Christmas and Epiphany
Advent is drawing to an end. Those four weeks of preparation for Jesus’ birth always go faster than we think they will. This Sunday we will light all four candles on the Advent wreath, and Christmas Eve we will light the large white center Christmas candle. Beautiful hymns of anticipation will turn to familiar hymns of joy as welcome our Savior into the world.
After trying to tune out Christmas songs blasted over speaker systems in every store we’ve entered since before Halloween, it seems like we never have enough time to sing the hymns of Christmas in church. Outside the church the music is shushed after Christmas Day, but the season lasts twelve days! This year we have two Sundays in the Christmas Season. It has been our practice to worship using the beautiful English service of Lessons and Carols as the Liturgy of the Word, followed by the Eucharist, on the First Sunday after Christmas day, December 28th.
Our celebration on Christmas Eve begins with music at 4:30 and continues with the Festival Eucharist at 5:00:
Prelude at four thirty in the afternoon
In other parish and neighborhood news, Hope House, our day shelter on Austin Street, is going well and smoothly under the management of Donna Earnest and Bradley Wheat, with help from some of our friends who come in for services. A steady stream of neighbors come on weekdays to use the showers, telephone, mail services and laundry; GED and recovery classes have been added! Late summer and fall have seen an average of 80 people coming each day.
This fall two more beds were added in the Seeds to Success Garden on our lot behind the church building! The Occupational Therapy classes at LSU Medical School continue to be involved with our neighbors in the garden, along with our continuing partners: Project-ING, the LSU Agricultural Center and Shreveport Green. Classes on healthy eating and cooking are being offered by the Ag. Center, and we continue to look for new ways the ministry can bring fresh food to our neighbors. All for the glory of God and the health of our neighbors!
Last summer and fall five parishioners formed The Doughnut Patrol. They walked around the neighborhood with boxes of Southern Maid doughnuts, visiting with our neighbors. This culminated in an ice cream social, where all were invited and asked to tell us what they would like to see happen in the neighborhood. After Christmas the Doughnut Patrol will re-group and form plans for new ministries. Exciting times!
Our Sunday morning informal Eucharists continue in our Rose Garden. Only two Sundays since Easter the weather was so bad that we moved into the Chapel. A good friend brings bananas every Sunday to add to breakfast. After the Eucharist we move into the Education Building for a short Bible study. Doughnuts, coffee, bananas, water, fellowship — and Holy Communion and Bible study — a perfect Sunday morning.
In the Seasons of Christmas and Epiphany:
Every Wednesday: Holy Eucharist in the Chapel, using Enriching Our Worship liturgy, 12:15 pm
5:00 pm in the Chapel: Holy Eucharist, Rite I
Around 9:20 am Communion in the Garden (or in the Chapel if the weather is bad.); Bible study following. Informal; all are welcome!
11:00 am in the Church: Holy Eucharist, Rite II with hymns and sermon
9:45-12:30 Nursery in the Education Building
The Continuing Feast in the Undercroft: On the first Sunday each month we continue the Eucharistic Feast with a pot luck lunch after the 11:00 service — the best in town! It’s a good time to meet and get to know one another. Please come!