The Weekly Word
Joy and Peace to All

My wish for each of you is that you will feel God's love in a powerful way during this most blessed time. I had the honor of serving along with many from St. Francis and from Christ Church this past Wednesday as we distributed 250 hot meals. The people who received these meals may have not eaten if not for Feed My Sheep and its supporting churches. It was humbling to be in the midst of people who live an existence very different from our own. Serving and ministering to those in need is a very important element of what our church's business should be about. I imagine that it was in somewhat similar conditions that our Savior was born.

May you be filled with God's own peace as we rejoice in the birth of our Savior.


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.
December 25, 2016 - Christmas Day:
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Christmas Message

From Isaiah Chapter 9:

For unto us a child is born,
unto us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

These words of Isaiah are often seen as words that foretell and foreshadow the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary.  The truth is, these words befit Him because this child changed the world. This child changes lives. This child changes us.

I remember when our oldest daughter was a baby. My wife and I were young. We were footloose and fancy-free. It was just  the two of us newlyweds, so if we wanted to go out to eat dinner, we went out to eat dinner. If we decided to go to a movie  at the last minute, we just went. We actually felt like we had money back then. And we did have a little bit of discretionary  income. We could pretty much do what we wanted to do, within reason, and we didn't have to think too much about the  consequences or impact of a spontaneous decision and what we had to do to make that happen.

And then, all of a sudden, this little, innocent human being, a little child, came into our lives, and literally gained control  over our entire world. Before we could do anything else we had to think about, "Who's going to keep the baby?" or "Is this a  good time for us to go without the baby?" We soon learned that we were not in control of our lives anymore. Even our
sleeping patterns became very different. We would stay awake when the baby was awake and we went to sleep when the  baby went to sleep. Literally this child began to control our lives and the child didn't even know she was doing it. And then  we had a second one she did the exact same thing. And I've since learned that that's what babies do. When they arrive they
take over! And their parents begin to develop their lives around this child. To mold their entire lives around this precious  needy baby.

Isaiah wrote, " Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty  God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. " This child who was born of Mary changes everything. This child born in a  manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes changes how we live. This child born to the sound of angels singing Gloria in  excelcis deo -- this child to whom the wise ones came from afar bearing gifts --- this child, changed the way the entire world  works.

And this Jesus, born into a world torn by strife and hatred and division and pain and poverty, this child is born anew  wherever men and women say, "I'll follow Him. I'll follow Him as my Savior. I'll follow Him as my Lord."

When this child grew up, He said His reason for coming, again quoting Isaiah, from the 61st chapter, he said,

The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach Good News to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty all those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

This child, when He grew up, came to show us the way to live lives of love, lives of compassion, lives of goodness, lives of  kindness, lives of justice. This child came to show us how to change the world. So this Christmas, make room for him to  change us. This Christmas help us change the world. And make a new commitment, to go out from this day, to let this
Christmas Day, be the first day of a new world.

God bless you. God keep you. Have a blessed Christmas. A Happy New Year. And go on out and change the world!

Copyright © 2016 The Episcopal Church | http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/stw/


What's Going on at
St. Francis this Week?

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23
  • Office Closed
     
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24
Christmas Eve 6pm "Midnight Mass"
  • 6:00pm Holy Eucharist Rite II

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25
Christmas Day!
  • 10:00am Holy Eucharist Rite II 
     
 MONDAY, DECEMBER 26
  • Office Closed

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27
  • Tuesday Solace (See description below)
     
WEDNESDAY, 
DECEMBER 28
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29
  • Garden Work Day: Join us for garden workday every Thursday at 8:00am.
     
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30
  • Office Closed

MONDAY, JANUARY 2
  • Office Closed
Upcoming Events

THE EPIPHANY SERVICE
Friday, January 6: 12:30pm, Outdoor Chapel (weather permitting)


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/ .


CEDARBRAKE DAY of REFLECTION - WOMEN OF FAITH
Monday, January 16: 9:00am-2:30pm
Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

We will spend this day reflecting on the gifts of five women whose courageous actions impacted the world. (Sojourner Truth, Thea Bowman, Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman) Their fearlessness and faithfulness changed lives because they embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Come and learn about these incredible women; who they were and what they did.  Beverly Collin will facilitate this day.  The cost is $40 and includes lunch.  Register here: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=9329ee or call 254-780-2436.  
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 January 2017 is Mac & Cheese.  Items may be brought to the narthex on Sunday or to the Church Office during weekdays.
Ministers in the Lord's Service

Altar GuildSharon Hughes & Tammy Schaefer

Ushers: Chip Schaefer & Jana Deakins
Acolyte(s): Collin Wilson & Noah Schaefer

Vestry Greeter: Cindy Allen
Lay Readers

Organist: Debra Johnson

Children's Chapel: Heidi Couchman
Hospitality:
 

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

December 28 Birthday
Stewart & Nancy Smith

December 29 Birthday
Philip Okeson

December 30 Birthday
Susan Strasburger



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