St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of December 3-9, 2018  
Lessons & Carols Service
Our annual Lessons & Carols celebration  will be held on Sunday, December 16th during the 10am service. Hope to see you all there!

This is a perfect time to invite irregular churchgoers or family and friends who do not ordinarily attend to join you and appreciate the season of Advent, the preparation for and expectation of the nativity of Jesus.


 Micah 5:2-4; Isaiah 11:1-9; Zephaniah 3:14-18;
Isaiah 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:8-15; Luke 1:26-38(39-56)
 Two Gospel readings this Sunday
This week's readings
This Sunday we have a pair of Gospel readings. One will be read at the 8 am service. The other is for the 10 am service at which we are conducting our annual Lessons and Carols service.
They tell two very different yet complementary stories. The 8 am Gospel (Luke 3:7-18) describes the scene just before Jesus' baptism. John the Baptist demands explanations from the people who have heard about Jesus and have come to be baptized by his herald. He calls them vipers. He demands to know who warned them to "flee from the wrath fo come." He shifted to the good news and told people how to live in love with God and their neighbor, helping people, giving what they could to others, and being fair in the dispensation of authority by those in official positions. In short, the Gospel concludes, John the Baptist "with many other exhortations...proclaimed the good news to the people."
In our Lessons and Carols service the Gospel reading is the Annunciation, Luke 1:26-56. Just as John the Baptist anticipated the glory of Jesus, so does Mary on learning she is to bear God's child. The Magnificat, the splendid song she sings to the glory of God, is part of the Lessons and Carols Gospel.
Together these readings bring to mind the messy business of human affairs, resolved and reconciled by Jesus. For those fortunate enough to attend both services it will be especially enriching. For those who do not have that good fortune, both Gospel renditions are available all the time in our Bibles.


Every year St. Paul's provides Christmas dinner help for our food pantry clients. In years past we have distributed hams and turkeys as well as other key elements for the annual Christmas dinner.
This year we have conducted a Christmas drawing for gift cards at a local supermarket. Over 150 clients entered the drawing. 50 were selected for the first round of Christmas dinner help.  Card amounts were based on household size and are not eligible for tobacco or alcohol purchases.
To help more of our clients with Christmas dinner we asked the Vestry to approve second collections this Advent. The Vestry did approve the request and second collections for another drawing will be held on Dec. 16 and on Dec. 23.
Please do what you can to be generous in this effort to help our food pantry clients with Christmas dinner.

St. Paul's Girl Scout troop will be providing hospitality at the coffee hour following our Lessons and Carols service on Dec. 16th. The troop will be serving breakfast as a group service to the church.
The troop's popular dried soup mix will also be on sale for holiday giving, as will cookie mixes. Parishioners are encouraged to enjoy this service by the troop and to consider buying soup and/or cookie mix for friends and family.

The 25 Week Club ticket holders are invited to attend the final drawing and party on Saturday, December 22 at 1:00pm in the afternoon. Watch for your invitation and reply form either in the mail or in an envelope in the Narthex.  YOU MUST REPLY!
We need to know how many people to plan for. 
Recent $20 & $10 winners are: Lillian Buckley, Maria Bell, Donna Ackert, Sarah LoConte, Pete Bedrossian, Kevin Kelly, Debbie Pitcher. Congrats to all the winners

Thank you to the many people who have already turned in their generous pledge for 2019.   There are Pledge Forms in the Narthex for those who missed Consecration Sunday or haven't yet returned their pledge for 2019.  

We are still waiting to hear from 14 parishioners who pledged last year, but haven't yet returned this year's pledge.  Are you one of them? Please send it in so you'll have your box of envelopes for 2019.
Remember, Pledge envelopes will be available at the end of December for those who have submitted a pledge form.

Our Food Pantry needs your help! We are once again asking our parishioners to bring food to church every Sunday, and we're going to try something new. Each month we will ask for a donation of a particular nutritious food that we offer to our clients.

Please don't forget to bring Beef Stew on Sunday and for the next three Sundays after that. The basket will be back in the narthex and will be brought to the altar for blessing.
The Sunday Sermon...

        People, Get Ready for the King

SERMON: 2 Advent C December 9, 2018
We all have heroes or people we admire. If you could entertain your famous person, who would it be? How would you prepare? I know I would get my apartment in order - do a thorough cleaning, and put up some new curtains. When I worked in residential treatment for adolescent male offenders, the benefactor, the late Monsignor O'Brien would visit at least three times a year. The director of the facility would have a special staff meeting to let us know when the Monsignor is coming, and we would organize the residents to do a thorough cleaning of the facility. The best part for the guys was doing the physical work because they could see and enjoy their labor for a long time. On the day of the Monsignor's arrival we would gather on the lawn, looking skyward as we awaited the sound of the helicopter. Then we would begin with a round of continuous applause until the Monsignor joined us on the lawn.
In ancient times the same kind and level of preparation would happen for a reception of a king. In the book of Malachi we heard the words, "see I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me. . . . indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts." We know the messenger was John the Baptist, sent by God to tell the people to get ready for arrival of Jesus - the Son of God - the King of kings.
John's message was simple, but complicated. His instructions were clear, yet difficult to follow. Malachi describes the coming of Jesus as being "like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap." Jesus, is like the soap, used by launderers of olden days to clean and whiten clothes. He came to purify you and me and cleanse us from our sins.
There is an old man who wanders up and down-Market Street and the east bound arterial that is known for his proclamations. People call him 'Freedom" because he is constantly shouting "freedom, freedom, Jesus loves you, love your neighbor, stay sober!" I often think of freedom from what; and freedom for whom? This man could be our present day "John the Baptist". Not everyone pays attention to him, and some call him crazy; as they did John the Baptist. Freedom however, gets my attention because his messages always leaves me thinking about some social issues.
How many of us are receptive to taking or following directions from others? We place our lives in compute apps and are totally dependent on Google maps and Siri; than we are on the God's word. Yet, the day is coming for each of us when we will be called to see Jesus, the Son of God in all his glory.
So, the challenges are: Are you ready? Are you ready for an encounter with God? God longs for fellowship and intimacy with us. In the Collect this morning we prayed for grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, so we can get ready to receive Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
Today's Gospel shared, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth."
Every one of us has parts of our lives that are sunk down. After all, we've all sinned and fall short of the God's glory. The fact is that we don't measure up to God's standards of perfection, and we need to recognize that there is no shame in seeing these shortcomings in ourselves and acknowledging them.
            When John preached about raising the valleys, I believe he was saying that there are areas in our lives that are in decline; where we have fallen short, and our living is below God's best for us. The low areas may come about because we neglect our spiritual lives; we lack genuinely love to our neighbor, disobedience, unconfused sins, and unforgiveness. Remember the homeless in our community who sleep in cold abandoned buildings at nights; the drug addicts lounging on the park benches and the immigrants besieging the borders hoping for a chance at a new life in safety. As we prepare the way of the Lord, let us raise up the needs of those around us in a tangible way. Every valley must be raised, and every low area built up so that the Lord can come in power and bless us.
Not only do the low places have to be built up and filled in, but the high places must be leveled. Boulders and rock in the way must be broken or removed. The mountains and hills speak of the hard, resistant area in our lives that need attention before the Lord can come to us.
Often, we cannot see the high places in our lives. Pride in all its various forms is so deceitful that we may see it in others, but not in ourselves. Yet, these things can block and hinder God's deeper work, without us knowing our realizing it. The spirit of pride must be dealt with and we must be brought to a place of brokenness, raw submission and humility before the Lord. Only in the broken places can we make a highway for the Lord in our hearts so that He can come to us.
If we maintain focus we can keep on the straight road. Have you ever been overwhelmed by life only to realized that you are not heading in the right direction or that your priorities are screwed up? If we could look back at our lives journeys, the twists and turns as we push forward only to realize that we didn't really know where we were going.
There's only one solution for this problem, and that is to realize our purpose for being here. When Jesus came to earth, He encountered people and problems every day that could have distracted Him from his purpose. However, in every instance He told the people that he was headed for the cross. That's why He came, and He never forgot it.
A young man once told me that with my degrees I could be making tons of money doing something else. He bragged that he was making a lot more money that I could, in a day with less effort. This was possibly true. However, the risks were greater. The key questions were - What was my purpose for working in drug treatment, and was I following that dream? Is this the path God would have me take? I believe we ought to live our lives with spiritual blinders on.   There are hundreds of great opportunities you and I can pursue in life, but only one is God's chosen for us. Putting on blinders don't just keep us from turning left or right - they keep us centered on what is most important to God for us.
So, when the low places are build up and the high places are brought down, the last part in preparing the highway is to grade, roll and smooth the bumpy surface of the road to make it completely even.   The uneven areas in our lives could be inconsistencies in our Christian living - the ups and down, and the hot and cold; the rough places still need the refining to make our lives smooth and straight.   We need to ask Jesus to deal with the rough places and replace them with an even Spirit-filled life.
We have our directions - so, let's get busy so we will be ready to meet Jesus this Advent.
Please join me in praying the Collect for the day. Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation. Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
A sermon preached on the Second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 9, 2018, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church,
Poughkeepsie NY, by Diaconal Postulant Julett Butler.

                         DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS
3      Andre Clarke                             11         Marian Perkins
6    Jeremiah Jordan                        15         Jasmin Bryant
7     Jeanne Henderson                     17         Felicia Santos Griffin
      Casey Lynn Parisella                  20         Ruby Smith
8     Brendan Foley                            23         Carol Anderson
9     Lillian Goldson                                         Bruce Petito
10  Lisa Koen                                    26         Maria Bell
                                                          29         Imina Sade Santos-Thompson

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'
Server:            Maria Bell

Lectors:           Rose Marie Proctor
                        Cora Keith

Litanist:           Pete Bedrossian
Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee                 
Lectors:           Debbie Pitcher
                        Alexis Plain
Litanist:           Mark Debald
Usher:             Dewy Clarke
                        Mark Debald
Altar Guild:     Joanna & Rose Marie

Greeters:         Mary Ann Bagatta                       


1982                 68               Rejoice, rejoice, believers
1982                 56               O come, O come Emmanuel
1982                 105             God rest you merry, gentleman
1982                 115              What child is this, who, laid to rest
1982                  87               Hark! The herald angels sing
1982                  79               O little town of Bethleham
1982                  96               Angels we have heard on high
1982                  99               Go tell it on the mountain
1982                  67               Comfort, comfort ye my people
19982                68               Sleepers, awake! A voice astounds us 

HYMN INFORMATION: Originally written as a German versification of the text from Isaiah 40:1-5, the text of Comfort, comfort ye my people was meant to show the promise of better days to come with the coming of the Messiah. Written by Lutheran theologian Johann Olearius, it was published in 1671. It is typically sung to the tune "Freu dich sehr," composed by French Renaissance composer Louis Bourgeois over a century earlier. Around 1550, while living in Geneva, Bourgeois compiled and arranged a large number of tunes to accompany psalms. However, he was jailed there in 1551 for having made changes to popular hymn-tunes "without a license." Eventually, he was released from prison on a personal recommendation from John Calvin himself, but because many singers had already learned the original tunes and had no desire to learn new versions, the town council demanded that a burning of his publications be held! Not surprisingly, Bourgeois soon left for France where he spent the rest of his life. Bourgeois is best known as the composer of the Doxology we sing every Sunday.


December 10-16, 2018
MON 10
7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;  

6pm Evening Prayer, Worship/Altar Guild;
6:30pm "Journey to Recovery" NA Meeting 

TUE 11
10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop; 
6pm Evening Prayer, Bible Study;

WED 12
7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;
10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Shop; 

12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist;  
1pm Parish Aid;
5pm Advent Study;

10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop; 
 6pm Evening Prayer, Pastoral Care;

FRI 14
7:30am "Good Morning" AA meeting; 

SAT  15
10am NA Meeting;
11am Girl Scout Meeting;
3 pm NA Meeting "Journey to Recovery"; 
5pm PH Private Event;

SUN 16
8am Rite I;
8:45am Lesson's Discussion
9:30am Choir Practice; 

 10am Sunday School;

10am Rite II; Lessons & Carols

11:15am Coffee Hour;
11:30am Girl Scouts breakfast


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