St. Mark’s invites all to worship with us, especially those who don’t have a church home but have a sense that this may be the time to find a faith community. Particularly at Christmas—as we invite Christ into our lives again—we extend that welcome to each of you.
Wednesday, December 23 – Mid-week Holy Eucharist, 12:10 p.m.
Thursday, December 24—Christmas Eve
4:30 p.m. —Service of music and carols
5:00 p.m. —Family service of Holy Eucharist
10:30 p.m.—Christmas Vigil with music and carols
11:00 p.m.—Festal Eucharist (Christ’s Mass)
Friday, December 25—Christmas Day — Holy Eucharist, 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, December 26 – The Feast of St. Stephen, Holy Eucharist, 12:10 p.m.
Sunday, December 27— First Sunday after Christmas, Holy Eucharist, 9:30 a.m.
Monday, December 28— The Feast of St. John (transferred), Holy Eucharist, 12:10 p.m.
Tuesday, December 29— Holy Innocents, Holy Eucharist, 12:10 p.m.
Wednesday, December 30— Mid-week Holy Eucharist, 12:10 p.m.
Friday, January 1 – The Feast of the Holy Name, Holy Eucharist, 12:10 p.m.
Sunday, January 3 – Second Sunday after Christmas, Holy Eucharist, 9:30 a.m.
Blessed Advent, all,
I invite you to join with me in the Advent Conspiracy!
This international group of folks exists (thanks to the internet) for the sole (soul) purpose of under-mining the “holiday shopping season” consumerism, with reign of God compassion. There is lots of info at http://www.adventconspiracy.org/. The group is not itself an activist organization, but serves as catalyst and information exchange. Lots of good ideas and resources!
The conspiracy was organized in 2006 by five non-denominational pastors who encouraged their congregations to spend Advent this way: “Worship fully, spend less, give more and love all.” No money comes to or through Advent Conspiracy—those who wish to donate are asked to decide where and how to “give more” to those who have little.
“Conspirators” shift the Christmas gift-giving focus to gifts of relationships and service, instead of giving material items—giving “presence” instead of “presents.” The Conspiracy suggests that those who want to share their material wealth consider giving it to development of sustainable water resources for sis-ters and brothers who don’t have access to clean water. Serendipity!—considering that our Diocesan focus this year is “living water.” St. Mark’s Parish already gave almost $2000 to ERD for development of wells—what a gift!
As we consider alternative giving—giving life-sustaining gifts to those in need instead of giving more to those who have more than enough—it is prudent to consider how charitable organizations steward their own resources. By means of comparison, I researched three popular groups: Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD); Living Water International; and the Heifer Project. ERD stands up very well, indeed! You can check out these and others at Charity Navigator, http://www.charitynavigator.org/.
Our catechism defines the roles of each order of ministry. Lay people, bishops, priests and deacons all have different roles in the church and the liturgy, but first and foremost for each order is to “represent Christ and his Church” in the world (BCP 855-856). How shall we do that this Advent? As people in our community look at us individually and as a community gath-ered in Christ’s name, how will they see us behaving in a way that declares that we “are marked as Christ’s own for-ever” (BCP, 308)? How shall we demonstrate that we are those who minister to “the least” of Jesus’ sisters and brothers? How shall we show that we are servants of God, not of mammon? How shall we prepare to welcome Christ into our lives anew?
Welcome, sister and brother conspirators! “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”
And Advent is the perfect season to do it! Just as we Christians are waking up to the coming of the Christ, this page, we hope–as we yawn, stretch, and rub our eyes–is also coming to life. Stay tuned!