THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL’S In recognition that all that we have are gifts entrusted to us by God, it is the purpose of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to work and pray and give for the spread of God’s kingdom.
Dear Friends’ One Sunday a priest began his sermon by holding up a large triangle. He said, “My sermon this morning is like this triangle. It has three points… The first is this: Because we fail to accept, love and forgive each other as Jesus taught us, people are starving, suffering and being killed in today’s world… The second point is that most people don’t give a damn about this… And the third point is that some of you listening to me now could be more concerned that I used the word damn than you are about all those people who are suffering and dying.” When I die the questions I will be asked will be scandalously materialistic. I’ll be asked about bread, water, clothes. How often did I feed the hungry? When did I give even a cup of cold water to followers of Jesus. I’ll be asked about the times I clothed the naked. I’ll be asked about my record of sheltering the homeless, welcoming strangers, tending the sick, visiting the lonely. And when I begin to stammer out answers and explanations, I’ll be reminded that the Gospel is all or nothing, and that I cannot pick and
choose from it. When I die, the six exam questions that will be on my finals are in St. Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25. Christmas should make us think about the end time, about our going home and meeting our heavenly father, about answering the questions He will put to us about where we have been and what we have been doing. Christ will come again, and whether we are living or dead when that moment occurs, He will have a word or two to say to each of us about how we have managed our lives. And how have I managed my life? Do you ever find yourself asking that eternal question? Do you ever wonder how you will do when asked the questions that Jesus tells us are coming? Dr. Joseph Matarazzo was director of the Medical Psychology Department at the University of Oregon School of Medicine. He would have been in great demand as a psychotherapist, and would have contributed much to the development of general therapy. He once said that “more psychotherapy is accomplished between good friends over cups of coffee at ten o’clock in the morning than all day long in doctors’ offices.” He went on to stress the vital importance of a good talk with a real friend, and he says that this is who is most helpful when life seems complex, complicated.
friend in the world than Jesus. And doesn’t it make sense to talk to him now that time is, so to speak, on our side, than when we have suddenly run out of time? Talk to Jesus as you would talk to an old friend, someone who knows you intimately and loves you dearly just the same. He is the one “from whom no secrets are hid.” The Christmas season is the time to return to Him and renew the old warm relationship with a true friend. Talk to Him about your life and the things that disturb you. Tell Him about your joys and sorrows. Ask His guidance on problems and other matters. Ask His guidance in seeing the world about you with new eyes, new vision, new understanding. Ask Him to make the presence of those in need around you more real, to point out to you those whom He desires you to tend, visit, heal… He longs to listen to your prayers, to hear your open heart, to discuss with you the hungry now, the lonely now, those who need you now. Christmas is a time when to many people the nearness of Christ is most real. It is true. Please don’t miss it. Jack
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Hospitality and Parish Life Thank you to all who provided delicious refreshments after all of our November services. The High School and Sandra Heins’ class served a tasty 2nd Sunday lunch. Several generous people provided refreshments after the Thanksgiving Eve service. We are deeply grateful to Scott and Wendy Harris for having the Parish Oyster Roast and Shrimp Boil at their house. It was a perfect night and everyone enjoyed themselves. The Harris's went to a lot of trouble to have us and we should all thank them. More than 60 parishioners attended. The Rappahannock oysters and the shrimp were delicious, as were the many side dishes people brought. Sandra and Tommy Heins were a great help to me since I was temporarily "grounded" with the knee surgery. On Saturday, December 1 we will have the "Gathering of the Greens and Cocoa and Cookies with Santa" at Summer Hill, the historic home of Susan Newton. This is a special time for children and parents to help gather beautiful greens to make the both the Advent wreaths for church and those for each of us to take home. After we come inside the house a special visitor arrives to see the children in the beautiful parlor and then we all enjoy homemade cookies and cocoa. On Sunday, December 2 both during the Christian Education hour and coffee hour you will have the chance to make an Advent Centerpiece to take home. The Altar Guild sponsors this event and all supplies are provided. On Saturday, December 15 we will hold the Annual Ladies Luncheon at 12 noon. This is always a fun time. I need some help for that event, cooking, setting up and cleaning up. Please let me know at 869-795 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help in any way. Elizabeth Britton has been working all year on some of her Christmas creations. Thank you. On Sunday, December 30 there will be a church breakfast. Anne Holliday is in charge. Look for details elsewhere in the newsletter. Yoga classes continue on Tuesday nights at 6:30 pm. The cost is $5 and everyone at any level of experience is welcome.. Faithfully yours, Anne Cross, Hospitality Chairman
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Ted Kraft would like to thank all the campers at Shrine Mont for the letters, pictures and cards he has received. And he also wishes to thank all the adults who have been in touch with him for their phone calls and notes. “I miss all of you and hope to get back to see you soon. Merry Christmas and love to all of you!”
2013 Stewardship Campaign Remember, capture some of your thoughts around Stewardship on paper (e-mail, etc.) and send me these stories to be shared in the monthly Newsletter or Weekly bulletin. Please forward to Greg Price e-mailprice.greg@ comcast.net or 10944 Founders Place, Mechanicsville, VA. 23116. As a frequent beneficiary of the goodness of the people of St. Paul's, I am in awe of what we have here. Not long after joining St. Paul's, I was humbled by hearing my name in prayer for the ill, as I was treated for advanced colon cancer. That was 14 years ago. Then, after my husband, Fred, died, a group from St. Paul's helped me with my yard work. Most recently, the Hanover Firewood Ministry and young people worked on my yard and fallen trees, a ministry that continues here, my having had seven dead trees felled. I could not have afforded the services that I have received and I am ever so grateful. Beyond what I have received, none of which I feel I deserve, I am awed by the nurturing of our young people of all ages as they learn the value of service to others. At St. Paul's it seems natural, a given. Please believe me, it is more special than most can possibly imagine. We are a healthy congregation, responding to the needs of all, regardless of age, wealth, or lifestyle. We are special. We are worth maintaining and growing. Mine may be off-key at times; it is, however, a joyful noise! Randi Wortham Vestry Nominations This January three of our current Vestry members will be retiring. Lynn Reeves, Nina Rowland and Charlie Young have all served St. Paul’s diligently over the past three years. Each contributed their unique gifts to the leadership of the church. When you see them, please thank them for their service. In January, at the Annual Meeting, we will elect three new Vestry members. If you are interested in serving St. Paul’s in this way, please let Lynn, Nina or Charlie know. They will be seeking a slate of candidates to present for election at the Annual Meeting. Nominations are open to confirmed members of St. Paul’s who are eighteen and older. Colleen Stevens Hewitt The Rector’s Discretionary Fund Please remember that the loose offering on the first Sunday of each month is designated by the Vestry for inclusion in this special fund. The RDF is used by clergy to meet special and emergency needs of persons both inside and outside the parish. Requests for medicine, lodging, food, clothing, transportation, utilities and special holiday requests such as toys for children at Christmas are all directed to the rector who relies upon this fund for assistance. Especially in your holiday giving, please remember this fund and its intent. Faithfully yours, Jack
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View from the Back Pew
by Scott Harris
It’s been a long and interesting year. It’s been a year of self-evaluation and spiritual introspection. A year that required effective time management and tending to the needs of an elderly parent in addition to everything else. It has also been a year that gave me much needed comfort in faith and deepened family love. After many years of unbelievably good health my father began declining at the end of last year and he died in October of this year. Many of his numerous friends have told me that my father never seemed to age and that they thought he might live forever. Unfortunately, the advance of the years and the ravages of a weakened heart proved again the certainty of human mortality. Over the last months he and I spoke frequently about God, about heaven and about God’s love for us. Though I believe that my father was a man of conviction and faith, I know at times his feelings of confusion and understandable fear caused him considerable unease with the reality of death. As the frequency of the conversations increased I began to re-evaluate my own convictions and beliefs; I wanted to find the words that would not only give comfort to him but would also give me the comfort I needed. When we last spoke, I wasn’t sure where he was in the process of accepting death or an afterlife and quite honestly I wasn’t sure where I was on the whole matter either. Several days after his memorial service Wendy and I visited a local bookstore. I think we both were hoping to find some diversion from the somber tone of the past few days. As I walked by the new arrivals section the title of one particular book caught my eye. It was a book titled “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, MD. I walked on past, looking for the usual titles I enjoy related to counterterrorism or police mysteries. As I continued perusing the aisles I couldn’t stop thinking about the book I’d noticed. I went back, took the book off the shelf, and started looking through it. It is the story of a neurosurgeon that, after spending most of his life believing that the existence of an afterlife or even a supreme being was a myth, had a near death experience. He described his experiences in what he characterized as heaven; his encounter with what he believed to be our Creator and his ultimate return to this world. As a result of his own experiences he gained a sense of peace and overwhelming love that had eluded him his entire life. He felt compelled to write of his experience and has become a vocal supporter and advocate of those with similar experiences. He has also found a depth of faith that prior to his near death, he wasn’t aware was missing. I bought the book that night and showed it to Wendy. Before I could start reading it she took it and read it first. There was simplicity in the author’s words and in his attempt to describe what is almost indescribable. I can’t say that either of us was particularly transformed after finishing the book. We both believe in the afterlife; that God does exist and that a life serving Him faithfully leads not only to fulfillment, but ultimately to our resurrection after death. For me, finding that book at a time when I most needed reassurance was what mattered. It served to remind me that God is with me at all times and is fully engaged in my life. I am able to find Him in the smallest details of my daily activities. It may be a small thing but it also reminded me that He was fully involved in my father’s life and his death as well. I know that after a year of uncertainty, declining health and occasional angst, my father is at peace. He is in heaven. I started this column by saying that it’s been an interesting year and it has. As one whose eyes were opened to a new perspective I came to understand that one of the most important gifts we can give back to God is to walk the final path of our parent’s journey with them. I found an increased intimacy and closeness to my brother and sister that I treasure and that was tested and strengthened through adversity. I gained strength through my own uncertainty and questions of faith and I reaffirmed my belief that with God’s guidance and help, all things are manageable. It was a lot for one year to be sure. Let’s hope that 2013 will be less interesting. Faithfully, Scott “Beauty, truth, friendship, love, creation – these are the great values of life. We can’t prove them, or explain them, yet they are the
Outreach Once again this year we will be sponsoring several families whose names we will receive from the Hanover Christmas Mother. Please consider taking an angel off our angel tree and helping these families during the Christmas season. Lynn Reeves will be happy to collect cash donations and pick up wanted items. we will also be collecting all varieties of canned foods which will go to the Christmas Mother and A.C.E.S. during this season when demand is so high. The Hanover Christmas Mother project will be sorting the food on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4 at the Doswell Community Center from 79pm. On Wednesday, December 12 from 7-9pm they will be packing boxes to deliver to families. If you have a free evening please come out and help. What a great way for you and your family to give back to your
community. We will also have a winterizing project in the works through Hanover Social Service.
Altar Guild On Wednesday, December 19 at 10AM anyone who is interested is invited to help make the boxwood Christmas wreaths for the interior and exterior of the church in the Parish Hall. It should not take more than an hour if we have several people. Please let Anne Cross know if you can help. On Sunday, December 23 we will vest the church at 3 pm. Please come and help.
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SUNDAY MINISTERS FOR DECEMBER
Lector-8 02 09 16 23 24
J. Sutor N. Rowland R. Evans N. Rowland, L. Reeves P. Cash M. Pauley H. Rice G. Price, C. Young J. Sutor C. Hewitt A. Long H. Holloway, C. Hewitt P. Cash R. Wortham M. Pauley M. Lavender, A. Palmer Christmas eve services at 4:30 and 11:00PM, please speak to Lynn Reeves if you can volunteer!
T. Lambert, A. Holliday
Crucifer L. Rowland
Server B. Rowland
Psalm L. Rowland
Torches E. Drudge, V. Ransone
E. Price, J. Farrell
J. J. Sadler
M. Young, C. Kent
K. Walker, V. Ransone
Christmas eve services at 4:30 and 11:00PM, please speak to Lynn Reeves if you can volunteer! P. Lambert
C. Kent, E. Drudge
Altar Guild Paulette Longan, Eve Burton, Diane Freeman, Anne Cross
From the St. Paul's Women's Fellowship Group We have truly been enjoying the adventure that Mack has taken us through in "The Shack". Thanks again to everyone who has opened up your minds and hearts in this group. We will continue the group December 13 and pick back up in January on Thursday, 10th. Also, a reminder that the Women's Retreat is on the Weekend of January 18. Please make sure to let me know NO LATER than December 10th if you will be attending the Art Class and staying the evening in Mathews. My e-mail is email@example.com, and phone is 901-3646. Remember, all activities of the Women's group are open to the women of St. Paul's and friends and any ideas and/or suggestions are always welcome! Sandra Heins
ANGEL TREE FUNDRAISER The 3-5th grade Sunday School class will be adopting an Angel from the Salvation Army Angel Tree. After the 8 and 10:30 services on December 9th we will be selling Christmas items and the Mixes-In-A-Jar similar to what we sold last year that were a huge hit. Funds will help us purchase our angel’s gifts. Because of timing constraints, we will not be taking orders this year if we run out like we have in the past. When they are gone, they are gone, so come early and buy lots!
NEW YEARS BREAKFAST
COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS The cookbook committee would like to thank all that have supported this fundraiser so far. There are, however, still many left to sell! So check your Christmas lists and make sure that everyone that should have a cookbook has one under their tree this season! There will be a sales table set up on Sunday Dec. 9th after the 8 and 10:30 services.
A New Years Celebration Breakfast will be served between the 8 am and 10:30 am services on Sunday Dec. 30. There is a sign up sheet in the Parish Hall for dishes. Plan to join the St. Paul's family to celebrate 2012, and look forward to the promise of 2013!
"O Come All Ye Faithful…” and join the cast of the St. Paul's Christmas Pageant! The pageant will take place during the 4:30PM Christmas Eve service. Please contact Ashley Palmer if your child is interested in being a part of this special performance.
"You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself" Ethel Barrymore
December 2012 Church Office Hours Mon-Thu 9AM-1PM
CHRISTMAS POINSETTIA ORDER FORMS will be in the Order of Service. If you are unable to make it to church to complete a form, please call the church office right away. Cost will be $9.00 per plant, checks should be made to the St. Anne’s Altar Guild and “Poinsettia order” clearly marked on the memo line.
2 8:00AM Worship 9:15Am Christian Education 10:30AM Worship 11:30AM Fellowship 2:30PM Harris baby shower
1 10:00AM Gathering of the Greens and Cookies with Santa
8:00AM Worship 9:15Am Christian Education 10:30AM Worship 11:30AM 2nd Sunday Lunch
10:00 AM Newsletter deadline
8:00AM Worship 9:15Am Christian Education 10:30AM Worship 11:30AM Fellowship
8:00AM Worship 9:15Am Christian Education 10:30AM Worship 11:30AM Fellowship 3:00PM, Vesting of the church
8:00AM Worship 9:30AM New Year’s Breakfast 10:30AM Worship
Talent Developing Studio Recitals 5PM-9PM 9AM-2PM
15 Noon Ladies Christmas Luncheon
Art show goes up 7:00PM Women’s Fellowship @ Sandra Heins’
10:00AM Wreath making 6:30PM Yoga
11:00PM Holy Eucharist
NEW YEARS BREAKFAST A New Years Celebration Breakfast will be served between the 8 am and 10:30 am services on Sunday Dec. 30. There is a sign up sheet in the Parish Hall for dishes. Plan to join the St. Paul's family to celebrate 2012, and look forward to the promise of 2013!
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church P. O. Box 441 Hanover, VA 23069
Return Service Requested
Phone: 804-537-5516 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stpaulshanover.org
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8 0 5 0 S t . P a u l ’ s C h u r c h R o a d H a n o v e r C o u r t H o u s e
In The Diocese of Virginia Christmas worship December 24: 4:30PM family service with Christmas pageant 11:00PM, Holy Eucharist December 25 10:00AM, Holy Eucharist December 30 8:30AM, Holy Eucharist 9:30AM, Christmas Breakfast 10:30AM, Holy Eucharist
The Right Reverend Shannon Johnston
Bishop of Virginia
The Reverend Jack Sutor
The Reverend Alwin Reiners, Jr.
Mrs. Colleen Hewitt
Mr. Charles Young
Mrs. Brenda Boldin
Ms. Sarah Cothern
Organist and Choir Director
Ms. Andrea Kent
Christian Education Director
Sunday Services are at 8:00 a.m., Holy Eucharist (Rite I) and 10:30a.m. Holy Eucharist (Rite II). Christian Education for all ages begins at 9:15AM. A nursery is available for the later service. Further refreshments follow all services. Parish office hours for the Administrative Assistant are Monday – Thursday 9:00AM—1:00 PM unless otherwise published.