Dear Friends, Family Members, Inquirers, Seekers, and Newcomers!
Happy 2018! It always takes some time to write "2018" to realize that we are in a new year.
Happy Epiphany! And Merry "Old" Christmas cheers! This coming Sunday, we will celebrate the seasons of Epiphany with a touch of Christmas. We will begin our time together singing "We Three Kings of Orient Are," and ending with our "Silent Night" from our planned 4th Sunday of Advent/Christmas Eve worship. In the Appalachian hills, from northern Alabama to Maine, the "staunchly anti-Catholic, fiercely independent Scots-Irish rejected a calendar created by Pope Gregory XIII in the 1500s (he fixed the Julian calendar supposedly), which established Christmas to be on Dec. 25. By the mid-1700s, when the folks from Scotland and Ireland began settling the Appalachians, they were adamantly opposed to the notion of embracing a new calendar — a new calendar invented by Catholics and adopted by some distant government on the far side of the ocean." They kept Christmas on Jan. 7. Here's a link for more information on this history: http://appalachianmagazine.com/2016/12/25/why-early-appalachian-settlers-originally-celebrated-christmas-in-january/. In their honor, and because of our weather pattern, let us celebrate Epiphany (the end of Christmastide) with a touch of Christmas. Our focus Scripture will be Luke 2:14-20.
This Sunday, we welcome Matt back as our ASL interpreter.
Our prayer requests include the following:
1. For Hazel Torgerson who died Dec. 30, 2017, at 102 and those she left behind. Gwen Wildfong is the only remaining charter member of Saint Andrew's.
2. For healing for those suffering from the seasonal flu-cold going around.
3. Continued prayers for Linda's brother Gary and his family. Gary suffers from several illnesses, including Parkinson's, and now neuropathy is robbing him of his sleep.
4. For peace and reconciliation for Bob and Vivian Terral and their family, that they may reach out to one another. Prayers for Vivian's happiness in her new care setting.
5. For all those who do not have a warm place to sleep and warm food to eat. Prayers for safety and shelter for the homeless.
6. For a safe New Year's Eve and all those traveling this weekend.
7. For Chris and Brett, for your strong partnership. Prayers of gratitude to have you as our spiritual leaders.
8. Sue Malter's healing.
9. Traveling mercies for Brett.
Finally, a prayer-poem by Howard Thurman:
The Work of Christmas.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.
May we gladly--by God's grace and Christ's mercy and Spirit's leading--be about the work of Christmas, this day and all the days of our lives as a fellowship of Christ's pilgrim people.
Pastor Brett and Pastor Chris