March 26, 2020, 7:32 AM



Dear St. John's Family,

In the newsletter that went out yesterday, I asked that you keep our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals in your prayers. Other healthcare professionals in our congregation include pharmacists. Please add Ed Pat and Betsy Wright, along with Carla Myers, to your prayer list for healthcare professionals.

Also, please add Chris Roger's fiancée Ashley to your list. Like Chris, she is a nurse in Jonesboro.

One piece of good news I want to share with you is that the Ophelia Polk Moore Committee has recommended, and our vestry has approved, the awarding of $24,180 dollars to agencies in Phillips County that serve the needs of children and youth! This is just another example of how we can continue to serve others in the name of Christ even when we are not able to physically gather.



Fr. Ray+


I love this quote by Anglican scholar, and former Church of England Bishop, N.T. Wright.

Jesus doesn't give an explanation for the pain and sorrow of the world. He comes where the pain is most acute and takes it upon himself. Jesus doesn't explain why there is suffering, illness, and death in the world. He brings healing and hope. He doesn't allow the problem of evil to be the subject of a seminar. He allows evil to do its worst to him. He exhausts it, drains its power, and emerges with new life.


A Letter from Bishop Benfield

Thank You for Being the Church

COVID-19, as nefarious as it is, has had at least one positive effect: it is bringing out the best of the people in our churches. I am hearing stories of outreach ministries, such as feeding programs, that continue to operate under new and challenging circumstances, and I know that our members are making concerted efforts to contact all the people connected with our churches with a deliberateness that I have never before seen. Thank you so much for being the church even when church buildings are not the focus of our church lives.

The diocesan Executive Council met Tuesday, and we talked about the concerns that we have—and I am sure that man of you have as well. I am also trying to stay in touch with the clergy and the primary lay contacts in all our congregations. Let me share a couple of items with you.

Tuesday, the focus of my email to clergy was how to prepare for Holy Week and Easter, as well as how to focus on pastoral issues, such as how funerals might take place when we are being required to stay distant from one another. It is a situation that we will indeed face.

The focus of my email this week to church offices is how the day-to-day business of the church can continue in uncertain times. We are working as hard as we can to discover how legislation being passed by Congress might help churches keep employees paid if absences from work are required. We want to make certain that congregations have the money necessary to pay needed bills. And we want to be sure that our buildings are kept safe and secure even when people are not in them every day.

I am sure that that there will be more challenges in the coming days. We have confidence, though, that the love of God will get us through these times as we remain concerned for others and creative in our responses to whatever it is that this situation throws at us. The church has been through tougher times than these in its two-thousand-year history, and it still has a witness. And it will continue to do so long after this epidemic is over.

Larry Benfield