Grace Episcopal Church
29 December 2011
On the Feast of St. John the Apostle we were blessed to participate in a baptism at the service of Holy Eucharist. The epistle lesson from 1 John 1.1-9 speaks of the proclamation to the reader of what the apostle has seen with his own eyes, that which he has looked upon and touched, concerning the word made manifest. These words are followed by those which refer the proclamation that we cannot claim fellowship with God unless we walk in His light. Once we walk in this light, “we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ ... cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1.7). In writing to a very young Church–and one encountering, already, division–the apostle makes clear that central to faith in God is the fact that faith is practiced together.
Community matters. All of our decisions in life must be made with reference to others, to the community into which we are called as members of the same Body. In this community we encounter the Cross, we encounter forgiveness and reconciliation. Through this Cross we experience new Creation. When we keep these three “C’s” in mind–Community, Cross and new Creation–the decisions we make as individuals are decisions taken as members of the Body of our Lord. These decisions embody lives lived in following our Lord by each taking up our own cross, and, in the apostle’s words, walking in the light. By this light we bring the love of God into all the world. By this light we illumine the paths of others who may grope in darkness, and look for our own darkness to be made light.
In this Christmastide, during which we observe practices which include much manufactured light, let us never forget that each bulb we place on a tree, each candle we enkindle, is to be a manifestation of the light which comes into the world in Jesus Christ. Do all in the Name of God, that by His power the darkness may be banished.
Bible Study: Bible study resumes of Tuesday, 10 January, following the 5:30 p.m. Mass. A pot-luck soup-and-salad supper is planned. Thursday study sessions follow the 9 a.m. Mass. Study summaries of the lessons for the coming Sunday are posted on the parish website on Tuesday of each week.
Thanksgivings: Thanksgivings are offered this week to Dr. Ben Dobey and all of the choir and instrumentalists who offered such wonderful music at the celebration of Christmas. Thanksgivings are also offered to the members of the Altar Guild, who provide much extra service during Christmastide. Thanksgivings are also offered to all who helped to organize the children’s Christmas Pageant, and to all of the children who participated.
Champagne fund-raiser: At the reception following the vigil for the Feast of the Epiphany (5 January, see below) we plan to offer champagne with other refreshments. But, we don’t plan to pay for this out of parish funds. We want to keep parish funds focused on mission. The parish youth group has a target of $3,400 to fund the construction of a drinking water well in a village in Rwanda, and has raised $1,959 so far. For each bottle of champagne that any parishioner wishes to donate for the reception, the parish will donate $20 to the water well project, and a member of clergy will provide a $10/bottle match. Donations will be capped at ten bottles, to a total of $300.
Music this week: Familiar Christmas carols continue to be part of our worship during these twelve days of Christmastide.
Friday, December 30, 2011
8:45 a.m. Morning Prayer
12:10 p.m. Mass
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer & Shrine Prayers
Saturday, December 31, 2011
8:45 a.m. Morning Prayer
9:00 a.m. Mass
The Most Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Sunday, January 1, 2012
9:00 a.m. Mass with Hymns
· 2011 Pledge Statements: To have any donations (pledge or otherwise) recorded in 2011 and appear on your tax statement, please have them in the office by 10:00am December 30, 2011. Thank you for your generosity.
· The Feast of the Epiphany: We will celebrate the Feast of Epiphany Thursday, January 5th. Parishioners and their guests are invited to the Vigil Solemn Mass beginning at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Twelfth Night Gala Reception. Please sign up in the narthex or by calling the church office at 452-9659.
· Flower Schedule for 2012: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.
· The Annual Financial Meeting: This year’s Financial meeting will take place on Sunday January 29, 2012. We will have one Mass at 9:00am followed by the Financial meeting held in the Nave 10:30am. The agenda of the meeting will include, 2011 financial review and 2012 budget, Recent Vestry actions, and an overall review of the 2012 calendar. Please make every effort to attend and participate.