Dear Friends,

We begin the last week of Advent on Sunday: it is time to wrap up, figuratively as well as literally, all our preparations for Christmas.  Monday we will get the bulletins ready; Wednesday we decorate the church—please come.  There will be soup and sandwiches for the workers at noon.  Singers are putting in extra time, lectors, ushers, acolytes are all being lined up.  The altar guild is polishing the brass. The bishop is practicing her chanting.  It truly is amazing how much goes into one day’s liturgy.  Of course, Christmas is special.  We want to put our best foot forward.

We will have two lovely services on Christmas Eve.  The 5:30 service will be led by the Rev. Holly Hudson-Louis and will especially integrate the children.  The later service with the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves celebrating, will begin with carols from 9 to 9:30.

This Sunday is Mary’s Sunday.  The choir will sing the Magnificat, Mary’s song, and on the back table, there are a few books from our church library, some focused on Mary, also a few children’s books on Christmas.  To save you a trip downstairs, from time to time a few books have been selected appropriate to the season and set on the back table for your benefit. Take one home and enjoy.

Today is the first Sunday St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church will be worshiping downstairs at approximately the same time we are upstairs.  We are hoping this arrangement will work.  Please make them feel welcome.  They begin at 9 a.m., so if you are downstairs, tread softly.

The last six months have been a real opportunity for growth for us as a parish and for some of us, as individuals.  We have accomplished amazing things.  I have certainly had my eyes opened as I have come to realize what really goes into the operation of a parish church and humbled by the knowledge of just how generous so many people are with their time, talents and treasure.

2016 is almost upon us and in order to have a respectable budget for next year we need those who have yet to commit to a pledge, to prayerfully consider doing so.  The vestry will be finalizing our budget the first part of January, so we need to know how much we will have to work with.  We are making every effort to finance our day to day operations with pledge money, saving our trust funds for major projects.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our two Christmas services.

Adeste Fideles—O Come all ye faithful.

In Christ,
Claudia Ward, Senior Warden
All Saints’ Episcopal Church