VOLUME 3, NUMBER 1, NOVEMBER 27, 2011
One option is to praying the Daily Office (various options for praying the Office can be found in The Book of Common Prayer 35-146—and the Year 2 Psalms and readings for the Office can be found in the Daily Office Lectionary, beginning on page 937).
Another option is to pray over the readings for the coming week in anticipation of your participation in the Sunday Mass. That can be as simple as asking God to send his Holy Spirit to show you what God wants you see or hear in the readings and then begin to read them, slowly, deliberately, a line, even a word at a time, spending time with them, ruminating over them, and letting God work on you in the presence of his Word. To do this during the week before Mass makes it possible for you to participate in the Mass on a completely different level.
There are other devotions related to Advent, too. The Advent Wreath is a popular devotion in the home. You can find a text for the devotion, which involves the lighting of candles and hearing of small parts of scripture and the praying of prayers, each week in the 10AM Advent bulletins.
Our bishop has called us this year (as he has the past few years) to read a book with him this Advent and to discuss it with him and others who are reading it on his blog. This year the book is: Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope by Jonathan Kozol. Details may be found at http://www.dioceseofnewark.org/for-gates-of-hope.
Advent is a time of the new—of the coming (adventus) of Christ as the one who is always new. It is a time when we are encouraged by the Church to approach all things from new perspectives and to expect Christ to come to us in new ways. May the Holy Spirit prepare us all for Christ's coming to us in new ways throughout Advent, during Christmas and at all times.
PLEDGE CARDS... If you haven't already returned your pledge card, please do so no later than next Sunday. The vestry will be working hard to put together a balanced budget for next year beginning the following week and will use only received pledge cards and other income of which they are certain to create that budget. As always, but especially this year, before you fill it out and send it in, please pray for Grace Church and for discernment about how much God is calling you to give.
INTERFAITH PULPIT SWAP IN ADVENT... Judaism and Christianity are sister religions sharing common history, basic common traditions of worship and prayer, and some common scripture. A Christian faith that has lost touch with Judaism is a diminished faith. On the weekend before Christmas, the people of Grace Church will be given a unique opportunity to engage in a special way with a congregation of our Jewish brothers and sisters. At 8pm on Friday, December 16, Father Rhodes will preach at Erev Shabbat services at Congregation B'Nai Israel (53 Palisade Avenue, Emerson, NJ—www.bisrael.com). On the following Sunday, December 18th (the Fourth Sunday of Advent), Rabbi Debra Orenstein will preach at the 10am Mass at Grace Church. Both congregations are encouraged to attend both services, to mingle after them, and to learn from each other about our respective traditions.
NEW CHURCH SIGN... As a way of improving the visibility of Grace Church at Five Corners, our Evangelism Committee had sought and recommended an upgrade of the church sign facing Five Corners. The new sign will be burgundy and gold with two lower attached information boards indicating service times and our website information. Further to this, we are looking to provide some appropriate landscape lighting, front and back, to improve its visibility during the evening hours. We are happy to report that we have received donations and have access to memorial money that will cover the cost of a new two-sided church sign and the evangelism committee and the Vestry would like thank all of those who have contributed to this new sign and look forward to its installation in the near future.
PLEASE REMEMBER FOOD FOR FRIENDS DURING ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS... A gift to Food for Friends made any time during Advent and Christmas has special significance. Advent has a penitential aspect and almsgiving is a traditional penitential practice. A donation made during Christmastide, by being a gift to the poor Christ identified himself with, is one's Christmas gift to the Christ Child. At this time of unemployment and underemployment, we all know that the need is great. The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York reports "a real surge in neighbors who are recently unemployed, as well as the working poor." St. Paul's Community Development Corporation Food Pantry especially welcomes high protein items, such as beans and canned meats. Otherwise, their wish list asks specifically for tuna, cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may be drawn in favor of St. Paul's Community Development Corporation and marked Food Pantry. Please send checks directly to St. Paul's at 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501. Thank you.
Christmas at Grace Church
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