Staying Connected
Join us this weekend for worship.
Saturday at 5:30 pm, Sunday at 9:00 am in the sanctuary, or
The service is also posted on our website

"The Joy in Our Gratitude"

What if I revealed to you the key to achieving increased levels of enjoyment and good health? You'd appreciate it, wouldn't you? 

Saying, "Thanks," is all there is to increase joy and improve health. It's all in the gratitude, and that's the key. According to research, appreciative people have stronger connections, are more positive and energetic, and, perhaps most surprisingly, are at a lower chance of falling ill. Grateful people are happy people. Experts agree that this is because expressing appreciation emphasizes what we currently have rather than what we need. Furthermore, they claim that it is something that anyone can learn, and with practice, it becomes stronger. So allow me to share my gratitude with you. Thank you!

Thank you for your commitment to St. Mary’s! Your commitment furthers God’s work at our church, in our community, and in our mission and ministry. The generosity of so many of you warms my heart and keeps me hopeful for our future. Your giving of time, talent, and treasure express gratitude to God for who God is and what God has done for us through Christ. Thank you for your stewardship; for your letters and cards of support and love (they are most uplifting and very much appreciated) and your willingness to roll up your sleeves, jump on in and trust in the Holy Spirit as we move forward. You all are remarkable!

Thank you!

Hosting the Ecumenical Service on Sunday, we saw more than 70 people in our little sanctuary. The music was joyful, the spirit was high, and everyone had a great time in fellowship with one another. My heart swelled with gladness with every welcome, handshake, hug, and smile.

Thank you for sharing your blessings and being a partner in this journey of faith. 

May God’s blessings be with you as you faithfully manage all that he has entrusted to you! Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Advent Season ahead!

In Christ’s love,
Mo. Allison+
You may call Mo. Allison for a pastoral visitation at 551-697-6133.
Four easy steps you can practice to begin nurturing your thankfulness and increasing joy today:

  1. Express your gratitude, say Thanks!
According to psychologists, taking a few moments every day to express your thanks to someone makes you feel happy. In addition, it helps to strengthen your relationship with that person by showing your appreciation for them. It can be done in person, over the phone, by a card, or via e-mail. Some go out of their way to express their gratitude to strangers who cross their path. For these individuals, thanking the waitress at restaurants is second nature; nevertheless, they'll also thank the busboy for clearing their table and the management for maintaining the establishment in such good condition).

2. Create a gratitude diary to keep track of your blessings.
It doesn't have to be anything complicated or even written in entire phrases, but putting down what you value the most in black and white is a strong habit to develop. Numerous life coaches employ this technique with their clients, noting that it aids in the development of more pleasant feelings. If something excellent happens to you, be descriptive in your writing and think about the sensations that accompany it. That pat on the back from a professor who noticed all of the extra efforts you put into a project could make all those late hours worthwhile. Put it down on paper! Alternatively, perhaps your youngster noticed you sighing after hanging up from a difficult phone conversation, and his following embrace meant the whole world to you. Again, put it down on paper! You may choose to do this on your own, or you can include it in a regular family tradition.

3. Recognize those around you.
It is possible to enjoy comparable benefits by mentally noting the positives you observe in others. It is true that simply thinking good ideas may have a favorable impact. Some people express their gratitude in terms of religion or spirituality as well. Before you go to sleep or while you're in the shower in the morning, take a few seconds to think about one person who has enriched or positively improved your life.

4. Meditate and Pray
Meditation is not some far-fetched, New Age idea that needs incense and beaded curtains to be effective. Meditation is just the act of focusing one's attention on the current moment without passing judgment on it. Moreover, this is something you can do while sitting at your computer, driving, or, indeed, in a quiet space alone. The phrase "calm" or "peace" is frequently the focus of meditation for many individuals, but you may instead focus on something positive, such as your health or a snowy afternoon. You can also focus on the determination or sense of humor you inherited from your parents or friends. If sitting still isn't your thing, movement meditation has proved to be equally beneficial as traditional sitting meditation. Try focusing your thoughts on something you're grateful for the next time you're out for a stroll to see if it helps.
Advent begins this Sunday, as we enter the lectionary's Year C. We will read through Luke's gospel, and we will hear the prophets' accounts and proclamations and spend significant time on the epistles of Galatians, Colossians, I and II Timothy, and II Thessalonians.

While the readings for each Advent during the three-year cycle fluctuate, the pattern of these readings remains consistent. We start with the end in mind. The first week is devoted to the second coming of Christ. Week 2 tells the account of John the Baptist's ministry and prophetic role. Week 3 is John the Baptist's sermon, which, while it is a message of judgment, is constantly balanced with a call to rejoice. And week four focuses on Mary's role.

By beginning at the conclusion and then unfolding the fulfillment of promises that lead up to it, Advent invites us into a different story of time and history than the depiction of December popular in North American society, "Christmastime." "Christmastime" entices us to shopping malls, online stores, and social gatherings. It lulls us to sleep with fabricated images of ideal joy on a beautiful winter day. And it tempts us to deplete our money accounts to get ever-new items.

Advent could hardly be more dissimilar. Advent compels us to consider whether our marketplace practices will stand up to Christ's judgment. It awakens us to the fundamental disjunctions between God's dream for creation and the chaos we have created. And it calls us to offer our everything, not for our own or our loved ones' pleasure, but for God's mission of renewing all things.

Why is there so much emphasis on disjunction, brokenness, and judgment?

Because this is just what we need to prepare for the Christmas season.

Yes, there is light in the realm of darkness; angels and shepherds proclaim and celebrate Jesus' birth. However, this is merely the beginning, the beginning of the beginning. That is only the eve of Christmas. On Christmas Day, the revelation is made that sets the stage for the season's true work and purpose. "The Word took on flesh and dwelled among us, and we saw his glory." The Christmas Season is an extended period of reflection on the implications of God's incarnation, both the hope and the enormous threat that God becoming flesh has been and continues to be to the kingdoms of this world and those who rule and defend them.

Advent calls us to awaken—to become aware of what is truly happening and what is truly at stake—so that as we approach Christmas and gaze upon the glory of the only-begotten Son of God, we do so with our eyes wide open to the opportunities and threats that await those of us who have been made or are preparing to be made children of God through water and the Holy Spirit.

"Surely the days are coming," Jeremiah reminds us. "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," Revelation's church responds. May our response to the ways we observe these seasons in worship and discipleship be a part of this chorus of all the saints, both here and now and in the age to come.
Donate or Pledge
There's still time
St. Mary's 2022 Stewardship Campaign
This year's campaign has concluded. Many pledge forms have been received but several are still out there. Our Finance Committee would like to begin work on the 2022 budget. Therefore, please return your pledge card to the church office by mail or in the collection plate as soon as possible.

If you did not receive your stewardship packet, please let the church office know and we will be glad to mail one to you. A copy of the packet is linked here. An informational sheet covering answers to questions you may have about pledging to St. Mary's is part of the packet, but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Chair Janet Proulx, a vestry member, or the church office.

Thank you for the joyful and prayerful consideration of your stewardship to St. Mary's Church.
Hospitality on the Lawn
If you're visiting Stone Harbor during Hospitality Night tonight, stop by St. Mary's to say hello, or join the fun. We'll be on the lawn offering sweets and best wishes to all who pass by.
Fun at the Zoo Nov. 27th
Saturday, Nov. 27 - 3 pm - 6 pm
The Zoo will be open 10 am to 3:30 pm.
The Ceremony and Lighting of the Tree will be at 5 pm Saturday.
Collectibles and crafts for sale by the Cape May County Associations of Zoo Keepers from 2 pm - 6 pm.

The celebration will include live holiday music by the John Walter Cape Community Band (including our favorite flutist, Cheryl Barton), an ice sculpture demonstration, the polar express train ride, bounce house castle & slide, character appearances, dance performances, free treats for all and a visit by the jolly man himself in the red suit!
Advent Study begins Dec. 1st 6:30 pm
Songs are very much at the center of our celebrations of Advent and Christmas and have been so for many since childhood, maybe taking part in a school nativity play even if not growing up within a Christian family. The Christmas carols we love are an eclectic mix, some with origins more in the country inn, sung as a rousing chorus, rather than in a Cathedral to a choral setting.

Lots have been handed down from one generation to another and they continue to retain their popularity. How many who sing them in carol services once a year understand the meaning of the words is always a mystery, but the fact that they are sung is good news!

Luke’s Gospel has a series of songs as part of his introduction to the story of Jesus, and these have been handed down to us within our Bibles, and as part of the liturgical life of the Church.

Many will recite (if not sing) the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (maybe also the Benedictus) as part of their regular worship, so the words are familiar. But maybe they haven’t been looked at as often in their actual context, leading up to and just beyond the birth of Jesus.

The studies follow an identical pattern, with a musical theme after opening prayer and contemplation.
Intro (opening discussion)
Accompaniment (a little background to the passage)
Verses (a commentary on the passage)
Chorus (questions for group discussion)
Outro (something to take away and think about)

Week 1: Dec. 1st at St. Barnabas: The Song of Zachariah - Benedictus
Week 2: Dec. 8th at St. Mary's: Mary's Song - The Magnificat
Week 3: Dec. 15th at St. Barnabas: A Song of Angels - Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Week 4: Dec. 22nd at St. Mary's: Simeon’s Song - Nunc Dimittis
Greening of the Church
Please plan to join us for the
"Greening of the Church" on
Sunday, December 5th
after the 9 AM service.

Many hands make for light work!
We hope you will join us to help ready
St. Mary's Church for the coming
celebration of Christmas.
St. Mary's Music Program
Upcoming plans for our Christmas celebration are exciting! A string quartet and cello will join us at the Christmas Eve service. Plans for the future include a bell choir.

If you would like to be a part of, or learn more about St. Mary's Music Program, please contact our Music Director, Kyle Sheppard at or visit a rehearsal on Thursday evenings at 5 pm.
Christmas Bazaar Dec. 4th
Episcopal Church Women of Church of the Advent, 612 Franklin St., Cape May, will hold their annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday,
Dec. 4th from 10 am to 2:30 pm in the church parish hall.

Shop for handmade crafts, decorations, gifts, handmade needlework, fresh greens, wreaths, collectibles, jewelry, homemade soup-to-go, home baked goodies, and basket raffle. Mrs. Claus will also be visiting the Bazaar.
Can you serve on St. Mary's Altar Guild?
The altar guild is a volunteer group of the parish whose job is to prepare the sanctuary for services, and clean up afterwards. If you like to serve behind the scenes, altar guild is for you. It's easy - just once a month - and training will be given. If you are interested in this important ministry of the church, contact Mo. Allison or Janice Haines.
2022 Altar Flower Chart
The 2022 Flower Chart is now posted in the church narthex. Altar flowers are a wonderful way to honor loved ones throughout the year. Choose a date on the chart and fill in the name of who you would like remembered and by whom. A donation may be sent to the church office. Flowers may be removed after the service and taken home or delivered to a shut-in.
Church Calendars
Church calendars for 2022, compliments of Radzieta Funeral Home, have been delivered. They are in the church narthex and parish hall. Please help yourself!
Forward Day by Day
Forward Day by Day devotionals for November, December and January in large and small print are available in the church narthex. Please help yourself. If you would like a copy sent to you, please let the church office know and we will be glad to send one to you.
If you shop on Amazon, please remember The Branches can receive a percent of your purchase. It's easy! Simply go to this link and shop with your Amazon account as usual. A percent of your purchase will automatically be given to The Branches. Thank you!
Happy Anniversary to
Bill & Janice Haines on November 26th,
Dean and Beth Blair on November 28th, and
Janet & Norman Proulx on November 30th!
Sunday's altar flowers are given by
Bill & Janice Haines celebrating
their 68th wedding anniversary!
Ways to contribute to St. Mary's
Your support of the mission and ministry of St. Mary's through your communal worship and financial support during these challenging times
is appreciated!
Ways to donate are:

  • The Sunday collection plate

  • Send a check payable to St. Mary's to:
St. Mary's Church,
9425 Third Ave., Stone Harbor, NJ 08247
(Your envelope and number is not necessary, only your name.)

  • Setting up a personal online banking "bill pay" option. The bank will mail the check for you to the church office.

Mark your Calendars
Looking Forward...

December 5th: Greening of the Church after the 9 AM service.
December 19th: Vestry Meeting 11 AM
December 21st: Blue Christmas Service 7 PM
December 24th: 9:30 PM Christmas Eve Service
December 26th: 9:00 AM Lessons and Carols
Advent Study Begins
Dec. 1st - week 1 at St. Barnabas 6:30 pm: The Song of Zachariah -
Dec. 8th - week 2 at St. Mary's 6:30 pm: Mary's Song - The Magnificat
Dec. 15th - week 3 at St. Barnabas 6:30 pm: A Song of Angels - Gloria in
Excelsis Deo
Dec. 22nd - week 4 at St. Mary's 6:30 pm: Simeon’s Song - Nunc Dimittis
more to come...

CHECK OUT OUR CALENDAR on our website for all activities taking place throughout the week.
Lectionary Text for the First Sunday of Advent
Worship Services
Saturday 5:30 pm and Sunday 9:00 AM in person (church)
Sunday 9:00 AM Live on Facebook
Services, studies, and service bulletins may be accessed on our website: