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Scripture readings for this Sunday – Advent IV
2 Samuel 7:1–11, 16; Romans 16:25–27; Luke 1:26–38
Scripture readings for the Christmas Season:
Christmas Eve - Isaiah 9:2–7; Titus 2:11–14; Luke 2:1–20
Christmas Day - Isaiah 52:7–10; Hebrews 1:1–12; Luke 2:1–20
Christmas I (31 December) - Isaiah 61:10–62:3; Galatians 4:4–7; Luke 2:22–40
PLEASE NOTE: The Parish Office will be closed from 25 December to 1 January, inclusive,
while the Parish Administrator is on holiday.
Our Parish Community
Willan Concert: Friday, 16 February 2018, 8.00 pm. A concert to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Healey Willan, who served SMM as its organist and director of music from 1921 until his death. Put it in your calendars!
SMM Singers: All are welcome to join the SMM Singers in their musical offering at the 9.30 am Sung Eucharist. We rehearse at 9.00 am every Sunday morning and are always delighted to welcome new voices and instrumentalists.
Flowers: There are lots of Sundays when we need flowers for the church! If you are interested in giving flowers, please fill out one of the forms under the roster in Hiscocks Hall, and either put it in the offering plate, or return it to Carolyn McIntire Smyth or to the Parish Office.
We’re looking for teams to help out with the coffee hours on Sundays. We would like to arrange for 4 or more groups to handle the 2 coffee hours every Sunday. If you would like to be part of a team of people (2–4) to set up and clean up please speak to a member of the Hospitality Committee. There would be help in learning the ropes! And the “old hands” would be around on a regular basis. Please give this your utmost consideration. This is a wonderful way to meet your fellow parishioners and to serve in a meaningful way in our community. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a sign-up sheet beside the kitchen door – please make use of it!
When I’m asked to describe SMM to someone outside the parish, my response is always to focus on the deep and wonderful diversity of this Christian community. Our diversity includes (and is not limited to) theological and liturgical points of view, age, race, culture, sexual identity and orientation and socioeconomic status. I believe it is this diversity which makes us who we are: strong, quirky, committed, engaged, vibrant, opinionated, faithful. Recently the parish Advisory Board, after several conversations, decided that we would identify SMM as “positive space”, and you may have noticed that positive space symbols are now visible on our doors and signs. Identifying ourselves as “positive space” means that we are committed to the creation of an environment that welcomes sexual and gender diversity, that we are ready to respond supportively to people of all sexual orientations or gender identities, and also prepared to challenge discriminatory language and stereotypical talk. I am proud that SMM has taken this step, and ask you to join me and others in making this so. David+
Spiritual Growth for Adults
The Wednesday Morning Discussion Group meets from 11.00 am to noon following the 10.00 am Mass. We are currently reading The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr. Newcomers are always welcome. For more information, please contact Fr David.
Centering Prayer Group: Join us every Thursday from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm to learn and practice this form of Christian meditation. We gather for prayer in the lounge at 6.00 pm, followed by discussion. This fall we are reading The Heart of Centering Prayer by the Rev’d Cynthia Bourgeault. Anyone is welcome to join – we will give support for prayer practice and the text. For more information please speak with Mary Catherine Doyle. PLEASE NOTE: Centering Prayer is not meeting on 28 December. The next meeting is on 4 January.
Lenten Retreat: The annual Lenten Retreat at St John’s Convent will be held from 4.00 pm on Friday, 9 March, until 2.00 pm on Sunday, 11 March. The retreat will be led by Sister Elizabeth, the Reverend Mother of the Sisterhood of St John the Divine. The cost this year will be $220.00 per person, which includes simple accommodation and meals. There are thirteen spots available. If you would like to reserve your spot, please provide a $75.00 non-refundable deposit to Fr David with cash or a cheque payable to “SMM Discretionary Fund” (subsidies are available). For more information, please speak with Fr David.
Spiritual Growth for Children & Youth
There will be no Sunday School on Sunday, 31 December.
** Faith at Home: In our culture the Christmas season starts in November, but in the Church calendar Christmas officially begins on 25 December (Christmas Day) and ends on 6 January when we celebrate Epiphany. You may know the Christmas Carol “The Twelve days of Christmas”. According to legend the twelve gifts refer to Christian symbols: My True Love = God; Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus; Two turtle doves = Old & New Testaments; Three french hens = Faith, hope, & charity; Four calling birds = The Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John; Five golden rings = The Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy; Six geese a-laying = Six days of creation; Seven swans a-swimming = Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; Eight maids a-milking = Eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10); Nine ladies dancing = Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control (Galatians 5:22-23); Ten lords a-leaping = Ten Commandments; Eleven pipers piping = Eleven faithful apostles; Twelve drummers drumming = Twelve points of the Apostle’s Creed. You can learn more in Helen Haidle’s book, The 12 Days of Christmas: The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song. Try to mark the days after the 25th as special Christmas days, when we rejoice in the coming of Christ into our world. You can try keeping the tree up until 5 January, continuing to light the Christ candle in your advent wreath (or any candle at home) from Christmas to Epiphany as a symbol of Christ – the light of the world has come, or doing a special activity each day to mark the season.
** Sunday School in Epiphany: Epiphany marks the beginning of the season of manifestation or recognition. The event we recognize at Epiphany is the Magi’s visit, but throughout this season we will also hear stories of Jesus’ baptism, many healing stories, and his transfiguration. In Sunday school we will be focusing on the Gospel stories each Sunday as we seek to better recognize and understand Jesus and his mission in the world.
** Community Dinner and Sock Distribution: In Advent our children helped lead a parish sock and boot drive and collected over 120 pairs of socks and 12+ pairs of boots! A special thanks to Audrey Randall and her grade 3 class at Clinton Elementary School for taking up our cause and collecting over 50 pairs! We will distribute the socks on Friday 5 January, 5.30–7.30 pm at St Thomas Anglican Church (383 Huron St) as part of the community dinner. All children and their families are welcome to come and help serve and participate in this meal.
Outreach & Social Justice
Community Dinner Outreach: Our next Dinner will be on Friday, 5 January, at St Thomas’, Huron Street.If you can help with rich comfort food like scalloped potatoes, chicken, ham, or beef, vegetarian dishes, and casseroles, or with set up or clean up, please contact Brian Clarke at email@example.com or Joan Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial contributions are always welcomed. Please mark “Community Dinner” on your envelope.
O’Neill Centre Nursing Home: Our ministry at the O’Neill Centre continues Tuesday, 23 January, at 2.30 pm. Please consider joining this ministry of sacrament and presence. For more information, please speak to Fr David.
An update on our next sponsorship, which began on 29 November, when a family of four from Syria (via Malaysia) arrived at Pearson airport: We have found a comfortable temporary apartment for the family, and have secured a permanent apartment for 1 February. We are doing very well for donations of furniture and household goods … thank you all. What we do have need of still are children’s car seats, ones suitable for a 5- and 8-year old. There might also be miscellaneous small things for their permanent home that we have not thought of. If you would like to help, one thing that would be very useful would be gift cards to Canadian Tire, Walmart, or any other such place, in any amount. The purchase would be eligible for a tax receipt. As always, thanks for your support.
SMM Calendars are now available! $5.00 each. See Veronica Allen, or contact the Parish Office.
Become a regular donor!
The ministry of this parish costs about $1,400 per day. To find out more about offering envelopes or about pre-authorized monthly giving (bank transfer/credit card), please contact the parish office at 416-531-7955 x 2 or email@example.com.