St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of December 9-16, 2019
Lessons and Carols
 service Sunday at 10

This Sunday at the 10 am service we will enjoy the hymns and carols and instruments of Christmas as well as a handful of lessons which describe God's eternal purpose in relationship with humanity and its earthly existence. Brass instruments will complement the choir and organ and parishioners will read from Luke and Isaiah and Jeremiah and others as we contemplate the season of Advent.

Annually this service triggers in us a special joyful response to the season, one of awe and delight a we remember and we realize the momentous nature of Advent, the coming of Christ, both as a babe in a manger and as our Redeemer.

The loose collection at this service will go toward the Food Pantry Christmas gift card program at St. Paul's. Please plan to give generously and invite friends and family to attend as well.
In jail, John receives confirmation 
After John the Baptist was jailed for railing against the king, word reached him in his cell about Jesus' ministry. John sent Jesus a message asking if his cousin was, in fact, the Messiah. Jesus' reply to John's messenger settled that question: "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."
This week's readings.
It seems so obvious that no one would or could take offense at such generous, healing deeds as they were being performed by Jesus. And yet there were those so insecure in their positions and afraid of losing authority that they sought reasons and even made up reasons to criticize him. His earthly fate, ultimately, was not too different from John's.
But this week as we anticipate the wonderful Lessons and Carols service at 10 am Sunday we realize that the eternal message of Jesus, addressed to John in his jail cell, applies still today and forever: "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings 

$307 Raised for Bishop's Fund
When Bishop Andy Dietsche visited St. Paul's Nov. 24 special envelopes were distributed to raise funds for the Bishop's Discretionary Fund. The discretionary fund for Bishop Andy is just like that for a priest except the bishop does not have just one congregation or even just one community to care for--he has the entire diocese. By donating funds to the Bishop's Discretionary Fund parishioners at St. Paul's participate in the work of the entire diocese and its people. Commendations are in order for those who gave generously in support of our bishop throughout the diocese.


The meditation booklet for this year's
Advent Supper Series.

Advent Supper Series continues
Next meeting Wednesday, Dec 11
 The supper series takes place from 5:30-7 pm on two more Wednesdays in Advent: Dec. 11 and 18. All are welcome. Soup and bread provide a light supper. Meditations and discussion follow and the evening conludes with Compline.
A sign-up sheet for participants is in the Narthex for the Dec. 18 evening. Participants are asked to bring soup or bread or drinks in order that all may partake.

The change of seasons is upon us once again, and the cooler temperatures of autumn call for soups and stews. Our Food Pantry clients will appreciate going home with beef stew, chicken noodle soup, and vegetable soup, all items on our "menu" of choices. Please contribute generously! Thank you.

The two-fold coming of Christ
Sermon: 2 Advent A Dec 8 2019
Isa11:1-10;Ps72:1-7,18-19;Rom15:4 -13; Mat3:1-12
I have it on very high authority that you have started the season of Lent without me. I am not surprised. I am pleased. And I thought of you last Sunday as I sat in a vaguely familiar church--I attended All Saints Episcopal Church in Anchorage Alaska in the 1980s--and I heard the same lessons you did.
This week I found myself thinking about the language of Advent--asking for the grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, as we read in our collect last week.
What an affirming and hopeful suggestion that prayer represents in this dark and chilly season!
What clear intention it asserts on our behalf to live in the light, the light of Christ which we will eventually proclaim at our Easter Vigil.
Did you notice the reference to Christ coming twice? Once in great humility, at his Nativity, once to judge the living and the dead? I found that extremely thought provoking, even stimulating. We think of baby Jesus as Advent gets underway, not the judgment of Christ. But there it was in the Collect last week. And I thought about it. And not just because there was a sermon to prepare. Rather, because this is a fantastic way to begin Advent.
This week we acknowledge God's prophets who "...preach(ed) repentance and prepare(d) the way for our salvation." They tell us to give up our old ways and to follow the ways that Jesus taught, the ways of loving God and loving our neighbor.
Before I left for Alaska last month I picked out the graphic for the 10 am bulletin today. It's a very striking image of John the Baptist. It reminded me of what an odd guy he must have been and how desperate people were for his message of the very redemption we seek. They came to him even though he lived outside regular society, in the wilderness, and "...wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey."
What could it have been that drew people to him? Who wants to give up their earthly ways and follow this Jesus John the Baptist is talking about? As we know, it turned out a lot of people did.
In the collect today we asked God to "...(g)ive us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins." So we clearly are among those followers, those who followed John the Baptist as he foretold the story of his cousin, Jesus.
But when we line up these two points we realize that as Advent gets underway, we are not just waiting for a cooing infant in a manger. Or rather, we realize that we've been set up, in a manner of speaking, to both welcome the baby Jesus and forsake our sins. It's not just the cooing infant. It's not even Santa. It's penitence. It's confession. It's''s...major work.
Some of the people who came to see John the Baptist thought the way was already paved for them by virtue of their religious authority. John declared their claims null and void, calling them a brood of vipers, and asked, "Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
This of course is a question you and I can answer fairly easily, since we come to church, we know our commandments, and every now and then we recite the Baptismal Covenant which contains what I like to call the job description of a Christian. So we have been warned. The religious authorities had many of the same sources, but they rather publicly and unabashedly ignored some of them. This led to the prophets to condemn them and Isaiah, especially, to bemoan their indifference to God's will.
Unlike the Jewish authorities, though, we lack the excuse of not believing in Jesus. If we were before John the Baptist and declared, "This is not for us," and we did not adhere to Jesus' teachings, no one would be surprised. But since we are baptized Christians and because we know the Baptismal Covenant, we have no excuse. This is one of the reasons we have the confession every Sunday, so people can get clear on where they have gone wrong and make plans for correction.
Not only that. Consider this: we know that the church and its members are the body of Christ in the world. That's you and me, folks. Some even say that the church represents the Second Coming, Christ renewed and carrying Jesus' message around the world. So if we consider this notion and look into it a little we realize that judgment day is already upon us. Our very lives are subject to evaluation, such that "we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer."
And lo and behold, we are given again in Advent a fresh start, the opportunity to live into our faith as we track the birth of our Savior and the birth of our Redeemer. This is a new year in the church. It is a beginning of our new life in faith. And it invites us, as Jesus invited us, to live in the hope and the faith that we share.
Now it's pretty clear that John the Baptist was using scare tactics. That's how sales pitches went in those days. But we are of the belief that Jesus was inviting us into a new way of believing, one of hope that transcends all difficulties and fulfills all his promises.
Our Advent meditation book this week actually speaks to this matter of hope and reminds us to put our faith in God and be filled with hope. One meditation in particular got my attention because it acknowledged that hope sometimes seems a little improbable, especially in those particular situations where the odds against a specific hope being realized seem stacked against us.
"Hope springs from a desire for more (from life)," the meditation said. It is a confident expectation that something good will come one day out of a difficult or undesirable situation through steady effort, often struggle, and always grace. Hope is not simply wishful thinking; it is a virtue that finds its source in God and can be developed by all people of faith."
"Messages of Hope" is the title of the meditation booklet. At a time like this when there is division and strife throughout our society and around the world, when our principles are being tested and our confidence might tend to flag a little, lo and behold, we are filled with hope. Even though we know the story, how it progresses and, for that matter, how it ends, we are filled with hope for the baby Jesus and all babies. When we think about it, about the new year in the church beginning in Advent, we find ourselves filled with hope for ourselves, that we might indeed heed the warnings of the prophets, especially John the Baptist and Isaiah, and forsake our sins.
And we can also be encouraged to hope and believe that however dim the prospects, that a new spirit might visit our country and spread around the world, a spirit that inspires grace and giving and trust and honesty and working together to heal and foster all of God's kingdom.
A sermon preached on the Second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 8, 2019, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church,
Poughkeepsie NY, by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector.
3 Andre Clarke                   8 Brendan Foley       15 Jasmin Bryant                       Bruce Petito              
6 Jeremiah Jordon            9 Lillian Goldson        17 Felicia Santos Patterson   26 Maria Bell      
7 Casey Lynn Parisella  10 Lisa Koen                 20 Ruby Smith                       29 Imina Sade Santos-
   Jeanne Henderson      11 Marian Perkins        23 Carol Anderson                     Thompson 
                                                                                                                           30 George Thomas

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'
Lectors:          Rose Marie Proctor
                       Adrian Goldson       

Litanist:           Pete Bedrossian

Server:            Maria Bell

Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee                 
Litanist:           Mark Debald
Altar Guild:      Norma Williams & Mertlyn Tomlinson

1982          54     Savior of the nations, come (Nunn komm, der Heiden Heiland)
1982          56     O come, O come, Emmanuel (Veni, veni, Emmanuel) [v.1, 6-7]              
 1982        105     God rest you merry, gentlemen (God rest you Merry)
1982          87     Hark! The herald angels sing (Mendelssohn)
1982          79     O little town of Bethlehem (St. Louis)
1982        115     What child is this, who, laid to rest (Greensleeves)
1982          99     Go tell it on the mountain (Go Tell it on the Mountain) 
1982          96     Angels we have heard on high (Gloria)  
1982          67     Comfort, comfort ye my people (Psalm 42)
1982          72     Hark the glad sound! the Savior comes (Richmond)
THE SERVICE OF LESSONS AND CAROLSThe Service of Lessons and Carols, celebrated during the season of Advent, tells the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus, through Bible readings interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir anthems. Up to the late 19th century, Christmas carols were generally considered too secular to be included in Christian worship in England. However, during the Victorian era the rising popularity of hymnody encouraged church musicians to introduce carols into worship. Christmas 1878 saw the introduction of carols into the service of choral evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and soon the practice spread. The first formal service of "Nine Lessons and Carols" on Christmas Eve was held in 1880 at Truro Cathedral in Cornwall, England, after Bishop Edward White Benson, concerned by excessive drinking in Cornish pubs during the holiday season, sought a means of attracting revelers to church by offering a religious celebration of Christmas. After Bishop Benson was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1883, the Lessons and Carols service began to gain in popularity across the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. The original liturgy has since been adapted and used by other churches all over the world, though Lessons and Carols most often occur in Anglican churches. The first known instance of this service in the United States was held in 1916 at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

December 9-15, 2019

MON     9
  7:30am    AA Meeting
  6:30pm    NA Meeting - Journey to Recovery

TUE     10
10:00am    Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Store
  6:00pm    Evening Prayer; Bible Study

WED    11
  7:30am    AA Meeting
10:00am    Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Shop 
12:15pm    Healing Service & Eucharist
  1:00pm    Parish Aid
  5:30pm    Advent Bible Study

THU     12
10:00am    Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Shop

FRI      13
  7:30am    AA Meeting
  6:30pm    NA Meeting 

SAT     14
10:00am    NA Meeting
  3:00pm    NA Meeting - Men Do Recover  

SUN    15
  8:00am    Rite I
  8:45am    Lessons' Discussion
  9:30am    Choir practice
10:00am    Lessons and Carols; RITE II - celebrating birthdays and   
                  anniversaries; Sunday School 
11:15am    Special Coffee Hour


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