Saint Andrew's-in-the-Valley
Thursday MEMO

December 9, 2010

Services for Sunday, December 12th, the Third Sunday of Advent, will be at 8 and 10 AM
, with coffee hours following both services. We hope you will join us for worship.

Dana Cunningham
will be with us as a special guest at the 10 o'clock service, offering her piano music as prelude, postlude, and during communion.
For those of you who do not yet know her, Dana is a pianist, composer, and friend of the parish. Her music offers a special window into this contemplative Advent season. She describes contemplation as “ 'immediate open presence in the world, directly perceiving and lovingly responding to things as they really are.' It is about becoming truly present. Finding this capacity for loving presence and for responding to people and things ‘just as they are’ takes practice and attention. It also requires a movement away from the dominance of the mind and all its activity, and toward its integration with the heart and body. When mind, heart, and body are in balance, life seems to flow. And this is where music can be so helpful. Music has a way of evoking our emotions that might otherwise remain hidden and can give us access to the heart of the matter. What a gate these emotions can be for us when we attend to them. It seems to me that it is only when we truly honor what arises within us — making space for the truth of what “is” — that its energy can be transformed."

Christmas Flowers -- A reminder from the office: Don't forget, we count on your contributions -- made in memory, in thanksgiving, or in honor of someone -- toward the purchase of our poinsettias and laurel roping. There are envelopes in the pews, or you can notify Debra in the office by phone or email ( with names and amount. Information is needed by December 17th to assure inclusion in the Christmas bulletins. Thanks.

Boughs and Bonbons Report: We had a wonderfully successful event last Saturday, raising over $1,300 and having a good time in the process! Hearty thanks go to many, many people, starting with Lynne and Patti who co-chaired the overall event. Thanks also Judy and Elaine as wreath coordinators, Peggy R. and George who drove to Dover to collect the plain wreaths, Barbara and Dale on cookie plates, Chris, Juli, and Aislinn who created and staffed our new Children's Tables, Claudia at the plant table, Peg Cade and Diane as cashiers, Cathie and Gretchen on Fair Traded gifts, Carol, Grete, and others who cooked up jams and jellies and brought in items created by their friends and family members (including, fudge, soaps, and scarves), Val and Janet (independent vendors who contributed a percentage of their sales), Fred and Donna who provided hospitality in the form of coffee, goodies, and conversation, and ALL of you who assisted with wreath decorating and baked cookies for those fabulous, quick-selling cookie plates! And apologies and thanks to anyone whose name I missed! (More pictures below.)

Looking ahead to Christmas preparations:

Since this year the 4th Sunday of Advent falls almost a full week before Christmas Day, we will not be doing the Greening of the Church as part of the liturgy on the 19th. Instead, please consider joining with altar guild members and others on Wednesday, December 22nd: At 4:00 we will put together the sprigs of greens that will grace the ends of the pews. At 5:30 we will gather for a simple soup and salad supper. At about 6:00 we will go into the church to hang the laurel roping, bring in the poinsettias, attach the pew sprigs, and ready the church for Christmas Eve. We will close the evening with the brief service of Compline in the candle-lit church. We need helpers -- large and small, short and tall. Come one, come all!

December 24th: Christmas Eve Services of Holy Eucharist will be at 5 PM and 11 PM, each preceded with 15 minutes of carol singing. The 5:00 service will include the setting and blessing of the creche, which will include the children.
December 25th: Our Christmas Day service will be at 11:30 AM, followed by our traditional Christmas Community Feast at 12:30, to which all (including you!) are welcome. Further details will be forthcoming later this week.
December 26th, the 1st Sunday after Christmas: We will have ONE service only at 9 AM. This will be a quiet, contemplative liturgy with harp music.

Our Bishop is coming!!! On January 2nd, the 2nd Sunday of Christmas, Bishop Gene Robinson will be with us for our biennial parish visit. Please join us as we welcome Kathy Bunker and Marty Cloran who will be received into this branch of Christ's church. We will have ONE service only at 10 AM. Following our worship together, we will greet our bishop and each other with a festive reception, followed by a time of conversation with him. I hope you will make every effort to be at Saint Andrew's for this special event. Spread the word, and encourage friends and family members to join us that day. Bishop Robinson will be retiring at the beginning of 2013, so this may very well be his last official visit with us.

Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year A:
Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalm 146:4-9; James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

Food for thought: As we enter these next two, very busy weeks, I encourage you to find time to still yourself, perhaps contemplating what a "genuine" Christmas might mean for you. I offer this poem from Oscar Romero (Archbishop of San Salvador and Martyr, 1980) for your reflection....

The God We Hardly Knew

No one can celebrate
a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud,
those who, because they have
everything, look down on others,
those who have no need
even of God -- for them there
will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone
to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
That someone is God.
Emmanuel. God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God.

May these days of preparation be blessed for you.