St. Paul's Episcopal Church



301 E. Stuart Street, Fort Collins, CO 80525
Phone: 970-482-2668
Email: office@stpauls-fc.org - Website: www.stpauls-fc.org

A "Longest Night" Reflection by Laurie Gudim

"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 leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be *  a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

And Mary *  said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord,   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name."

This is from our Gospel lesson for this coming Sunday. The icon is called "Mary and Elizabeth", and it is one of mine.

You know, it really is not possible to be "a little pregnant." Either you are or you aren't. So we often greet this time of new beginnings at Christmas with mixed feelings. Some of us are grieving the loss of other sorts of pregnancies, and the thought of another new thing growing in the darkness is painful, heartbreaking even. Others of us are feeling overwhelmed and would just like a little down time, free of new life of any sort. Still others are caught in the shattering reverberations of past events, don't much like Christmas time, don't have much use for hope or peace or newborn things, and especially not at this time of year.

The Good News of the Incarnation is that God comes and finds us wherever we are. God knows us in all our pain, ambivalence, fear and sadness, and God is there with us. Much as it might seem like we are alone when we feel grief or depression during the Christmas season, we are not. God is right there with us, and, with infinite compassion, holds us close as we go through all that we do go through.

May we find in this understanding the courage and the strength to weep freely, to rage honestly, and then to say, from wherever we find ourselves, "O, Immanuel, Come.

A Letter from Reverend Lyn

Dear Friends:
 
If I had time, I would write each one of you a letter thanking you for your extraordinary generosity. The gifts with which you showered me last Sunday at my leave-taking celebration - the utterly beautiful icon that Laurie Gudim wrote and that Jim Steinborn mounted on satin-smooth wood from one of the pine trees from our W. Elizabeth location, the evocative photos taken by a drone of us all saying goodbye after our last services at the “old” St. Paul’s, your prayers, your presence, and the checks I received from you - were absolutely overwhelming. It is going to take me some time to absorb all of this. I have been grieving the loss of you for many months now. Leave-taking is hard. I don’t do it well, which is why I hardly do it at all. Instead, (and this is something I developed a long time ago as part of my own survival,) I draw you all inside my heart, because in that way I know you will always be with me. I will never forget any of you. I have grown to love you all very much. You have been so exceptionally kind and generous to me these past three years. You are a very kind and generous people. I have learned so much from you all – especially your resilience, your courage and your faithfulness. You have learned to let go of so much that was familiar and made room for God to work more deeply within you. You are in God’s hands. The Holy Spirit is alive and well, and in your midst. I wish you well, I wish you love, I wish you joy. And let me end, the way I always do:   

Life is short,
and we do not have too much time
to gladden the hearts
of those who travel the way with us.
So be swift to love; make haste to be kind.
And may the blessing of the One
who made us,
who loves us
and who walks the way with us still;
the one, holy and undivided Trinity
be with you this day
and remain with you always.
Amen
Farewell Liturgy

This Sunday, December 23, we will have a special litany of farewell during the services, and will also, as a congregation, bless Lyn and send her off to her next assignment.
Your Wardens' Update

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

Hello my Brothers and Sisters,

At our Vestry meeting this week, we closed with a beautiful Eucharist which included the above reading, also from last Sunday’s service. Reverend Lyn commented that it reminds her of St Paul’s, and I could not agree more. As we enter another transition, I continue to rejoice in the gentle and kind way you all are with one other: offering up our prayers to God and looking forward with peaceful hearts. I will continue to rejoice in the Lord and St Paul’s. . . . Read the full article HERE
Ushers Needed

Be the face of welcome for those visiting St. Paul's

by helping people to feel comfortable in our worship services. Hand out bulletins, pass offering plates and help people to know when to come up for communion. Express our value of abundant hospitality. To sign up, talk to Pony Davis
Thank you to all who volunteered during our last overnight program! St. Paul’s 17 volunteers spent 88 hours cooking, hosting, and staying overnight. In total, our FFH volunteers provided 1/3 of the hours that it took to house 4 families, 6 adults & 9 children, for the week.

Save the date: FFH training on 1/14 @ 7 PM @ Trinity Lutheran
FOUR FAITH COMMUNITIES WILL BE COMING TOGETHER FOR THIS TRAINING: TRINITY LUTHERAN, FT. COLLINS FRIENDS, MARY OF MAGDALA & ST. PAUL’S. ANNETTE ZACHARIAS, Executive Director of FFH, WILL BE PRESENTING INFO ON ALL THINGS FFH. IF YOU HAVEN’T MET ANNETTE, SHE HAS BEEN A DRIVING FORCE FOR CARING FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES THROUGH THIS PROGRAM. SHE IS A FUN, DYNAMIC SPEAKER. 
St Paul’s Giving Tree

 Thank you for all of the donations to the Voices Carry Child Advocacy Center. The response was overwhelming and greatly appreciated.
Calling All Coffee Hour Fans

Signing up to bring snacks for Sunday Coffee Hour is now super fast and easy. Just click HERE , choose a date, and sign up. (The SignUpGenius will even send you a reminder email.) Don’t delay - these “Coffee Hour Host" slots are going fast, only three more are available for 2018!
Food Bank Volunteers, Save the Date

Wednesday, January 16, 9-11 am and Friday, February 22, 1-3 pm. Any questions, please contact Jo Baietti
Christmas Worship Services

St. Paul's Children’s Pageant – Monday, December 24, 1:30 pm

St. Paul's Christmas Eve Caroling and Eucharist – 10:30 pm

St. Paul's Christmas Day Service – 10:30 am (followed by a Festive Lunch)

Trinity Christmas Eve Worship Services -- December 24 at 3:30 and 5:30 pm

Mary of Magdala Christmas Day Service -- 9 am
Christmas Day Festive Lunch
 
St. Paul’s is organizing a Festive Lunch at noon on Christmas day after our Christmas Day service . Everyone is invited – whether you wish to come for a cup of eggnog and snacks or to eat a full meal. There will be a variety of Christmas and non-Christmas dishes, as well as gluten-free and vegetarian dishes. Please join us with your friends. If you are able to contribute to the lunch in any way, there will be a sign-up sheet in the narthex this Sunday. Any questions, please contact Rev. Lyn
Trinity Book Group: The Book of Joy

Members of MOM and SPE are invited to join the Trinity book group on Monday, January 7th, at 9:30 a.m. in the Fireside Room to discuss  The Book of Joy.  Two global heroes, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, look for answers to one burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering? Questions? Call Nadine Hunt at 825-3730.
 "Let's Be Still"

" Spotting Love becoming manifest in the mid-winter world feels a little like that. It takes being still for a long time in order to see Christ emerge into the dark stillness ." -- Laurie Gudim writes for Speaking to the Soul at the Episcopal Cafe. Read the full reflection HERE .