December is Advent and Christmas. It is the new Christian year on the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the anticipation of the birth of Jesus. St. Stephen's Day December 26
, is our patron saint for our congregation. We have a young adult to be baptized on the December 3
Let me share a quote attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, a former Father General of the Jesuits, says,
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
That is, than falling in love
In a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
What seizes your imagination,
Will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you
Out of bed in the morning,
What you will do with your evenings,
How to spend your weekends,
What you read, who you know,
What breaks your heart,
And what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love; stay in love,
And it will decide everything.
Fall in love this year with the Lord and his community, St. Stephen's!
Advent and Christmas Blessings, Fr. Gary
Thanks to the 57 parish families who have together pledged $191,500 to support Saint Stephen's and its ministries in 2018! This pledge amount is down 4% from last year's final pledge number, and we had targeted a 10% increase, so it's not too late to help us meet our target. We have received 8 fewer pledges this year, although within the group of 57 we had six new pledges, and 24 of our parishioners increased their pledge year-over-year, by an average of 17%! Thank you again!
151st Diocesan Convention for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
On Friday, November 10
and Saturday, November 11
, I was privileged to serve as our congregation's Lay Delegate to the 151
Diocesan Convention for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. This was a unique opportunity to see what our Diocese is really doing for parishes like ours, and for outreach into communities near and far. When Father Gary asked me to write this article, it seemed overwhelming at first because the two days were packed with information. I certainly do not want to leave anything out, but to get to everything is impossible! So I will recount here the things that affected me, and I hope that these are the things that my fellow St. Stephen;s parishioners will find compelling as well.
First, we had a pre-convention meeting with Canon Claire Woodley to discuss the transition period and the rector search. This was a "feel good" session about adopting the appropriate attitude to welcome change. She encouraged congregations to use the interim time period wisely: carrying on regular church business while introducing variants in tradition; learning different ways to reach out and bring people into our community in a 21
century context; making any necessary "tough calls" as a parish family
welcoming a new rector; and encouraging each other and being as open as possible to God's call. Again and again she repeated that the one and only vital question any congregation in transition needs to ask itself is: "What does God want to have happen here?" Everything else should be rendered irrelevant. My favorite quote of hers from this session was this: "On the other side of sacrifice is delight." While there would be few among us who would gleefully assent when asked to sacrifice something, Canon Woodley reminded us that usually after we sacrifice something we experience positive feelings. While it sounds rather dogmatic, I personally plan to keep this in mind during our search process, because it will ground me in the fact that my own personal agenda may have to "give" if we as a congregation are going to "get!"
Please see attached for the remainder of Catherine Fish's article
During the Convention itself, the Bishop gave an address that was, in essence, a "State of the Union." From his long speech, I found the following to be the most interesting:
The Bishop stated that, with varying success, parishes across the Diocese have been making attempts to satisfy the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Initiative. He repeated three times: "We need to further expand our ministry to further address the needs of God's people."
Our Diocese showed support for those affected by the DACA repeal
There was a great deal of discussion about protecting illegal immigrants and offering sanctuary. Debate occurred about what exactly providing sanctuary entails and whether our official language should use words such as "xenophobia" or if that was too incendiary (it was decided by a powerful vote showing that it is important to use specific language when talking about the mistreatment of minorities).
The Diocese is growing in ministry. There is an exhaustive list of congregations currently engaged in Redevelopment and work is starting on imagining the replanting of NEW congregations in areas that are currently not being served
This Ministry Plan (budget) is the largest in the history of the Diocese. That may sound alarming, but the good news is that well over half the budget has been delegated toward actual ministry (serving our parishes, and our inreach and outreach programs).
Sunday School and Youth Group News
Hope everyone had a nice and peaceful Thanksgiving
The Sunday before Thanksgiving some of the
School kids went to Our Lady of Fatima to deliver and distribute the food St Stephens donated to Our Lady of Fatima's Thanksgiving Food Drive
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED FOOD!!!!
We were able to deliver 15-20 full bags of food which helped feed some less fortunate families Thanksgiving dinner.
This is always a great experience and a lot of fun :):)
The Giving Tree is almost empty.
THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYONE THAT TOOK AN ORNAMENT
Sunday School has adopted 2 families this year. a family of four from our Lady of Fatima and a family of 3 from St. John Episcopal Hospital.
Thanks for helping make this Christmas a Merry One for a couple of less fortunate families.
There is still time to choose an ornament!!!!
The back of the ornament says when the gift is due by:
Family #211 gifts are due back by
Sunday Dec 10th (THIS SUNDAY)
Family #27 gifts are due back by
Sunday Dec 17th
Please place your wrapped gift, with the ornament attached, under the tree
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR KINDNESS
Please join Sunday School for "CAROLS AND COOKIES" FRIDAY DECEMBER 15th FROM 6:30-7:30PM
Come and gather around the beautiful Christmas Tree in the courtyard to sing Christmas carols and eat delicious cookies, (made by the
Sunday School) and drink hot chocolate.
Fun For ALL!!!!
Please RSVP to Rhonda
The Christmas Pageant Rehearsals have started.
Its NEVER too late to join the cast,
please let me know ASAP if intersted
There is Sunday School and Pageant rehearsal
Sunday Dec 10th and Sunday Dec 17th at 10 AM
The Christmas Pageant will be AFTER the 10 AM service on
Sunday Dec 17th
in the parish hall, followed by a visit from a very special guest
There is NO Sunday School Sunday Dec 24th and Sunday Dec 31st
Sunday School resumes
Sunday January 7th at 10 AM.
Children and Youth Minister
ST. STEPHEN'S ANNUAL MESSIAH CONCERT:
SING NOEL CONCERT AT ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HUNTINGTON:
CALLING ALL MUSICIANS!:
Rachel Golder is organizing the "Miracle of Christmas" Orchestra to play during the 5 pm Christmas Eve Family Service. If you are interested,
contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 713-1551. Music will be provided.
RECTOR SEARCH PROCESS BEGINS
: With deep gratitude to Fr. Gary for his leadership of St. Stephen's over the past three years, the Vestry has commenced the process of searching for St. Stephen's next Rector. On October 8, the Vestry met with Rev. Canon Thomas Orso, then the Interim Transition Minister for the Diocese of Long Island, to discuss the initial steps of the search process. On November 21, the Vestry met with Rev. Claire Woodley, the newly appointed Canon for Ministry Support for the Diocese of Long Island, and Rev. Joanne Izzo, who will be our consultant through the search process. Canon Woodley, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatic Theory and Performance from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, oversees all ministry transition and search processes in the diocese. Mother Izzo holds a B.S. in philosophy from Fordham University and a Master of Sacred Theology degree from General Theological Seminary. She is certified as an Interim Minister and a coach for clergy, and regularly designs and facilitates vestry, ministry, and leadership retreats, and appreciative inquiry processes for congregations seeking to identify goals, aspirations, and strengths. Mother Izzo will work directly with the Vestry and Search Committee to assist St. Stephen's in this process. We expect to appoint a Search Committee in the near term, for the search to continue through 2018, and for Fr. Gary to remain with St. Stephen's until our next Rector is called. Please feel free to speak with either of us about this process or any questions you may have. -
John Longmire and Roopali Gupta, Wardens
FALL FAIR 2017 UPDATE FROM MATT BENDIX, FAIR CHAIR:
The final tally from both the Fall Fair on October 21st and the Mini-Fair on December 3rd are in. The total revenue was $15,571.38 and are total expenses were $7701.80. The total net proceeds were there for $7869.58. Based on past years this was a very successful fair. The new date in late October worked out well for us. Increase foot traffic from the other events occurring in the area brought more people into the fair. At our post fair debriefing where we dug deeper into the fair numbers we decided that we need to start rethinking our upstairs activities and layout to draw more people in. We did very well with the carnival, trash and treasure, toys and the petting zoo and outdoor activities but not as well with the bake sale, lunch or other upstairs activities. Nevertheless it was a successful fair. Many thanks to all who helped make this so.
: Laundry Love
(LL) is an initiative in partnership with the
Port Washington Clergy Association
. The LL helps to wash the clothes and bedding of low-income individuals and families. LL seeks to nurture the well-being of each person through intentional networking and friendship.
The next event will be held on Thursday, December 21st, 5:30 - 8:30pm.
The last load of wash must begin no later than 7:45pm.
The Port Washington Super Laundromat, 4 Manorhaven Blvd.
If you are interested in coming as a volunteer or if you have questions, please let Donna Blankman know. email@example.com or (516) 570-2033.
NATIONAL CHORALE's 48th ANNUAL "MESSIAH SING" in LINCOLN CENTER (David Geffen Hall) - FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15TH, 7:30PM:
St. Stephen's esteemed Music Director, Mark van Schenkhof will be one of the 17 eminent conductors leading the audience in singing Handel's "Messiah"
, which includes 4 outstanding soloists and a virtuoso organist. Bring your own Messiah score. Tickets range from $30-$100.
For more information & tickets: https://www.lincolncenter.org/show/national-chorale-handels-messiah-sing-in
NEW YEAR'S EVE AVAILABLE TO DEDICATE ALTAR FLOWERS:
If you would like to dedicate altar flowers in memory of a loved one,
Sunday, December 31, 2017 (New Year's Eve) is open
Robin Schroeder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Parish Office (email@example.com)
ST. STEPHEN'S "BABY SUPPLY EXCHANGE" DONATIONS:
The Exchange is accepting donations of
(up to size 5), and
infant bouncer seats
. If you have these items to donate,
please contact Leslie Bradshaw at (516) 883-3003 or (516) 728-6600.
ST. STEPHEN'S "BABY SUPPLY EXCHANGE" COORDINATOR NEEDED:
The Baby Supply Exchange is a free service open to all, providing baby and pre-school items, equipment, clothing and more for those in need in the community. It gladly takes in donations of clean and serviceable items and distributes them to those in local need. The items can then be returned after use to so that they may benefit others. After many years, Leslie Bradshaw, is stepping down from heading the Baby Supply Exchange.
If you are interested in volunteering for this position, please contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 767-0363.
We would like to express our gratitude to Leslie for her many years of service.
EXPERIENCED BABYSITTER OR ELDERLY CAREGIVER/COMPANION AVAILABLE:
If you or someone you know is looking for a babysitter or caregiver for an elderly adult, please
contact Elizabeth at (347) 399-5180
. Elizabeth speaks Polish, Russian and English .
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT LENDING CLOSET:
The Community Synagogue, 160 Middle Neck Rd in Port Washington, has a lending closet with medical equipment, free to members of the community. You do not need to be a member of the synagogue. If you have wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc. that you no longer need but that others could use, or are in need of yourself, please call Annette Rosalia, the synagogue's office manager, at (516) 883-3144.
Read Sunday, December 10th, readings here.
Serving December 10th at 10 am:
Alan Dinn & Gy. Dioguardi
Elsie Wikstrom & Barry Meade
||Lela Pines, Avery von Roeschlaub & Victoria von Roeschlaub
||Lori Murphy, Carol Wright & Susan B. Miller
||Francesca & Matthew Blass
||Tish Davis & Bob O'Brien
Throughout November and December:
Sunday School will be collecting food for Our Lady of Fatima's Thanksgiving Food Drive, as well as adopting two families with a Christmas Giving Tree.
Sunday, December 10th, 9am-9:45am:
Adult Bible Study in Fr. Gary's office.
Sunday, December 10th 10:00am:
Sunday School - Nativity Pageant Rehearsal.
Sunday, December 10th 4:30pm:
Annual Messiah Concert in the Church.
Tuesday, December 12th, 8pm:
Wardens' Meeting in Fr. Gary's office.
Wednesday, December 13th, 8:30am:
Staff Breakfast at IHOP, Manhasset.
Wednesday, December 13th:
Noon Healing Service.
Thursday, December 14th:
No Choir Rehearsal.
Friday, December 15th, 6:30pm-7:30pm:
Carols & Cookies in the Courtyard.
Sunday, December 17th, 9am-9:45am:
Adult Bible Study in Fr. Gary's office.
Sunday, December 17th, 10:00am:
Sunday School Nativity Pageant Rehearsal.
Sunday, December 17th, Coffee Hour:
Sunday School Nativity Pageant
Tuesday, December 19th, 8pm:
Vestry Meeting in St. Cecilia Room.
Wednesday, December 20th:
Noon Healing Service.
Thursday, December 21st, 5:30pm-8:30pm:
Laundry Love at The Port Washington Super Laundromat, 4 Manorhaven Boulevard
Sunday, December 24th, 9am-9:45am:
Adult Bible Study in Fr. Gary's office.
Sunday, December 24th, 10am:
Advent 4 Service.
Sunday, December 24th, 5pm:
Christmas Eve Family Service (children's sermon only).
Sunday, December 24th, 10:30pm:
Christmas Eve Festival Service with choir & orchestra.
Monday, December 25th:
Merry Christmas! - Parish Office is closed.
Monday, December 25th, 10am:
Christmas Day Celebration.
Monday, December 25th (after service) - Saturday, December 30th:
Father Gary is away.
Tuesday, December 26th-Thursday, December 28th:
Parish Office open, 10am-1pm.
Wednesday, December 27th:
NO Noon Healing Service.
Find out if you're on the schedule
Thanks to our Coffee Hour volunteers!
For Our Prayers
For the sick: Virginia, Hank, Peter, Bob, Carol, Jo, Tom, Gerry, Nancy, Sue, Nina, Shirlee, Sister Mary Angela, Patti & Tyler, Kate, Nicholas, Rey, Rose, and Stella.
To have someone entered onto our Prayer List please send an e-mail with the person's name & the requester's name to: email@example.com. Your prayer request will be included for 4 weeks - please submit another request if you wish to have prayers continue after this time.
||Mark van Schenkhof
|Youth & Children