For First Sunday of Advent, 2015
A Season of Preparation, Indeed!
November 28, 2015
First of all, heartfelt thanks to all who piled gifts of food around the Children's Altar to help more of our neighbors enjoy Creation's bounty at Thanksgiving! And what a beautiful Thanksgiving Day and Day-after we enjoyed! We did right by the great harvest hymns on Thursday; and Beth Stevens treated us to John Rutter's lovely "For the Beauty of the Earth."
This Sunday may be the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and a day of travel, rest and/or football for most. It is all that and more for the Church. On Sunday we begin a New Year in the Church's calendar. Although our program year, beginning in September, follows the academic calendar; and our fiscal year, beginning in January, follows the secular calendar; the Church's Year, beginning four Sundays before Christmas, follows events in the life of Jesus. So the Church's Year begins with a season of preparation and watchful waiting.
Perhaps the chief symbol of Advent is the Advent wreath. In the midst of a world of darkness, both literal and figurative, we light candles to proclaim the coming birth of new light in our midst. In keeping with this new season, the celebratory white vestments for Thanksgiving and Christ-the-King Sunday have been put away; the green vestments of the Season after Pentecost are also stored away. In their place come the brilliant indigo blue vestments, the color of the night sky just before dawn. In place of the Jubilate, the Hymn of Praise at 8a.m. will be the Song of Zechariah after the birth of John the Baptist. In place of the soaring service music by Healey Willan during the 10a.m. service, we will move to the haunting service music of Archangelsy and Schubert. Pay attention to the overtones, they hint that something/someone extraordinary is "adventus," i.e.coming.
For Christ Church, we have a special week of preparations ahead: We will be busy getting ready for theGuilford Tree-Lighting Chili Supper, ECW Cookie Sale, Youth Wreath Sale and Santa's Gift Shoppe, all from 5-7p.m. on next Friday, December 4. In addition, we can look forward to the great fun of 4, 6 and 8 hands playing one piano, when sFOURzando -- featuring our own Vicky Reeve -- take to the Steinway on Friday at 7:30p.m. Be sure to invite your neighbors to come in out of the cold, and warm up with chili, hospitality, great gifts, and awesome music!
After the busy-ness of Friday, plan to enjoy our Choir's Musical Advent Celebration, on Sunday, December. 6th at 6p.m. We will celebrate the special character of Advent with readings from Scripture, choir anthems, organ music, and congregational hymns — a wonderful opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas season. Another opportunity to invite friends and family to share a lovely evening at Christ Church.
In faith and hope,
P.S. Just in time for Cyber Monday: Do your Amazon shopping via Amazon Smile, and Christ Church will receive a premium of 0.5%! Just access Amazon via the church's Amazon Smile code (click through on the link).
Nothing will be added to what you pay. The key thing is to access Amazon via the link; it can't be added at checkout. However, once you've accessed Amazon via this route, your Amazon purchases will earn the 0.5% for a year. I have just told you everything I know. Please direct any questions to digital guru Jane Ferrall at email@example.com And thank Jane for making this happen for us!
Amazon Smile is live!~
Hey everybody! We know what's just around the corner... Christmas... and that means Christmas shopping! This year when you shop online on Amazon (and who doesn't?) you can support Christ Church too! How cool is that?
Amazon Smile is a "rebate" program, where if you shop their site via our link (provided below), they will give US (Christ Church) a return of .5% of your purchase price. It doesn't add anything to your total, it's just a bit that comes back to us instead. And those bits will add up!
Just remember, you have to enter Amazon through the below link, not by going to Amazon directly. When you click on the below link and get to the Amazon Smile page, enter "Christ Episcopal Church" where it asks you for your charity (this is for the first time you access it, after that Amazon will remember your charity affiliation). Amazon Smile works for purchases all year round, not just at Christmas. Any questions or problems with this - please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our meditation practice at Christ Church is called Centering Prayer.
We gather every Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 10 a.m. in the chancel and begin with a brief spiritual reading. After a few moments of preparation, we begin a twenty-minute period of silence. At the beginning of the silence we try to clear our minds of the clutter of the day—tasks to do, concerns, fears, anger, and stress—by focusing on our breathing and saying Maranatha, Abba, or simply Come, Holy Spirit, as we begin to make a space within us for the Holy Spirit. At the end of the silence, we join hands and pray the Lord’s Prayer together, then add our own prayers and petitions.
Meditation is an ancient practice, as those who engage in yoga know. Early Christians used meditation as a form of prayer in use both inside and outside of the monastic life. Meditation brings health to body, mind, and spirit . Come join us.
In addition to all the other celebrations of All Saints' Day, last Sunday, November 1 -- including our own, the Episcopal Church welcomed +Michael Bruce Curry as our new Presiding Bishop with a grand celebration in Washington National Cathedral. As I write this letter, I'm listening to the glorious music from that service, you can find it on the Cathedral's YouTube channel.
For 12 years, Bishop Curry served as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina of 125 parishes and institutions on that state's central Piedmont plateau. Once every nine years, the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops elects one of its own to preside in their shared ministry, and to serve as the chief pastor for the whole Episcopal Church in 109 dioceses in the United States and in 17 other countries..
At the Episcopal Church's General Convention last summer, Bishop Curry's election to succeed +Katharine Jefferts-Schori as our Presiding Bishop, made history: he was elected overwhelmingly on the first ballot (which had not happened before), and he became the first African-American bishop to be elected Presiding Bishop. News accounts were quick to note that just over two weeks separated his election from the racially motivated shootings at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
For those unacquainted with Bishop Curry, his election may seem merely a reaction to the persistence of racism and violence in our society. However, for those familiar with his ministry and preaching, such as his colleagues in the House of Bishops, +Michael Curry likely seemed the Spirit-inspired leader to guide the Church in facing the challenges for the Church today. While not pulling back from the hard work the Church has done internally, Bishop Curry's focus is first and foremost on our participation as Episcopalians in what he calls "the Jesus Movement."
Presiding Bishop Curry's spiritually infectious preaching is well documented on YouTube. For this Sunday the Rectory Forum decided to watch and listen to one of his sermons; my hunch is that like potato chips, they won't be able to stop at just one! You can find his sermon from last Sunday here. I'll warn you, most of his sermons are not short, but the time flies by. You can find his short "Word to the Episcopal Church," at the Church's website: www.episcopalchurch.org
Our All Saints' celebrations certainly touched my heart. We baptized Tim and Lucas Malton, and in song, prayer and praise, we claimed our membership through baptism in the fellowship of all the saints. Our Sunday School continued our baptismal celebration with a lovely Coffee Hour. Many thanks to the Lafatas, and the Patino-Links for organizing and decorating, and to all of you who helped provide all the goodies.
Our "God's Call to Us" Home Gatherings are about to begin for the fellowship of the saints we know as Christ Church, Guilford. Already 45 parishioners are ready to participate in this weekend's three Home Gatherings to get better acquainted, share some good food, and talk about our beloved parish. I understand there's still room to accommodate a few more folks in Home Gatherings scheduled for the next two weekends, with a possibility of additional Gatherings as needed. Thanks to all who have responded with a "What Options Work for You?" form. Print copies are available in the church and rectory. Please bring them with you Sunday, drop them off, or respond via email. Your participation is important!
In "Glad Tidings Online," your Vestry invites the whole parish to the "vision-casting" process of the Home Gatherings; there's also a bit from me about how I see our baptismal promises informing our participation in the "Jesus Movement." GTO also has news about our Daytime and Evening ECWs, a new Cookbook, a Report from the Treasurer, and introductions to -- and terrific photos of -- our newest acolytes. On behalf of all us, thanks to copy editor Diane Barker, web guru Jane Ferrall, and photographer Sue Shackford, for this new digital endeavor. I commend it to you!
In faith and hope,
Good morning: I am Diana Stovall. For many years, Bible study has been an important part of my life at Christ Church. We meet in the rectory on Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:30….always greeted with great hot coffee and tea. As we settle in, there are always a few minutes of general chit chat, exchanging news and light conversation. Harrison may bring us up to date on who may have become ill or is in the hospital or out of town… then there is an opening prayer and study begins. We read the gospel and readings for the Sunday ahead..with discussion, comments, questions and perhaps a rereading for clarification of a certain passage. For me it is a time of fellowship. learning and exploring our faith. I hope you will stop by and join us… you do not have to be a Bible scholar or even a member of Christ Church. We look forward to seeing you…WELCOME!
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!