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Letter from Amy: Nov 30, 2022


Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898

Advent is here!


On Sunday, you might have recognized the strips of purple fabric hanging from the wreaths. Those are the same strips that hung on our fence last year when we were still worshiping outdoors — many of them tied to the fence as prayers of hope on the first week of Advent. The wreaths are from Advent 2019, revamped and made transportable by our Chief Creative Officer, Kim McKnight.


I love the layers of memory in these community-made Advent decorations, the way we unpack and adapt them year after year. They help me pause and reflect on all that has changed in our church over the past year (ahem, a LOT), on areas of loss or discomfort, on the many gifts of our community, and on God's faithfulness and love for us.



In the spirit of unpacking Advent treasures, I thought I'd share a few poems that I always enjoy reading this time of year; as I mentioned in Sunday's sermon, Advent grasps at themes that are beyond the reach of our language, and sometimes poetry can help:


"Birth" by Michael Longley


The cosmos-shaper has come down to earth:

Mary is counting his fingers and toes.


"After Annunciation" by Madeleine L'Engle


This is the irrational season

when love blooms bright and wild.

Had Mary been filled with reason

there’d have been no room for the child.


"Annunciation" by John Donne


Salvation to all that will is nigh;

That All, which always is all everywhere,

Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,

Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,

Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie

In prison, in thy womb; and though He there

Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,

Taken from thence, flesh, which death's force may try.

Ere by the spheres time was created, thou

Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;

Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now

Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother;

Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.


"The Visitation" by Malcolm Guite


Here is a meeting made of hidden joys

Of lightenings cloistered in a narrow place

From quiet hearts the sudden flame of praise

And in the womb the quickening kick of grace.

Two women on the very edge of things

Unnoticed and unknown to men of power

But in their flesh the hidden Spirit sings

And in their lives the buds of blessing flower.

And Mary stands with all we call ‘too young’,

Elizabeth with all called ‘past their prime’

They sing today for all the great unsung

Women who turned eternity to time

Favoured of heaven, outcast on the earth

Prophets who bring the best in us to birth.


Advent happenings


I'm also really looking forward to a few upcoming Advent events:

  • This Sunday, Dec 4, is Bishop John's final visit to our congregation. Come early and stay late to enjoy everything:

    • 9:30am Saint Nicholas visit, outside if weather permitting (wear a coat!)

    • 10am Eucharist service and confirmations. Pray for Tammie, Jared, Elena, Evelyn, and Kevin as they receive the laying on of hands and prayers for strengthening in the Spirit. At the end of this service, we'll all pray blessing over Bishop John in our now-traditional Incarnation "huddle" from the middle of the gym.

    • 11:30am Advent potluck and nativity share. Bring a favorite nativity from home to show others and a Christmas dish to share!

  • "This Weary World" Advent Mini-Retreat. The past few years have left us all a little weary, so this mini-retreat will provide space for rest and reflection. The Rev. Erin Bair will guide us through a morning exploring change, loss, lament, and hope. I've seen Erin present this material and it's so, so good — I so hope you can make it! Saturday, Dec 10, 9:30am-12pm at the Sungs' house. Come at 9:30am for warm drinks and conversation; content begins at 10am. Signup here to RSVP and receive details.


Budget update


Finally, I want to let you know to expect an email from our Treasurer, Ben Goebel, in your inbox later this week. That email will address a significant budget amendment that our Vestry and Finance Team have been working on over the past month, which includes corrected numbers and a larger deficit than we announced at our September parish meeting. We will offer an opportunity to discuss and ask questions on Sunday, Dec 11, immediately after the service. Keep an eye on your inbox for details.


Thank you all — it's a gift to be your pastor.


Much love,

Amy

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