September 20, 10:00 a.m.

Welcome! St. John’s is open for worship on the back lawn, Sundays at 10 am weather permitting. Bring your lawn chair and mask! 
Morning Prayer together for those who feel able to come, and live streamed on FB for those who want to participate from home.  

Hi!! from St. John's

Health and Wellness Participant Screening:

Every parishioner will be asked to complete a wellness screening before coming to worship.  All information will be documented and filed.  This form may be filled out at home and brought with you to church.  In the event you do not have a completed form, you may fill one out when you arrive.

Please click the link below to get a copy of the St. John's Health and Wellness Participant Screening. 

St. John's Health and Wellness Screening

Sermon St. John’s Westwood 09-13-20 

"Forgiveness – a Grace too Powerful to Name."  

Ven. Archdeacon Chris Beukman

Good morning St. John’s!!

I am so glad that my children insisted Lucy and I watch ‘Hamilton- An American musical’ with them. Not on Broadway, of course- that does not work on a Deacon’s salary- but through the help of our friends at the Disney Channel.

Watching and listening made me feel elated and a little bit more optimistic about our future here in America. If we are still able to produce something so vibrant, so alive, so breathtaking there must be hope – a lot of hope for our culture.

You probably know most of Hamilton’s story, or perhaps you have read the amazing book by Ron Chernow. 

You may know Hamilton at some point did something very smart - he married a Dutch person, Eliza Schuyler of the powerful Schuyler dynasty of Albany. Alexander Hamilton married Eliza even though he stayed almost as close to Eliza’s sister Angelica all his life 

During a very difficult chapter of Hamilton’s life, he loses a son through a duel, a way of death that foreshadows his own passing. At the same time, he takes up with a woman who comes to him for his help and is subsequently blackmailed by her husband. All this leads, of course,  to an estrangement between Alexander and Eliza.

There is a scene in the second act of the musical, told from Angelica’s point of view that describes how finally Eliza and Alexander come together  in a park, and when  Eliza takes Alexander’s hand he know he is forgiven. The song is called ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ and the lyrics go like this : 

Here are moments that the words don't reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable
They are standing in the garden
Alexander by Eliza's side
She takes his hand

It's quiet uptown

Forgiveness..can you imagine!!’

In the filmed version, there are clearly tears in Lin- Manuel Miranda’s eyes as he sings:’ forgiveness- can you imagine’. I did not think those tears were forced or theatrical- I think they were real.  At the time the show was produced, one of the cast members was going the loss of a child. And Miranda must have known times in his life when he was in need of forgiveness-  a Grace too powerful for Words. 

This issue of forgiveness must have been on Joseph’s mind when his brothers came to him. Joseph at the time was the viceroy of Egypt. His brothers were technically guilty of fratricide, leaving Joseph and his coat of many colors for dead at the bottom of a well. They were deserving of death. 

Whether or not what the brothers say is true, that their father Jacob would have begged Joseph to forgive his brothers, we do not know. But the Bible say says clearly that Joseph spoke kindly to them. Joseph knew, that for his own sake, holding on to resentment and anger would destroy him psychologically and spiritually. He already understood what the Dalai Lama would say much later, which is that holding on to anger and resentment is like you drinking poison yourself to hurt your others. 

Joseph knows that forgiveness is a grace too powerful for words, and so he forgives. Forgiveness, a grace too powerful for words. 

I think that Jesus’ parable in Luke is clear. Clearly we must ask for the forgiveness of our trespasses and forgive those who trespass against us, as the Lord’s Prayer teaches . Here is the story of a king who is owed a ridiculous amount of money by a slave. And I mean a ridiculous amount!  In the time of king Herod, his annual income from tax and tribute from all the land, his GNP so to speak, was about 900 talents. The amount the slave owes 10 to 11 times that, un unimaginable amount of money.

Yet this slave who is forgiven the debt is not able to forgive a very small debt another slave owns him. He is not able to forgive his trespasses of those who have trespassed against him.  Forgiveness is a gift that we can only receive when we are able to give it away ourselves.

 “We are forgiven only if we are open to forgiving, but we are able to forgive only in being forgiven- we get only by giving, and we give only by getting.” (-Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, The Spirituality of Imperfection, p. 222). 

And so we must forgive not just 7 times, but seven times 70 times. That’s a lot of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a grace too powerful for words. 

A few years ago, I went to a conference with Dr. Herbert Benson that was organized by Harvard Medical School as part of their Spirituality and Medicine series. The conference was about the medical aspects of forgiveness. 

Dr. Benson shared an interesting study that was done with two psychotherapy groups for person who dealt with resentment and anger.

In one group, the facilitator actively encouraged persons in the group to contact those who had wronged them, and ask for their forgiveness, or forgive those who they felt they might have wronged. In the other group, no such effort was made. 

The results consisted in the finding that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress

And the event better news is that these medical effects of forgiveness only increase with age.

Some feel that we can only forgive those who have repented from their trespasses against us.  Can we forgive only those who are sorry for their sins ? The problem might be again that we put all the power in the hands of those who hurt us, while forgiveness really happens for our sake, for our own mental and spiritual health. Deciding we need forgiveness because it benefits us might help us decide to forgive even though the offender has not said ‘Sorry’.

Forgiveness is process that takes time, discernment and a lot of prayer. I am both full of admiration and at the same time a little skeptical of family members who appear on the Nightly News only hours after a shooting and declare they have forgiven the assailant. That may be a sign of tremendous faith, but I am also reminded of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called’ cheap grace’ a grace that hastily looks for easy solutions. 

And what about perhaps the most difficult part of forgiveness, that of forgiving ourselves? Perhaps many of us are caught up in a perfectionistic self-image that sins, flaws and mistakes simply cannot have a part of that. Forgiving ourselves can be the most liberating act of all. Forgivenes is  a grace too powerful for words. 

Therefore, we must be true to Jesus’s encouragement to forgive seven times 70 times.

Forgiveness’ is one of God’s greatest gifts, a grace too powerful for words. Forgiveness, can you imagine?


‘Forgiveness, your Health depends on it.’ Johns Hopkins Hospital publication. 

Prayer for a Pandemic
By Cameron Bellm
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

 95 Deerfield Ave
 Westwood, MA 02090

WEEKLY SCHEDULE                          

Sunday Worship: 10:00 a.m. live streamed. Please email Jennifer for access:

This is St. John's Episcopal Church... please click on photo below to see more photos of church life!

This is St. John's Episcopal Church, Westwood MA

Want to check on the readings for a particular Sunday or other day?  Click below to go to the Lectionary page...  all readings available for 2019-2020:

Rev. Dr. Jennifer M. Phillips

We are now accepting pledge payments online.
Please click the link below.

Please - keep your pledge payments current if you are able. The expenses of the church continue in this time of crisis as does our outreach and mission (with necessary modifications). We rely on our members contributions to keep doing Christ’s work at St. John’s! And if you are in a financial crisis - let the rector know. If you need to modify your pledge, let Alan Macdonald, our Treasurer, know. 
Thank you!

Sunday, September 20, 10:00 a.m.
Outdoor morning prayer, on the back lawn(weather permitting) Please bring your own lawn chair, wear a mask, and be ready to follow our safety guidelines.
The service will still be live streamed.
11:30 a.m.: Zoom coffee hour Please email Jennifer for the Zoom invitation, if you haven't already. We miss seeing you all!      

Tuesday, September 22 & 27, 7:00 p.m.:
Bible Study, followed by Compline, on Zoom. Please contact Jennifer to receive the Zoom invitation via email:

Wednesday, September 23:
St. John's will deliver 50 sandwiches & 50 pieces of fruit to Ecclesia Ministries, to feed homeless neighbors in Boston. Since mid-March, we have been providing lunches every other week for unhoused neighbors in Boston. This ministry has been greatly appreciated during the pandemic! Thank you to all who have participated!!

If you are at Staples, CVS, or the supermarket in the next month, kindly pick up some school supplies for Middle Schoolers @ Epiphany School in Dorchester.
Deadline: September 27   
Thank you for your help!
We will deliver our supplies in in the end of September. 
Thank you!

Looking Ahead:

Come join in:

Oasis Ministries –we provide a monthly hot dinner to about 60 homeless neighbors at Old West Church in Boston on 2nd Mondays. 

Ecclesia outreach – This summer we are providing sandwiches and fresh fruit approximately every two weeks, with the help of Epiphany, Walpole. 

Pantry support – for the Westwood Food Pantry:  Good news! The pantry is now accepting food donations Monday - Friday, 9:00 - Noon. Please make any deliveries to the Council on Aging, 60 Nahatan St., Westwood. Many thanks!

Prayer Shawls – knitting group prayerfully makes shawls for people facing illness or crisis.

Eucharistic Visiting  members are trained and take the Sacrament, offer healing prayer, and make friendly visits to people who are homebound, in hospital, or other institutional settings. This will resume when it's safe to do so.
Speak to Rev. Jennifer if you’d like to put your discipleship to work in one or more of these parish ministries!

 When online shopping with Amazon, please consider supporting St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church by using amazonsmile.  For more information, click the link below.

For Health Care Workers


Sanctify, O Author of all healing, those whom you have called to the study and practice of the arts of healing and to the prevention of disease and suffering (especially N.). Strengthen them by your life-giving Spirit, that by their ministries the health of the community may be promoted and your creation glorified; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


In Confinement


My Creator, you rolled out the heavens,

you spread the sky like a tent:

bless to me the small confinement of this room,

the long days, disturbances of night,

immobility of body, unease of soul,

that this place of exile

may become my holy ground

and Jesus my deliverer. Amen.


In times of Widespread Illness


Holy God, our times are in your hand;

calm our minds, anxious in this time of illness;

lend us your wisdom to act with prudence,

be mindful of the needs and fears of others,

and be people of resolve, kindness, and courage,

following the path of your beloved Son Jesus,

in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Subpages (1): Outreach during Covid19