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The Deacon's Desk - The Rev. William D. Oldland
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Advent is here and Christmas is soon upon us. However, most places, particularly stores skip Advent and go straight to Christmas. For example, stores are already decorated for Christmas. The ads in the papers and on television show Christmas trees, lights, toys and of course, Santa Claus. In addition, most towns have already had their Christmas parades and the main streets are already decorated with snowflakes, Christmas trees, or some other Christmassy decoration. I have even heard people say recently, "The Christmas season is upon us." Yet, it is not the Christmas season. The season is Advent.
Advent in the church year is a time of waiting and preparation. We wait for the moment when the greatest gift we could ever receive will come into the world. In some respects, it is like waiting with a woman for the birth of her first child during the last four weeks. She wants the baby to come soon. She is excited and ecstatic, but also impatient. Yet, she waits. The moment cannot be rushed. The baby will arrive when it is time. She waits as observers and friends of the mother-to-be wait too.
However, while the mother waits she is not idle. She is busy preparing. She wants everything to be right when the baby arrives. She wants the nursery finished, baby items purchased and the house in order. As we wait with her we may help with the preparations
Advent is a time for personal and corporate waiting and preparation. We wait both as individuals and as a Christian community for Gods miracle to happen. We are excited and ecstatic. We are impatient, but the moment will not come any sooner or any faster. Like the mother who waits for her child, we have time to prepare. We have time to prepare our minds, our hearts, and our spirits to receive the Christ child. We have time to pray and meditate on the meaning of the birth of Christ to us. We have time to worship together and prepare corporately for the moment when God breaks into the world in a radically different way. Advent is an opportunity to prepare to receive Christ anew.
In the business this time of year often brings, I pray we make and have time to prepare. The best gifts we receive are often worth the wait. May God bless us as we wait and prepare during this Advent season.
Rev. Oldland will be on vacation from the afternoon of December 25th through Monday, January 1st. Please call the church office or Laura Felts, Sr. Warden, if you have an emergency.
December Parish House Cleaning Committee:
December Altar Care:
Suzanne Howard, Chm., Grace Moffitt, Dottie Worth, Mary Jane Ham
Vestry Ministry Teams & Club Reports
The morning chapter of the ECW will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13 at the home of Dottie Worth. Dot Reilly is co-host. We will be putting together the Christmas goodie bags at this time.
The Endowment Fund
Here are three ways to help the St. Thomas Endowment Fund grow.
1. Make gifts of appreciated stocks, real property and other assets.
2. Give to the Endowment for memorials and to honor friends and family members.
Acknowledgement will be made in Tidings unless anonymity is requested.
3. Remember the Endowment in your will.
A gift to the Endowment Fund is a gift that keeps on giving to St. Thomas year after year it is a wonderful legacy. Talk to Bob Lee Watt or John Garrett about special ways to help the Fund.
Income: October 2000 Expense: October 2000
Pledged $ 10,341.00 Received $ 9,866.00 Shortage $ 475.00
Budgeted $ 10,721.00 Spent $ 10,587.00 Under spent $ 134.00
Thoughts on Stewardship
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.
from Luke 12:32
In preparation for this months column, I have been asking my co-workers "What are you most thankful for in your life at this particular time?" For a week or so prior to Thanksgiving I met with people in their offices, the hallway, in the cafeteria, in our manufacturing area and even e-mailed those working in different locations to try find to out the many ways we feel blessed, especially during this particular season.
Everyone I approached responded in a positive manner. I was surprised and appreciative of how seriously each person reacted to this question. Most answers were quite spiritual and certain ones were very moving.
Practically everyone was thankful for the presence of Christ in their life and for their family members. Some were newly married and prominently listed their husband or wife. Some, who had experienced the birth of a child, or the adoption of one, were especially filled with gratitude for the newest member of their family. One young man informed me that his brother, who is in prison, had accepted Jesus as his personal savior. A mother told me that her daughter had celebrated one year of sobriety. One woman confided that her spouse had recently started going to church with her. Although good health was foremost on most lists, those who had experienced serious health problems were most grateful for the day. Several people mentioned the helpful influence of parents and friends who had died, but whose memories were still very much alive. One heartwarming response was a young lady telling me that she and her husband had reconciled their differences and decided to continue their marriage.
All of these encounters gave me a small glimpse into each life. But more importantly, it gave me a glimpse into what heaven must be like a place where there is joy, healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and wholeness. Even in this material world of ours, there was no mention of acquired possessions such as a new home or new car or money in a bank account. Instead, all of the treasures that each person named were priceless gifts of love and mercy and grace.
During my conversations I was reminded that God can be very near us if we will only let him. We have our joys and sorrows, but even out of sadness there is pause for gratitude. When we think about our blessings it makes us realize that God is "soooooo" good to us, not only at Thanksgiving, but all through the year.
St. Thomas' will celebrate Homecoming on Sunday, January 14. Please join us for a covered dish luncheon following the 11:00 a.m. service. St. Thomas' will provide the meat. Please mark your calendar and invite your friends and family to join us for this special event.
News from The Episcopal Day SchoolADMINISTRATORS REPORT Shelly Ellington Thanksgiving has passed and we are now in gear for Christmas! The parade went well, except for the coldness! We actually won 3rd place! The children are now practicing for their December 15th program and hope to see you all there! Thanks again for inviting us to your service on the 19th. We sure appreciate all your support!
PRESCHOOL REPORT Carol PuryearHope you all had a chance to see us in the parade or on the front page of the Review! We certainly appreciate all the hard work of the float committee 0 I think our float was really special! Well continue that theme ("Hes Got the Whole World in His Hands") for our Christmas program Friday evening December 15 "Christmas Around the World". The children really enjoy playing their bells! (Want to also encourage all those who are interested to participate in our poinsettia sale. It was through a special fund-raiser like this that we were able to buy those bells and with some of this new money we get to buy songs to learn!) Our program will culminate in taking up gifts for Samaritans purse, which will provide meals for needy street children around the world. This really will be the perfect way for us to conclude our celebration of Christmas around the world!
KINDERGARTEN REPORT Cori Anderson
Dear Church Family,It is hard to believe the month of November is already gone. It was a good, but busy month. For "H" week we went on a hospital tour and learned about our health. Jessica made homemade ice cream for "I" week. We enjoyed our service with the church on the 19th. On Tuesday we had our Thanksgiving Feast with the kids. It was so much fun to watch them inhale their food! It was so special to hear all the things the children were thankful for. The Lord is so good.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Episcopal Day School whose float won 3rd place in Reidsvilles Christmas Parade. The theme was "Hes Got The Whole World In His Hands" and the children were dressed as children from other countries. Great work!!
Thank You Notes To those who generously gave the Thanksgiving dinner:
Thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity to us at Thanksgiving.
Thank you for thinking of me on Thanksgiving with the Thanksgiving meal. I really enjoyed it. Thanks again and please remember me in your prayers.
Love to all,
Mamie M. Delancey
Flowers for December 2000
December 3 Worth December 10 Bullock December 17 McHugh December 24 Rhodes (a.m.)
Van Ness (p.m.)
December 25 Van Ness December 31 Moffitt
2001 FLOWER CALENDAR
There are still several dates available for flowers for 2001.
The flower calendar is available for sign-up in the Sacristy.
Dates still available
January 7, 21, 28
February 4, 25
March 4, 11, 18
April 1, 15(Easter), 29
May 6, 20
June 17, 24
July 8, 15
August 12, 19
Sept. 9, 16, 23, 30
October 14, 21
Nov. 4, 18, 22, 25
Dec. 9, 24, 25
Please write the information to be included in the bulletin on the calendar or call Edie (349-3511) with the information by Wednesday before the Sunday you will provide flowers. Thanks!!
Congratulations to Nancy Lambeth Safriet and John Schempf who were married Saturday, November 18 at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Petaluma, CA. Lambeth is the daughter of Marian Safriet and the late Hubert Safriet.
2001 PARISH DIRECTORIES
The 2001 parish directories are available for pick-up in the narthex.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the three members rotating off the Vestry: Laura Felts, Bob Foeller, and Kris Rogers. And, congratulations to the three new members: Tom Ham, Grace Moffitt, and Bob Lee Watt.
Men's Club Meeting
The Mens Club will meet Thursday, December 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish House for dinner. All men of the church are invited!
Advent Breakfast The Mens Club will sponsor an Advent Breakfast for everyone on Sunday, December 3 at 9:45 a.m. in the Parish House. There will be no Sunday School that morning. Please join us!
Dear Members of Saint Thomas,It is amazing what our small church family can accomplish when a concentrated effort is made for a worthy cause! The Fall Flea was incredibly successful this year. At last count we had a profit of $4,371.70. This is really something we all need to be proud of. The donations in crafts were beautiful. There were so many wonderful baked and canned goods that it was hard to believe. As always, the luncheon was wonderful; and the kitchen staff kept everything running so smoothly. Many people commented on how attractive everything was, especially the table setting. This project takes a great deal of time, in addition to the actual day of the event. It is wonderful how many people contribute so freely of their time and talents. Thank you for making our part in it so satisfying and fun! Love to you all,
Susan Dalton and Freda Watt
EDS Poinsettia Sale
The Day School is selling poinsettias as a fund-raiser. The poinsettias come directly from a nursery and the cost is $8.00 each. They will come in 6 ½ inch pots with 4-7 blooms, and have a moss green foil cover. They will be available for pick-up on December 15th. So, if you plan to buy poinsettias for friends, relatives or clients, this would be a good way to help Episcopal Day School raise money. To order, see any EDS parent or sign up on the bulletin board outside the Vestry room. Orders should be in by December 7.
Community Thanksgiving Dinner I just want to thank everyone who participated in St. Thomas Thanksgiving Dinner. There were numerous people from St. Thomas who pitched in and helped in so many ways. It was also very gratifying to see quite a lot of folks from other churches take part as well. This made it very much a total community effort.
I really felt that each person from St. Thomas took the time to make those outside our parish feel welcome. This was the most important part of what we did all day. Our annual dinner is one of the very best ways in which we can be of service to others and demonstrate Christs love in action. Hopefully this will be a tradition that will always continue.
Food Donations for the Reidsville Outreach Center
A large basket will be in the Narthex on the third Sunday every month just waiting to be filled with food for people in the community who come to the R. O. C.
This is a great way to get your children involved in giving to others. Have everyone in your family bring at least one item for the basket.
Each month, we will have a different category of food products for everyone to bring.
Please mark your calendar for:
December 17 CANNED GREEN VEGETABLES
FOOD AND FUN On Sunday, December 3rd, the youth will be serving a stew lunch in the fellowship hall. The cost is $3 for stew, dessert and drink. Any stew leftover may be purchased for $3 per quart. They will cook the stew Saturday night, December 2, and prepare the fellowship hall on Sunday morning. If you know of anyone that would like to help, please call the church office, Mike & Jeri Wilson 342-5286, or Mike & Ellen Donovant 349-7715. The proceeds will go to help a family for Christmas. Donations are also welcome!
The Christian Education Class will not meet on Tuesday, December 26th.
The sixty-eighth annual performance of
will be presented
Sunday, December 3,
at 3:00 p.m.
First Assembly of God Church
3730 University Parkway
If you would like to remember or honor someone with a poinsettia in the church at Christmas, please call the office at 349-3511 by December 18 to let Edie know how many and the information for the bulletin. The cost is $8 each which includes a moss green foil cover.
Tree of Hope
Symbolize your admiration or love for someone with a Christmas light on Annie Penn Hospital Auxiliarys Tree of Hope. Order forms to purchase a light in honor or memory of someone are available in the narthex. Each light costs $5.00. The Christmas Tree lighting Service will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, 2000. See the order form for more information or call the Auxiliary office at 634-4559.
Homemade cookies for the Prison Ministry
Homemade cookies are needed for the prison ministry Christmas party. Bring cookies to the church by 1p.m. Friday, December 15th. Thank you.
EDS Christmas Program
You are invited to the Episcopal Day School Christmas Program on Friday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m. The theme for the evening will be "Christmas Around the World". A covered dish dinner will be held following the childrens program. We hope you can join us!
The New Beginnings Boutique
As you plan your Christmas shopping, especially if you are buying for a needy family, please consider The New Beginnings Boutique. This is a project of Help, Inc. - Center Against Violence. This shop specializes in "gently" used childrens clothing, accessories, childcare items and womens clothing. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm. The New Beginnings Boutique is located on 1415 Freeway Drive at Ashcroft Commons. You will be delighted at the quality and price of the many available items.
St. Thomas' Christmas Families
For several years, the St. Thomas' family has generously helped other needy families in our community. Once more it is time for us to think about others. Please look at the names, descriptions, sizes, and desires below. In order not to duplicate gifts, if you see a particular item you would like to give, just call Bettie Rhodes. Besides gifts, we need food for the families. If you would like to make a monetary donation, the Outreach Committee will purchase grocery store gift certificates and/or credits with the oil/gas companies.
All items need to be brought to the church by Sunday, December 17.
Family #1 - A single mom and six children
Angela is the mon; sizes: top-large, pants-14, shoes-8; Mom stuff!
Twins, age 3, Bryan & Ryan: shirt-5T, pants-5T, shoes 9½, Remote Control Car; love music (children's tapes).
Latia, age 4: shirt-6, pants-6, shoes-11; Wants a doll that talks, doll clothes, and a bottle for it.
Franjessica, age 6: shirt-7, pants-7, shoes-2; wants a talking doll and likes pretend make-up & fingernail kits.
Deashia, age 7: shirt-7, pants-7, shoes-2; wants a doll.
Darence, age 8: shirt-12, pants-12, shoes-7; wants a bike (several people could go in together for this) and likes sports (basketball, football, etc.)
Family #2 - A single mom and four children
Kimberly is the mom.
Brandi, age 1 (F): clothes-24 months-2T; wants an Elmo and a doll with hair
Zhane, age 3 (F): clothes - 3T-4T; wants a doll, Dragon Tails, and loves Winnie-the-Pooh stuff
Niketa, age 9 (F): clothes-14-16 Girls; wants a Barbie Doll and a bike (several people could go in together for this)
Brandon, age 12 (M): shirt-18-20, pants-36-38 waist; wants a basketball and action figures
Sizes for this Mom and shoe sizes for the children are not yet available - will be soon.