Dear St. Stephen’s church family,
On this very cold day, we are reminded of the warmth of God’s love that draws us together as one people. We are not inclined to this sort of communion with one another except for God’s love! Paul’s letter to the Romans encourages them (and us): May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:5-7).
Some news for the week:
1. Christmas Pageant practices
Continue with our final Sunday practice this coming week. A dress rehearsal will take place on Saturday, December 21st at 2:15 pm. The pageant takes place on December 22nd at the 10:30 service. This is a wonderful time to invite a friend to church—children have a way of breaking down the walls of cynicism and hardness of heart that we erect out of fear, defensiveness and weariness. Thank you to all parents and children for this Christmas offering.
2. Advent Reflection, Readings and Prayers
with the Rev. John Chuol. Saturdays at 12:15 in the Mitchell Hall. All are welcome to come and make room for God in your life in this season of preparation.
3. Advent and Christmas Services:
Advent 3, December 15th: Holy Eucharist 8:30 am and 10:30 am
Advent 4, December 22nd: Holy Eucharist 8:30 am, Christmas Pageant and Holy Eucharist 10:30 am
Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist and candlelight 7:30 pm
Potluck Christmas Eve Supper: 6:00 pm. Sign up, bring a dish, bring yourselves, celebrate this holy feast day by breaking bread together.
Christmas Day Holy Eucharist 11 am
4. Thank you to all who purchased a
Christmas gift for a child living at Adele House. Please bring gift with tag attached by December 15th. I am continually touched by the generosity of our church family and the many hidden and visible ways that you live out your faith through your actions.
5. For your information:
You may not be aware, but every Sunday afternoon a group of people from Ethiopia from all ethnic groups meet together to worship God. They meet in the Mitchell Hall. They use their national language, “Amharic”, to worship God, pray and study the Bible. Our own parishioner Tigist coordinates this gathering. They believe that life without God is “life at risk.” Life with God is the master key for whatever difficulties we face in this world. The vision of the group is building a good relationship with God. This is one of the ways that St. Stephen’s lives its vision of being a Christ centred, Holy Spirit led, caring community that is outward focussed. Thank you St. Stephen’s, for your hospitality, in Jesus name.
Parish Cycle of Prayer:
We pray for all groups who meet in our church building. May God bless them and give them strength and courage to do the work and live the lives that they have been given. We pray for the members of AA, Ethiopian fellowship, the L’Arche board and collective kitchen, the Camp Okema board, Extendicare staff and others who come and go from this place.
We pray for Bob and Nancy and family and for Marje and Boris and family.
*All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish a single candle. -Saint Francis of Assisi (a main character in our Christmas Pageant this year).