The Weekly Word
The Excitement of Christmas

No matter how old I get, as Christmas grows near, a feeling of excitement grows within me. The anticipation of gifts and festive meals is not the source of the excitement.  Of course, spending time with family is always something I look forward to.  At the heart of my Christmas excitement is the chance to start all over, once again.

As I immerse myself in the story of the Blessed Virgin Mary giving birth to God's Son, I am humbled by this great gift that God has given us.  In the lowliest of settings, the birth of our Savior brought new life - eternal life - to the world.  And, for me, the commemoration of that new life leads me to know and to feel that even in this present life, I am able to be reborn.  In Christmas, I realize that a new beginning is possible through which I can cast aside my faults and recommit myself to following the way of Jesus Christ.  

This miraculous opportunity to begin again with Christ is the greatest gift I can hope to receive in this Holy Season.  What could possibly be more exciting?

Blessings+
Fr. Brad



Sunday Service Times 
  • 8:30am and 10:30am: Holy Eucharist Rite II
  • 10:30am: Children's Chapel (Sunday School for ages K-5th Grade)
  • Childcare is available from 9:30am until 11:30am
See our Christian Formation page for more information on programs for infants, toddlers, children, youth and adults.
 
You are invited to submit your prayer requests here. Submission of your prayer request will be received by a member of our office staff and in the included in the parish prayer list. If received  after 5:00pm on Wednesdays, or you indicate that you would prefer to keep your prayer confidential, a member of our clergy will address your prayer privately.

nativity_scene.jpg
Christmas Service Times
Christmas Eve (Saturday)
6:00 p.m. Midnight Mass

Christmas Day (Sunday)
One Service at 10:00 a.m.
Pledges for 2017

Pledges 2017 continue to come in. If you have not already submitted a financial pledge for 2017, please do so by one of the following methods:
 
  • Mail your pledge card to the church office
     
  • Phone your pledge to Frances in the church office
    (254) 773-4255
     
  • E-mail your pledge to Frances in the church office stfrancistemple@stfrancistempletx.org
     
  • Drop your pledge card in the collection plate during Sunday Worship
Greetings My Friends in Christ

We are so blessed with the hard work and dedication of our St. Francis staff.   Keeping with tradition, the Vestry would like to honor and recognize each of them this Christmas with a monetary gift and we are asking each of you to make a donation to the staff gift fund.

If you wish to contribute and honor our staff, please place your contribution in the alms basin or send it to the church no later than December 18, 2016. Please designate your donation as "staff gifts". Your gifts will be distributed to our Rector, Fr. Brad; our Deacon, Tamara Clothier; our administrator, Frances Svatek; communication coordinator,  Caroline St. Romain; sexton, Ricky De la Garza; child care minister, Nicole Vernon; and our organist, Debra Johnson.

On behalf of the Vestry, I would like to thank you for your gifts as we show our appreciation for our wonderful staff members. Also, the Vestry wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas, and prays for God's Blessings upon each and every one of you throughout the New Year.
Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2017.

Christ's love,
Lyn Miller, Sr. Warden
St. Francis Episcopal
School Service Project
For the month of December, St. Francis School working with Bell County Foster Care to collect donations for their Rainbow Room.  The room services children ages birth-18 years of age.  The school is collecting winter jackets/hoodies (sizes newborn-adult) and shoes (sizes 6 toddler-adult sizes).  All donations must be new for the care center to accept them.  If our parishioners are interested in contributing, donations may be dropped off in front of our school kitchen area.
Feed My Sheep Hot Meal

As previously announced, Feed My Sheep has asked that we provide a Hot Meal on Wednesday, December 21st.  A menu has been decided of ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls & butter, pudding and fruit cups.  Christ Episcopal will be providing the sack lunches as well as assisting us on the actual day.  There are several opportunities to help!
 
* Mike Ludlow has graciously volunteered to slice the ham, but will need assistance.
* Shopping for and then delivering the food to CTLC
* The schedule for the actual day (Wednesday, 12/21) at CTLC:
  • Prepare and heat the meal from 9:00am-10:45am
  • Plate the meal from 10:45am-11:30am.
  • Meeting, visiting and praying will take place prior to the doors opening
  • Doors open at 11:30am
  • Clean up and finish by 1:00pm
We will be meeting in the Parish Hall this Sunday at 9:45am to finalize plans.  Please join us!
Grace and Peace, Deacon Tamara
What's Going on at
St. Francis this Week?
 
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18
Fourth Sunday in Advent
  • 8:30am Holy Eucharist Rite II 
     
  • 9:45am Feed My Sheep Hot Meal Planning
     
     
  • 10:30am Holy Eucharist Rite II
     
  • 10:30am  Children's Chapel
     
  • 11:30am Hospitality   
     
     
  • Childcare is available from 9:30 until 11:30am  
     
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20
  • Tuesday Solace (See description below)
     
WEDNESDAY, 
DECEMBER 21
  • Weekend Nutritional Backpack Ministry: 9:00am at CTLC - 702 West Avenue G, Temple TX (See description below) 
     
  • Feed My Sheep Hot Meal: 9:00-1:00pm
     
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22
  • Garden Work Day: Join us for garden workday every Thursday at 8:00am.
     
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24
  • Christmas Eve "Midnight Mass,"  6:00pm

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25
  • Christmas Day Service, 10:00am (one service)
Upcoming Events

C3KINGS3MILER EPIPHANY CELEBRATION
Saturday, January 7

Join St. Joseph's Episcopal Church in celebrating Epiphany and get your New Year's Resolutions for fit and healthy living off to a great start with a fun, family friendly race in historic Salado, Texas!  In addition to supporting the missions of St. Joseph's, proceeds from this year's race will support the Salado Family Relief Fund (SFRF). SFRF provides emergency relief to local families. Sign up and more information can be found here: https://runsignup.com/Race/TX/Salado/3Kings3Miler and don't forget to select Team St. Francis Episcopal!

SEEKING SERENITY AMIDST GRIEF: BEREAVEMENT GROUP AT ST. FRANCIS Begins Wednesday, January 11
Grief is the pain that results from any significant loss, especially the death of a loved one. Mourning (the act of grieving) has no time limit and should be viewed as a process, not an event.  Participation in a bereavement group offers one a sense of community with others who share a common experience that exists in no other venue.  While we may never "get over" the death of someone we love, through the redeeming grace of God, we can move forward in life in the new reality that someone we love is no longer with us on Earth.
If you are grieving the death of a loved one, I invite you to begin a journey toward peace in a Bereavement Group that will meet every other week on Wednesday afternoons from 3:00-4:30pm at St. Francis Episcopal Church. The Group begins on January 11 and ends April 19 for a total of 8 sessions.  To register, please contact the church office - 254 773-4255 or email stfrancistemple@stfrancistempletx.org.


READ THE BIBLE IN AS LITTLE AS SIX PAGES PER DAY
Begins Wednesday, January 18
Accomplish something millions have said is a life goal - read thru the entire Bible. Using the new Bible in 90 Days program you will go from Genesis to Revelation in just 6 pages a day. Join us as we experience the Bible together. Turn your aspiration into inspiration!
The group will meet every other Wednesday afternoon from 3:00-4:00pm at St. Francis Episcopal Church beginning January 18, 2017 and will end in early June.  The cost for materials is $20, and financial aid is available. Please register as soon as possible to ensure that we have enough materials for all participants. You may register by contacting St. Francis Episcopal Church at (254) 773-4255 or stfrancistemple@stfrancistempletx.org .  

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR 168TH COUNCIL IN GALVESTON
Volunteers are needed for the 2017 Council in Galveston, Thursday, February 9, through Saturday, February 11. This is a unique opportunity to serve. The schedule and additional information are available online at http://www.epicenter.org/council/ .

Ongoing Ministries 
Tuesday Solace: Tuesday Solace is a free service supporting families affected by Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia and takes place from 1:00 -4:00pm at the Parish Hall. Allowing caregivers respite time, the program provides music and singing, fun, social activities, and loving care to the participants.

Weekend Nutritional Backpack Ministry: Each Wednesday morning at 9:00am volunteers gather at CTLC (Churches Touching Lives for Christ) to fill 400 backpacks for the WNB Ministry. CTLC is located at 702 West Avenue G, Temple TX

Feed My Sheep Sack Meals (FMS) : On the 2nd Sunday of each month, all are invited to gather in the Parish at 9:30 to prepare 200 sack lunches for our neighbors who have limited access to food. The lunches are delivered after the 10:30 service to Feed My Sheep by those who may wish to volunteer. Our next scheduled sack meal preparation is Sunday, January 8. To learn how to get involved, please see Deacon Tamara.   
 
Churches Touching Lives for Christ (CTLC) :  The collection item for December 2016 is a Toy for children 18 months - 12 years old. The CTLC Christmas Room will open on December 6th through the 24th for parents of children needing presents. They need help keeping it stocked. Alternatively, a Blanket, new or gently used, may be donated.Items may be brought to the narthex on Sunday or to the Church Office during weekdays.
Ministers in the Lord's Service

Altar GuildEthelene Rodriguez, Kim Carpenter & Kyla Sherrard

Ushers: Heidi Couchman & Philip Okeson
Acolyte(s): Steffana Wojtaszek & Ian Wilson

Vestry Greeter:
Lay Readers
8:30: Richard Stillman
10:30 John Dieter & Nick Graham

Organist: Debra Johnson

Children's Chapel: Heidi Couchman
Hospitality: Roiann Ludlow
 

This Week's Birthdays & Anniversaries 
If your birthday or anniversary is missing or incorrect, please contact Frances and let her know!

December 18 Anniversary
Jerry & Cindy Allen

December 18 Anniversary
David & Marjorie Lewis

December 23 Birthday
Pat Ludlow
December 23 Birthday
Gaill Avots

December 28 Birthday
Stewart & Nancy Smith

December 29 Birthday
Philip Okeson

December 30 Birthday
Susan Strasburger





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