Happy New Year! What glorious Christmas celebrations we had at Saint John’s in Getty Square! Thanks to everyone who helped out: acolytes, Eucharistic ministers, altar guild, ushers, readers, and the Saint John’s Children’s Choir and Festival Choir who sang on Christmas Eve and blessed us with their joy and radiance. It was a big deal for our children to stay up that late! And how lovely to share our beautiful Rectory with everyone on that holy Christmas Evening.
Thanks also to The Rev. Canon Claudia Wilson who helped me out tremendously by preaching on the Fourth Sunday of Advent as well as being the Celebrant and Preacher on December 31st. Despite the brisk weather in Maine, I am grateful for my time away which was restful and restorative.
By the way, our total attendance for the four services—three on Dec. 24th (two Fourth Sunday of Advent morning services and our Christmas Eve Service) and one Christmas Day Service on Dec. 25—was 163! It was wonderful to see so many new and returning members, friends and families. God bless you all!
On January 6th, we Christians celebrate The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the revelation by the appearance of an unusual star to the wise men that a new king had been born. Their courage in stepping out on faith and following the star to find this baby Jesus reminds us to pay attention to the ways in which God’s glory is revealed to us in our own lives and to allow that revelation to guide us on new paths in the new year. This whole season of Epiphany is about God’s revelation to all people that our salvation is at hand.
As I look to the new year, two things come to mind: the follow-up on our RenewalWorks project and how that will result in new programming and spiritual growth, and the Diocese of New York’s mandate that this is a Year of Lamentation for the Church’s historical participation in racism and prejudice. This Sunday, January 7th, the First Sunday after the Epiphany, we celebrate The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ by reiterating our Baptismal Covenant which reaffirms our renunciation of evil and renews our commitment to Jesus Christ. On Sunday, January 14th, we will honor The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in this 50th year since his death, by using lectionary readings and some of his own writings to spur us on to reconsider how we, the congregation of Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Getty Square, have participated in racism over the years, and how we may better address our lives as Christians in the future.
Thanks to everyone who has been so generous with their pledges, Christmas contributions and monetary gifts this year end and throughout the year. We could not make it without your financial help and support. There are a number of you who have made financial pledges in the past but have not done so yet for 2018. It’s not too late! We hope you might still consider letting us know what you plan on giving. Your 2018 pledge really helps us as we figure out the new year’s budget. And we are eager to find out if there are new ways you might consider volunteering at Saint John’s, ways that might not only help us out, but also help you pay more attention to your spiritual growth and relationship with Christ in 2018.
We send our love and condolences to Vera Johnson whose mother, Ruth Augustus Tatham (she was also Aaron McKinney’s grandmother), died on December 29th at the age of 94. Her Burial Mass was held on Friday, January 5th with a Wake at 10 a.m. and Funeral at 11 a.m. in Saint John’s Getty Square. Following the service, her burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Prayers for everyone as we dig out of this snow and allow the light of Christ to be manifest in our lives.
“As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold;
as with joy they hailed its light, leading onward, beaming bright;
so, most gracious Lord, may we evermore be led to thee.”
Hymn 119, words by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)
Epiphany blessings and joy,
The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota