I have spent the last two days thinking and praying about the news of our national election. Certainly, we are all glad this very difficult and mean-spirited season is over. And while Wednesday morning’s news may have been a surprise – even a shock – to some, for others it was welcome. In elections there are always winners and losers. And in our legal and governmental system we know that the rise to office and power of one candidate or party does not remove the rights, privileges, and protections of those whose candidate did not win. That’s part of being an American.
We live in a diverse country – racially, economically, religiously, ethnically, politically, culturally. But we are also a very large country, where it is sometimes hard to understand what people are feeling and thinking in other places. We live in a state and in communities that are diverse in their own ways. And in our parish we have a diversity of experience and opinion about many issues. That is what makes for rich and flavorful conversations and friendships, as we learn from each other how to be Jesus’ faithful followers.
I believe strongly that we hold in common the values of Christ’s justice and love. We profess in our Baptismal Covenant that we will “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves; and we will strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” We say we will do this with God’s help, because we cannot do it on our own strength. We need the waters of Baptism (with which we were just sprinkled this past Sunday) and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help us keep these promises. These promises are not just theoretical; they are real-life intentions to respect, love, stand with, befriend, stand up for, speak out for all our neighbors, whoever they may be. I hope that we can all find a renewed strength and depth in these promises of our Baptism – our charter of following Jesus as Lord – in this time in our national life when some very hateful and harmful feelings that have always been present in parts of our society became strong and obvious.
A final thought. We are in a period of intense change – and have been for a while - the country and the Church, writ large. Change can be very scary, because we can’t predict the course of events or the outcome. Even happy changes can cause sadness and longing, like a parent so proud of a child graduating from high school and the fine young person that he or she has become. But even in that pride and gladness, there is still the sense of loss and the longing for the little boy or girl who rode on Daddy’s shoulders, or curled up in Mommy’s lap for a story. Change and growth bring joy and loss together. So too, our country has changed tremendously in ways that are good. Rights and respect – both legal and de facto – have been established for religious and racial minorities, immigrants, gay and lesbian people, women at all levels of society; thank God. There is also the part of us that perhaps longs for a simpler, more settled time that seemed to give us a peaceful respite from the cares of the world. God knows, we need a peaceful respite.
But change will happen whether we like it or not. Our constant grounding in all this change is the goodness and love of God – especially in turbulent times. So I will simply remind you all of what Jesus said to us in Sunday’s Gospel: “"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)
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This Sunday we start our pre-Advent experiment. Why? December in our culture is so full of Christmas preparations that we have little space to keep the Advent themes of judgment, preparation for Christ’s Second Coming, and hope for a renewed Creation in the Age to Come; all as important as preparing for the Holy Child. What will this look like? We’ll use the Advent colors, move to Advent service music and Prayers of the People, and include one Advent hymn. The Advent Wreath, and greens on the altar will wait until the start of Advent Season proper.
We are not rushing Christmas! We are expanding Advent! Our hope is that we will have time to be more reflective and prayerful during this spiritually rich and important season, knowing that Christ come to us as the Baby in the Manger and as the Lord of Creation at his Second Coming. As we go through Advent this year, please let Alison Siener Brown or Mother Vicki know what the experience is like. Thank you!
Thanksgiving Day Worship - November 24, 10 am. Hymns, Scripture, Communion in a relaxed and intimate setting. Come and give thanks to God for all the Lord’s blessings!
The Annual Pledge Campaign for 2017: We have about half of our pledge cards that have been returned. If you have not yet done so, please get that to us very soon, so we can know what your support for God’s work here at All Saints’ will be, and so that we can begin the work of putting together a budget for the new year. Thank you.
Thanks to the good folks who helped us get rid of the last of the Rummage, the pool table! Steve Liesch, Roger Kosempel, Nicky Mink, Tom Day, Steve Kowalik, and Parker Godwin.
Mid-Winter Adult Fellowship Party – we’ve had a number of requests for an event in the January -February time frame. If you would like to be part of the planning group for this event, please sign up on the sheet in the Narthex. Thanks!
Pilgrim - A Course for the Christian Journey. This group will meet Monday nights at 7:00 (note earlier start time) until 12/12. Prayer and soup will be available before for those who want it!
6:00 pm – Evening Prayer, Church
6:30 pm – Simple Soup Supper, Rath House
7:00 pm – Pilgrim Discussion Group, Rath House
Bible Study meets this Wed., Nov. 9, 10:15 am, in the Rath House. We’ll be reading Acts, Chapter 10. New folks are always welcome to participate.
Praying in Color - Need a quiet break during the week? De-stress? Come for a Quiet Evening & Compline; Thurs Nov. 17 at 8:15 pm in the Church. We’ll have 40 mins. of reflective activity – Praying in Color. It’s a creative and free-form way to pray with markers, crayons, and holy doodling! We end with Compline, sung with members of our Choir. We’ll finish by 9:15 pm. Sign-up on the sheet to let us know you are coming.
Save the Date: Pageant of the Nativity – Sunday, 12/18 at 10 am. All Sunday School children of any age are invited to play a part: angels, shepherds, readers, Mary, Joseph, Magi/Kings, birds and animals. There is one rehearsal at 9 am on 12/17.
Winter Soup is now available to take home after Church on Sundays during coffee hour ($5quart/$3 pint – frozen; please return the containers). It is also available to take to sick or shut-in parishioners.
AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Thank you to everyone who helped to put together of All Saints’ Sunday Dinner last week. The Vets, Christian Community, and All Saints’ members came together for a fun and festive meal.
And thanks to our Election Day Bake Sale/Hot Dog Sale crew: Kerrie Stepko, Candy Pecoraro, Helen Mederos, Sue Traub, Janet Mansfield, and Jane Hayden. It was good to greet our neighbors as they came out to vote – and we made about $300 for Parish House support. We sold some cookbooks, too!
Our next V.A. event on 12/10 is Dinner and a Movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If you would like to help with the December event, speak to a member of the VA Dinner Team: Candy Pecoraro, Steve Kowalik, Afsaneh Thursfield, Jane Hayden, or Betsy Wallace. Thanks.
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11/14 Evening Prayer Church, 6:00 pm
Simple Soup Supper Rath House, 6:30 pm
Pilgrim Discussion Group Rath House 7:00 pm
Yoga Parish House, 6:15 pM
11/15 Vestry Meeting Rath House, 7:30 pm
11/16 Bible Study Rath House, 10:15 am
11/3 Holy Eucharist Church, 7:00 am
Senior Yoga Lower Room PH, 5:30 pm
Small Saints’& Junior Choirs Choir Room, 5:15 pm
Adult Choir Choir Room, 7:30 pm
Quiet Evening Church, 8:15 pm
Compline Church, 9:00 pm
Parish Office Hours: Mon., Tues., Thurs. from 9:30 am-4:00 pm
Rector’s Sabbath day: Friday
Remember to “Like” us on Facebook: All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Millington, NJ
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CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Prayer for Veteran’s Day
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad, and all those who have served our country. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ~ BCP
A You Tube link to “O valiant hearts,” the World War I hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn1KvW1R3CM
And from another type of struggle, “Lift every voice and sing.” It’s #599 in our Hymnal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_Every_Voice_and_Sing