Advent is a time of waiting and watching in the darkness. Here in the northern hemisphere it is the physical darkness of our shortened days. But the darkness can also be the dark of not knowing, or of personal struggle, or of the chaos that exists in so much of our world. We wait in the dark, praying, singing, and watching for the dawn of Love that breaks forth at Christmas. We wait in the dark trusting that God’s mercy and providence will be sufficient for us. We wait in the darkness without fear because we know the goodness of God. I pray that your Advent season is a time of being blessed in your waiting.
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Here are this week’s announcements:
- Adopt-a-Family (Advent)
- Pageant of the Nativity (Worship)
- Epiphany Soup & Sandwich Lunch and Bake-off (Christian Formation)
- Christmas Caroling (Advent)
St. Nicholas Sunday, December 9 – What do St. Nicholas, Narnia, and Father Christmas have to do with each other? Come and find out from St. Nicholas himself when he visits us at the 10 am service! This is especially good for kids.
Adopt-a-Family – this is our annual program to provide gifts to struggling families, as identified by Union County Social Services. This year our effort is targeted towards teens and tweens with gift cards to popular stores. There is a board in the Narthex with envelopes containing the names of the stores Please take one and return the cards wrapped and labeled by 12/16. Questions? Speak to Jackie Sullivan. Thank you for helping make Christmas a little happier for these young people.
Christmas Caroling – next Sunday 12/16 the Choir and friends will be going caroling to some of our more senior members’ homes, and you are invited to join us! We’ll gather in the church parking lot at 1 pm (bring a bag lunch to Church if you like) and we’ll be finished by 3 pm. This is a great way to stay connected with members of our parish. Questions? Speak with Alison Siener Brown.
Greening of the Church Sunday, 12/23 at 11:15 am. Come help the Altar Guild decorate the Church for Christmas. We need both men and women to put up the pew candles, hang the garland from the rafters, put candles and greenery in the windows, and set up the table for the Christmas Créche. Kids can help, too! Get coffee or tea from Coffee Hour and then come join in the fun!
Pageant of the Nativity – December 16 at 10 am. The children of the parish will help us prepare for Christmas by telling the story of Jesus’ birth in story, song, and tableau. There is one rehearsal at 9 am on 12/15. All parish children of any age are invited to play a part: angels, shepherds, readers, Mary, Joseph, Magi/Kings, birds and animals. Parents whose children are interested in participating should sign up by e-mailing the Parish Office.
Flower Envelopes & Music Envelopes for Christmas flowers and decorations, or to contribute to Christmas Eve music when we have guest singers and instrumentalists, will be in the pews and on the table in the Narthex on Sunday. Please make sure you include the name (s) of those you would like remembered or for whom you are giving thanks with your gift. We need that information by 12/17.The envelopes can be put in the offering plate, or dropped off at the Parish Office.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem will be part of our Advent and Christmas again this year. It comes from the eternal flame that burns in the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The Peace Light is intended to be carried into homes and places of worship, and kept burning through Christmas Day (or longer) as an expression of peace. We’ll share the Peace Light after the 10 am service next week. If you want to take the Peace Light home with you please bring a lantern or candle holder, and a safe way to transport the flame.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION & SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Advent Study – Wed., 10:15 am. During the season of Advent we are working on an Advent study based on the Way of Love materials and looking at readings from Luke, chapters 1&2. We’d love to have you join us. Questions? Speak to Mother Vicki.
Epiphany Soup and Sandwich Lunch & Fruitcake Bake-off, Sunday, January 6 at 11:15 in the Parish Hall. Come share a relaxed meal with your fellow parishioners, pull a Christmas party “cracker,” and join in a Christmas fruitcake bake-off – either as a baker or as a judge! Recipes and directions for the bake-off are on the table in the Narthex. Sign up sheets for the event are there, also. We’ll need a bit of help: pick up the sandwiches, make a pot of soup, set up the tables, clean up, etc. The cost of the event is $5 per person; $20 maximum per household. Kids under age 3 are free. This is a fun way to close out the holiday season and start the New Year!
FUN & FUNDRAISING
ShopRite gift cards make great Christmas gifts – everyone needs groceries! You may purchase ShopRite cards as a gift or for yourself on Sundays during Coffee House or at the parish office. You pay face value and 5% goes to All Saints’ ministries. Please speak to Barbara Barbeau.
From the Finance Committee: If you would like to make a gift to All Saints’ of appreciated stock or mutual funds – either as a 2018 year-end gift before Dec. 31, or as your 2018 pledge contribution – we are able to receive such a gift. For information about how to do this, please contact David Thursfield. Thank you!
2019 Pledge Update – we have now heard from nearly everyone in the parish about their financial commitment for 2019. Every pledge commitment is important and makes a difference in the ministry at All Saints’. If you have not yet made your 2019 pledge, we invite you to prayerfully do so. Pledges are the largest and most reliable portion of our funding. You may make a pledge via e-mail, or by sending in your card. Your financial and prayer support enable All Saints’ to do God’s work in our community. Thank you.
A Good Word from Bishop Carlye - please take a listen to Bishop Hughes' most recent video log (vlog) on the home page of our website. She has a good message about invitation in this Advent and Christmas season.
12/11 Finance Committee Rath House 7:30 pm
12/12 Advent Study Church 10:00 am
12/13 Communion & Healing Prayer Church 7:00 am
Junior Choir Choir Room 5:15 pm
Adult Choir Choir Room 7:30 pm
Altar Guild Dinner Janet Mansfield’s, 6 pm
For a full schedule of our buildings check the website calendar.
Read the Advent and Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke – Chapters 1 & 2. Take some quiet time to read and reflect on the angel’s annunciation to Mary, the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, the birth of John the Baptist, the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, and the annunciation to the shepherds. These two chapters contain some of the most beautiful poetry in the whole Bible (the Song of Zechariah and the Magnificat/Song of Mary). Reading, meditating, and praying on these words will help you to be spiritually prepared for Christmas. This practice of reading Scripture is the Way of Love practice Learn.
If you don’t have a Bible handy, here are links to two different Bible translations:
New Testament for Everyone https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+1-2&version=NTE
The Message https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+1-2&version=MSG