St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of December 4-10, 2017         

A time to be shared
Our Lessons and Carols service is a perfect opportunity to invite family and friends to enjoy the Advent preparations for the coming season of Christmas.

Come one, come all
Our annual Lessons and Carols service gives us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the season of Advent, the preparation for the coming season, Christmas, and the birth of Jesus. We sing more hymns and we read more readings in order to set the stage for what we know is coming near the end of the month.
This is a time for sharing. Our preparations are not only for St. Paul's congregation, they are for our neighbors and friends and family as well. Be sure to mention this to as many folks as possible.

8 am service readings:
Isaiah 40:1-11;  Psalm 85:1-2,8-13;
2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

This week's lessons
Advent is a serious season. It is one of waiting and preparing, not rushing to the event that follows, which we all know is Christmas. Advent is a season in which we remember that God's time is not like our time. We are impatient while God is patient. We are like, and some of us actually are, children who can't wait for Christmas.
Our Epistle at both the 8 am Rite I service and the Lessons and Carols service at 10 opens with these words:

  "But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come..."

It reminds us to be patient as God is patient and to recognize that the time we have--however long or short--is time to live into our faith or, as the epistle reading says, "come to repentance."

Our repentance is not a sackcloth and ashes proposition but instead joyous, engaging more often and more fully with God in prayers, joining others in worship and celebrations of our shared faith, and living our lives as God would have us do, loving our neighbor as our self.

Lessons and Carols readings: 
Micah 5:2-4; Isaiah 11:1-9; Zephaniah 3:14-18
Isaiah 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Luke 1:26-38 (39-56)

 Our Advent Supper Series 2017
When : Wednesdays:  December 6th, 13th and 20th

Time: 5:30
How it Works: Sign-up sheets are in the Narthex, and people sign up to attend, some bring soup, some bread and others juice.
We meet at 5:30 for food and fellowship followed by the topic for the evening (see below). We conclude the evening with Compline.
December 6th: Renewal Works Reviewed and Renewed: Aleen Josephs Clarke, our Renewal Works facilitator will take us back through the process that resulted in our five topics and we will see where we are and where we want to go with these areas of focus
December 13th: Anglican Reason The thinking behind our Church from its beginnings to today, presented by Warden Mark Debald
December 20th: Anglican Scripture Father Tyler will talk about Anglican handling of scripture and the "via media" or middle road chosen by Anglican theologians and philosophers over our denomination's 500 year history.
I hope to see you there!
Pete Bedrossian
Formation Committee Chair



There are a number of ways to figure out what is coming up (or for that matter what happened last Sunday) in church. Probably the best and most convenient is the Ordo Kalendar. These handy calendars reveal what the readings are throughout the year, what the liturgical colors are, which famous (or noteworthy) church person is commemorated on various days, what the major feast days are and numerous other details of church life that otherwise might go unnoticed.
Rose Marie Proctor, Altar Guild Matron, has calendars for sale for $5 each. The calendar sales are a fundraising effort by the Altar Guild to generate money for the church and to partially offset the expenses of our Altar Guild.
In addition to being a useful tool, the Ordo Kalendars make interesting and useful gifts for those involved and/or interested in deepening their knowledge of what is going on in church.

Saturday Bake Sale was a success along with the Men's Club Pancake Breakfast - together we raised $300.00. Thanks to all who helped and bought!!!

Dewy Clarke is hard at work mixing the batter

Charlie Benjamin & Mark DeBald are busy flipping all those pancakes  

Some of our Parishoners enjoying their yummy breakfast

Sunday, December 17 with Bishop Glasspool
All welcome!
     News from the Stewardship Committee  
Everyone should have received their pledge statement that shows money donated to the church through Nov. 30.   The statement also shows a pledge balance if there is one - it is circled in red.   Money donated in weekly envelopes is credited to your pledge.   All money donated in special envelopes counts as a donation, but not toward your pledge.  

If you have not yet completed a pledge form for 2018, please do so as soon as possible in order to have your envelopes for 2018.   They will be distributed beginning Dec. 17.  Your envelopes won't be there if we haven't received your pledge.
Many thanks to those who already submitted their pledge.

The Sunday Sermon.......
          The purpose of Advent

SERMON: 1 Advent B 12 3 17
Isa64:1-9; Ps80:1-7;1 Cor1:3-9;Mk13:24-37
We've all noticed the great anticipation of the coming of Christ. Or at least Christmas. Or at least of gifts and feasts and holidays. We've all noticed it, haven't we? The stores with Christmas Carols immediately following Halloween. The decorations that sprang up the day after Thanksgiving. Everybody's getting ready for the coming of Christ, aren't they? Aren't they?

If that were true I suspect their prayer of delight at Jesus' coming would go something like this: thank you God for Jesus, who inspires Santa to bring me lots of stuff. Or, thanks for Christmas, I mean Jesus' birthday, when my store sells a lot more stuff. Or something else utterly missing the point of Christmas.
This is why we have the season of Advent. We need time, no matter how many Christmases we've experienced and celebrated, to remember the importance of Christ's birth. So we have this season called Advent, derived from Latin, which means, "coming."

I know. I know. For weeks we had "It's coming!" signs around the church. That was New Consecration Sunday, though. This is something else. Sometimes the spirit of Christmas gets confused with the spirit of the coming of winter. So without being too churchy or critical of those who don't know the difference between Advent and Christmas and winter and a big sale at Macy's, I offer the following timely questions:

What is red, white and blue this time of year? A sad candy cane.
What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire? Frostbite.
What did the gingerbread man put on his bed? Cookie sheets.
Where does Old St. Nick keep his money? In a snow bank. (Obviously.)
And saving the best for last: What is a snowman's favorite Mexican food? Brrrrrrrr-itos!

Now I'd like to go back to Advent. You may have noticed a similarity between this Sunday's readings and a few of the most recent Gospel readings we've had assigned. They warn us to be alert, to be prepared, to pay attention. This is not a subtle message. It can even be scary.

Last Sunday, because our only service was at 4 pm, Molly and I went to St. Paul's in Pleasant Valley. Mother Megan preached on the Gospel, predictably. And she said she was not so sure about the eternal punishment declared for those who failed to welcome, clothe, feed, visit and otherwise care for those in need. Like my friend Megan I believe the message we need to get is that we are being shown a path to a better life and an eternal life when we are instructed on how to follow Jesus. Forget those who always ignore others; forget the times when we fail to care for others. When we do care for others we are preparing for the coming of Christ, and enjoying the life we want to have because it feeds us and fills us with joy and it helps us realize and experience the---are you ready?---the JOY OF CHRISTMAS. The meaning of Christ coming into our lives and our hearts and making us whole.

Now I know I kinda just did something like shout "Alleluia!" during Lent. I realize it. Worse, it was intentional. But that is how important this being attentive/paying attention/ staying awake stuff is in terms of our faith and our vigilance for Jesus. I am a fairly practical person in my faith. I find that when I pray and give thanks and recognize God's active role in the world I live in my life goes smoothly, cheerfully, spiritually. When I fail or forget to do so, the opposite happens. I prefer a happy faith to a grumpy agnosticism. That's why I focus on these messages for us to pay attention.

That was also a large part of our experience of the Renewal Works program during the last year. We took stock of where we were in our respective lives in faith and in our shared life in faith and made some decisions about what we wanted to do differently. The Renewal Works survey showed us where we felt we wanted to change. We ended up selecting five areas for attention. Do you remember what they were?

One goal was to experience an instructed celebration of the Holy Eucharist. On April 30 I conducted instructed Eucharists at both the 8 and 10 am service. I explained the different portions of the service, the readings, the music and the prayers, then paid special attention to the Eucharistic portion and the commemoration of Christ's Last Supper. The response was gratifying and we said we'd repeat the Instructed Eucharist once each year.

Musical diversity was another goal of our Renewal Works engagement. The most striking example of its fruit is our "Caribbean hallelujah" which precedes the Gospel reading at the 10 am service each Sunday. The organ restoration and use of other instruments in church also reflect this goal.

The Renewal Works program reports that most parishes that use their program seek to embed the Bible in more of their church activity and everyday life. We were no exception: a new Bible Study program was initiated on two Tuesday evenings each month at St. Paul's.

That actually led to our fourth area of focus: offering the Daily Office more frequently. The Daily Office is a cycle of prayer services, the key ones being Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. Your Vestry voted to organize committee meeting at St. Paul's to begin or end with Morning or Evening Prayer or Compline. Since initiating this program we have offered the Daily Office two to three times per week.

Enough curiosity about Anglicanism led us to establish a tutorial in three parts which deals with Anglicanism's careful balance of scripture, tradition and reason in its worship worldwide. Presentations were planned on these features and Anglican tradition has been presented at an evening forum with a very positive response from the congregation.

Presentations on scripture and reason are slated for this month. Our Formation Committee has planned a comprehensive Renewal Works update during the month of Advent, as we watchfully await the coming of Christ. We will use this time to reconnect with our experience in prior Advent and Christmas seasons and to reconnect with the work our parish has done in the past year under the rubric of Renewal Works.

The venue for this Advent adventure will be our traditional Advent supper series. There are only three Wednesdays between the First Sunday of Advent (today) and Christmas: Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Our practice is to have a signup sheet in the narthex for folks who intend to participate. Someone brings soup, someone brings bread, someone brings juice, and in the following weeks other people bring those things. Please consider signing up for this spiritual outing.
On Dec. 6 our Renewal Works facilitator, Aleen Josephs Clarke, will guide us through our process in the preceding months and help us to see clearly the decisions for the five elements chosen at St. Paul's. We will explore in more depth than I've presented today what we've done, why we've done it and where we hope it will take us.

Wednesday, Dec. 13 Warden Mark Debald will speak on the subject of Anglican reason, the thinking behind Anglicanism from its very roots to the present.
On Wednesday Dec. 20 I will talk about Anglican handling of scripture and the "via media" or middle road chosen by Anglican theologians and philosophers over our denomination's 500 year history.

From experience and from a considerable amount of reading and learning I've had on the subject I can tell you: spiritual deepening does not light on a person like a holy butterfly. It takes attention, exploration, discussion and determination to resolve our own, personal, unique relationship with God. That may sound arduous. I suppose it is. But it is lovely labor in pursuit of closeness of the one which gives us our life and our purpose.

Please ask yourself if you would like to deepen your faith and weigh carefully whether this is a unique opportunity to do just that. And plan to attend our three Wednesday sessions Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Whether or not you choose to attend, may God bless you and guide you in that direction. Amen

A sermon given at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY Dec. 3, 2017 by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

December 4-10 2017

MON 4            7:30am AA Meeting;                          
                        6pm Evening Prayer; Stewardship;                        
TUE 5             10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
                        6pm Evening Prayer;
WED 6              7:30am AA Meeting;  
           10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
           12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist; 
           5:30pm Advent Study;
THUR 7           10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;   
                         6pm Evening Prayer, Evangelism/Outreach;
FRI 8                7:30am AA meeting;
                         2pm Private PH Event;
SAT 9              1pm Private SH Event;                      
SUN 10            8am Rite I;
                        8:45am Lessons Discussions;
    9:30am Choir practice;  
           10am Rite II-Lessons & Carols
           10am Sunday School;
           11:15m Coffee Hour;
           11:30am Youth;


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