NEWS FROM ST. MARY'S

The week of Sunday, December 10th

Preparing The Way For Jesus
 
   
 
 Dear Friends,

Just as Mark begins his Gospel proclamation of Jesus, the promise of God fulfilled for Israel's future, he looks back to the words of the prophets, setting the Good News in a direct line with all that has gone before. It is not Jesus, but John the Baptist who appears first on the scene. In his strange garb, odd cuisine and urgent message of repentance, he brings to mind an ancient prophetic tradition. Mark links John's action of preparing the way for Jesus with Isaiah's prophecy in an earlier time that was preparing God's people to confront an imminent threat to their nation with encouragement not only to endure, but to thrive in a time of communal crisis. This precarious political tension existed as well in the later 1st century when Mark wrote to his Christian community.

Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mark speak to us in similarly perilous times on this second Sunday of Advent. They speak with urgency and promise. Turmoil and violence in the world, disrespect that plays out in arrogant disregard for the welfare and dignity of the powerless and vulnerable to enhance the fortunes of the already mighty, and hostility bred by insincerity and intentional self-serving lies have sought to subdue and divide us and to create debilitating uncertainty and fear. Off balance, we are more likely to fall into patterns and associations that serve the objectives of our oppressors in efforts to survive the fear and discomfort we experience.

Mark's introduces Jesus as the one with power to bring life and hope into our present. While water can wash away material impurities, Jesus is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. With his earlier references to the Lord God, the Evangelist proclaims a Trinitarian relationship among Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the very foundation and heart of Christian belief. We prepare for relationship with this divine power by repentance, asking for forgiveness for the sin that separates us from the source of goodness and life. Turning toward God with the intention of establishing or reestablishing loving relationship with the One who can comfort (strengthen) us and give us life in any crisis or peril we face. Advent calls us to be John the Baptist in our encounters, the messengers, the bearers of the Good News of Jesus, bringing hope and peace and joy to bear on the predominance of the world's news that intrudes and fills our lives with its message of separation and fear.

Stephanie


Rector's Notes of Gratitude
Stephanie is finishing her ministry with St. Mary's on this Sunday, December 10.  Don't miss the opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for her ministry and presence among us.  

Paul Westrom is heading up the team to address the water, deterioration and mold in the historic church.  I give thanks for his willingness to address this with a faithful positive attitude.  His team is called the HCRT, the historic church renewal team.  Membership includes: Jon Juhase, Harry Gustafson, Don Berrett, Dave Ferkinhoff, and Hugh Hall. 

Jennifer+ 

Here's what's happening this week...

This week's Collect
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Christmas Donation Envelopes
Envelopes for donations are available in the Gathering Space for contributions toward Christmas flowers and liturgical music. Please return your envelopes by December 17th and enjoy the wonder of sight and sound thanks to your generosity this Christmas!

Sunday, December 10 at 9am: Special Coffee Hour in the Gathering Space to honor Stephanie Shoemaker.

Saturday, December 9, 12-2pm: Youth Event -Gull Cove Beach Clean-up

Sunday, December 10: Saint Nicholas Sunday and the Stations of Advent

Sunday, December 10, 6pm: Baking Advent Cookies with Judy Hall

Click the link for some incredible Advent Resources

2017 Pledge Statement: If you would like a statement to make sure you are up-to-date, please contact David Brierley at dave@galaxia.com.


Gratitude from Marilyn Hambly...
"To St. Mary's Community,

The opportunity to worship with you in an alternative way has been a great joy.  I thank you for your willingness to try new music.  I especially thank the faithful members who became the "chapel singers" and supported our singing each week.

I will think of our morning worship time together when I wear the lovely bracelet with the G clef.  

Thank you, Marilyn"
Historic Church Update...


  • Inspections are ongoing this week.
  • Christmas services will not be held in the historic church this year. We will have a joyful celebration of Jesus' birth in the chapel for all services.
  • Members can look for a letter in coming weeks outlining future plans and progress.  

Seasonal Announcements!

Sunday School & Formation Opportunities for All Ages:


Godly Play resumes on Sunday mornings from 9:10-9:50 Sessions are held downstairs in the Parish House, classroom 1, during the Sunday School hour. Perfect for ages 4-8.

Sunday December 10th, "Saint Nicholas Sunday and Stations of Advent":
This Sunday, between services, everyone is invited to explore the Advent Stations in the chapel that are being created for you.  Instruction will be provided at each station, and beautiful music will provide a backdrop for you to pray with a holy and ancient Icon, to create your own icon, do an interactive scripture meditation, name your longings and expectations, and write a special type of Christmas card.  Something is sure to touch your heart and inspire you.  Come find something that speaks to you! 

Saint Nicholas will also appear today at the 10AM service. Children will be asked to leave their shoes in the gathering space at the beginning of the service for a gift from St. Nick.

Sunday December 17th Advent Music: Songs and Stories. Michael Templeton will guide us in discovering the richness of Advent music ancient and modern. Held in the chapel.


Special Offerings this Advent:




Youth Events: Saturday 12/9 from 12-2pm: Gull Cove Beach cleanup. Email gabe@smcportsmouth.org for more information.

Sunday 12/10: Baking Advent Cookies with Judy Hall in the Parish House Kitchen, 6PM. Email Judy at woofer64@yahoo.com to confirm attendance.

 Saturday 12/16: Movie and Popcorn Night. 6PM in the Adult Ed room of the Parish House.

Confirmation for Teens: Gathering for Confirmation preparation will begin Sunday December 3rd at 9AM. Classes will be held each week during the Sunday School hour with Jennie Williams and leader and mentor. Students are expected to worship and attend class each week. Additional expectations will be given on December 3rd. Please be sure you will be ready and available for the bishop's visitation and the sacrament of Confirmation on February 18th before making this commitment.

St. Mary's in partnership with The Sacred Center: Living Well Through Advent Guide will be used for Reflection, Connection and Prayer (RCP).  Please visit www.sacred-center.org for more information.

Christmas Pageant/Nativity rehearsal: will be at 11:30 on Sunday, December 17th in St. George's chapel. 
Christmas Worship...

Dec 23rd @ 5pm - Holy Eucharist

Dec 24th @ 8am - Sunday Advent 4 Holy Eucharist

Dec 24th @ 4pm - Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist w/ Pageant

Dec 24th @ 6pm - Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist

Dec 24th @ 9pm - Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist

Dec 25th @ 9am - Christmas Day Holy Eucharist

Dec 30th @ 5pm - Holy Eucharist w/ Lessons and Carols

Dec 31st @ 9am - Holy Eucharist w/ Lessons and Carols

Prayer Shawl Ministry......
Warmth given to those in need at MLK by the Prayer Shawl Members with warm hearts!

44 adult/children's hats
3 baby sweaters
50 pairs mittens
5 baby blankets




8 hat/scarf sets also given to Seaman's Church Institute


Thank you for your beautiful ministry!


New fundraising opportunity for St. Mary's...
You shop. Amazon gives. 

* Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (that would be us SMC!). 

*AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
 
*Support your charitable organization (SMC) by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.   This Link  will take you directly to smile.amazon.com in support of SMC so you won't have to search for SMC among almost a million other organizations.





The St. Mary's Giving Tree...

The Christmas Giving Tree is one of St. Mary's signature community outreach programs. We realize there are many families with children struggling in our economy, and we seek to bring the spirit of Christmas to them by providing gifts for their children. Once again, this year's Christmas Giving Tree recipients will be the children from the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center: http://www.mlkccenter.org

The Giving Tree will be located in the parish house starting Saturday, November 25thth. It will be decorated with red, green and white mitten tags. Please take a red mitten tag if you wish to purchase a gift for a girl and/or a green mitten tag if you wish to purchase a gift for a boy. The age of the child you are buying for is on the tag. If you would like to purchase a gift certificate instead of a toy, please feel free to do that. For gift ideas, check out this link.

Also, if you are feeling extra generous, take a white mitten tag and purchase a roll of wrapping paper and a bag of bows. Please take a mitten tag, purchase a gift and return it to the parish hall, unwrapped, no later than Sunday, December 10th.

Thank you in advance for your love and generosity. If you have questions about the Christmas Giving Tree, please contact Judy Hall at 924-4252 or at woofer64@yahoo.com





Website Update...
Special Feature of St. Mary's New Website
 
Two new things have popped up on our website - did you notice?

1. St. Mary's News - a new link on the Home Page that leads directly to news and happenings that are important to know.  Events can always, also be found on the Calendar - currently labelled Upcoming Events.

2. A new series of blog posts for Advent. The blog is still called Further Up and Further In - but the first post in December is an invitation to read and share some very special Advent stories and poems. Please consider sharing some of your favorite Advent writings. Guidelines and directions are on the post.

St. Mary's website is found at www.smcportsmouth.org. Come visit!




New Ministry...
 


Tuck Fund Scholarship...
 
It is that time of year again!  

Tuck Fund Scholarship Deadline is December 31st. Please see Kim in the Parish Office to pick up an application. 

Any questions, email Linda Drummond at lcdrummond1@verizon.net. 

Life Line Screening is returning to St. Mary's...
Let's Be Healthy Together!

Life Line Screening, a leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings will be in our community on Friday, January 26, 2018 at Saint Mary's Episcopal Church. Ultrasound screenings to Identify risk factors for Cardiovascular disease include; Carotid Artery (plaque buildup-a leading cause of stroke), Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (an enlargement or weak area in the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body), Peripheral Arterial Disease (hardening of the arteries in the legs), a Heart Rhythm Screening (an EKG to detect Atrial Fibrillation-irregular heartbeat) and an Osteoporosis Risk Assessment for men and women. Being proactive about your health by knowing your risks helps you and your doctor address problems early. 

Register online TODAY at www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle and receive your "Community Circle" discount and your Preferred Appointment!

Serving this week in worship...

Altar Guild
Ann Gizzi, Joanne Gracia, Kari Reardon, Ruth Siebens

Saturday at 5 pm
Greeter: Murray Edwards
Lector and Intercessor:  Carole Nicodemus
Lay Eucharistic Minister: Bob Vergnani

Sunday at 8 am
Crucifer: Steve Downing
Lector: Cindy Dube
Intercessor: Trish Culver
Lay Eucharistic Minister: Hugh Hall 
Greeter : Dave and Marcia Monroe

Sunday at 10:00 am
Crucifer: Dave Ferkinhoff
Acolyte/Torch Bearer: Sara Freitas, Andrew Silveria
Lector: Gregg Miliote, Chris Barker
Intercessor:Ted Bierman
Lay Eucharistic Ministers: Michelle Freitas
Greeters: Pauline Davis, Gladys Mae Walsh

Coffee Hour Hosts
Carol and Dave Brierley, Chris Winslow


Staff News...


Get in touch with your Staff

Associate Rector: stephanie@smcportsmouth.org
Parish Administrator: kim@smcportsmouth.org
Music Director: karin@smcportsmouth.org
Director of Christian Formation: gabe@smcportsmouth.org
Pastoral Musician: michael@smcportsmouth.org


The parish house is open Sunday 7 am to 12 pm; closed on Monday, Tuesday through Friday, 9 am to 3 pm; and by special arrangement with the Parish Administrator, Kim Bakoledis ( kim@smcportsmouth.org).