December11, 2014

Commissioning from Last Sunday
There will be ONE service, at 10 AM, this coming Sunday, December 14th, the Third Sunday of Advent and the Biennial visitation of our bishop, the Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld. This is an important time for the whole parish to come together, so that we can get to know him and he can get to know us. He will also be baptizing Preston Mills and receiving Dan Micciulla into this branch of Christ’s church. Plan to join us after the service as well to greet the Bishop during coffee hour and to take part in an open discussion toward the end of coffee hour. 

The readings for this Sunday are Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, John 1:6-8. 19-28. 

We count on the parish to fund our Christmas poinsettias and laurel roping and welcome contributions of any size given “in memory of” or “in thanksgiving for”. Envelopes are in the pews and on the bulletin table. 

The service in celebration of the life of Ruth Conley (Juli Hird’s grandmother) will be this Saturday, December 13th, at 1:30. 

Looking ahead…On the 4th Sunday of Advent, December 21st, we will again have a single service at 10:00 for the Greening of the Church, at which, within the liturgy, we prepare the church for Christmas. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who will be out of town for the actual Christmas holiday to share in the joys of the season here at home. In the words of the familiar hymn, “People, look East, the time is near, of the crowning of the year! Make your house fair as you are able! Trim the hearth and set the table! Love, the guest, is on the way! This service has become quite a treasured tradition here. Come, be part of it! 

 In spite of the weather, there was a considerable turnout for the Christmas Fair.  A wonderful soup lunch was served this year and was a big hit!  Many thanks to all who helped in the many ways it takes to make this event successful.  It could not be done without you and you are very much appreciated. Carol, David, Chris M, (chief organizers and Price Room decorators); Duane, Beverly, Duane, Heidi (signage and publicity); Sales people: Gretchen, Dan, Gina, Courtney, Preston, Beverly, Judy, Peg; the wreath decorators, headed up by Barbara; the amazing kitchen team for the lunch: soup cooks Dale and Elaine, George (our bread-baker), Sarah (our server), and cleanup team: Jen, Tom, Tim, Sarah, and Grete, along with others; and to those whose booths added variety, delight, and income to our event: Val, Barbara, Carolyn B, Peg’s friend Audrey, Doreen, Betty,  Trish, Janet, Sally, Liz, and Gretchen; along with all of you who baked cookies, posted fliers, invited friends, and … yes … all of you who made purchases.  

 There are still a number of wreaths in search of homes!!! Decorated and plain. We’d like to at least cover costs, so stop by soon and name your price! 

 Report from Outreach Conversation: About a dozen of us gathered after last Sunday’s service to discuss and recommend to the Vestry those organizations we as a parish would like to support through our year-end outreach and mission giving – the funds having been raised through our various events over the course of 2014. The final dollar amount will be determined once all expenses and payments related to the Fair have been received, but it is expected to be in excess of $4,000. Strong support continues for organizations that support the development needs of children, locally, regionally, and globally, as well as support for healthy parenting. We talked about the distinction between development/transformational efforts (“teach people to fish; they eat for a lifetime”) vs. direct, charitable giving (“give people a fish; they eat for a day”), recognizing the need for both. We reviewed the UN Millennium Development Goals and saw ways in which our giving supports some of these goals, but we also observed that we have not been explicitly involved with any programs relating to environmental sustainability and thought that would be an important potential focus for inquiry, discussion, and future support. The newsprint lists from the discussion are posted in the Parish Hall. The Vestry will fine-tune the suggestions and the amounts and will report back to the congregation. Thanks to all who contributed to the discussion AND all who have given generously in support of our FUN-Raising events. 

The Sandwich Singers Christmas concerts are an annual highlight of the season. This year the Tamworth concert will be at Saint Andrew’s on Wednesday, December 17, at 7:30 PM. The Sandwich concert will be this Sunday evening, December 14, also at 7:30 at the Methodist Meeting House in Center Sandwich. Enrich your season of celebration and enjoy the offerings of the five St. Andrew’s folks that sing with this group. 

Food for thought in this Advent season…

I hope I’m not alone in following the daily email “Advent Calendar” from the brothers at SSJE. Each morning in my in-bin is a word to reflect on for the day – along with an evocative photograph and a few sentences from one of the brothers to get my ”reflective juices” going. Tuesday’s word was RESPOND.

Brother Jim writes: As big as God is, our conversations will sometimes begin in the simplest of ways….through the beauty of a flower or a strain of a Beethoven symphony. It could be through the cry of an infant or an epiphany that is born out of sheer silence. All we have to do is listen to how God is beginning the conversation and we will then know how to respond.

What circumstances have caused you to pause for a moment (or an hour)?
How have you responded this week?
Could it be that in that moment God was reaching out to you?
How does that perspective change what you make of that moment and your response?

See you in church.
Advent Blessings!

Celebrate The Season at St. Andrew’s

December 21,  Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Greening of the Church
One Service only at 10 am
Wednesday, December 24
Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
4:45 pm Carol Sing
5:00 pm Blessing of the Créche & Holy Eucharist
“Midnight” Service with Organ and Choir
10:45 pm Carol Sing- 11:00 pm Festival Eucharist
Thursday, December 25
Christmas Day
11:30 am Holy Eucharist followed by Christmas Dinner
Free Traditional Christmas Dinner
At Saint Andrew’s-in-the-Valley
Christmas Day, Thursday, Dec 25
Gather at 12:30 * Dinner served at 1:00 pm
For reservations, call the church at 323-8515
December 28, the First Sunday of Christmas
A Service of Lessons (Readings) & Carols and Eucharist
Note: There will be only ONE service, at 10 o’clock
Followed by reception honoring
   June & George Donovan on their 70th Anniversary!

St. Andrews-in-the-Valley, P.O. Box 436, Tamworth, NH 03886
Office hours: Tuesday-Friday 9-Noon
Phone: 603-323-8515
Office Administrator: Debra Hoyt