Mission Tidings Newsletter

  December 2016

In This Issue
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Reverend's Reflections
St. Luke's Mariner's Cross
Dear People of God at St. Luke's,

Did you know that we are in the 5777, or 1448, or 3738? That would be 5777 years since the rabbinically stated creation of Adam, or 1448 years since Mohammad traveled from Mecca to Medina (or the other way around?), and the last is Zoroastrian...one of the world faiths that rivals Hinduism in antiquity, founded in Persia (Iran); they find the representation of their god in fire, their 'bad guy' is equal in power with the good god (think the Force in Star Wars, which has to be in balance...or the Manicheans of St. Augustine's time and original faith until his conversion to Christianity, pretty much via the Holy Spirit of course, but really his mom Monica).
By the way all of those calendars (and the Mayan, Buddhist versions, and native religions which don't work by calendar) share between solar and lunar calendars, as did the West until quite late into the Middle Ages (Eastern Orthodox still follow the same cycles and months as the Jews--Passover and Good Friday are always synchronized for them, sometimes for us). I really don't understand it all, event though I had a whole course in sacred calendars and how the Christian one was shaped specifically. I just know that the Jews add an extra month every 2-3 years, and they're all comfortable and knowledgeable about it. It's the leap day/year thing that causes headaches for any attempt at a calendar...oh and for us we also get a leap second every so often). 
All that to say, to Christians everywhere who are liturgical in worship: Happy New Year. Advent started our new year the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Of course it wasn't always this way--Advent leading to Christmas on Dec. 25th. The original Christians probably celebrated Jesus' birth on the anniversary of his resurrection. They were drawn to the symmetry of it all. So it was in March. Now we get the Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary in March (the 25th, 9 months to the day before Christmas). Last aside before turning to Advent, my real theme: you know how it was tradition for the longest time to have an Easter Vigil--basically a really really long service of Bible readings, after lighting the new fire, named the Paschal (Passover) fire, from which the Paschal candle is lit--the big candle on a stand that appears for all of Easter, for baptisms and funerals. Christ is risen! 
We do not celebrate the start of our new year with champagne and revelry. We begin preparing, reflectively, quietly..The sun is appearing fewer and fewer hours, all is quieting down with the cold, dormancy of nature...at least in the Northern Hemisphere where these Christian traditions began (Australians: it's summer time!).  Then THE STAR! And angels making the night seem as day for the shepherds--not the city or town folk, not the rulers or armies--shepherds sleeping rough outdoors. According to the Wunderground it is getting down to low 40s each night in Bethlehem. 
For the longest time Christians started feasting Christmas eve and continued--no work--for 12 days, until the Magi arrived for the Epiphany on January 6th. Oddly, we've just circled back to the Persians--'magi,' plural for 'magus' is the only Persian word in the Bible.
I invite you to what I called last Sunday the practice of "Holy Pause." Before starting any new activities--getting out of bed,leaving house to get in car, prepare a meal, or during conversations with others that go beyond, 'How are you doing,' 'fine, how about you.' Reflect on why you're doing it it's value, who it might touch, how you would like your best self present, and how God is present to help in all of these things.
Keep the faith!
P.S. As I wrote that keep the faith it occurred to me how challenging that might be for many in this time of uneasy transition in national leadership. The Sunday after the election I preached a sermon directly addressing our batpismal vows, how we are to respect the dignity of all human beings, treat others as ourselves, in contrast to some of the racism and xenophbia declared and embraced. Copies are out in the narthex. Sermons are tricky things though. Great orators of past ages have collected sermons we can read. All are preached though in a community, face to face, where we are praying together, confessing sins, passing the Peace, coming to the same table. So if you pick up a copy and weren't there, or want to pass it on to others, know that I am available and would embrace conversation, just as I did during coffee hour after that Sunday.

Stewardship 2017
We need you! Our Goal: 100 pledges totaling $200,000

If you have pledged, thank you! If you have not pledged yet, please try to pledge before Sunday, December 4, 2016.
Thought of the week:
The "Old Hundredth" hymn, "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow," comes to mind when I think of Stewardship. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below..." As we think of all the blessings that God has bestowed on us, we cannot help but want to be a blessing to others through spiritual and monetary gifts that spread the message of His incredible love and blessings to others. Please pledge to help St. Luke's in all that it does for our community.
Observe Advent by Using Advent              Calendar of Giving
Click here to open your 'reverse' Advent Calendar.
Copies are also available in the Narthex.
Chrismas Flowers 
Would you like to remember a loved one in a special way this Christmas? Please look for the Christmas Flower envelopes in the pews...simply note your dedication and return the envelope with your donation before December 15th.
Church School News
Christmas Pageant Information:
Our Christmas Pageant will be on Sunday, December 18th during the 10 AM service. All the children and teens are invited to participate. There will be one rehearsal. Sign up with Bethany at the 10 AM service on Dec. 4 or contact Bethany Bergin at sbbergin@comcast.net
Sunday, December 11:  Rehearsal and distribution of costumes after the 10:00 service.
Saturday, December 17: Rehearsal for major speakers. Time to be determined
Sunday, December 18: Pageant at the 10:00 service.
Come to the Terrific Thrift Shop!
The primary class has opened a shop to raise money for their outreach project. The proceeds will go toward coloring books for children in hospitals. The Terrific Thrift shop will be open during the coffee hour. Check out the exciting merchandise, meet our enthusiastic staff and discover some fabulous bargains!
Donate Coloring Books!
Bring in a coloring book and put it in the bin in the Narthex to also contribute to the coloring book project!
Join The Gathering!
Join the Gathering Staff!  You will tell the story of the day to our church school children during the 20 minute Gathering which starts at 9:45 and ends about 10:00.
Wish List:
Piano Cover
Christmas Services
"O come let us adore Him."
Christmas Eve:
4 PM- Family Service
9 PM- Choral Festal Eucharist
Christmas Day:
10 AM- Holy Eucharist, no music
Volunteers needed to LEM, Usher & Greet, please contact the Church Office, stlukes.scituate@gmail.com
 No Community Dinner in December
Since Christmas falls on the 4th Sunday this month, we will not be having a Community Dinner, but wish a Merry Christmas to one and all!
Congratulations to the proud parents, Natalie & Christopher
St. George and Amelia & Philip Chadwell, on the  Baptisms of Isabelle Campbell St. George and Beatrix Isla Chadwell this past month. Welcome to St. Luke's!
Deficit Elimination Fund Report             
The Vestry is pleased to report that the response to the effort to eliminate the current year budget deficit has been successful. The response of the parishioners and others has resulted in total pledges of $25,728 (including the gifts of the 'matching group'), of which $21,328 has been received as of November 28. Thank you all for the very generous response.
Vestry Minutes                                  
You can now find minutes from Vestry meetings starting with September's and going forward, on St. Luke's webpage, under Our Community, Vestry.
Congratulations to Ted LeClair! 
Captain Ted LeClair, USNR will be made Commanding Officer, USN 7th Fleet on December 6th at Fort Worth, Texas.
Ted is a former long time parishioner who was baptized, confirmed and served as an Acolyte at St. Luke's.