December 30, 2019
i would like to share a blog by a former St. Davidian minister, Rev. John Griffith:https://whatwasithinking.blog
as he speaks of the meaning of Christmas. As the end of the year approaches, a person does become reflective and it is my privilege to share this reflection. I missed the end of year services at St. David's. If you attended the Wassailing service, email me and I will be able to share your experiences. [email protected]
As I write this, we are in Santa Cruz, California. The sun is shining but we are catching up on our homework. Dave is working on our 8 page End of Year Newsletter while I'm trying to keep our congregation informed. Happy New Year to you!
December 26, 2019
Our Christmas Eve was spent with the worshippers at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in St. George, Utah. It was a familiar service for us because it was built around the "Lessons and Carols" service. The solo that Brittany Rae performed at St. David's on Christmas Eve was sung at Good Shepherd by the Rev. Dr. Ralph Clingan as part of their service.
December 23, 2019
It is almost here. We've been waiting and planning. We have so many new memories to share and stories to tell. Advent at St. David's has been a "Joy." With many people sharing in the services, either planning, decorating, singing, reading, performing, cooking, serving, we truly are ready for Christmas. With two services Christmas Eve, St. Davidians and guests will be able to enjoy the "Sounds and Lights of Bethlehem" at 4:30 pm. and/or the Candlelight Service at 8:00 pm.
For David and me, we will be attending Christmas Eve service in St. Georges, Utah tomorrow night. We set off after church Sunday and made our way to Great Falls for the night. The roads were bare and dry, despite the snowfall Saturday night in and around Calgary. Hugo and Iris (and their parents and sisters) set off well before dawn on Sunday morning from Calgary for Surrey, BC. We were thankful for modern technology as Kirsten texted us from Golden, Revelstoke, Kamloops and, finally, from Papa Bob's to say they were safe, despite the heavy snowfall experienced en route.
We will miss the Wassailing Sunday Service on December 29, 2019. It sounds like a wonderful way to finish the year. January promises to be the start of many new programs and activities at St. David's beginning with Coffee and Muffin Ministry on January 9, 2020. On January 13, 2020 ACTS (Adult Spiritual Development) Monday Night Book Study begins with "Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century. On January 17, 2020, St. David's is hosting an Ecumenical Taizé Prayer evening (check events for details). On January 19, 2020, we will gather for the Evening Compline Service and on January 25, 2020, Marty Heeg will be leading an Enneagram Workshop. Meanwhile, I hope that your Christmas week with all it has to offer will be a blessing to you and that as we walk forward into the next decade, that we do so with confidence and joy, knowing that we have such a supportive and loving community beside us.
December 16, 2019
As members of the Sacred Service teams passed out "Joy Stars", the spirit of Christmas enveloped our congregation on Sunday morning. Because December is such a busy month, members from various Sacred Service teams offer the service under the leadership of Deb Charnuski. Advent III Sunday was particularly eventful with our Advent Actors and readers, guest musicians and dancers, communion servers and, all the while, in the kitchen Dave Rider and friends were preparing our annual Christmas Brunch.
Then, following probably a napful afternoon for some, many of us gathered again for the December Service of Compline with Jim Picken providing the pre-service recital and the Chamber Choir's voices wafting down from the balcony during the candlelit service. A very complete and special day. All the more so, because December 15, 2019 marked the 41st wedding anniversary of yours truly and Dave. We had pictures taken with the lit Christmas trees forming a background like we did in 1978.
On Thursday, many folks popped into St. David's to enjoy goodies, coffee (or tea) and great conversation during our monthly Coffee and Muffin Ministry. Our January date is set for January 9, 2020. Thank you to the team of individuals who help set up and host this popular event. (The rumour is that we'll be undecorating on the 9th.)
Next Monday, this News update will be coming from somewhere in Montana as we take our annual winter jaunt into the Western United States. We've been covering the same route over the past 18 years, driving, listening to our "Libby" - Calgary Public Library audiotapes, going to movies and, generally, having a restful time. We have no fixed agenda and plan to return about January 10, 2020. Enjoy the week and we will see you at Advent IV, December 22 at 10:00!
December 10, 2019
The count down is on. Beginning Dec. 3, at our home, we launch into a ten day preparation period for our annual St. Lucia Party. That means lots of decorating, baking and preparation for singing. The decorations are complete, the Lucia crown is ready for our youngest granddaughter to wear, the baking is an act in progress and the music is ready. Life is grand!!
At St. David's, just walking into the sanctuary offers a warm welcoming experience with decorations all around. It truly is a beautiful place to be at the rest of time but even more so at Christmas. This coming Sunday, we will be enjoying the Annual Christmas Brunch after a service of White Gift presentations, dancing, acting, listening and singing. Later, at 7 p.m. we can enter the sanctuary as it is bathed in candle light for our December Evening Compline Service.
If you want to see the list for White Gift food possibilities, check out the worship folder for Dec. 8, 2019 uploaded as a file attachment for worship. Gifts will be presented on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. It can also be found in the Newsletter, Dec. 8, 2019 which is attached below.
December 2, 2019
The tree is twinkling as I sit at my desk today. The grandchildren, here on a Professional Day, have helped us decorate so our home is ready for Christmas. Rev. Peggy and her worship team are helping us prepare as we explore the role of Joy in our lives. Like our Lenten series earlier this year, we have been given a bit of spiritual homework to carry out during the week. This being the first week of Advent, the symbol of the wreath is of foremost importance. From Rev. Peggy's Worship Folder insert, we are reminded of the history of the wreath. "Hanging a circular wreath of evergreens during mid-winter seems to go back a very long way. It might have started back in Roman times when wreaths were hung on doors as a sign of victory and of status. Rich Roman women also wore them as headdresses on special occasions like weddings... Roman Emperors also wore laurel wreaths. They were also given to the winners of events in the original Olympic Games in Greece.
Wreath Prayers: Place your wreath close so you can see it. As you look at it, pray for the people that your circle of life includes; family, friends, relatives. Pray for those on the outside of your circle - the homeless, the sick, those dealing with illness and loss, the dying, those struggling with mental illness and depression. Read Psalm 98 and pray for creation and all its struggles." To help you out, here is Psalm 98:
1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
Our church is decorated so beautifully for the season. I'm reminded of the trumpeting angels that used to reign over the front of the sanctuary and, of years past, when a fir tree was cut down and decorated in its place of honour. As a matter of fact, such a tree adorned the front of the church when we were married there 41 years ago. Yes, December at St. David's has had a special place in our hearts for many years.
This week marks another tradition at St. David's. Since the 80s, the Friendship Club (formerly the Couples Club) has hosted a dinner and dance at Christmas. This year, on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, you can be sure that St. Davidians and friends will be dressed in their finery, enjoying the music of the Badlanders Orchestra following a delicious dinner and a group sing along. Memories!!