Advent 3, Dec. 13, 2015

Title:Advent 3, Dec. 13, 2015

  Advent 3, Dec. 13, 2015  (full size gallery)

On Friday night, the church collaborated with the Town of Port Royal, Parks and Rec, Caroline’s Promise, and Memorial Baptist for the Christmas celebration in Port Royal. St. Peter’s provided the pizza and a number of people helped. Nancy was the "master of ceremonies", Andrea served the hot chocolate and Catherine brought the pizza. Over 100 children came and enjoyed a pizza dinner, a chance to decorate the town Christmas tree and meet Santa. Christmas events continue today with the Everett’s Christmas at 5pm tonight, Dec. 13, 2015.

This Sunday at 10am we had Godly Play, "Weaving God’s Promises", and the last session from "Songs in Waiting" on Simeon. Michael showed his advent pyramid they are making in "Weaving God’s Promises". Simeon was linked to our celebration of Candlemas between Christmas and the Spring solstice and involved a man who longed to hold the Christ child before he died.  We looked at 4 paintings by Rembrandt on Simeon

Birthdays celebrated this Sunday included Cherry Everett and Nancy Long (from last Sunday).  

The sermon was on John the Baptist with the associated reading from Philippians. (The readings for this Advent have two weeks of John). It was related to our beginning work with Nepal.

Recent sermons have talked about various ways of preparing our hearts not only for Jesus to be born into this world,but we have also been preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom

"So in my sermons during this season of Advent, I’ve talked about how, as Christians, we are to be hopeful people who can witness to hope in a world full of despair."

"Today’s gospel from Luke brings us the next important way in which God calls us to prepare.

"John the Baptist is out in the wilderness by the River Jordan, and the crowds have come out to hear the great prophet declare that the salvation of God is at hand.

“What then should we do?” the crowd asks.

"John tells the crowd several things—share with others, take only what is owed to you, don’t use your position in the world to extort things from others, and to be satisfied with what you have.

"Today I’d like to focus on the first thing that John says that we must do to prepare, and that is to share with others.

"How do we, as a congregation, share our resources?

"Here are some examples. Our UTO offering this fall was over $800. That’s a large amount of money coming from a small congregation. When Region One in our Diocese did the toilets for Haiti project, our small congregation was responsible for providing an outsized portion of the total amount of money needed to get those toilets built. My discretionary fund is another example. I generally have enough money to help the people who call for financial help. The food distribution is another great example of how we are sharing. Not only are we now making fresh produce more available for over 100 people in this county on a monthly basis, but you all generously provide extra food and money for us to prepare a great selection of food for people each month.

"So I’m glad that David Caprara, from the Global Peace Foundation, is here today to tell us about a family in Nepal whose home was destroyed in the massive earthquake several months ago. This family is no longer in a tent but instead in a temporary shelter, thanks to St Peter’s. The Vestry and I are hoping that St Peter’s can develop an ongoing relationship with the family and to help them with other needs as they arise. So we’ll hear more about this Tamang family in Nepal during the announcements.

"Helping this family halfway around the earth from us, is a way that we can witness to hope and to God’s love in a world full of despair.

"Repentance requires turning around, reorienting how we think about the world and about our lives, and turning toward God rather than the things that our culture tells us are important, like how rich we are, or who we know, or how much power we have.

"None of these things matter to God. What matters to God is that we change our hearts and turn toward God.

"The fruit worthy of repentance, the good news, is what happens when we turn toward God and follow God as hopeful and loving people. The fruit that we bear when we follow after God is the fruit that feeds the world with the good news of God’s hope and God’s love."

This Sunday we featured a ministry which could have been part of the "Season of Giving" in November but was delayed to December so that David Caprara could talk to us. David is Vice-President for Strategic Partnerships with the Global Peace Foundation in Washington, D.C

We are collaborating with Global Peace Foundation and Rise Nepal to adopt a family (or families in Nepal) after the devastating earthquake in April. The Vestry voted in August to purchase a temporary shelter for a family. Since then other parishioners have adopted families. David has recently visited our family and shared pictures with us.

David Caprara spoke on behalf of Global Peace Foundation and more specifically about our Family/Family Nepal. He was in Nepal both before and after the Earthquake. Last month he trekked into the Himalayas, north of Kathmandu, about a half an hour  and met with our family, the Tamangs. The Vestry voted to provide housing for this family.

The Tamangs didn’t understand why Caprara was there but the personal letter made all the difference in the world. "When I read them the letter from your church their faces lit up with joy and appreciatino. They were actually transformed by your sentiments and heart – spiritually as well as a physically with the home (the church provided)."

They are part of 3 families on a mountainside where there is terrace farming including corn. They are part of a collective of neighbors who work together- the Newari culture is one of mutual help. Their dwelling were surrounded by animals that reminded him of a Christmas manger. The Tamanges are mother and father (disabled) and 4 children. The mother works by walking to a nearby hotel.

He suggested a future project which would cost about $200 to build a toilet. 

David is beginning to spread the Family/Family conept throughout "the entire service movment there is different regions."  He thanked us for sharing the miracle of  Christmas and generosity with the families of Nepal.

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