What's Happening at St. Mary's                 January 2018 edition
Bill Haines, Editor
Happy New Year!
Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous 2018
De-Greening the Church 
It seems like yesterday we were "greening" the church and on Sunday, January 14th, we'll be de-greening the church after the 10 AM service. Many thanks to all who contributed to make St. Mary's beautiful for the Christmas Season. To all the women, men, and young people who decorated the church, to David and the choir for providing outstanding music, to the clergy, acolytes, lay readers and eucharistic ministers for contributing so much to all the services, to the altar guild who set up and cleaned up after each service, to those who participated in the pageant, to Julie, who's always the behind the scene glue who holds everything together, to those who contributed financially for the altar flowers and Christmas offering, our heartfelt appreciation!

St. Mary's Annual Congregation Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 21, 2018. There will be one service at 9 AM followed by a pot luck brunch. Please volunteer to bring one of your favorite dishes for all to enjoy. The Annual Meeting is the congregation's opportunity to find out what happened last year and what the goals for St. Mary's are in 2018. Fr. Peter, the Wardens, and Treasurer will give their reports. Additionally, there will be written reports from all Committee Chairs in the written report given to all attendees. St. Mary's is our church and this is an open forum to ask questions, offer suggestions, meet the old and new members of the Vestry, and in general, find out what's happening at St. Mary's. 

Adult Forum - Sundays 9 AM 
We are now in the Epiphany Season. Did you notice the Wise Men have made their appearance in the creche? Fr. Gorman is leading the Adult Forum, between services, on a program based on the National Church's program that outlined four fundamental aspects of the racial reconciliation process. We will address: "Telling the Truth about Our Churches and Race," "Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community," "Practicing the Way of Love In the Pattern of Jesus," and "Repairing the breach In Institutions and Society." This will be our course of study during Epiphany. Fr. Gorman will provide the hand-outs, no homework assignments. If our first meeting was any indication of where our future discussions will take us, you won't want to miss this Sunday - Telling the Truth - Our Parish, Our Neighborhood, and Beyond. 

The Branches 
What have you been doing during these past frigid days? If you ask Sandra Lockhart and her faithful volunteers, they'll tell you The Branches has become "their home away from home." In addition to feeding about 60 people breakfast and lunch six days a week, Code Blue has been in effect for more than two weeks. That means Sandra and her group of caring people have been open every evening until all the homeless find shelter for the night. They also provide dinner and bag lunches to go. The community has responded to a posting on Facebook by providing food, warm clothing, and money to support their efforts. The Branches doesn't talk the talk, they walk the walk!
St. Mary's Senior Luncheon Club was hosted by Sue Dowling on December 16. Sue presented an excellent program on "A Victorian Christmas." She not only dressed as a Victorian lady, she shared Victorian Christmas traditions, and provided Victorian Christmas food. I especially enjoyed the mince meat pie. In fact, I took some home with me. Thank you, Sue. George announced our next luncheon will be on February 15 from 11 AM to 1 PM. In honor of Valentine's Day, we'll have game day. Bring your favorite game and invite a few friends to join you. This will be a bring your own brown bag luncheon.
Our pledge campaign for 2018 resulted in 50 pledges totaling $189,384.00. This is an increase of more than $6,000 from 2017. Many thanks to all for your financial and personal support of St. Mary's.
Hopefully, we all survived the Blizzard of '18. I think we can all agree that our climate changes. However, if you want global warming, you'll have to go to Australia. I wonder how man caused the fourth longest cold streak at Atlantic City Airport and record low temperatures in many places?