Ministries & Volunteering
getting involved at St. John’s
If you would like to be a part of one or more of these ministries, please contact the coordinators listed below. If no coordinator is listed, contact the parish office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-243-4220).
Outreach & Partnerships
We are a mission-focused church.
From our location on the Square in downtown Carlisle, we have tremendous opportunity and responsibility to reach out to those around us. We share our time, our resources and talents, and our church facilities to support both local and national ministries.
St. John’s has long supported Project SHARE, our local food bank. In addition to financial support, our members bring a jar of peanut butter each month, because it is a staple food for many families, especially those with young children. We also assemble Easter dinners for up to 150 families, which SHARE volunteers distribute to families as we celebrate the Risen Lord.
The Salvation Army provides meals to local Carlisle residents who need assistance. St. John’s contributes financially and purchases, cooks, and serves the main meal in those months that have a fifth Sunday. For more information contact parishioner Bob Morris.
Carlisle CARES (Combined Area Resources for Emergency Shelter) provides emergency daytime shelter to those in need throughout the year. Carlisle CARES provides a one-stop facility with shelter, showers, and the full array of social services needed for homeless people in our area.
This ministry is sustained by the coordinated efforts of a trained, community-wide team of volunteers, professional social workers, police, and area churches. In particular, each church opens its facilities at night for one month during the winter season.
Volunteers from St. John’s participate as overnight supervisors throughout the winter. We also provide hosts at St. John’s for a few hours every night during November. For more information about Carlisle CARES, contact the church office to volunteer.
Summer Program for Youth (SPY) is an eight-week summer day camp for economically and socially disadvantaged children, ages 6-10, in the Carlisle area. A staff of counselors, supported by church and community volunteers, creates a warm, supportive environment for the SPY campers.
The program reaches out to children who have been identified by their school guidance counselors as pupils who would likely benefit from structure and educational enrichment during the summer.
Youth Outreach Projects: St John’s youth participate in a number of outreach projects, including the World Hunger Project as well as summer work projects and mission trips.
St. John’s provides annual financial support to these and many other local ministries including: Summer Program for Youth (SPY), Project SHARE, Carlisle CARES, Samaritan Fellowship, Domestic Violence of Cumberland County, Habitat for Humanity, Victory Circle , Safe Harbor, Bethesda Mission, St. Stephen’s School, and Meals on Wheels
St. John’s also supports the eradication of world hunger through its ongoing contributions to the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund and Kiva.
The Altar Guild does the physical work that enriches the beauty of our worship space and ensures that the space points us toward God. St. John’s Altar Guild leaders quietly prepare us the church for Holy Eucharist and other services.
There are Altar Guild five teams, which alternate weeks during the month. These leaders clean the altar and church; ensure that all altar linens are clean; change altar hangings with the liturgical season; and order wine, communion wafers, and candles.
The Altar Guild is always looking for new members; anyone is welcome to join this dedicated team.
Acolytes are leaders of the congregation during the service, serve as examples for worshippers, and assist the clergy and other Altar Servers. Acolytes can begin as rising 2nd graders, and continue as adults.
Acolytes dress in special vestments for liturgies and must arrive at least 20 minutes before the service begins. Acolytes are ministers of the church and point to the beauty of holiness through their actions.
Acolytes roles include the following:
- Thurifer – swings the incense burner
- Boat Bearer – carries the incense container for the Thurifer
- Torch Bearer – carries a torch in procession and at specified times during the liturgy
- Crucifer – carries the cross in procession
Our Acolyte Master is Theresa Rice, and if you or your child wishes to be trained as an acolyte, please contact the office to connect with her. Acolyte Trainings are held regularly throughout the year. Adults and children 2nd grade and older are invited to participate in this ministry.
Ushers are the first wave of hospitality for worshippers at St. John’s. Ushers distribute bulletins, receive the offering, adjust church lighting, and assist the congregation during liturgies.
Chalice Bearer – distributes the wine in the chalice during Holy Eucharist
Lector – reads the Bible lessons during the service (a ministry of performance and interpretation of Scripture) As Lectors, we are the transmitters of that Word. Our voice, our inflections, our very manner with the sacred Book, will nuance the reception of the Spirit of God for our hearers. If you would like to view our Lector Handbook with more information on this ministry click here. Lector booklet (1)
The Adult Choir sings a variety of music from plainsong chanting and music of the baroque period to contemporary Christian arrangements. They rehearse weekly at 7:30 on Wednesday evenings from the end of August until June.
The Adult Choir sings at two of the 9:30 services each month, in addition to a variety of other services during the year.
The Men and Youth Choir sings twice a month at the 9:30 service. In addition, they sing four times a year for Evensong and participate in special services such as Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, and the 12th Night Boars Head Festival.
The structure of the choir is based on the traditional Anglican Men and Boys Choir. The choir has grown from singing simplified two part music to performing advanced four part music.
The Royal School of Church Music training program assists in guiding this choir’s training. We welcome youth singers from age 8 through 16 and adult male singers in all four parts: soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
Throughout the year there are opportunities for musicians who cannot commit to participation in one of the choirs. We have recently used the musical talents of individuals who play trumpet, oboe, piano and guitar.
For the past several years singers, mainly from the adult choir, led singing for one of the Friday Lenten observances of Stations of the Cross and chanting of Tenebrae on Good Friday.
During the summer while choirs are on recess, we need a variety of instrumental or vocal soloists and ensembles to perform at the 9:30 service.
Instrumental and vocal groups are also needed to support special worship services during the year, such as the recent Jazz Eucharist. These groups do not need to make a long-term commitment to a group.
St. John’s Twelfth Night Boar’s Head Festival is an Elizabethan pageant that combines the Christmas celebration with 16th-century English song and dance. It takes place at the conclusion of the Christmas season.
For more than 30 years, we have been presenting and developing our festival so that we now include well over 130 participants in Elizabethan or biblical costumes.
The Twelfth Night Festival has been hailed as our “signature” parish event, which we now proudly present every other year as our Christmas gift to the community.
St. John’s has a very active pastoral ministry to promote wholeness and healing among parishioners, empowering them to bring Jesus’s compassion, hope, and justice to all.
In addition to the visitation, counseling, prayer, and worship services provided by our clergy, we have an extensive lay ministry that adds a significant dimension to our ability to bring Christ’s message and teaching to all members of our parish, whether or not they are able to attend organized church services.
We also have a prayer list and prayer group that supports our pastoral care team. St John’s Anglican Prayer Group began with use of prayer beads but has evolved into the many ways in which to pray and meditate. It has become a special time to experience God’s presence and respond to His call to serve Him in this way. While we pray “without ceasing” at all times, the group gathers Tuesdays in the Chapel at 10 am. We pray with all our senses and in all hearts; to include the Prayers of the People from our Sunday worship.
The members of our Pastoral Commission and the many people who help them are happy to offer their time and talent to enrich the lives of our parish family in many ways.
Each week, we deliver altar flowers to parishioners in the hospital or ill at home. Flowers are also given to people celebrating special occasions.
When parishioners are recovering from surgery or a hospital stay, volunteers bring them Food for Friends meals that can be easily heated and eaten.
We feel that it is important to visit parishioners who are shut in, live alone, or are in need of a ministry of presence. A volunteer group of Pastoral Visitors makes it their mission to ensure that these individuals are able to regularly see and talk with someone from the church.
Each Sunday, Lay Eucharistic Visitors from the congregation take Holy Communion to individuals who are unable to come to church and participate.
Parishioners who are also medical professionals are available on request for Medical Pastoral Visits in hospitals, extended care facilities, or at home—and to listen or act as an advocate or facilitator in the healthcare system.
The St Barnabas Group meets monthly to support those who are bereaved. This group provides space for prayer, fellowship, and conversation around grief issues.
The Shawl Ministry is a combination of pastoral care, outreach, and fellowship. Participants create comforting shawls that are given to those experiencing health and personal challenges. You can learn more about the history behind this movement at the Prayer Shawl Ministry web site. The St. John’s group meets every 1st Tuesday of the month at 6:45pm in the Parish Hall.
We provide transportation, usually for medical appointments, for those unable to drive themselves.
Integrity is a nonprofit organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) Episcopalians and straight friends.
Since its founding in 1974, Integrity has been working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the Episcopal Church through its various activities in congregational life, education, and advocacy.
Integrity envisions a church where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions are welcomed and affirmed.
Fellowship—showing God’s hospitality in formal and informal ways—is an important part of almost every aspect of our life together.
St. John’s sponsors numerous opportunities for parishioners to gather and enjoy fellowship. Below is a sample of the potential opportunities.
Parishioners who attend the early Sunday service gather for Eight O’Clock Breakfast at a local café at about 9 a.m. each Sunday.
Coffee Hour happens Sundays after the 9:30 a.m. Eucharist and after the Parish Forum. This is a great opportunity to meet and chat with friends, newcomers, and our clergy.
We recruit volunteer hosts to replenish cups, cream, etc. and to clean up at about 11:30a.m. You can sign up in the Cloister, or by contacting the Church Office.
Men’s Prayer Breakfast gathers at 8 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month from September through May for hearty food, great fellowship, and prayer.
Women at the Well is a gathering of parish women at 9:00 a.m.on the second Saturday of each month. Participants share fellowship, a program, and discussion. The topics vary from month to month and always offer interesting opportunities for meaningful reflection.
Each year brings a number of opportunities for us to share dinner or a special reception together. For example, we have a reception following parish Confirmations and after special events.
The occasion of the death of one of our parish family is a special and important time, and one when we feel a special responsibility to bereaved family and friends. We feel called to be available at these important times to host funeral receptions, and we often prepare a lunch or a stand up reception after the memorial.
While this may not seem like “fellowship” and is sometimes hard work, kitchen and parish hall maintenance and clean-up can be fun when many people are involved. If you believe that you are called to a ministry of cleaning, you are invited to bring your energy and cheerful outlook and join us in this labor of love the next time we call for help.
Each year, the United States Army War College at Carlisle Barracks welcomes a large class of senior officers and government service executives for a ten-month residential senior training program. The class also includes officers from many foreign countries, and typically, we have the opportunity for fellowship with members of the class who are Episcopalians or Anglicans from Great Britain and Canada.
St John’s Cycling members hit the road for health, pleasure, fun, and charity. We do both Rails to Trails & road rides. You can also join the local Harrisburg Bicycle Club to learn more about cycling events.