CALENDAR OF CHRISTMAS OBSERVANCES
Wednesday, December 24
Festival Family Christmas Eve Eucharist
with “come as you are” pageant
Special Choral Christmas Music offer by St. Paul’s Choir
Festival Christmas Eve Eucharist
Thursday, December 25
Christmas Day Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 28
10:30 a.m. All Parish Eucharist with Lessons and Carols
Dear Friends in Christ,
St. Paul’s has welcomed the Oratorio Chorale in our building for rehearsal space since September. Now, we welcome not only the Oratorio Chorale, but the public who will be enjoying the Oratorio Chorale’s Christmas Concert this Saturday, December 20 in St. Paul’s nave. It is a privilege to be the venue for a what is promised to be a beautiful use of the recently converted accessible chancel space which has been adapted for this concert. Again, we welcome members of the Oratorio Chorale, Emily Isaacson, Musical Director and the public.
Thank you to all at St. Paul’s who have made this unique opportunity possible, and to the Wardens and Vestry for providing hospitality after each performance in the Great Hall. Terry Leitzell, member of St. Paul’s and of the Oratorio Chorale tells me that they have sold 500 tickets. We are pleased to share our space with so many people from our community!
As we look to “preparing our house” for Christmas Eve and the holy celebration of Christ’s birth next week, I have asked that the Altar Guild share their Christmas preparation work with the rest of the congregation. After all, it is the work of the people to prepare for our worship of God. That is what the root of the word liturgy means, “the work of the people.” Thank you Altar Guild for providing this opportunity for all of us to help set up and prepare for Christmas. Let my “Rector’s Article” be an invitation to members of St. Paul’s to join the Altar Guild and me after 10:30am worship this Sunday, December 21 to help clean the nave and chancel, polish brass and silver, and set the altar cloths and hangings in preparation for our Christmas celebration. If you are a young person, parent or child, join us so that we can set up the church with an informal seating area in front of the Chancel step, together with the “God is Love” rug, beanbag chairs and large pillows in preparation for the 4pm Family Christmas Eve “Come as you are” Nativity Pageant and Eucharist.
In the meantime, today’s word from #adventword is #BECOME. The brothers at the Society of St. John the Evangelist give us the daily Advent word,
“Become. With Christ’s spirit working within us we can be the means by which his saving work is extended throughout the world. We become his hands, his feet, his voice, and like Mary his mother, bring Christ into the world for others.” Br. Eldridge Pendleton
See you in church this Fourth Sunday in Advent when we celebrate Mary saying “Yes” to God.
Advent hope, peace, joy and love, Carolyn+
“The angel Gabriel from heaven came, his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame; ‘All hail,’ said he, ‘thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favored lady,’ Gloria!”
St. Paul’s Family Ministries
CHRISTMAS EVE special note for Parents and grandparents: Bring your children to the “Come as you Are” Christmas Pageant – Wednesday, December 24 at 4:00 p.m. Come at 3:30 to get a seat and organize the costume.
NEED: Please contact Jane Burke or the Parish Office to volunteer. We need volunteers to help organize the costumes before worship and to dress the children as they’re introduced in the story.
St. Paul’s Giving Program for 2015
There is good news from the 2015 Giving Program: We are well on our way to our pledge goal of $295,000. To date we have $256,129 in pledges. Thank you to all who have currently made your commitment for 2015. If you haven’t yet, please ask God to guide you in how you will respond financially to our work together in 2015. If your response is to pledge, please complete the card and place it in the alms basin on Sunday! And thank you for all you give and how you serve God in your life.
A Note on Sunday’s Music
Music at 10:30 this Sunday has a recurring theme appropriate for the fourth Sunday in Advent. We begin with a setting for oboe of the plainsong melody for “O come, O come, Emmanuel.” This is also our entrance hymn, and the choir’s offertory anthem. The eighth-century text presents seven names of Jesus (acrostically, in its Latin original, to spell out the words “I will be with you tomorrow”) in its prayer for the return of Jesus. We know that Jesus came, 2000 years ago; we look forward to his coming in glory; and we rejoice–rejoice! at his coming into the hearts of new believers as the church grows daily. The Gradual hymn is “Sing of Mary,” written by Roland Palmer (1938). This is a wonderful meditation on Mary’s own unique relationship with God and the child God gave her. At communion we sing another hymn to remind us of Mary’s life and witness, “The angel Gabriel from heaven came.” It is a Basque folk carol rendered into English in the mid-19th century. Our final hymn is “Come, thou long expected Jesus,” written by Charles Wesley about 1740. Like our first hymn, this one recalls Jesus’ coming and envoices our longing for Jesus’ return in glory, but it also draws our hearts to pray for Jesus’ daily presence, through the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of believers in every generation. Our worship concludes with organ music by Dietrich Buxtehude: his festive Toccata in F Major (written about 1700).Bob Judd
Thanksgiving at Christmas
When I was just a young thing –
A child – a teen- a twenty,
This world – it was my oyster!
Of life I had a -plenty.
“Twas like the crest of life:
A household with two daughters,
A father and a wife.
New challenges arose
To try things I had never tried,
My days enriched by those.
And now at nearly ninety,
There’s one more ting I’ve found:
Some moments of tranquility
Despite the world around.
I see things I have never seen,
I marvel at creation:
I find a peace of heart and mind
in quiet contemplation.
And then when I consider
The stages that I’ve spanned,
With happy days and sad ones
And some I never planned,
These gifts of life I cherish
But the gift that’s always new
Is the wondrous Gift of Christmas,
Given with love fro me and you.
Sunday, December 21
Healing Prayer is offered today at the 8:00 and 10:30 services. If you wish to receive a prayer on your own behalf or on behalf of another, proceed to the healing station in the vestibule after you have received communion.
All are invited to join the Altar Guild after 10:30 a.m. worship today to help clean the nave and chancel, polish brass and silver, and set the altar cloths and hangings in preparation for our Christmas celebration. If you are a young person, parent or child, join us so that we can set up the church with an informal seating area in front of the Chancel step, together with the “God is Love” rug, beanbag chairs and large pillows in preparation for the 4 p.m. Family Christmas Eve “Come as you are” Nativity Pageant and Eucharist.
Join us at 9:30 a.m. worship to hear how the awesome Angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would have a baby Jesus. How do you think Mary reacted to this news? What kind of messenger do you think the Angel Gabriel was?
FUTURE DATES. MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
No noon day service on Thursday, December 25 or January 1.
December 30-Deadline for Annual Reports
Epiphany, Tuesday, January 6, 5:30 p.m.-A Celebration of the Magi honoring Christ’s birth. Potluck supper, King’s cake, activities, and the showing of the story of Christmas as told by the children of St. Paul’s Church, Auckland, New Zealand.
January 25, 2015-9:00 a.m. All Parish Eucharist in the Great Hall, followed by Annual Meeting and Election of St. Paul’s leaders.
MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program is sponsoring a Christmas Day dinner. If you would like to volunteer please call MCHPP 207.725.2716