We are entering the home stretch of Advent. Please take a look at the note to the parish from Beth Sciaino, the following announcements, and the meditation at the end of this e-letter. Walk softly through the remaining days, with a heart open to the light of God.
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To the people of All Saints’~
I am very grateful to the parish of All Saints' for being the community that has formed and ordained me as a priest of the church. Thank you to all the parishioners and staff who worked tirelessly and with great enthusiasm to prepare an amazing day of worship and celebration and lived into it with great gusto. Thank you to the Altar Guild and my sponsoring parish, St George's, Maplewood, for the beautiful surprise chasuble. When we put on vestments it is not about the clergy dressing up. The intention is to contribute to the festive nature of worship and invite people to visually engage in our praise of God and our reflection on who God is in our lives. Thank you for the extremely generous financial gift as well. Your generosity and enthusiasm for our shared journey with God is overwhelming. It was wonderful to have so many of you there on Sunday, including those who were there in spirit. Thank you to our rector, Vicki, without whose able leadership the ordination would have been adrift, and to Dr. Jody, Shea and both choirs for your gift of music. There is not space to name all of you, but know I am very grateful. May God continue to bless All Saints' as you have blessed Peter, Phoebe and me. ~ Beth
Pageant of the Nativity, this Sunday at 10 am - our annual telling of the story of Jesus’ birth by the Sunday School. All parish children are invited to participate! There is one rehearsal at 9 – 10:15 am Saturday in the Church, with roles for all ages. If your child can’t make the rehearsal, he or she can come at 9:30 Sunday morning and be a shepherd, an angel or an animal. Please be on hand Sunday morning as the children share with us their gifts and ministry!
Advent Taizé - Join us on this Wednesday, December 21 from 7:00–7:30 p.m. for the our last Advent Taizé service on Taizé-style worship is a candlelit service with meditative chants, silence, and prayer. Taizé songs contain only a few words which can be quickly learned and as the words are sung over many, many times, this meditative singing becomes a way of listening to God. “It allows everyone to take part in a time of prayer together and to remain together in attentive waiting on God.” Come, bring a friend, and leave feeling peaceful and calm.
Wednesday Morning Eucharist and Bible study are on hiatus until January 4th.
Christmas Altar Flowers which decorate our church for the Christmas seasonare offered to the glory of God and in memory of loved ones who have died, or in thanksgiving for blessings. Poinsettias are then given to the sick and homebound. If you would like to contribute Christmas flowers this year, please use the envelope in your pews and be sure to include your name and the name(s) of people you are remembering or honoring. Envelopes may be placed in the collection plate or delivered to the Church office by Monday, December 19. Thank you!
Greening of the Church - The Altar Guild will be putting up the Christmas pew candles and decorations after the 10 am service on Sunday. If anyone would like to help, please do so! Get coffee or tea at Coffee Hour and join the greening festivities in the Church.
Adopt-a-Family Gifts are to be returned on Sunday – wrapped and labeled as to the item and the family. Thank you to everyone who has participated in this outreach.
Other Outreach Projects – please remember the Ditty Bags items for Morris View Nursing Home; the (gently used) Coat Drive and Mitten Tree collection for St. John’s, Dover; and our regular non-perishable food items for Food for Friends. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and faithfulness to these ministries.
Christmas Flower Bulbs for Sale– amaryllis and paper whites are available for purchase in the Narthex on Sunday. They make great gifts! $10 per box; checks to be made to All Saints’; proceeds go to the Church. Take a look; thanks!
Parish House Renovation Update: The lower level renovation of the Parish House is moving ahead at full speed. A french drain and two sump pumps, and two floor drains have been installed; and the mold remediation service is coming this week to do a final clean up. The next step is to rebuild the interior walls that were damaged; paint; install a kitchen & bathroom floor, install a new low flush toilet; and paint all the walls. Maria Stapperfenne has drawn up a fabulous plan for the kitchen which we hope to install after the floor is in. In the meantime, the Kitchen Committee will continue sort the contents of the kitchen and closets (their mantra is “keep, toss, sell at rummage”). If you are able to help the Kitchen Committee, speak to Jackie Sullivan.
As the Vestry is preparing the parish budget for 2012 we are still hoping that more parishioners will make a pledge of financial support for All Saints’ for the coming year. If you need more information or need another pledge card, materials are in the Narthex or you can speak to Mother Vicki. We grateful for everyone’s support and depend upon it, at whatever level of commitment you are able to make. Thank you.
As you consider your year-end giving, please keep in mind the extraordinary expenses the Church has had this year with storm-related damage and work, and loss of income from the unusability of the Parish House basement and cancelled fund-raisers. All of our household budgets are stretched, but every little bit helps!
January 1, New Year’s Day is a Sunday this year, and it is a special day in the Church year, the Feast of the Holy Name. We will have one service at 10 am with music and intergenerational worship. Please come and start the New Year out right as we celebrate the Name of Jesus.
Epiphany Service, January 6th, 5:30 pm – Come and greet our Three Kings as we celebrate their arrival in Bethlehem. This is a casual, intergenerational service for all ages. See you there! Followed by: Epiphany Soup and Sandwich Supper, Friday, January 6th at 6 pm. This is a wonderful, low-key event for all ages to celebrate the end of the Christmas season, with a King Cake and a piñata for the children. This year because of our kitchen being out of commission we are asking for donations of soup (either store bought or home-made) in crock pots that can be plugged in the Parish Hall. The cost for this event is $5 per person; maximum of $20 per household ; children under age 3 are free. Sign up on the sheet in the Narthex.
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Advent 2011 – Days 19 and 20
In Advent we often think about Mary, the mother of Jesus, particularly when we read the passages in Luke that lead up to the Christmas story: the Angel Gabriel telling Mary that she is to bear the Son of God (the Annunciation) and her visit to her cousin Elizabeth. While purple is the most well-known color for Advent, deep blue is equally an Advent color – the color of hope, the color of the night sky in which the stars shine, but also the color of Mary.
In the Anglican/Episcopal tradition we also sing or say Mary’s song at every service of Evening Prayer/Evensong in the canticle called the Magnificat. It is Mary’s song of praise to God after she learns that God’s power and purpose has moved in the life of Elizabeth and Zechariah, as well as her own.
But Mary speaks well beyond her own situation; she reflects the ancient hope and longing of God’s people, and all people everywhere. This hope and longing is concrete and tangible; God will right the wrongs of human life. People who honor God and strive to live in right relationship with him will know his mercy and blessing. The power of God is greater than the powers of human structures and institutions. Those who look only to their own needs, their own glory and prestige, and who abuse the most vulnerable will be overturned by God. The Lord’s promises span the generations, and we can count on God’s faithfulness.
This is what Mary was proclaiming in the words of the Magnificat. They are words that give us hope when we look at a world full of corruption, injustice and the abuse of power. This Sunday at both of our services we will recite this canticle. I pray that it brings you strength, comfort and (most of all) hope in Christ. ~ VGM+
The Song of Mary Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55 )
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.