I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:17-19
In the first century Jesus of Nazareth inspired a movement. A community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. For us, Advent is its very own season in the Church Year, not a count-down to Christmas. Advent is a subversive and counter-cultural conspiracy by the followers of Jesus to focus on the Reign of God/Kingdom of Heaven, because, we are, in fact, members of the Jesus Movement. Here, as its citizens, we engage ever more deeply in Christ’s mission of peace, justice, and the integrity of creation. Advent also elevates our spiritual understanding of the life of Christ, from Bethlehem to Calvary and beyond. Extending Advent gives the primary focus of the season a chance before we are all overcome by the Mall music. The second reason for an expanded season has to do with setting before us in our worship, rooted in Scripture, an alternative and more authentic and positive vision of the “end times” or the “reign of God” than those otherwise offered in fundamentalist versions. We at Church of the Holy Spirit quite rightly plumb the depths and riches of grace, mercy, justice, and wisdom during this season of mystery. Seven-week Advent
Christmas flower donations are due by December 8
Christmas flower envelopes for your donations towards Christmas flowers and greens for the “greening” of the church on December 15th will be available beginning November 17th on the table in the Narthex. Donations are due by December 8th to ensure that the names of the people for whom the donation is being made are included in the Christmas bulletin. To submit your donation:
On the envelope include your name and the name(s) for whom the donation is being made and whether it is a memorial or in thanksgiving. Please write clearly. Put your donation ($35 is suggested) in the envelope and place it in the collection plate on any Sunday, in the Altar Guild mailbox (in the hallway by the lower entrance) or return it to the office.
On Sunday, December 22, at 4 pm, we will be participating in an Advent Evensong during which we will present a few selections from the Bach Christmas Oratorio.
The vocal selections will be movement 1 (page 1-10 in the attached) and movement 9 (pages 23-24).
We will be holding choir rehearsals on Thursdays from Nov 14 through Dec 19 (skipping Nov 28, since that’s Thanksgiving), from 7-8:30 pm so we call all feel solid on our parts and comfortable singing in German.
That’s 5 rehearsals at CHS on Thursdays.
The day of the event – Sunday, December 22 -- we’ll meet at 3 pm for a final run through the music and Evensong begins at 4 pm. There is discussion of wassail and other festive goodies after Evensong. Details to follow.
If you can join us for the event and the Thursday rehearsals, use the attached sign-up sheet to let us know who will be singing. https://forms.gle/19B1TWVv6NZMGKcr8
Share this invite with other talented singers you know who may want to join, and ask them to email me with their contact info. We especially need more male voices!
Dear Friends, Oct 24, Anno Domini 2019
Why do you come to CHS?
(And if you haven’t been in a while, let me give you a good reason to return home)
My business consultant brother-in-law has been pushing me to draft what he calls an “Initial Benefit Statement.” Why should people come to Holy Spirit? Do those who come here know why? If someone asked why you go, what would you say? If you wanted to ask someone to visit us, what is the reason you offer them? Answers range from: I feel good about the community; it’s good for my kids to get religious training; I want to help people; I believe in God and need a place to worship; I like great music. All of the above. Other. Fill in the blank. I’ve been wrapping my little head around the question for a few months now and decided you all have the answer, not me. Here’s what happened.
I had reason to skim through the websites archives of Trumpeter Newsletters to send info to a colleague wanting to try our House Blessing marathon. You might want to do the same as a spiritual exercise. Just go on the website and find the Trumpeter archives. Read through any random few. https://www.churchholyspirit.org/trumpeter-archive.html
OMG!! Look at what you’ll find: The people here love, outright love! No fooling around love. Seriously and deeply love. Courageously and bravely love. Foolishly and recklessly love. Thoughtfully and carefully love. You love people you don’t know. You love people you will never meet. You will love people who don’t care. Heck, you love people you don’t even like !!!!
All of that is called Grace. Grace is that which provokes me to do the things I could not or would not do on my own. Grace is called Jesus.
Let me humbly answer the question: People come to CHS to find grace and offer grace in return. People come to find Jesus and offer Jesus in return. And our lives are never the same ever again.
We live in graceless times. You want more Grace? You want to share it? You want to combine with others in doing it together? Maybe invite yourself back if you’ve been away. If you like coming here maybe invite another to join you, cause after all, that invitation is simply one hungry person telling another hungry person where the food is. People are hungry. They will eat the worst things. Why not offer the better food? Why not offer grace? People who live in graceless times need to know where grace can be found.
Initial Benefit Statement: Why do you go to CHS?
I go to CHS to find grace and offer grace in return,
and my life will be changed forever.
That’s really all that matters.
We Three Kings - Area House Blessings and Parties
This year we are blessing all homes in groups of 12 across the Season of Epiphany in January and February. We will bless homes in the early evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then gather all together at one of the homes in that area for a conversation about our hopes for the church and a light social to conclude. We have not yet designated areas with dates, but just so you know, the priest will be out and about on 11 nights this coming winter: 1/7, 1/9, 1/14, 1/21, 1/23,/1/28, 2/4, 2/6, 2/11, 2/13, 2/18.
As in years past, we’ll be chalking the door and sprinkling clean the home with holy water, adding the aroma of frankincense and lighting candles in each home. It’s a simple ceremony but moving and meaningful. The gatherings which follow each area blessing will go from about 8 to 9 pm to allow for a short conversation, and a Q & A with a seasonal toast and cheer to warm our hearts. All members of the household are invited to the area gatherings.
"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots” Isaiah 11:1.
Jesse was King David’s father. The image of a branch growing out of the roots of Jesse points to a new king in David’s line. We know that this is fulfilled in Jesus, the King of Kings, who is a descendant of Jesse.
During the Advent season, a symbolic Branch of Jesse will be decorating our Narthex. The Branch is a representation that connects God’s faithfulness through the Old Testament to the newness in the form of the birth of Jesus. Just as God gave us the gift of life through Jesus Christ, we will share this hope with others in our community through the giving of Christmas gifts.
The Giving Branch will hold approximately 125 tags with gift requests for our friends at Freedom House (a half-way house for men) and their Family Afterward program, Good News Home (a drug/alcohol abuse treatment center for women), Anderson House (a half-way house for women), Cristo Rey, and Binnacle House (a group home for boys ages 13-18). The tags will be available starting on Sunday, November 17.