First day of school! Remember that first day of first grade, kindergarten,or nursery school–whenever you went to school for the first time. I talked with our eldest son today and heard about our four-year-old grandson’s first weeks of nursery school, comments mainly about socialization, new friends, playground diplomacy (runs in the family). He loves it and talks a lot about friends, particularly Evelyne, who is a constant buddy. A girl, sure, but that doesn’t matter (my elementary school had separate playgrounds for boys and girls!). I wonder what does matter to him in making friends. Probably not gender; probably not hair color, eye color, or skin color; probably not whether her family has a big car; probably not whether it is a single-parent family; and not whether she is Christian.
Maybe our grandson just sees a person. What a wonderful gift to just see a person. Brother Curtis of SSJE invites us to “pray the cleansing of the eyes of your heart to see them as Christ sees them.” Children start with clean eyes of their hearts to see others. Young children in St. Paul’s Family Service, where all are welcome, see many people who may be strangers and may be different from them. The children hand out programs, distribute musical instruments, and pass the collection basket to everyone. I think those children see just a person. They are better at it than I am. I will keep trying to see just a person. I hope you will, too.
This Week In Church School
This week in church school children will be exploring the message of “Living in God’s Way.” They will be reading 2 Timothy 1:1-14 and will discuss the messages contained in this scripture which relate to people how to express God’s love through themselves, to others. Children will create “reminders” for themselves and members of our church that God loves us every moment of every day. Please keep your eyes open around church in coming weeks for these little reminders from the youngest members of our parish! You never know where they’ll turn up…
Notes on the 10:30 Music
This Sunday at 8 a.m. we’ll sing two hymns: first, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” a classic that gives great comfort through proclaiming the wonders of the grace of God. It was written by John Newton in 1779. We also sing “Awake, my soul, and with the sun…,” a morning hymn to help set our day’s mood for worship. Its author, Thomas Ken, is well known for writing our traditional doxology presentation hymn.
At the 10:30 service we begin with “Awake, my soul”; at the gradual we sing “O thou who camest from above,” written by Charles Wesley in 1762. It is a beautiful and earnest prayer for the Holy Spirit to kindle fire in our hearts in response to God’s love. At communion we sing “Eternal Spirit of the living Christ,” written about 1975 by Frank von Christierson. It is a prayer in the spirit of humility that the Holy Spirit would enlighten and strengthen us, even when we are unaware of our need! We conclude with the hymn of encouragement “Come, labor on! Who dares stand idle…” This reminds us of Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 17:5-10), Jesus’s call for us to work in humility. The hymn draws this lesson together with another in a hopeful way, reminding us that Jesus also says “well done, good and faithful servant.”
At the offertory, the choir sings a setting of “The Solid Rock” arranged by Cam Smith. It too is a song of humility and encouragement, gently reminding us of the difference between the Jesus, solid rock, and all else, “sinking sand.”
Organ music this week includes the otherworldly Toccata in A by Girolamo Frescobaldi (written about 1620) and J. S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A Minor.
This Sunday’s Announcements
We welcome the Rev. Mary Ann Hoy as celebrant this morning.
Healing Prayer is offered today at the 8:00 and 10:30 services. If you wish to receive a prayer on your own behalf of another, proceed to the vestibule following communion.
Small group ministry is very strong here in St. Paul’s. The Vestry would like to celebrate these vital ministries. At the time of the Birthday Prayer, members of one of the small groups will be asked to come forward. This Sunday we celebrate the Ministry of the Christmas Fair Committee. All who are a part of this Ministry, please come forward along with those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.
Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis’ Day At 9:30 in the Family Service this morning we offer a blessing of the animals in honor of St. Francis. All are welcome to attend, and to bring their pets, photos or drawings of their pets, or even stuffed animals to receive blessings during the service.
Parenting as a Spiritual Journey This group begins meeting today from 10:30-11:15 in the Library. Linda Ashe-Ford will lead the group, which will follow the book of the same title, written by Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer. (Don’t worry- no reading between classes is required!) The group will consider the spiritual aspects of seemingly mundane activities and will seek to re-envision family life within the lens of spirituality. Please consider dropping the kids off in their Church School classes and joining this welcoming and casual group.
Sign ‘Em Up! A reminder to parents and guardians with children in the Church School or youth group programs: please remember to fill out Church School Registration Forms and return them to Emily or your child’s classroom teacher. It is important for us to have the information contained in these forms. Thank you!
Exploring the Word continues this Sunday, 9:30-10:15, in the Library. Pam Nugent facilitates the discussion for this drop-in group on one of the readings for the day. Enjoy coffee hour and stay a little later if you go to the 8 o’clock service, or come a little earlier if you attend the 10:30 service. No prior experience is necessary for either group. Everyone is welcome.
The Tuesday Bible Study continues meeting at 12:30 in the library. For those interested in fellowship and conversation, bring your lunch and join us at 12. The topic for this fall is the Parables, on October 8th we will study the parable of the mustard seed. Each session will be complete and not dependent on the previous one.
Wednesday Night Bible Study, 5:30-6:30 p.m., uses a study guide by John Stott, and facilitation of the discussion is shared by group members. We are studying 1 and 2 Thessalonians, come try this group out.
Junior Choir practices on Wednesdays for an hour from 5-6 p.m. All youngsters are welcome to come if they are in grades 1-8, no previous experience necessary – just a love of singing. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Lois Kwantz, at email@example.com or give me a call at 882-7825. The current choir members and I would love to have more voices join our group; we have a great time.
Nametags As we greet Emily and prepare for Carolyn’s arrival, please wear your nametag. If you need one, a signup sheet is posted in the Great Hall near the kitchen window. Magnetic closures are for those who prefer them but these are not to be used by someone with a pacemaker or other implanted electrical device.
Do you love flowers? The Flower Committee is ready to welcome you. Members, working in pairs, arrange flowers for the altar and are generally scheduled for one Sunday a month. Unsure about the task? Abigail Manny, chairperson, would be happy to help you explore this wonderful ministry that enriches our worship. She may be reached at 725-9062.
Thank you to the folks who have volunteered to be a junior choir chaperon. Several of you emailed me but several others spoke to me in church and I think that my memory has “misplaced” one of you who offered. The following folks are on my list: Abbie VanDoren, Kate Egan, Priscilla Rooth, Lenita Richard, Edyth Smith and (as back-ups/substitutes) Jo Belknap and Susan Tyler. If I have missed anyone, please speak to me again or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Office Volunteers Do you have a few hours a week to help out at the parish office? Shifts available are Wed. 9 a.m. to Noon and Tues., Wed., Thurs. Noon to 3 p.m.. Volunteers welcome office visitors in person and on the telephone. From time to time volunteers may be asked to help with mailings and other projects. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a book, knitting, or something to fill your time.
Do you have an old shirt or pillow case to spare? Our church school is looking for donations of old oxford or t-shirts to be used as smocks when we do painting projects. We are also looking for some old plain (no prints) pillow cases for an upcoming project. If you have either you’d like to donate, please drop them off in the office for Emily.
Christmas Shoppe & Hand Made Table Handcrafted articles with a Christmas theme will be featured at this table including placemats, pot holders, ornaments, stocking stuffers, towels, pillows, table runners and any handmade items. Louise Colburn, Chair
Christmas is Coming! And the greens table will be looking for wreath materials. As you put gardens to bed, please save dried pods, berries, shells, cones, any items that will be pretty on a wreath. Please hold in your garage and bring to the church to be used beginning Mon. Dec. 2 when all hands are welcome for decorating. Jo Belknap 721-8505