10 Dec

Newsletter, December 9

Reverend Sheelagh’s Thought for the Week: December 9, 2015

As I write this I am aware that when you read this I will be in deep silence.  I am spending a week of continuing education up at Holy Cross Monastery.  My week will begin on Friday December 4, with a program led by Martin Smith SSJE, a well-seasoned spiritual leader who has written widely on spirituality, including Season for the Spirit, Love set Free, Nativities and Passions, and Reconciliation. The theme of the retreat is, not unsurprisingly, “O Come, let us adore Him.” The program will be followed by a five day deep silence, in which the only communication will be a daily meeting with an assigned spiritual director, and the five worship services each day.  When you read this, I will be half-way in. Silence is my spiritual friend.  I know it scares a lot of people, but for me, as a hearing impaired person, there is a freedom that comes with not having to strain to hear.  Silence is the “home” place for me.  I am at ease, as God created me, in the silence of my deafness.  Ironically, it is in the silence that I often hear what I need to hear.  We spoke about finding the holy in the ordinary events of each day.  I am yearning to know where the Holy Spirit will direct my attention, and eager to find the places once more, where I can fall on my knees and adore him.  Sound like a tryst? it is, believe me, and I can’t wait.+

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)

When I was trying to park at the station, a stranger pointed to his space he was about to vacate and gave me the prepaid ticket for it.
**The Reverend Sheelagh Clarke.

Many mornings when I open the door to get my newspapers, I am surprised to find them on my porch!  Our neighbor a few doors up, puts them there as he is out walking his dog early!  I recently discovered it was he, after many months.

A new member of St. Stephen’s plans to help with the “greening” on Saturday.

A long time member has offered to serve on the Altar Guild.


Dec 11, Friday8pmLittle Secret  at Crossroads, Garwood, NJ
Dec 13, Sunday11:30amAdvent Adult Spirituality Series
Dec 15, Tuesday7:30pmSenior Choir Rehearsal
Dec 20, Sunday11amVestry Updates
Dec 20, Sunday11:30am Cemetery Trustees Meeting
Dec 20, Sunday1:15pmCaroling At Canterbury Village
West Orange
Dec 23, Wednesday7:30pmSenior Choir Rehearsal
Dec 24, Thursday5pmChristmas Eve Family Service
Dec 24, Thursday10:30pmChristmas Eve Candlelight Service
Dec 25, Friday10amChristmas day Service

Serving at the Altar Sunday 12/13 & 12/20

8 am Reader: E. Maurer8 am Reader: A. Walker
10 am Readers:
1. K. Wade
2. K. McClellan
3. K. Hanson
10 am Readers:
1. L. Owolabi
2. F. Dorn
3. E. Pluta
Chalicists: S. Macbeth & S. Clarke (for J. Scharff)Chalicists: S. Clarke & D. Price
Ushers: J. and K. WadeUshers: S. and L. Landers
Coffee hour: The Owolabi Family
Flowers are given by:  Eugene Foley & Sue Macbeth
Coffee hour: The Dorn Family
Flowers are given by:  Sheelagh C. & Ron Clarke

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.



Little Secret, Friday December 11 at 8pm at Crossroads in Garwood
Take a break from your Christmas shopping and enjoy an evening of music with Ellen Pluta’s band, Little Secret, Friday December 11 @ 8pm at Crossroads in Garwood. Cover is $8. All ages welcome. Come hear new and old favorites!

Sunday December 13
Join us for Advent Adult Spirituality in the Common Room.
Following the 10am service we will continue our exploration of the Christmas Story themes through the art of John August Swanson.  His art is gorgeous: saturated with colors and filled with motifs from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.  Listen to theologians speak of the background to the art works.  It takes about half an hour to treat yourself with this Advent feast of the holy.
Here’s a link  to Swanson’s art www.johnaugustswanson.com

Caroling, Caroling Now We Go!
Mark your calendars for Christmas caroling at Canterbury Village in West Orange on Sunday, December 20. All ages are welcome to join us in singing some favorite Christmas carols and hymns for the residents there. We will meet at Canterbury at 1:15 p.m. and sing at 1:30 p.m. If you are interested, please contact Kim Williams (kkawe@optonline.net) so we know how many to expect. Carpooling can be arranged.

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

Christmas Choir
If you would like to sing with the Senior Choir for the 10:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Festive Eucharist, please contact Kim Williams (kkawe@optonline.net). Singers in all parts are most welcome!
Rehearsal schedule
Sunday, Dec. 13–8:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 15-7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 20–8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 23–7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 24–9:00 p.m.
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 ellenpluta@gmail.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.

Alleluia  Outreach
As we await the coming Christ Jesus this Advent,  Support the Work of the Alleluia Fund.  To donate online, please visit www.dioceseofnewark.org or mail a check payable to Diocese of Newark with Alleluia Fund in the memo line to Alleluia Fund, c/o Diocese of Newark, 31 Mulberry Street, Newark, NJ  07102.
Save the Dates January 17 & 18 2016!
Lifetouch Photography
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.  sdinan@pace.edu 
If you would like an article put in the e-news, please e-mail Claire in the office at church@ststephensmillburn.org