This issue includes news about The Salvation Army Angel Tree,
 the Advent program, A Toast to Beth & Nic...and more
The Councils of the Church

As you will see in the report from our Senior Warden, the annual Diocesan Convention happened at the beginning of this month. As long as Episcopal Church in the United States has been around, our bylaws have stipulated that we must gather on a regular basis to do the business of the church. I am one of the (very) few people who loves the Councils of the Church! And, I am also one of the many who gets quickly frustrated with the Councils of the Church. However, as the prominence of the institutional church has shifted from central and influential to marginal, the role of this business has been less clear. What is the purpose of our gathering, and what impact does it make? Does anyone beyond the institution care about what the Episcopal Church, as a legislative body, has to say about anything?
 We are in the midst of transition in the Diocese of Virginia. Instead of three bishops, which has been our standard, we currently have one ecclesial authority. Several members of Diocesan staff have recently retired or transitioned to new opportunities. This all matters for our communal life, but perhaps not in a way that we would directly absorb at St. Michael's for some time. However, while Diocesan leadership is critical, it is the work and witness of those in the pews that ultimately shapes what happens on a Diocesan level. So, I would put forth that our work of building the Kingdom of God is critical during this transition!

The Councils of the Church gather to empower the work that happens in parishes. As gathered leaders, the Councils seek to respond to the needs that individuals find within their own communities. We have the opportunity to creatively fund, lead, and respond to any number of issues from digitizing formation to funding the work of transition ministers. It is our witness of the needs on the ground that shapes the work of the Councils of the Church. As the leadership of our Diocese is in transition, keep this process in your prayers. But fear not! We will continue to keep the main thing the main thing. Further, we will engage in thoughtful conversation about the needs we see moving forward as faithful witnesses to God's work in the world.

Advent: The Greatest Story Never Told

The season of Advent is a time for preparation --  preparation of our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ. But there is often much that overtakes this ancient narrative full of wonder and mystery. During this season of Advent, join with us as we explore the familiar Christmas narrative with fresh questions. How do we retell this story in a way that matters for our life, today?  
On December 9, 16 & 23, each program begins at 4 PM followed by a simple supper and conversation at 5 PM. We'll finish with Compline from 5:45 to 6 PM. 

December 2 , What's in a Word?    
Participate in an Episcopal digital movement reflecting on a single word in preparation for the coming of Christ. How does today's word resonate with your Advent journey? Words will be posted daily throughout Advent to the St. Michael's website and Facebook page. Due to a previously scheduled event, there will be no program at church on Dec. 2; participation is online only. 
December 9 , Cups of Wonder: How does the way in which we tell this story matter?
A time for individual reflection and guided meditation  
December 16 , Debunking the Hollywood depiction of the Christmas Story
Interactive events designed especially with families in mind   
December 23, How Does Music Tell the Christmas Story: A Concert and Hymn Sing
A Toast to Beth & Nic
Come one, come all! We'll be toasting the
newlyweds on Sun., Dec. 2 from 4 until 6 PM in the Parish Hall. For planning purposes, it would be helpful to know how many to expect, so please let us know if you're planning to attend (no need to RSVP if you're not). Please RSVP here or send an email to Cindy Matlack no later than Fri., Nov 30.
Messages to Congregations from the Diocesan General Convention
The annual General Convention -- held in Richmond during November 1-3 -- was an opportunity for direct and mutual communication between our bishops, clergy, and lay parish representatives. (I was the lay delegate from St. Michael's.) Rich and heartfelt discussions generated several messages of reassurance and affirmation that delegates were asked to take back to their congregations.
"We are and will be okay because we are people of the Resurrection." With those words, Bishop Suffragan Susan Goff reassured attendees that our diocese remains strong during the transition period in diocesan leadership. The convention was the setting for the valedictory of Bishop Diocesan Shannon Johnston, who formally stepped down on November 3rd. Ecclesial authority has now passed to Bishop Goff-assisted by Bishops Ihloff and Gulick-for an interim period.
"Our only bias is Jesus," Bishop Johnston emphasized in his comments about public activism. Although we must not be partisan, Christians should speak up to oppose developments and policies that clearly are at odds with the Gospel, such as Nazi-inspired demonstrations and the separation of families. In this spirit, convention delegates approved a resolution to "condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence in the strongest possible terms and extend its profound sympathy and assurance of prayer to the Jewish congregations of Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh." The resolution further encourages Virginia Episcopalians to attend a Shabbat (Sabbath) service at a local synagogue as a sign of solidarity during November or December.
"Follow the Way of Love." The "Way of Love" rule of life (guidelines for Christian living) were articulated by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the national church's General Convention this summer. Our diocesan convention adopted a resolution that encourages us to follow its steps: Turn - Learn - Pray - Worship - Bless - Go - Rest. In fact, St. Michael's has already been using the Way of Love framework in our middle and high Sunday school this year. More details about it are available at the Episcopal Church's website.
Focus on evangelism, racial reconciliation, and care of creation. The national church adopted these three areas as priorities at the national convention in the summer. Our diocesan convention affirmed that the same areas should be "the primary focus" of ministry in the Diocese of Virginia for the next three years.
General Convention also tended to much routine diocesan business, including passing the budget for 2019, naming new members of committees, and receiving annual reports from committees, parishes, and groups. Numerous inspirational stories of successful ministries around the diocese were also shared. A summary of the proceedings can be found on the diocesan website, with detailed reports forthcoming. Please feel free to contact me if you wish to know more or have any questions.
Mary Cushing, Senior Warden  
November Mission & Outreach Collections
There are no yellow envelope or basket collections this month as we prepare to support The Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program . The Angel Tree will be in the Parish Hall on Nov. 18.
On our new website
" St. Michael ' s Attic " and Craft Sale
On Sun., Nov. 18 during both coffee hours handcrafted items, St. Michael ' s tree ornaments, star candles and more will be available for purchase. Bring your Christmas lists! Questions? please contact Helen Hines.
Communication Deadlines
Please submit short announcements of a timely nature to Wil Harkins, parish administrator, by noon on Thursday prior to the Sunday that you'd like it included in the service bulletin. 
Longer articles and items that are not time sensitive should be submitted to The Guardian newsletter staff by the 1st or 15th of the month. The newsletter is published on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. All submissions are subject to edit and approval.
Support St. Michael's


You can make single gifts and recurring donations (pledges) through our online service  Network for Good.
St. Michael's Episcopal Church
 1132 N. Ivanhoe Street  | Arlington, VA 22205-2445

Our mission is to provide a nurturing spiritual community in Christ Jesus as the foundation 

from which we strive to go forth and serve God by the power of the Holy Spirit.