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Black Friday. Sales galore. People camping out at big box stores in order to buy the latest gadget at extraordinary prices. While our society is basically always shopping, a frenzy of spending begins today. A frenzy that won’t let up until Christmas and won’t fully bite until January when the bills arrive. Buy. Bite. Repeat. This is the “liturgical” cycle of our popular culture. Buy whatever it is that we have been told we must have. Feel the bite of the purchase up front or more likely later through debt and continual payments and…repeat. It’s a powerful cycle of worship. While a large portion of it, is no doubt, related to people buying responsibly the things they need to live, a larger portion it, is no doubt, related to extras, wants, and false needs conjured by a cadre of secular priests from secular temples of goods and services.
The reality of our culture and financial system in this this regard demonstrates how counter-cultural the Christian faith can be. We like to explain away Jesus difficult words, whether to the rich young ruler, “Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions” (Matthew 19:21-22) Or “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). However much we explain them away, they remain. Of course, wealth and possessions can be used for the common good.
They can also be used for the support of the Church. In either case, the gift is going beyond the individual and to larger cause and purpose. What larger cause and purpose can we be mindful of today and in the coming weeks when advertisers will perform marketing gymnastics to encourage us to buy, buy, buy? Gift giving can be wonderful, especially when it is from the heart and especially when it meets a specific need. Whether you camped out for Black Friday or not, consider how you might, as a disciple of Jesus, best respond, in your life, at this time, with your present financial resources, to another set of Jesus well known words on this subject, “It’s better to give than to receive” (Acts 30:35).
We invite you to prayerfully consider your giving to this congregation by making a pledge for 2019. Look for a letter in the mail with your pledge card. We’ll be celebrating the ingathering of pledges on Sunday, December 2nd.
St. John’s Christmas Cookie Walk is Saturday December 1st from 8 am-2 pm. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, so we need everyone’s help! We will set up for the sale on Wed. Nov. 28th at 2pm.
Now is the time to start planning and preparing your cookies and candy. We hope every family unit can make at least one item to sell. Multiple items would be even better, because we always run out by the end of the day.
Food items can be dropped off on Friday Nov. 30th from 9 am-2 pm at the office and from 2 pm-6 pm downstairs at the Parish House.
All help is welcome in setting up, plating sweets, selling the day of the sale, and in clean up on Saturday at 2 pm. When you bring your food items please include a card with the name of the item, whether it includes nuts and what kind.
And of course we hope that you will come and shop the day of the sale, have some soup for lunch, and share in the fun of the day.
If you’re going to be out of town and can’t make anything or come to shop and work, consider making a donation. Maybe the price of a Christmas Gift?
Bring any questions or suggestions you have to Becky Johnson-Stewart.
The Food Pantry is requesting paper products such as toilet paper and even diapers. Those on assistance cannot use assistance funds to purchase these items so your generosity is appreciated. Food items are also welcome.
Join us on Wednesdays during Advent at 11 am or 7 pm in the Parish House for conversation about the Great Commandment, the Great Commission, and the Great Tradition. We will look at a particular view toward our own individual lives as disciples and our future life together at St. John’s. Please indicate your interest in attending on your connection card or by contacting the office.
Need gift cards for Christmas? Kathe will be ordering from Great Lakes SCRIP on November 26th, December 10th and December 17th. Stop by the SCRIP table on Sundays or let Kathe know what you need so it’s here in time for your gift giving.
Your Altar Guild is asking for donations for the purchase of two sprays of “live” flowers for the altar and other flowers to decorate the church for Christmas. Also, the Altar Guild is thinking of projects to beautify our church during the year, namely spring and fall floral arrangements. Our first project will be to have a florist create one or two artificial sprays, that are appropriate for the months of January thru May. These winter arrangements would be put on tables in the church.
Flowers for Christmas will be purchased and any additional money will be used to help toward the floral arrangements. Donations will be collected from November 25 until December 16. Please use the insert from Sunday’s bulletin to list the name(s) of the person(s) you want to memorialize, what you want to give thanks for, etc. If you have any questions, please contact any Altar Guild member (Ann Anderson, Susan Forshey, Cathy Esser, Dave and Vivian Roberts, or Becky Stewart).
Forms and checks can be put in the offering plate, given to Kathe Richardson at the SCRIP table or taken to the Parish House during office hours.
If you write a check, please put Christmas Flowers on the memo line.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Ministers: The People of St. John’s
Senior Warden: Kim Miller
Junior Warden: John Stewart
Clerk: Pam Van Vleck
Treasurer: Bill Richardson
Vestry Members: Bud Geyer, Christine Darr, Haley Lammer-Heindel, Susan Forshey, David Kendall, David Roberts
Organist: David Pitt
Parish Administrator: Susan Meyers
Priest-in-Residence: The Rev. Dr. Kent Anderson
Rector: The Rev. Dr. Kevin Goodrich, O.P.
Bishop: The Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, D.D.