Many blessings to you and those you love this Christmas season. Christmas is a time that many people yearn for peace, meaning, or a connection to God in a world that can often be cynical and closed off from spirituality. If you find yourself in a conversation where the other person seems to be searching or yearning, you can share very simply and in your own words what God or faith means to you. You can also invite them to come to church with you sometime. Pray that God will give you the words to say and the presence of mind to notice what another person’s spiritual longings may be.
And if you are here at All Saints’ at any of our Christmas services and you are sitting near someone you don’t know, here’s a good way to welcome them: “Merry Christmas. I don’t believe we’ve met. My name is__________. Have you been to All Saints’ before?” If the person is new or visiting welcome them and tell that you are glad they are here. If the person responds that this is their parish but the go to a different service that you, say “I’m happy we’ve had the opportunity to meet. It’s good to be together as a parish family on Christmas”...or words to that effect. Everyone needs to be welcomed and included and feel that they have a place to belong as well as a faith to believe. All Saints’ does such a good job of this kind of welcoming, but at Christmas-time it is especially important. You never know when the Holy Spirit might be stirring in someone’s heart and soul – and your welcome may be an extension of God for to them!
And Bishop Carlye’s Christmas message to our diocese:
Dear Companions on the Journey,
Except for the very organized folks, I imagine most of us are in final preparation mode for Christmas celebrations. Each day I picture the people and congregations of our diocese as we move through these final days of Advent to Christmas. I see us wrapped in the magnificent light of Jesus. I will hold this picture-prayer in my spirit as we approach this holy day. I hope that you receive an abundance of Christ’s love and mercy this Christmas and share it with another.
I offer this prayer for you and your families:
May the God’s spirit of hope and peace bless your gatherings,
may God’s joyful light illumine all hurting places,
may you be a blessing to others,
and may the joy of Christmas move our spirits to deeper relationship with the Holy One, Jesus Christ, Our Savior. Amen.
Grace, Peace, and Merry Christmas, Bishop Carlye
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Here are this week’s announcements:
- Greening of the Church (Worship)
- Epiphany Soup & Sandwich Lunch, Bake-off (Christian Formation)
- A Narnia Nativity: Reader’s Theater Play at Epiphany Party (Christian Formation)
Greening of the Church - Sunday, 12/23 at 11:15 am. Come help the Altar Guild decorate the Church for Christmas. We need both men and women to put up the pew candles, hang the garland from the rafters, put candles and greenery in the windows, and set up the table for the Christmas Créche. Kids can help, too! Coffee Hour will be served in the Narthex, so refreshments will be close at hand, and Alison will be available to play Christmas carols as we decorate!
Guest Preacher – on December 23 the Rev. Shawn Carty will be our preacher at both 8 am & 10 am. Shawn is the Manager of the Guest House at the Convent of St. John Baptist in Mendham. Shawn has been a parish priest in New Jersey, Idaho, and Washington State. He and his wife Jeanne have been worshipping with us this fall. Shawn will also be the celebrant at our 10:30 pm Christmas Eve service. Welcome, Shawn!
Christmas Services are listed on the homepage. Take a look!
CHRISTIAN FORMATION & SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Coffee Hour on Dec. 30 – bring your extra Christmas Cookies, cakes, pies, whatever you want to get out of your house...and share it with the rest of us! We’ll provide a hot beverage and share Christmas greetings with one another.
Epiphany Soup and Sandwich Lunch & Fruitcake Bake-off, Sunday, January 6 at 11:15 am in the Parish Hall. Come share a relaxed meal with your fellow parishioners, pull a Christmas party “cracker,” and join in a Christmas fruitcake bake-off – either as a baker or as a judge! Recipes and directions for the bake-off are on the table in the Narthex. Sign-up sheets for the event are there, also. We’ll need a bit of help: pick up the sandwiches, make a pot of soup, set up the tables, clean up, etc. The cost of the event is $5 per person; $20 maximum per household. Kids under age 3 are free.
We’ll also have a short play at the Epiphany Lunch, done reader’s theater style: “A Narnia Nativity”. We have 10 roles to fill – some larger, some smaller; they can be done by adults or kids in middle school and older. The roles are: Professor, Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy, Mary, Joseph, Gabriel, 1st Shepherd, 2nd Shepherd. If you are interested in reading a part, please speak to Alison Siener Brown or Mother Vicki. The Epiphany Lunch is a fun way to close out the holiday season and start the New Year!
Thank You to everyone who contrbuted gifts for our December Adopt-a-Family, as well as our on-going offering to the Twelve Basktes Food Pantry – feeding hungry families and homeless people in Dover and our local community! Your generosity has helped make Christmas a little warmer and fuller for so many. To get involved with the food pantry please speak with Kerrie Stepko; we are always looking for drivers to Dover and the Community FoodBank in Hillside.
Community Dinner for Vets and Friends – Jan. 19 at 5:30 pm in the Parish House. Invite a Veteran or someone who needs connection and friendship – and a delicious home-cooked meal! We always need cooks, hosts, and people to set-up and clean-up. To volunteer speak with Kerrie Stepko.
Save the Date – Jan. 28 for our next ministry of hosting homeless families with Family Promise at Trinity House in Stirling. We need volunteers to cook, serve the meal, act as hosts to the shelter guests, and spend the night. Want to know more? Speak to Afsaneh Thursfield or Kathy Pfeil.
All Saints’ runs on the pledges and contributions of all who love and support God’s work in and through this parish. If you would like to make a year-end gift for 2018 please make sure we receive it by Decemer 30. And if you are interested in making a pledge for 2019 pledge packets are available in the Narthex. Thank you!
AND IN THE NEW YEAR
Bible Study starts up again on Wed. Jan. 2 at 10:15 am in the Rath House. We’ll dive back into the Gospel of Mark. If you have been “cautiously curious” about Bible reading and would like to try it out, please know that you are invited. It’s a good way to start the New Year! Questions? Speak to Mother Vicki.
Sunday School Classes for children PreK through middle school will begin again on Jan. 13th. They meet in classrooms downstairs in the Church, starting at 10 am. The children then join their families in worship at the Peace. January is a great time to get your kids engaged with learning more about loving God and their neighbor and following Jesus.
Adult Class for Confirmation/Faith Exploration – Do you want to explore your faith further? Know more about the Church and our beliefs? Are you interested in being Confirmed, being formally received into the Episcopal Church, or making an intentional re-affirmation of your faith? Mother Vicki will be meeting with adults in an evening class in February and March. If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, this class is for you! We’ll schedule it at the time that most people can get together. Please speak to Mother Vicki or send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Parish Offices are closed and mid-week events are taking a rest until January 2.
See you in the New Year!
Bless – how can you be a blessing to someone else this Christmas season...a neighbor, a family member, a stranger? When we bless others by our presence, our actions, or our prayers we share some of God’s love with them, even in a small way. And Christmas is the season of Love!
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
~ Christina Rossetti
And a setting of this poem composed by R.O Morris, sung by the Kings College Choir: https://youtu.be/MRo_OTsOiY4