Good morning and welcome to St. Mary’s Church

Christmas Schedule;

December 23, Advent IV at our 10am service                                                                                                            of lessons and carols, 8am service as usual.

December 24, Christmas Eve at 7pm, Festival Service                                                                with Carols and special music,

December 30, Christmas I at 10am Eucharist                                                                               with a Kwanza celebration.

IN THE BEGINNING, Fr. Tom will be hosting a three part Advent Bible study at his home, 2186 Fifth Ave. (135th St.), Apt#7D. On three Wednesday nights in Advent.   The evening will begin at 7:30PM with supper (please bring soft drinks, and desserts. Main course, salad and wine all supplied by Fr. Tom) and at 8:15pm we will begin a study of the three Gospels which deal with the Incarnation, -The birth of Jesus. Please let Fr. Tom know if you are interested in attending one or all three of these meetings! December19, The Gospel of John Chapter 1

Miriam, Mark, and Marx Please join Mr. Jim White on December 20, at 6:pm for a discussion on scripture and Social Action, all are welcome.

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 date is Wednesday December 12, and every other Wednesday after that. See Lysander Puccio for more information.

Economic times, especially since hurricane Sandy, have become very challenging for many here at St Mary’s. If you have the means to contribute to the clergy Discretionary account, which helps these in needs, please consider making a contribution. Thank You. Father Tom.

Bulletin announcements: If you need an announcement listed in the bulletin for the next Sunday, email Ms. Gwen by 5: pm at allowances1@gmail.comon Wednesdays only.

Father Tom’s days off are Monday and Tuesday, he is available those days by phone in cases of emergencies at 1-646-692-8355… Thank you for your co-operation!

Commentary on the Readings by Arthur Cash

First Reading: Zephaniah 3: 14-20

    Zephaniah was another court poet like first Isaiah, come think even to royal lineage. Josiah, and like his king become a strict adherer to the laws of the Torah.  After predicting doom for those who have corrupted the religion, he prophesies the glorious salvation of Israel by a personal God who will come among them and inspire them to victory in warfare and compassion for the afflicted and will make them renowned to all peoples.

Second Reading: Philippians 4: 4-7

    Our reading is a portion of Paul’s farewell in his letter to the Christian colony at Philippi. It opens with what would have been understood as a pun, for the word “rejoice” was also the common word for “goodbye.”

    The words, “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding,” so familiar to us because used in dismissal, has been interpreter in two ways. The word “mind” in Greek can also mean cleverness. In that meaning, God’s peace is the state that surpasses any efforts of our own. Gut put in context, it seems clear to me it means a state of peace that we feel, but could never explain.

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