Please join our hearts in worship this Sunday by going to our website and participating in the recorded service. Have some bread and “fruit of the vine” ready for Holy Communion. This Advent liturgy was the inspiration of our dear Rev. Bonnie Bell, who entered eternal light and rest about a year ago. She always felt that these familiar songs of Christmas-time were the only ones that non-church-going people knew and would like to sing. So we formed a liturgy where we could sing them more often as they related to the different parts of our traditional liturgy, in hopes of making new people feel more welcome. I hope they bring some joy to your life.
On this Fourth Sunday of Advent we light the candle of LOVE on our advent wreath! As we also approach the winter solstice AND the unique event of the conjunction of our neighboring planets of Jupiter and Saturn to form a star 1/5 the brightness of the moon on Dec. 21, we are reminded of how God has loved the world by joining us in human form. The light that God is giving will drive away the darkness that obstructs God’ grace and will for the world. Mary, despite her misgivings, offers herself as a way for God’s love to be made known and then sings her soulful Magnificat as a vision of what God hopes for all humanity.
CHRISTMAS EVE service will be celebrated in two ways: A recorded candlelight service available to all the entire day, which will feature the “ALL THAT BRASS!” youth ensemble. The service will be posted to our website so that you can participate anytime on Christmas Eve (have your candle ready!) AND…weather permitting…there WILL be an in-person, outdoor gathering in the church parking lot at 3pm. The County Health Dept. allows such outdoor gatherings to take place. Please bring your own chairs, wear a mask and practice physical distancing.
SUNDAY, DEC. 27 – A very special collaborative worship service recording will help us celebrate the First Sunday of Christmas. It will be a Service of Lessons and Carols offered by Pastors and Church Musicians from our El Camino Real Conference of ELCA churches in our region. As usual, you can participate by accessing this recording on our website “www.ststephenslutheran.org”. There will be no Holy Communion that Sunday.
Our gathering for worship each Sunday in our homes or wherever we can, is very essential to strengthen us to meet the world’s challenges. Previous weeks worship services are recorded as well. Please find attached, the bulletin cover artwork, scripture readings & prayers in the Celebrate.
THERE WILL BE NO BIBLE STUDY NEXT THURSDAY ON CHRISTMAS EVE.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your financial giving back to God through our church. Please remember to either give your offering through the mail, through our website donation option, signing up for monthly electronic giving, OR if you just want to get out of the house, then come by the church and drop it off in the mailbox in a secure slot called “Incoming mail”! Office hours are M-Th 8:30-2:30. If you come during those times, you may also want to step into the sanctuary for some prayer and quiet time with God. We would love to see you. Our library is also open to you with quite a variety to choose from.
Thank you to those of you who have been sending us notes and messages of encouragement and support. They help keep us hopeful and joyful! We always love to hear how things are going. We would like to share your experiences in the Newsletter each month. So, give some thought to what’s been happening in your life – we all miss each other, and would be thrilled to hear what’s up!
- If any of you would like to participate, we are open to a few people Reading Scripture and offering the Prayers of Intercession from the Celebrate page. Or if you would just like to come to worship – Saturdays 11:00 am. Call Leslie at 476-4700 to schedule your spot .
- We will continue the tradition of decorating with Poinsettias on Christmas Eve. Contact the office If you would like to dedicate one to a loved one. $15 by Dec. 18.
- Habitat for Humanity Lunches. We will be providing Lunches (sandwiches, chips, fruit & cookies) for 10 volunteers. Reply to this email or call office if you would like to help out. Our next date is Tuesday, January 26.
- A few copies of “White Fragility” are available to borrow. Call the office to inquire.
Grace and Peace,