Sunday, December 23, Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Holy Eucharist, 8 a.m., Rite I
The Holy Eucharist, 10 a.m. Rite II,
followed by Church School Christmas Pageant and
Greening of the Church.

Fr. Morsch will officiate at both services.

Church School Christmas Pageant Preparation, 10 a.m.
Childcare begins 9:45 a.m.
Worship Notes

The Collect:
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son, Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. A men.

This week’s lessons: Micah 5:2-5a; Canticle 3; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

The Epistle:
“And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10
The Gospel | Luke 1:39-45
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. "
The Week of December 23

  • Monday, 4 p.m., Children’s Homily and Holy Eucharist, followed by Wassail and cookies in Pearson Hall
  • Monday, 9:30 p.m., Carol Sing
  • Monday, 10 p.m., Solemn High Eucharist of Christmas Eve, followed by Wassail and cookies in Pearson Hall. (Incense will be used.)
  • Tuesday, Christmas Day!
  • Wednesday, 8 a.m., The Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Epiphany Services
  • The Feast of the Epiphany, Sunday, January 6, Holy Eucharist at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
St. Andrew’s Receives $500 Outreach Grant

A grant from the Springfield Diocese to St. Andrew’s will benefit the Main Street Community Center’s Nutrition Program. The Center provides hot delivered meals daily to seniors, the disabled, and persons convalescing from surgery or an illness. In 2017 volunteers delivered more than 7,600 meals in the community. The grant provides funds for the addition of fresh fruit to home delivered meals.

Thanks go to Fredna Scroggins for writing the grant application, to St. Andrew’s volunteers who have delivered meals, and to parishioners who have served on the board of directors, the advisory board and various committees at the Center. Sara Berkbigler, Executive Director of Main Street, C.C. recently sent a note of appreciation to the parish for the grant.
December 17 MLT Meeting Highlights

  • The Mission Leadership Team (MLT) voted unanimously to pay off the mortgage, which will result in savings to the parish.
  • Work has been completed on the installation of new heating and air conditioning units in the parish addition.
  • The installation service for Fr. Morsch has been postponed until his wife, Barbara, is able to join him in Edwardsville.
  • To date, seven candidates have expressed an interest in serving on the 2019 MLT. Anyone who wants to be a candidate and hasn’t notified Kevin Babb should do so by early January.
  • Ministry heads are asked to submit their reports for the Annual Meeting by early January.
From the Archives: Communion Means Community
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal drew attention to the adverse medical effects that isolation and loneliness can have on an aging population. That’s a subject on which a former rector of St. Andrew’s wrote a related article more than 20 years ago.

Father Thomas H. Whitcroft, as has been noted in an earlier article, was St. Andrew’s rector from 1960 to 1963. In 1996, after 33 years of additional ministerial experience, he published an article in the Anglo-Catholic Magazine, The Living Church . Entitled “Communion Means Community,” the article addresses the question of how clergy can best attend to the needs of parishioners who, by reason of illness, disability, or age, are unable to participate in church services. Whitcroft combined training as a clinical social worker with his priestly calling in crafting an answer.

He was inspired by the work of Dr. Gothard Booth, psychiatric consultant to The General Theological Seminary, the first seminary of the Episcopal Church in the United States. “Dr. Booth’s premise was that when persons are hospitalized, one big element not ministered to by the medical staff is their sudden separation from the community. One way that clergy can minister to them is to attempt to restore them to the community.” And that can be done, Whitcroft argued, in the context of bringing the Eucharist to the patient.

While the sacrament is obviously of paramount importance, it can too easily merge with hospital or nursing home routine, he believed. The nurse brings a little white pill, while the priest delivers a big one. While the latter may be theologically correct, “it doesn’t ‘look like’ communion, in the sense that communion means community.” Whitcroft suggests that an effort be made to duplicate as much as possible the communal experience that the patient knew while attending church. That entails the priest also partaking of and administering the sacrament in both kinds and, if possible, bringing a few parishioners along to share in it. A bit of parish news as a side dish may also be desirable, he argues.

But it seems to me that Father Whitcroft overlooked something vital: the not-quite-sacramental but definitely communal coffee and donuts! -Jim Weingartne r

Come One, Come All to the Greening of the Church
After watching the Children’s Christmas Pageant on December 23, everyone is welcome to help prepare the church for the Christmas season. Meet in the nave to join in this cherished holiday tradition.

December 28 Weekend Update Newsletter - Worship Information Only
Due to the busyness of Christmas week, the December 28 Weekend Update will include worship information only.

First Tuesday Healing Eucharist Rescheduled to January 8
The Healing Eucharist, normally held on the first Tuesday of the month, will be held on the second Tuesday of January, the eighth, because New Year's Day falls on the first Tuesday.

Book Club to Meet January 21
The next meeting of the St. Andrew’s Book Club will be Monday, January21st. The book selection is Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Rabbi Sacks is a prominent British Orthodox Jewish leader and author of many books who has received an honorary doctorate of divinity degree bestowed on him by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, as recognition of his holding the position of Chief Rabbi and for his services in Britain and elsewhere. Not in God’s Name may not offer any solutions to the problem of religious violence but I think we can expect it to generate a lively discussion. –Pat Rudloff 

 Thank You to Coffee Hour Hosts
Thank you to all who have signed up for Coffee Hour in 2018. Now it is time to think about the coming year. A sign-up sheet will be circulated at the Annual Meeting on January 20, but in the meantime volunteers are needed for January 13 and 20. Please see me after church or email me at . –Pat Rudloff
 The St. Andrew's Week-End Updat e , a weekly emailed newsletter, is designed to keep parishioners up to date on church activities. Please send news items to Editors Marianne Cavanaugh and Jane Weingartner by 11 a.m. on Tuesday to have them appear in the following Friday's newsletter.

For God so loved the world,he gave his only
begotten son. John 3:16