THE DOVE December 2012

Advent

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

Will Rogers, the great cowboy-humorist of the 1920s and 30s, would often, when appearing on stage for a live performance, take the paper of whatever city he was in, and offer spontaneous commentary on the headlines therein. Not long after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Rogers did a show in New York. He picked up one of the local papers and read out loud the headline, "Owners Want Bars Open To 4, Not 2." He paused for a moment. "Friends," he then said to the audience, "if you can't get drunk by 2 in the morning, you're not trying."

A strange way to begin a December article in a church newsletter, I know. But Will Rogers' words come to mind as we stand on the threshold of the season of Advent and all that it ushers into our lives and world. In the next few weeks, we will celebrate at Holy Comforter the dawning of a new Church year with the First Sunday of Advent and multiple Christian formation and education opportunities. We will once again hear the bagpipe-shrill voice of John the Baptist calling us to new lives; and we will listen as Mary sings her assent to God's mysterious, marvelous plan for her and for all the world. We will give of our time and energy and financial resources in order to bring Christmas joy into the lives of people at Connections for the Homeless and Good News Partners and Holy Family Ministries. We will glory in the shimmering music and poignant scripture passages offered at Lessons and Carols, and prepare ourselves for the Coming One through participation in one of the three divergent and beautiful services on Christmas Eve or the gentle, moving liturgy on Christmas Day. And all this on top of our regular daily Eucharists and Men's Bible Study and Shawl Ministry and Sunday Evening Prayer and countless other moments of grace and community.

In other words, to paraphrase Will Rogers, if we can't find something to move our souls during December, we're not trying.

During this holy and pregnant season, listen for God's movement in your life. Listen with your heart and see with your soul the new possibilities God is opening to all of us. Get ready for the One who is to come. Watch. Wait. Yearn. Expect. Come. Let God move your soul. And then-on that Day-rejoice.

Advent and Christmas Schedule

Sunday, December 9 ~ Advent Lessons & Carols at 5:00 p.m. A special Liturgy with readings and hymns of the Season, featuring the Adult and Youth Choirs

Saturday, December 22
~ Christmas Pageant rehearsal; 10:00 a.m.

Sunday, December 23
~Christmas Sing-Along at 10:00 a.m. An annual tradition for the entire parish; in the Great Hall.

Monday, December 24
~ Christmas Eve Liturgies
Children's Christmas Pageant & Eucharist 4:00 p.m.
Choral Eucharist at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. 

Tuesday, December 25
~ Christmas Day
Sung Holy Eucharist at 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, December 26
~ Offices closed: Eucharists celebrated at 9:00 a.m.

Sunday, December 30
~ First Sunday after Christmas Holy Eucharists at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.

Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1
 ~
Offices closed; Eucharists celebrated at 9:00 a.m.

All Things Bright and Beautiful Registration

Applications for the 2013 - 2014 school year will be available online and will be emailed to currently enrolled families in the school. Anyone interested in touring the school should contact Mary Johnson at
mrjohnson@holycomforter.org.

Registration for 2013 - 2014 requires a completed application and one-time non-refundable application fee of $100. Applications may be mailed or dropped off at the All Things Bright and Beautiful office up to January 14, 2013, at which time the application phase will be closed. We will then begin building classes from the applications received. Every effort will be made to place each child in the first choice indicated.

Save The Dates:

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15
RITE 13 (Junior High) and J2A (Senior High):
Good News Christmas Store Service Project. 1:30pm training;
2 - 4pm work shift. Email Jill at jcklusendorf@holycomforter.org to sign up! Bus trip!

FRIDAY, JANUARY 18th
Rite 13 (Junior High) Church Lock-In

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10th
Rite 13 (Junior High) Man/Womanhood Ceremony; 9AM Service

End Of Year Giving Reminder:

For current year tax purposes, all 2012 giving must be received by the Church Office no later than the morning of Friday, December 28. Should you have any questions, please contact Jeff Wiszowaty at 847/251-6120 ext. 114 or at jawiszowaty@holycomforter.org.

Greetings, Church Of The Holy Comforter!

from Charlotte Long, Youth Ministry Coordinator

Having received the educational blessings of John Dewey curriculum at the University of Chicago Laboratory High School, Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf Schools, and finally the individualized, mentor-based Sarah Lawrence system, I feel strongly that I am prepared to assist the already stellar staff in educating your brave and bright Children of God.
Read more here...

Seasonal Sounds

by Derek E. Nickels, DMA, Director of Music

There isn't much free time for many of us between Thanksgiving and New Year's that could be described as "calm and serene," but there are traditions that all of us hold dear that do have a sense of serenity to them. One tradition of preparation is our Annual Lessons and Carols Service.
Read more here... 

Follow Your Magis

by Jill Klusendorf, Director of Community Life

Earlier this month, one of my daughter's former classmates remarked that it was the six month anniversary of their graduation from Georgetown. Naturally, it sent me down memory lane, where for four years the Hilltop was the best home a mother could ask for to embrace, educate and let loose onto the world her first born and only daughter.
Read more here...

As We Receive, So Shall We Give

As we enter December, the Vestry is in the process of creating a budget for 2013 for our parish ministries, programs, and outreach.  As of this writing, slightly over half of the households in the parish have made a commitment to support our common life.  If you have not done so yet, please send in or bring by a pledge form soon so that the Vestry can continue to envision and work toward our goals and hopes for 2013.

Our particular plans for 2013 are to continue to enhance our ministry in all areas, but especially among younger families. We hope to be able to make Pastor Heath full time; to support the wonderful initial efforts of Mr. Bill Gordon and the youth and children's choirs; and to strengthen and expand, under the guidance of Charlotte Long, our ministry with and among our teenagers. Such growth requires financial support, and represents an investment now in the spiritual future of Holy Comforter.

Thank you, in advance, for your thoughtful consideration and prayerful generosity.

Three Formation Options in December!

On three Sunday mornings in December-the 2nd, 9th, and 16th-there will be three options for formation and growth during the education hour between the 9:00 and 11:15 Eucharists:

Fr. Parkin will be leading discussions of the provocative book, The Price of Privilege, by Madeline Levine in the library.

Fr. Hardman will be providing reflections on Biblical texts titled "The End of Time; the Beginning of Time," focusing on the lessons for Advent; these sessions will take place in the 2nd floor classrooms directly above the office entrance.

Pastor Howe and others, including some of the church school classes, will be leading a hands-on outreach activity in the Great Hall, making blankets to be included in our upcoming Jesse Tree offerings and gifts. 

Coffee and snacks will be available in all three locations.  Join in one of these stimulating choices during the season of Advent!

Sunday, December 30: Schedule Change

On the First Sunday of Christmas, December 30, we will celebrate the Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. only.  Please make a note of this change in time for the services.

Christmas Flowers

For centuries, people of faith have decorated their local parish churches for holiday seasons with festive flowers and greens. If you would like to help beautify Holy Comforter for Christmas this year through donations supporting Christmas greens and flowers, please send a check to the church, payable to the parish, with a note in the memo section for "Christmas flowers." Please indicate in a note if you are giving the flowers in memory or honor of someone. We need to receive donations by Wednesday, December 19, in order to get dedications in the Christmas bulletins.

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.

Your Jesse Tree donations are gifts of hope and joy for families supported by Connections for the Homeless in Evanston and students at Holy Family School in Chicago.  Please be sure to return your unwrapped and tagged gift to the parlor by December 12. Thank you for your kind generosity during this blessed holiday season.

Good News Partners Christmas Store

Good News Partners, a ministry long supported by our Outreach Ministry, is holding its first-ever Christmas Store on Saturday December 15, from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, at the Gale Academy. We are looking for volunteers.
Read more here...

Welcome to Charlotte Long

It is with great joy that we welcome Charlotte Long as our new Youth Ministry Coordinator. Charlotte is a native of Chicago, and grew up at Church of Our Saviour on Fullerton before attending Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY.
Read more here...

A "Thin Places" Pilgrimage

with Fr. Chris Hardman

With the help of Wyn Gilbert, I have put together a 10 day tour that will go from northern Wales across England to Lindisfarne, north to Edinburgh, and then back west to Iona. This "thin places pilgrimage" would take place this summer either in late June or early July.

This would not be a vacation so much as a pilgrimage. We would have daily prayers, communion when possible, and time to pray at these sites. We would learn about the lives of the Celtic Saints-Columba, Aidan, Cuthbert, Hilda, and Cedd. 
Read more here...

Advent Blessings

by Pastor Heath Howe

"Everything looks different now. Why?" I was asked this question recently by a four-year-old. She explained that she had noticed how decorations are displayed not only at home but all over town. She ended, "We get ready for Christmas this way." How true.

Preparing for the birth of Jesus is no different than preparing for the birth of any child or even the birth of any new beginning. It takes time. When a new baby is on the way we prepare by bringing new items, such as cribs, bottles, and strollers into our homes.
Read more here...

The Best Birthday Ever

by Mary Johnson, Children's Ministries

Working in the world of children, birthdays are a very big deal. When we celebrate them in All Things Bright and Beautiful or in Children's Chapel on Sundays, the birthday boy or girl is so thrilled to be the recipient of the greetings and the center of attention. So, when we talk about Christmas as Jesus' birthday, I see the same animated enthusiasm in the children.
Read more here...