Lay Ministries


Enhance your worship and care for others by participating in our Ministries.  At church or from the comfort of your home, your involvement is important to St. John's.  To learn more about the following Ministries, or to volunteer, please contact the church office at 860.739.2324.


April Meal Center

Volunteers from St. John’s prepare and serve a meal for between 100 and 150 guests on the 3rd Sunday of every month at the New London Community Meal Center. In April of this year that Sunday happens to be Easter Sunday, April 21. Please consider whether you and some family members could donate a few hours that day for this special ministry. Two or three preparers are needed from 2:30 – 4:40, and ten servers are needed from 4:40 – 6;15. There is a sign up sheet in the slype, or speak with Christie Hayes (860-739-0345) or Chester Fairlie (860-739-4270). Thanks so much.

St. John’s Knitting Guild

Twice each month, members of the Knitter’s Guild gather to knit Prayer Shawls, Pray Scarfs and Pray Cloths for distribution to a variety of fellow Christians on their journey. Their handiwork is presented to those battling cancer and illness, to new mothers, to the newly baptized and others. Convener Judy Kaan leads this dedicated group.

Kateri Medical Clinics-Nigeria

St. John’s continued its relationship with Kateri Medical mission in 2018. The Vestry voted to approve a $3,000.00 grant to support the critical work they do. Founded as a mission outreach of Trinity Episcopal Church, Tariffville, CT in 2002, to provide simple, decent and affordable medical care in three Anglican Dioceses in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, to people who cannot afford it. Fr. Tom Furrer retired as Rector of Trinity in 2016 and has dedicated his time and leadership as he continues as President.  Kateri opened their THIRD clinic in April, 2018 in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Kafanchan, the “Arthur and Esther Bradley Memorial Anglican Hospital in Gidan Waya. Their FOURTH clinic was expected to open in Gusau, in partnership with the Diocese of Gusau. The organization’s goal is to have 10 clinics open and serving people by 2025!


Brian Dagle Foundation

The Brian T. Dagle Foundation, established by Ann and Paul Dagle in the aftermath of their son Brian’s suicide several years ago, provides grief counseling, support services and other outreach programs in East Lyme schools and in other communities.  St. John’s donates the use of our spacious property for parking for participants in their annual fundraiser, a 5-K run on the morning of the Niantic Light Parade. St. John’s and the Foundation held a “Service of Remembrance and Hope” during Advent in 2018 for those who have lost loved ones and who find it difficult to get through the holidays. Father Dinoto is a member of the Dagle Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Miracle League of S.E. CT

St. John’s partnered with Miracle League of S. E. CT as Venue Host of its inaugural Oyster Festival fundraiser last fall. Miracle League of S.E. CT an independent affiliate of The Miracle League of Connecticut is dedicated to providing recreational facilities to children with physical and cognitive challenges. St. John’s Rogers Field was provided for the Oyster Festival and we operated a parking concession on St. John’s Green. A portion of the parking proceeds were donated to M.F.SE. CT. St. John’s will be the host venue for a fundraiser again next fall. Last year’s festival raised over $25,000.00.

St. John’s Haiti “Pillowcase Dressmakers Guild”

Originated and led by Helen MacDonald, this wonderful outreach ministry creates new toddler dresses out of pillowcases for children-at-risk in Haiti.  Guild members come together to sew together and decorate beautiful little girl’s dresses which we send off to the mission in Haiti.  Hundreds of dresses have been delivered to the Haiti missions to date.


Care and Share Partners

St. John’s is the collection site for peanut butter donations which volunteers deliver to Care and Share. Donation baskets are located in the narthex (front entry) of the church. We’ve also collected Christmas presents from parishioners through our “Christmas Giving Tree” and this year parishioners donated Thanksgiving Dinner Food baskets with all the fixin’s for families in need. 

12-Step Recovery Meetings

Four days a week, St. John’s is the host site for N.A. and A.A. 12-Step Meetings in our parish hall and Guild room. We host A.A. 12-Step meetings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays and one N.A. meeting on Tuesdays.  Fr. Dinoto is in discussions with meeting leaders to initiate plans for celebration of a “Recovery Eucharist” in the coming months. This service will be open to the community.

St. John’s Pantry Pals

S.J.P.P.’s gather and distribute a wide variety of “living needs” and clothing from our Guild Room each Thursday in conjunction with the S.S.K.P. food distribution located in the Bond Parish Hall. Pantry Pals repurpose household items, personal hygiene products, clothing, and other useful items to our neediest neighbors. New volunteers are always welcome to join in this important outreach.


College Student Hospitality Baskets

Amanda Murray, Dir. of Youth & Ed. Min. coordinates this outreach to area college students with the help of our Church School students and young people.


St. John’s Outreach “ministers” volunteer at the New London Community Meal Center (see report), on Montauk Ave. New London. Our parish volunteers purchase, prepare and serve Sunday dinner once a month there as a team. Christie Hayes and Chester Fairlie are longtime leaders who welcome and train first-time volunteers throughout the year.

Host Site-Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries

Each Thursday parish and community volunteers transform the Bond Parish Hall into a mini “grocery store”. In partnership with the Gemma Moran United Way Food Bank, SSKP provides a balanced variety of food supplies to East Lyme’s neediest neighbors. Each week fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy and bakery products and non-perishables make up a 3-day supply of nutritious food. SSKP clients are provided their own mini-shopping cart and select from available choices to meet their individual needs. St. John’s contributed to the purchase of the mini-shopping carts to honor Dick Miller’s dedicated service as Warden and vestryman at St. John’s.  This winter parishioners donated winter coats for distribution by SSKP and the Vestry voted to approve a $1,000.00 grant to SSKP. Hosting the SSKP includes dedicated storage rooms, housing refrigeration and freezer appliances and the utilities to maintain them year round.


St. John’s Sisters of Prayer

The members of St. John’s Sisters of Prayer meet weekly with each other to offer Intercessory Prayer for those whose names have been submitted to us for special attention. A Prayer Request box is located just outside the Sacristy in church. Prayer Requests are written on note cards and slipped into the locked box. All prayer requests and information shared with the Sisters of Prayer are considered CONFIDENTIAL.  Special concerns that come to the attention of the Sisters of Prayer are passed along to the Rector when necessary.

Pastoral Care

Our Pastoral Care Lay-ministers work closely with the Rector in providing a connection to those among us who are homebound, hospitalized or living in care facilities.  Members of our Pastoral Care team often are also Lay Eucharistic Minister and bring the consecrated Sacrament of Holy Communion. Lay ministers meet regularly with the Rector to share updates, concerns and general information that helps St. John’s keep in contact with parishioners unable to worship with us.

Parish Hospitality

Throughout Scripture, the “ministry of hospitality” is held up as a critical part of every faith community.  Each Sunday, parish volunteers sign-up to prepare and serve light refreshments in the Parish Hall following the 10:00 am Holy Eucharist.  “Hospitality Time” or coffee hour, provides an opportunity to gather in an informal setting to visit with old friends, meet new ones and welcome visitors who have come to worship with us that day.  Adult Forum-throughout the program year, speakers are invited to St. John’s to represent various community agencies and to speak to various issues such as: the Opioid crisis; Alzheimer’s disease; Suicide prevention; racism; homelessness; and more.  The work of our Hospitality Ministers contributes this time of fellowship each week.


Acolytes/Altar Servers

At St. John’s, acolytes serve each Sunday at the 10:00 am celebration of Holy Eucharist. Our acolytes serve in a variety of ways. Here’s a list of the various they participate and a brief description.

  1. Crucifer-The Crucifer or Cross Bearer carries the tall processional cross to lead the procession of acolytes, choir members, chalice bearers and clergy as they enter and leave. At the reading of the Holy Gospel, the crucifer leads down into the center aisle where the Priest or Deacon reads the Holy Gospel and then leads them back into the sanctuary.

  2. Torch bearers-Acolytes serving as torch bearers walk beside and slightly behind the Crucifer in procession in and out of Church. Each torch bearer carries a tall, lighted candle during the Gospel procession and stand beside the Gospel Book “lighting the Word of God.”

  3. Altar Servers-Acolytes serving as crucifer or torch bearers on Sunday assist during the Eucharist in a variety of other ways: opening and closing the Communion rail, receiving the Offering Plates at the Offertory, assisting the Priest/Celebrant at the altar.

  4. Gospel Book Bearer-The Gospel Book is carried in procession just before the Priest/Celebrant and is carried in the Gospel procession to the center aisle and holds it while the Celebrant proclaims the Gospel of the day.

St. John’s Treble Choir

Our Treble Choir is open to young children from the time they can read and sing. The Treble choir, directed by Susan Worgul, rehearses weekly on Sunday morning before the 10 am service. The choir sings special anthems and hymns throughout the year and participates in the annual Choir Festival.

St. John’s Senior Choir

Members of St. John’s Senior Choir rehearse and perform under the direction of Dr. John P. Anthony, our Choirmaster and Organist.  The senior choir rehearses each Thursday evening during the ‘program year’ and take a recess during July and August. John is always ready to welcome interested newcomers into the music ministry of the parish.  Some musical and vocal ability is helpful but beginners are always welcome.



Usher/greeters are responsible for welcoming worshippers on Sunday and at special liturgies throughout the year. They distribute the Service Bulletin as people enter and if necessary, escort people to their pew or assist in locating rest rooms or the parish nursery. During Holy Communion, the ushers direct worshippers as they rise and approach the sanctuary to receive the Sacrament. Before Communion, the ushers take a count of the congregation in order to have the proper amount of communion hosts consecrated during the mass


During the Holy Eucharist, usually after the praying of the Nicene Creed, Intercessors lead the congregation in the Prayers of the People using one of the several prayer forms from the Book of Common Prayer selected for that Sunday. 


Lectors are assigned to read from Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament at  both Eucharists on Sunday, at the various services during Holy Week and at other liturgies.


Chalice Bearers/Chalicists

The ministry of service by those selected as Chalicists is carried out by adult parishioners and young people who have reached the 11th grade in high school. They assist the Celebrant at Communion by administering the Chalice  containing the consecrated wine, the Blood of Christ. Chalicists are invited to serve in this ministry at the discretion of the Rector. Chalicists also serve at funerals, weddings and memorial services and at our weekly Eucharist of Healing.

St. Hilda’s Altar Guild

Members of St. Hilda’s Altar Guild perform some of the most important services as they prepare the Sanctuary for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Guild cares for the laundering of all the sacred linens used at the altar and vestments worn by the clergy. They are responsible for polishing the brass altar candles, sterling silver chalices and other sacred vessels used in the Eucharist and keep a supply of communion breads and wine in stock. Guild members perform most of their ministry ‘behind the scenes’ but are integral to our common worship life.  The also prepare for special liturgies celebrated for funerals, baptisms weddings and other special services during Holy Week leading up to the Great Festival of Easter. 

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is a fun and exciting, week-long morning summer program at St. John’s. Our “parish campus” includes St. John’s Green located beside the church and Rogers Field, several acres of open space directly behind the rear parking lot. We typically have upwards of 25 children from our parish and the wider community participate. Our ‘campers’ are joined by 20-plus youth and adult volunteers for a week of summer camp fun! During the week attendees participate in worship, liturgical dance, music, arts & crafts, science demonstrations, recreation activities, mission projects and more. We provide healthy daily snacks in a safe and clean environment.


Special Programming Throughout the Year

In addition to the worship, education, and play opportunities offered each Sunday morning many fun events are scheduled during the school year that keep our kids busy and happy. Yearly activities include our Back-to School Bash, the Fall Bonfire & Compline, the Giving Thanks Program in November, the Annual Children’s Christmas Pageant, Young People’s Good Friday Program, Easter Egg Hunt, Youth Sunday, and several intergenerational programs and events throughout the year. St. John’s children are welcomed to ride our “parade float” in the Niantic Light Parade held each year in early December.

CLUB 345

We are excited to continue CLUB 345 a program for 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders this year! Once a month these young people gather together with their friends to enjoy time together for fun & fellowship. We planning lock-ins, outings, games, and so much more!

Youth Group

Youth group programs offer a chance to “live out” what we are called to do as Christians. Our youth group, the 6th to 12th graders, this year plans to bring fellowship, fun, and faith together in one group. We will meet once a month, typically on a Sunday. Some of the things we are planning are “Faith & Cinema” nights, during which we will combine thought-provoking films with pizza and good conversation; Service to Others, during which we will participate in the Food Pantry, New London Meal Center, New London Homeless Hospitality House, Habitat for Humanity, and other service opportunities; Bible Study; Games Nights; Lock-Ins, retreats, and Lock-Outs.


Sunday Nursery Care

Each Sunday, we offer Nursery Care for infants and toddlers in a clean and secure facility. The nursery is available Sunday morning from 9:45am until 12:00 noon. Childcare in our Parish Nursery is also available for special programming, as announced. Our staff nursery caregiver Sydney Dow has joined our Parish Staff this fall, and as with all Parish Staff members, she is a Certified Safe Church care provider with full background checks and references.

Middle School & High School

Because of every changing demographics of our parish population, this year youth ages 7th grade to 12th grade will be assisting in K thru 6th grade classes. They can sign up on the education bulletin board upstairs. Our middle and high school students will engage in bible study during their youth group time once a month.