A few have noticed that nothing has been said so far about a pledge campaign for our 2014 Annual Fund. Last year at this time we were in the midst of a very visible campaign, Bearing Lasting Fruit, combining both our Annual Fund and our Building Fund. This year we are every bit as intentional as last year but are going about the Annual Fund campaign quite differently.
As individual members of St. Michael’s we have a spiritual need to give sacrificially. Furthermore, we need to prayerfully consider how God is calling us to allocate our sacrificial giving among the many causes asking for our money.
We as the community of St. Michael’s need to be about our mission to be an ever-widening, ever-deepening circle of reconciliation in Christ. St. Michael’s needs a healthy operating budget to carry out this mission. The mission is not easy (no mission worth doing is), and we do not carry it out perfectly. Just one particular of our mission this past year is that, after months of discernment we decided to ask the Bishop of Texas to authorize St. Michael’s to be a parish permitted to bless same-sex unions. This discipleship decision was not made quickly or lightly, and it cost our congregation some dear members and serious financial resources. Yet, we came to the conclusion that we could not be the circle of reconciliation Jesus Christ is calling us to be if we did not take this step.
In this season of Advent look for a personalized email inviting you to prayerfully consider how the mission of St. Michael’s fits into your spiritual need to give. Once you and our coming Lord Jesus have worked this out, reply to the email with the answer. Simple. All of these email responses will be printed and confidentially lifted up in thanksgiving at the altar at the end of the campaign.
This Sunday, December 1, is the start of a new liturgical year. It is the First Sunday of Advent. We are used to tracking chronological time as January, February, March, … or maybe as winter, spring, summer, …, but the church year is a way of tracking sacred time with Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, …. With the church year the emphasis is not so much on the quantity of time (chronos) but on the quality/meaning of time (kairos). Advent, from the Latin for “come to” is the season that we prepare for Jesus coming to us, both his coming again at the end of time and his coming the first time at Bethlehem.
We mark this change with different aspects of worship;
- Gone is the green; purple decorates the space.
- The choir pews have been moved from behind the altar to the west alcove. An acoustic study indicates we may hear them better from there. SING OUT! There is still room for the church family to gather around the table to receive communion.
- We light our Advent wreath, lighting one more candle each week until all four are burning the 4th week.
- We change our liturgy. The 9:00 service will become even more contemporary, using a more inclusive language liturgy. The 11:00 service will become more traditional, using Rite 1 which is very close to the first English language liturgy in 1549.
- We sing Advent music. We shall sing Christmas music during Christmas, Christmas Eve through January 5.
Remember the K.I.S.S. principle, Keep It Simple, Saint. Don’t do something that leaves time to read the Advent meditation sent from St. Michaels. Light your Advent wreath at home. Sip a warm beverage and talk with Jesus about his purpose for your life.
The St. Michael’s book group will meet Wednesday, December 4, at Trianon in Westlake at 2:30 pm. Please read anything of your choice by Anna Quindlen, and we will honor her writing with our discussion.
Please join us! For more information, contact Jackie King.
The season of Advent has arrived. The word itself means “coming”. In this busy time it is easy to get caught up in the coming of Santa and not the Christ child. Be still, be quiet, prepare your hearts for the coming of Jesus. Reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
The Daughters of the King of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 2128 Barton Hills Drive is hosting an Advent Quiet Day on Saturday, December 7, from 10:00A.M. to 1:00P.M. A simple soup lunch will be served. To RSVP or for more information contact Gail Reid.
“The good news of Advent is that if we wait, while we wait, in the waiting, God comes.” Emmanuel.
For our December 22 Sunday at Trinity Center, we are in need of donations of Christmas Cards. If you have a few extra left over from last year, please bring them to the church office by Sunday, December 22. We will fill some of them out as cards to our homeless neighbors, and we will provide some of them to these neighbors to send to their families and friends far away.
Help Make Treat Bags
On Sunday, December 22, from 10:15 to 10:45, we will be making Christmas treat bags with some Christmas sweets and other items for our homeless neighbors at Trinity Center. We could use a few volunteers of all ages to help us put the bags together in Parish Hall. Come join us.
Come raise your voice in song on Sunday, January 5, at 5 pm to support All Saints’ Church in Peshawar. Sing for those who struggle to fill the house of their Lord with joy after the bombing of their church home and the loss of so many lives.
We will sing and also hear from the Rev. Robby Vickery who spent his sabbatical at All Saints’. We will take up a Love Offering which will be sent to All Saints’ to support the recovery of their community.
Please extend the invitation to any friends and family.
It has been said,
“The Church is the only organization that exists for the sake of those outside of the organization.”
So, what is St. Michael’s doing for those outside of St. Michael’s?
Here are just a few examples of what we are doing:
- We just sent $2,200 to the Diocese of Peshawar to aid in the care of the survivors of the terrorist suicide bombings this fall at All Saints’ Church. 133 men, women, and children were killed as they came out of church, and another 165 were injured.
- We just sent $1,000 to El Buen Samaritano, the Episcopal service agency in south Austin. More specifically, this purchased 100 $10-turkeys (via our donations to “turkey tail feathers”) for Thanksgiving Dinner baskets for families that need some help stretching the food budget for the upcoming holidays (holy days).
- During the week of November 3-10 as part of the Interfaith Housing Network (IHN) we converted Sunday school rooms to bedrooms and provided a home for 4 homeless families made up of 5 adults and 6 children. It took 74 volunteers to pull all of this off. 14 stayed overnight at St. Michaels as hosts. 20 were day or dinner hosts. 21 brought food. 19 helped with move in, move out, laundry, or driving. This took 224 volunteer hours and 493 miles of volunteer driving. We have been part of IHN for about 21 years, hosting 2-4 times each year.
- On Saturday, October 29 about 18 volunteers inspected, sorted and packaged about 5,000 pounds of food through the Capital Area Food Bank. 41% of CAFB clients are children. One third of its older clients go extended periods without food. Almost half of its families have to choose between buying food and paying utilities.
- On Sunday, December 22 we shall serve a meal and lead worship for the homeless in the downtown area. Join us at 2:00 pm at the Trinity Center (7th St. and Trinity). It is not a good time of the year to be telling folks that there is “no room at the inn.”
– The Rev. Robby Vickery
- Volunteer with Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) and help families become independent.
- Help make sandwiches at Mobile Loaves and Fishes on the first Friday of each month.
- You can help grow and pick fresh vegetables through our Community Garden.
- Our Food Pantry always needs your gifts of canned fruit, soup, veggies, peanut butter, jelly, and canned meat.
- Sort food on Saturday morning at Capital Area Food Bank.
- Perhaps you would like to work with Faith in Action Caregivers to provide transportation to senior adults in Southwest Austin.
For this and more, sign up or contact the Rev. Nancy Ricketts.
Signup Sheets are on the Bulletin Board in the Church Entryway!