THE DOVE December 2014


by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin, Rector 

It seemed too much to ask
of one small virgin
that she should stake shame
against the will of God.
All she had to hold to
were those soft, inward
and the remembered sting
of a brief junction- spirit
with flesh.
who would think it
more than a dream wish?
an implausible, laughable

And it seems much
too much to ask me
to be part of the
different thing-
God's shocking, unorthodox,
unheard of Thing
to further heaven's hopes
and summon God's glory.

                       Lucy Shaw (bn. 1928)

The season of Advent exists, in part, to remind us that we are called, as the poet puts it, to "further heaven's hopes and summon God's glory." So, no long reflection or laborious pondering from me this month. Simply some simple questions: In this time of expectation and anticipation, of preparation and leaning into the holy reign of God, for what are we waiting this Advent? How, as this season unfolds and gives birth to Christmas joy, are we-individually and communally-furthering heaven's hopes and summoning, indeed reflecting, God's glory? How will the Child, who even now is growing in Mary's womb and in our hearts, be born anew in us this December? What new beginning, new growth, new life do we hope to see take place in us that will allow us, come Christmas Day, to reflect more fully God's glory?

Advent is a lamentably brief season, overfilled with frenzy and feverish activity. Take time to breathe, to listen, to pause, to prepare, to be still, and always to seek ways in which to be part of God's "shocking, unorthodox, unheard of Thing:" the coming of the Holy One among us.

Christmas Giving Ideas

by Marc Franson, Canvass Chairman

We all know that Christmas is the time of giving. Don't forget about Holy Comforter in your giving plans! Here are some reminders and helpful hints to consider for your gift giving. Read more here...

Adult Forum in December

by Fr. Chris Hardman

Advent is a time of patient waiting. It is a time for preparing our hearts so that God might be born in us once again. Our Adult Forum this December will reflect that focus. More and schedule here...

The Holy Family Within Your Home

by Pastor Heath Howe

As we move into our Christian new year and make the journey of Advent to the holy city of Bethlehem, it is fitting for us to enter into the womb of the Holy Family, the place, the matrix where it all began. Read more here...

Lessons & Carols

Christmas Eve Choral Prelude

by Derek E. Nickels, DMA

There isn't a whole lot of free time that many of us have 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. Read more here...

Old Friends

by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's Ministries & ATB&B

When I was talking to my sister Martha about the Kenny Rogers concert she attended recently, she said one of her favorite songs that he performed was You Can't Make Old Friends. And I began to reflect on the old friends in my life. Read more here...

In the Vineyard

Welcome to the world, Elin Louise Edwards! Elin (whose name is pronounced in the Swedish fashion: "Ee-lin") is the daughter of Lauren and Trent Edwards, the sister of Eve, and the granddaughter of Donna and Scott Petersen. She was born on November 12, and weighed in at a robust 8 pounds, 9 ounces. Congratulations to the entire family, and may God bless Elin in the weeks, months, and years to come!

In sadder news, our deepest condolences to Harriet Young on the death last week of her sister, the Rev. Barbara Bloxsom, at the age of 73. Barbara was a semi-retired Episcopal priest assisting at St. David's Church, Topeka, KS, and her funeral was held there on Saturday, November 15. Mother Barbara was also Sid Condit's first cousin, and a native of the North Shore. May she rest in peace, and rise in glory.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Ann and Bill Pearce on the death of Ann's brother, Rusty Arnold. Rusty died on Sunday, November 9 in Phoenix. The Pearces were able to get to Arizona in time to be with him before his death. May God embrace Rusty with unceasing peace and joy, and envelop his family with comfort and strength; and may light perpetual shine upon him.

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 also indicate in a note if you are giving the flowers in memory or honor of someone. We need to receive donations by Thursday, December 18, in order to get dedications in the Christmas bulletins.

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. 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 be as generous as possible. 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 unwrapped and tagged gift to the parlor by December 14.

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

Advent and Christmas Schedule

Sunday, December 7: 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 21: Christmas Sing-Along at 10:00 a.m. An annual tradition for the entire parish in the Great Hall.

Monday, December 22: Christmas Pageant rehearsal at 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, 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.)

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

Friday, December 26: Offices closed; Eucharist celebrated at 9:00 a.m.

Sunday, December 28: First Sunday after Christmas
Holy Eucharists at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, December 31 through Friday, January 2:
Offices closed; Eucharists celebrated at 9:00 a.m. each day

Christmas Cocoa and Carols

Sunday, December 21

By now, surely all are aware of one of our most festive and joyous celebrations at Holy Comforter: the annual Christmas Carol sing-a-long on the 4th Sunday of Advent during the formation hour. On December 21, gather with friends and family in the Great Hall for a lively, spirited, even raucous time, and raise your voice in merriment and revelry!

Schedule Changes

Sunday, December 28

On the First Sunday of Christmas, December 28, 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.

Thursday, January 1

The Feast of the Holy Name

On New Year's Day, the Eucharist will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m. rather than at the normal Thursday time of 7:00 a.m. January 1 is also the Feast of the Holy Name, when the week-old Jesus was named in keeping with Jewish tradition and custom. Please consider beginning 2015 in prayer and praise with your brothers and sisters in Christ as we see the new year in with a gentle, healing liturgy at 9:00.

The Month of Plenty!

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministries

With Advent upon us, everyone's favorite traditions are here. It's easy to feel good and cozy about our families and friends. But I love the timing of these service projects for our youth. They are right before the jolly part of the holidays. Our kids are bringing a sense of responsibility and seriousness into the season. Read more here...

Vestry Nominees Welcome

The Vestry is the governing Board of Church of the Holy Comforter. It comprises nine members of the parish, each elected to serve a three year term, as well as the Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, Chancellor, and Clerk. Next year, as happens every year, we will hold a Vestry election as part of the Annual Parish Meeting in January, and are seeking nominations for the one position that will be opening, namely that of Outreach Mission. Vestry candidates should be regular in attendance at the worship of the church; financial supporters of the parish's ministry and mission; committed to the work of Holy Comforter; interested in devoting time and energy to one or more particular areas of our common life; able to commit to the regular Vestry meetings on the second Saturday morning of most months; and grounded in prayer and a desire to serve Christ through serving others. Read more here...