This Week at St. Mary's-in-Tuxedo
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Upcoming Calendar
Saturday, December 7
3pm to 5pm - Christmas Market on the Great Lawn

Sunday, December 8 - Advent II
8am - Holy Eucharist in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit 
9:50am - Infant/childcare and Sunday School
10am - Holy Eucharist with choir and organ
Food and fellowship follows

Wednesday, December 11
10am - Holy Eucharist in Chapel of the Holy Spirit
From the Rector
Dear Parishioners and Friends,

"But who shall abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap." Malachi 3:2 (KJV)

During the season of Advent, our church's carillon is set to play seasonal hymns like Sleepers Wake! and Watchmen, Tell Us of the Night. But interspersed with these classic hymns are also appropriate selections from Handel's "Messiah." It is undoubtedly his greatest accomplishment, and among the world's great choral masterpieces. The astounding thing to me is not just the beauty of the music, but that the words are lifted completely, and without the slightest edit, directly from holy scripture. So at this time of year, people around the world pack concert halls and churches to hear God's word sung at them. What a gift Handel has given us.

Tonight I was taken by the sound of the bells ringing out Handel's gift in the cold night, and the words of the prophet Malachi which he set to that eternal music. I thought of this season, and of what it represents and prepares us for: the four last things. Last week I wrote and spoke in my sermon about this theme, which stands in complete opposition to what we have made this season into. The four last things are, death, judgment, hell, and heaven.

Judgment is a tricky topic. We all know the saying, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and yet judgment seems to be an inescapable part of life. We are all guilty of judging others, sometimes rightly, but usually wrongly. And we are equally guilty of judging ourselves, often quite harshly. When it comes to heavenly judgement, many of us who were brought up in a "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" atmosphere can find it difficult to reconcile divine love with what seems like a vendetta against human kind.

This is why I love the passage above from Malachi, especially the last bit. "He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap." We all understand refining precious metals, but what is a fuller? He is someone with the unenviable task of taking raw, filthy wool, and purifying it with harsh soap until it is clean. This means that our Lord is a merciful and loving judge who is willing to get in the trenches with us and help us wash away the filth that clings to us, because he knows what lies underneath it all. And he calls us to do likewise, as difficult as it may be. What is our fullers' soap? Forgiveness; righting a wrong; accepting someone else's apology; finally seeing Christ in someone for whom that is a reach...

All of this takes right relationship with our God and others. It takes self-awareness and a willingness to be wrong sometimes, and when we are right, to be so with grace and humility. In other words, God loves us, and wants nothing more than to work with and through us to bring his light into the world, now and throughout the year.

Father Rick
Advent Learning
Join us this Sunday at 9am in the Vestry Room for our Advent Discussion Group.

We don't like to wait, but the season of Advent is all about waiting—a time of expectation, when Christians have traditionally devoted themselves to practices of prayer and study.

Advent began on December 1st and we will have an opportunity to learn about the season by reading the book Expectant and discussing together each Sunday from 9am to 9:30am (between the two services). Please see Father Rick or call the office if you'd like a copy of the book.

This book offers a short meditation for each of the thirty days of the season, from the First Sunday of Advent through Christmas Day. In the spirit of expectancy, each meditation focuses on seeking and seeing God in the everyday of our ordinary lives, based on a psalm that corresponds to the daily office for the season of Advent.
Christmas Flowers and Music
Once again, St. Mary’s will be transformed into a breathtakingly beautiful space decorated for Christmas beginning with the greenery during Advent. Poinsettias and red bows will be added for Christmas and then on Christmas Eve, we will enjoy outstanding music offered by our choir, Director of Music and a string quartet. 

All are paid for by YOUR donations. The total cost is over $3000, so we do need a number of generous donors to have this lovely tradition of St. Mary’s continue in 2019. To make this possible, we ask you that you give a special donation for the Christmas decorations and music by using the envelope in your Sunday service bulletin, or use the button below. At the dropdown menu, select  Christmas Flowers or Music . Deadline for inclusion of thanksgivings and memorials in our Christmas bulletins is December 18th.
Helping Those in Need
The work of St. Mary’s goes far beyond our Sunday worship, and makes a genuine impact on people’s daily lives right here in Tuxedo, in our region, and across the globe. Some of the work we do includes forming young minds and hearts in our preschool, hunger relief, assistance to homeless persons, and ESL classes. This year, 24 local families received a Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey and all the trimmings. Your generosity makes all that and more possible, and enables us to carry forth our mission into the future. Many thanks, Father Rick
Local Outreach
In mid-December this same group of local families, and more, will be receiving Angel Tree gifts. These will be gift cards to enable parents to buy for their own families. Each of 30 families with a total of 70 children will receive $100 Shoprite gift card and a $50 Kohl’s gift card for every child. We know from experience that these are very much needed and appreciated. Students from TPS will gift wrap the cards together with seasonally colorful scarves, hats, and gloves. Our total expenditure for Angel Tree will be $6,500.
Global Outreach
Then our Neighbors far away in South Africa, being cared for by Carryou and sponsored by St Mary’s plus other friends in a wider community, will receive special party meals and small gifts. At this time of year we acknowledge the work of the caregivers, most of whom get by on a wage of the equivalent of $100 a month. They have families of their own to care for and live in the same informal settlements as their charges. Most are refugees from
neighboring countries. Through our generosity, each caregiver will receive a small bonus which tells them how much they are appreciated.

We would welcome any donations from the community to help St. Mary’s fund these local and global gestures of neighborliness. Checks should be mailed to St. Mary’s, PO Box 637, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987, and made out to St. Mary’s Outreach with a memo of ‘local outreach’ or ‘Carryou’. Your choice will be honored. Donations can also be made online.
The Ghanaian song reminds us:
Neighbors are rich and poor,
Neighbors are black and white,
Neighbors are near-by and far away.
Jesu! Jesu! Fill us with your love,
Show us how to care,
For neighbors we have from you.
All are truly welcome at St. Mary's, which is located within the historic gates of Tuxedo Park and serves the entire Tuxedo community. Please tell the gatehouse you're going to St. Mary's, proceed thru the gates and we're on the right (plenty of parking available).
How to contact us...
Office: 845.351.5122
PreSchool: 845.351.2389
Physical Address: 10 Fox Hill Rd, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 637, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987