Episcopal Ladies Night Out December 27th at CHIMNEYS !
Join us at 5:30 for Meeting and Greeting
We’ll Dine at 6pm
RSVP JAN SHOOK @ 860-4407
RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE MONDAY THE 26TH
MEN’S GRILLIN GROUP
will NOT meet in December.
A LOOK BACK AT CHRISTMAS MORNING !
Feast day of Saint Stephen
Jeremiah 26:1-9,12-15, Acts 6:8-7:2a,51c-60, Matthew 23:34-39, Psalm 31 or 31:1-5
Collect: We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Feast day of Saint John
Exodus 33:18-23, 1 John 1:1-9, John 21:19b-24, Psalm 92 or 92:1-4,11-14
Collect: Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light, that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Feast day of Holy Innocents
Jeremiah 31:15-17, Revelation 21:1-7, Matthew 2:13-18, Psalm 124
Collect: We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
ALL OF WEDNESDAY’S
ACTIVITIES ARE TAKING A BREAK
Feast Day of the Holy Name
Readings: Numbers 6:22-27, Galatians 4:4-7, or Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 2:15-21, Psalm 8
The Collect: Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Lesser Feast Days and Fasts for this week
29 Thomas Becket,
Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1170
31 Frances Joseph Gaudet,
Educator and Prison Reformer, 1934
From Fr. Ezra and
The St . James Kasemire (Uganda) Church Congregations
the big love you shared with the community of St. James Kasemire Church Of Uganda during your 2018 visit to Uganda and the money you contributed towards the construction of the 7 classrooms will always be appreciated by the pupils, the parents, the guardians and every one who will visit our village. Thank you and thank you very much and please convey our sincere gratitudes also to some other friends.
The complete house with shatters and well plastered has 3 classrooms and 2 offices. The other block on the right side with no shatters and not plastered has four classrooms. We are glad to inform you that we now have seven classrooms that make a complete primary school.
However ,this new building with no shatters and not even plastered is inconveniencing the pupils during the rainy season.
We therefore request you during this Christmas season to mobilize some Christians ,friends or the church council to contribute any amount affordable towards the total of $ 6000 dollars needed to help us complete this building. We believe that one by one, makes a bundle.Therefore even one dollar counts a lot to us . God bless you abundantly.
We wish you all A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.
And The St . James Kasemire Church Congregations
ADVENT EPISCOPAL RELIEF and DEVELOPMENT
Each year, during the season of Advent, St. Peter’s by-the-Sea raises funds for ERD. This year our focus will be on supporting Episcopal Relief & Development in providing humanitarian aid in response to the crisis in Ukraine. By donating to the Ukraine Crisis Response Fund, you will help meet critical needs for people fleeing the violence including food, cash, blankets and hygiene supplies.
Weekly Worship Schedule
Takin’ a week off
8am Rite I
9:30 Sunday School
10:30 Rite II and
December 25 – December 31
25th – Marion Hood
26th -Bob Montgomery
27th – Hannah Black
30th – Libby Koch
30th – Ian Phillips
31st – Lamar Billups
31st – Stanley Hastings
30th – Tim & Pam Barrineau
SAVE THE DATES
Next Meeting in January
Support our Local Non-Profits
Support our ECW with the purchase of a St. Peter’s Ornament!
Commissioned in 2009, and the 4th in a series of Downtown Gulfport Landmarks, these cast pewter ornaments are the original work of artist Maurice Milleur. Measuring approximately 2 3/4″ tall.
These make great gifts and help support our ECW.
Ornaments are $20/each and may be purchased by contacting any ECW member or the church office.
PART of the ARTS !
Title: Gloria in excelsis deo!
Building: Prince of Peace Abbey
Object/Function: Stained glass
Country: United States
Attribution: Gloria in excelsis deo!, from Art in the Christian Tradition,
a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-
[retrieved December 26, 2022]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
words of the week
(what does it mean?)
Oxford Movement, The
(not the Rebels’ Offensive line)
A nineteenth-century movement which reasserted the apostolic and catholic heritage of Anglicanism. The Oxford Movement is also known as the Catholic Revival. It emphasized the church’s identity as the divine society and the sacramental character of the church’s corporate life. It also sought to uphold the BCP as the rule of faith. It began when several priests of the Church of England, most notably Edward Pusey, John Henry Newman, and John Keble, became convinced that the Church of England had abandoned its heritage as a catholic and apostolic church. They feared that the Church of England was in danger of apostasy. The immediate beginning of the Oxford Movement was a sermon preached by Keble in 1833 in which he denied the authority of the British Parliament to abolish several dioceses in Ireland.
Keble, Pusey, Newman, and others began to publish a series known as Tracts for the Times, which called the Church of England to return to the ways of the ancient and undivided church in matters of doctrine, liturgy and devotion. The Tracts were a powerful and influential expression of the principles of the Oxford Movement, and the Oxford Movement has also been known as the Tractarian Movement. The writers of the Tracts and their supporters have been known as Tractarians. The Tracts were strongly opposed to the abuses which they saw in the Roman Catholic Church, but they were attacked as “papist” and rejected by many. However, many others were convinced by the Tracts, and the Oxford Movement became a major force in the Church of England. The leaders of the Oxford Movement taught that the Church of England and the larger Anglican Communion are part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. The last Tract was Newman’s Tract 90(1841), which generally sought to interpret the Thirty-Nine Articles as consistent with the decrees of the Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1545-1563). This prompted considerable criticism and ended the publication of Tracts. The movement faced a crisis when Newman and others subsequently left the Church of England to become Roman Catholics. The Oxford Movement survived this crisis through the work of Pusey, Keble, Robert Wilberforce, and a second generation of priests, known as the ritualists, who worked among the poor in the large cities of Britain.
The Oxford Movement encouraged a recovery of the beauty of the church’s worship in the external forms of liturgical ceremonies, vestments, and music. It led to a renewed appreciation for the church’s catholic heritage and tradition, the importance of the apostolic ministry and the sacraments, the recovery of Anglican spiritual life, the revival of monastic life in the Anglican Communion, and appreciation for the ancient doctrines, discipline, and devotional practices of the church. It inspired the Library of the Fathers, which included English translations of patristic works. The first volume was Pusey’s translation of Augustine’s Confessions (1838), with a preface by Pusey on the significance of patristic study. The movement also led to the liberal catholic movement at the end of the nineteenth century.
In the United States, the Oxford Movement had considerable impact, although many of its theological principles had been earlier anticipated. Many Tractarian parishes were established throughout the United States, especially in the midwest where Nashotah House in Wisconsin was influential. As in England, the movement led to many controversies in the Episcopal Church. There was an investigation of the General Theological Seminary in New York. General Convention passed an anti-ritualist canon. James DeKoven was denied episcopal election, and a few people followed Newman to the Roman Catholic Church. But the controversies eventually quieted down in the United States as in England, and many of the principles of the Oxford Movement have become widely accepted in the Episcopal Church. See Tracts for the Times; see DeKoven, James.
High and Dry
The term generally indicates a high church Anglican or Episcopalian who precedes or is not strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement, especially the advanced catholic ritual practices that came to be associated with the Oxford Movement. In this case, a “high” theology of the church is associated with the less elaborate (“dry”) ritual practices that preceded the Oxford Movement. See High Church; see Oxford Movement, The; see Ritualism.
Ritual refers to the prescribed form of words of an act of worship and also has been used to indicate the ceremonial of worship. The term “ritualism” was applied to the ceremonial enrichment of public worship by re-introducing pre-Reformation ceremonial practices into Anglicanism. These included practices at the eucharist such as the use of vestments, a processional cross, altar lights, incense, the mixed chalice, and liturgical actions such as genuflection and the elevation of the host for adoration. Those who supported the advance of ritualism were known as “ritualists.”
The early stages of the Oxford Movement emphasized the recovery of catholic beliefs and ideas rather than ceremonial. But the renewed emphasis on catholic theology led to an expanding use of catholic practices and forms in the mid-nineteenth century. The advance of ritualism became intensely controversial in the Episcopal Church. Some opponents of ritualism believed the changes were introducing Roman Catholic practices and beliefs into a Protestant Church. Evangelicals were often strong and vocal opponents of ritualism. For many years, Bishop Manton Eastburn of Massachusetts refused to visit the Church of the Advent, Boston, because of the parish’s ritual practices. This dispute eventually led to a canon passed by the 1856 General Convention requiring a bishop to visit every parish in the bishop’s jurisdiction at least once every three years. The controversy over ritualism led John Henry Hopkins, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, to publish The Law of Ritualism(1866). Hopkins urged that a wide variety of ritual uses were canonically permitted in the Episcopal Church. He predicted that many of the controverted practices would eventually be accepted.
Proposed canons on ritual were considered at the General Conventions of 1868 and 1871, but no canons on ritual were enacted. However, resolutions condemning ceremonies expressing doctrines foreign to the church were adopted at the 1871 General Convention, and the pastoral letter of the House of Bishops condemned the new ritualism. Ritualism was one of the issues that led some radical evangelicals into schism from the Episcopal Church in 1873. George David Cummins, Assistant Bishop of Kentucky, and others organized the Reformed Episcopal Church. The General Convention of 1874 did pass a canon on ritual. Many hoped this would satisfy the evangelicals, and prevent further departures from the Episcopal Church. This canon called for a bishop to investigate any use of ceremonies or practices in the bishop’s jurisdiction symbolizing “false or doubtful doctrine.” The bishop was empowered first to admonish and then bring to trial any member of the clergy who persisted in these practices. However, this canon did virtually nothing to slow the expansion of ritual practices in the Episcopal Church. Only one trial for ritualism took place. In 1877 Oliver Prescott received episcopal admonishment for his ritual practices. The canon on ritual was quietly repealed at the 1904 General Convention.
James DeKoven was a distinguished defender of ritual practices and a strong advocate for ritualism at the 1871 and 1874 General Conventions. At the 1871 General Convention, he argued that ritual practices do not symbolize the doctrine of transubstantiation. He noted that such practices preceded the doctrine of transubstantiation. These practices were shared by Orthodox and Lutheran churches that denied transubstantiation. At the 1874 General Convention, DeKoven urged the church to adopt a comprehensive approach to worship. The canon on ritual was passed despite DeKoven’s plea for comprehensiveness. His defense of ritualism led his opponents to question his theology of the eucharist and block his election as Bishop of Illinois. However, DeKoven’s vision of comprehensiveness in worship ultimately prevailed in the Episcopal Church. His life and ministry are commemorated on Mar. 22 in the Episcopal calendar of the church year. Many of the ritualist practices and actions that were controversial in the nineteenth century are now generally accepted. See DeKoven, James; see Oxford Movement; see Transubstantiation.
Who Counts at Christmas?, Christmas II (A)
December 25, 2022
This sermon is also available as part of Sermons for Advent and Christmas 2022, a compilation for download here. Each sermon includes questions for reflection with your small group, congregation, or personal devotions.
We begin the story of Christmas with a sentence from scripture that’s not quite true.
“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.”
Well, almost all the world. Everyone who had some kind of position in society, even a working-class one, like Mary and Joseph, went to be registered. Anyone who could conceivably pay taxes was on the emperor’s list and had to report in and be accounted for. It was sort of the first-century equivalent of Big Brother/Big Data. You’re not getting anywhere in America without a driver’s license, and you couldn’t get anywhere in first-century Palestine without being on the emperor’s list. If you were taxable, you would be counted.
“All went to their own towns to be registered,” Luke says. Well, again, not quite all.
Luke himself tells us that in the next paragraph: “In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.” The shepherds did not return to their hometowns to be registered. They were on the very bottom rung of society. They couldn’t pay taxes and had fallen so far between the cracks of the Roman Empire that they weren’t even expected to. They were nobodies. When it came time for the registration, to show up and present their names and papers to the government, no one looked for them. They quite literally didn’t count.
And who among all the people in the Bible were the first to hear the news of the birth of Christ? While everyone else was in the city, busily submitting to TSA screenings and handing in forms in triplicate at the DMV and making sure their health insurance card was in their wallet, the shepherds were out in the country with their sheep. They were not worried about whether there would be room at the inn. The inn was never an option for them.
And out of the perilous freedom that was their world, free from what Michael S. Bennett calls “the economic hamster wheel that so engrosses the rest of us,” comes something earth-shattering. “Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them… suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom [God] favors!'”
Why are we always surprised that it is the last and the lost and the least to whom God brings the Good News first? The people who were rejected and scorned and abandoned, people on whom society relied for manual labor and to endure the danger of scaring off predators from the sheep, saw the heavenly host and the glory of the Lord. David was a shepherd who became a king, and so was Jesus. But where David stayed a king, Jesus’ identity as the Good Shepherd was always more important to him than any regal crown or royal rule.
“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?” Jesus says later in the Gospel of Luke. Shepherds know what counts, and that is counting every sheep, making sure every single one is safe and home and cared for, no matter how wayward and stubborn.
To the empire, the shepherds didn’t count. But to God, they did.
And to Jesus they did, to the point that he took on their name and their ministry, calling himself the Good Shepherd. Why did he do that? Perhaps in gratitude for their next actions in the story: “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them… The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
Imagine what it would feel like to be told by society and the government for your whole life that you don’t count. You don’t matter. You aren’t even worth the trouble to write down your name on a list so you can pay taxes.
And then, imagine being told by the very heavenly host that you do count, in a much bigger world – the Kingdom of God. The shepherds could have stayed in the fields with the sheep – they knew the territory there, they had a job to do there, and they knew they weren’t welcome in the city anyway. But they had both the raw courage and the profound generosity to share the message, to share the Good News, with people who had never valued them. That is grace. That is joy. That is a life transformed by the Gospel.
Who do you dislike because you know they don’t value you? To whom do you feel like a number and not a name? Are there people in your life who dismiss you because of your age, the home you live in, the country of your birth, the work you do, or the person you love? Who makes you feel like you don’t count? That may be the very person whose soul is starving for want of the Good News. That may be the very person who is so trapped by a system that lends them status and importance that they could not imagine what it means to be loved without labels. That may be the person who needs you, a messenger of God, the most.
There are people in your life right now who do not know that God loves them. There are people in your life right now who think they don’t count. Someone has to tell them they do matter, that God does love them, and you are that person.
Maybe that’s a scary idea or seems like hard work or you’d like to think it’s someone else’s job. Maybe you’re the one who feels like you don’t count. Maybe you’re the one for whom the love of God is more a nice idea than a visceral experience. Either way, you’re a shepherd. You’re abiding in the fields, and the heavenly host has something to say to you: “Do not be afraid; for see- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Hear the message of Christmas and write it on your heart: you count. You matter. You are important. God is so in love with you that God sent God’s only Son to live and dwell among you, to teach you and heal you, to die for you and rise for you. And the deeper you take that knowledge into you, the freer and braver you are to tell that to every single person you meet.
“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.” Except for the shepherds. Because they had nothing that the empire could use. They were of no value to Rome the political oppressor or Rome the economic juggernaut. They didn’t count.
Find the ways you don’t count to political oppressors and economic juggernauts. Find the ways you can’t fit in as a cog in the machine, because your light is too bright and your shape is too strange and your life is too real. That is where God loves you the most.
You count. You matter. God proclaims that today to the whole universe in the birth of the Christ Child. Don’t ever forget it. The Kingdom of God needs you.
The Rev. Canon Whitney Rice (she/her/hers) is an Episcopal priest who serves as the Canon for Evangelism & Discipleship Development for the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. She is a graduate of Yale Divinity School, where she won the Yale University Charles S. Mersick Prize for Public Address and Preaching and the Yale University E. William Muehl Award for Excellence in Preaching. She has taught undergraduate courses at the University of Indianapolis and has contributed to Lectionary Homiletics, the Young Clergy Women’s Project journal Fidelia’s Sisters, and other publications. She has served as a researcher and community ministry grant consultant for the Indianapolis Center for Congregations and is currently a member of The Episcopal Church’s Evangelism Council of Advice. A communicator of the gospel at heart, she writes and teaches on a wide variety of topics, including rethinking evangelism, stewardship, leadership, women’s theology of the body, mysticism, and spiritual development. When she’s not thinking about theology, particularly the intersection of evangelism and justice work (which is all the time, seriously), you’ll find her swing dancing. Find more of her work at her website Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers (www.roofcrashersandhemgrabbers.com).
The Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message - December 25, 2022
Hello. I’m inside St. James Church by-the-Sea, La Jolla, California. We thank the rector, the clergy, the staff, and the good people of this church for allowing us to bring this Christmas message to The Episcopal Church from this wonderful and beautiful congregation.
There is a Christmas carol not that well known here in the States, maybe better known in Great Britain, that says quite simply, “Love came down at Christmas. Love all lovely. Love divine. Love was born at Christmas. Star and angel gave the sign. Love came down at Christmas.” The older I get, the more I am convinced that God came into this world in the person of Jesus for one reason, and one reason alone: to show us the way to be reconciled and in right relationship with the God who is the creator of us all, and with each other as children of that one God who is the creator of us all, and of all things.
Jesus came to show us how to live, reconciled with God, and with each other, and He taught us that the way to do it is God’s way of love. For God’s way of love is God’s way of life. It’s our hope for our families, our communities, our societies. Indeed, it is our hope for the whole world. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and love came down at Christmas.
Now, look, I’m 69 years old. I’ve been around the block a little bit. I know that sounds nice, sounds like the kind of thing we say in church. It sounds nice, but naive, idealistic but unrealistic, and yet, consider the alternative. Need I just simply say the names? Uvalde, Vestavia Hills, Tree of Life Synagogue, Club Q in Colorado Springs, Ukraine. Now, God’s way of love is not naive, it is not unrealistic, it’s the way. It’s the way to life for us all. Dr. King once said, “Darkness cannot cast out darkness; only light can do that. And hatred cannot cast out hatred; only love can do that.” Love came down at Christmas. And as some of us are beginning to say in this Episcopal church of ours, “Love always.”
Earlier this year, I went to Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston to be part of the seventh commemoration of the murders of the martyrs of Charleston. You may remember that a number of years ago, while members of that church had gathered for Bible study, a man came in and they welcomed him in, and invited him to join them, and he turned on them, and he killed many.
It was the seventh commemoration to both honor and remember those who had died, to give God thanks for those who helped – first responders, medical persons – but it was also something else. It was a time to commit ourselves, not simply to throw up our hands in despair, but to reach out our hands to each other, to roll up our sleeves, to take God’s hand and take each other’s hand and do the hard and holy work of love, which brings healing, which brings hope, which binds us together, and lifts us up to be all that God dreams and intends for us all to be.
Love came down at Christmas. Love always, because love is the way. It is the way that Jesus taught us based on the ancient teachings of Moses, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” for on these two hang, depend, all the law, all the prophets, everything that God intends because God is love.
Love came down at Christmas and so let this Christmas be a moment of rededication to the work of love in the world. As Howard Thurman wrote long ago, “When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star and the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are at home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, then the work of Christmas begins. To find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among others, to make music in the heart.” For love came down at Christmas, and our work is to love always. God love you. God bless you, and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love. Merry Christmas.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Did you know there are RCL (Revised Common Lectionary) Readings for each day ?
While there is a little overlap each day, they are posted on-line as a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library:
Daily Readings for this week
- Monday, December 26, 2022: Psalm 148; Wisdom 4:7-15; Acts 7:59-8:8
- Tuesday, December 27, 2022: Psalm 148; Proverbs 8:22-31; 1 John 5:1-12
- Wednesday, December 28, 2022: Psalm 148; Isaiah 49:13-23; Matthew 18:1-14
- Thursday, December 29, 2022: Psalm 20; Jeremiah 31:15-22; Luke 19:41-44
- Friday, December 30, 2022: Psalm 20; Isaiah 26:1-9; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- Saturday, December 31, 2022: Psalm 20; 1 Kings 3:5-14; John 8:12-19
- Sunday, January 1, 2023: First Sunday after Christmas Day
- Sunday, January 1, 2023: Holy Name of Jesus
- Sunday, January 1, 2023: New Year’s Day
- Monday, January 2, 2023: Psalm 20; Genesis 12:1-7; Hebrews 11:1-12
The Mississippi Episcopal Diocese
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“O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go:
preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger;
and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.