Sunday, December 30, 2012

St. Philip's Celebrates Christmas

In our Baptismal Covenant, we promise to "seek and serve Christ in all persons." On the Saturday morning before Christmas, parishioners filled grocery bags for 41 families. These were mainly the families of children who attend nearby Laurel Elementary School and depend on meals served at school. The bags of groceries included not only a turkey and all the trimmings, but also enough food to help feed the family during the winter break. 

St. Philiip's also adopted five families through Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services (LARS) and provided them with clothes, toys, and food for Christmas. In addition, parishioners gave gifts to children whose parents are temporarily living at Reality House, an inpatient addiction treatment center just down the street from our church.

On Sunday morning, December 23, we had just one service at 9 AM: Advent Lessons and Carols.  Then the choir had a special two-hour practice while others "greened the church." They made garlands of fresh pine and laurel, which were draped over the old, dark wooden beams high in the nave.

Christmas Eve services began at 4 PM with the Children's Christmas Play. We had two Festive Eucharists, with incense, bell choir, choir anthems, carols, and even a marimba. The first service was at 8 PM; the second, at 11 PM. "Midnight Mass" is an Episcopalian tradition, but I wonder how long our sleep-deprived generation can keep it going.

Tonight we welcome 34 homeless men and 4 homeless women for a week's stay with us. They'll have a warm place to sleep and they'll have a hot, home-cooked dinner every night. After breakfast, everyone will leave for the day, taking a bag lunch. Many of our guests have jobs. Those who are unemployed might head for the public library or the "day center" on Route One. Next Sunday morning, our guests will move to another congregation. The Winter Shelter began the first week in December and will continue until mid-March. Over 15 congregations, including the synagogue, will each host the guests for one week. 

1 comment:

PseudoPiskie said...

Our church gave up on "midnight" mass when the choir got too old. lol. I wish we could help others but I haven't been able to foster that idea yet. Someday...