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

 Many THANKS to all for an  incredible job everyone did on the annual holiday crafts fair! Huge thanks go out to all our fabulous volunteers – from hanging signs at dawn, setting up and decorating the undercroft, cooking, baking delicious treats, donating crafty handmade items, printing/cutting/distributing flyers, and selling food, to cleaning up and much, much more! Thanks to all our Craft Fair Volunteers (in alphabetical order): Inez Alexander, Freddi Brown-Carter, Hilda Cabrera, Marion Campbell, Annie Deng, Janet Dorman, Jean Fax, Clifford Goff, Christopher Gordon, Patrick Harding, Judy Johnson, Earl and Elizabeth Kooperkamp, Christine Lee, Sheila and Shirrell Patterson, Bonnie Phelps, Lysander Puccio, Dorothy Ross, Lisa Slocum, Gloria Smith, Marleene Wallace, Harriet Wyatt. Thanks much to you all!! And if we’ve forgotten anyone, DOUBLE KUDOS to them (and out apologies, too)!

Also, we’d like to give a shout out to all our vendors, crafters and power shoppers (you know who you are!)!! Have a great Christmas and see you next year!

“Peace of Pizza” Wednesday, Dec. 14th at 7:00 pm, a meal and fellowship with the participants of the New York Intern Program.

Vestry Meeting: Thursday Dec. 15th at 6:00 pm. All are invited.

Mariam, Mark and Marx: Thursday Dec. 15th at 7:00 pm, a monthly Bible Study and current events discussion. Please see Jim white for more information.

“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!!

Advent Events:       NEXT WEEK: 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. Also:

                             *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: t

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

*January 1st, Sunday School Pageant and Kwanzaa celebration, 10:00 am

Reflections on today’s scripture readings by Arthur Cash

First Reading, Isaiah 61: 1 – 4, 8 -11

“Third Isaiah,” is about the Jews after their return from the Babylonian exile. Their homeland, which they now call Judea, is no longer divided between a northern and southern state, but thousands of foreign gentiles whom the Babylonians had forced into the area are now settled there. Many rural Jews that had been left behind when the Babylonians tool their captives away are practicing a splinter Judaism—the Samaritans. The walls of Jerusalem are down, the Temple reduced to rubble. In this passage, the poet imagines God’s response to the troubled prayer of the returnees.

Second Reading, First Thessalonians 5:16 – 24

Our lesson is taken from what is probably the earliest of the surviving letters of Paul–the first letter to the Christians of Thessalonica (modern Salonica, in Macedonia), possibly written as early as 50AD. This colony had suffered persecution, and not only survived, but thrived. In our lesson, we hear Paul’s injunction to lead a life of purity while awaiting the second coming of Christ.

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