All Souls’ Episcopal Church
24-25 December 2017
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Deacon Charles, the Wardens and the Vestry, join together in wishing each one of you, your families and friends, a very happy Christmas and a season full of good things. “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. . . And heaven and nature sing.”
As we come to the Feast there is much to be thankful for: the hard-boiled eggs gifted last Sunday to Feed My Sheep for feeding the homeless; the Angel Tree loaded with toys, including an enormous box donated by our neighbors at Walgreens, distributed this past week to children whose families are impacted by HIV/AIDS; silver cleaned and polished to reflect the glory of God; the church decorated with flowers and greens to reflect the beauty and wonder of God’s creation, and as a reminder that in our earthly celebration we are joined by those in heaven, in whose memory you have given so generously, adding color and a sweet perfume to our offering of worship to the Babe of Bethlehem; Gregory and the Choir endlessly rehearsing to give voice to our praise in music and song. All of this and so much more, for which we simply say “thank you!”
Message from the Presiding Bishop
In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul says, If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new is come.
At a point in that passage, St. Paul says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself,” and he also says at another point in the same passage, “and we have been given the ministry of reconciliation.”
Have you ever gone to the movies or read a story or a novel, and the novel starts with the end, so you know where the story ends, but then the rest of the story or the novel is actually the story behind the story. We know about Christmas. We know about Mary. We know about Joseph. We know about the angels singing Gloria in excelsis deo. We know from our childhood the animals in the stable. We know of the magi who come from afar, arriving around Epiphany, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We know of the angels singing in the heavens, and the star that shone above them. Therein is the story.
But the story behind the story is what St. Paul was talking about. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and Jesus has now given us that same ministry of reconciliation. God was reconciling the world to himself by becoming one of us. The divine became human. God entered history. Eternity became part of time. God was reconciling the world to himself by actually living it himself. In Jesus, God came among us to show us the way, to be reconciled with the God who has created us all and everything that is. And God has likewise come in the person of Jesus, to show us how to be reconciled with each other, as children of the one God who is the Creator of us all. That’s the story behind Christmas.
God is showing us the Way to become God’s children, and as God’s children, brothers and sisters of each other. God is showing us in Jesus how to become God’s family and how to change, and build, and make a world where everybody is a part of that family. Where children don’t go to bed hungry. Where no one has to be lonely. Where justice is real for all and where love is the ultimate law.
Know there is a story behind the story, and it’s a story worth singing about, and giving thanks for, and then living.
One of my favorite writers, the late Howard Thurman, composed a poem many years ago about Christmas, and he says it probably better than I:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
Then the work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace to others,
And alas, to make music in the heart.
The story behind the story is that God so loved the world, and so loves you, and so loves me.
Have a blessed Christmas, a wonderful New Year, and go out and make music in the heart of the world.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Miami Heat invite you to Faith & Family Night on Thursday, January 25th at 7.30pm, when they play the Sacramento Kings. For more details ask Maria Mena. Five people are already going but 5 more are needed to qualify for the group rate.
Tickets must be paid for by January 6th.
Rector Search Corner
We ask that you hold each member in your prayers as they discern suitable candidates to become the next rector of All Souls’:
Sheila Collins and Freddy Tovar (Co-Chairs), Aracelis Mullings (Vestry), Kathi Armbrister, Laura Keith, Rafael Padilla, Glen Velker and Jim Carlton (Chaplin).
Gracious and loving God, prosper with your blessing the mission of All Souls’ Episcopal Church. Deepen, we pray, our love for Christ Jesus and for one another. As we lift the members of the Search Committee to you, we ask that your guidance and light may be upon them. Fill them with wisdom, and grant them courage and boldness as together they discern your will for a new priest and pastor for this congregation. Surround them with your unconditional and abiding love and illumine them with the glorious light of your salvation. We ask these things in the holy and sacred name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Given that next Sunday will be the fifth in the month, members of the Vestry are asked to kindly provide for our hospitality next week. Please check with Joyce Foreman this morning and let her know what you are able to bring to the table.
Announcements, news and other items for inclusion in this weekly insert should be sent, no later than Thursday of each week, to the Parish Office: email@example.com
Sunday 24th : Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sung Eucharist 10.30am
(no service at 8.00am)
Sunday 24th : Christmas Eve
Carols for Congregation & Choir 10.30pm
Midnight Mass of the Nativity 11.00pm
Monday 25th : Christmas Day
Holy Eucharist 10.30am
The Parish Office will be closed throughout next week and will re-open on Tuesday, 2nd January.
Centering Prayer, 10.30am
Sunday 31st : First Sunday after Christmas
Holy Eucharist 8.00am
Sung Eucharist 10.30am
AA Meeting, Conference Room, 7.00pm
you have set before us the great hope that your
kingdom shall come on earth,
and have taught us to pray for its coming;
give us grace to discern the signs of its dawning,
and to work for the perfect day
when your will shall be done on earth
as it is in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– Percy Dearmer (1867-1936)
We Hold in Prayer:
The peace of the world.
Our military men and women serving at home and overseas.
Veterans and their families.
Wounded warriors and the work of the VA.
The Wardens, Vestry Members and Deacon Charles.
The work of the Search Committee.
The strengthening of our congregational life in this time of transition.
The work of recovery and restoration after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate.
Relief and aid agencies at work throughout the region, especially in the Keys and Puerto Rico.
Episcopal Relief and Development
Developing our vision for ministry and mission.
Those living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Those living with addiction & those in recovery.
The AA Meeting at All Souls’.
Bishop Peter and Kate Eaton.
The Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry.
Refugees and asylum seekers.
Our visitors today and new members.
Our Companion Dioceses: Bishop Laish Boyd and the clergy and people of the Diocese of the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands; Bishop Julio Holguin and the clergy and people of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic; Bishop Todd McGregor and the clergy and people of the
Diocese of Toliara; Bishop Jean Zache Duracin and the clergy and people of the Diocese of Haiti.
Congregation members living in Aventura, North Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach.
Those celebrating birthdays & anniversaries.
Mount Sinai Medical Center: staff and patients.
Hospital Chaplains – Fr. David Collins and Deacon Charles
For Healing: Carolyn Gentry, Pastor Hans, Bronwen, Danielle Gladd, Robert, Melania, Manjoi Siu, Darryl Ellis, Linda Fennel, Nellie Mahfood, Sheila Foster, Elaine Francis, Lydia Laygo, Jeff, Robert Horton, Stephanie, Ken, Tim, Gary, Juliet, and Residents of Bay Oaks Home.
We pray for the soul of Helen Healy.
The dying and those who watch with them.
Those who mourn for their lost and dead.
The Departed: David Harriman, Helen Healy, Judge Hoeveler, may they rest in peace.
Almighty God, you have given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, page 820