Another Feast of Activities
Godly Play will be offered for younger people in our upstairs classroom. Parents, please come a bit early so you have time to get kids upstairs and take a moment or two to relax before worship begins.
After worship this week, we have the following events:
Greening the Sanctuary – It’s all hands on deck to help with greening the sanctuary – banners, candles, greens – all for our Christmas Feast next weekend!
Cookie Exchange – bring 2 dozen (or more!) of your favorite cookie, candy, cupcake, or other goodie and take home a variety from all there is on offer!
St. John’s Harvest Fundraiser – We still have plenty on offer so you can buy your last minute Christmas presents or restock your own cupboard! We take credit/debit cards, checks, cash, and paypal.
Dec 20: Longest Night Service 7:00 pm A space for grief, sorrow, and woundedness. Join us in person or online for a service of quiet prayer, readings, music, and healing.
Dec 24, Christmas Eve: Family Worship, 3:00 pm; Choral Festival Worship, 8:00 pm
Dec 25, Christmas Day: Morning Prayer, online at 10:00 am
Jan 1: Come as You Are Sunday. It’s New Years’ Day so come as you are for a relaxed worship service.
Jan 6, Feast of Epiphany: Epiphany Celebration 7:00 pm. Come for a Friday evening celebration of light and love. Firepit, hot chocolate, singing, and storytelling – activities for all ages!
While masking remains optional at St. John’s, you are encouraged to consider wearing a mask during worship to help keep down the transmission of covid, flu, and other illnesses. Masks are available at both entrances.
Joy and Sorrow – Both Are a Part of Christmas
I remember the first time I went to a Longest Night Prayer Service. It was the year I graduated seminary in May, there was a sudden and violent death in my family in September, I was ordained to the priesthood in October, and during Advent I was invited to preside at Eucharist for the Christmas service. There were so many emotions running through me: Excitement. Anger. Joy. Anxiety. Grief.
One of the Episcopal Churches in the area offered this quiet service where the lights were dimmed and we were invited in to just be and offer space to whatever was coming up. There were readings and music and quiet. And it felt a world away from the busyness of the consumer-oriented Christmas season. I could listen to the readings, or not. I could sing along with the music, or not. Mostly, it was just a space to give myself permission to feel all my emotions and then find my self in the midst of them. Emotions can trip us up when we least expect if we are unwilling to experience them so giving ourselves the space to do so, is important to our mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Christmas is a powerful time when we remember so many beautiful and heavy things from our lives. And, if we are going through grief or disappointment, it’s very difficult to celebrate Christmas with others who are having fun. We are also in the process of looking forward into the new year in December, taking stock of who we have been and who we want to become. Something is being formed in the darkness of the womb and it is so important to spend time with this part of ourselves.
Please, I invite you to take the time and the space for the practice of giving space and time to yourself. Come to the Longest Night Prayer Service on Tuesday, December 20 at 7:00 pm. We offer it online for those who cannot drive after dark but please come to the Sanctuary, if you can. You don’t have to do anything but come and be. Through music, silent meditation, scripture, and healing prayer, we reach out to acknowledge sadness with comfort and quiet remembrance, to reflect on the losses we have experienced and to remember together the real reason for the season: God is with us.
In God’s love and mine,
Announcements for Advent IV
December 18, 2022
TODAY: Cookie Exchange. The cookies are here, come and fill a container from all the choices people brought to share. Cookies, fudge, candy… all welcome! And The Greening of the Sanctuary. All hands on deck to help decorate the Sanctuary for our Christmas Celebration.
Christmas Memorials All memorials and thanksgivings will be listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin. Fill out the slip and place in the envelope enclosed in the bulletin with your check or money inside and place it in the collection plate today or bring it next week. All memorials must be in to Rev. Michelle by noon on Friday, December 23. You can choose how you’d like to give: 1) Poinsettias Help to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas by helping to purchase poinsettias, After our Christmas Eve celebration, they will be given out to people by the Pastoral Care Team. 2) Outreach Your Outreach memorial donations will all go to our feeding ministry, Angel Food East.
Longest Night Healing Service is a time of quiet and prayer set aside on the darkest night of the year to offer space for the difficulties we face during the holidays – memories, grief, loneliness. Tuesday, December 20 at 7:00 pm.
St. John’s Pledge Campaign continues! If you haven’t made a financial pledge for 2022 yet, the Stewardship Team is still receiving pledges. They would love to have them on or before December 18 to help the Vestry plan the budget for next year. If you’re new to pledging, you’ll find blank forms on the bookcase near the lectern.
Page Turners Book Club Meetings are on the first Thursday of the month at 2 p.m., in the parish hall. Here’s what we selected for the next few months: January 5: Trust, by Hernan Diaz; February 2: The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz; March 2: Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova. If we have bad weather during the winter, we will switch to a Zoom meeting. Interested in joining? Talk with Lynn Dennison.
Ulster Immigrant Defense Network needs Food Sponsors. You can support an immigrant family for 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks a month. The cost is $45/week. Sponsorship forms are available on the bulletin board in the vestibule. Or send a one-time donation to UIDN, 30 Pine Grove Ave, Kingston.