Good Morning and Welcome to St. Mary’s Church!

 *HOLIDAY*  * CRAFT*  *FAIR* TODAY:  from 12:00 noon until 6:00 pm, an extrava-ganza of incredible crafts on display and for sale as gifts. Tell your friends, family and neigh-bors and come to one of the premier crafts fairs in New York!! Come and check it out!!

“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!!

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 today 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.

Make Columbia Keep Its Promises! Friday, December 9th 3:00 pm at 116th St. and Broadway. Join us to seek jobs and justice for the people of West Harlem!!

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. 9, you got served (2004 popular drama, PG-13, L.A. dance crew battles for a $5000 prize).

“Gasland” A documentary film on hydro-fracking, Monday, Dec. 5th at 7:30 pm, 100 LaSalle St. (Basement Recreation Center); Liz Mellen will lead a discussion about the threat to our water supply following the film. Sponsored by Morningside Gardens Community Relations.

Advent Events: *December 18th, the Fourth Sunday of Advent: 10:00 am “A Service of Lessons and Carols,” special music by the Harlem Chamber Players, the Sunday School and the Choir, followed by an Advent mini-retreat 

*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

*December 22nd, “Blue Christmas” Service at 7:00 pm

*December 24th, Christmas Eve service, 7:00 pm, music: the Orfeo Duo

*December 25th, Christmas Day, one service only, 9:00 am

Preaching schedule: Dec. 11th, the Third Sunday of Advent: Rev. Kooperkamp; Dec. 18th Service of Lesson and Carols; Dec. 24th, 7:00 pm Christmas Eve; Dec 25th, 9:00 am.

 Reflections on today’s scripture readings by Arthur Cash

First Reading, Isaiah 40: 1-11

In 539 BC, Babylon, where the Jews had been held in slavery for fifty years, was captured by the Persians. The Persians had set about establishing a more stable empire then Assyria or Babylon had been able to effect. A key policy was tolerance of local customs, governments, and religions so long as the vassal states gave them money and soldiers. Accordingly, as Second Isaiah has just learned, the Jews are to be released from their captivity and allowed to return to their homeland, you will hear one of the most joyful poems in the Bible. The opening words, as rendered in the King James Version of the Bible, appear as the opening words of Handel’s great oratorio, “The Messiah.”

Second Reading, Second Peter, 3:8-15a

This may be the latest-written book of the Bible, composed about 150 AD. It cannot be the work of the disciple Peter, who probably was martyred in 64 AD, nor that of the author of First Peter, written no later than 115 AD. Whoever wrote this sermon-like letter assures some unidentified Christian group that the teaching of the church may depend upon. From this passage, we see that the idea of an apocalypse, a cataclysmic event in which the world will be destroyed and the saved will be taken into heaven, had become orthodox. When the account of the apocalypse is treated as literal, as it is here, I consider it a mistaken, even dangerous notion.

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