Preparing for the coming of the Christ Child and saying some goodbyes

What an Advent this year! As we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child we are also saying some goodbyes. Elijah’s Mantle ministry after 14 years is drawing to a closed—the last “store” will be December 9th. That weekend we will have some special prayers to close the ministry and thank all who have participated in any way. Also on the 10th after the combined 9:00am Sunday service will be a celebration brunch of my 11½ years of ministry here with you as I retire. My last day is December 31st and as of January 1, 2018 I am officially retired!

There are a lot of participation opportunities around this month—opportunities to prepare you spiritually for the new year. For the women of this Parish, consider joining Mother Jane in attending the Women’s Ecumenical Candlelight Advent Service on Wednesday, December 6 at 7:00pm, held at the First Presbyterian Church in Libertyville.

Our Liturgical year starts the December 2nd weekend with the First Sunday of Advent. We are entering Year B with most Gospels coming from Mark’s Gospel. Also on December 2nd we will “kick off” Advent with a mini retreat, “Relating to our Incarnational God” from 2:00-4:30 pm. Our guest speaker will be Pastor Keith Cerk. Our Advent Book club is using the series “All I Want for Christmas: Opening the Gifts of God’s Grace” by James W. Moore & will continue into December on the 4th, 12th (Tues), and 18th.   

I encourage you in the midst of the shopping, cooking, school celebrations, parties, and work to take some time out of your schedule and remember the reason for the season. Advent is indeed a season of awaiting Jesus’ birth as we celebrate life together. Our Blue Christmas service will be held at 4:00pm on Sunday, December 17th. Please join us and give any sadness or grief you are experiencing at this time of year to the Christ Child. Invite anyone you know that may be experiencing grief in this season.

We hope to see you at the various Christmas services this year. This year Advent 4 falls on Christmas Eve. So, we will celebrate Advent 4 at the 5:00pm Saturday service and at a combined 9:00am service on Sunday. The Children’s Christmas pageant will be at 5:00pm on Sunday, December 24th, Christmas Eve. See your Sunday school teacher for rehearsal times. There is also a 10:00pm service with music Christmas Eve, and on Christmas day is a combined 9:00am Eucharist. Sunday New Year’s Eve we will resume our regular Sunday service schedule at 8:00am and 10:00 am.

Your participation and help in our ministries is crucial this coming year. St. Andrew Church is a gift to all of us. One that we all need to care for and help out in, particularly as you enter the search process for a new Rector. If you have not made your 2018 pledge, please fill out the form and get it into the office. The Vestry is working on making the best budget to present to the Vestry in early January. I want to thank all of you for what you do here. I am so blessed to have served with you here at St. Andrews and I thank God for all of you. Have a Blessed Advent, Christmas and 2018!

I will keep you in all my prayers.

Rev. Jane +