St. John’s

News and Events from St. John's Episcopal Church of Powell, Wyoming.

Archive for the ‘Inside St. John’s’

Prepare yourself: More changes are coming to the church

June 26, 2016 By: Category: Inside St. John’s, News, Projects No Comments →

As the planning for the remodeling comes to its final stages, the building committee will move the furniture to represent the final layout as closely as possible. So, during the summer, the pews in the nave will be repositioned in a chevron shape as depicted in the architect’s drawings. Tape will be used to mark the floor with the two options for shaping the sanctuary. As always, open conversations about the plans, feedback and suggestions are encouraged.

Accepting change, especially significant change to our worship space, can be challenging. In times of transitions, we are called upon to adapt, and grow. It can be demanding, complicated, confusing, frustrating.

Most of us rely on our basic coping strategies: we use our wisdom, tolerance, flexibility and adaptability; we use our sense of humor and irony.

But if these fail us, the one thing we can rely on, the one constant in this sea of change and transition, is God’s grace and love for us. God is always there and always providing us with the love, support and strength to deal with upheaval.

Through faith and prayer, we can find opportunities for hope, growth and second chances. We can respond with words and actions that are grounded in our faith and deep history as a people of God. We can apply the wisdom and insight acquired through our experiences and faith journeys.

This may not mean everything will go our way or that every transition and change will be painless or positive. But God is there for us. In Malachi 3:6 God says, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” Isn’t that comforting? With all the changes, there is one thing that cannot change – God and God’s great love for us.

Need more?

For the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance. — Psalm 94:14

…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. — Hebrews 13:5

There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no rock like our God. — 1 Samuel 2:2

So let the changes come. We will not walk in fear, but in faith. Yes, prepare yourself: trust God to help us and to bless our work.


November 28, 2015 By: Category: Articles, Inside St. John’s No Comments →

At this time of year the realm of nature becomes still and quiet. People are busy in their homes preparing for the celebrations of the season. Inwardly, it is also a time of preparation, contemplation and hope. We search our hearts, minds, and souls for the inner light that will carry us through the dark days of winter. We wait for Christ with an open heart.

The Season of Advent begins Sunday, November 29. It is also the beginning of the Church year. The word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly of something having great importance. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, December 24.

Advent is a time of contemplation and anticipation of the birth of Christ. Our days of light grow shorter and the darkness can seem overwhelming at times on many levels. One way of celebrating this season of Advent is through the creation of an Advent Spiral for walking. The tradition of Advent Gardens or Spirals is thought to have originated in Scotland. Evergreen boughs are set up in a spiral shape and seasonally decorated. The space is dark except for a single candle in the center of the spiral. Each participant is given an apple holding a candle. Against the backdrop of quiet seasonal music, participants walk through the spiral to the center, carrying their apple. They light their candles and place it along the spiral path on their return to the start. The surrounding space moves from darkness to light. This is a lovely, quiet way to commemorate the Advent Season in the company of others, and to remember to carry the light within the dark.

This year, St. John’s will again create an Advent Spiral, on Sunday, December 6. Please watch for more details in the Sunday bulletin in regard to the time.

On Saturday, December 12, members of St. John’s will organize at the Nickles’ home at 10am and journey to the Big Horns for our annual Christmas Tree cutting trip. Please note that permits must be obtained prior to that day, as the Lovell Forest Service Office is not issuing these permits.

Another way that St. John’s will be offering support for that inward journey of stillness, quiet and preparation during this season is in the offering of an Evensong service on Thursday evening, December 17, at 7pm. It will be a time of quiet music, sacred reading, communal silence and tending the ground of our inner preparation for Christ’s coming. Please watch the Sunday bulletins for further details.

Will You Continue in the Apostles’ Teaching and Fellowship?

October 18, 2015 By: Category: Education, Inside St. John’s, Uncategorized No Comments →

Small Group Studies Offered

LOL in text-speak means “laugh out loud.” But on Wednesday mornings at St. John’s, it means Little Old Ladies. A group of laughing ladies gathers at 10 a.m. with Katy Lytle and Claudia Hassler and are currently reading Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris. Blending history, theology, storytelling, etymology, and memoir, Norris evokes a spirituality rooted firmly in the chaos of everyday life—and offers believers and doubters alike perspective on how we can embrace ancient traditions and find faith in the contemporary world.

Charlotte Patrick is facilitating a 7-week video series on Church History based on Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch, which was used in EfM. The video series is much abbreviated but should offer a great overview with quality scholarship. The course requires no reading or preparation. Contact:

Megan Nickles will lead a video study featuring Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, Embracing Forgiveness: What it Is and What it Isn’t. The five weekly sessions topics are: Seventy Times Seven: Really?; You have Heard It Said; Chipping Away; How to Start; Why Forgive. This series starts Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m. A workbook will be provided; preparation for each session is helpful, but not required. Please let Sue Woods know if you are interested in attending. This class will also be available in January. Contact

A men’s group is also forming. Ron Lytle will facilitate this group to explore how the men of St. John’s can find their voice and role in our community. The group itself will decide on group norms, including time and place and will use an 8-week study to provide initial structure— Following Jesus: Invitation to Discipleship. This study seeks to offer guidance for the journey through scripture, commentary, reflection, and prayer.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

February 09, 2013 By: Category: Inside St. John’s, Local events, Uncategorized No Comments →


February 12 marks the celebration known as Shrove Tuesday. At St. John’s we clean out the cupboards with a traditional pancakes-and-sausage dinner. We’ll begin serving at 5:30 but welcome help in the kitchen beginning at 5. Invite your friends; there’s no cost but donations are accepted. Proceeds are forwarded to the Cathedral Home for Children in Laramie. If you can’t make it at 5, please come whenever you can. We stop serving at 7 and clenup usually is finished by 7:30.

Thrift Shop Success

November 25, 2012 By: Category: Articles, Inside St. John’s, Outreach, Projects, Thrift Store, Uncategorized No Comments →

St. John’s Thrift Shop has had another successful year. The dedicated Thrift Shop volunteers are very grateful to all those who donate items to the shop and especially to all of the wonderful customers! It is because of them that we are able to “give back” to the community! The following contributions have been made thus far in the year 2012:

  • $1200 to St. John’s Outreach Committee
  • $1000 to the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic
  • $ 200 to the March of Dimes (Justine’s Drive)
  • $ 500 to EACH of the following:
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Northwest WY
    • Boys & Girls Club of Park County
    • Loaves and Fishes
    • Crisis Intervention Services
    • Powell Valley Hospice
    • Northwest WY Family Planning
    • Thomas the Apostle Center
    • Powell Council of Community Services for Christmas Baskets
  • $ 100 for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner

EfM salutes Carra Wetzel

August 19, 2012 By: Category: Articles, Inside St. John’s No Comments →

Carra EfM

Mentors and fellow students look on as Carra receives her EfM completion recognition.

Congratulations to Carra Wetzel for completing Education for Ministry.  Members of her EfM group from Christ Church Cody were at St. John’s on Sunday, August 19, to present a certificate of completion.  EfM is a unique certificate program of theological education under the direction of The School of Theology in The University of South in Sewanee.

Carra joined the group when her late husband, The Reverend Ed Wetzel was starting the program.  No group in Powell was available at the time.  After Ed’s death, Carra continued to travel to Cody weekly through the years and formed close bonds and a support network that was present for her during her darker days.

An EfM group is defined by its harmony of purpose. It is not simply a Bible study group, nor a religious study course, but a small community of practice focused on study, worship, and intentional theological reflection. Karen Meridith, director of EfM, describes the program this way, “EfM graduates become persons of faith who have internalized a way of looking at the world through a theologically informed lens, who can articulate the call to ministry as baptized members of the Body of Christ, and who are prepared to work humbly with others with different experiences and perspectives. I believe these are just the kind of lay leaders the Church needs as we move forward in mission together.”

The program takes four years to complete and is broken up into these courses of study: • Year One: The Old Testament • Year Two: The New Testament • Year Three: Church History • Year Four: Theological Choices

EfM at St. John’s is underway for the this fall.  Year 3 students include Sue Woods, Jane Woods, Diana Anderson and Megan Nickles.  Charlotte Patrick and Laurel McKeen are in Year 2; Genny Bettger and Susan McEvoy are in year 1.

Baptism and Confirmation • April 15, 2012

May 05, 2012 By: Category: Inside St. John’s No Comments →

Congratulations to the newly baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Episcopal Church!

Bishop Smylie and the members of St. John’s celebrate and welcome the newest members to the family.

Treasure of the Diocese

September 30, 2011 By: Category: Articles, Inside St. John’s No Comments →

We live so close to so many treasures of the area: Yellowstone Park, Shell Canyon, Sunlight Basin, the Pryor Mountains. We also live close to a treasure of our diocese: Thomas the Apostle Center. TAC is an ecumenical, interfaith retreat center operating with the support of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming. It is dedicated to fostering spiritual, physical, and intellectual growth in a quiet, reflective environment.

The center is just 23 miles from Powell, on the east side of Cody. From Beacon Hill road, just cross the Greybull Highway and follow the signs and the slope up to the center’s campus. The center works with a variety of organizations to provide a place for training, retreat and socializing.

Just in the last few months, St. John’s has been able to foster development in several ministries. Megan Nickles attended mandatory EfM mentor training with people from around Wyoming, Montana and California in August, and in September she participated in a lecture series “First Century Women’s Peculiar Predicament”. The seminar was lead by The Rev. Dr. Jack Guigere, pastor emeritus of the Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church in Michigan and consultant to Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.

In September, The Commission on Ministry held a workshop for Worship Leaders, Lectors, and Lay Eucharistic Ministers-LEMs (both who serve at the altar and taking the Eucharist out to the community) and included a review of preaching requirements in congregations and a discussion of the theology and utilization of acolytes. Diana Anderson, Laura Greathouse, Carra Wetzel and Jan Lenhard attended; Charlotte Patrick presented a talk on enlivening the ministry of reading scripture.

Our senior warden, Sue Woods, went to a stewardship workshop lead by Greer Terry of Jackson, and our youth formation minister, Jane Woods, will be attending a workshop on Godly Play on October 8th.

TAC is also a connected to the diocese as a “Video Tele-Conferencing” site. Using the internet, video camera and large screen monitor, any meeting or workshop can be seen and heard at the eight other VTC sites around Wyoming. This technology allows for full participation from each site, and makes large gatherings such as the pre-convention meetings possible with significantly less travel and expense.

The best way to support TAC is to go there, enjoy the offerings and the excellent food. Upcoming workshops include pastoral care and making an attractive church.

For more information, talk to the two of our members who are on the Board of Directors at TAC, Sue Woods and Ron Lytle, or go their website:


Education for Ministry

September 30, 2011 By: Category: Inside St. John’s No Comments →

Every baptized person is called to ministry. During the Service of Confirmation we ask God to “Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at Baptism. Send them forth in the power of the Spirit to perform the service you set before them.” The Education for Ministry (EfM) program provides people with the education to carry out that ministry. EfM offers an opportunity to discover how to respond to the call to Christian service.

Through study, prayer, and reflection, EfM groups move toward a new understanding of the fullness of God’s kingdom. This process can be illustrated by a two-rail fence. One rail is the Christian tradition. The other is the collective experience of the group’s members. The rails are linked by fence posts which represent the seminar sessions where life and study meet. The fence is grounded in the soil of regular worship which is vital to the life of the group.

Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of resource guides. Students are responsible for setting their own learning goals. They spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. In the seminars members have an opportunity to share their insights and discoveries as well as to discuss questions which the study materials raise for them.
Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars furnish an opportunity to deepen understanding of the reading materials.

More important is the development of skills in theological reflection. The goal is to learn to think theologically. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is at hand wherever we turn.

This year Laurel McKeen and Charlotte Patrick are studying Year One; returning students Sue Woods, Jane Woods, Deb and Rob Koelling, and Diana Anderson are working on Year Two. Megan Nickles is mentoring.

Dr. Nick Morris Speaks About His Medical Mission To Ghana

April 10, 2011 By: Category: Inside St. John’s, Uncategorized No Comments →