A community reshaping itself to be fit for God's purpose.

Thursday, December 19, 2019
Cause for Great Celebration

This last Sunday was a high point in the myriad of wonderful experiences in our common life at St Martin’s. The Stearns Room was full to overflowing with Christmas gifts; an expression of Our Hearts are Open ministry to children recommended to us by the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. One might have mistaken the Stearns Room on Sunday for Santa’s workroom - as the elves busied themselves with the preparation of the already wrapped gifts for distribution to 69 children. It took 5 car loads to deliver the gifts. Let me offer a big collective shout-out to

Karen Ng & Emma and Abby Marion, Gloria & Rich, Elijah and Gabriel Turilli, Pat Whitman, and Mary & Bill Hollinshead

for their tireless efforts to ensure that this annual ministry continues as one of the high points among our outreach programs!!!

In the afternoon around 180 members, their friends, neighbors and others from the wider community gathered for our annual Carol Sing-Along. This is not a religious service of carols but harkens back to the older tradition of singing carols in more everyday settings – about which I wrote last week. Each year this gets better and better, and the high point this year was to have the Kids' Choir up on stage singing a special version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. On our FaceBook and Instagram feeds, you can view the great photos from the event with the video of the kids singing, taken by David Brookhart and Amy Stewart. Another shout-out to the organizing committee:

Natasha Lofgren, Jan Burling, Lauren Hill, Amy Stewart, Jane Taylor, and Brigit Timpson, with Gabe Alfieri, M.C. and Gigi Mitchell-Velasco, accompanist.

In the photos, be sure to catch Lauren and Amy in complementary Llama Christmas sweaters.

It’s now full steam ahead to Christmas. One notable feature of our Christmas at St. Martin’s is our Blue Christmas Service, always celebrated on the Winter Solstice, which this year is Saturday, December 21 st at 5:30 pm. Blue Christmas is:  a time for the sorrowful in a season of joy. For many, this time of year is complicated by anniversaries of loss. As we celebrate the arrival of the Christ-child we want to honor all our emotions, remembering that the actual birth of Jesus was also accompanied by a time of great loss and sorrow in Bethlehem, as the genocidal king, Herod the Great, slew all male newborns in his frantic attempt to kill the babe that Isaiah had foretold would be the Messiah. Each year, the Church commemorates this tragedy on Holy Innocents , December 28 th .

Please spread the word about Blue Christmas, a service of readings and beautiful song, accompanied by the lighting of many candles signifying different categories of human loss.

We return on Sunday for the final Sunday in Advent. This Advent, the sermons have explored the complexities of hope in a fuller vision of Advent as a time of preparation, not only for the birth of Jesus but also of anticipation for his return. You can see Linda+ and my explorations of this theme on the sermons page of the website .

This is my last weekly message before Christmas. On Christmas Eve at 4 pm we will celebrate the first vigil of Christmas with a less formal (remember, "less formal" is a relative term for Episcopalians) style of celebration including our annual inter-generational Christmas pageant. Our 4 pm service is now our largest Christmas service, so remember to try to be here a little earlier to get parking close by and a seat. The traditional Midnight Mass style of service now takes place at 9 pm at the Solemn Vigil Mass of Christmas with traditional Crib blessing, beautiful organ, oboe, and choral music. At 10 am on Christmas Day there will be a quiet and simple celebration for those who seek a more contemplative experience.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming services. Let me take this opportunity to wish you, on behalf of Church Wardens, Vestry, and Staff, a very blessed Christmas with peace and joy for a New Year!


News & Upcoming Events
Calling All Men and Women -
(to come to the aid of the parish)

John Bracken, David Brookhart and Father Mark are interested to hear from anyone who would like to discuss the responsibilities of becoming a member of the Vestry. This is not an onerous responsibility, but offers an opportunity to help shape our community vision and make those necessary decisions that fall to lay leadership.

We have a deadline to hear by December 20th please!

Calling All Shepherds, Sheep, Angels & Kings! 

We're looking for young, budding actors and actresses to participate in our Pageant on Christmas Eve at the 4:00 p.m. service. There will be one rehearsal, after the 9:30 a.m. liturgy on December 22. Children of all ages are welcome, and if you have visiting grandchildren or nieces and nephews who would like to take part, we'd love to have them join us! Please email Linda Griggs  if you are interested. 
Aurea Ensemble
Friday, December 20, 7 pm

A Child's Christmas in Wales features a delightful reading of the Dylan Thomas classic story, with musical interludes of Percy Grainger, Benjamin Britten and old English carols. This event will be held at St. Martin's. Click here for more information.
Knitting Ministry Party
Saturday, December 21, 11:30 - 2:30

The Knitting Ministry will be holding a Potluck & Secret Santa Party on Saturday, December 21 from 11:30 to 2:30. Please email Natasha Lofgren for details.

Gifting Stock to the Parish

Please notify the church office if you are considering a gift of stock to St. Martin's Parish to ensure donors are properly identified. Thank you for your generosity!

candles dark

Saturday, December 21
5:30 pm   Blue Christmas Service

Tuesday, December 24, Christmas Eve
4 pm  Holy Eucharist and Christmas Pageant
9 pm  Solemn Mass with special music

Wednesday, December 25, Christmas Day
10 am  Holy Eucharist with sermon but no music

Sunday after Christmas, December 29
One Service   9:30 am:  Holy Eucharist with Lessons & Carols
St. Martin's Church | 50 Orchard Ave, Providence RI |02906
(401) 751-2141