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Letter from Amy: Dec 14, 2022


Anastasis (Resurrection) Icon, 11th century fresco from Chora Church, Istanbul

Dear Incarnation,


On Sunday, with fear and trembling, I'll finish our series on the Four Last Things by preaching on hell (listen again to death, judgment, and heaven). As I have prayed about this sermon, I keep returning to the icon pictured above. The resurrected Jesus stands on the broken gates of Hades, pulling Adam and Eve by the wrists from their tombs. I'm not yet sure of what I want to say on Sunday, but I am sure of what I want us to know and feel: that the One who descended to the dead now holds us secure.


Hell also forces us to confront the terrible reality of human evil. Our Advent offering supports children living in a place that is a kind of hell on earth: the Al Hol refugee camp in Syria. The inhabitants of Al Hol were either displaced by ISIS or barred from their home countries because of family ties to ISIS; it is one of the most dangerous places in the world. This Advent, we are collecting an offering for the work of Partners in Al Hol, which operates the only child-friendly space and pediatric clinic in the entire camp of 60,000 people (40,000 of whom are children). This offering is a small opportunity to descend with Christ to the depths of human suffering and to love enemies there. Read more, give generously, and spend some time before the service Sunday at the Al Hol prayer station in Room 102 at Randolph.


***


Christmas and New Year's Services


Christmas is coming! And with it, well-deserved custodian holidays at Randolph Elementary and thus a bit of creative reshuffling for our worship. (Side note: please sign the cards for Guillermo and Dennisse on Sunday!) We hope you'll invite friends, family, and neighbors to join us in worship this Christmas season at the times and places below:



Christmas Eve, 3:30pm, Greenbrier Baptist Church

5401 7th Rd S, Arlington, VA 22204 (parking available in the lot and on the street)


We will begin our worship indoors with joyful carols, a children's mini-pageant, candlelight, and communion as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Then we'll head outside for hot drinks, cookies, and more carols around the fire. Bring cookies to share! Is there a favorite carol you REALLY want to sing? Email it to me and we'll try our best to include it!


We've invited Greenbrier to join us for this service, so please extend a warm welcome to any new faces and consider inviting a few new faces of your own. I promise to keep the homily short and kid- and neighbor-friendly.


There will not be childcare at this service. Coloring materials will be provided, and Greenbrier has nursery rooms and space at the back of the sanctuary for little ones who need a break or space to wiggle.


This service will *not* be available on Zoom, but will be recorded and posted to YouTube afterward.



Christmas Day Pajama Church, 9am, Zoom (link to join)


We're continuing our tradition of Christmas morning pajama worship together on Zoom. Roll out of bed, pour a cup of coffee, and join us for a short interactive service before opening presents. Bring your Book of Common Prayer and join using the Zoom link above or on the Advent page.



New Year's Day Sunday, 3:30pm, Greenbrier Baptist Church

5401 7th Rd S, Arlington, VA 22204 (parking available in the lot and on the street)


**PLEASE NOTE THE TIME AND LOCATION!** Join us for our usual worship on the first Sunday of the Christmas season, just at a different time and place! There will not be childcare at this service. Coloring materials will be provided, and Greenbrier has nursery rooms and space at the back of the sanctuary for little ones who need a break or space to wiggle.


Zoom status of this service TBD (internet is complicated at Greenbrier); check the Online Worship page for the latest.


***


Volunteer Updates


Thank you so much to everyone who completed our volunteer survey! Your feedback was incredibly helpful to us in considering a move to block scheduling. Here's a summary of what you said:


1. Most people are really happy with volunteering as it currently stands — THANK YOU!!


"Contributing to making Sundays happen even in small ways is so rewarding to me. I feel like this is my community and I have a responsibility to continue to cultivate it. I also have been able to deepen relationships through volunteering."


"I really do love the 'all hands on deck' feel of Sundays currently, and I personally don't want to get too comfortable with several months of not pitching in!"



2. Most people are willing to try block scheduling, but are concerned about the prospect of volunteering for multiple consecutive Sundays.


"A whole month or several weeks in a row might get to be a bit much, but I’m willing to give it a go!"


"I’m never available for all Sundays in one month, so I’d feel bad having to hand off those Sundays I’m working to alternates."



In response to that feedback, we've decided to keep our scheduling system the same for now. However, we will continue to explore the possibility of block scheduling in the future, particularly in ways that won't require consecutive Sundays or require volunteers to both come early and stay late. We have some ideas and will keep tinkering; stay tuned in 2023!


All of this is a great reminder to block out your January-February away dates in PCO; we'll be making the new schedule soon! Questions about scheduling or PCO? Check the website and email Emily: emily@incarnationanglican.org.


Finally, I am looking for a few extra folks who would be willing to occasionally help unload the van and serve as vergers on Sundays. This requires coming early at 8:15, unloading the van with the staff, helping with setup, and ensuring that volunteers are in place. It's physical but cheerful labor with a much smaller team while the gym is quiet, and you'll learn the church's systems in a deeper way. If this appeals to you, send me an email and let me know how often you'd be willing to help. Thank you!


Thank you all for the myriad ways you volunteer and serve this church!


***


I am so excited to worship our newborn King together this Christmas season. Bring cookies! Send carol requests! Invite friends! It will be beautiful and so much fun.


But first, we'll go through hell. Jesus will hold us secure. See you Sunday.


Love,

Amy

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