ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Parish Affairs and Election of New Vestry Members and Council Delegates
Parish Affairs and Election of New Vestry Members and Council Delegates
Christmas Eve — Tuesday, December 24
— 4:00 p.m. Family Eucharist with Christmas Pageant
— 7:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist with Incense
–10:30 p.m. Christmas Music
–11:00 p.m. Festive Holy Eucharist with Incense
Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25
10:00 a.m. –Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 29
Holy Eucharist 10:00 a.m.
To download a copy of the 2019 Advent and Christmas Calendar, click this link:
During the holiday season, Episcopal Relief & Development encourages friends and supporters to give a gift that will transform a life with Gifts For Life, an alternative giving catalog that offers tangible and meaningful ways to create lasting change in communities around the world.
“Gifts for Life is a tangible way to bring the work of Episcopal Relief & Development to life,” said Betsy Deisroth, Vice President of Advancement for Episcopal Relief & Development. “We know that many churches and individuals look forward to participating each year and we hope you will join them, and us, this holiday season.”
The Gifts for Life program enables individuals and groups to empower transformation in communities worldwide through the purchase of gifts to support those communities. The catalog features a wide range of gift options from $15 to help parents nurture and nourish a child to $1,284 to provide a complete care package to empower a community.
The catalog also includes a new offering to help give children with special needs the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the life of the community. Hearing aids, glasses and other assistive devices are life-changing to children with physical challenges. Additionally, disaster relief kits, drought-resistant seeds, vocational training and bicycles are just a few of the other gift options.
This year, the Gifts For Life catalog is organized to align with the organization’s three key program priorities: helping communities promote the rights of Women; supporting and protecting Children so they reach appropriate health and developmental milestones; and working with families and communities to adapt to the effects of a rapidly changing Climate.
“Organizing the gifts by priority program areas allows supporters to see just how each gift contributes to Episcopal Relief & Development’s work to benefit Women, Children and Climate,” said Esther Cohen, Chief Operating Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development. ”With each order you can be a part of making lasting change for an individual or family, both now and for years to come.”
Gifts for Life purchases are fully tax-deductible, and an excellent way to support the organization’s life-giving work and share that impact with family and friends. These items can be ordered online at episcopalrelief.org/gifts, and donors can choose to send a customizable e-card or a beautiful printed card to tell the recipient about the life-changing gift made in their honor. Orders can also be made over the phone by calling 1.855.312.4325 or via mail through the instructions on the catalog or brochure.
Additionally, supporters can download digital resources such as prayers, bulletin inserts, and an Advent calendar poster from the online Advent Toolkit to help dioceses, congregations or groups plan, construct and host an Advent campaign to support Gifts for Life.
For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.
For well over a decade now, St. Matthew’s has celebrated the lives of our deceased family members and friends by holding an Evening Of Remembrance (EOR). This event was founded by Judy Leavell and Ted Sokal. As Judy recently recalled, “Ted and I had returned from Poland, having experienced the All Saint’s evening there, and were so moved by what we saw, and the love expressed. That same year, several dear friends at St. Matt’s had died, and we thought it might be a way to honor them, and for all of us to celebrate the lives of those we’d lost. We approached Sally to see if the youth would come, and were overwhelmed at their reaction and acceptance. There was a huge turnout that year, and we all knew we had struck a chord.”
This year’s Evening Of Remembrance will be on November 3rd, with quiet meditation in various areas available from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, followed with a brief Reading Of The Names liturgy in the Sanctuary, ending at around 8pm. All cultures mourn their deceased loved ones, while at the same time celebrating these beautiful lives. Our EOR is an homage to this basic human need, and we participate in this ongoing part of life by recognizing different ways to mourn and celebrate. Perhaps most ancient of all is our human connection to fire, with its light and warmth. These qualities comfort us and uplift us, so there are many, many candles surrounding us at the EOR.
Music is truly an elemental part of being human, as it touches us emotionally in places where words cannot reach. The EOR has meditative, acoustic music in many areas – delicate guitar, mandolin, violin and bagpipe sounds softly fill the air throughout the evening. The acts of placing a single stone on a larger formation of many stacked stones (a cairn), or of placing a flower on a cross – these have come down to us from ancient times, and from many cultures. The stones represent a collective remembrance made up of individual voices, while the flowers symbolize a renewal, or a blooming of sorts, and a move to another existence. For Christians, the flowering of the cross represents the transition from Good Friday to Easter, from meditation on Jesus’ death to the joyful celebration of His resurrection. There will be a cross with a vase of flowers, and a cairn with a basket of stones – both offer the opportunities to remember and consider and reflect.
Meditative walking rituals have long given us a chance to focus our minds. Walking the labyrinth is one such ritual, as we turn ourselves over to the repetitive steps of our physical body, while our thoughts are freed to contemplate the different states of the life cycle. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. In the Parish Hall, a large labyrinth will be set up for this kind of meditation.
Naming is an act of recognition. When we name, we are recognizing the importance of something in our lives. In the sanctuary, to conclude the EOR, one of the most powerful moments of the evening takes place at 7:30 when all the names of our loved ones are called out, and each receives an honorary tolling of the bell. In the Red Book on the table between the Narthex and the hallway which leads to the Parish Hall, please list any names that you would like to have remembered in this way, by October 20th. The names will also be printed in the November 3rd bulletin.
Please join us on the evening of November 3rd, as we continue, as a parish and beyond, to mourn and celebrate the lives of those that have gone on before us. Children are most welcome.
At St. Matthew’s, our MISSION is to continue the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, by serving the greater community through loving its children, caring for the unfortunate and witnessing to the healing power of God’s love.