Monday, November 29, 2010

The week of November 29

Tuesday November 30The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle
1:30 – Instructed Eucharist at MSUM

Wednesday December 1Bl. Charles de Foucault/World AIDS Day
6:00 pm – Mass
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Incense will be used at this Mass
supper afterward at a local restaurant

Sunday December 52 Advent
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Children’s Chapel celebration of St. Nicholas
Special St. Nicholas Day surprise for children
World AIDS Day DVD presentation during coffee hour

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The week of November 22

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday November 24
7:00 pm – Thanksgiving Eve Eucharist
(with Elim Lutheran and St. Mark’s Lutheran)
at Elim Lutheran Church
321 9th Street North, Fargo
Pie Social afterward

Thursday November 25
Thanksgiving Day

Sunday November 281 Advent
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Children’s Chapel

Gentle Thanksgiving 2010

November 21, 2010

Hosted by FM-Veg

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The week of Nov. 15

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday, November 17
6:00 pm – Mass
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Incense will be used at this Mass
supper afterward at a local restaurant

Thursday, November 18
6:30 pm- Young(er) Episcopalians at Monte’s (220 Broadway)

Sunday, November 21Christ the King Sunday/ Pledge Sunday
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Children’s Chapel
Pledge Sunday program & meal (hosted by the Vestry)

6:00 pm - Gentle Thanksgiving at St. Stephen's (hosted by F-M Veg)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stewardship Letter from Fr. Jamie

November 8, 2010

Dear St. Stephen’s friends,

One of my favorite stories from Scripture is the story of Abraham and Sarah and the birth of Isaac. In the story (Genesis chapter 18), we find Sarah, the long-suffering wife of Abraham, long since resigned to the fact that she was barren and would never have children. Then one day, three visitors appear at the tent door while Abraham is resting from the heat of the sun. Despite the heat (and his age) he gets up and makes sure they are treated well. When the strangers announce to Sarah that she will bear a son, she is, to say the least, incredulous. In fact, she laughs at them and says, “After I become worn out with use and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” Lutheran writer, Heidi B. Neumark, translates Sarah rhetorical question as “Shall my barren life be changed to Paradise?”

In many ways the story of St. Stephen’s is reminiscent of the story of Abraham and Sarah. It is no secret to anyone who has been involved in the life of St. Stephen’s over the years that just a few years ago, many people had given up on St. Stephen’s. Years of steady decline had definitely taken its toll on our congregation. In fact, two years ago, in October of 2008, on my first Sunday at St. Stephen’s, I counted twenty people in church and no children that Sunday. The Average Sunday Attendance in 2008 was 21.

Like the story of Abraham and Sarah, the question was asked in the face of what seemed at times like overwhelming odds against us, “Is anything too wonderful for the LORD?” The answer to that question, obviously, has been, again and again, No.

But even in spite of the odds, St. Stephen’s did what it always did. Like Abraham, who was roasting in the heat of the day in his old age, radical hospitality was offered to anyone who entered the doors of St. Stephen’s and outreach was offered to those who were down-trodden and marginalized. I can say that I was one of those strangers who appeared in the St. Stephen’s doorway many years ago and was welcomed with open arms and hearts. Just as Sarah, in her barrenness and old age, gave birth to Isaac, so St. Stephen’s, in the face of the nay sayers and the doubters, has begun to flourish with new life.

Yesterday—All Saints Sunday—we had 41 people in church and five children as we celebrated 3 baptisms. The previous Wednesday night, at the All Saints/All Souls Mass, we had 20 people in attendance. We have young families and singles, as well as seekers from various walks of life, attending and being fulfilled. The sound of children fills the nave most Sundays. We have people “stepping up to the plate” and continuing the Kingdom of God to those in need of God’s love.

Our church is a busy, lively, loving, vibrant congregation, alive with fellowship. In the last two years, we have gained twenty new members, with at least another eight who are planning to join in the near future. Our Average Sunday Attendance has doubled and we are celebrating Baptisms and new members on a regular basis, as well as continuing our ministry of radical hospitality to visitors and those in need.

What some once predicted was fallow is now flourishing and alive. What some once declared hopeless is full of hope. What some once foresaw as a bleak and wasted future is now full of unlimited potential. These are reasons to rejoice. We are able to say, with Sarah to those nay sayers, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”

On Sunday, November 21, we will all have an opportunity to celebrate and continue on in these blessings God has granted to us. Pledge Sunday is the time in which we take a good, long look at ourselves as a congregation and as individual members of this congregation, we look at what we are doing in our own lives to help St. Stephen’s grow even further into this abundance and life we are celebrating.

On Pledge Sunday November 21, please plan on attending the 11:00 celebration of Holy Eucharist, and please plan to stay for the lunch following the Eucharist, which will be hosted once again by the Vestry.

As we near Pledge Sunday, please do consider, as always, tithing from your monetary income. But just as seriously consider the ways in which you serve God and the People of God through the ministry you have been called to do in many and various ways that have helped to make St. Stephen’s the flourishing and life-affirming congregation it is. As we continue our amazing journey together, let rejoice in the Paradise that has risen in our midst, and let us look forward in hope and joy to all that God continues to send to us at St. Stephen’s.

Fr. Jamie+

Monday, November 8, 2010

Join us the week of Nov. 8

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday November 10
6:00 pm – Mass
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Incense will be used at this Mass

supper afterward at a local restaurant

Thursday November 11
2:00 pm - Evangelism

Sunday November 1425 Pentecost
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/Sandy Holbrook, preacher
Children’s Chapel

Congratulations and blessings to the Newly Baptized

Congratulations and blessings to Brian, Faye and Rianna who were baptized at St. Stephen’s on All Saints Sunday, Nov. 7. It was a glorious day!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Altar Rail

A new altar rail will be set up at the end of November. It is being given in memory of Albert Parsley (+September 14, 2010) by Fr. Jamie and his mother, Joyce. Gin Templeton made a computer rendition of what the altar rail is going to look like, which is now being displayed in the Narthex.

All Saints/All Souls at St. Stephen's

This year we set up an an altar to remember "All of Our Saints" in the Narthex at St. Stephen's. Parishioners and friends were invited to bring in phtoos of loved, as well as list their names in our "Book of Remembrance." 20 people showed up for our All Saints/All Souls Requiem Mass on Wednesday November 3, at which all of the people listed were remembered by name.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The week of November 1

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Monday November 1
The Feast of All Saints

Tuesday November 2
The Feast of All Faithful Departed (All Souls)

Wednesday November 3
6:00 pm – Requiem Mass for all our deceased loved ones
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Incense will be used at this Mass
supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday November 5
5:00-7:00 pm - Churches United

Sunday November 7All Saints Sunday
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist/Holy Baptism
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Children’s Chapel

12:45 pm – Vestry

Names for the Octave of All Saints

Don’t forget to send Fr. Jamie any names of departed loved ones to be included in the Prayers for the Deceased at the Wednesday Requiem Mass or to be placed on the altar on All Saints Sunday.