This coming Sunday (December 2) is the First Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the new Church year. In Church we count time differently than the rest of the world, and westart four Sundays before Christmas, just as the secular world is trying to wind up the old year. Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas, and for Christ’s return when God’s kingdom comes in all its fullness. I hope and pray that you will find time in these busy weeks to make some spiritual preparation for Christmas by attending to the inner stillness and simplicity of Advent – through Sunday services, weekday worship or your own devotions at home.
Perhaps you and your family would like to make and use an Advent wreath, keeping the themes of hope, joy, expectation and peace at the center of your family meal? There are a number of opportunities that we will be offering from All Saints’; they are listed below. The important thing for all of us is to make room in our hearts and our lives for the love of God which
is always waiting to be born in us.
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Advent Wreathes. Come make an Advent wreath for your home during coffee hour this Sunday. We’ll supply greens, wire rings, ribbons, and candles. Bring your own clippers. The cost of materials is $7 (or if you bring your ring from last year it is $5). If you don’t have time to stay to make your wreath at church, you can take the“fixings” home.
Taizé Worship is a service of candlelight, Scripture, psalms, and chanting in the style of the ecumenical Christian monastic community in Taizé, France. The focus of the community’s ministry is reconciliation. This peaceful service is 30 minutes long on Wednesdays 12/5, 12/12, 12/19 at 7 pm.Take time to slow down this Advent as we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas.
St. Nicholas Celebration,December 9 at the 10 am service. Sunday School as usual, then the PreK-Grade 1 class joins the service at 10:50 am. We’ll have a visit from Bishop Nicholas, our Advent saint! St. Nicholas reminds us that generosity, good works and gift-giving are done to honor Christ. Our own St. Nicholas will bring some treats for the parish children (and maybe their parents, too…). Then come over to the Parish Hall for a St. Nick party and decorate our tree. This is always an enjoyable event for adults and children alike.
Sunday School Pageant of the Nativity, Dec. 16 at 10 am. All parish children are invited to participate, even as young as 3 year olds! The only speaking parts are for the readers. The main characters are Mary, Joseph, Gabriel, the Magi/Kings/Wise Ones. We can have as many angels, shepherds and birds and animals as there are willing participants. There is one rehearsal on Sat. 12/15 at 9 am in the Church. Parts will be decided on at the rehearsal. Please sign up your kids on the sheet in the Narthex.
All God's Children– The next service is Dec. 16 at 12 noonwith a Christmas theme. This worship
is designed for children and families with a range of special needs – including
anyone who has a hard time sitting still! Pass the word to friends and neighbors
who can benefit from this. Volunteer
helpers can sign up for specific tasks on the sheet in the Narthex. Prayer support for this ministry is
Advent Meditations - During Advent we’ll be sending out daily reflective messages via e-mail. Watch for them in your in-box! If more than one person in your household would like to receive these and doesn’t normally get our mid-week e-mails, please have them send us their e-mail address and we’ll out them on the list.
Outreach – December and Beyond
Adopt-a-Family for Christmas– Once again we will provide household goods and clothing for two families through Elizabeth Social Services. Envelopes with the needed items and sizes will be posted on the main door into the Church. Please consider helping someone else who is trying to get back on their feet this Christmas. Questions? Speak to Jackie Sullivan.
Ditty Bags - Each Advent we collect small items for the residents of Morris View, the county nursing home. Hand cream, playing cards, chapstick, pocket calendars, small bottles of shampoo – any compact items that can help brighten the day of one of the residents is helpful.. You can leave your donations in the basket marked “Ditty Bags” in the Narthex. Questions? Speak to Pru Peterson.
Long Hill Schools Coat Drivefor the Food for Friends Pantry in Dover needs gently used coats for kids or adults. These can be left in the container in the side entrance of the Church. We also will send along any new hats, gloves or mittens that decorate our Mitten Trees in the Narthex!
All Saints' will be hosting a Community Blood Drive, Sunday, January 6 in the Parish House. In the winter months, blood supplies are typically very low. The blood supply levels are lower than usual because of Hurricane Sandy. Many blood drive events were cancelled; and many were not able to be rescheduled due to damage to the host sites.Save the date to give blood & the gift of life.
Family Promise Homeless Shelter (St. Joseph’s Shrine, Stirling) – our next time to serve at the shelter is January 9. Kathy Pfeil is coordinating our January efforts. Please sign up on the sheet in the Narthex to assist with this ministry. We need people to cook, shop, serve, and spend the night. If you are interested or have questions, please speak to Kathy or Mother Vicki.
12/2– There is Sunday School for all classes; no Family Service.
12/9: Sunday School and St. Nicholas Celebration
12/16: Pageant of the Nativity – 10 am. No Sunday School.
12/23: Sunday School as usual.
J2A– meets 12/9 at 11:45 am
Meeting for Sunday School Teachers and Parents – Sunday, Dec. 9 at 11:30 am in the Parish House Lower Level. Please come for a short meeting. On the agenda: Getting ready for the pageant and making plans for January’s Family Game Night.
Family Game Night, January 11, 7 pm. Bring your family and your friends and join with others for a fun evening of board games and other family-friendly activities in the Parish Hall.
Other Events and Announcements
If you have returned a pledge card to All Saints’ for 2013, thank you very
much! If you are still digging out after the storm or have misplaced your pledge
packet and need another one, there is a stack of red envelopes in the
Narthex. If you have questions about pledging and stewardship, please speak to one of the
Vestry members on the stewardship commission: Kimberly Celeste, Parker Godwin or
Nancy Mink, or speak to Mother Vicki. We depend on the support of all our
members and friends. If we haven’t heard from you by Dec. 2 a Vestry member will
be calling to follow-up.
If you aren’t able to make a pledge now, but would like offering envelopes,
please call or e-mail the parish office. Envelopes help us give you a record of
your donations; if you put loose cash in the plate we aren’t able to give you a
statement of contribution. Of course, you can also use Electronic Fund Transfer
(EFT) or on-line banking, if that is easier for you.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration of God’s
mission through All Saints!
Stewardship - “Simplicity in its essence demands neither a vow of poverty nor a life or rural homesteading.
As an ethic of self-conscious material moderation, it can be practiced in cities and suburbs, townhouses and condominiums. It requires neither a log cabin nor a hairshirt but a deliberate ordering of priorities so as to distinguish between the necessary and superfluous, useful and wasteful, beautiful and vulgar.” ~ David Shi, historian and simplicity scholar
Bible Study this Week, December 5, 10:15 am: the passage for discussion is Hebrews 8. Next Week: December 12, 10:15 am-Hebrews 9; 7:45 pm-Genesis 10-11.
Parish House Construction on the new handicapped accessible entrance facing the parking lot has begun! There is now a large hole on the west side of the building, fenced off. The footings have been formed. During the time of this project (next three months) all regular access to the Parish House needs to be through the main doors facing Church Road. We are also not yet sure about how well the parking lots lights will work during this time – so if you are coming for evening meetings or activities, please bring a flashlight, just to be safe. We’ll let you know more as we know more. This construction will probably take a little extra patience on your part, but the end result will be well worth it as we continue to expand our hospitality to serve our surrounding community! If you have any questions or concerns, Roger Kosempel is our point person for the construction. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.
All Saints’ Care Circle - this ministry is one of the ways we care for one another by offering rides to the doctor, making a meal for a family or individual, running an errand, giving a ride to Church or any other sort of short-term need. We have moved this ministry from a commercial website to an in-house e-mail distribution list. If you would like to be a Care Circle minister, please let the office or Mother Vicki know. Thanks!
McFarland Memorial Service – Lois McFarland’s service will be at All Saints’ on Saturday,December 15 at 1 pm, followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.
College Students’ Brunch/Lunch after 10 am service on December 30 at the Stirling Diner. All college students and high school juniors and seniors are welcome to be a part of this. More details still to come.
Epiphany Soup and Sandwich Lunch on January 6 at 11:15 am, with a piñata for the kids. Come close out the Christmas festivities with your fellow parishioners. Plan to bring a pot of soup or a plate of sandwiches to share. There will be a sign-up sheet in the Narthex next week.
Grateful Gathering Dinner& Trivia Night, January 26 at 6 pm. This Adult Fellowship evening is a fun and wonderful event, and back by great acclaim! E-vites will be sent out. Watch for them in your in-box! Put it on your calendar now and plan to come.
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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost