Dear Friends in Christ,
I hope these waning days of Advent are a time of joyful preparation for you. Sometimes these days from Dec 17-24 are referred to as the “Great Days of Advent”, because not only are they close to Christmas, but these are the days our prayers for the coming of Christ intensify. Traditionally, these are the days when the Great O Antiphons are sung and prayed – each one being an Old Testament title for Jesus with a brief prayer. Of course, we have been using one each week since Pre-Advent....so now we get to pray them again on a daily basis: O Wisdom, O Adonai (Lord), O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Dayspring, O King, O Emmanuel (God-with-us)....come!
Please take a look at this week’s announcements, especially:
- Christmas Worship Schedule (at end of e-letter)
- Family Promise (Outreach)
- 2019 Year-End (Stewardship)
- Epiphany Soup & Sandwich Lunch (Parish Life)
- Greening of the Church (Worship)
This Sunday: Greening of the Church after the 10 am service. We’ll have our Coffee Hour in the Narthex while we put up pew candles, greens, set up the crèche table, etc. This is a festive project that everyone can participate in. Come and help get the Church decorated and ready for our Christmas celebrations!
Family Choir for Christmas Eve 4:30 pm Service - this is an opportunity for kids and adults to sing together on Christmas Eve (and it helps lead our congregation and visitors). On Christmas Eve the Choir should arrive at 3:45 pm to warm up and run through the anthem again. Please RSVP to Alison Siener Brown (Director of Music) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem has arrived at All Saints’! We are part of the international movement that passes light lit by candle or oil lamp from the eternal flame that burns in the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The Peace Light is intended to be carried into homes and places of worship, and kept burning through Christmas Day as an expression of peace. Our candles on Christmas Eve will be lit from the Peace Light. If you want to take the Peace Light home with you during the season, please come to the Rath House during office hours; bring a lantern or candle holder, and a safe way to transport the flame.
Thursday morning Eucharist & Healing Prayer will resume January 2 at 7:00 am.
Looking ahead...on January 12th our guest preacher will be Teri Prasa Lawvor. Teri is the President of the board of Episcopal Relief and Development, recently returned from a pilgrimage to Sri Lanka with the Presiding Bishop and others. Teri will also lead a discussion of the work of ER-D during our Coffee Hour/Sunday Forum time.
Family Promise Homeless Shelter – our next time to serve at this program for homeless families will be January 13 (Monday evening-Tuesday morning) when they stay at Trinity House in Stirling. We are asked to provide an Italian/pasta meal. We need volunteers for the following:
Chicken nuggets/kid-friendly Veggies
2 Greeters: 5:30pm-8:00pm Dessert
2 Overnight-ers: 7:30pm-6:30am
Please sign up on the sheet in the Narthex. Questions? Speak to Afsaneh Thursfield.
Soup Ministry - Winter Soup is available to take home after Church on Sundays during coffee hour ($5 quart/$3 pint – frozen; please return the containers). It is also available to take to sick or shut-in parishioners. Chicken Noodle is available this week. Questions? Speak to Jane Hayden or Kathy Pfeil.
Twelve Baskets Food Pantry provides food for individuals and families in need. The food pantry is available throughout the year by calling the Parish Office. We offer a monthly outreach at the Long Hill Senior Center, and also at the Valley Brook housing complex at the Veteran’s hospital in Lyons. If you know someone struggling with food insecurity, please pass the word along to them.
Epiphany Soup and Sandwich Lunch & Fruitcake Bake-off, Sunday, January 5 at 11:15 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. This is a fun way to close out the holiday season and start the New Year!
Bring Out Your Christmas Goodies! At Coffee Hour on December 29, please bring whatever left-over/extra Christmas sweets and treats you have and share them with others. We’ll provide the coffee and tea. You get the extra calories out of your house!
Annual Parish Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 9 at 11:15 am in the Parish House. Please put it on your calendar and plan to attend this important discussion in the life of All Saints’.
From the Finance Committee: 2019 End of Year – Please make sure your 2019 pledge is fulfilled or year-end donations to All Saints’ (including gifts of appreciated stock or mutual funds) reaches us by December 31 so it can count in the 2019 tax year. All Saints’ depends on your support, and we are very grateful for it. Thank you!
Sunday School meets this Sunday and then is on holiday until 1/12.
Bible Study is on break for the Christmas holiday. We’ll resume on Wed. 1/8 at 10:15 am in the Rath House, covering Revelation Chapter 15. We’re always glad to have new people join us and learn more about the Bible and its connection to our lives. Questions? Speak to Mother Vicki.
AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Chair Yoga in the Parish House Lower Room – gentle Hatha yoga for body posture, breath control, flexibility, balance, stress-relief, and meditation. Exercises can be done standing or sitting in a chair. The class is open to all skill levels. Classes meet Tues 1:30-2:30 pm and/or Fri 1:00-2:00 pm. Sessions run for 8 weeks. Cost is $40 for 8 weeks 1x per week/$80 for 8 weeks 2x per week. Please come to a class to observe or participate.
The Epiphany Party!
Sunday January 5, 2020; 5:00 - 7:00pm, at the Convent of the Community of St. John Baptist, 82 West Main Street, Mendham, NJ. This event is for old and new friends of the Community. Enjoy an evening of music and fellowship with the Sisters. Vespers and Reception of Associates 4pm. Informal Supper and Hymn Sing at 5pm. Come when you can!
Parish Office is open Monday, Dec. 23
Christmas Season services are listed below.
The Parish Office will be closed from 12/24-1/2 to give our staff and volunteers a much needed rest. See you in the New Year!
For a full schedule of our buildings check the website calendar www.allsaintsmillington.org
Way of Love: Go – “Go tell it on the mountain” is a beloved Christmas hymn that comes from the African-American tradition. Many people love the simplicity of its message, and its jaunty melody.
But those in the hymn who are supposed to “Go and tell” are not the shepherds – they’ve already done that. They told the villagers in Bethlehem, their friends and neighbors, all about the wondrous child they met, the family in unusual circumstances, the angels’ announcement to them, and most of all their experience of knowing that in this tiny child, the God of Creation, history, and the Bible had come into their world, and their lives would never be the same.
It is we who are being encouraged, directed to “go and tell” God’s Good News in the birth of Jesus. That message needs to be carried and announced in every day and age, however the Holy Spirit leads you. One of the best ways to go and tell is by inviting a friend, a neighbor, a family member to come to church with you at Christmas. Sit with them, sing with them, say the prayers of the liturgy together with them – and let the Holy Spirit take it from there. You don’t need to convince anyone to embrace faith in Christ; that’s God’s job. But you do have great Good News to share, and God is hoping you will do your part.
Christmas Season Worship
4:30 pm, Family Eucharist and the Blessing of the Crèche
Children are invited to carry the Nativity figures to the Crèche.
Please gather in the Narthex at 4:25 pm.
10:10 pm, Candlelight Christmas Concert
Adult Choir will present choral music for your Christmas meditation, featuring Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Song of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ” for soloists, violins, and choir.
10:30 pm, Festive Holy Eucharist
The traditional “Midnight Mass” with carols, candlelight, violin, and handbells.
10:00 am, Holy Eucharist with Carols and Blessing of the Christmas Gifts
Bring a gift that you have received to be blessed as a reminder that all the things that delight our hearts are gift from God!
First Sunday after Christmas, December 29th
8:00 am, Holy Eucharist II
10:00 am, Lessons and Carols
Readings and Carols for the Christmas Season.
The Feast of the Epiphany, January 5th
8:00 am, Holy Eucharist II
10:00 am, Procession of the Magi & Holy Eucharist II
Family Service: Children’s homily, birthday and anniversary prayers.
Followed by a simple festive lunch and Christmas cake bake-off.