. In returning to God, we can reevaluate our world view. Please join our Sacred Ground folks in committing to racial reconciliation in our church, our town, our country, and the world. Think about how you can turn to the essential and walk in the way of love. Julian of Norwich said that love was the purpose of Jesus. I urge you to follow the way of love by reconnecting with Jesus, taking care of those who are in need, and striving for justice. Richard Rohr says that in order to to adjust our worldview, we must live our way into a new way of thinking. Let us spend the rest of our lives following the love of Jesus.

In Christ’s love,
Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 08:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 19 2020

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

This week has been particularly stressful for the clergy of the diocese. As we prepare to open our doors, we must make decisions that will not be popular with everyone in the parish. We all want to be together again, but how can we do that safely. The bishop asked us to restrict all vulnerable folks from coming into
the church. A clergy member immediately replied, “Bishop Provenzano, do you realize that half your clergy are 65 and older?” We have developed a survey to find out who wants to come to church, when they want to come, and what services we should offer. We have also put together a task force that will make recommendations to the vestry. This all sounds wonderful until you are one of the three dogs at the entrance to the ark. Please use compassion, kindness,  umility, gentleness, and especially patience.

We will be opening the church safely and slowly and it is going to be a very rough summer financially. I ask everyone that is financially able to support the church with online donations or sending a check to the church office. I rarely mention stewardship in the summer, but June, July, and August will be particularly
difficult this summer. My deepest and heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who has been giving to St. John’s. Your donations have kept our church in a strong position and I just wanted to let everyone know how important your support is at this time. We will be buying audio and video equipment for streaming
and helping our older folks get online through a grant that Jack, Samantha and Jen put together this week.  Please listen to their weekly podcasts and share them with some young adults in your life. They can be found on our website at

I also want to thank everyone who has given food to Helping Hands through St. John’s, everyone who has given to Alex’s concerts at 11:30 on Sundays, those who are involved in racial reconciliation and justice at St. John’s, those who pray for one another each day at Morning Prayer, and for Claire, Alex, and especially Coral. Please pray for our staff. We are a little worn out and frustrated like you are, but we need to get through this very important period of opening back up. Coral is going to take the first week in July off, so please be compassionate and gentle in asking for help in the coming weeks. Most of all listen to God’s call for what you can be doing to  support and love God and your neighbors. Make a difference by standing up against injustice, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, calling the lonely, and treating  everyone with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Most of all, stay safe enjoy this beautiful place we live, relax, enjoy your summer, and please keep your sense of humor!

In Christ's Love,
Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 03:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, June 13 2020

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look

favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred

mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry

out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world

see and know that things which were cast down are being

raised up, and things which had grown old are being made

new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection

by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus

Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity

of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP Good Friday)

Bishop Robert Wright said that justice is love overthrowing everything that is not love. In fact, God works through the church to raise up those things that are cast down and to raise up those things which had grown old. It is difficult to read the realities that lie behind the curves ahead, but we go forth in the conviction that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the days to come, as we experience unparalleled change.

During this time of separation from the Holy Eucharist and from human contact, from our friends and family, many of you have drawn closer to God through Morning Prayer, reading scripture, prayers, service to others, and staying in contact with others through social media. But human contact is a necessary part of our existence and we long for the day that we will be together again with our family and friends at St. Johns.

Bishop Provenzano has appointed a task force to help us plan a safe resumption of our liturgy at St. John's. We have received their guidelines and are ready to plan an opening date for services at St. John's. This will not be an easy task. We have already seen a resurgence of Covid19 when people get back together again. We will need to have our own task force and I hope you will prayerfully consider being a part of it. This week, we will send out a survey for your preferences in opening the church. I ask that you put the safety of others as our top priority. Because of this, the Diocesan task force has asked that their be no celebration of the Eucharist and no live singing by the congregation in phase two. Maybe we could continue our Eucharist at 10:00 with music on zoom and Facebook Live for a few more weeks and offer Morning Prayer on Sundays. The St. John's task force will interpret the data from the survey and create safety guidelines for opening back up. As we reach the fourth stages of opening up, we will resume the Eucharist and live singing in church.

One of the real benefits of this pandemic has been our ability to pray together through social media. I urge you to join us for morning prayer or Sunday services. Alex has done a marvelous job with Leslie, Ken, Noelle, and George at recording your favorite hymns. Alex and Christine have offered concerts every Sunday at 11:30 that have raised over 15,000 to help those in need in our community.

We have hired three tech interns to support St. John's ministry through Technology. They are here to help you worship and connect through technology at St. John's. Samantha Burns, Jennifer Low, and Jack Glicker are producing a podcast called, "Spirituality on Tap" for young people and youth. In these weekly discussions they will address different topics of importance to a diverse group of young people, interviewing guests and experts to explore those things that are on the hearts and minds of the youth today. Next week, they will tackle racial reconciliation through interviews from our Sacred Ground folks. To listen to this week’s audio podcast on their experience with Covid19, click on the Sound Cloud link:

Equipment - If you are need of a device to participate in online services and meeting, please let us know.

Support - If you have difficulty joining any online service or meeting and you would like some help, give the Parish Office a call at 631-427-1752 or email One of our interns will give you a call back to help you resolve the issue.

In Christ's Love,

Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 02:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 05 2020

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect for Trinity Sunday)

Today is Trinity Sunday. We are one in Christ as God is one as creator, redeemer, and sustainer. God created the world and it is good because he gave us rational brains to live within it and sustain it.

“The first person of the Trinity is God the Father, creator, the unoriginated origin, source, Father of the only begotten Son, breathing out the Holy Spirit. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father, receives the divine nature, essence and substance from the Father, consubstantial with the Father, the Word, image and sacrament. Holy Spirit, proceeds, consubstantial with the Father and the Son, breathed out.”

The concept that we are all one in Christ in this community is demonstrated by the relation in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are a family because we are one as the Trinity is one. Unfortunately, in our country right now, many folks are frustrated by the deaths of African Americans at the hands of the police. If everyone could just see one another as being related through our creator, we would not have the problems with White Supremacy and Racism that are so prevalent in our country today. When are we going to move towards racial reconciliation? When will police stop pulling over African Americans and treating them as something less than they were created to be? When will the police weed out the bad apples among themselves? How can officers of the police watch someone murder a suspect without stopping him? People are frustrated and they are tired of the same things happening again and again.

Saint Patrick is said to have explained the Trinity to the Celts by using a shamrock, three individual leaves, yet still one plant. Three people one black, one white, and one brown, yet all created out of the same elements by God.

Augustine said the Trinity was best understood as the Lover, the Beloved, and the love which exists between them. Why can’t we love one another as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

Tertullian used the metaphor of the Trinity as a plant, with the Father as the deep root, the Son as the shoot that breaks forth into the world, and the Spirit as the force which spreads beauty and fragrance on the earth. We all come from the same tree. Why are we so aware of the color of other’s skin and why do some white Europeans see themselves as better?

God calls St. John’s to racial reconciliation by loving God and our neighbor. I give thanks to all those in our Sacred Ground racial reconciliation program and I challenge our vestry to make racial reconciliation our top priority.

In our day, contemporary Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff helps us understand the Trinity by describing it as a primal community, "just and equal within the reality that is God...and, therefore, a model for human society." 

Creator God, bring us into a new life of beauty and goodness in your creation. Jesus, Redeemer, renew us through your Gospel by teaching us how to be in relation with others. Holy Spirit, Sustainer, strengthen and guide us in unity.

In Christ's Love,
Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
St. John's Episcopal Church
12 Prospect St. | Huntington, NY 11743 | PH: (631) 427-1752
Sunday Services at 8 AM and 10 AM
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