Blessings as we near the 4th Sunday of Advent. This week’s email includes info on what’s going on at St. Clare’s in the coming days, an update on our Annual Campaign, a letter from Bishop Greg inviting you to add your name to a letter offering to pray for President-Elect Trump, and Christmas greetings from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
I hope many of you can join us at Red Oak tomorrow for a sing-a-long with the residents there. And, as always, the highlight of my week is to worship with you all on Sunday.
THIS WEEK AT ST. CLARE’S
We are caroling tomorrow, December 17th at 2pm at Red Oak in North Bend. Lydia Pozzato will have music booklets available for all and asks that we meet there by 1:50pm. For those who can, we will meet at 12:00 pm for lunch at the Riverbend Cafe, at 14303 436th Ave SE, North Bend. This event is open to everyone – all ages & musical skills. Let’s spread some joy to the people at Red Oak. If you would like to participate, contact Lydia Pozzato – firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS SUNDAY December 18 we will have Adult Ed at 9am to talk about the Gospel of Matthew. We will also spend a little time talking about what kinds of Adult Ed offerings you all would like to see this coming year. I’ve had a couple of ideas come my way already.
Is there someone in coming from North Bend who could pick up Ron Wells on your way to church this Sunday? He will need a ride! Please let Patty know if this is something you can do. Ron lives near the fire station off of Cedar Falls Way.
Our readings for this first Sunday in Advent are: http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_RCL/Advent/AAdv4_RCL.html
CHRISTMAS AT ST. CLARE’S
This year our Christmas Eve worship service will be Saturday, Dec. 24th, at 5pm. There will be lots of Christmas carols to sing as well a Christmas homily and Holy Communion. All children who attend will have the opportunity to dress up in costumes and participate as the Christmas story is told. Please join us as we celebrate the birth of Christ among us! Choir practice for our anthem, “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming” will be right after church this Sunday and before the service on Christmas Eve. All voices are invited to sing!
There will be no worship on Christmas Morning!!! Enjoy the day celebrating and giving thanks for Christ’s birth with your family & friends.
On January 1st, we will have Lessons & Carols during our morning worship. For those who love to sing, this is your Sunday! We’ll have a chance to listen to and sing many Christmas carols, hear the story of why Jesus came, and share in Holy Communion.
ANNUAL CAMPAIGN UPDATE
As of December 11th, we have received pledges in the amount of $79,144. Last year we had a total of $84,956 pledged for the whole year, so we are looking very good as we start to put the 2017 budget together. THANKS to all who have turned in their forms and have gratefully given to St. Clare’s. If you have not had the chance to turn in your pledge form yet, please bring it in as soon as possible. Blank pledge cards are on the table in the back of the sanctuary.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING
Soup Kitchen was a busy place this past Wednesday. Lots of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches filled hungry stomachs and all the socks went out to grateful folks. Thanks to all who brought soup, helped serve, & contributed to the sock collection.
Year-end giving. If you would like to make a year-end gift or a memorial gift to St. Clare’s, please make sure it is dated and turned in before December 28th. Year-end gifts are obviously always appreciated as we hope to end the year in the black (which is very much possible this year thanks to your generosity). Memorial gifts are a good way to remember a loved one or give thanks for your blessings and this money is set aside in a separate account and used for special projects designated by the Bishop’s Committee. Mark your check with either Year-end or Memorial in the memo line.
WHAT’S NEW IN THE COMING YEAR
Mark your calendars! The Annual Meeting is scheduled for January 22nd, 2017.
v We will again integrate the meeting into our worship time followed by a brunch based on our Walk & Be Well stewardship activity this fall. Please plan to bring a dish from one of our winning countries (Thailand, India, Ethiopia) as well as a pair of new children’s shoes to be blessed and taken to the food bank in early 2017.
v The Bishop’s Committee is looking for three new members for a 3-year term. If you have any interest in serving on the board, please talk with a current member (Julie Bussing, Nancy Byrnes, Abbie Crane, Jill Jueling, Jeff Waters, Amy Workman, or Cynthia Yarnton). We will be giving thanks for Nancy, Jeff, & Amy as they go off the board.
v The Cross of St. Clare (faithful service to St. Clare’s – often without recognition) and the Ken Van Dine Liturgy (involvement in worship) awards will be presented at the meeting. If you would like to nominate someone for either award, please let Patty or one of the BC members know.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE DIOCESE & BEYOND
This letter was sent to the clergy from Bishop Greg. He asks that it be shared in our congregations. If you would like to add your name to the letter, please click the link below.
We have joined with the Diocese of Pennsylvania in writing the following letter to President-Elect Trump, asking him to publicly condemn the recent acts of hate, violence, and harassment. Please make this available to your congregations. If you would like to add your name, or the name of your congregation to this letter, please Sign Here by December 20. We will be sending this to the president-elect on December 21.
Dear President-Elect Trump,
We are the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia and we join our voice with the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania and other faith communities. We value our nation’s heritage and affirm that the United States of America was founded on the principles of equality and justice for all. As our new President-Elect, we want you to know that we are now praying and will continue to pray for you. We will pray for you in our liturgy, churches, and homes. We are the Bishop, Clergy, and Laity of the Diocese. We are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and other “political” parties. We comprise a cross section of America; we are a variety of political beliefs and opinions. We are those who voted for you and those who did not. Although we are diverse, we share in an unshakable common faith in the transformative and life-giving power of Jesus Christ.
As you are a professed follower of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we believe you have empathy in your heart and want the best for our nation and the people of the United States. Thus, we ask that you affirmatively and unequivocally condemn any instance of hate, violence, intimidation, harassment, aggression against any of our brothers and sisters with whom we share this country. We are asking that this be done through a public pronouncement.
President-Elect Trump, we want you to publicly condemn violence, acts of hate or aggression against women, minorities, the poor, disabled, veterans, the unemployed, immigrants, those of different religions and beliefs, those who are gay, transgender, or the working poor. While the words of division used during this campaign caused deep angst and pain, we believe in redemption and goodness. Thus, we seek your voice. This is not policy pronouncement nor a political statement. It is a covenant with the people of our nation.
We are Christians that recite a baptismal covenant to pray, resist evil, repent, and return to the Lord. We proclaim by word and example the Good News of Jesus Christ and seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves. We strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. As our President, we ask you do the same.
As followers of Jesus Christ in the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, we will pray for you. We will pray that God will bless you, protect you, and give you wisdom, patience, discernment, health, and love. We will pray for each member of your family. We will pray for your cabinet and your administration. We also need your voice. Stand against hate and discrimination.
This is who we are as Americans of whom you are the President-Elect. Each day we will pray for you; and if the declaration we have hopefully asked of you has not been made, we will continue to pray for you and for our country. However, we will seek the voices of our brothers and sisters of all races, religions, and belief to join us in this request.
President-Elect Trump the time is now and while we pray, we await your voice.
The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel
Presiding Bishop Curry’s Christmas Message 2016
This child came to show us how to change the world. So this Christmas, make room for Him to change us. This Christmas help us change the world.
[December 12, 2016] “This child came to show us how to change the world,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2016. “So this Christmas, make room for Him to change us. This Christmas help us change the world.”
The Presiding Bishop’s video message is here.
The Presiding Bishop’s message follows:
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Christmas Message 2016
>From Isaiah Chapter 9:
For unto us a child is born,
unto us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
These words of Isaiah are often seen as words that foretell and foreshadow the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary. The truth is, these words befit Him because this child changed the world. This child changes lives. This child changes us.
I remember when our oldest daughter was a baby. My wife and I were young. We were footloose and fancy-free. It was just the two of us newlyweds, so if we wanted to go out to eat dinner, we went out to eat dinner. If we decided to go to a movie at the last minute, we just went. We actually felt like we had money back then. And we did have a little bit of discretionary income. We could pretty much do what we wanted to do, within reason, and we didn’t have to think too much about the consequences or impact of a spontaneous decision and what we had to do to make that happen.
And then, all of a sudden, this little, innocent human being, a little child, came into our lives, and literally gained control over our entire world. Before we could do anything else we had to think about, “Who’s going to keep the baby?” or “Is this a good time for us to go without the baby?” We soon learned that we were not in control of our lives anymore. Even our sleeping patterns became very different. We would stay awake when the baby was awake and we went to sleep when the baby went to sleep. Literally this child began to control our lives and the child didn’t even know she was doing it. And then we had a second one she did the exact same thing. And I’ve since learned that that’s what babies do. When they arrive they take over! And their parents begin to develop their lives around this child. To mold their entire lives around this precious needy baby.
Isaiah wrote, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This child who was born of Mary changes everything. This child born in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes changes how we live. This child born to the sound of angels singing Gloria in excelcis Deo — this child to whom the wise ones came from afar bearing gifts — this child, changed the way the entire world works.
And this Jesus, born into a world torn by strife and hatred and division and pain and poverty, this child is born anew wherever men and women say, “I’ll follow Him. I’ll follow Him as my Savior. I’ll follow Him as my Lord.”
When this child grew up, He said His reason for coming, again quoting Isaiah, from the 61st chapter, he said,
The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach Good News to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty all those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
This child, when He grew up, came to show us the way to live lives of love, lives of compassion, lives of goodness, lives of kindness, lives of justice. This child came to show us how to change the world. So this Christmas, make room for him to change us. This Christmas help us change the world. And make a new commitment, to go out from this day, to let this Christmas Day, be the first day of a new world.
God bless you. God keep you. Have a blessed Christmas. A Happy New Year. And go on out and change the world!
The Rev. Patty Baker