12 Dec

Newsletter, December 12

A Word from Paula+

So, I’m going to name the irony of this newsletter right at the top:  Yes, the pastor who preaches taking time to slow down and experience the blessings of a prayerful and reflective Advent today is offering a newsletter full of things to do.  While none of this changes anything about the essence of this season or the one whom we await, it is true that these are things that will make our waiting in community go a bit more smoothly (one hopes).
Because there is so much in this edition of the newsletter, I am going to leave you with a brief Advent blessing from the Book of Occasional Services:
        
May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.  Amen .
Peace & Blessings,
Paula+
Christmas is Coming!
 
Though we are still in Advent, we are doing lots to plan for Christmas at St. Stephen’s.  These events are listed in the “Events” section below, but we thought you might like to know a bit more than can be shared in a simple table.
Blue Christmas – Friday, December 21st at 7:00pm
This simple, contemplative liturgy provides a prayerful and reflective space for those for whom the holidays do not bring joy or feel emotionally and spiritually complicated.  Come if you feel a need or desire to honor the part of you that does not feel quite like celebrating this season.
Greening of the Church – Sunday, December 23rd after the 10:00 Service
You are invited to join members of the Altar Guild in the “Greening of the Church,” church-speak for marking the transition from Advent to Christmas with beautiful, lush greens and other traditional Christmas colors.  You’ll have fun and food! because we’ll bring bagels and other light brunch foods.
Christmas Eve Family Service – 5:00pm
A full Eucharistic celebration of the birth of the incarnate God, with joyful music and a “child-friendly” homily.  A bit shorter than the Festival Eucharist, great for kids of all ages (including adults).
Christmas Eve Festival Eucharist – 10:00pm
The traditional “midnight service”, though at a friendlier hour.  Joyful music, including trumpet and descants.  This is the service for you if singing “Silent Night” as midnight nears means Christmas is here.
Christmas Day Spoken Eucharist – 10:00am
Sometimes Christmas Day is best with a quietly joy-filled liturgy.  This would be that.
Lessons & Carols – Sunday, December 30th at 10:00am
A lovely tradition in the Episcopal Church, Lessons & Carols is just what the name implies: a service of Bible readings and singing.  Join us as we relive the story of God at work in the world from the dawn of creation to the inbreaking of God into the world.   We will have our regular 8:00 service for those who would prefer a Eucharistic celebration.
Good News!
 
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ)has donated $2500 to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.  This is money that is used ” to assist the poor of the congregation and the larger community” (from the diocesan website) and is distributed at the discretion of the clergy.  We are grateful for the donor and for the CFNJ’s willingness to help make this happen.
 
The website has been updated and now includes our Christmas Services, Rev. Paula’s bio, and current information about the vestry and location of the parish office.
Just News
The Coffee Hour sign-up sheet is posted.  Please join in this ministry of hospitality and fellowship by signing up to host a Sunday or two.  We take care of the setting up and the making of the coffee.  You prepare and lay out the delicious treats.
We will be posting a calendar on the bulletin board and invite you to add your name(s) on the dates of your birthday and anniversary.  Please write “B” or “A” after it so we know which is which.  We want to be able to pray for you on those special occasions.  Rev. Paula will NOT use this info to cajole you into receiving a special blessing, though, of course, she hopes you will come forward to get one.
The phone extensions have changed now that the parish office and rector’s study are in the Education Building.  We are in the process of updating the phone message system, which still has the old extension numbers in the outgoing message.  Please ignore the message saying “ext 11” for Rev. Paula and use her actual extension: 21 if you call her.  Until we establish the new office extension, it is okay to use ext. 10 for the parish office.
 
Rev. Paula’s business cards are in and there are some on the ushers’ table in the church (the table near the side entrance).  Please take one or two (or as many as you need) so that you have her contact information whenever you need it. 
 
We need your help…
 
–  to get ready to welcome Doreen, our new parish administrator (announced in last week’s newsletter).  If you have a bit of time this Sunday after church to help with moving a couple of file cabinets and bookcases, please let Rev. Paula know at 973-376-0688, ext 21 or rector@ststephensmillburn.org.
to update our Facebook and Twitter accounts.  If you are the administrator of either of these accounts (or know who is), please call or email Rev. Paula: 973-376-0688, ext. 21 or rector@ststephensmillburn.org.
Events
Date
Time
Event
December 19, Wednesday 7:30pm-10pm Finance Committee Meeting
December 21, Friday 7:00 pm Blue Christmas Service
December 23, Sunday 11:00am – ??? Greening of the Church with Brunch
December 23, Sunday 11:30am – 1pm Vestry Meeting
Christmas Eve
5:00pm Family Service
Christmas Eve 10:00pm Festival Eucharist
Christmas Day 10:00am Spoken Eucharist
December 30, Sunday 8:00am Spoken Eucharist
December 30, Sunday
10:00am
Lessons & Carols
 
 
 
 
Serving at the Altar  12/16 & 12/23
December 16
8am Reader: N. Sieffert
December 23
8am Reader: M. Ellingham
Altar Guild: N. Sieffert Altar Guild: M. Nazareth
10am Readers:
F. Dorn
P. Wick
K. Wade
10am Readers:
F. Taber
K. Hanson
T. Scharff
Chalicist: J. Soughan Chalicist: J. Scharff
Ushers: J. & K. Wade Ushers: E. Mauer and S. Moran
Altar Guild: J. & T. Scharff Altar Guild: J. Dorn
Coffee Hour: J. & L. Soughan Coffee Hour: J. & L. Scharff
Altar Flowers: N/A Altar Flowers: N/A
Parish Office Hours
Rev. Paula’s regular schedule is Sunday thru Thursday, though that may change depending upon what’s happening in the parish or diocese in any given week.
She isn’t always working in the office, so please call or email to schedule to see her.  She can be reached at 973-376-0688, ext. 21,  though for pastoral emergencies you may try her on her cell: 508-542-1327.  Her email is rector@ststephensmillburn.org
The new parish administrator’s office hours and phone extension will be published just after the first of the year.
06 Dec

Newsletter, December 6

A Word about Advent from Paula+
 
If you were here either of my first two Sundays, you’ve heard my take on Advent: contrary to popular culture, it is not about getting ready for Christmas, not about gifts and wrapping, cookies and ham, lights and trees. Those things, which can be fun, can also shift our focus from the meaning of Advent – taking the time we need to prepare to meet the incarnate God as if for the very first time, all while preparing to meet the risen Christ at the end of time. Yeah…it’s a lot and it doesn’t sound anywhere near as fun as gifts and wrapping, cookies and ham, lights and trees.

And still, I hope you do take some time every day to nourish your hearts and your souls (actually, I hope that for you all the time) so that you are able to experience the inbreaking of God into the world in new and different ways, in deeper ways, this year. And I’ll tell ya, if you welcome that beautiful baby anywhere near as well as you have welcomed me and my family, your lives cannot help but be transformed.

Peace & Blessings,
Paula+
Events
Date
Time
Event
December 19, Wednesday 7:30pm-10pm Finance Committee Meeting
December 21, Friday 7:00 pm Blue Christmas Service
December 23, Sunday 11:00am – ??? Greening of the Church with Brunch
December 23, Sunday 11:30am – 1pm Vestry Meeting
Christmas Eve
5:00pm Family Service
Christmas Eve 10:00pm Festival Eucharist
Christmas Day 10:00am Spoken Eucharist
December 30, Sunday 8:00am Spoken Eucharist
December 30, Sunday
10:00am
Lessons & Carols
 
Serving at the Altar  12/9 & 12/16
December 9
8am Reader: C. Francis
December 16
8am Reader: N. Sieffert
Altar Guild: C. Francis Altar Guild: N. Sieffert
10am Readers:
S. Landers
B. Churchill
10am Readers:
F. Dorn
P. Wick
K. Wade
Chalicist: R. Riedel Chalicist: J. Soughan
Ushers: S. & L. Landers Ushers: J. & K. Wade
Altar Guild: A. Cole Altar Guild: J. & T. Scharff
Coffee Hour: The “Church Ladies” Coffee Hour: The Soughan Family
Altar Flowers: N/A Altar Flowers: N/A
Good News!
We have hired a new parish administrator, Doreen Schindler.  She comes to us with lots of experience in office administration, marketing, and social media.  She will be working some the week of December 17th (because that is such a busy week for us!) and will begin her regular schedule January 2nd.  Her office will be in the Education Building right next to Rev. Paula’s. When you see her, please join us in welcoming her!
Parish Office Hours:
Rev. Paula’s regular schedule is Sunday thru Thursday.
She isn’t always in the office, so please call or email her to schedule to see her.
She can be reached at 973-376-0688,  though for pastoral emergencies you may try her on her cell: 508-542-1327.  Her email is rector@ststephensmillburn.org
The new parish administrator’s office hours will be published just after the first of the year.