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The Chalice
Friday, May 31 2024


Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored (Mark 2:31-3:5).

Jesus is attending service on the sabbath in the local temple. He becomes upset because the rules on the sabbath have become very burdensome. A man comes to temple with a withered hand and Jesus heals the man. There are bad feelings between the Pharisees and Jesus. This is an important lesson for the church. Endless rules and traditions that have nothing to do with the love of God make religion very difficult to follow. They say that faith and spirituality are alive and well, but religion is fading away. We need to focus on bringing others to the love of God if we want our church to thrive.

Last Monday lots of good folks went to the organic community garden to plant vegetables. These vegetables will be grown and donated to Helping Hands. Helping Hands will distribute the healthy, organic vegetables to folks in need in our community. St. John’s is stepping out into the community to help others. We have made lots of friends at the garden, and they have helped us to understand how to grow plants in this garden. We have also met other groups that grow produce for Helping Hands. The work is hard and the laborers are few, but this is a rewarding ministry that draws community together by working toward a common goal.

Religion can separate our community into like-minded groups. Community ministry uses diverse thinking individuals to work together for a common cause. We learn to have tolerance for those who do not look or think like us. Every denomination has struggled to accept gay and lesbian into their religion, but the Episcopal Church has been on the front line in being open and affirming. Those who feel like LGBTQ+ individuals don’t belong in church have diminished in the Episcopal Church. We believe that God created every person into relationship. June is Pride Month, and we will have a celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride during the Pride Parade in Huntington on June 9th. We celebrate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in America.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh (2 Cor. 7-11).

This Sunday, I will be preaching on “this treasure in clay jars.” Paul proclaims that we are formed by the hand of God for the purpose of God. In other words, God equipped you for a purpose at your baptism and has a plan for you. Jesus had the purpose of loving the sick, the thirsty, the poor, and the oppressed. Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead that we might have abundant life. The Pharisees had fallen off the path of loving God and one another and Jesus exposed them. The greatest need in our church is to understand that our ministry is in God’s hands. Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand,” and the man was healed. We do not wield the power of God, but we are vessels in the hands of the Lord. Please pray that we might shine the light of Jesus through our faith and our ministry at St. John’s.

In Christ’s love,
Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 24 2024

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Abundant Life by Lisa La Grange

Abundant life is knowing You;

enraptured by Your grace.

Your promises are always true.

Your joy, none can replace.

For You’re the treasure hidden deep

my passion will unearth.

Those searching for Your Kingdom reap

the pearl of matchless worth.

You gave Your life to rescue me;

Your mercy overwhelms

and gives to me ability

to walk in victory’s realms.

Your glory pours down from above

and saturates my life.

I’m captivated by Your love;

delivered from all strife.

Majestic King in splendor bright,

You reign forevermore.

To be with You, my deep delight;

Your presence, I adore.


Our last concert at St. John’s was performed by the Jazz All Stars. The concert was wonderful because each of the artists had immense talent. What struck me was when they all played together in a manner that brought the crowd into unity. The crowd gave ovation after ovation to show their thanks of the beautiful jazz music. When the drummer, the singer, the bass player and the coronet artist all played a song, the audience was drawn together through the music. Our world is plagued with a cacophony of voices and opinions. Social media and television draw us into conflicting groups. The world is filled with hate and wars. Yet our appreciation of great music can align the conflicting forces into a unity of gratitude. The sound of the music brought me joy and a feeling of oneness with the crowd that attended. After the concert we met the artists and enjoyed some wonderful food as we met folks from the community of Huntington.

This is Trinity Sunday. The preacher will attempt to unravel the mystery of how God draws the world into a common path of joy, love, joy and hope. 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. We give thanks for the beauty of God in creation and I hope you will get out today to experience and enjoy it. The whole concept of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is simply a drawing together of folks into mutual and unconditional love. On Memorial Day at 10AM, we will plant in the community organic garden on Dunlap. The garden brings us together as we serve those in our community who do not have enough fresh, healthy produce. Giving of ourselves for the sake of others brings us into unity with God.

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 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 17 2024


Pentecost is my favorite feast day. While not as popular as Christmas and Easter, it is a special moment in our faith story, the story of when we as believers first received the gift of the Holy Spirit. I have always loved the Acts 2 reading and look forward to hearing it every year. The church is being fueled for a road trip and I am ready to go! Many believe this day to be the “birthday of the church”, and not just because the disciples turn into candles! No, it is the day the church has received “her soul”, the Holy Spirit! I will be focusing my sermon this weekend on the Holy Spirit, and what it means for the church and for me and you.

In the reading from Acts, Peter quotes from the prophet Joel, that God will pour out His spirit upon all peoples, both men and women. The Holy Spirit is for all people. One of the important marks of the church is the catholic nature of our faith. (There are three other “marks of the church”, which we affirm every week in the Nicene Creed, they are: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic). For many of us who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, we may be inclined still to think of catholic in that way. However, the Christian faith is catholic because it is meant to be universal, what catholic means. Several weeks ago, we met the Ethiopian eunuch who took his new faith back home. In the Acts 2 reading, we have the listing of the many nations where the Jewish diaspora could be found and from where these travelers had come. They also go back to their homes either preaching about their new faith or remitting news back home that new, strange movement of Jewish people had arisen. And that they suddenly knew our languages! All this to say that the church’s movement is not to be limited, but to go throughout all the world and permeate in every neighborhood.

 Our Catholicity has to do with much more than a formal institution. Our faith and our fellowship in our faith is meant to be held together by the Holy Spirit, the one who leads the church and each of us through our lives as Christians. This weekend, we will be honoring David Lasek with the Bishop’s Medal for Distinguished Parochial Service for his outstanding work he has done for the church. How the Holy Spirit has worked in his life and his love for this community is a great inspiration for us all. Since the beginning of the church, as shown in the second half of Acts 2, Christians have provided for the community since the beginning. Whether it’s making breakfast on a Sunday morning, tilling and harvesting soon at our community garden, or going on a mission trip abroad, a universal aspect of our faith is our commitment to loving our neighbors, whoever they may be.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Zach

Posted by: Rev. Zach Baker, curate AT 01:35 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024


‘The Bright Field’ by R. S. Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus prays that we might know the same love that the Father has shown to him. He is just hours from being sentenced, tortured, and hung on a cross and this is final prayer to God, “And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves” (John 17:11-13). Jesus knows we must have faith that our lives rest in the care of God. When we give of ourselves, wonderful things start to happen. Jesus prays that you will have this incarnate love that moves mountains. Are you ready for what is ahead of us at St. John’s? Our parish can do wonderful things, not because we are powerful or rich, but because God does marvelous things for those who have faith and give of themselves for others. We must have faith that our lives rest in the care of God.

Each weekday morning at 9 am, a large group of St. John’s parishioners join on zoom for Morning Prayer. Each morning we pray for those we love, the sick, the poor, the oppressed, those with birthdays, the church, and for those who have died. We are in unity with one another and God through our common prayer and the remembering of a common story. We are connected through our faith. This week’s collect asks God to send us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. We need to have a belief that there is something more in this world other than the chaos we see around us. There is a force of love and unity that we can tap into. That is the pearl of great price. It is valuable beyond measure because it came with a price. Jesus will teach, die, and be resurrected in three days that we might know that we are loved by God. The love and unity of God and Jesus are the way and the truth and the life. That is our common story.

Please join us in celebrating Mother’s Day at St. John’s this Sunday. We would love to see you and your whole family. May God’s blessing be upon you now and always.

In Christ’s love,
Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 03 2024


This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
—John 15.12

“All you need is Love,” a well known song from the Beatles made famous in the 60’s – during a time when life was turbulent. I would have us ponder the following question? When isn’t life turbulent? When do the winds of change ever stop blowing? 

Life can be turbulent when welcoming a newborn into ones’ family. Life as one knew it has now changed. Turbulent, joyful and a whole mix of emotions as parents adjust to the immediate transformation that a new little human with his/her own personality brings! Newborn welcome is certainly a fresh experience for Gary and me, as we continue to rejoice in the arrival of our first grandchild: Myles William Mis. Watching his parents jump through hoops to settle him down so reminds us of the turbulence we too went through as first time parents. Winds of change!

We too, as a parish family will welcome little Cayden Chipman into our fold through the sacrament of Baptism at our 10 a.m. serivce. In addition to his parents, Victoria and Brady, we, as his larger family are committed to keeping him in the faith and communion of God’s holy church. We pray that he will be filled with the holy and life giving Spirit and that he, and all of his new larger family will learn to love others in the power of that spirit. “All you need is Love.”

And speaking of love – wind and boundaries...

This Sunday, we also celebrate and actively support Episcopal Ministries of Long Island (EMLI) – an amazing ministry program that strives to move us out of our own little silos and open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the love and outreach of parishes within our very own diocese. How are we as a larger diocesan community connected beyond the borders and boundaries we often erect and to reach out to those in our neighborhoods who are in need of God’s love and bounty.

The winds of the Holy Spirit are interrupting our complacency and moving in our midst. We have been called into the mission field right in our own backyard, here at St. John’s in Huntington. And, we thank God to be able to reach out to EMLI for a grant to get us started.

The St. John's Garden of Grace

Grace: A Free Gift!!!  Our project will be a renewal and expansion of the good work that Alan Schorn began last year at the Robert Kubecka Memorial Organic Garden located off Dunlop Road in Huntington – three miles from our church. If we succeed in being awarded the grant, we will develop the land under the guidance of our very own master gardener, Fr. Duncan, (trained through the Cornell Cooperative Extension), to properly grow organic vegetables which will be distributed to the homeless, migrant and food insecure communities in our neighborhood.

There will be jobs that all of us can do to assist in this ministry:

  • Pray-ers - to ask the Holy Spirit to be our guide
  • Recorders - to record our progress each step of the way
  • Builders – of raised garden beds
  • Movers of mulch and soil
  • Planters
  • Weeders
  • Harvesters
  • Deliverers to Tri CYA and Helping Hands Rescue Mission

All that we do is out of love for our neighbor – to be able to reach out and make a tangible difference in someone’s life. So this Sunday, we ask you to support Episcopal Ministries of Long Island with your generous gift during our collection.  Let’s take down the invisible “no-tresspassing” signs and open our hands and hearts in loving outreach!

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:35 pm   |  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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