A Note from James
Yesterday Peter and I had a discussion about transforming lives through Christ and how the music program fits in to such an effort. I believe that God reaches down to us in our various stages of understanding and peels away the scales that cover our eyes and our hearts. We come to a new relationship with God and each other when this happens. The word that best describes this kind of event? Grace.
Grace often occurs through the understanding brought about by beauty and by beautiful music specifically. Who among us has not had a line from a hymn or Gospel song run through our heads at moments when we needed reassurance or better understanding of a situation? Who has not felt a thrill at the glimpse of glory we are granted when the congregation sings full heartedly and the organ plays full out? And who has not been comforted by hearing a beloved song at times of sorrow or bereavement? Indeed, these are just a few of the ways in which Christ transforms our lives through music.
This coming Sunday, we have one of the most beautiful services of the year, Advent Lessons and Carols. Each year I call this the antidote to the commercialization of a sacred feast; a way to block out for a small bit of time the incessant blaring of "holiday" music in the malls, on TV, on the radio, and at parties. In this service, we peacefully look to scriptures that prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. And we join in singing songs that celebrate God's love for us and the prophecies of Christ's arrival.
It is my most sincere hope that you will be able to join us at 5:00 p.m. this Sunday afternoon in the church and that the beauty of the music and the sweet singing of the choirs will help to transform your life, with Grace washing away the cares of frantic holiday anxiety.
Note from the Church Office
We are in the last stages of the transition to our new phone system. For the rest of the week, we may not have consistent phone service to the church. We prayerfully expect the transition to be complete Friday afternoon.
You can still reach the staff by email
and the pastoral emergency number is available for any true emergencies (443-837-5463). Thank you for your continued patience and support as we upgrade our infrastructure.
RE:Thinking Advent with the Rev. Peter Mayer - Sunday mornings
The Rev. Peter will be leading an interactive discussion of three components to help us re-think what the Advent season can mean for all of us. The discussions will take place during coffeehour (10:20-11 a.m.) in the Fellowship Hall on Dec. 3, 10, & 17.
Advent Through the Psalms -- Monday evenings
The Rev. Dr. Rhetta Wiley will explore the tradition of praying the Psalms, first examining their composition and formation into the Psalter, then the range of Jewish and Christian interpretation, and finally discussing how to claim the psalms for ourselves. The program will be the adult formation program for Faith & Fellowship Monday events at 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 4, 11, and 18.
Advent Daily Devotions - Adults
This year we offer daily devotional meditations for adults titled
Living Well Through Advent from the Living Compass program. The booklets provide a foundation for seeking a deeper experience of the Advent season, an experience that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Christmas. A limited number of books are available in the narthex and church office.
Advent Daily Devotions - Families
Families are invited to sign up for daily Advent posts from our Sunday School curriculum publishing site. When you sign up, you will receive a daily email during Advent that
includes a Bible verse, ideas for family activities, and discussion questions. We know this is a busy season, so the devotionals can be completed in 5 minutes or less--even when you are on-the-go with your family!
You'll receive them in your inbox December 3 through Christmas Day.
Foyers Get Together --Our next Foyers event for all participants will be THIS Sunday, Dec 3 from 2 p.m. in the Parish Hall. This will be an opportunity for everyone to re-connect as well as a chance for anyone interested in Foyers to come and meet with those who are currently taking part. If you are currently not a member and wish to learn more about Foyers, please join us. Beverages will be provided. Please bring an appetizer or dessert to share. The Lessons and Carols service will follow at 5 p.m. in the church.
-- St. Margaret's Guild will hold their annual Christmas Luncheon on
Wednesday, Dec. 6, 11:30 a.m. at Brio's Tuscan Grille in Annapolis Towne Center. Tickets are $30. Orders are due by Dec. 1. Make out checks to "St. Margaret's Church" with "Guild Luncheon" in the memo line and drop it off at the church office.
The Guild is sponsoring their annual poinsettia sale starting this weekend. Stop by the formation building lobby during coffeehour on December 3 and 10. Prices are $10, $15, and $20. Proceeds go toward the group's mission projects.
Thank you to all who attended the Guild's recent Holiday Bazaar! Their profit was well over $2000, some of which will be providing some Cape St. Claire Elementary families with Christmas gifts they would otherwise not have.
Blue Christmas Service & Tea
For parishioners and their guests who are not as joyous this season, we offer our annual "Blue Christmas" service on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 3 p.m. in the church followed by a tea reception in the Fellowship Hall. Please invite any friends or family you believe could be comforted by this effort.
Christmas Missions Efforts
Youth Sponsors "Warm" Giving
As the St. Margaret's Youth Group did last year, they are collecting hats, scarves, gloves (or mittens) and fleece blankets, to help 29 local middle school girls and boys - all neighbors of ours - stay warmer this year. The tree, located in the narthex, is loaded with ornaments made by the Youth Group. Each ornament lists what the requested item is, and whether it is for a boy or a girl, and what grade they
are in. Please take an ornament (or several!) home with you this Sunday, and when you go out to do your family Christmas shopping, pick up the requested item(s). We ask that you bring the UNWRAPPED donations - with the ornaments - to the Narthex by Sunday, Dec. 17 December. The children will receive their gifts on the last day of school before the Christmas break. For questions, contact Jeff Conover, Youth Activities Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help a Local Family at Christmas!
In keeping with the spirit of Project 3.25, the Mission Commission is helping two local families for Christmas. You can help make the holidays brighter for these needy families by purchasing an item from their wish lists. Requested toys and clothes can be found on ornament tags placed on the Giving Tree in the narthex. Please take a tag, buy the item and leave it unwrapped (with the ornament tag attached) under the tree by Monday, December 18. Thanks for your generosity. Questions? Contact Christine Feldmann at
Join Our Day School Drive for the Homeless
Our St. Margaret's Day School is holding a drive to support Giving Back - Linda's Legacy, a local nonprofit that distributes backpacks to the homeless during Christmas week. Included in the backpacks are toiletry items. We are inviting Sunday School students, their families, and other parishioners to help. Plastic bags with a list of needed items are available in the narthex and in Sunday School classrooms. Items should be in the bags and returned to Sunday School classrooms or the formation building lobby by Dec. 10.
Christmas Meals for Neighbors
Parishioners are asked to once again help their neighbors in need through meal giving this coming Christmas. The Missions Commission will furnish the hams, and parishioners are asked to buy specific ingredients for the rest of the meal and then deliver the donations to the recipients before Christmas day. Hams should be picked up on Sunday, Dec. 17 in the parish hall. If you can participate, contact coordinator Barbara Marder at email@example.com or Jan Little at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Caroling on Dec. 17th
St. Margaret's youth, families, and adults will go Christmas caroling on December 17th, following the 11:15 service. Participants will be visiting parishioners who may have a hard time getting out and enjoying the sights and sounds of the seasons.
They will gather in the Parish Hall after the service and will have a quick lunch before we go (a free-will donation to help cover the cost of lunch will be taken). Following lunch, participants will head out to sing for approximately 90 minutes to two hours, depending on how many parishioners we visit.
We will need drivers! If you have a mini-van or a car with a lot of seat belts, we can use you!
Please let Jeff Conover know if you plan to attend, and if you can drive.
Endowment Grants Program-Needs Volunteers
Our Grants Committee is gearing up as our endowment grants applications deadline draws nearer (tomorrow)!
The Grants committee is seeking 30 curious parishioners who can give a few hours this winter (February and or March) at their convenience to meet, visit or Skype new grant applicants. This liaison role helps the committee discern the final selection of grant recipients. Everyone learns and finds this volunteer opportunity rewarding.
Dozens of parishioners have done this in past years and are encouraged to do it again. Required Training with assignments is during the formation hour on Sunday, Feb. 4 for those who have signed up.
Please contact Izzy Winn for more information at email@example.com.
Honor Your Loved Ones This Christmas
Honor a loved one this Christmas by purchasing and dedicating Christmas flowers or a wreath to beautify the sanctuary at Christmas time. Your dedication will be notated on Christmas bulletins. Costs are $25 for a poinsettia and $45 for a Christmas wreath.
Checks should be made out to "St. Margaret's Church" with "Christmas flowers" on the memo line. You can put it in the offertory plate or drop it off in the church office. Be sure and write a note about who you are honoring/remembering and attach it to the check.
Senior Session Next Tuesday
Our next monthly Senior Session with the Rev. Peter Mayer will be held next Tuesday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m., in Formation Building Classroom E. All parishioners aged 65 or older are welcome. It is a wonderful hour of sharing, prayer, and discussion. Please join us.
Important Notes on End-of-Year Giving
Deadlines for contributions to be recorded for 2017 taxes are as follows:
Stock or bond sales need to be initiated by Friday, December 1 . This is because it may take 2-3 weeks for the transaction to be processed and for our bank to receive the proceeds from the sale. Please remember to alert the church office of your gift in advance so you can be properly credited.
Automatic drafts from your bank need to be scheduled by you no later than Monday, December 18. It can take six to seven business days to process and then mail the checks to our office.
*Please mail or drop off your final 2017 contributions so that the office receives them
by Thursday, December 28th.
Winter Relief Volunteers Needed
Volunteers are needed as we assist the winter relief efforts at St. Philip's in Annapolis next month. Specifically we are in need of helpers for breakfast on January 4th and dinner help for January 6th. We also need an afternoon driver for January 6th.
This Sign-Up Genius link
live starting on Monday, December 4t
h for our parishioners to sign up for our own winter relief efforts here at the church from Feb. 12-20th.
Christmas at St. Margaret's
4th Sunday of Advent
One service at 10 a.m. - Fellowship Hall
Christmas Eve Services
4:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.
Christmas Day Service
First Sunday after Christmas
Dec. 31 - 7:30 a.m., 9:00, 11:15 a.m.
Christmas Lessons & Carols at the later services
New Year's Eve Brunch at 10:15 a.m. in the Parish Hall - Bring a breakfast casserole to share!
Children's Epiphany Pageant
Sunday, January 7 - 10:30 a.m.
Rehearsal on Saturday, January 6 - 9 a.m. in the Parish Hall
St. Margaret's Church | 410-974-0200 | firstname.lastname@example.org |