One of the most important practices of a Body of Christ is to provide for the care of one another.  If we don’t tend to the care for those in our community, we may not be well equipped to care for the stranger in need who crosses our path.

The first task of my ministry with you has been to learn about how you care for one another.  I desire to be a part of that care.  Thank you, Barbara Blanchard for taking me around to meet some of our shut-ins.  I’ve learned that our Lay Pastoral Visitor ministry is strong and deeply connected to our community.  Our shut-ins trust our Lay Pastoral Visitors and have confidence in their prayers and care.

I have also learned about the St. Paul’s prayer chain.  I give thanks for Marge Follansbee who instructed me about the prayer chain and the Thursday prayer group at St. Paul’s.  Yes, please do inform me when someone who has asked for prayers is added to the prayer chain!

As I learn more and more about pastoral care at St. Paul’s, I’m reminded of the clear instruction from our Patron in his letter to the Romans.  St. Paul writes, Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers…Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  (Romans 12:12-13, 15).  We hold these instructions close to our hearts as we tend to the care of the sick, the lonely, the shut-ins, the neglected, the aging, the disheartened, the dying, the helpless children and the tempted teens.  Praying for them is an important practice of care.

This Sunday, I’d like to try a different method of praying our intercessions together.  I’ve asked the Deacons who write the Sunday Prayers of the People to include your voices as part of the prayers for the sick and those in distress.  I’m combining the lists of intercessions we keep for Sunday and Thursday Eucharist, and am asking three sections of those seated in worship on Sunday to name out loud those who are on the list.  The Announcement Bulletin will include the list in three sections:  the lectern side, the chancel/choir section and the Bishop’s Chair side

We’ll say our list out loud and that way connect more deeply to the people who have been given to our care and prayers.

The Third Sunday of Advent is “joy.”  We light the pink candle to symbolize that we never dwell in darkness forever.  The dawn always comes.  God’s light does shine in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it, to paraphrase John’s Gospel.

May we be the light that shines in the lives of those who suffer.

Your friend in Christ,

Carolyn+

Rector

Notes on the 10:30 Music

Sunday’s music begins with the organ prelude, verses that were written to accompany the Song of Mary by Domenico Zipoli, a composer and missionary in Paraguay in the early eighteenth century. The Sunday theme of joy is taken up with the choir introit. Our first hymn is “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry,” reflecting our readings proclaiming Jesus’s coming and the announcement of John the Baptist. It was written by Charles Coffin in the early eighteenth century, and calls us to wakefulness and preparation, reminding us too that Jesus is our way to freedom and salvation. At the gradual we sing the joyful gospel song “Sign me up for the Christian jubilee,” written not long ago by Kevin Yancy and Jerome Metcalfe. It is a call-and-response song that encourages us to say Yes– “write my name,” affirm our place in God’s kingdom– and be ready for that kingdom to come. During communion we sing “Watchman, tell us of the night,” written by John Bowring in 1825. It is a dialogue between the prophetic “watchman” and the “traveler” (we on our Christian journey) with the comforting promises of our faith: “we rejoice today, for Emmanuel has come!” We conclude with the hymn “Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free.” It was written by Charles Wesley about 1740, a reminder both that Jesus has come and that Jesus will come again. It is also a reminder and prayer that Jesus comes daily even now to the hearts of those who seek him.

Our anthem is presented by the Junior Choir together with the adults: “A Voice in the Wilderness,” by Arnold B. Sherman. It is a setting of Isaiah foretelling the prophecies of John the Baptist.

The final organ piece is Bach’s Prelude in G Major, in my view one of his most joyful pieces.

Bob Judd, Music Director

 
This Sunday’s Announcements

Nametags 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.

Healing Prayer is offered today at the 8:00 and 10:30 services. If you wish to receive a prayer for yourself or on behalf of another, proceed to the vestibule following communion.

Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program St. Paul’s continues its annual food drive to assist MCHPP in providing adequate nutritional food to needy families this Sunday. The need is still great for the 8 communities that MCHPP serves. They provide food for 200 children to take home each weekend to ensure that they have meals over the weekend. They also provide food to families each week and to individuals every day. Please bring one item of non-perishable food each week in Advent to help provide for these needy families and their children.

Ecumenical Service of Lessons and Carols is at St. John’s Catholic Church today 3:00 p.m. A number of members from St. Paul’s will be singing in the choir, and our rector will be reading a lesson. Come early for best seats: it’ll be crowded!

Christmas Flowers If you would like to remember loved ones with a donation toward the Christmas Flowers, please enclose your contribution in the pew envelopes. Print the name of person(s) then place in the offering plate, or send to the parish office by December 17.

Hope for the Holidays This year St. Paul’s is helping children and teens in the kindred care and foster care system by granting wishes for Christmas. Please consider granting a wish or need by taking a present tag from the tree in the entry way of the church. Return your unwrapped item with the tag attached by Wed. Dec. 18th. If you have questions please call Linda Ashe-Ford 729-5584 841-7730

Advent Meditations for Women – Sharing Stories through the lens of The Magnificat – concludes this Tuesday the 17th from 6:30 – 7:45 in the chapel end of the Great Hall. Facilitators: Rev. Carolyn Eklund and Carol Thomas.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program St. Paul’s partners with First Parish to run the 3rd Saturday of the month Soup Kitchen. We need at least 7 volunteers for each 3rd Saturday. Please contact James Ford at jef54@comcast.net or (207) 841-9377, or you may sign up on the bulletin board at church.

Advent Spiral Sunday, December 22, 8:00 -Noon and 4:00-6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall. Advent is a special time of preparation for the coming of the Christ and a time to renew our spirit. Please make time to join us as we slow down and find a quiet time to prepare for the coming of the light of the world. Walking the path of the Advent Spiral, by the light of the Christ Candle that awaits us at the middle, allows each of us to reflect on the gift that God gives us in the birth of his son. Adding our own light to that path reminds us that we must let our love of Christ shine for all to see.

Thanksgiving Homily For those unable to attend, the Rector’s Thanksgiving Day service homily is available for viewing on YouTube at http://youtu.be/TEvykp1pNP8 or find it on our website stpaulsmaine.org This recording was the result of a feasibility test in which several parishioners participated to make it happen. We hope you enjoy it.

Wanted: 40 Writers for the Lenten Meditation Booklet. Bizarre though it may seem, Advent is always the time when we solicit 40 volunteers from the parish to be contributors to the Lenten Meditation Booklet. It is because of a long lead time required that we come to you at this time of year. Pam Nugent will be present at the close of each service to sign you up; answer any questions you may have; offer samples from last year; and encourage you by saying that it’s easy, fun, and incredibly rewarding. (All true, of course!) If you will not be present this Sunday but want to sign up, please call her in advance (737-2369) or e-mail (momperson458@roadrunner.com).

St. Paul’s Leadership Nominations. At the January 2014 annual meeting, we will elect a Senior Warden, three Vestry Members, five convention delegates, and three convention alternates. Vestry Members departing are Roberta Hipkins, Hugh Savage, and Paul Womer. Please thank them for their amazing work. The Nominating Committee of Terry Leitzell, Roberta Hipkins, and Nancy Johnson will choose a slate to present to the Vestry in mid-December. Please speak to any of them if you are interested in serving or if you wish to suggest someone for these positions.

Apple Pies and Cheese If you preordered cheese or pies please pick them up. There is also cheese for sale, 7 dollars a pound.

Festival of Lessons and Carols will be offered at the Bowdoin Chapel today from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM This is an evening of celebrating Christmastime with music, caroling, and bible verses read by Bowdoin faculty members.