Advent Lessons &
Carols & Advent Tea
○ December 10th
○ December 16th
○ December 20th
To the Glory of God and for the Common Good, we make God's love known now and for generations to come through worship and service to all.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Advent comes as a season in the darkness of night. In the north we feel this more keenly. Daylight fades so early and many long hours are spent in the cold, quiet, dark. In this season we wait for God's light, born again to us at Christmas and yet coming to us still at the end of time. Waiting can be hard and I suspect most of us might confess to impatience at times. But waiting can teach us and train us (appropriate for a season of preparation). Waiting with expectation heightens our senses. In the dark, we may not see so clearly, but our hearts might hear more clearly. Words that otherwise might be lost in the din of activity might reach us and change us as we listen. Waiting also encourages us to only hold on to what is most important. Advent can be a time of renewing our sense of who we are and what is most important, a time of renewing our identity. We have a God given identity as God's own beloved. We who are loved of God, cherished of God, forgiven, saved, redeemed of God, and recognize our own God-given identity can be set free from the anxiety of forging an identity, proving our worth. Trusting in God's life-giving power to free us from the power of death and give us unending life with him can set us free from anxiety and the fear of meaninglessness. Hoping in the promise of God's ultimate reign of justice, mercy, and peace, can set us free from anxiety for immediate results. In Advent and always, as a Christian community we have a powerful opportunity to live in anxious times without being consumed by the anxiety that seems to be all around us.
We live in the midst of a polarized and divided time. Anxiety makes tempers short. We are quick to take offense. Walls of defense rise quickly in any disagreement. In our post election season, our society is no closer to consensus, to mutual understanding, to compassion or humility than it was before the election. As the Church, called to be in the world but not of the world, how can we make a difference?
Currently our Diocese is offering us an opportunity -facilitated, structured and supported - to reach out and make a difference through listening and building relationships with our neighbors. Beginning in January, a new initiative called
"Living Local" is being launched. Parishes are invited to join
"Living Local" if a small group within the parish is willing to meet monthly or so, to intentionally listen to neighbors and instigate opportunities to meet and know them. Listening to our neighbors could be a powerful exercise at this time in our community, and a great witness. The initiative is facilitated and supported by coaches, and listening in the neighborhood is meant to become part of listening for God. Developing sensitivity to and discernment of God's presence and activity, as well as his leading, are meant to be part of the process. Meeting God beyond the walls of our church and in the faces of people we do not yet know is part of the design of the initiative. If this sounds intriguing to you, I encourage you to read the Bishop's Convention address, found in this newsletter. The Vestry and I are intrigued and interested in seeing if a small group might develop at St. John's. Deacon Ann McAlhany, and parishioners Pat Sprague and Jane Hassler-White have each expressed committed interest in
"Living Local" and a desire to see St. John's participate. Our participation, however, is dependent on the interest of others and at least 3 others who would personally like to participate as a group. If St. John's wishes to join the Diocesan initiative, we must declare that by Christmas. If you might be interested in this initiative, please speak with either Dcn. Ann, Pat, Jane, our Sr. Warden, or with me.
As we listen throughout this Advent, may God's own love be revealed to us - in and through his people, both friend and stranger. May we know more deeply his love for us, the source of our identity. May we see more clearly his love for others, and for his whole creation - clear preparation for celebrating both the mystery of God's incarnation at Christmas, and his coming again.
Blessings upon your Advent season.
Yours in Christ,
Social Outreach & Faithful Engagement
Ten men and women interested in social outreach met in faithful engagement in the undercroft on the first Sunday after the presidential election; some of us needed to talk. Two words floated back and forth in the conversation: Civil and Civic.
There was a general agreement that civics was no longer being taught. or taught effectively, in public school. One in our circle questioned how many people understood the Electoral College. I cringed. Writing was suggested as a tool of outreach. The thought opens many avenues. Our discussions will continue as we seek ways to express our faith through actions.
From the Rector: The meeting Sheila has described was the second meeting for "Faithful Engagement". On the Sunday before our election, we were first invited to the Undercroft for a discussion entitled "faithful engagement" led by the director of the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice. The conversation began with people sharing why they had come and what they hoped for from the evening. A repeated response from many who were there was a care and concern for our country and its divided people and a longing to be part of reconciliation, of coming together, of understanding. How to do that was not articulated or solved. But the common desire was expressed. Some also expressed their desire to see the Church engaged in civil discourse, to be a place and a forum where people could come together and express differences, and be heard with respect. Some expressed hope that their Church could be visible and vocal in public life. No conclusions were drawn. The Sunday following the election, an invitation to meet again brought people together as Sheila has described. Consensus said that questions of faithful engagement in our current time are worth pondering and worthy of further meetings.
On that same post-election Sunday, our guest-preacher, the Rev. Ginny Peacock, shared words from the pulpit that were heard very differently across the congregation. Some have said they heard her offer hope for moving forward and a call to seek ways to care for each other even if we disagree or don't understand each others. Some have said they heard her speak with condescension even hatred for those who differed from her. The stark differences of how her words were heard highlight and underscore our need to talk more, listen more, meet more, - and not less.
It could be tempting to retreat within our parish community to silos and corners, to talk only in small circles, to avoid any disagreement. I pray that we will risk coming together, meeting, talking, listening. I believe it is important for us, for the depth and quality of our own community. I believe it is important to our faithful response to God's love for each of us. I believe it is important to our witness and ministry to the community around us. If we cannot have meaningful and respectful conversations about our common life, we cannot invite others into such conversations and be a blessing to our community in a divided age. As future times and opportunities for conversation emerge, please come and take part.
2016 Convention Address
Bishop Stephen T. Lane
A link to the full article can be found
The Episcopal Church in Maine
197th Annual Convention 22 October 2016 Portland, ME
Address by the Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane
Living Local: Joining God
...In Maine, one of the ways we are trying to follow Jesus is through our participation in
Living Local: Joining God. We will invest two years and a significant amount of resources in an effort to help our faith communities discover new ways of discerning God's presence and of joining God's work with those around us. Our conviction is that God is already present, in the church - yes - but also in God's world outside the church doors. We want to learn new ways to recognize God's presence and join in.
What will that look like?
Living Local: Joining God will help us learn how to behave as Christians in a world now quite different from the one we grew up in. We'll gather together to listen to God through Scripture; we'll discern how God might be at work in the communities around us; we'll try new ways of connecting with those communities; and then--and this is the most important part--we'll gather again to see what we learned, and based on those insights, we'll keep seeking new ways to connect. If we are to be God's people, we need to look beyond ourselves. The Good News is that God is out ahead of us doing God's work of restoration and renewal. We are called now to the work of discipleship: of going where God is, and learning how we can join in God's work.
Since last spring, many congregations have attended one or both of the preliminary meetings of
Living Local: Joining God. They are now discerning whether or not to commit to the adventure over the next two years.
Living Local: Joining God will provide coaching and peer support as lay leaders try out new behaviors. The leadership of lay people is critical: clergy will support but not direct the participation of their congregations, and clergy will have their own peer group to help them reflect on this role.
Choir School - This year's music program at St. John's includes five Saturday "Choir Schools" for younger singers. We had 12 singers at the October Choir School and 14 and the one in November. In addition to studying singing technique, learning several pieces, and improving musical literacy, the choristers even went up to the pipe chambers of the St. John's pipe organ and learn more about how the instrument works.
Participants in the November 12 Choir School
December Music at St. John's
December is one of the busiest months of the year for music at St. John's.
Sunday, Dec 4, 4 pm - Advent Lessons and Carols
This popular annual service in preparation for Christmas will feature
familiar carols such as "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" and "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" as well as less familiar selections by Hassler, Messiaen, and others. The service is followed by our festive Advent Tea. Child care provided.
Friday, Dec 9, 7 pm - Concert
Bangor Area Children's Choir - Night and the Stars
BACC's winter concert will include a wide variety of musical styles on the theme of Night and the Stars. Fresh arrangements of Silent Night and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star will be sung, as well as Haydn's The Heavens are Telling and The Snow Lay on the Ground. Contemporary selections include Duel of the Fates from Star Wars, Northern Lights by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo, and Take Me Home by the a cappella group Pentatonix.
Sunday, December 11, 4:00 pm - Concert
Euphony, Orono's Chamber Choir
Saturday, Dec 24, 3:45/4:00; 10:30/11:00 pm
Christmas Eve Carols and Sung Eucharist
Choir selections are taken from a newly published collection, Carols for Choirs 5, given in memory of long-time St. John's Choirmaster, Fred Jones. New pieces include Sussex Carol and O Little Town of Bethlehem by Bob Chilcott, A Patre Unigenitus by Swiss composer Carl Rütti, and the beautiful My Lord Has Come with words and music by British composer Will Todd.
Shepherds, called by angels, called by love and angels;
No place for them but a stable. My Lord has come.
Sages, searching for stars, searching for love in heaven;
No place for them but a stable. My Lord has come.
His love will hold me, his love will cherish me, love will cradle me.
Lead me to see him, sages and shepherds and angels;
No place for me but a stable, My Lord has come.
Violin Duo Recital, followed by Festive Reception - Saturday, December 31, 8:00 pm
Love's Joy and Love's Sorrow, Heidi Powell and Richard Hsu, violinists - Join us for this free concert of music as a part of Bangor's Downtown Countdown. The concert is preceded at 7:00 pm by a Eucharist for the Eve of the Feast of the Holy Name. Donations will benefit the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter
Christmas Basket Goal
There are many children and families in the Bangor area that need our help at Christmas. Will you join your fellow parishioners and buy a toy for a child or donate money to buy the family a Christmas dinner?
St. John's has a list of 32 children from Penquis Cap child care centers. These children come from families that are often headed by single parents. They may live from paycheck to paycheck and have very little left over at the end of the month to purchase anything extra. Buying presents and special treats at Christmas is an enormous stress for these deserving people. You can help them out by buying a $20 gift for one of these kids. Please see Cassy Palmer after church for an envelope with a child's name on it.
If you are too busy to buy a gift or you don't like to shop, you can make a monetary donation to the Christmas Basket fund. We need about $100 per family to provide them with a turkey and other supplies to make a Christmas dinner. We have 12 families that need our help, which totals $1,200. So far we have collected $790. We still need $410. Won't you help us reach our goal?
Please give what you can. This is a great way to teach the children in your family about the spirit of giving. Let them shop with you and see how gratifying it is to give a gift to someone else. These children are counting on you this year - please don't let them down.
"Whose Words Are These, Anyway?"
A link to the full article can be found here.
"Whose Words Are These, Anyway?"
reflections on Liturgy and Language
The Rev. Lev Sherman, St. John's Episcopal Church Bangor ME October 16, 2016
(Proper 24-C Pentecost 22
: Genesis 32: 22-31, Ps 121, 2Tim 3:14-4:5, Luke 18: 1-8)
Our task this morning is language: we are here to talk about how we use it, why it is important, how we evaluate and value it. And specifically, we are taking this time to examine the issues of language and its impact in comparing the two versions of our service celebrating the Holy Eucharist: one with contemporary form and words; and the other following the tradition of our historical prayer book of 1928. But in order to set up this examination, I want to share with you some of my thoughts about language and its implications in a more general way.
One of my favorite stories from the annals of Maine humor concerns a family of tourists who stop at a gas station in Vassalboro. They drive up in a station wagon filled with shells, driftwood, wreaths and tipped branches, maple syrup, apples, and corn. On top of the car is tied a deer carcass and a large Christmas tree. As the store owner comes out, he gives a stunned look at the car as the driver gets out to ask him: "Mister, can I take this road to Portland??" The owner slowly pulls his eyes away from the car and looks at the driver:
So some people can speak what they think is a clear statement, yet it can be heard very differently through another person's interpretation. I recently heard a remarkable presentation on the radio: Linguist John McWhorter was speaking about his new book, entitled "Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still." McWhorter explores how the meaning of words change dramatically over time, and gives us some interesting perspectives on this process. "No one," he says "minds that today the clouds are neither in the same position nor in the same shapes they were yesterday. Yet more than a few mind that today the way people are talking is always changing.
"Well, I guess so.... Looks like you've taken 'bout everything else."
November AND December are Anglicanism Months in the Library!
We found so many great books on Anglicanism - its history, polity, and theology, as well as a few biographies and addresses - that we have decided to continue offering them through the end of 2016. Anyone with an interest in what sets Anglicanism apart from other denominations should take a few minutes to check them out.
We've shifted locations! To make it more convenient for all parishioners to see what's available from our library annex (i.e. the little wire book rack), we have moved the books from the undercroft to the back of the church. Please take a few moments to stop by the table adjacent to the last pew on the Gospel side of the church. If you would like to borrow a book, just fill out the card in the back with your name and the date, and leave it in the labeled box. You can return books to the same location (the box).
Adult Christian Education and Formation: November & December
EMBRACING THE PROPHETS IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE
There are still two sessions of the Walter Brueggemann dvd series i
n the chapel on Sundays at 11:30:
The Grief of Loss as Divine Judgment on
Nov 27th; and
The Promissory Language that Breaks Despair on
Dec 4th. Come join the growing population of Brueggemann fans here at St John's. And then look for some of Walter's many books to be featured in the coffee hour library annex sometime after the new year.
Advent Book Discussion:
Bright Evening Start: Mystery of the Incarnation,
by Madeleine L'Engle. In this book L'Engle "steers us away from the sterile, intellectual approach of Christian scholars and unravels God's entrance into this world with stories and personal reflections." Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. (following the noon service) in the oratory in the church office building: November 30 and December 7, 14, & 21. Please read the first three chapters for our discussion on the 30th. (This book is out of print, but is still available through Amazon's suppliers. Prices are very reasonable, but order as soon as possible because of shipping time.)
On-Line Course Offering:
The Archbishop of Canterbury is inviting the world to get more out of the Bible at the start of the Christian year by offering a free online course called
Getting More Out of the Bible with Justin Welby.
The class will be open on Nov. 27 and stay open and free all of Advent, Nov 27 - Dec 24. We are living in divisive and complex times where honing abilities to live peaceful, wholehearted lives is increasingly difficult. The Bible regularly proves to be the inspiration behind lives of kindness, authenticity, and reconciliation. "A key message of the Bible is transformation," says Welby, "And now more than ever our lives, communities, and society will all benefit from the re-discovery of the Bible as a source of transformation."
During Advent all classes will be preparing for the coming of Christ with lessons of the season:
Wating for the Coming; Zechariah & Elizabeth; John the Baptist; and
Jesus is Born.
There will be no Sunday School on Christmas Day.
Both JR & SR YES groups will have class on December 11th. Lessons begin at 12:00 in the parish office building, and conclude at 1:30. The topic for the SR YES class on December 11th will be
There will be no service day for either group in December because the fourth Sunday is Christmas Day.
SR YES SERVICE PROJECT
Students in the confirmation class (SR YES) are planning to offer tech classes to all parishioners who wish to either begin using various forms of social media or to improve their skills. Subjects will include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and almost anything else parishioners are interested in. "Classes" will be offered during coffee hours. A list of topics and dates is being developed. If you have specific needs or questions, contact
or speak to one of our teens.
As a first offering, and to foster participation is SSJE's AdventWord program, please join us on December 4th during coffee hour, when our confirmands will be showing us how to upload images to SSJE using FB, Instagram, or Twitter.
The Annual Epiphany Pageant is slated for Sunday, January 8th.
for the pageant are scheduled for Sunday, December 4th, 11th, and 18th, a
is set for Sunday, January 1st, and the final
will be on Saturday, January 7th. If you are interested in being a part of the Annual Epiphany please contact
Announcements & Looking Ahead
Habitat For Humanity needs volunteers to help hang drywall at 95 Birchwood Avenue in Bangor on December 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15.
CLICK here to sign up for one day or all five!
The Women's Book Group
will meet next on Tuesday, November 29th, at 7 pm at the home of Marisue Pickering, located at 6 Longwood Court (Dirigo Pines), Orono, 866-2606. (Please note that this is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.) November's Book is Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther De Waal -- an older book. There are two copies at the library, but a number of used copies are on Amazon. It is also available new and on Kindle. Marisue will lead the discussion.
: At each coffee hour in November our Youth will be hosting a
Living Gift Market
. If you are hoping to make the upcoming Christmas season even more meaningful for you and your family, stop by to view the display items showing how your gift could make a real difference in the lives of people in need, both near and far.
Scrip gift cards are available at the Christmas Market in the Undercroft.
When you purchase a gift card, St. John's will receive a percentage to help support our outreach programs. Consider purchasing your holiday gift cards this month with St. John's, there are dozens of stores and restaurants to chose from.
Advent Lessons and Carols, Sunday, December 4 at 4:00 pm
. Don't forget to mark your calendars for this favorite service. Music will include familiar carols such as "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" and "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" as well as less familiar selections by Hassler, Messiaen, and others. The service is followed by our festive Advent Tea. Child care provided.
Are you looking for an opportunity to get involved?
we're looking for holiday helpers who'd like to be coffee and tea pourers and help with clean up for our Advent Tea. If you would like to help, please add your name to the sign up sheet located in the Undercroft on the bulletin board or call or email the church office.
Are you looking to get involved this Christmas?
Our Cleanup for Christmas is scheduled for
from 8:30 am - Noon.
Please join us if you can, as many hands make light work.
On Friday December 16t
join us for our annual Grinch Night.
Come enjoy pizza, special Grinchy crafts, and a showing of the classic Dr. Seuss story at
. Please RSVP to the office or on Facebook to help us plan.
Join us on Tuesday December 20t
for our Advent Quiet Evening
at 6 pm.
After an opportunity to quiet reflection to beautiful music, we'll head downstairs to share for body and soul with a simple soup supper prepared by our clergy and with conversations about God's leadings and what we're seeing this Advent.