This is the last Sunday of the Church year, and the Sunday before Thanksgiving. While our lives are so very different now than they were a year ago, I hope you are able to find ways to express your gratitude to God and to those you love best.
I am reminded that when the Pilgrims first celebrated a festival of thanks in 1621, it was because their community had survived a very hard first year, by the grace of God and with help from Massasoit, leader of the local Wampanoag people.
And while there were intermittent days of thanksgiving observed in America over the next three centuries, the date of a national celebration was not established until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November to be a day of “solemn thanksgiving”. This came, of course, in the depths of the Civil War – one of the most painful and perilous periods of crisis in our American history.
Our ability to give thanks to God and be aware of our blessings – large and small – are not dependent on outward circumstance, but on the attitude of our hearts, and our willingness to see God’s presence with us. I wish you and those you love a blessed and grace-filled Thanksgiving. ~ VGM+
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Our worship this Sunday will be at 8 am in the Memorial Garden and at 10 am on Zoom. Links and details are below.
Important New Worship Information in Light of Covid-19 – We had hoped to be able to move our 8 am service into the Church, now that our UV sanitizing lights have been installed. However, the rates of infection and community spread of the virus have moved very quickly. All of New Jersey (with the exception of Salem County) is in the red zone for new cases, positivity and transmission rates, and hospital capacity. We know that post-Thanksgiving this will only become worse.
After consultation with our Wardens Roger Kosempel and Linda Kestler we have decided not to start anything new in-person for the foreseeable future. That means that the 8 am November 22 service will be held outdoors in the Memorial Garden. It will be the last 8 am service until the virus is under much better control.
This is disappointing news, but our priority is always to serve God and our neighbor in doing what is best for all in our church community and our civic community. Our 8 am congregation have been faithful and cheerful. Our main Sunday worship will continue on Zoom at 10 am. Please remember that it is also accessible as audio-only via a phone call from a landline.
We know that there are quite a number of parishioners for whom worship on Zoom at 10 am does not work. We will continue to post the recordings of the 10 am service to YouTube and on our parish website. We will, of course, also continue with Compline each night at 9:30 pm on the parish Facebook page, as well as having other events and services on-line.
Thank you for your faithfulness and prayerful understanding.
Here are the announcements and links for Sunday’s worship.
- Sunday Worship
- Annual Pledge Campaign
- Rummage Shoppe
- Bible Study – New Topic for Advent
- Thanksgiving Day
- Making Sacred Space
8 am Service of the Word in-person in the Memorial Garden. Please register here: https://reopen.church/r/bloP83YN. Bring a folding chair and a copy of the bulletin (on the home page). Note – this will be the final Sunday 8 am service until further notice.
10 am Service of the Word on Zoom, followed by Coffee Hour. The bulletin is on the home page. To receive the Zoom log-in please e-mail email@example.com.
Annual Pledge Campaign – Thank you to everyone who has returned a pledge commitment for 2021 so far, either by returning the hard-copy form or by using the on-line pledge form on our website.
Pledge packets were sent to you via US mail last week. They contain a brochure telling the story of All Saints’ during this pandemic time, as well as a letter from me, and a pledge form. Please read this material and make your pledge commitment for 2021. If you did not receive a pledge packet in the mail, or is you have a question on the status of your current 2020 pledge, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is your prayer and your pledge of financial support that makes the ministry and mission of All Saints’ happen. We know that we still have some challenging months ahead of us, and so we need everyone to participate. Thank you!
Thanksgiving Day – on Thanksgiving morning at 10 am Mother Vicki will lead a short service of reflection and prayer on Facebook Live. You’ll be able to offer your thanksgivings in real time. Remember, because our page is public you do not have to be “on Facebook” to participate or watch; just follow this link https://www.facebook.com/allsaintsmillington/. Please make time to pause for worship on Thanksgiving Day.
All Saints’ Rummage Shoppe – Our Rummage volunteers have been doing a wonderful job keeping up with all the donations and sales. Our shoppe will remain open until December 11, so time is limited! Reserve a 30-minute shopping time here: https://reopen.church/r/bloP83YN. Items are also being sold on-line here: https://www.facebook.com/AllSaintsRummageShoppe/. This is an on-going fund-raiser for All Saints’ ministries. The Shoppe will operate only until the middle of December, so take a look now and tell your friends.
Bible Study this week is on Wed., Nov. 25 at 10:15 am. We are reading and discussing the end of Philippians, Ch. 4. In Advent we start a new topic: we’ll spend time with the Old Testament readings for the Sundays of Advent which look forward to the birth of the Messiah. We’d love to have you and your friends participate in this Zoom class. For the link please e-mail Mother Vicki at email@example.com.
Christian Practices: Making Sacred Space
We often think of sacred space as a church, synagogue, or some other place people gather for formal worship. Or we might experience a particular location in the natural world as sacred – what Celtic spirituality refers to as “thin places” where we sense God’s presence very strongly.
But we can also have sacred space in our home. This is particularly important during this time when we are spending so much time at home. This week Bishop Hughes shares a meditation with us about the sacred space she has created in her home. Take a look and listen and consider how you might make a space for prayer and reflection in your home, if you haven’t done so already. https://youtu.be/hbcO0H3qt5Q