THE DOVE December 2013

Welcome to the Rev. Sandy Rex

by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin

Over the last few months, you may have noticed a friendly, smiling gentleman in clerical collar at one or another of our liturgies. Now you have a name to go with the face, if you haven't met him: the Rev. Sandy Rex! Sandy, a native of Florida and graduate of Virginia Military Institute, has served as a deacon in the Diocese of Chicago since his ordination in February of 2009, previously offering his ministry at St. James Cathedral and Church of Our Saviour on Fullerton in Lincoln Park. He is married to Susan, and is the father of four adult children. Professionally, Sandy is the President and Founder of RMI Midwest.  RMI Midwest is located in downtown Wilmette, and the Rex family lives in Evanston. Read more here...

Pledge Update

Each Sunday we close our worship together with these words: "Eternal God, Heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ." Note the adjective: "living" members, with all the passion, fear, joy, laughter, pride, humiliation, exhilaration, embarrassment, goofiness, friendship, contentment, sadness, musicality, frustration, exhaustion, loss, and love that being alive entails.  God graciously accepts us as we are, wherever we are in the tumult, and knits us together to be stronger, more creative, and more resilient than we could ever be on our own.  We are not passive receptacles of God's wisdom. We are called to be living members of God's body through Holy Comforter.

We are the body of Christ doing his work in the community and in the world.  Stated simply, your financial support makes THE difference in how much we can reach out to others.

If you have not yet made a pledge in support of the ministries and mission of Holy Comforter for 2014, please do so as soon as possible, for time is running out for the Vestry to be able to discern what resources will be available for our needs and hopes.  Please prayerfully consider the blessings that God has given you and pledge as generously as you can.  If you have misplaced your pledge form, additional copies can be found in the parlor;  or call Jeff Wiszowaty at 847/251-6120, ext. 114, or contact him at jawiszowaty@holycomforter.org.

Adult Forum in December

December 1: Advent Event

December 8: Advent as Anticipation: Building Life Skills with our Children and Grandchildren, with Dr. Melissa Perrin.  

December 15: Advent as Anticipation: Building Life Skills with our Children and Grandchildren, with Dr. Melissa Perrin.  

December 22: Annual Christmas Sing-A-Long

December 29: No Adult Forum

We have a great line-up for December with plenty of opportunity for "caring conversations." The adult forum on "listening" directed by two of our Stephen Leaders on Nov. 21st, pointed out once again that we all enjoy time to talk with one another. Our Advent Event will be an opportunity to do just that. We will learn about the many Anglican "rituals and traditions" of Advent and Christmas and we will have an opportunity to share our traditions with others through some intergenerational caring conversations.

Then, on the 8th and 15th, Dr. Melissa Perrin will conduct a two part series entitled: Advent as Anticipation: Building Life Skills with our Children and Grandchildren. If that is not an intriguing title I don't know what is. Dr. Perrin brings her gift of knowledge and enthusiasm to a very important and difficult subject-raising our children.

On the 22nd we will sing Christmas hymns together! As you may know by now, the Episcopal Church does not sing Christmas hymns in church services during Advent. We wait until Christmas Eve. But, as a concession to those who love those hymns and songs and want to sing them before Christmas, we hold this annual "sing-a-long" so you will not go completely "crazy."

It is going to be a great Advent and Christmas Season. Please join us.

CHC Men's Fellowship

For four Friday mornings from late October to the middle of November, a group of men in the parish had a great time gathering for a terrific breakfast and lively presentations and discussions, coordinated by different leaders.  This new iteration of the Men's Fellowship got off to a great start. Read more here...

Vestry Nominees Welcome

The Vestry is the governing Board of Church of the Holy Comforter.  Next year, as happens every year, we will elect new members of the Vestry at the Annual Parish Meeting in January, and are seeking nominations for those positions. Read more here...

The Best Gifts

by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's Ministries

When I was 10 years old, there was the most spectacular red bike for me on Christmas morning. That's the first time I remember being really "wowed" by a gift. When you're a child, there are many opportunities for the "wow" factor. As an adult, it's the grown-up gifts that become more difficult with each passing year. Read more here...

And So, It Begins

by Jill Klusendorf, Director of Community Life

In our family, one of the ways we stay connected is to have family movie nights. Yes, there may be an infamous crab ball involved: it's one of our things. While we put up the tree and deck the halls, we watch no less than ten hours of well-curated Christmas programming together. Read more here...

Sunday, December 29: Schedule Change

On the First Sunday of Christmas, December 29, we will celebrate the Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. only.  Please make a note of this change in times for the later services. There will be no 5:00 p.m. Eucharist that day.

Advent and Christmas Schedule

Sunday, December 8
Advent Lessons & Carols at 5:00 p.m.
A special Liturgy with readings and hymns of the Season, featuring the Adult Choir and the Youth Choir

Sunday, December 22
Christmas Sing-Along at 10:00 a.m.
An annual tradition for the entire parish; in the Great Hall.

Monday, December 23
Christmas Pageant rehearsal; 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 24
Christmas Eve Liturgies
Children's Christmas Pageant and Eucharist at 4:00 p.m.
Choral Eucharist at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., with prelude music beginning 30 minutes before each liturgy (7:30 and 10:30 p.m.)

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

Thursday, December 26 
Offices closed; Eucharist celebrated at 7:00 a.m.

Sunday, December 29
First Sunday after Christmas
Holy Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. (no 5:00 p.m. Eucharist)

Tuesday, December 31 - Thursday, January 2 
Offices closed; Eucharist celebrated at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 7:00 a.m. on Thursday

Christmas Offerings and Outreach

During the Christmas season, we ask our parish households to contribute to the open plate offering and the special Christmas collection. In the absence of Housewalk, our outreach budget is entirely funded at present by the seasonal offerings at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please remember that every dollar you contribute helps provide grants to agencies requesting our support, and ponder adding to your offering whatever you might have spent on Housewalk in previous years. Your gift will make a difference for these organizations, and help us to sustain the level of giving we have attained in the past.

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 gift to the parlor by December 12. Thank you for your kind generosity during this blessed holiday season.

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 18, in order to get dedications in the Christmas bulletins.

Lessons and Carols

by Derek E. Nickels, DMA , Music Director

One of the Rituals and Traditions of our journey of faith is our Annual Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent, which will be on Sunday, December 8th at 5:00 p.m.  This service, with its readings from Genesis, Isaiah, Luke, Matthew, and Mark, illuminates the proclamation of the Christ's birth and helps set the tone of the short season of Advent and joyous season of Christmas.  Each of the readings will be followed by music by Caccini, Cleobury, Guest, Manz, Ord, Palestrina, Phillips and hymns of the Advent Season.  Like last year, our Youth Choir will join the Adult Choir in this beautiful service of music and readings.
Read more here...

The Gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love

by Pastor Heath Howe, Family Ministries

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. We consider these themes every year during Advent. If you think about it, God giving us these gifts is pretty brave and, well, trusting. Each of them is incredibly powerful. Let's consider them one at a time.
Read more here...

Our New Steinway Piano

Holy Comforter has been deeply blessed by the generosity of long-time parishioners Lloyd and Anne Williams, for they recently donated their 1926 model M Steinway studio grand piano to the parish!
Read more here...

Remember The Cows

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministry Coordinator

Pastor Heath and I were chatting about the general fuzzy feeling of Advent; how the waiting is our favorite time of year; how the tradition of Advent and waiting for Jesus to be born make us feel. The only quirk of the season is that often this quiet, pious waiting can turn a little sleepy. When Jesus and the prophets call us to be READY. Read more here...