29 Dec

Newsletter, December 28

Happy New Year!
We had a beautiful Christmas here at St. Stephen’s attended by over two hundred people (189 last year).  The early service was well attended with many families and babes.  We had a charming rendition of the Christmas story with a little extra stage business and beautiful music and readings at the late service.  Our quieter Christmas Day service was attended by more people than usual this year.
As we continue to celebrate the glory of Christ’s birth we rejoice in the love and hope that we share together.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!

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21 Dec

Newsletter, December 21

Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year!
First and foremost, the vestry, wardens and I would like to thank you for your continued financial support of our ministries and with your service and presence.  If you have not yet pledged or shared your giving intentions with us, it is never too late!  Let the parish office know or drop a pledge card in the blue box.
Please check out the service times for the Christmas and New Year season below and we look forward to wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in person.
Rev. Sheelagh +

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15 Dec

Newsletter, December 14

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
Christmas is almost upon us.  Almost but not quite.  We await the coming of a child, who will be named Immanuel, which means, God with us.  It is a message of hope that is timeless.  All births are full of unknown promise and potential.  Mary, filled with new life could not have known what lay ahead, or how life changing the birth of her child would prove to be, no matter how much she trusted the Holy Spirit.  This Sunday,  we will baptize an infant into our community.  A child full of promise and potential; a child beloved of her parents but even more beloved of God; a child who will be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ,  the very child that Mary bore.
O Come, O Come, Immanuel.  How amazing is that! Alleluia.+

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08 Dec

Newsletter, December 7

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
Happy are they…whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth… Ps.146:4-9
The third Sunday of Advent brings us to the theme of Rejoice.  Defined as showing great joy or delight.  For me that has always been a feeling I associate with the wonder and awe of God’s work in creation.  It is a feeling beyond just having a jolly time (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Channel-surfing last week, I lit on the National Geographic channel episode about the Hubble telescope.  They showed the amazing pictures of the Pillars of Creation formation, which is now visible with infrared definition.  https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150107.html

What can be seen is the formation of stars and planets as they birth.  The astronomers call them eggs, and as they gather in energy they shoot out laser beams of light. The pillars are like a giant incubator!  It is so cool, and makes me smile from within myself, and I am rejoicing, delighted, that we have the science and technology to see God in action. What makes you rejoice?
John the baptist, from the pit
Dec 11, Sunday11:15am-12pmCookie Sunday
Dec 11 & 18, Sunday11:15amAngel Tree Collection
Dec 11 & 18, Sunday11:15am-12pmPageant Rehearsals
Dec 13, Tuesday11am-2pmSenior Luncheon
Dec 13, Tuesday7:30pm-10pmFinance Committee Meeting
Dec 18, Sunday11:30am-1pmVestry Meeting
Dec 21, Wednesday7pmBlue Christmas
Dec 24, Saturday5pm
Family Service with Pageant
Candlelight Service
Serving at the Altar  12/11 & 12/18

8am Reader: M. Ellingham8am Reader: M. Walker
10am Readers:
1. K. Hanson
2. F. Taber
3. L. Owolabi
10am Readers:
1. F. Dorn
2. C. Ehlers
3. K. Wade
Chalicist: D. Cole
Chalicist: E. Maurer
Ushers: T. & K. Conway
Ushers: M. & F.L. Priddy
Altar Guild: N. Sieffert & D. Price
Altar Guild: A. Walker & J. James
Coffee Hour: Cookie Sunday
Coffee Hour: Open
Altar Flowers: Advent/Greening of the Church
Altar Flowers: Advent/Greening of the Church
 Prayers Please:
Please hold those hurt in the shooting at a Bloomfield  comedy club in your prayers today. Also, several of our own parish family are in hospital for surgery and treatment, please hold them in your prayer too, along with those who are feeling blue and/or afraid.
Rev Sheelagh
Annual Giving & Pledges
Sometimes my cell phone and I are separated.  If I don’t hear it I don’t answer it. Much to the frustration of my friends and family I don’t check regularly. Years ago I had a similar relationship to the season of annual giving and pledge drives.  St Stephen’s has changed that for me.  I take the time early to reflect on what St. Stephen’s has come to mean to me; what it gives me and what I can give back.  What are the outreach programs I want to support?  How am I spending my time?  How can I participate in making everyone feel welcome?   I am spending my time cooking six dozen eggs for St John’s.  I am sleeping overnight with IHN guests and getting to know families.  I am talking to friends and new families at coffee hour.  I am sharing in the joys, trials, and ever changing life of the St. Stephen’s community.  There is more to be done.  I know that my pledged amount will be used to support this church which I call my home.
Roger Riedel
Angel Tree Time
Sunday December 11 and 18th.
Continuing our long tradition of sharing Christmas joy with our extended community, we will again provide gifts for families in the Patch program serving Newark children aged 5-13 with an incarcerated parent. Many of these kids participated in our drumming camps.
We do not have specifically identified children this year so instead will deliver gift cards and gift bags with unwrapped gifts labeled for age and gender. We are collecting at coffee hour on  Sunday December 11 and 18th.
Ellen Pluta, Kira Hanson, Susan Dinan, Margo Greenfield.
Pageant Rehearsals
December 11 & 18 
The Children’s Christmas Pageant Occurs on Christmas Eve at the family service. This year, we will be performing This Is The Star, By Joyce Dunbar and Gary Blythe. I hope that you can meet us! Please contact me, Phoebe Holt-Reiss at pholtreiss@gmail.com if you have any questions regarding the pageant.
Thank You.
Cookie Sunday
Sunday December 11, 11:15am-12pm 
The congregation is invited to bring a plate of cookies for Coffee Hour.
Bring your cookies to Fellowship Hall on your way into church.
It’s a wonderful way to share some yummy treats with your St. Stephen’s
Family.  We’ll have a cookie exchange with the leftovers.
For further information, contact Susan Dinan at 973-508-6887
Greening Of The Church
We are gradually “greening” the church as we prepare during Advent for the coming of Christmas.  The small envelopes in the pews are for donations to help cover the cost of the greens.  If you would like to help and would like to give in thanksgiving for or in memory  of someone(s), please print legibly the names on the envelope.  These names will appear in the Christmas bulletins.  Place the envelopes in the alms basins or give to Alex Cole by December 11.  Thank you so much!
This May Be Of Interest –
Interweave is offering a post election conversation: The Election: How did we get here? What now? at Calvary Church, Summit, NJ. Friday 12/9 from 9:30 – 11:30am.
Dates & Deadlines
If you have any dates or events that need adding to the St. Stephen’s Calendar please send them to Claire, and all articles and e-mails for the newsletter by NOON on Tuesday to church@ststephensmillburn.org.  Thank You.
Please note the Parish Office is closed on Mondays
01 Dec

Newsletter, November 30

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week

The Sounds Of Silence

I referenced on Sunday the price that being attached to my iPhone was costing me in my spiritual life.  Many of you resonated with that message and it seems to be a real issue of our times.  The constant twittering and pressure of “Breaking News” pinging into our lives is at best distracting, and at worst addictive.  Advent calls us to examine our spiritual health.  To shine a light on what is separating us from God.  Sometimes that means stopping something; other times it means adding in a discipline or practice.  So, instead of reading the news, I am now going straight to the Mission of St. Clare’s Daily Office  where I find the beautiful, lilting cadences of our Morning Prayer Service and the scripture of the day.  They remind me that however dark the news makes me feel, God has always lit the way for God’s people.  So, light those advent candles, sit in some silence away from the cell phone pings and the ever present busyness and noise.  Better still, come and be in the silence of prayerful retreat, here at St Stephen’s on Saturday – 10:00am – 4pm, or join us for a candlelight Eucharist at 4pm. What do you have to lose – only your stress, and you may just notice God’s fierce yet gentle love+

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