Late Edition: December 3


By now, I am sure you know all you need to know about Bishop Scantlebury’s visit this Sunday, and if you don’t, it’s in the previous email, as well as summarized at the bottom of this one. My reflections this week are not about the bishop, but about thankfulness and death.

I don’t like to thank people at church – and the older I get, the less I like it. It’s not that I’m not thankful. I am incredibly grateful for – and often in awe of, and always moved by – everything that people give and do in both churches.

I don’t like to thank people because when I do I almost always forget to thank someone. That’s why I like to do it less and less as I age.

So I’d like to ask your help. Each month, if you could email me – – the names of people whose work or words or actions you’ve particularly appreciated that month, I think we could do a list that would do justice to most, if not all. And when we miss someone, as we will, we can make sure to get them later.

So here’s a brief start – knowing I am missing some. Thanks to Bob Kalicki for working with the Diocese on building closure issues, to Marty O’Rourke for beginning demolition of the St. Nicholas sacristy to make room for items from Holy Innocents, to Karen Martin for seasonal decorations at St. Nicholas, and to Mike Bansley for working hard on the St. Nicholas computer and buying us a new one.

I’ve intentionally left out lots of people, so help me out with those names – and with the names of those I’ve unintentionally omitted. Thanks!

This week brought the death of Donna Tamaski’s mother, Josephine Ptak. On behalf of the congregation, and even though Josephine was quite Roman Catholic, I was able to spend time with her during the last hours of her life, anoint her, and be with many members of the family.

Three things stood out for me. One was being with Donna and Ken when they told their kids of their grandmother’s death. It made me think how important it is that all our children learn death and life are linked, death is not to be feared, and – no matter how great our grief – love is always stronger than death. Parents, such as Donna and Ken, teach this to their children, but we as a community do as well. Please remember and be with Paul and Jessica and Kenny especially as they grieve the death
of their grandmother – and remember you are their teachers, too.

Another piece that stood out for me is that when I arrived at Josephine’s house, Mary Anne O’Rourke had already been there for two hours. Mary Anne had befriended and journeyed with Josephine in the last months of her life. There is so much quiet ministry that goes on daily in our congregations, and it is particularly gratifying to me to be part of a congregation where ministry is the work of all of us, and not just the priest.

Finally, while I was with Josephine, I found myself doing something new, at least for me. I offered pastoral care to her dog, Hannah. It was quickly apparent to me that this elderly beagle was deeply moved by the dying of her owner and I found myself quietly crying as I sat petting and offering comfort to her. We sometimes fail to note how deeply connected all living things are to one another. Thank you, Hannah, for reminding me.

— Steve

We need you on Sunday at 10:30 – in so many ways.

Remember, no liturgy at Holy Innocents today. We are one congregation this day.

Be here. We want to make this a visitation one the bishop won’t forget.

Go to the grocery store and ask for paper bags for your church’s work with the needy. We need about 600 more.

Invite friends and neighbors.

Distribute bags asking for Christmas presents after the liturgy. We need a lot of people to do this, because there will be press coverage.

Celebrate the confirmation and reception into the Episcopal Church of your fellow parishioners.

Help out with last minute details by coming early – 9:30 would be really helpful.

Bring a side dish, etc.

Feed the hungry outside our congregation by bringing a non-perishable food item each week.

Don’t forget your 2007 pledge.

And don’t forget to make yourself a name tag when you arrive.

Finally, give thanks for the impending ordination of Debra Bullock, who served as our seminarian last year, by contributing to her gift fund. Just write a check and put it in the collection plate.

Advent and Christmas schedule.

  • The First Sunday of Advent, December 3. One liturgy at St. Nicholas with both congregations. Bishop Scantlebury presiding and preaching. 10:30 a.m.
  • The Second Sunday of Advent, December 10. Regular schedule.
  • The Third Sunday of Advent, December 17. Regular schedule.
  • The Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 24. One Advent liturgy at Holy Innocents with both congregations. 10 a.m.
    • Christmas Eve, December 24.
    • Family Mass at St. Nicholas, 4 p.m.
    • Traditional Mass at Holy Innocents, 8 p.m.
    • Traditional Midnight Mass at St. Nicholas, 11 p.m.
  • December 31, Feast of the Holy Innocents (transferred). One liturgy at Holy Innocents with both congregations, 11 a.m.

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