All posts by SJCFamily

About SJCFamily

Children's Music and Ministries Director at St. John's Episcopal Church in beautiful Portsmouth NH.

‘Out of the Box’ Mission Trip Talk

Mission Trip Presentation

Sunday, October 13th, 11:15am

The SJC youth who went on a mission trip to North Carolina this summer will talk about their experiences and present what they learned during their week with the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry. This presentation is part of the ongoing “Out of the Box” series that highlights ways members of SJC and others are living out their faith beyond the walls of the church.


Youth Serve & Celebrate Wednesday

Cooking for Cross Roads

Wednesday, October 9th, 3:00-5:45pm

Our next SJC Youth Wednesday is this week! All of our Middle Schoolers, High Schoolers, and Youth Music & Theater participants are invited to come cook for the Cross Roads community, sing & play with the music crew, and have dinner together. Our evening schedule looks like this:


St. John’s Soundtrack

If you’re like me, there are seasons when you’re all about that banjo and fiddle, and other days when you can’t get enough synth bass drops. The soundtrack of our lives is representative of who we are and how we vibrate through the world. As we grow in our community with each other, our church song repertoire has also been evolving. Many songs have begun to follow us through the years, and this list is largely a reflection of that. Some might be new to you, and some maybe you’ve only heard performed at the front of the church.


St. John’s Parish Songbook, First Edition (to be premiered at the 2019 Parish Retreat!!)

Table of contents, in alphabetical order:

  1. 10,000 Reasons
  2. Amazing Grace
  3. Be Thou My Vision
  4. Bird Song
  5. Crowded Table
  6. Father Abraham
  7. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  8. Heleluyan
  9. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
  10. I’ll Fly Away
  11. I’ve Got The Joy
  12. It Is Well With My Soul
  13. Lord Prepare Me
  14. One Voice
  15. Open the Eyes of My Heart
  16. Partner Songs (Oh When the Saints/Swing Low/Sing Sing Sing)
  17. Peace Like a River
  18. Prayer for Peace
  19. This Land is Your Land
  20. This Little Light of Mine

Let’s be clear about one thing — MUSIC IS FOR EVERYONE. Our community is pretty full of great singing and playing. But aside from performing, singing is good for the soul – and scientifically proven to be good for the brain & body, too! Music connects us to each other and God. Everyone’s voice matters and has a place. This songbook will now be a living document to catalog our journey through song, and the hope is everyone will further connect to this soundtrack and continue to tend its growth over time.

Big shouts to the people who contributed to getting this off the ground – especially Olin Johannessen, Allison Dudas, Lila Pellatt, Rob Stevens, Anne Williamson, and Nathan Bourne.

Children’s Music & Ministries Updates

Here is a quick overview of what’s coming up for Children’s Music & Ministries. Stay tuned for more info coming soon on Youth Groups! Hope to see everyone on Sunday, 9/8!

Kick off on Sunday, Sept. 8th.
Grades Prek-5.
Nursery for children age 3 and under.

First rehearsal is in the Choir Room on Sunday, Sept. 8th.
Young singers age 4 through 8 are welcome to sing with us. Cherubs sing in church approx. one time per month and participate in the Christmas Pageant and Musical!


First rehearsal is Wednesday, Sept. 11th. Grades 3-12.
Youth interested in performing at St. John’s are welcome to join us to sing in church approx. one time per month and participate in the Christmas Pageant and Musical.

Dec. 22 Christmas Pageant, 10:00AM (Dress Rehearsal 12/21, 10:00-12:00)
Feb. 15-16 Musical Performances (Dress Rehearsal 2/14, 4:00-6:00)
Apr. 26 The Choir School Culmination Concert w/ Phillips Andover Academy 4:00PM


An after-school music program on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 3:15-5:15.
First rehearsal is Tuesday, Sept. 17th.
A tuition-free after-school music program focused on singing, musicianship, and community. Open to all treble voices in grades 3-8. Students perform about once per month, participate in special services, and collaborate with other ensembles.

Young families are invited to hang out together, share food and drink, and watch the children entertain eachother. It has become a highlight for we parents who need to remember to laugh together and bask in the love and light of our children… while sipping a glass of wine with other adults! Low-pressure, come as you are, and do family night right. If you’ve never made it, this is the year! Stay tuned for dates and info!


Mass on the Grass & Sunday School

This Sunday we celebrate on the lawn of the Warner House! (The Warner House is right next door to St. John’s, so all the parking and basics of transportation stay the same! If there’s any rain we will move back into the church.) If you’ve never experienced Mass on the Grass, it is one of our end-of-summer traditions. Think flowers, open air, guitars, and simple worship. The service begins at 9:30. 

Kari has offered to host a young children’s Sunday school class (preK-1st or 2nd graders will likely be happy there) beginning at 9:15, and our nursery will also be open!

Kickoff Sunday is just two weeks away!


Reflection on Raising Kids

Your Children Are Not Your Children

A daily devotional by Molly Baskette and Ellen O’Donnell on July 31, 2019.

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. – Proverbs 22:6 (NRSV)


The poet Kahlil Gibran said, “your children are not your children…you may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.”

Easy for him to say—Gibran himself was childless. But he makes a fair point. Child development research underscores the power of temperament, or what we like to call nature, the idea that each child is born fully a person already: cranky, happy, confident, anxious, mellow, intense, introvert, extrovert. Nurture can shift and shape nature but attempts to change it fundamentally tend to go awry.

Proverbs says parents should “train their child in the right way.” This probably doesn’t mean making our children over in our image, projections of our unmet needs or unfulfilled dreams. Try instead: getting to know the child God has gifted you—their “grain,” as if they arrived an uncarved block of wood that Life will gradually reveal. We are a tool in the hand of the Divine, working with that grain to help them become who God intends them to be. Going against the grain wrecks the wood and frustrates the Carpenter.

This is good news: you can’t take all the blame if they turn out to be biters, boasters, or voters loyal to the other political party.

This is also bad news: it means you have limited control over who and how your child will be. You’re there to love your children, support them, set an example, and curb their worst impulses, but you can’t “make” them. That part’s already done. They are their own people, on their own path. Or is that also good news?


God, help me to get to know and love my child in all their fullness, as You made them, and as they are becoming.

Family Pool Party Sunday 7/14

pool party

Happy July in NH!

The best days of summer are upon us and we would love to share in the fun with you and your family. Children of all ages are welcome… please come and splash around and hang out.

Host: Rhonda, Dave, and Lauren Young

Date & Time: Sunday, July 14 from 12-4 PM

Address: 470 Cutts Ave., Portsmouth NH

RSVP here!

Rhonda and Dave will supply hotdogs and hamburgers, as well as non-alcoholic beverages for the party. Please bring something to share (an appetizer, a dessert, a snack, a bottle of wine, something else for the grill…) as well as your beach towels and bathing suits! If you need to get in touch with Rhonda, her number is 693-682-1392.

Serve and Celebrate!

All St. John’s Youth are invited for an afternoon of service, song, and fellowship starting at 3:00pm. Here’s the schedule for tomorrow:

3:00pm – Cooking for Cross Roads – we’ll prepare a meal to send to the Cross Roads shelter.
4:00pm – Youth Choirs rehearse – youth singers will practice for an hour while others finish preparing the meal.
5:00pm – Dinner
5:30pm – 6:00pm – pick-up

Cooking for Crossroads
Kids & volunteers cooking for Crossroads

All are welcome to join when they can for as long as they can.