Christmas Blessings! Welcome home to those who traveled. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make our Christmas services so meaningful and beautiful. It takes weeks of behind the scenes preparation for that breath-taking moment when the music begins and the prayers ascend. We did joyfully worship God “in the beauty of holiness.” It was wonderful. The Feast of the Epiphany is Monday, January 6
. The celebration of Epiphany began in the third century and originated in the Eastern Church. It began as a celebration of the Baptism of Christ, but the focus changed when the Western church adopted the feast. The Western Church began to celebrate Epiphany in the fourth century. This is when we started to celebrate the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles by the Magi. The image that comes to mind to me is a linked chain that extends through the centuries. Every generation passes on the light of Christ to the next. Each person has privilege, power, and responsibility to share the beauty of a relationship with God with others. How are you going to help others experience the light of Christ in the New Year? Here is a poem by Walter Brueggemann that I think you might like:
On Epiphany day, we are still the people walking. We are still people in the dark, and the darkness looms large around us, beset as we are by fear, anxiety, brutality, violence, loss — a dozen alienations that we cannot manage. We are — we could be — people of your light. So we pray for the light of your glorious presence as we wait for your appearing; we pray for the light of your wondrous grace as we exhaust our coping capacity; we pray for your gift of newness that will override our weariness; we pray that we may see and know and hear and trust in your good rule. That we may have energy, courage, and freedom to enact your rule through the demands of this day. We submit our day to you and to your rule, with deep joy and high hope. Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933) Taken from his Prayers for a Privileged People (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), p. 163.
Epiphany Joy! Mary
You are cordially invited to attend the St. Andrew’s Epiphany Extravaganza on the feast of the Epiphany, Monday January 6. The service of Holy Eucharist begins at 6:00pm, followed by a covered dish supper in Carmichael Hall. Bring a favorite main dish or dessert to share. As this season reminds us, as followers of Jesus, we are called to be the light of the world to others who are searching for hope and love. If you have questions or need more information, please speak to Rev. Mary, Martha Iannacone, or Dennis Wisnom. We look forward to seeing you there!
BLESSING OF THE CHALK On the Feast of the Epiphany we will bless chalk. This is a very old custom, common in parts of Europe. Chalk is used to write the initials of the three magi over the doors of churches and homes. The letters stand for the initials of the Magi (traditionally named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar), and also the phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as “may Christ bless the house”(adapted from Wikipedia). Chalk and a suggested blessing will be available on Epiphany and the Sunday following.
SERVER SCHEDULES If you head a ministry that serves on Sundays, PLEASE remember to turn in the schedule to the Parish Office. There are several “blanks” on the calendar for upcoming Sundays. Thank you!
HAITI BOOK SALE FUNDRAISER Come and take a look at our large collection of books and help those in Haiti. During January at The Shop at St. Andrew’s, all funds raised from book sales will go to the Haiti mission. The Shop is open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm. www.ADollarForHaitiFund.org
HELP WANTED ADS Vestry Clerk Duties: Attend vestry meetings, take the minutes, and email minutes to the office and vestry members. The Vestry currently meets the 3rd Monday of the month from 6-8pm. The minutes become an official record of the parish’s work and ministry.
Prayer and Squares Coordinator Mona Leslie, after many years of leadership has resigned. Participants in this wonderful ministry meet to make prayer quilts. Meeting arrangements have varied over the years. Most recently, the members of the group met occasionally on Saturdays. Other members make quilts at home. The coordinator would schedule meetings or quilting Saturdays with the other quilters and forward the information to the office. Vestry Members St. Andrew’s is seeking nominations for our vestry. The ministry of the vestry include both leadership and stewardship of St. Andrew’s resources. Vestry members and the rector work together to lead the parish and focus our efforts in living out our Baptismal Covenant and accomplishing our mission statement.
VESTRY NOMINATION TIME Four positions are open: 3 three year terms and 1 two year term. We also need three delegates for diocesan convention and one for the Deanery. We are seeking people with vision and energy to expand the implementation of St. Andrew’s mission. Please submit your nominations by January 15.
ANNUAL REPORT Time for Ministry Leaders to submit their reports for the Annual Report. The deadline is Monday January 6th. Thank you.
2014 FLOWER CHART The 2014 Flower Chart is now up on the bulletin board in Carmichael Hall. Members and friends of the parish are invited to make a donation of flowers for Sundays in 2014 by signing up on the chart. Many give flowers in memory of loved ones or in thanksgiving for an event. The suggested donation is $60/week. The Flower Guild, led by Lorrie Graham, is happy to provide specific color or flower choices as available. Please write legibly on the chart so that correct names may be included in the Sunday leaflet. Thanks!
COFFEE HOUR HOSTS The Coffee Fellowship Host Chart for Epiphany and Lent is now available on the bulletin board in Carmichael Hall. We are looking for individuals or groups to host each Sunday after the 10am Service. Hosting includes arriving early to set up (cups, plates etc), providing goodies and clean up after. The Coffee and Tea will be turned on, and you will assist in getting things set up. If you have questions please speak to John White or Laura Soloway. Thanks. Coffee Hour cannot happen without participation by everyone.
You are invited to share your questions as a way of helping us all learn and grow. Each week the person giving the sermon will collect written questions and the answers will appear in the next week’s bulletin. Clipboards with question forms will be near the exits and in Carmichael Hall. Write your questions (no names, please) and leave it in the tray by the door in Carmichael Hall. Help us learn and deepen our faith: Ask a question.
Coming events in the Diocese of Albany
School of Healing Prayer Level III New Schedule Offering Come for two weekends (Saturday & Sunday), making it easier for those working during the week to attend. Dates: Feb. 1 & 2 and Feb. 15 & 16; Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. Please contact the Healing Center for more information and to obtain a registration form. Haley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-692-9550 x 201.
Coming Events from Capital Region Theological Center
Forming Christians: Baptism & Beyond, Paul E. Hoffman, January 23 & January 24, 9am – 4pm, First Church in Albany. How does solid faith formation happen for (old and new) seekers in a contemporary world? Come discover a contemporary adaptation of an ancient pattern of apprenticeship in faith formation and parish renewal called the catechumenate. $150 by December 27; $165 thereafter. Reg. deadline: January 7.
CRTC Distinguished Speaker SARA MILES! City of God: Faith in the Streets, February 1, 9am – 3pm, Delmar Reformed Church, Delmar. Spend an inspiring day as Sara shares her continuing journey of inner city ministry and reveals her vision of the City of God – as it exists now, and as it is being transformed. From her soon-to-released new book of the same title. You will be filled with hope, and stirred to take your place in God’s active community of justice! $75 by January 3; $90 thereafter. Reg. deadline: January 16. Sponsored by FOCUS Churches. Why Can’t We Talk? Civil Discourse as a Habit of the Heart, John Backman, Wednesdays, February 5, 12, 19 & 26, 7 – 9pm, Niskayuna Reformed Church, Niskayuna. Think of an issue that really makes your blood boil. Now imagine lunch with a friend who is just as passionate about it – on the other side! How can the two of you hear each other with compassion and curiosity? Learn to engage dialogue as a habit of the heart. Use this practice as a spiritual discipline during the upcoming weeks of Lent! $105 by January 9; $120 thereafter. Reg. deadline: January 20.
Register by phone at 518-462-2470. Watch our website and our Facebook page for information on these and many other upcoming courses. Scholarships and group discounts available for most classes. New Discount! Bring someone new to CRTC – you both attend for ½ price!