A Note from the Rector
Dear St. Paul’s,
Prolonged prayers about God’s presence? Mindful meditation on the miracle of incarnation? Reverent reflection on the “reason for the season”? If you were to use these phrases in conversation to describe the way you expect to spend the bulk of this Christmas season, the reply from your friends and neighbors might be some version of the title of one of my favorite heartbreak songs: “Well, that makes one of us.”
Most of us would agree that prayer and reflection are worthy of more time and attention than we regularly devote to them, but the irony of our chronic laments about the busyness of Christmas lies in the Christmas story itself: No one in the story had time for this to happen. The shepherds’ positions didn’t come with paid holidays or flex time. The innkeepers were decidedly unprepared for the Word to become flesh in the stable out back. And Joseph and Mary themselves were in the midst of a mandatory trip away from home at the most inconvenient of times. No one had cleared their calendar. Fortunately, God wasn’t waiting for a convenient time.
Likewise today, God’s appearance in our busy lives, God’s action in our tempestuous communities, and God’s relentless love in this chaotic world don’t wait for a convenient time. God breaks in impatiently, where the Word made flesh – the light that the darkness does not overcome – is urgently needed. For that, take a moment to notice, rejoice, and give thanks. Merry Christmas!
– Will
The Rev. William Peyton
This Sunday at St. Paul's
Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve
(Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 / Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 / Luke 1:26-38)
8 a.m. – Holy Eucharist in the Chapel (quiet, traditional)
9:30 a.m. - noon –Nursery Care: 0-4 year olds (Sunday school wing)
10 a.m. – Holy Eucharist with the Chancel Choir (festive, intergenerational)
11:15 a.m. – Coffee Hour (parish hall)
11:15 a.m. – Greening of the Church
5:30 p.m. – Child-friendly service and Holy Eucharist: this service begins with caroling and organ music at 5 p.m.
11 p.m. – Festival celebration of the Holy Eucharist: this candlelight service begins with caroling and organ music at 10:30 p.m.
Coming Up at St. Paul's
Thursday, December 21, 5:30 p.m. – Liturgy for the Longest Night
Monday, December 25, 10 a.m. – Christmas Day Holy Eucharist
[Note: No Tuesday 12:15 p.m. service on December 26.]
[Note: No Wednesday Evening Prayer on December 27 or January 3.]
[Note: No Thursday morning bible study on December 28.]
Thursday, December 28, 10:30 a.m. – Memorial service for Lee Webb
Thursday, December 28, 2 p.m. – Memorial service for Alice MacInnis
Sunday, December 31 – First Sunday after Christmas
8 a.m.10 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Advent at St. Paul's
Liturgy for the Longest Night: Tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. – This service is especially for those who may find Christmas a difficult time of year. Many people suffer in silence during the holiday season, grieving for loved ones who have died, struggling with addictions and mental illness, the end of relationships, a job loss, or simply a profound sense of loneliness. The service will be held on the winter solstice, the “longest night” of the year as we light candles against the encroaching darkness. The tone will be contemplative and quietly hopeful. All are welcome to be part of this late Advent service of prayer, quiet music, and the spoken word. Come for yourself and for others who will benefit from your prayers and presence as we anticipate the in-breaking of the Light of the World.
Greening of the Church – Please join the Flower Guild this Sunday, December 24, following the 10 a.m. service for the Greening of the Church for Christmas. All are welcome, no experience necessary. If you have any evergreens (holly, magnolia, boxwood, spruce, fir, etc.) to donate to the effort, please bring branches to the back of the parish hall by December 22.
Christmas and Epiphany at St. Paul's
Sunday, December 24 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
8 a.m. and 10 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
5:30 p.m. – Child-friendly service and Holy Eucharist. This service begins with caroling and organ music at 5 p.m.
11 p.m. – Festival celebration of the Holy Eucharist. This candlelight service begins with caroling and organ music at 10:30 p.m.
Monday, December 25 – Christmas Day
10 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 31 – First Sunday after Christmas
8 a.m.10 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Saturday, January 6 – Feast of the Epiphany
10 a.m. – Epiphany service in the chapel
Sunday, January 7 – First Sunday after the Epiphany: Baptism of our Lord
8 a.m.10 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
3 p.m. – Yule Log Hunt (details below)
St. Paul's News and Notes
Yule Log Hunt – Highland (previously known as Ash Lawn), the 500 acre farm owned by President James Monroe, will be the site for the Epiphany Yule Log Hunt on Sunday, January 7, beginning at 3 p.m.Sponsored by St. Paul’s, the outdoor medieval festivities are part of the ancient Twelfth Night and Epiphany customs. Following the hunt a large bonfire will be lit using dried Christmas trees and greens (please bring your Christmas tree to add to the fire). Cider and Epiphany cake will be served. This ancient Epiphany Feast Day, which recalls the coming of the Wise Men, predates Christmas. Free and open to all.
Pastoral Note – The parish gives thanks for the lives of longtime parishioners Bill Fishback, who died on December 15, and Chester Titus, who died on December 17. A funeral service will be held for Chester at St. Paul's this Friday, December 22, at 10 a.m. A memorial service will be held for Bill at St. Paul's on January 5 at 2 p.m. Please remember Bill and Chester, and their family members and loved ones, in your prayers.
Gifts for Elaine – The Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas has accepted a call to serve as rector of All Saints Episcopal Parish in Hoboken, NJ, and her last Sunday at St. Paul’s will be Sunday, January 7. To show our love and appreciation for Elaine’s ministry among us, and to provide an extra measure of possibility as she takes up her next call, St. Paul’s will collect financial gifts for Elaine between now and January 7. Contributions of any amount should be made payable to St. Paul’s and clearly designated for this purpose. If you would like to make your contribution online, you may do so here.
Parish-wide Celebration for Elaine and Deke, Sunday, January 7 – After the 10 a.m.service on January 7, a festive reception in the parish hall will honor Associate Rector Elaine Thomas on her last Sunday at St. Paul’s, and celebrate the arrival of Music Director and Organist Deke Polifka. Plan to be a part of this momentous day at St. Paul’s.
Stewardship 2018 – To date, more than 194 individuals, couples, and families, have made financial commitments to St. Paul's for 2018, including 23 new pledges and dozens of substantial increases. Large and small gifts from parishioners and friends are a blessing to the whole congregation and to countless others who benefit from our ministries. If you haven't yet made a 2018 commitment, you may do so here, or mail or bring a pledge card to church anytime. Be part of a thriving 2018 at St. Paul's!
Pledge Envelopes – If you requested pledge envelopes, they are available in the parish hall.
End of Year Gifts and Pledges Many parishioners and friends of St. Paul’s fulfill financial pledges or make additional or one-time contributions near the end of the calendar year. All such gifts must be recorded and reported in the year in which they are received. Because December 31 is a Sunday, contributions must be received in church by that day, or postmarked by Saturday, December 30 in order to be recorded in 2017. St. Paul’s offices will be open on Friday, December 29 and closed on Monday, January 1. For help with the transfer of appreciated stocks, please contact Financial Secretary Martha Loach at martha.loach@stpaulsmemorialchurch.org or 434-295-2156.
Wednesday Evening Prayer Hiatus – The regular 5:30 p.m. Wednesday service will not take place tonightDecember 27, or January 3. It will resume on Wednesday, January 10.
Newsletter Vacation – The St. Paul's newsletter will take a brief hiatus for Christmas. Our next newsletter will be published on Thursday, January 4.
Prayers of the Parish
Holding each other's joys, sorrows and concerns before God in prayer is a spiritual practice that characterizes our life together at St. Paul's. In our worship services we pray each other's prayers together. Outside of our time together many parishioners make it part of their daily lives to pray the prayers of the parish community. You are invited to participate in your own way.
Thanks be to God
for the generosity of all who contributed diapers, cereal, and detergent to our community outreach partners, and for Anne Ribble, who helped coordinate our Advent ingatherings.
for all of the children who made the Christmas pageant such a special gift to the parish.
for the ministries of all the parishioners and staff who organize, lead, and beautify our Christmas worship, including the Altar Guild, Flower Guild, Choir, and acolytes.
for the faith and generosity of all who support the life and ministries of St. Paul's, including the more than 194 pledgers who have made financial commitments for 2018.
Your prayers are requested
for St. Paul’s this Christmas season, that our eyes be open and our hearts and minds responsive to the presence of the incarnate God in the parish, in our community, and in the world.
for members and friends of the parish who are sick, sorrowful, or in any kind of trouble, including David Nelson, Karin, Anne, Evelyn, Harry, Betty, Liz, Robert, Dorothy, Ted, Anne, Mary Elizabeth Beck, Ruth, Derek, Elizabeth, Guy & Mary Ann, Brett Blizzard, David, Christine, Bud, Lucia, Lila M., Beverly, Eleanor, the Barbour family, Mary, Sandra Bolton, Ronald, Sophie, Jane, Pierce, Sarah, Richard, Sammie, Doug, Tim, Katherine, Lana, Andre, Jai's father, Libba, Frances, Greg Vongas, Doug, Frank Heintz, Roger, the Haamel family, Finley and his family, Mark Gottlob, Lowell, Stephanie, Tim, Fiona and her family, Ellis and Christy.
for Associate Rector Elaine Thomas and her husband Tim as they prepare for their move to New Jersey in January, and for Elaine’s new ministry as rector of All Saints, Hoboken.
for our next Director of Music and his family as they prepare to move to Charlottesville after Christmas: Deke, Joyce, Elle, Luke, and Jane Polifka.
for our city and community and nation; for the victims of racism, sexism, oppression, and brutality; and for those who serve the common good in law enforcement and the courts.
for St. James-the-Less, Ashland, according to the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer.
for the people and ministries of the Diocese of Yola in Nigeria, and for their Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Markus Ibrahm, according to the Anglican Cycle of Prayer.
We commend to God’s never-failing care
victims of violence and warfare throughout the world, including migrants and refugees who have died fleeing danger.
all whom we love but see no more, including Bill Fishback, for whom a memorial service will be held at St. Paul's on January 5 at 2 p.m.; Alice MacInnis, for whom a memorial service will be held at St. Paul's on December 28 at 2 p.m.; Geneva Bowe Miller (Darren Ball’s grandmother); John Page; Chester Titus, whose funeral will be held at St. Paul's on December 22 at 10 a.m.; and Lee Webb, for whom a memorial service will be held at St. Paul's on December 28 at 10:30 a.m.

Worship Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Communion
10:00 a.m. Holy Communion
5:30 p.m. Holy Communion
9:00 p.m. Compline
12:15 p.m.
Holy Communion
5:30 p.m.
Evening Prayer

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