As I write this message, it is bitterly cold outside! Could this be Creation's reminder to us that it is time for us to support the Town's Fuel Assistance Program? In recent years, we have dedicated our "Angels Under the Balcony" effort to keeping our neighbors warm during winter. The Vestry has given their approval; so we will receive a Second Offering for the Town's Fuel Assistance Program this Sunday.
In supporting the Town's Fuel Assistance Program, we will continue an effort begun at Christ Church by Juliette Leete Newhall many years ago. Please plan to further Miss Juliette's good work with a gift this Sunday. Checks may be made out to Christ Church, with Fuel Fund on the memo line.
Another Advent-Christmas tradition for Christ Church, our Mitten Tree, also reflects our concern for keeping our neighbors warm. We're decorating the tree with scarves, caps, mittens and gloves, and the tree's base with travel-sized toiletries, including toothbrushes and tooth paste. All these 'decorations' will go to the patrons of New Haven's Chapel on the Green -- a ministry for our neighbors who are living on (or just off) the streets.
Nativity Pageant rehearsals continue during Sunday School this week; parts are still available for your little Angel, Sheep, Shepherd, Innkeeper, or member of the Holy Family. What a great way for them to learn the Nativity Story and the carols that underscore it. The dress rehearsal will be next Saturday, the 24th -- the morning before Christmas Eve.
Actually, for folks of any age, the music of Advent and Christmas is often the most powerful way we remember the stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. The trees and lights are all lovely, but we may need a reminder that they are pointing to the birth of light in our midst. Our Choir is coming to the rescue! They have prepared some beautiful anthems to accompany readings and congregational hymns for an Advent Evensong this Sunday, December 18 at 4 p.m.
Although this service involves neither sermon nor communion, it has a restful and uplifting spirit all its own. We begin as the sun sets; then, after being encouraged through song and scripture, we can face the darkness as we leave. I find it both a great way to conclude a Sunday, and to look in anticipation to the celebrations of the coming week. Perhaps friends and family would welcome this opportunity to join you?
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's inspiring -- and witty -- sermon for our 2016 Diocesan Convention is still available on-line. You can find it by clicking HERE. When I hear some dis-spiriting news, I now hear Bishop Michael saying: "Look to the Rock!" After hearing his sermon, you too may be able to quote Isaiah from memory:
"Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug."
Our reading and discussion of portions of A Christmas Carol will continue during the Rectory Forum this Sunday. All are welcome to join the conversation over coffee and tea in the rectory living room about 9a.m.-ish. I found a delightfully illustrated text for A Christmas Carol online HERE. Printed copies are available at the Forum.
I look forward to sharing this last week of Advent with you!
In faith and hope,
p.s. A December issue of Glad Tidings Online is available HERE. Check it out for News from the Sunday School, the ECW, the Evening ECW, Vestry Meeting Highlights, and a Report from an Adventure in Christ Church's historical records. There are some great pictures from parish events, and an early 20th century photograph of the church structure. Can anyone date it by the automobiles on the street?
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!