Icon by Isaac Fanous, St Peter and St Paul’s Coptic Orthodox Church
Be careful: If you come here, you will grow!
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
A note from the Rev. Michael A. Bullock
We have come to the focal point of the season of Advent. The Fourth Sunday centers upon Mary and the Annunciation story [Luke 1:26-38]. Because we are so familiar both with the story and the figure of Mary, we are prone to approach them both with a great deal of sentimentality or distance that the story and Mary are minimalized to the point of distortion. In these short lines that follow, I would like to make a case for taking Mary seriously.
We have a tendency to limit Mary to some plastic figurine, robbing her of her real humanity and deep faith In this regard, I was recently made aware of a poem by Kaitlin Hardy Shetler, entitled: “A Christmas Poem”. The poet spares no sentimentality in honoring the real Mary and taking her seriously. READ MORE
Looking Ahead to Advent and Christmas at St. Philip’s
With the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day being the start of a new Christian liturgical year and the beginning of the Season of Advent, and with all the challenges we have faced as a community of faith during this time of separation and trial, it seems even more important than usual to announce what we will do at St. Philip’s to mark the time and to be strengthened by the experiences.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to meet for in-person worship; but we will continue to live-stream our liturgical life. (In this vein, we will be asking Santa for a laptop computer, which our technical elves have assured us will greatly help in the sound and picture reliability of what we broadcast! What a gift this would be! Santa, are you listening?) Nonetheless, we intend – as best we can — to offer the richness and loveliness of Advent and Christmas and invite you to join us as best you can.
1. WE WILL HAVE CHRISTMAS EVE (4:30 pm) AND CHRISTMAS DAY (11:00 am) WORSHIP SERVICES. They will be live-streamed on our Facebook channel and also available on phone audio for those without internet access. Moreover, we have decided that the Christmas Eve liturgy will be a Communion service. While actual on-site distribution of the Sacrament will be limited to the four individuals providing the liturgy’s leadership, our intention is to create a sign-up sheet to identify those who may desire home Communion from the service. We are even working on the possibility of distributing Communion after the service, outside the church to those who can come by and receive. The logistics of this are challenging and still very much in the works; but at the very least we intend to bring Communion to those who cannot get out. But sign-ups are essential for being able to do this. Sign-up by emailing email@example.com.
2. ADVENT WEDNESDAYS: QUIET EVENINGS: In the past few years, we have offered several quiet Wednesday evenings in the church for Advent reflection and prayer. This year, in lieu of Compline on Wednesdays (on three successive Wednesdays (12/2, 12/9, 12/16)), we will live-stream a similar experience, combining music, readings, reflection, and prayer – all in the context of Advent’s strengthening quiet anticipation
3. FAMILY STORY TIME: Continuing a “small “t” tradition among us, we will mark the season of Advent with three story opportunities on Zoom (same as Scripture Study and Coffee Hour link), which are designed for CHILDREN of ALL ages and families of ALL sizes. On three consecutive Saturdays and in lieu of Compline on those days (12/5, 12/12, 12/19), we will gather via zoom to remember the richness of this season’s great anticipatory time. The first Story Time will be in honor of St. Nicholas. The second Story Time will recall what used to be the longest night of the year and the tradition of St. Lucy. The third Story Time will be to read the famous story written by a nineteenth century, Episcopal, seminary professor: “The Night Before Christmas” and perhaps the sharing of another seasonal insight!
Sunday Lectionary Study is at 8:45 a.m.
and Coffee Hour follows the service on Zoom
USE THIS ZOOM LINK
Meeting ID: 845 1770 3924 / Password: 270862
To Join by Telephone
Our plan is to celebrate Holy Communion at the Christmas Eve liturgy. Remotely broadcast with only the five liturgical leaders present in the church, Deacon Jason and I have the intention of bringing Communion to the homes that request such a visitation. In order to organize the logistics of this, we need to know specific requests ahead of time. Please contact the office either by phone [413-527-0862] or by email [Office@stphilipseasthampton.org] to place your name on the sign-up list. Also, please include your name, address, phone number, and the number of people to receive.
Communion will be offered, according to the Prayer Book form: “Communion under Special Circumstances” [BCP., p. 396ff], with special content for Christmas. Consecrated bread will be individually sealed, one per person, and pandemic protocols will be employed in these brief visits.
Questions or comments may be directed to Fr. Michael [FrMichael@stphilipseasthampton.org].
Saint Philip’s is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Advent Storytime: ‘Twas the Night before Christmas
Time: Dec 19, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 495 873 2817
We would like to thank everyone who participated in our annual Christmas Giving Tree. In spite of the 2020 challenge, our Giving Tree was a huge success. St. Philips donated 65 sets of pajamas, 154 pairs of socks, 1 pair of mittens, 6 hand knit hats from Joan Haines, 3 stuffed animals and 3 books to the Easthampton Community Center.
The need is so much greater this year, and Robin Bialecki, the Director of ECC, has expressed her gratitude. Thank you so much for your generosity. We at St. Philips continue to make a difference!
God Bless all of you
Mary Bianca and Jan Davis
THE ANNUAL CANVASS TO SUPPORT THE 2021 PARISH BUDGET is set to conclude. Thanks to all those who have sent in their 2021 financial commitment to the life, ministry, and mission of St. Philip’s. Senior Warden, Bonnie Katusich, and the Vestry would like to wrap-up this asking period so that an operating budget for next year can be adopted. If there are any questions or concerns about making a pledge, please speak with Bonnie or Fr. Michael.
Read the complete News of the Week HERE