Come and Join Us at Christ Church This Holiday Season

Come to Christ Episcopal Church; be with us and rejoice as we prepare our hearts and lives for the One!  Come as the shepherds did on that most awesome of evenings, and celebrate the gift we receive in hearing the story and learning the Messiah’s name – Jesus, who is Lord and Savior.

The schedule of services throughout Advent, Christmas and New Year’s Day are printed below.  As a church sign recently seen had pronounced – “Avoid the Christmas Rush – Come to Church this Sunday!”  Let the Hope, Promise and Joy of this Advent and Christmas season be awakened in your life.  May God watch over you, your loved ones and friends and continue to richly bless you.

To those who are here every week; to those who are here from time to time; to those who have been away from us and to those who are new – no matter where you are in your spiritual journey, come be with us!

Christmas Cantata : December 17 @ 8:00 & 10:30am – Come to the Manger” is a compelling Christmas cantata that sparkles with the artistry of composer Mark Hayes. It will be presented as the message of the day by the combined choirs of Christ Church this coming Sunday morning, and at both services. The work will be accompanied by guest pianist Naho Bessho. The cantata is an inventive combination of traditional carols and spirituals, with two narrators providing the biblical commentary throughout. Please join us in celebrating the glad news through this inspiring presentation.

Annual Caroling Event : December 17 @ 7:00pm – This third annual event will take place in Old Brick, which will be decorated for the season. All are welcome to come share fellowship and light refreshments while singing some of the most beloved carols from around the world. Guitarist Douglas Jimerson will again be on hand to enhance the musical offering.

Christmas Eve in New Brick
8:00am – Holy Eucharist, with no music
4:00pm – Christmas Pageant & Holy Eucharist
8:00pm – Holy Eucharist, with music beginning at 7:30pm
11:00pm – High Solemn Mass, with music beginning at 10:30pm

Christmas Day in Old Brick
10:00am – Holy Eucharist, with singing of Christmas carols

New Year’s Eve Watch Night Service
10:30pm – All are invited to join us for a service of gratitude, and to ask for God’s blessings as we walk into a new year.

Sunday, January 1, 2017 in Old Brick
10:00am – Service of Lessons and Carols, with Eucharist

An Advent Message from Father Manny

Advent – An Invitation Into The Future Of God.
With glee and excitement hidden within our anticipation, we look expectantly forward to a season which takes us into the very depth of what it means to be invited to be a part of God’s future. It is a future we crave for, mainly because it is one in which we come to realize that it is a really big deal to be a human being. It is a future designed to assure all that no human being is disposable. I am sure most of you have read stories about the modern slave trade in Libya. An African-American friend I met in law school sent me a text the other day inquiring about what is going on in Libya, and if there is something that America or the United Nations can do about it. There’s a lot that we can all do about it, but our action will depend on whether we believe that others belong to the future of God.
It is incredibly appalling that in our 21st Century world, we still read and hear stories that we thought had long been buried with time. But it appears that time is like a cycle, rewinding itself and visiting us once more with the debris of the past. Maybe, just maybe, Advent presents us with the opportunity to consider our future as being a part of the future of God. For ours may not be actual selling of people who are trying to escape Africa for Europe, but our approach to human dignity may be uniquely similar to the man busily selling others. God’s future begins with the story of a little baby who could not even save himself but dares to offer salvation and proffers dignity on all.
In Advent, we look with hope to welcome into our lives and our world, the Word which cannot speak a word. God’s future will be revealed in a Word which can only cry in anguish over the discomfort that comes with not being able to say a word for reasons of being a baby. Many a slave’s cry in anguish over a world that has failed them. They may hear the cry of the Word which dwells deep within each of us, and which promises God’s future as one in which none is disposable.
Advent is about a hopeful future. We await the birth of the God who dared to become human — wonderful story, wonderful mystery. Dare we refuse the invitation to be a part of this life-changing story? I wouldn’t, and I hope you wouldn’t either.
Happy Advent.
– Manny.

 

The Meaning Of Advent

Advent - blue candle square

Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30th, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24th). If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent – as it is this year – with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown. This year the season of Advent begins this Sunday, December 3rd.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. Scripture readings for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.

In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power.

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing.

The liturgical color of the season is traditionally purple, but has been replaced by blue (to differentiate it from Lent) in many churches, such as here at Christ Church.

In the coming days, we will post the entire, detailed Advent and December / January holiday service schedule. Until then, join us for Advent I services this coming Sunday at 8:00 and 10:30am.

 

Join Us for the Service of Lessons & Carols – December 10th

All are invited to Christ Church on December 10, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. for the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The Christmas tradition of Nine Lessons and Carols was instituted by Archbishop Edward Benson at Truro Cathedral in England. It is based on a medieval vigil liturgy. The service has become well known throughout the world as many parishes, chapels, and cathedrals sing their own service of Lessons and Carols each year. To mark the Christmas season, lessons are read by laity and clergy, with carols and hymns sung by the choir and congregation. The scriptures and hymns all combine to express the fulfillment of God’s promise in the good news of great joy for all people, which is the birth of Jesus, who is the Messiah, the Lord. Led by our Christ Church Choir, we will sing in celebration of the Word which came to dwell with us.

Advent Quiet Day is This Saturday, December 9th

Advent has begun, and our annual Advent Quiet Day program will be held on Saturday, December 9th, from 8:30am – 12noon in Old Brick. Our time together will help us focus our perspective in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
The day will be led by our new Rector, Father Emmanuel Mercer, who will lead our morning retreat on the theme “The Names of the Messiah” with readings, discussion and times for peaceful meditation. Prior to the start of the session, we will meet together for breakfast at 8:30am. The program will then begin at 9:00am, and close with a celebration of the Eucharist at 12noon.
Please join us for an enriching time together.

 

The Youth Group Holiday Wreath Sale

wreath-sale-dynamic

It’s that time of year again!
During the month of November, the Christ Church Youth Group has been selling 22″ double-sided, balsam fir Christmas wreaths. The wreaths come from a family farm in coastal Maine, and our youth add their own special touch, decorating them with pine cones, berries and bows.  The beautiful wreaths, ready for display at your home or business, will be available for pick-up after the services this Sunday, December 3rd.
Cost is $22 per wreath. Order your wreath after services Sundays in November, or click here to order online.  All proceeds go to offset the cost of the Christ Church Youth Group trips, retreat weekends and events throughout the year.
Thank you for your support!

Thanksgiving Day Service is Nov. 24th at 10am in Old Brick

Our tradition of holding a Eucharist Service this day continues as we host a 10am service in Old Brick on Thanksgiving Day.  A special opportunity to give thanks!

Help Provide Thanksgiving Dinner for our Neighbors-in-Need

Throughout the year, FISH of Howard County stops by Christ Church each week to pick up the food donations for the community.  This season, we have again partnered with FISH to help present a special Thanksgiving meal for those in need, but we need your help.  Thanks to your very kind donations, we have fed many families over the past few years, and hope to provide 20 more with a special Thanksgiving dinner this November.

 

Items needed include:

  • turkey (12-18 lbs. frozen)
  • stuffing & turkey gravy (canned)
  • vegetables (canned)
  • mashed potatoes (instant) and yams (canned)
  • cranberry sauce (canned)
  • desserts
We need your donations of at least 20 frozen turkeys and all of the trimmings to be delivered to the church by Sunday, November 19th.   Please bring frozen turkeys to the parish hall.   All of the non-perishable items (trimmings) will go into Old Brick and decorate the altar until they are picked up by FISH of Howard County on Monday, November 20.  Want more information?  Check out November’s issue of Gathered Together, upcoming weekly bulletins and editions of Christ Church Gatherings emails, or contact Renée Patrick, Parish Administrator.

DreamBuilders – Ellicott City Flood Rebuilding Project Nov. 18 & 19

DreamBuilders volunteers are needed for our Ellicott City Project this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 & 19. We’re rebuilding a home damaged during last year’s flood. Tasks include installing new siding, vinyl flooring, baseboard trim, cabinets; painting, priming, and other projects.

To register for one or more of the dates, you can check out the DreamBuilders page here on our website, or go to www.DreamBuildersMD.org

 

Please Welcome Christ Episcopal Church’s New Rector!

Christ Episcopal Church is very excited to welcome our new Rector! The Reverend Emmanuel Ato Mercer joins us after spending the past six years at St. Paul’s Church in Philadelphia, PA. He will be the Celebrant at both Holy Eucharists this coming Sunday, September 10th, and then join us during our Parish Festival following the 10:30am service. Reverend Manny will be heading to Columbia this autumn along with his wife, Monique, and their four children, and we look forward to having them join our wonderfully vibrant and loving Christ Church family!

You can read more about Reverend Manny here.