Dearly Beloved,

As Advent has now passed its midway point, we should reflect on the fact that we are awaiting the coming of our Lord and Savior…both the Babe of Bethlehem, who would die and rise again for our salvation, and also the King of Glory, who will come again to judge the world. We watch and wait. Much as St. John the Baptist watched and waited for the coming Messiah. John plays a central role in the Church’s Advent message here in the latter half of Advent. In the Gospel this coming Sunday, he sends his followers to ask Jesus, “Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?” John was paying attention, he was watching, he was waiting. Jesus responded, “Go and show John again those things ye do hear and see.” And those things were all the marks of the coming Messiah and what he would accomplish. The mystery of the Messiah’s coming was revealed to John. The mystery was revealed to him because he was found to be faithful. He was faithful to his vocation to be the one, as we will hear him say in the Gospel lesson in the next Sunday’s Gospel, who was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.”

And so we must be. St. Paul tells us in the Epistle this weekend that if we are to be given into our care the mysteries of the coming of God, “it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” If we are faithful in our vocation of watching and waiting, then that mystery will be revealed to us. Let us watch and wait for His coming, for the fact that our Master is returning. As we rejoice in two short weeks as Christmas arrives, let us remember that the Babe born at Bethlehem gave us a Commandment that would prepare us for His Second Coming. The Commandment that would ensure He would find us faithful as we watched and waited for His Return. For it is “a new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another…” (John 13.34) Therein is our vocation as stewards, that we love one another. Let us make it so.

Hugs for Hugh
As most of you know, Hugh Fitzpatrick has been diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma. Although this is a very serious disease, we have reason to be optimistic because the treatments used can be very effective. Hugh does, however, have a long journey of treatment and recovery ahead of him. To encourage Hugh and the Fitzpatrick family, All Saints will be sending Hugh a new storybook each week with a loving message from you to brighten what is sure to be many difficult weeks ahead. All you need to do to participate is purchase a storybook appropriate for a preschooler (Hugh is 4 yrs old). On the inside front cover write your favorite Bible verse or an uplifting message and sign your name. Bring your books to the church and we will mail a new book to Hugh and the Fitzpatrick family each week.

Silver Jubilee
This coming Wednesday, December 16, is the 25th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. I will be celebrating the Holy Communion at 6:00 p.m. that night for the Ember Wednesday in Advent, which is appropriate considering that is the day we pray for the increase of vocations to the ministry. Please join me for Holy Communion and then immediately thereafter the church is hosting a reception to recognize this anniversary. I look forward to seeing all of you on Wednesday!

Tuesday Book Study
The Tuesday morning Book Study will return on January 5, with an exciting new twist! The class will be meeting in-person on Tuesday mornings at 11:00 a.m. at the church and via Zoom on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. This will allow everyone who wishes to participate to do so. Please see or call Dss. Cynthia to sign-up for one of the class times offered. The study book is 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. Each chapter tells the story of world-changing figures such as Joan of Arc, Corrie Ten Boom, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, and more. The class runs for 7 weeks and will be finished before Ash Wednesday. The book is available in several formats on Amazon. Paperback copies are available for purchase at the church. The cost for a paperback copy is $15.00.

Angel Tree Success
Thank you very much to all of you who participated in our annual Angel Tree program. All the gifts were delivered this week. We were able to fulfill the “wish lists” for 10 children from two families. Particularly noteworthy, beyond the gifts purchased, was your generosity to the men’s “bicycle” fund. We were able to provide additional financial assistance to the two families facing these difficult times, as well as being able to support Bread of Life over in Brevard with their daily feeding program. Between the gifts purchased and the funds raised, I estimate you provided nearly $5000.00 of Christmas cheer and support to those who really needed it! Well done, thou good and faithful servants!

Christmas Flowers and Decorations
Envelopes have been placed in the pews for your donations toward our flowers and other decorations for Christmas. Your donation can be dedicated in honor of someone or in memory of a loved one who has passed away. Please note that on the envelop. If you are remaining at home but still wish for your dedication to be published on Christmas, please contact Dss. Cynthia in the church office.

Christmas Worship Schedule
Nothing has changed in our usual worship celebrations at Christmas. Here is the schedule for Christmas Eve and Day.Thursday, December 24, Christmas Eve
7:00 p.m., Family Eucharist of Christmas
11:00 p.m., Christmas Mass at Midnight
Friday, December 25, Christmas Day
10:00 a.m., Mass of Christmas Day 
The full schedule of all of our activities from now through January 1 is down below.

Rescue Mission Service
We still need 2 volunteers for serving lunch at the Hendersonville Rescue Mission on December 30. I think spending time in service to others is a fabulous way to celebrate the 6th Day of Christmas!

Vestry Meeting
The vestry will meet this coming Monday, December 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the parish hall.

Please remember that our food bank recipient this month is the Western Carolina Rescue Mission up in Asheville. And as I always urge you, please pray for one another just as our Savior intercedes for us at the Throne of Glory!

Blessings,
Fr. Erich

This Week in the Parish

Sunday, December 13, Third Sunday in Advent
8:30 a.m. Holy Communion: in person
9:45 a.m. Sunday School Classes
11:00 a.m. Holy Communion: in person and live-streamed

Monday, December 14
6:30 p.m., Vestry Meeting

Tuesday, December 15
11:00 a.m., Holy Communion: limited seating

Wednesday, December 16, Ember Day
6:00 p.m., Holy Communion: in person and live-streamed
6:30 p.m., Reception for Fr. Erich’s ordination anniversary
6:30 p.m., Choir Practice

Saturday, December 19
10:00 a.m., Christmas Tree setup

Remaining Schedule for December

Sunday, December 20, Fourth Sunday in Advent
· 8:30 a.m., Holy Communion (Installation of Vestry)
· 9:45 a.m., Sunday School
· 11:00 a.m., Holy Communion (Installation of Vestry)
· 12:15 a.m., Greening & Decorating of the Church
 
Monday, December 21, St. Thomas, Apostle
· 12:00 p.m., Holy Communion
 
Wednesday, December 23
· 6:00 p.m., Holy Communion
 
Thursday, December 24, Christmas Eve
· 7:00 p.m., Family Eucharist of Christmas
· 11:00 p.m., Christmas Mass at Midnight
 
Friday, December 25, Christmas Day
· 10:00 a.m., Mass of Christmas Day
 
Saturday, December 26, St. Stephen’s Day
· 12:00 p.m., Holy Communion
 
Sunday, December 27, St. John the Evangelist Day
· 8:30 a.m., Holy Communion
· 9:45 a.m., No Sunday School
· 11:00 a.m., Holy Communion
 
Monday, December 28, Holy Innocents Day
· 12:00 p.m., Holy Communion
 
Tuesday, December 29
· No Limited Seating Holy Communion
 
Wednesday, December 30, Sixth Day of Christmas
· 11:30 a.m., Rescue Mission Service
· 6:00 p.m., Holy Communion
 
Friday, January 1, Feast of the Circumcision
· 12:00 p.m., Holy Communion

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