8am - Traditional Eucharist
10am - Advent Lessons and Carols
From the Rector
Thinking and walking
I went for a walk this morning, over the freeway to Bair Island. I like my walks on Bair Island, it was going to be developed into a community but local residents put a stop to that process and it is now going to be restored as a bird sanctuary and natural habitat. I like walking there.
As I walked, I wondered. I wondered about how busy we all are, and how much we do things with purpose and direction in a goal driven sort of way. I wondered about how often we slow down and just meander. I wondered about the culture of the Bay Area and what it does to family togetherness, individual sanity and community activities.
As I walked, and said some of my normal prayers I was taken back to the moment on Saturday when Martín and I went for a walk. I had half suggested it the day before, but we were busy cleaning up after Thanksgiving and being all busy about some task or another, at the end
of which we just opped and watched some TV – a walk was not on the agenda. Saturday morning I woke up and put on warm clothes, determined to get going sooner. Martín decided to join me and our impromptu walk got underway. We followed my normal route, but as we got to the end of that decided to keep going. I was reminded of the Frost poem in which ‘way leads on to way.’
We talked while we walked, and connected. We jabbered on about our cooking exploits over Thanksgiving and our guests and our lives. We weren’t particularly purposeful about our conversation, but at the end of it I felt both heard and informed. I felt more connected to my partner and more connected to myself.
This morning, as I write, I have ve or six di erent priorities on a list in my head. Life is often like that, but if it is constantly like it then there is never a moment to stop, let the list of priorities go and try to make sense of why we are here in the rst place.
We don’t wander; we go for purposeful walks with a focus and direction in mind.
It was in the middle of this busy morning that I realized our Advent theme is an invitation to you all to pause for a moment. We want you to take some time and go for a
meandering wander instead of squeezing a tiny bit more productivity out of your stress riddled brain. I think it is best to do it in nature, breathing in the crisp cold air of December. Go and waste some time, take the family, go by yourself, call a friend – but switch o and wander for a moment or two.
December can become even more busy than every other month of the year. We can become so busy getting ready for Christmas and closing out work priorities before the break that we have no time to pause and wonder ‘why’. I hope you might nd time to stop ‘doing’ and ‘be’ in the midst of all of this, and to wonder about what it all means.
From the Assistant Rector
waiting patiently for new life
One summer when I was a tween, my camp counselor responded to my frustration about a situation by reminding me that patience is a virtue. I don’t recall her words of wisdom alleviating my annoyance, but they did give me pause to consider how I might choose to respond differently to undesirable or unexpected circumstances. My counselor listened patiently to my concerns, yet wisely chose not to get drawn into my emotional drama.
When my daughter was growing up I often reminded her to be patient with herself and others, especially on days when she noticed crankiness creeping up within her. At other times I reminded her that I endured 9 months of pregnancy and 22 hours of labor waiting for her to be born. Now that I am about to become a grandmother, I find myself waiting patiently to see my daughter again, and waiting for the blessed day when her own child will be born.
Waiting can be a time for de-cluttering our minds and hearts; a time of contemplation and re-centering. Waiting can be a time for noticing our guardian angel gently touching our shoulder and guiding us away from the precipice of obsessive worrying and unceasing busy-ness. Whether we’re waiting in a checkout line at a store, at long stoplight at a congested intersection, in the birthing center of a hospital, or riding a donkey on the long journey to Bethlehem, may we remember that God’s time provides sacred space to ponder our blessings and choose to receive life with grace and gratitude.
Wishing you a blessed Advent and joyous Christmastide,
Art in Advent
Our administrator, Noreen Huey, and I have been working on some Advent images for you to enjoy. They are based around the theme of ‘I wonder as I wander’ and are a series of images created with airbrush and stencils that depict individuals and groups walking and wondering alone or together. These images we hope evoke a spiritual sense of contemplation and are designed to encourage such contemplation in the viewer.
It is not so important who they actually are, but I invite you to wonder about them and perhaps try to imagine where they are on their spiritual journey as you wonder about your own.
Also consider going for a walk this Advent, and taking some time to let your mind wander as you do, if you would like any resources to help you with meditation we would be happy to provide them.
Thank you so much to Claudia for her work on Stewardship. At the time of writing our pledge amount had risen to $275,600 and our goal is $333,000. We are getting so close to our goal and we are excited about the progress made so far. Please do get those final pledge cards in as soon as possible. Thanks!
Bishop Marc’s Visit
Our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus is visiting us next week, join us at our parish-wide service at 10am, followed by coffee and a discussion forum. This will be an exciting opportunity for our parish to reflect on where we are with the spiritual leader of our diocese.
While the Bishop is here we will be receiving two new members into the Episcopal Church, come and join Eric Choate and Michele McLean as they take the step to become full members of the Episcopal family of faith.
After the service we have a chance to talk more deeply with each other and our Bishop. Virginia Fox has been leading our ‘Wondering Together’ program this fall and we will give feedback on the dinners, the youth dinner, the three wish cards and the online survey next week while the Bishop is here.
We will invite some reflections from Bishop Marc and also have an opportunity for parishioners to discuss the findings so far and let us know if we have missed anything. After the forum next week the Vestry will do a final review of our findings and make some proposals for parish life during 2016 at our annual meeting on January 31st.
Our annual meeting takes place on Jan 31st after a combined service at 10am. We will share brunch together and take time to reflect on our parish ministry. We will review our finances and elect parish leadership for the next year.
Nominations are open for the Vestry and Deanery Representatives posts, please let any members of the Nominating Committee know if you are interested in running for any of these roles. The Nominating Committee includes: Jan Jensen, Keith Jobe, Virginia Fox, Claudia Dierkes-Banks and George Philipp.
Our Worship Today at 10am
Advent Lessons and Carols
The service of Nine Lessons and Carols dates back to the late 19th century at King’s College, Cambridge. Traditionally there are three carol services: One at the onset of Advent, one on Christmas Eve, and one on the Feast of The Epiphany. While the lessons on Christmas eve all point to the Forerunner, Annunciation, and coming of the Messiah, the Advent Carol Service concerns many broader themes of waiting, darkness and light, the coming of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. Fr. Matthew and Eric have selected a pattern of readings to this end, ranging from the Fall of Man in Genesis, to God’s calling of his people to redemption in Isaiah, to the Annunciation and Song of Mary. We will ponder thoughtful readings and stories and listen to wonderful music from our choir and a special chamber orchestra that will enhance our singing of carols.
Women’s Retreat 2016
Initial Planning Meeting Today
Women of Transfiguration, we will gather for an initial planning meeting for the 2016 Women’s Retreat today, Sunday, Dec. 6, Noon-1 pm in the Parish Hall. If you are unable to attend, but would like to contribute ideas, please contact Monica. Women’s Retreat will be held at Bishop’s Ranch on February 26-28. 2016.
Serve Joyfully: Outreach
The Giving Tree
Have you cut down your tree and brought it home? Are there gifts gathering beneath it? This is the time of year for trees with gifts underneath them.
At Transfiguration we are always reminded that there are many people who will have no tree and no gifts this Christmas. For some years we have put up our own tree as a tree for giving. We are going to gather gifts under the tree this year for two projects supported by people close to our community. Hayes Bakken and Noelle Huey introduce projects they are involved in below and describe who our gifts are going to this year.
I am so grateful to Hayes and Noelle for their work in these charities and this represents the approach that I hope we can take as a community to outreach: we want to raise up charities, needs and projects that are precious to parishioners and share them with each other so that our whole community can become involved.
Here is the idea. Go up to the tree as a family or on your own and look at the stars. Each star has a gift listed for one of our projects. When you pick out the gift(s) listed that you want to purchase, take the star(s) with you. Before you go, find the gift list clipboard and write your name, email and phone number next to the gift that you are going to purchase.
Buy your gift, and bring it to church by Sunday, Dec. 20, placing it under the tree (please note, some should be wrapped and some unwrapped based on which project they are going to). When you bring your gift back put up a white star (snowflake) on the tree. It is as simple as that. Thank you all for your generosity. It is time for the tree, and it is time to give.
Homeless Prenatal Program - Hayes Bakken
Homeless Prenatal Program (www.homelessprenatal.org) is a not for profit organization serving families in San Francisco. Their mission is that “[b]y seizing the motivational opportunity created by pregnancy and parenthood, HPP joins with families to help them recognize their strengths and trust in their capacity to transform their lives.” In her work at San Francisco General as a Pediatrician, Hayes Bakken, has personally worked with and referred to this wonderful organization. She has seen firsthand the impact of their programs and has grown to respect and support this organization personally. A cornerstone of their programming is providing prenatal care and education to low income mothers during their pregnancies and at the completion of the program, mothers receive a beautiful baby shower providing them with all the basics they need to bring their infants home. This winter they are especially asking for support for their Homegoods program that provides families with the housewarming basics they need to make their house a home as they transition out of homelessness. They also are always looking for the baby basics needed for their frequent baby showers for expecting moms.
Go and find a star on the tree for gift items for Homeless Prenatal Program.
Haven of Hope Homes - Noelle Huey
Since leaving my post as Youth Minister I have begun a new journey in Santa Cruz as a Residential Counselor at a non-profit organization, Haven of Hope Homes. Between two homes, we provide care for twelve girls in foster care ages 12-18, who have come to us as a result of histories of abuse or neglect. Each day I spend at the house with our girls, is a new opportunity to build upon a relationship. In many ways, the ways that I am able to do this are rooted in rich youth ministry, camp, and community experiences. The Haven of Hope family is certainly “modern” and filled with an extreme sense of care and warmth.
The girls whom we serve, have an immense amount of light about them, though they have been through corners of darkness. They inspire and challenge us on a daily basis as we grow together. This season I am whole-heartedly thankful to be able to see each of our girls shine in their strengths as they find themselves. This Christmas season, we hope to share this holiday to each of our girls, and we are enthused that the Transfiguration community has chosen to support us in doing so, this year.”
Go and find a star on the tree for one of the girls at Haven of Hope. Noelle has given us a list of the girls (initials only to protect anonymity) and their ages, each star has one item.
Visitor from Bethlehem: Michael Zoughbi - Sunday, December 20 - 9:15 am-10:15 am - Parish Hall
Michael Zoughbi is a Palestinian Christian who lives in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and has ancestors who were Bethlehem residents for 10 generations. Michael and will be visiting Transfiguration to share wonderful stories about being Christians in the Holy Land. In addition to speaking about life in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Michael works with the Olive Wood Carving Collective in Bethlehem. He will have artwork available for sale (cash and checks accepted) that may be perfect stocking stuffers or last-minute Christmas gifts!
Snow Day is coming!
Snow day is coming up on December 19th, 4-6pm! Thank you to George Philipp who has volunteered to take the lead. All interested volunteers, please speak to George or Matthew on Sunday. We will be convening a planning meeting soon. For now please consider whether you might help to fund this popular event. Be a Snow Angel, a Snow Ball or a Snow Flurry!
Snow Angels - donate $500 & pay for a whole pallet of snow.
Snow Ball - donate $200 and pay for part of a pallet.
Snow Flurry - donate $50 towards our snow for the day.
Angels, sheep, and holy people...
... needed for the Christmas pageant! Please contact Virginia Fox if you are interested in being in this year’s Christmas pageant. We will be rehearsing speaking roles only on Sunday, December 20, noon-1pm. Dress rehearsal will be at 3:30pm on Christmas Eve for the 5pm service.
Pray Thoughtfully: worship
Join Us for Christmas Season Services!
Christmas Eve Pageant & Joyful Noise Eucharist
Thursday, December 24 5:00pm
This is a wonderful service for children from ages 0-99.
Come and see the Christmas story unfold. Join in if you’d like! We have many costmes, just join us for the rehearsal at 3:30pm to find a part.
Christmas Eve Festival Eucharist
Thursday, December 24, 10:00pm
with musical introit beginning at 9:45
For sublime music and thoughtful preaching about the nativity of our Lord, come to this service. It is a wonderful tradition for Christmas Eve and a great blessing to those who have come over many years.
Christmas Day Eucharist
Friday, December 25, 10:00am
A fun and relaxed service for those who like to start Christmas Morning with thoughtful worship and playful prayers. Children are welcome and asked to bring a gift along to show and tell, and we will hear about the Christmas Story in a gentle way amongst friends.
First Sunday after Christmas
Sunday, December 27
8am Traditional Eucharist
10am Community Eucharist
Join us on the First Sunday of Christmas to sing more carols and deepen your contemplation of the wonder of the incarnation.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
8am Traditional Eucharist
10am Community Eucharist
with Epiphany Potluck following
The Wise People return (having made a cameo at the Pageant on Christmas Eve), find out about their gifts and what they tell us about the child born in Bethlehem.
Think Openly: deepening faith
Fireflies, a preschooler play group (ages 0-5), meets in the parish hall every Thursday, 10am-noon.
The group is free and everyone is invited, church member or not. We have a play time, story time with musical instruments, healthy snacks and finish with a craft project and/or game activity. We have fun, make new friends and share our joy, wisdom and sometimes frustrations of family life with other parents and caregivers. Stop by and check us out. Let your friends, neighbors and family members with preschool age children know that we would love to welcome them. Questions? Contact Dace Samta.
Saturday, December 19, 3-6pm Snow Day hosting
Sunday, January 24, noon Art Workshop
Distil (young adult group)
• Carol singing, visiting parishioners at care residences
Sunday, Dec. 13th, 3pm
• Sunday night potluck dinners -faith conversation around the dinner table! January 24th, 6:15-8pm.
Distil is also still hosting Sanctuary Yoga with yogi, Yael.
Thursday, Dec. 10th, 6:15-7:15pm and watch for announcements about the schedule for 2016.