Dear Friends,
I have had lots of fun with the Facebook site, “Episcopal Memes.” This week they all were funny and dealt one way or another with the anticipated arrival of the magi to see the Christ Child. For example, one of the memes that received many “likes” was a movie-like announcement poster with a dark sky full of stars and three silhouettes on camels heading forward over a hill. The caption reads, “COMING SOON, January 6th….to a Creche near you.” Church tradition teaches that the magi, learned, wealthy non-Jews who came from the east were informed by a star that they should come to greet a new king in the city of Bethlehem. So they packed their gear and some gifts and headed westward. following that “activated” star. Our tradition teaches that Christ’s divinity was manifested to them, the first gentiles, and therefore to all the nations. Epiphany means “showing forth, appearance, manifestation, revelation. The Feast of the Epiphany proclaims the good news that Jesus revealed God to all humanity…The eve of the Feast of the Epiphany (Twelfth Night) marks the end of the Christmas celebration.” (“The New Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education.”)

Join our body of Christ at St. Paul’s for a Feast of the Epiphany potluck supper, Tuesday, January 6 at 5:30pm when we will gather with families of all ages to enjoy good food, fellowship, activities led by Jane Burke, the Rev. Mary Lee Wile and other volunteers. We will conclude the evening at 7pm after we view a brief YouTube video of the Nativity Pageant of St. Paul’s Church, Auckland, New Zealand. They concluded their Nativity Pageant with a party where they celebrated the Light of Christ with glow sticks. Hang around that evening, for we might just do the same thing! (click here for the agenda)

Blessed Christmastide, my friends…and a very joyous New Year to all,
Carolyn+

Winter Weather Policy
For news on any cancellations of church school, education programs or Sunday events, please check your email, notices on channels 6, 8 and 13, stpaulsmaine.org, or the church office telephone answering machine. Worship times are as scheduled. Please use your discretion regarding the safety of travel.

Family Eucharist
Come hear the story of the Magi coming from the desert to see the Christ Child. Smell real myrrh, touch frankincense, see and smell it smoke! Sunday, 9:30am in the Upper Room.

A Note on Sunday’s Music
We’ll have music at both 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, since it’s the first Sunday of the month. Both services begin and conclude with organ music that acknowledges the passing of the old year and bringing in of the new: Bach’s setting of “The old year has passed” and “In thee is gladness” [traditional for the new year celebration]. The former is somewhat of a lament; the latter is a joyful celebrative dance.

Hymns this week are Christmas-oriented, as we continue our seasonal celebration; yet we move away from the traditional carols to Christmas hymns that are more broadly thematic for our daily lives. Our first hymn is “Sing, O sing, this blessed morn,” written by Christopher Wordsworth in 1862. The gospel news of “God among us” is applied: “Christ is born for us that we / born again in him might be… Renew us, Lord, we pray, / with thy Spirit day by day.” At the gradual (offertory at 8) we sing “We three kings of orient are,” reaffirming Sunday’s Gospel reading about the kings / magi / wise men traveling to worship Jesus, bearing gifts. During communion (10:30) we sing the Bach hymn from the Christmas Oratorio “Break forth, O beauteous, heavenly light.” This was written by Johann von Rist in 1641. Its themes point to the good news that Jesus comes to break Satan’s power and bring about reconciliation and peace in its place: “He comes in human flesh to dwell, / our God with us, Immanuel, / the night of darkness ending, / our fallen race befriending.” The final hymn is “Will you come and follow me?”, written by John Bell, of the Iona Community, 1989. It’s a reminder, as we go out, of the daily call Jesus gives us, “follow me!” — as the wise men followed their call.
Bob Judd
Sunday’s Announcements

TODAY, January 4
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.

Please Note: Pledge envelopes are available in the Great Hall for those who requested them.

Tuesday, January 6 from 4 – 5:15. OMEGA resumes. Omega: An 8 Session Study of Basic Christian Affirmations and Practices, resumes for the four final consecutive Tuesday sessions beginning January 6 at 4 p.m. Response to the first four sessions of this brand new course was encouraging and enthusiastic. The last four sessions center on Jesus’ ministry, the New Testament and the classical faith of early Christians. Included are insights from the natural and physical sciences, other religious traditions and biblical scholarship. Please confirm with the office your plan to come Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27, even if you came to the first four sessions. There is room for a few new participants, but please register with the church office. Facilitators: Rev. Al Niese and Rev. Bob Patterson.

Tuesday, January 6, 5:30 p.m. Epiphany. 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. Please see sign up sheet on the bulletin board to let us know what you will bring.

Wednesday, January 7, 1:00 p.m. Sharing and Caring Support Group which offers support to caregivers and those living with grief will meet in the St. Paul’s library. Please join us as we take time to share stories, conversation, and our hopes for the new year. Looking forward to seeing you there. Barbara Blanchard, Susan McCracken, and Sandy Meyer

Monday, January 12, 3:30. St. Paul’s Book Club. Happy New Year! Our first meeting of 2015 will be held on Monday, January 12 at 3:30 in the church library. We will be discussing our January choice, Sofia Petrovna. We welcome new women to share in the enjoyment of books and good conversation.

FUTURE DATES. MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
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.

REMINDERS
The Vestry has accepted the slate from the Nominating Committee. The following parishioners will stand for election at the annual meeting on January 25.

Junior Warden: Paul Womer

Vestry 2015: Jo Belknap, Vestry, three-year term; Chip Liversidge, Vestry, three-year term; and Chuck Dyer, Vestry, three-year term

Delegates: Ally Collins, Robert Jackson, Bill Edman, Pat Ryan, Anne Brautigam and Tobey Lee

Alternates: Karin Jackson, Art Treffry and Dick Brautigam

St. Philip’s Thrift Shop in Wiscasset, is looking for volunteers AND consumers to tend or consume at its Bargain Basement Thrift Store, 20 Hodge St. on Tuesdays 12:00 to 4:00, Saturdays from 9:00 to 2:00 and beginning with the new year Thursday from 4-5. In addition to helping the church, proceeds from the Bargain Basement also support community programs like the Wiscasset Backpack Program that sends backpacks of food home with needy children after school. Always looking for contributions for the shop. For more information, contact Jane Knox after the service or call 729-5482.