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The Ambassador

The Newsletter of 
St. Matthias' 
Episcopal Church 

Minocqua, Wisconsin

Whoever you are, wherever you find yourself on the journey
of faith, we welcome you.

Mark Your


Dec. 17 - 6:00 pm

Cocoa, Carols,

& Christmas Quiz


Dec. 19 - 9:00 am

Acolyte Training


Dec. 19 - 11:00 am

Blue Christmas Service


Dec. 23 - 5:00 pm

Greening of the Church


Dec. 24 - 5:00 pm

Family Christmas Eucharist


Dec. 24 - 9:00 pm

Christmas Cantata & Festival Christmas Eucharist


Dec. 25 - 10:00 am

Christmas Day Holy Eucharist




Please remember to check the server list on the bulletin board at church (or click here to see the latest monthly schedule online).


Also, if you are going to switch dates with someone, please inform both Bill Kane and Michael Tautges at the church office.  Thank you!


Ambassador Archives


Want to read a recent issue of the Ambassador?  Just click on the links below.  (older archives can be found on our website)
September Ambassador
October Ambassador
November Ambassador

The Clarion


Curious to see what else is going on in the Diocese of Fond du Lac?  Click the logo below to view the most recent Diocesan newsletter.


From the Rector

Only three more weeks to our celebration of the Advent of the Messiah or, in 21st century language, in three weeks it will be Christmas! Our society has attempted to tame Christmas outwardly, by sending one another cozy looking cards, and changing St. Nicholas of Myra's care of the destitute families in his diocese into the obligation to buy, buy, buy, so "Santa" can come. But underneath it all, something inside us reminds us that what we are really remembering here is powerful, untamable, and Holy.
One week last year, during a pre-school Bible study, I was reminded how much the Nativity story meant to me. During Advent, the 3 and 4 year olds at our school had been following the Nativity story (complete with an Advent wreath, a crèche, and a traveling Mary, Joseph, and donkey). After following the story on Mondays and Wednesdays for a couple of weeks, the Holy family finally made it into Bethlehem and found the stable. The children were practically beside themselves with excitement! Once the family was placed in the stable, little bodies gathered around to touch, ever so gently, the tiny family, and I was reminded of the first time I got to help put them in the crèche when I was little. They took turns holding Mary and Joseph and they pointed out to each other that the baby Jesus wasn't there yet, understanding already that the story continues to something greater. This is what we do at Christmas when we tell our stories, we build hope and faith, one awe struck child (or adult) at a time.
Santa may be on his way to a chimney nearby, yes, and I think that is a lot of fun. More importantly though, Jesus is about to be born in Bethlehem. When we teach this story with patience and anticipation it can be more exciting to new ears than we think. Do you remember being little and hearing the Nativity story throughout the season each year? I do. I remember (and still use) my mother's crèche; I remember climbing onto a chair to help her place the shepherds, and the glittery star my brother made in Sunday school around the manger, and I remember the soft candlelight spreading through the church on Christmas Eve as we sang Silent Night in awe. The key to all these memories being so strong and clear is that the story was told over and over and it grew through the seasons all the way into Easter and beyond into the stories of Pentecost. Every year this cycle of stories began anew as we placed the characters -- building a palate of images, melodies, and warm feelings that now make up my fondest Christmas memories.
Sharing our Christian story about the Light of Christ coming into the world during the special seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter does more than build memories; our stories, songs, and pageants teach us about the nature of God in the most natural and loving way possible. These inaugural stories that we imagine are for children help adults even more sometimes, to remember that the Light that came into the world at Christmas, remains in the world, and continues to show us the way to God beyond our sorrow and into joy. Holidays weren't always the easiest times at my house growing up, but these moments when the focus was on the goodness and light that came into the world made all the difference, and always gave space for hope and healing to step inside.
May God bless you with the ability to see Christ's light shining in the season.

 -- Erin+

Did You Know... 
(a trivia series on all things Episcopal)
That the clergy's primary responsibilities include:
  • Maintaining a regular schedule of worship and preaching;
  • Selection and oversight of liturgy and the liturgical environment - to include music and other forms of worship such as "home communion;"
  • General administration of the parish;
  • Selection and oversight of all assisting clergy and staff;
  • Use and control of all buildings and furnishings;
  • Education of all ages in the Scriptures; the doctrine, discipline and worship of the church; and in the exercise of their ministry as baptized persons;
  • Provision of pastoral care to parishioners;
  • Stewardship education for all ages;
  • Oversight of mission and outreach activities of the parish;
  • Oversight of all evangelism efforts of the parish;
  • Preparation for baptism, confirmation, and reception;
  • Announcing the bishop's visit with the wardens and vestry, and providing the bishop with information about the congregation's spiritual and temporal state;
  • Applying "open plate" offerings from one Eucharist a month to charitable uses;
  • Reading communications from the House of Bishops at worship;
  • Recording all baptisms, marriages, confirmations and burials in the congregation register.
Parish Updates 
Many Thanks!
Thank you so very much to all who have turned in your pledge cards for 2016 ... and if it is still sitting on your desk, it's never too late to send it in!  Your pledge card helps us to set a realistic budget and to know if we can continue ministries, such as music, adult formation, pastoral care, etc. that are so very vital to our parish.

Cocoa, Carols, & Christmas Quiz 
In place of the 3rd Thursday Evensong this month, everyone is invited to an evening of singing Christmas carols, enjoying cocoa and hors d'oeuvres, and having some fun with trivia on Christmas, St. Matthias', and the Bible.  Bring your friends too!

Acolyte Training
For those (age 8+) looking to become involved as an Acolyte, or just needing a refresh on details, the next training will take place at 9:00 AM on Saturday, December 19th. For more information, see Bill Kane. 

Blue Christmas Service

At 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 19th, we will offer a simple "Blue Christmas" service at St. Matthias. This service, with insights shared by Hospice Chaplain Jennifer LaPorte, will be a time when we acknowledge the "blue" feelings many experience at Christmas time. We will honor the reasons for them, and offer them to God. In December, we experience the shortest day and the longest night of the year, a time when the physical darkness can mirror or intensify any emotional darkness felt. For some, Christmas Day is the most difficult. For others, Christmas Eve, or New Year's Eve, or the beginning of another lonely New Year. If Christmas is hard for you this year, or if you want to support someone for whom this service would be helpful, you are invited. Hot mulled cider (non-alcoholic) and simple pastries will be served afterwards . 
Greening of the Church
All are invited to help clean, decorate and get the church ready for Christmas, during the Greening of the Church on December 23 at 5:00 PM.  After the work is done, we will all enjoy a wonderful chili supper ... come, help, and join the fun!

Family Christmas Eucharist Gifts
This year, we will be adding a wonderful opportunity for families of small children who attend our 5:00 pm Family Christmas Eucharist on Christmas Eve.  Children will be given the chance to give gifts to the baby Jesus during the Offertory.  Offerings will be taken to Frederick Place, in Rhinelander, immediately after the service.  If you are planning to attend the 5:00 service on Christmas Eve with your children or grandchildren, please bring a small wrapped gift, preferably gender neutral, to the service with you - one per child.  It would be helpful to mark the age, and gender for which the gift is appropriate, on the wrapper of the gift.  Have fun with your young ones while choosing and wrapping this gift, showing them that Christmas is a special time for giving to others, and that the traditions started from the gifts that were brought to baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem on that first Christmas.  In addition to small gifts for children, Frederick Place has Christmas Stockings for every adult resident, so small wrapped stocking stuffers like a deck of cards, a travel cribbage board, a small gift box of chocolates or a can of fancy nuts, will also be appreciated.  We will have modest supply of pre-wrapped gifts, just in case a child shows up at the service without a gift to offer - we don't want any child to miss out on the opportunity to experience the gift of giving.  We hope your family will embrace this new tradition as an Advent lesson in preparation and giving.
Music Ministry Team News:  Christmas Cantata
On Christmas Eve at 9:00 p.m., prior to our 9:30 service (with communion), we will perform a Christmas Cantata, titled "Love Came Down at Christmas", written by contemporary composer Joel Raney. A cantata is a choral composition, a kind of lyric drama set to music but not to be acted. Within the cantata listeners will hear parts of many familiar Christmas carols, as well as solos, duets, recitatives (spoken narrations by our priest), and choruses, all with piano accompaniment.
Inspiration for Raney's cantata is a 19th century poem by Christina Rossetti titled, "Love Came Down at Christmas". A number of musicians through the years have composed different tunes using the Rossetti's poem. Members of the congregation may recognize the words, as previous years we have sung an anthem arrangement of the poem (with flute) by contemporary composer Howard Helvey.
Raney's cantata has four main sections that highlight four themes of Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Listeners will hear scattered lines of this poem throughout the cantata:
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
Touchstones:  Differences as Gift
Written by Diane Diederich

Differences are not necessarily barriers in a relationship. Differences can be, in fact, opportunities for mutual support and decision making. Each issue, whether it is finances or the celebration of religious holidays, is an opportunity to reinforce the love and caring that form the foundation of your relationship. The way in which you successfully resolve areas of disagreement, is one of the single best indicators of the resiliency and inner strength of the relationship itself.
Confronting the differences in the one you love is a difficult task for many people, but one that is crucial to the success of your marriage. Pretending that these differences don't exist, or that they aren't really important, and that they will somehow take care of themselves, is a self-deception certain to bring frustration and unhappiness. Frustration delayed is not frustration avoided. If it is left to build up inside for too long, when it finally does emerge (as it inevitably will), it will be blown all out of proportion and become much more destructive to the well-being of the relation than it might otherwise have been.
The challenge is to create harmony out of differences, mutual respect and love in the midst of ambiguity and paradox. See every difference as a gift from your partner's past, a window into a world that you have never known. Each difference that you uncover is yet another example of something that you can learn about and from each other, to add a unique and special dimension to your relationship and your love.
Wishing you the "wonder" of exploring the positive grace of your differences!

TTFN: Diane
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