The Outreach Ministry Team invites the parish to participate in the annual Advent collection of items for those in need. This year, we are requesting contributions of dish detergent (20- 25 oz. bottles; please avoid larger sizes) to be donated to the One Family deanery project. We are also collecting hats, gloves and mittens (for children and adults) for the Foxborough Discretionary Fund. Donations will be collected beginning on the First Sunday of Advent. November 27th and continuing through Christmas Day. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Advent 2016: Advent is a season in the Christian year that lasts for about four weeks. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Jesus Christ, the first is Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem as an infant and the second is Christ’s coming in glory.
A major-theme of Advent is waiting and longing. One of the ways in which we mark this at St. Mark’s is through the use of the Advent wreath. Our wreath will be located to the left of the altar. The Advent wreath will have three blue candles and one pink candle surrounded by a central, white, Christ-candle for Christmas Eve/Day. Each Sunday, at the beginning of the Liturgy, parishioners will light a new candle until all of them are lit.
Advent features blue and pink vestments. The blue color signifies reflection, repentance, and royalty. Pink points to the minor theme of Advent, which is joy. For us at St. Mark’s, the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent are “blue” Sundays. Only the third is a “pink” Sunday. The pink, joyful color reminds us that, even as Advent helps us get in touch with our sober yearning for God to come to us, we know that he did in fact come in the person of Jesus.
Advent Changes coming to St. Mark’s
I wanted to let you know of some changes we are making for this season—they will last only four weeks so if you aren’t fond of them—just “wait” and the changes will pass.
*The Altar has been placed farther back. The lectern/ambo has been placed in the center. The ministers and altar servers will sit in front of the altar. Part of the centrality of Advent is the “Word dwelling among us.” This shift allows us to have the word present in a new way. It will also bring the ministers closer to the congregation.
**The Gospel will be read from in front of the great window (the clear window that opens onto the parking lot). This means the Gospel Procession will go all the way down the aisle and the priest will turn around to face the people and the altar. The congregation will turn around to face the great window as the Holy Gospel is proclaimed. The window will have lit candles and this will frame the reading of the Word with illuminated light. This ritual action will help us focus on the great call to “turn toward God.”
***Because the ministers and altar servers chairs will be blocking the altar rail. Communion will be distributed standing up at 9:30 a.m. The congregation should come forward by means of the middle aisle and return to their pews by means of the side aisle. Chalice bearers will stand to the right and to the left of priest. Many Episcopal Churches, including us at our 8 a.m. service, distribute Communion in this way. It is a seasonal change—and helps us to experience the receiving of Communion in the posture of the Resurrection.
****The Penitential Rite will be moved to the front of the Service—and we will be using a sung Kyrie Eleison. While Advent is not as strong as a penitential season as Lent—it provides an opportunity for interior examination and reflection.
*****The Prayers of the People will be modified for Advent—a new form not found in the BCP will be used. Our response will be sung. We will not be saying the Confessional here as it is replaced by moving the Penitential Rite toward the front.
******Eucharistic Prayer B will replace Eucharistic Prayer A.
*******The altar and ambo will be draped in blue. The chasuble will be blue with a very wonderfully designed stole by Judith Duell. I encourage folks to have a look at the stole as it does a wonderful job calling to mind the themes of Advent. There is a paired hanging with the stole that will also be placed in the church.
The Outreach Ministry Team invites the parish to participate in the annual Advent collection of items for those in need. This year, they are requesting contributions of dish detergent (20-25 oz bottles; please avoid larger sizes) to be donated to the One Family deanery project. They are also collecting hats, gloves and mittens (for children and adults) for the Foxborough Discretionary Fund.
St. Nicholas Day
I want to remind everyone that on December 3, 2016 from 11 am to 1 pm we will be celebrating St. Nicholas Day here at St. Mark’s. St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) will be arriving on the fire truck at 11 am—there will be time for music, photos, crafts and drink. Please let everyone know!
Intergenerational Advent Craft
On December 4, 2016, we will be having an intergenerational Advent craft after the 9:30 am Holy Eucharist. More information will be following but please make every effort to come to this family focused activity. It is sure to be fun.
Altar Server Breakfast
As a thank you to all of our servers and welcome to our new servers for 2017, we’d like to invite you to a breakfast on December 4 at 8:30 a.m.in the Undercroft. Please RSVP to Father Ed and Chris Schneider so we know how many to plan for. We will also be setting up the training after the first of the year and more information on that will follow. If there are any children or young adults in the parish who would like to serve as altar servers—please let Chris know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
First Monday Eucharist: Eat, Pray and Converse
A reminder that our First Monday Eucharist will occur at 12 pm (Noon) on Monday, December 5, 2016. Please join us for the leisurely opportunity to encounter the Lord and one another.
Adult Formation: Praying with Icons during Advent
Ever wondered about the use of Icons in the Orthodox Church? Have you encountered Icons that have moved you? This is a chance to learn more about Icons and the theology that shapes them—with a special focus on Advent themes. There will be a chance for some learning, conversation and prayer. Join us at 7 pm on December 14, 2016. The program will last until 8:30.
Christmas Services Schedule
For those who are wondering our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are as following: Christmas Eve at 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm. Christmas Day at 10:00 am. All are welcome.
I want to thank everyone who is working to make this a successful Advent Season at St. Mark’s from the front office to the St. Nicholas Day Team to the Altar Guild to the Communications Ministry to the Outreach Ministry to our Teachers & Parents. I am grateful to our Director of Music, the Adult Choir and our ringers. And, I am grateful too for all those who serve at the altar as LEMs, lectors and altar servers.
Many people come back to the church during this season. I am grateful that for those who might be discovering St. Mark’s for the first time that they will discover a friendly, active and engaged congregation.
Looking forward to "waiting" and celebrating with you.
In Christ’s peace,
Fr. Ed Cardoza