DECEMBER 5, 2017
When the Christmas Season Isn't Cheery, Here's Help

This time of year is filled with joyful expectation, but it can also feel a little low for many reasons. Several churches in the diocese plan alternative services as the days shorten this month.

St. Augustine, Rocklin, had a Service of Comfort last Wednesday , Nov. 29. It was non-communion, contemplative service with a little bit of Taize music, silence, and a homily, using the New Zealand Prayer Book Night Prayer as the liturgy, said the Rev. Liz Armstrong, rector of St. Augustine.

Upcoming services include:
  • Lights of Hope - Music & Prayers for the Long Nights, Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m., Incarnation, Santa Rosa. The tone will be contemplative and quietly hopeful. All are welcome to be part of this late Advent service of prayer, quiet music, and the spoken word. Come for yourself and feel free to bring others who will benefit from your prayers and presence as we anticipate the in-breaking of the Light of Hope into the World. The service will be led by Pastor Jim Richardson and musician Robin O'Brien.
  • All Saints', Sacramento, and St. James', Lincoln, will hold Blue Christmas services at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. From All Saints': "Blue Christmas is a time to bring our whole selves and our whole lives into the presence of God, particularly those parts that make us sad, or 'blue.' God longs to be with us and to let us know God's love and comfort. At the service, we gather, hear and reflect on God's word, and share the bread and wine, Christ's body and blood, broken and shed for us, as Christ was one of us. We have the opportunity to allow God to comfort us and those around us. All are invited."
  • St. Martin's, Davis, will hold its Blue Christmas Service, Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. The special worship service will recognize the struggle some people face at this time of year, such as those grieving the loss of a loved one or the onset of a life-limiting illness. This service will also help us acknowledge the paradox that there is joy and hope to be found, even in the midst of pain.
  • St. Paul's, Benicia, will offer its annual Blue Christmas service at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 21. Expect a quiet, low-key service.
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On a more joyful note, St. James', Lincoln, will hold a Special Needs Welcome Christmas Worship Service this Saturday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. The service is geared toward children and adults with developmental disabilities. Pastor Sarah will lead us in the Nativity Story and many songs. Followed by a party and visit from St. Nick! 
Ways to Help Hard-working Refugees in Our Area

By Lynn Zender, diocesan coordinator for Welcoming the Stranger Ministries

St. Mary's, Elk Grove, has an Adult Education series entitled "Who Is My Neighbor." Recently,  attendees heard a presentation from Usama Khalil,  the founder and executive director of Refugee Enrichment and Development Association (REDA) in the Sacramento area.  

Usama made a very moving presentation about how refugees work hard to be successful in our country and the barriers refugees must overcome.

Our local resettlement agencies are contracted to work with refugees for just the first 90 days they are in our country. As you can imagine, that is not enough time to get settled. Learning English, learning our culture, getting a job, (continue reading...)
THE SEARCH FOR OUR NEXT BISHOP
Please Keep Our Bishop Search in Your Prayers

We give thanks for the leadership of our Bishop Barry, and pray for the election of the eighth bishop for our diocese:

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: 
Look graciously on your Church, 
and so guide the minds of those who shall
choose a bishop for this Diocese,
that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your
people and equip us for our ministries; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- BCP, page 818

Please also pray for the Bishop Search Committee: 

Mary R. Davy, Chair; Kirk Bone; Rosemary Braxton; the Rev. Todd Bruce; the Rev. Canon Tina Campbell; the Rev. Dr. Sean Cox; the Rev. Rod Davis; the Rev. Dr. Pamela Dolan; the Rev. Jeanne Forte, Chaplain; Asleain "Scotty" Hodges; Catherine Mace; John Ochoa; Robert Pritchard; Jim Sargent; the Rev. Kate Sefton; Erika Trez; the Rev. Matt Warren; Donna Jo Woollen.

The bishop search process information can be found here.
FROM THE OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

Anti-Racism Training Jan. 27 at Faith, Cameron Park

The first 2018 Anti-Racism Training will be 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Faith, Cameron Park. This year's event will be facilitated by leaders from the Kaleidoscope Institute and provides an opportunity to come together as congregational leaders to learn how to help our worship communities appreciate and welcome the great diversity of people among us and around us, and to develop tools to work against the forces of racism in our world.

Anti-Racism Training is required for all who are engaged in ministries of governance (diocesan boards and commissions, as well as vestries and mission committees) and licensed lay ministers.  
 
This event is free, and lunch is included, but registration is required. Please register by Jan. 22, 2018, here.

Registration Open for 2018

Registration for the College for Congregational Development (CCD) is now available. 

To learn more about the benefits of attending CCD and to register, click here.
Bishop's Partnership Appeal

During this Advent season, Bishop Barry Beisner has invited us all to consider a gift for the Church we love, joining with the Episcopal Foundation of Northern California for the 2017 Bishop's Partnership Appeal. 

Keep an eye out for your Appeal letter in your mailbox in the next few weeks. If you don't receive a letter, you may still donate to the Appeal through online giving. More information about the Appeal is available here.
Bishop's Visitation Schedule
  • Dec. 10 - St. Timothy's, Gridley
  • Dec. 17 - St. John's, Roseville 
  • Dec. 24 - Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento
  • Jan. 7 - St. Michael's, Fort Bragg 
  • Jan. 21 - St. George's, Carmichael
The Bishop's full 2017-2018 visitation schedule is available here
FAITH FORMATION
CDSP Offers Winter Courses

Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, is offering some short courses next month at the college as well as longer-term online courses for all interested in furthering their theological knowledge. For more information, go to their website.

Climate Justice: Theology and Action in Relationship: 
This intensive seminar course will examine the climate crisis as a moral matter and seek pathways for addressing the climate crisis with hope. Special attention will be given to global-local connections and perspectives from marginalized communities.
Dates: Jan. 8-19, weekdays, 1:30-5:30
Cost: $400
Contact: call@cdsp.edu
 
Online Winter Term Courses with CALL:  Winter Term Course registration is now open with the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership at CDSP. CALL courses last seven weeks and are entirely online; they are also asynchronous, meaning that students do not need to be online at a particular time of the day or week, enabling student involvement from throughout the country. Foundational courses this term include The Pentateuch, Ethics in the Anglican Tradition, Intro to the New Testament, and Church History, as well as three new continuing education courses: Social Ministry, Crafting a Sermon, and Contemplative Approach to Spirituality and Sexuality.  CALL courses are open to all lay and clergy members for ongoing education and enrichment.  Courses begin Jan. 15 and are  $220 per course.  Register here.

Advent: A Time to Prepare for the Coming of the Child

How can we, as the church, better get ready for the mystery of Christmas this year, at home, in worship, in special community gatherings, in our learning about faith?  We are here to help you brainstorm, implement, and connect with each other.

Advent resources are available here. More resources from The Episcopal Church are available here.

To order the ebook,  Living Well Through Advent 2017 , click here
For a free study guide to lead a group through the book, click here.
Pathways 2018: Early Registration Deadline Is Dec. 15

Are you or someone you know planning on attending Pathways 2018? If so, don't delay; register now! The cost to attend is $450 if you register before Dec. 15, and a $50 deposit is due then as well. 

The price will increase to $500 after Dec. 15. We will offer scholarships and other support with the goal of making this trip possible for everyone who wishes to participate. Please contact the Rev. Sarah Quinney (sarah@norcalepiscopal.org) if the cost is a barrier. 
NEWS & EVENTS IN AND BEYOND OUR DIOCESE 
Benefit for Fire Relief to Feature Celtic Entertainment Sunday

Molly's Revenge Winterdance Show to Benefit Fire Relief will be at 
7 p.m. Dec. 10 at St. John's, Roseville All proceeds are being donated to the Bishop's Discretionary Fund, which has provided more than $25,000 to those affected by the October fires.

Doors open at 6:30; tickets ($30 per person, with discounts for families and children) can be  purchased  here. Seating is limited, so buy your tickets soon!
Save the Date

Dec. 21: Celebration of New Ministry for  the Rev. Kenn Katona, 7 p.m., St. Clement's, Rancho Cordova.

Jan. 4: Celebration of New Ministry for  the Rev. Dr. Pamela Dolan, 6:30 p.m., St. Martin, Davis.

Jan. 5-7: Weekend Retreat for Women  with the Rev. Canon Mary Hauck at Mercy Center, Auburn.  Cost is $185 per person. Includes a private room and five meals.  To register, contact Canon Mary ( canonhauck@gmail.com  or 916.479.3272). 

Jan. 13: The Center for Bible Study at St. Andrews, Antelope, will offer a one-day, Saturday conference, Meditations on 1 Peter. The conference coincides with the publication of the book, " I Peter: A Collaborative Commentary ," edited by the Rev. Peter Rodgers, with contributions from 20 of his former students at Fuller Theological Seminary. The conference, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., will include presentations from several of the contributors.  Registration is $20, which includes lunch. Register here.

Jan. 27:  The 31st Annual Diocesan Choir Festival  with a public Evensong at 4 p.m.. Contact Canon David Link at sierracanon@gmail.com for more information.

Feb. 10: Mardi Gras at St. Luke's, Woodland, will be a fundraiser to support the Women's Winter Shelter and other mission initiatives, with Creole culinary delights, pancake races, a Mardi Gras Parade and dancing to New Orleans-style jazz. All ages are welcome.

Feb. 16: Celebration of New Ministry for the Rev. Bradley Helmuth, 6:30 p.m., Holy Trinity, Nevada City. The Rev. Matt Warren, Christ the King, Quincy, will preach.

Feb. 23: Nadia Bolz-Weber, 7 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento. Tickets are $25 and are available on Eventbrite.

March 2-4: Church Leadership Conference, in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The theme of this annual conference is " Equipped for Every Good Work: Practical Tools for Tough Times," designed for  vestry members and congregational leaders with an emphasis on practical learning, reflection and formation. More information here.

April 27-29: EfM Graduates' Retreat at  St. Mary's, Sewanee, Tennessee. More information here.

From the Episcopal Church

All Our Children: The Church's Role in Education Equity, Jan. 16-18, 2018, in Columbia, South Carolina, is an ecumenical event focusing the church's attention on the urgency of quality public education for all children. Our time together will be grounded in prayer and worship and focus on specific steps you and your congregation can take to build Beloved Community through local partnerships, action, and service, with time for conversation, idea sharing, and networking. Keynote speakers include Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. More information is available here.

Other news:

Trump sharply reduces size of Bears Ears National Monument despite interfaith opposition

Episcopalians help boost Affordable Care Act sign-ups in uphill battle under Trump

Church without walls uses food truck to drive home Christian mission of feeding body, soul

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THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Making Disciples, Raising Up Saints & Transforming Communities for Christ