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+

Dec 3, Saturday
Advent Retreat
St. Stephen’s Church, Parish Hall &
Common Room
 Dec 4, Sunday10am-11amIn Gathering Sunday
Dec 4, SundayAfter Services
Volunteers needed to help move furniture
out of Deacon’s room
Dec 4, 11 & 18 Sunday11am-12pmPageant Rehearsals, St Stephen’s Church
Dec 4, 11 & 18 Sunday11:15amAngel Tree Collection
Dec 11, Sunday11:15am-12pmCookie Sunday
Dec 13, Tuesday11am-2pmSenior Luncheon
Dec 13, Tuesday7:30pm-10pmFinance Committee Meeting
Dec 18, Sunday11:30am-1pmVestry Meeting
Serving at the Altar  12/4 & 12/11
8am Reader: C. Francis8am Reader: M. Ellingham
10am Readers:
1. F. Taber
2. J. James
3. F. Taber
10am Readers:
1. K. Hanson
2. F. Taber
3. L. Owolabi
Chalicist: R. Riedel
Chalicist: D. Cole
Ushers: S. & S. Polanco
Ushers: T. & K. Conway
Altar Guild: C. Francis & A. Cole
Altar Guild: N. Sieffert & D. Price
Coffee Hour: S. Dinan
Coffee Hour: Cookie Sunday
Altar Flowers: Altar Flowers: Advent/Greening of the Church
Altar Flowers: Advent/Greening of the Church
St. Stephen’s Annual Advent Retreat
Saturday, December 3, from 10:00am – 4:00pm at St. Stephen’s
The retreat  director this year is  Jean Marie Du Hamel, an associate with the Sisters of St. John Baptist in Mendham and an experienced retreat guide.  The theme is “Who is Waiting for Whom?”
The day will include time for guided reflection, walking the Labyrinth, quiet time, a light lunch, and will conclude with a celebration of the Eucharist  for retreat participants as well as other members of St. Stephen’s. This Eucharist will be a celebration of the second Sunday of Advent on Saturday afternoon.
Donation for the retreat is $35.00. Checks should be made out to St. Stephen’s Church; please submit these by November 25. You may give checks to Theresa Scharff, Rev. Sheelagh, or place in the collection plate marked “Retreat.”
Give yourself a gift this Advent/Christmas season  – come to the Advent Retreat on December 3.
A Gentle Reminder, 
Sunday 4, December   
The last day for “Parish In Gathering” of Pledges and giving intentions will be on Sunday 4, December.  Your decisions help us to plan for our Parish life together. The pledge is the largest part of our budget.  Please be thoughtful and prayerful. And then rejoice with us as we offer up our gifts to God in thanksgiving for all we have.
Angel Tree Time
Sunday December 4, 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 4, 11 and 18th.
– Ellen Pluta, Kira Hanson, Susan Dinan, Margo Greenfield.
Sunday December 4, After Services
The Few. The Proud.  The People Who Will Move Furniture Out of the Deacon’s Room.
Looking for a great opportunity to strengthen your core?  On December 4th, after services, we need a few hale and hearty folks to move furniture out of the Deacon’s Room on the second floor, up to the third floor to where it is being relocated.  This includes a small sofa, a table that can be broken into segments and some chairs etc.  It should not take too long.
If you can give your time and your muscle please let Claas know via email by 12/1: cehlers@familypromise.org.
Pageant Rehearsals
Pageant rehearsals begin this Sunday December 4, after Church, for our 5pm Christmas Eve family service.  All children are welcome, no experience necessary, and adults can be in it too if your child needs you there.  It is a simple pageant this year, to fit the age profile of our little ones.  No child – no problem – as help is always needed for costumes and props.


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!
So What’s Happening At The Rectory?
With Derek moving out of the rectory after completing his contract with St. Stephen’s, space was once again free. We were contacted by the diocesan office about the possibility of renting the rectory to a diocesan employee and their family. The vestry has done its due diligence and agreed to rent the space to them.  We have now received approval from The Standing Committee of the Diocese and the future employee has signed his letter of agreement with the Diocese.  We anticipate a possible move in date during mid December.
This is a very fortuitous occurrence.  The space in the rectory must be used for clergy/employee housing or housing for someone employed to the diocese.  At the same time, drawing revenue from the rectory is extremely helpful to the church while we struggle with the costs of the cemetery and general operations.
Some key points:
*     The lease is for one year with an option to renew
*     Joe and Juan have three small dogs
*     They have snowblower and are not afraid to use it 🙂
We look forward to adding them to our loving church family.
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. Fridays 12/2 and 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