I have some very sad news to share today. Bonnie Stocker McGrath, a long-time All Saints’ parishioner, died overnight from complications of a recurrence of her cancer. Bonnie had many ministries at All Saints’ over the years: Choir member, Counters & Tellers, Finance Committee, Vestry – including serving as Warden when I was called to All Saints’, member of the Altar Guild, in retirement she became one of our Office Angels volunteers, and one of our core Rummage Sale organizers. As late as this summer and fall Bonnie lent her prodigious planning skills and enthusiasm to finding a way to make our Rummage Shoppe happen.
Bonnie died at home and her husband Frank and son Patrick were able to spend time with her and care for her. Her funeral will be scheduled for some time in the spring when it will be safer for us to gather. In the meantime, cards and letters to Frank and Patrick at home are very welcome. If you would like to make a personal expression of your grief, you may wish to place an arrangement of winter greenery in the Church Memorial Garden – on or near the altar.
We are so grateful for all that Bonnie gave to all of us, and the joy she shared with others. In our grief let us remember Bonnie’s faithful confidence in God, and keep Frank, Patrick, and one another in prayer. ~ VGM+
May Bonnie rest in the Peace of Christ and rise in the Glory of God.
Here are the announcements, and links for Sunday’s worship. There is a lot here, so please take some time to read through the different items.
- Sunday Worship (scroll all the way down)
- Adopt-a-Family Outreach: Last Call
- Christmas Worship: Updates from Bishop Hughes
- Christmas Music Memorials and Donations
- Angel Photos: Last Call
- Grief, Loss & Christmas: a Conversation
- Annual Pledge Campaign
- Rummage Shoppe
- Bible Study
- Christian Practices: Sacrifice
Angel Photos: Last Call - Alison Siener Brown is still looking for photos of angels (ornaments, decorations, pictures, etc.) that you have at your house. She will use these photos as part of the slide show for “Angels we have heard on high” in our Christmas Eve video. Please send the to Alison by Monday, 12/13, email@example.com. Thank you!
Christmas Music Memorials and Donations – Our music at Christmas is always augmented by some professionals (two singers, a violinist). To make a donation to support the Christmas music in memory or honor of a loved one use the new on-line giving portal (see below) or use the music envelope that will be coming next week with the Christmas letter. The names of those being remembered or honored will be included in our on-line bulletin. General Christmas donations may also be contributed on-line or by envelope. Thank you for your support of All Saints’ and of our Music Ministry at Christmas time.
Christmas Worship: Update from Bishop Hughes – as of this coming Monday, 12/14, Bishop Hughes has updated guidelines regarding worship for churches in our Diocese. No parish may have any in-person worship, whether outdoors or indoors, due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and the shrinking capacity of our hospital and health care system. Broadcasting/live-streaming worship from the Church can still happen with the people immediately needed to do that (10 people or less).
What does this mean for All Saints’, given that we just sent out our Christmas worship plans via letter? Please see the detail below:
- Christmas Eve, 4:00 pm – No in-person gathering. We will have a short time of prayer and reading of the Christmas story on Facebook Live broadcast from the from outside the front of the Church
- Christmas Eve, 6:00 pm or later – A fully produced, pre-recorded service of readings, Christmas carols, virtual anthems, vocal and instrumental soloists, handbells, prayers, and sermon. This will be filmed in All Saints’ and can be watched at home any time on Christmas Eve after 6:00 pm or Christmas Day. Our readers, choirs, and musicians have been hard at work to get this service recorded. Even though we will not be together in-person, we are together in Spirit, and in love for God, for All Saints’, and for one another.
- Christmas Morning, 10:00 am – Christmas Reflection, Scripture and Prayers on Facebook Live.
- Christmas Pageant – December 27 at 10:00 am worship on Zoom. This will be a new incarnation of our beloved tradition – written by Alison Siener Brown, specifically for Zoom format, and inter-generational (kids and adults). This will be pre-recorded and shared at the service. It will be available to share with friends and family after that.
Grief, Loss & Christmas: a Conversation – Monday, December 14 at 7:30 pm via Zoom. This has been an incredibly difficult year. We have all lost much – whether it be a loved one who has died, a job loss, a health crisis, children’s schooling, isolation from family and friends, our usual way of being Church, the expectation of normal joyful gatherings for holidays and birthdays. And Christmas more than any other time is a magnet for all those painful, difficult feelings and disappointments. Mother Vicki is offering this time of conversation as a place to talk – or just sit with – those feelings and thoughts with others, and yet look forward with hope. We will begin and end the conversation with prayer, knowing that God is hearing and holding us. Even though Zoom is not an ideal platform, it is one way we can gather and share. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
All Saints’ Rummage Shoppe – our Shoppe finished today, December 11. Thank you to Kimberly Celeste and all the Rummage folk for making this fund-raiser happen in such a unique way!
Stewardship: New On-Line Giving Portal – The company who processes all our on-line donations and pledge payments, Vanco, has redesigned the donation portal, making it much clearer, simpler, and attractive. You can get to it by clicking the “Giving” button on our home page. Or you can follow this link. https://secure.myvanco.com/YH4J/home
Annual Pledge Campaign – Thank you to everyone who has returned a pledge commitment for 2021. We know that this has been an exceeding difficult and chaotic year, and we appreciate whatever support you are able to offer to God’s work here at All Saints’. 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.
You may make a pledge either by returning the hard-copy form that was mailed to you or by using the on-line pledge form on our website. http://www.allsaintsmillington.org/giving.html. If you have a question about pledging, or about the status of your current 2020 pledge, please send an e-mail to email@example.com. Thank you for your support!
Bible Study this week is on Wed., Dec. 16 at 10:15 am. We are looking at the Old Testament readings for the four Sundays of Advent. This week is Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11. To participate in this Zoom class please e-mail Mother Vicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Sunday Worship – Advent 3, December 13th –10 am
10 am Service of the Word on Zoom, followed by Coffee Hour. Father Shawn Carty will be our preacher. The bulletin is on our home page. Please e-mail email@example.com for the log-in information.
Christian Practices: Sacrifice
The word sacrifice means “to make holy”. We often speak of sacrifices that parents make on behalf of their children; or soldiers make on behalf of their country; or individuals make on behalf of a goal or cause. We make sacrifices for the good of another or for a longer-term outcome for which we are hoping.
We also talk about Jesus’ sacrifice of himself on the Cross for us. Jesus’ willing offering of himself on our behalf was an expression and an instrument of God’s love and care for us – even in the face of death. His sacrifice became the means to much larger life and peace and connection to God than we could have ever achieved on our own.
As we think about the sacrifices we are all making this Christmas, let us remember those in our Armed Services who spend Christmas away from their loved ones when they are on mission – a sacrifice for their country; or the doctors and nurses who spend holidays away from their families because they are caring for sick patients.
Our sacrifice of remaining at home and refraining from gathering for worship in-person is a sacrifice for others – others in our country, our community, our Church, and our family. In a small way this year our Christmas celebration will be connected to Christ’s own sacrifice of himself. What he has done for us we can, in a sense, do for others; thereby sharing the gift of life, and love, and light.