Here are this week’s announcements, the Advent meditation and the saint’s day biography. Please note these particular items:
Sunday School Pageant of the Nativity ~ see Worship and Music
Greening of the Church ~ see Worship and Music
Soup and Sandwich Lunch ~ see Christian Formation
Christmas Services listing ~ see Parish Calendar
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WORSHIP and MUSIC
Sunday School Pageant of the Nativity – December 21 at 10 am. All parish children are invited to take part in our annual pageant; shepherds, angels, Magi, Mary and Joseph, birds and animals – there’s a part for everyone! The rehearsal will be Saturday, 12/20 at 9 am in the Church.
Greening of the Church for Christmas will take place Sunday, Dec. 21at 11:15 am. What do we do? Put up pew candles, greens, hurricane lamps in the windows, poinsettias, etc. If we have some tall people who don’t mind ladders, we can also hang the Christmas swags from the rafters that Jody Doktor made for us last year! The Altar Guild needs lots of help with this fun and festive task – kids and adults; everyone can do something. Hope to see you there!
All God’s Children is our monthly service for special needs kids and their families. The next service will be on the third Sunday in January: 1/18 at 12 noon. Please extend an invitation to those who might be interested; all are welcome! Contact Mother Vicki with questions.
Regular Mid-Week services are on hiatus until January 15.
Thank You to everyone who contributed gifts for our December outreach projects - Adopt-a-Family and Ditty Bags for Morris View Nursing Home; as well as our ongoing offering to Food for Friends pantry! Your generosity has helped make Christmas a little warmer and fuller for so many.
Blood Drive – we’ll be hosting our winter blood drive on January 11, 11 am – 3 pm in the Parish Hall. Please let your neighbors know, and put it on your calendar. A good way to start the New Year 2015!
From the Finance Committee – if you are interested in making a gift of appreciated stock (either as a year-end donation or in fulfillment of your pledge) we are equipped to help you with that. It would be very much appreciated, and be a tax advantage to you. Speak to David Thursfield for details.
Reminder from our book keeper, Molly Faerber: year-to-date pledge and contribution statements (through November) have been sent out. 2014 pledge payments need to be completed by December 29 so they can be counted and credited to you in this calendar year. If you have any questions, please e-mail Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone her at the Parish Office on Thursday, 12/18 or Tuesday, 12/23 between 10 am and 12 noon. Thank you!
Thank you to everyone who has made a pledge of financial and time & talent support to All Saints’ for 2015. If you requested offering envelopes and have not yet received them, they are in the Narthex with your name on them. Please pick them up.
Epiphany Soup & Sandwich Lunch/Piñata Party – Sunday, January 4, 11:15 am. Come for our annual end-of Christmas/Epiphany event! We provide sandwich makings and a piñata for the kids; volunteers bring soup to share. The cost is $5 per person/$20 maximum per household/kids age 3 and under are free. Please sign up on the sheet in the Narthex to let us know you are coming, and how you can help. Join the fun!
Sunday School classes are on Christmas break, and will begin again Jan. 11.
Bible Study meets again on Jan. 14 at 10:15-11:30 am in the Rath House. We are reading through the Gospel of John and we meet Wednesdays every week. Bring your questions, sense of humor, and curiosity. You can bring your own Bible, or use one of ours. Newcomers are very welcome!
Women’s Book Group – Jan. 21, 7:30 pm in the Rath House. The book for discussion is Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America, by Amy Belding Brown. Come for an evening of fun and friendship.
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PARISH CALENDAR NEXT WEEK
The Parish Office will be closed 12/23- 12/28. It will be open on 12/29-12/30, and be closed again for the New Year holiday from 12/31-1/5.
And please check the calendar on our website for the full listing of groups and events in our buildings.
This coming week:
Christmas Eve, 4:30 pm
Family Service: Children’s Procession to the Créche, Communion, Carols & Handbells
Christmas Eve, 10:15 pm
Christmas Eve, 10:30 pm
Midnight Mass: Communion, Carols, Handbells, Candlelight
Christmas Day, 10 am
Communion, Carols & Blessing of Gifts
First Sunday of Christmas
8 am, Holy Eucharist, Rite II
10 am, Lessons and Carols
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For All the Saints – December 21, St. Thomas the Apostle
The Gospel according to John records several incidents in which Thomas appears, and from them we are able to gain some impression of the sort of man he was. When Jesus insisted on going to Judea, to visit his friends at Bethany, Thomas boldly declared, “Let us alsogo, that we may die with him” (John11:16). At the Last Supper, he interrupted our Lord’s discourse with the question, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (John14:5). And after Christ’s resurrection, Thomas would not accept the account of the other apostles and the women, until Jesus appeared before him, showing him his wounds. This drew from him the first explicit acknowledgment of Christ’s Godhead, “My Lord and my God!”(John20:28).
Thomas appears to have been a thoughtful if rather literal-minded man, inclined to scepticism; but he was a staunch friend when his loyalty was once given. The expression “Doubting Thomas,” which has become established in English usage, is not entirely fair to Thomas. He did not refuse belief: he wanted to believe, but did not dare, without further evidence. Because of his goodwill, Jesus gave him a sign, though Jesus had refused a sign to the Pharisees. His Lord’s rebuke was well deserved: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29). The sign did not create faith; it merely released the faith which was in Thomas already.
According to an early tradition mentioned by Eusebius and others, Thomas evangelized the Parthians. Syrian Christians of Malabar, India, who call themselves the Mar Thoma Church, cherish a tradition that Thomas brought the Gospel to India. Several apocryphal writings have been attributed to him, the most prominent and interesting being the “Gospel of Thomas.” Thomas’ honest questioning and doubt, and Jesus’ assuring response to him, have given many modern Christians courage to persist in faith, even when they are still doubting and questioning. ~ Holy Women, Holy Men
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Advent 2014 ~ Days 19 & 20
Luke 1: 5-25
An angel announces to Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth will bear a son.- Part 1
In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”
A setting of the canticle “Benedictus, Dominus Deus,” sung by Zechariah at the birth of John the Baptist. We know it in English as The Song of Zechariah. We sing it as a canticle at Morning Prayer. This setting is by Carlo Gesualdo, a sixteenth-century Italian composer.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, *
for he hath visited and redeemed his people;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us *
in the house of his servant David,
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, *
which have been since the world began:
That we should be saved from our enemies, *
and from the hand of all that hate us;
To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers, *
and to remember his holy covenant;
To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham, *
that he would give us,
That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies *
might serve him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before him, *
all the days of our life.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest, *
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people *
for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God, *
whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us;
To give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.