THE DOVE December 2011


by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin

     A child in a foul stable,
     Where the beasts feed and foam;
     Only where He was homeless
     Are you and I at home:
     We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
     But our hearts we lost-how long ago!
     In a place no chart nor ship can show
     Under the sky's dome.

     To an open house in the evening
     Home shall people come,
     To an older place than Eden
     And a taller town than Rome.
     To the end of the way of the wandering star,
     To the things that cannot be and that are,
     To the place where God was homeless
     And all people are at home.
                                                 G.K. Chesterton

"To the things that cannot be and that are." Is not this what we celebrate this holy season, this pregnant and poignant season of Advent, this blessed Christmas time? The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, we are told; swords shall be beaten into ploughshares; the heavens will be rent; and the Holy One of heaven comes to the lonely ones of earth.

What a rich and remarkable series of moments we have before us in these next weeks. The strident, shocking rasp of John the Baptist calling us to repentance and a new road. Gabriel, prince of angels, visiting a frightened teenager and telling her she is to carry heaven in her belly. A child, born in the middle of nowhere to parents who are nobodies, coming to turn the world upside down. Sages from distant lands paying homage to this squalling, mewling infant. And why? So that, in the very place where God was homeless, we can and may find our true home, our native land, the life and reality for which we were created.

This is a time of beginnings. The sacred year started afresh on November 27, and the secular year starts afresh on January 1. The sun, mere days before The Birth, turns around and begins its own renewal. The arrival of the wise men brings with it a sense that everything is changed; that all is being remade; that everything is new; and that things which cannot be, in fact, are.

Come, Holy Child. Make your home in our hearts, that we might find ourselves at home in you.

Advent and Christmas Schedule

Sunday, December 4 ~ Advent Lessons & Carols at 5:00pm
    A special Liturgy with readings and hymns of the Season
Sunday, December 18 ~ Christmas Sing-Along at 10:00am
   An annual tradition for the entire parish; in the Great Hall.
Saturday, December 24 ~ Christmas Eve Liturgies
   Children's Christmas Pageant and Eucharist at 4:00pm
   Choral Eucharist at 8:00pm and 11:00pm 
Sunday, December 25 ~ Christmas Day
   One Liturgy only at 10:00am
Monday, December 26
   Offices closed
Sunday, January 1 ~ New Year's Day 
   One Liturgy only at 9:00am
   A celebration of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, when
   he was formally named according to Jewish rites and
   traditions. As that day is also New Year's Day in the secular
   calendar, we will only gather for one Eucharist that morning.
   A blessed New Year to all!
Monday, January 2 
   Offices closed

Christmas Offerings and Outreach

During the Christmas season, we ask our parish families to contribute to the open plate offering. Our outreach budget is funded by Housewalk and the seasonal offerings at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please remember that every bit you contribute helps provide grants to agencies requesting our support. Your gift will make a difference for these organizations, and perhaps help us increase the funds we give.

Christmas flowers in the Church are made possible by your donation to the flower fund. Flowers may be given in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving of our lives together. Your donation will be listed in the Christmas bulletin if received by December 20.  Envelopes are available in the parlor.

Your Jesse Tree donations are gifts of hope and joy for families supported by Connections for the Homeless in Evanston and 4th and 5th graders at Holy Family School in Chicago.  Please be sure to return your wrapped and tagged gift to the parlor by December 15.

Thank you for your kind generosity during this blessed holiday season.

Youth Group Update

iConnect concluded their study on stewardship of the earth with the "Top 10 Tips for Creation Care" and prayers for the environment.  During Advent, they will make Christmas cards for our homebound parishioners, study the Nativity stories as told by Matthew and Luke, and discuss meaningful "gifts" for the baby Jesus.

AIM will participate in a teambuilding activity which will put into practice the qualities of friendship and leadership they have been discussing. Breaking up into two groups, they will have two class sessions to assemble two 250-piece puzzles.  Cooperation, patience and a lot of love will be needed to get them through the project!

WHAM applications for Mission: Kentucky are due on December 15.  This work-oriented trip to the Appalachian community of Hazel Creek KY is scheduled for June 16-21, 2012; cost, to be determined by the number of participants, will be about $1,000. 

Thank you to our youth groups for their work with the church school children on November 27, helping them prepare Advent wreaths and baby Jesus "birthday" presents. All youth groups will participate in the Christmas Sing-Along in the Great Hall on December 18.


The Vineyard

We welcome to the parish:
•  John and Elizabeth Cournoyer of Kenilworth and their children: 6 yr old Madeline and 4 yr old Walton.
• Mark and Beth Jerva of Glenview and their children: 7 yr old Chloe, 9 yr old Adelaide, and 11 yr old Theo.
• Rich and Kathy Lobo of Kenilworth and their children: 6th grader Kendall and 4th grader Justin.
• Sue Malott of Wilmette.

We joyfully announce the birth of:
Gil and Wyn Gilbert's first grandchild, Elsa Louise, daughter of Simon Woddy and Christine Gilbert, on November 15. The Woddy family lives in England.

We extend our sympathy to:
Lin and George Drake on the death of her father, Swede Hansen, on November 23.

News from our Directors

Reflections on our Community Life: A Wonderful Mess
by Patti Pateros, Director of Community Building

Formation Principles: Gifts
by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's and Youth Ministries

Music Notes: Advent Lessons & Carols
by Derek Nickels, Director of Music

Family Ministry:  Rituals and Traditions
by The Rev. Heath Howe, Family Ministries Associate