Weekly Parish Life Notes

News for the Week of December 8, 2019


MISSION OF THE MONTH is Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM) As a long-time member of the North Shore Cluster of RIM, Christ Church helps to support asylum-seekers now living in our area. 

Asylum seekers must demonstrate that they have a well-founded fear of persecution and that they cannot return home without threat of incarceration, injury, or death.  The application for asylum and attendant vetting may take years and during that time they are not permitted to work.  RIM clusters, of which there are 8 in the Boston area, support these families by paying their rent ($1800/month is the going rate), food, transportation, telephone, heat, laundry, and by collecting paper products, laundry soap, and toiletries at the member churches.  Others wait in line to be among those supported. They currently live in cramped quarters with friends or family members, or in shelters or on the streets.

You can make a contribution to this worthy cause at any time by writing a check to Christ Church with RIM on the ‘memo’ line and mailing it to the church or dropping it in the collection plate.  Please let Mother Susan know if you would like to become active in RIM, or reactivate your regular support.  Sarah Nickerson and Orlando Lopez can tell you about the current activity of the Cluster.  They represent Christ Church at volunteer meetings.  Here is the link to the website for the North Shore Cluster of RIM: https://sites.google.com/view/rim-north-shore-cluster/home


A new training class begins on January 7th at Hamilton Congregational Church, our partners in Stephen Ministry.

Most meetings will be held on alternate Tuesday evenings, but the schedule also includes two Saturdays – Feb. 8 and May 2 – enabling the new group to be certified by June.  Join the increasing number of parishioners at Christ Church who have equipped themselves to help those struggling with a difficult life transition.

For more information and to enroll, contact Mother Susan at revsusan54@gmail.com or on her cell: 440-781-1614

CHRISTMAS FLOWER OFFERING ENVELOPES are found in the pews and at the entrances to the Church and Chapel. These envelopes are provided if you would like to make a donation for flowers in memory of loved ones for the Church and Chapel this Christmas. Please fill out the information on the front of the envelope, please print clearly, enclose your donation and place the envelope in the offering plate or return it to the church office.  For names to be listed in the Christmas bulletins, please return envelopes by Tuesday, December 10th.

VESTRY OPENINGS!  All parishioners are invited to suggest another parishioner to be considered as a candidate to serve on vestry, and write a couple of sentences in answer to the following questions – 1) Why are you suggesting this person be considered for vestry? & 2) How does this person manifest the Core Values of Our Life Together (THANKS, CARE, LISTEN, TELL)?  Please send your nominations with answers to one of the following Nominating Committee Members no later than Sunday, December 15th:

  • Jonathan Kline at jgreenleekline@gmail.com
  • Dean Pedersen at dped63@gmail.com
  • Father Patrick at PGray@ChristChurchHW.org

REJOICE AND BE GLAD! Food is on its way to the children of Saint Louis d'Ayiti and the funds have been raised to buy the land for them to build their school.  Join us this Advent in buying Haitian Christmas cards to help provide workbooks for the students to learn to read and write. There will be a table with cards for sale beginning after each service starting December 1st.Thank you for helping this community build their school and encouraging their faith.

VIDEOGRAPHER VOLUNTEER:  Would you like to volunteer during Bible & Breakfast 9:00-10:00 a.m. to video tape the presentation?  Please contact Robin Davis at redrobindavis@gmail.com if you can help.


ADVENT LESSONS & CAROLS with RECEPTION: Plan now to celebrate the new liturgical year by attending the Service of Advent Lessons & Carols at 6:00 p.m on the Second Sunday of Advent, December 8th. All are invited to a splendid liturgy that tells the story of God’s promise and hope for his people, the coming of the Christ Child. This is a wonderfully serene interlude in the hectic days that precede Christmas and an enriching way to celebrate the gift of Advent. Please stay for a reception in the Preston Cutler Room following the service.

ANGEL TREE THIS SUNDAY: Please stop by the Preston Cutler room and take an angel off the tree to purchase a Christmas gift for a child in need right here in our community on the north shore.  In the same way we have past years, we are buying for families in Gloucester.  We will be providing for winter clothes needs, and there are also opportunities to purchase gift cards from grocery stores for the families. The gifts will be picked up at Christ Church for delivery, they will need to be put under the tree by Friday December 20th. Any questions please contact Rachael Galbraith,rachael.stahl@gmail.com978-239-5464.

KIJABE CHILDREN'S EDUCATION FUND (KCEF) is putting the Fun back in Fundraiser!!  Our first attempt at this event in October was canceled due to a power outage.  Join us on Thursday night, December 12, any time between 4:00 and 9:00 pm at Shea's Riverside restaurant in Essex.  10% of the restaurant's sales during that time will come to KCEF!  Make your reservation NOW (978.768.6931) and bring family and friends to support the vision and work of KCEF, partnering with primary schools in the slums of Nairobi and in rural Kenya, and helping make it possible for primary school grads to continue on to secondary school--and beyond.  More information at www.KCEFund.org and from board members David Friedrich (david.r.friedrich@gmail.com), Ann Pelikan (annepelikan@mac.com) and Nancy Mering (nmering@msn.com). Follow us on Facebook at Kijabe Children’s Education Fund, or email us to be added to our mailing list.

AA MEETINGS: In Parish Hall, Sunday 3:30 p.m., Monday and Wednesday 7:30 p.m.

CAPERNAUM CAMPAIGNERS is a Young Life ministry for middle & high school students with special needs.  Our campaigners group is a place where students dive deeper into what it means to be in a relationship with God.  Leaders facilitate discussion about Bible stories in a way that is accessible and engaging to this special group of students so they can understand how God connects to their everyday life.  Capernaum campaigners meets in the Parish Hall on the December 13th at 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (Please eat dinner before you arrive and bring Action Bible if you have one.)

THE CHOIR OF CHRIST CHURCH: The Choir rehearses on Thursday evenings at 7:45 p.m. in the Choir Room. All who enjoy singing are welcome. Speak with the Organist-Choirmaster, Jack Russell, following the service, or contact him at jrussell@wooster.edu or 440-781-7116 to learn more about the choir and its ministry.



A group from Christ Church will be making a visit this afternoon to a very special art exhibition.  It is the first opportunity Boston audiences have ever had to see in depth the work of William Trost Richards (1833-1905), a contemporary of Winslow Homer’s who made wonderful seascapes and landscapes, as did Homer.  Richards’ work is drenched in subtle light and a sense of mystery which reflects his profound Christian convictions.  The show is at the McMullen Museum at Boston College, where there are also three other smaller exhibitions up now as well, including Simon Dinnerstein’s marvelous Fulbright Triptych (1971-74), and a lovely contemporary photography show. 


Since Sunday is the day of Lessons and Carols, we have arranged to depart at 12.30 from the Christ Church parking lot (12.35 if the sermon runs long).  Please eat before the trip if you have attended the 8 am or 9 am services.  Please pack a sandwich if you have attended the 11 am service and delight in eating in the car.  We will get to the museum in time to see the show a bit on our own, and then attend a docent-led tour.  We will be back to church by 4 pm to allow plenty of time in advance of our special observance of Advent that evening.


Please email Bill Cross at WilliamRCross@Outlook.com if you plan to attend, and have not done so already.  Thanks!


CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: The Christmas Pageant will take place at the Christmas Eve service at 4:00 p.m. If you would like to volunteer or have your child(ren) participate, please fill out a Participation Form which will be emailed to parents of Sunday School students or can be found at www.ChristChurchHW.org/learn/children-youth.  Save the Dates!  Rehearsals will take place 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays, December 14th & 21st.  Contact Naomi for more information at 508-494-9448 or naomiRgray@yahoo.com.

ADVENT SOUL COLLAGE AFTERNOON: Take a break from the hurry of the season and carve out a three-hour pause to create space to reflect on the state of your soul! No experience necessary. Supplies and facilitation will be provided at a small cost of $20.00 for the afternoon of Sunday, December 15th from 2:00 -5:00 p.m. in the Preston Cutler Room. Join us to contemplate the mysteries of the incarnation and restore your heart, mind, and soul. If cost is a barrier do not let it keep you from participating. Please RSVP to Huntley Skinner to facilitate planning of the supplies. Contact huntley.skinner@gmail.com

HAMILTON/IPSWICH WYLDLIFE CLUB We will be meeting at the Ipswich Town Hall gym from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on December 20th. Don’t forget to send your child with $5 for pizza!

PRAISE & PRAYER: A time of praise Sunday, December 15th at 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. in the Preston Cutler Room. All ages welcome including children & families. Light supper will be served. Come to sing or just listen and praise in your heart.  Guitars, some light rhythm accompanying songs. If you have questions or song suggestions email Paul Mason at RPaul@mason.ch

SAVE THE DATE: Christ Church is hosting Family Promise June 21-July 4, 2020 and July 26-August 8, 2020.


Sunday, December 8, 2019 – Advent 2

Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
    the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the spirit of counsel and might,
    the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide by what his ears hear;
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

6 The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Romans 15:4-13

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles,
    and sing praises to your name”;

10 and again he says,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;

11 and again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and let all the peoples praise him”;

12 and again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse shall come,
    the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight.’”

4 Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9 Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Sunday, December 15, 2019 – Advent 3

Isaiah 35:1-10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly,
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
    He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
    He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
    the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
    but it shall be for God’s people;
    no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
    nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
    but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain joy and gladness,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

James 5:7-10

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Matthew 11:2-11

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written,

‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.