ANNOUNCEMENTS – 3 December 2017

Upcoming Events
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Scripture readings for this Sunday – Advent I
Isaiah 64:1–9; 1 Corinthians 1:3–9; Mark 13:24–37

Scripture readings for the following Sunday – Advent II
Isaiah 40:1–11; 2 Peter 3:8–15a; Mark 1:1–8

Our Parish Community

** Today welcome Michael Perry to SMM as our new theological student. Michael is a student at Trinity College, and a postulant for ordination in the Diocese of Toronto. He will be with us until Easter, focusing on Liturgical Formation, and Children & Youth programs.

** Christmas is coming, and we need your help! Please come deck the halls (actually the nave, the chancel and the sanctuary) on 17 December, which is Advent III, starting at 12.30. Questions? Please call Edith Killey at 416-534-5456 or email ekilley@sympatico.ca.

** The Feast of the Immaculate Conception: On 8 December we celebration the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a Procession & Solemn Mass at 6:00 pm. This feast day celebrates the conception of the Mary, mother of our Lord, and makes the radical claim that Mary received, at the moment of her conception, what you and I received at the moment of our baptisms – which is sanctifying grace, which overcomes the fallen state of humanity into which we are born, and through which we are transformed into holy children of God and adopted as God’s own. We are hoping to have a potluck supper following this mass, but in order to make this so we need people to sign up on the flip chart downstairs to wash dishes and tidy up. If we don’t get enough folks singing up, unfortunately we will not be able to have a potluck supper on Friday night. David+

Our Annual Advent Bake Sale takes place on Sunday, 10 December, after the 9.30 am and 11.00 am masses! We need lots of goodies, volunteers and consumers to help make it a great success. If you can bring some goodies and/or volunteer to help out, could you please add your name to the sign-up sheet on the Hospitality bulletin board outside the kitchen or speak to Viola Lang or Lynn Singer.

Save the Date – Friday, 16 February 2018: That date is the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Healey Willan, who served SMM as its organist and director of music from 1921 until his death. We are planning an event that evening which will celebrate Willan’s contribution to the musical life of this parish and the entire Church. Put it in your calendars!

Spiritual Growth for Adults

** TODAY! After each mass: Liturgy Moments. Join Fr David after each mass for a brief chat about an aspect of liturgy. This month’s topic: What is the season of Advent all about?

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.

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. 

Positive Space

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 that 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 have now been included on our doors and signage. Identifying ourselves as “positive space” means that we are committed to contributing 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 Children & Youth

Christmas Pageant – We will be having a Christmas pageant again this year at the 4.00 pm Sung Mass on Christmas Eve, and as always we are looking for actors! Our director this year is Noura Kevorkian – another award winning Canadian director (SMM is blessed with talent!). Rehearsals will be Sundays at 11.00 am on 3 December, 10 December, and 17 December, as well as a dress rehearsal on Saturday, 23 December, at 3.00 pm. 11.00 am children will be upstairs in time for the offertory each Sunday.

** Christmas Bird Count 4 Kids: Parents and kids – would you like to learn about winter birds and the great outdoors? This is a fun way to connect with nature – come and join us for the annual Christmas Bird Count 4 Kids at the High Park Nature Centre. It takes place Saturday, 16 December, from 8.00–9.30 am. We begin indoors, learning how to identify some of the common birds in the park, and how to use binoculars. Then we head outside in teams to look for birds, and then we’ll go back inside to tally what we saw and warm up with cocoa and cookies. This is an all-ages event – no experience needed! If you have binoculars, bring them (there will be some available). Carole Giangrande and Brian Gibson will be heading up a team. For directions and more info, go to https://guestlist.co/events/484302?utm=aftrse59j0bncubt

We raised over $2000.00 at our fundraiser on 5 November! Thanks to everyone who came out – your support is greatly appreciated.

Advent in Sunday School: The 9.30 Sunday School will be exploring those who called out that Jesus was coming as we await his birth on Christmas. At 11.00 am we will hold our Christmas pageant rehearsals – all children are invited to participate. Children from 11.00 am are asked to begin the service downstairs in the Jr Sunday school room. 11.00 am children will be able to return to church in time for communion.

Faith@Home: Waiting … One way to teach children (and adults) about watching and waiting—but not in vain—is with bulbs. From a garden or big-box home store, purchase an amaryllis or several paperwhite narcissus bulbs. Fill a container with potting soil or stones. Plant the bulb in the soil or stones without about half of the bulb showing above the surface. Place the pot near a sunny window and water frequently … Start the bulbs on the first day of Advent. Gentle daily watering functions as a form of Advent discipline. Somewhere in the latter days of Advent or on one of the twelve days of Christmas, the plant will start to flower.

Outreach & Social Justice

Community Dinner Outreach: Our next Dinner will be on Friday, 22 December, 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 b.clarke@utoronto.ca or Joan Porter at porter.joanm@gmail.com. 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, 19 December, at 2.30 pm. Please consider joining this ministry of sacrament and presence. For more information, please speak to Fr David.

MURP Updates

An update on our next sponsorship, which begins on 29 November, when a family of four from Syria (via Malaysia) arrives at Pearson airport: We have found a comfortable temporary apartment for the family, and are aiming to find more permanent accommodations for January. 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.

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 office@stmarymagdalene.ca.

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