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,
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
|December 19, Wednesday
|Finance Committee Meeting
|December 21, Friday
|Blue Christmas Service
|December 23, Sunday
|11:00am – ???
|Greening of the Church with Brunch
|December 23, Sunday
|11:30am – 1pm
|December 30, Sunday
December 30, Sunday
Lessons & Carols
Serving at the Altar 12/16 & 12/23
8am Reader: N. Sieffert
8am Reader: M. Ellingham
|Altar Guild: N. Sieffert
|Altar Guild: M. Nazareth
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The new parish administrator’s office hours and phone extension will be published just after the first of the year.