Happy New Year and Welcome to St. Mary’s Church!

 *HOLIDAY*  * CRAFT*  *FAIR* NEXT WEEKEND: December 3 and 4, from 12:00 noon until 6:00 pm, an extravaganza of incredible crafts on display and for sale as gifts. Tell your friends, family and neighbors and come to one of the premier crafts fairs in New York!! More details to come, but to volunteer, please see Lisa Slocum

“Harlem Secrets: Recipes from St. Mary’s” The Fundraising committee is putting together a cookbook, with its own special St. Mary’s flavor: there will be stories, wit and some great cooking tips. Sign up on the back table to help! Thanks!!  Also, the Holiday Craft Fair will take place on Dec. 3 and 4. Mark your calendars and come out to help.

Stand for Freedom: March and Rally to Stop the Attacks on Our Voting Rights, Saturday, December 10th 12:00 noon, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 47th Street and First Avenue.

 Eccelsia: Marcus Garvey Park: St. Mary’s is the lead congregation on the first and fifth Sunday each month. We need volunteers on the first Sunday of the month to help with the preparation of the “Second Meal.” Also: St. Mary’s Homeless Street Outreach: Saturdays, 12:00 noon preparation and 2:00 pm Street Outreach. Please let us know if you can help and keep the Homeless Street Outreach in your prayers.

Spirit and Strife Peer Trauma Support Group. If you are a trauma survivor, please join St. Mary’s in a new ministry to co-create a safe, loving, faith-inspired space in which to develop strategies for resilience and recovery. Meeting: Saturday, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. See Lysander Puccio for more information.

Movies at St. Mary’s: 6:00 pm on Fridays. Come for the fellowship, the popcorn and the FUN!!  Also, we need volunteers to help Dec. 2, the green lantern (2011 action/adventure, PG-13, aliens create an earth superhero w/ ryan reynolds).

“Reflexion Biblico” en Espanol, Saturdays at 6:00 pm, led by the Rev. Dr. Luis Barrios. More information to come. Mark your calendars!

Advent Events: December 18th, the Fourth Sunday of Advent: 10:00 am A Service of Lessons and Carols, special music from the Harlem Chamber Players, St. Mary’s Sunday School and the St. Mary’s Choir.

December 18th, Clement Clarke Moore Celebration, 4:00 pm, Church of the Intercession, 550 West 155th Street, also: a Harlem Episcopal farewell to Bishop Catherine Roskam on her retirement.

Preaching schedule: Dec. 4th, the Second Sunday of Advent: Rev. Kooperkamp; Dec. 11th, the Third Sunday of Advent: Rev. Kooperkamp; Dec. 18th Service of Lesson and Carols.

Reflections on today’s scripture readings by Arthur Cash

 First Reading, Isaiah 64: 1 – 9

The three parts of the book of Isaiah were written by at least two authors, and probably more. “First Isaiah” (Chapters 1-39) was the advisor to kings before the loss of Judah and subsequent exile to Babylon (see II Kings 18-20). “Second Isaiah” (Chapters 40-55) was a poet living among the Babylon exiles who sang joyfully about the coming return to Judea. “Third Isaiah” (Chapters 56-66) written in Jerusalem after the return, is probably by several authors, though some scholars think it is a continuation of “Second Isaiah.”

Advent begins a new church year and a new set of lessons, Year B. As your commentator, I wipe the blackboard clean and write my comments as though you had never seen those for Year A. Some of you have long known about the three Isaiah’s; some of you learned about them from my Year A. Please bear with me if I direct my comments in Year B to those who had no knowledge of the three Isaiah’s before today.

Second Reading, I Corinthians 1: 1 – 9

In preparation for the lessons to come, let me say a few words about New Testament epistles. With the exception of Revelation, which is fictional, these were letters or “memoranda” written by traveling teachers of the early church – sort of traveling bishops, though the church as yet has no Episcopal organization. The letters were sent to Christian groups throughout the Near East, Anatolia, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome, sometimes in preparation for visit, sometimes to follow one up, or sometimes to bolster the people’s faith. The communities, treasuring the letters from men they thought of as prophets, saved them and read lessons from them.

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