DECEMBER 4, 2020 · 325 PARK AVENUE AT 51ST STREET  212-378-0222 · STBARTS.ORG
"The Beginning isn’t the End"
by the Reverend Peter Thompson
The Gospel of Mark begins with a bold announcement: “The beginning of the good news of the Son of God.” It’s an auspicious start to what promises to be an epic drama. But Mark’s curtain doesn’t open on an angelic announcement about a virgin birth or a long genealogy proving royal parentage or a grand prologue about light shining in the darkness on a cold winter’s night. Instead, the Gospel-writer takes us to a literally peripheral figure preaching in the wilderness—a distant, uncivilized place.
Honor a loved one with Christmas Flowers or Music
Christmas provides a unique opportunity to memorialize a loved one or offer thanksgiving for a special blessing. All memorial and thanksgiving dedications made by Wednesday, December 16 will appear in the Christmas service leaflets. See our complete schedule of Advent and Christmas Services here.

In-Person Worship
We continue to evaluate the shifting COVID-19 landscape and regularly consult with medical professionals affiliated with the parish. At this time, due to rising rates of infections, our 5 pm in-person worship service has been suspended through the month of December. Please join us virtually at 5 pm this Sunday, December 6 for Advent Lessons and Carols.

JOIN US FOR WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Download our service leaflet to follow along with us as we livestream Sunday morning worship from the church on our website, Facebook and YouTube. Read our tips and tricks for worship online.

St. Bartholomew's Choir, St. Bartholomew's Choristers and St. Bart's Singers lead us in song as we prepare for Christ's coming as a child in Bethlehem and at the end of time. Join us in a virtual celebration of this time-honored tradition on Sunday, December 6 at 5 pm. The service will be available on our website, Facebook and YouTube. Download our service leaflet to follow along.

What future for this garden, our island home?
The Right Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church from 2006 to 2015, ponders the future of our planet and the role we can play in taking better care of it. The Forum will be streamed on our website, Facebook Live and YouTube.

During this time of great anxiety and uncertainty, we are in the process of building a stronger faith community—and a place grounded in the possibility of hope and meaning for our lives. We are most grateful for your validation of our efforts through your financial support. The annual Stewardship Campaign funds more than 60% of the Church’s operating budget and enables us to offer accessible worship and programmatic opportunities online. If you would like to make a gift to help support these efforts, convert to online giving, or learn how to declare your 2021 pledge, please click here.
MEET US AFTER CHURCH

for a list of groups meeting after church each week.
Newcomers welcome to all groups!

ADVENT OFFERINGS
Tuesdays, December 1-22, 7-8 pm
The spirituals composed by the enslaved people of North America in the years before the Civil War often anticipated an apocalyptic reckoning in which the high would be brought low and the low would be lifted high. Their unique ability to give voice to hope and to imagine a future filled with justice make them the perfect music for Advent. Join The Reverend Peter Thompson on four December Tuesdays for an hour of meditation on the spirituals. Sessions, based largely on Luke Powery’s book Rise Up Shepherd!: Advent Reflections on the Spirituals, will also incorporate audio recordings.

Wednesdays, December 2-16, 6:30-8 pm
Over the course of three sessions, the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Flanagan will outline practical steps you can take to bring the good out of the darkness and God’s light to your tomorrows. Bob, an adjunct faculty member at General Theological Seminary and a long-time advocate for suicide prevention, recently wrote Courage to Thrive: Finding Joy and Hope in the Midst of Mental Health Struggles, a spiritual journal in which he shares his struggles with mental illness. Bob recommends reviewing exercises 6, 8, 11-12 and 14-15 in his book ahead of the next session.

Sunday, December 13, 3-4 pm
The Virgin of Guadalupe, who is celebrated in Mexico each December, is not only a beautiful and mystical figure at the center of Mexican culture and religion but also a powerful symbol of freedom and equality. Parishioner Dana Catharine, who lived in Mexico for many years, will lead a discussion about this Patroness of the Americas on the day after her feast.

Thursday, December 17, 7-8 pm
Preparation for Christmas in Mexico involves nine days of prayers, parties and piñatas. Parishioner Dana Catharine, who lived in Mexico for many years, will share the sources of these fiestas as well as photos and stories.

WEEKLY ADULT FORMATION
Saturdays, October 31-December 19, 10-11 am
German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who famously plotted against Hitler in the final days of the Nazi regime, wrote The Cost of Discipleship in 1937 to contrast the “cheap grace” of modern culture with the “costly grace” of true Christianity. Join the Reverend Peter Thompson and other faithful members of the St. Bart’s community for an eight-week close read of this principled and highly influential work. Please review chapters 18-20 for the next session.

Centering Prayer
Mondays at 7 pm, Wednesdays at 5 pm, and Fridays at 9 am. Experience a few moments of peace and comfort through the contemplative practice of centering prayer. Newcomers welcome! To join our email list to receive updates on centering prayer, contact Manny Rodriguez.

Wednesdays at 1 pm
Thoughtful reflection and lively discussion of the upcoming Sunday readings, hosted by the Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe. To join our Weekly Bible Study online, please contact Liz Gillespie.
 
Thursdays, October 29-December 10, 6:30-8 pm
How many of us have ever prayed, “Lord make me an instrument of your peace,” then found ourselves in complex and polarized situations that made peace seemingly impossible? This course is for you. Join the Reverend Susan Anderson-Smith for this 5-week, interactive course designed to help us bridge the deep and contentious divides that keep us from moving forward. In the Participant Guide, please review Session Five before the final meeting on Thursday, December 10.

JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION
Sunday, December 13, 1:30 - 3 pm
Our next meeting will focus on part 2 of The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. We may feel we know who Jesus was, but who was Christ? As one of the world’s most influential thinkers, Richard Rohr has helped millions realize what is at stake in matters of faith and spirituality. Join the Peace Book Club to explore this book and contemplate how God liberates and loves all that is.

Episcopal Migration Ministries, in partnership with the EMM Asylum Ministry Network and EMM Immigration Detention Ministry Network, will host a virtual Advent vigil on Sunday, December 13, 7–8 pm. The Advent vigil, available via Zoom webinar and Facebook Live, will offer a time of prayer and reflection in a world being transformed by forced migration. Click here to learn more.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry and the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have joined together to offer an Advent message.

Last week, Crossroads hosted a Fare Share Friday like no other! Over 350 guests received a delicious holiday meal, served out of the Narthex. At the same time, over 100 live viewers tuned in for a virtual celebration. If you missed the event, you can watch the 30-minute recording here. Also, be sure to follow Crossroads on Instagram and Facebook.

DAILY PRAYER
Do you need a few moments of peace to embark upon your daily rounds? Watch the Reverend Deborah Lee's one- to three-minute scripture-inspired video meditations, released at 7 am weekdays on YouTube and Facebook.

Do you desire a few moments of peace at the end of each day? Join the St. Bart's community for Night Prayer each weekday evening at 8:30 pm. Clergy and lay officiants will lead brief services based on or inspired by the ancient office of Compline.

LAST SUNDAY
Missed Last Sunday?

Watch last Sunday's Forum with Elaine Pagels, a leading scholar of early Christianity and the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University, who outlined the most enigmatic book in the New Testament and the lasting impact it made on politics and culture.

Watch or listen to the sermon preached by the Reverend Peter Thompson.

Listen to our choir sing Manz's E'en so Lord Jesus quickly come. We also have a YouTube playlist of all of our recorded choir and organ videos.
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