Reverend Sheelagh’s Thought for the Week: December 16, 2015
The Angel Gabriel Visits Zechariah
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah” the Angel said;
“Your prayer has been answered.”
And Zechariah’s disbelief cost him his words.
Who would have thought this old and priestly man,
Would yearn and pray to become a father?
Echoing the prayers of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
Who may well have knelt in prayer,
And begged for a child with the woman they loved.
How little we hear of their yearning, their grief, their pain.
In God’s good time, the messenger says, just out of sight,
She, who is barren, will conceive;
“How can this be?” Echoes into the night.
The heart stopping gasp of excitement and thrill,
Comes with the quickening of a flutter in the womb.
For God has filled the barren places,
He has filled them with good things.
She laughed aloud, Sarah, that mother of Isaac.
And Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, once thought barren,
Became the mother of twins, Esau and Jacob;
And Jacob’s wife, Rachel, who could not conceive,
And yet she bore both Joseph and Benjamin.
Hannah, mother of Samuel, who dedicated her son to God.
And Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, mother of John,
who would prepare the way.
Each prayer, each plea, answered in God’s own time;
Woven into to the tapestry of God’s wonderful works,
Each son ordained to prepare the coming of the Lord,
In God’s own way.
And the unborn leap for joy within the swollen bellies
Of Elizabeth and cousin Mary,
And filled with the Holy Spirit,
They sing the song of Hannah, the Magnificat,
And we reply,
O Come, O come, Emmanuel.
Written by The Rev. Sheelagh A Clarke , photo taken in Ein Karim, Israel
Acts of Kindness and Grace:
If anyone has a sign of grace to share for e-news please send it to
(please note if you wish to remain anonymous)
I spotted a young boy in front of the Macy’s window with Snoopy and the piano and watched his complete an utter joy as the animation kicked off.
** Janet Hager
|Dec 20, Sunday||11:30am||Cemetery Trustees Meeting|
|Dec 23, Wednesday||7:30pm||Senior Choir Rehearsal|
|Dec 24, Thursday||5pm||Christmas Eve Family Service|
|Dec 24, Thursday||10:30pm||Christmas Eve Candlelight Service|
|Dec 25, Friday||10am||Christmas Day Service|
Serving at the Altar Sunday 11/22 & 11/29
|12/20||12/27 Lessons & Carols|
|8 am Reader: A. Walker||8 am Reader: M. Walker|
|10 am Readers:|
1. L. Owolabi
2. F. Dorn
3. E. Pluta
|10 am Readers:|
1. F. Dorn 5. K. Hanson
2. F. Taber 6. C. Francis
3. J. Scharff 7. E. Maurer
4. S. Clarke 8. J. Herry
|Chalicists: S. Clarke & D. Price|
|Ushers: S. & L. Landers||Ushers: E. Maurer & M. Hirshfeld|
|Coffee hour: The Dorn Family|
The Annual Meeting Will be held on January 31, 2016
Coffee Hosting And Flowers
Please sign up for coffee hour with Susan Dinan! Please let Eugene or Claire know if you want to donate flowers. Please consider taking ONE Sunday in memory of a loved one, or in thanksgiving for an event. Flowers are priced at $40, $50 or $60 for the two vases.
Canterbury Village Caroling Cancelled
Due to a scheduling conflict with Canterbury Village, we have unfortunately had to cancel the caroling visit for December 20th.
You will find small envelopes in the pews which can be used to make donations
for the greens and poinsettias with which we will be decorating the church. These may be made in memory of someone. Please print legibly the names on the envelopes. The names will be included in the Christmas bulletins. Place the envelopes in the collection plate or turn them to the office. Thank you for your assistance.
Alex Cole, Altar Guild Directress
If you would like to sing with the Senior Choir for the 10:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Festive Eucharist, please contact Kim Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org). Singers in all parts are most welcome!
Sunday, Dec. 20–8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 23–7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 24–9:00 p.m.
CALLING ALL ANGELS!!!
CALLING ALL ANGELS!!! Thank you so much to all who already signed up for Angel Tree. Thanks to your big hearts, all of our individual children are taken care of. We still need gifts for 4 adult caregivers and could use gift cards for Target or Shop Rite, Visa gift cards, healthy snacks, art supplies, and family games. Gifts are due back at church, unwrapped but with wrapping paper, no later than December 20. Any questions call or email Ellen Pluta (908-347-8362 or email@example.com). Thank you–you’re all angels!!
Heads up for Holiday Giving!
While St. Stephen’s is focusing seasonal activities on turkey baskets and Angel Tree, we wanted to share this message from IHN:
Help to Make the Season Bright for Interfaith Hospitality Network Families
Purchasing gift cards to local grocery and department stores is a graceful way to enable our guests to provide gifts and food for their own families over the holidays or send a check to Interfaith Hospitality Network (memo: Family Gift Fund) 46 Park Street Montclair, NJ 07042.
Save the Dates January 17 & 18 2016!
We are getting ready to create a new photo directory and we need you to help make it complete! By participating you will receive a printed directory. More information to come in the following weeks. Questions see Susan Dinan. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like an article put in the e-news, please e-mail Claire in the office at email@example.com