Grace Episcopal Church
1 December 2016
The twelfth month begins. Most of us know, vaguely, that the number twelve has some kind of biblical significance. Most calendars that are based on the solar as opposed to lunar cycle are divisible into twelve units. In mathematics the number 12, being divisible by 2, 3 4, 6 and itself is a “superior highly composite number,” a natural number which has more divisors than any other number scaled relative to some power of the number itself.
Twelve sons of Jacob yielding twelve tribes of Israel—twelve apostles of Jesus—12 x 12,000 identified in Revelation as “sealed” with the mark of the lamb—The Twelve Days of Christmas—and the twelve great feasts of the undivided Church pre-1054: the list goes on, and speaks of 12 having a unique identification with completeness. (Indeed, remember the hubbub about 12-12-2012 and the Mayan calendar?)
When we think of completeness we recognize that we are at all times “a work in progress,” but as we enter the ultimate month of the year it is a good time to be intentional about taking stock in our own lives and the life of the Church. This is not about going back and grading myself against any “New Year’s Resolution”. Rather, a year-end review can most profitably focus on how I participate in how we grow into the full stature of Christ. Romans 12 (that number again!), verse 2, St. Paul writes that we are to “… not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God …” He then elaborate the gifts of the Spirit in the Body, the Church, a theme further explicated at Ephesians 4, before continuing to exhort us to “Put off [our] old nature … [to] be renewed in the spirit of [our] minds ...” (Eph. 4.22). To this trajectory in thought we must add Philippians, chapter 2: “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who …” And what follows? The example of Jesus emptying Himself, giving all of Himself.
When we think of completeness let us not consider what we have accomplished so much as focus on how we have given of ourselves. In this “season of giving” which the world so celebrates, may our hearts and minds focus on the example of giving of self—to each other, to those who challenge us, to all.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Wayne and Pat Sather, and Bobbie May for the Sunday coffee hours, with cleanup by Julie Davidson.
Call for Contributions: If you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshipers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.
Energy Conservation! Please treat Grace as your home. If you turn something on, turn it off! Don’t assume anyone else will lock or turn off.
Don’t forget “Something Extra for Grace”: Supplemental giving envelopes can be found in pews. If you want to give something extra, please use an envelope to ensure that you are credited.
Music this Week: The Second Sunday of Advent
Organist: Ben Dobey
Choir Direction: Sandie Palmer
Prelude Partita on ‘Comfort, comfort ye my people’
Entrance Hymn 76 “On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry” Winchester New
Offertory Hymn 75 “There’s a voice in the wilderness crying” Ascension
Communion Motet Isaiah the Prophet Early American, arr. Alice Parker
Communion Hymn 67 “Comfort, comfort ye my people” Psalm 42
Closing Hymn 73 “The King shall come when morning dawns” St. Stephen
Postlude Toccata on ‘Winchester New’ Bruce Neswick
§ The Art of Neighboring: On Sunday, December 4th at 9:00 a.m., we will continue with the second session of a short three-part course on how we can better reach out into our immediate community by using simple skills and methods of how to meet and engage our actual neighbors. This course uses discussion materials from http://www.artofneighboring.com/ a ministry of Dave Runyon and Jay Pathak, pastors in Colorado. Dave Runyon was the recent headliner at the Fall event sponsored by LoveINC, and those who attended came away impressed enough to want to focus on practical follow-through.
§ Advent Lessons and Carols: Please join us on Sunday, December 4th at 4:00 p.m., for a festival of Advent Lessons and Carols. This festival prepares us for the coming of the Messiah by following the scriptural record through nine lessons, each followed by a seasonal carol offered by choir and congregation. The choir will also offer seasonal anthems, and music will include Dr. R. Benjamin Dobey on organ. The festival will be followed immediately by a High Tea reception.
§ Area Ultreya: There will be an Ultreya, for people who would like to go on Cursillo or who have been, on Saturday morning Dec 10th from 10 to 11:45 am at St. Peter’s Church in Sheboygan Falls at the Parish House behind the church on the corner of Buffalo and Elm Streets. Bring a snack to pass if you can, but don’t let that keep you home. There’ll be singing, prayer, teaching, and fellowship.
§ Youth and Children’s Choir: Youth and Children’s choir rehearsals for the Christmas Eve service continue on Wednesday, December 7th, downstairs in the choir room at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Additional rehearsals will be on December 14th, and 21st. The final rehearsal will be Wednesday, December 21st at 5:30 p.m. The choir is open to 2nd graders through high school, and will sing for the 4pm service on Christmas Eve. Please see the sign-up sheet in the Narthex.
§ Christmas Pageant Rehearsals: will now be held during Sunday School classes, starting on Sunday, December 4th at 9:00 a.m. and continuing on December 11th and 18th. Participation is open to youth of all ages. The Pageant will take place during the 4:00pm Christmas Eve Mass.
§ Meals On Wheels Christmas Cookies: Volunteers will be delivering a box of homemade cookies to their clients again this Christmas season. (As many of you know, for some, this is the only gift they will receive). The boxes have already been donated, so now all they need are the cookies! If you would like to donate cookies, please call Maureen at Meals On Wheels at 451-7011. Drop off sites are in both Sheboygan and Plymouth and they will be packaging cookies on December 20th. Your response in the past has been overwhelming and they cannot thank you enough for your continued support.
§ Salvation Army Adopt a Family Gift Drop-Off: Please return all gifts unwrapped, with value attached, to Grace Church by Monday, December 19th. Distribution to families is Thursday, December 22nd. Any questions, please call Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Christmas (Castle) Sort and Shop: On Monday, December 19th, 10:00 - 1:00 p.m., volunteers are needed to sort and organize all toy donations. This will be at 710 Pennsylvania Ave, Sheboygan. And on Wednesday, December 21st, 10:00 – 1:00 p.m., volunteers are needed to shop for each member of the families using the lists provided by the parents. Sign-up sheets can be found on the table in the Narthex. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Christmas Gifts Distribution Volunteers! On Thursday, December 22nd, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., at 710 Pennsylvania Ave, Sheboygan you can assist local families pick gifts from the Toy Shop. This gives those in need an opportunity to “shop” for Christmas gifts for their families. A Sign-up sheet can be found on the table in the Narthex. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Christmas Joy: is scheduled to meet on Thursday, December 22 at 11:00 am in the church kitchen. At that time, we will assemble winter greens and flowers and bag cookies, and then make deliveries. (There is a sign-up sheet in the narthex.) We need helping hands. Can you bake, make a delivery and/or help arrange? Please join us for this fulfilling and fun ministry to our home-bound and elderly. They will appreciate it. Questions, please call Barb MacEwen at 920-912-4505.
§ God Willing and the People Consenting: Bishop Matthew Gunter shall ordain Archdeacon Michele Whitford to the Sacred Order of Priests in Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on Saturday, December 17th at 10:00 a.m., St. Paul’s Cathedral in Fond du Lac. Your prayers and presence are requested. A reception will follow.
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