RECTOR'S LETTER - DECEMBER
FR. ISAIAS’ DECEMBER LETTER
The Feast of Christ the King on Nov. 16 marked the last Sunday of the church’s calendar year. The gospel stories do console and energize me, but they also continue to humble and disturb me. As God’s Word, they stand in judgment upon our world and ourselves. Yet, if we listen closely, we hear not judgment but compassion. We hear a word of love calling us to fullness of life.
In this Advent season, we will sing the familiar hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” reminding us that we have entered into a season of preparation and expectation for the coming of our Savior and Lord. Jesus, in and through His Church, continues to invite us — and refuses to give up on us.
As we begin our journey into Advent, please continue to hope and be encouraged, and invite family and friends to participate in our Christmas services.
Saturday, Dec. 16 – Cemetery Memorial Services
2 pm / 4 pm – Memorial Services and Cemetery Necrology
Sunday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
9:30 am – Holy Eucharist
4:00 pm – Family Service, Blessing of the Creche and Holy
Eucharist 10 pm – Choral Mass
Monday, Dec. 25 – Christmas Day
10 am – Holy Eucharist (no music)
Sunday, Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve
8 am / 10 am – Holy Eucharist (no music)
Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 – The Holy Name
10 am – Holy Eucharist
Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018
10 am – Holy Eucharist and Epiphany Pageant
May your hearts burn with the fire of hope, as we take up the journey of love this season. Blessings!
One parish highlight in October was the successful “Women of Faith” gathering. For weeks after the get-together of Muslim and Christian women and girls, I heard lots of positive coffee hour chatter. One parishioner told people at our table how engaged and blessed she felt to have taken part in the meeting. She also believes we will benefit from future encounters with neighbors from other faiths.
In recent sermons, I have been preaching about how Jesus encouraged Peter to have the faith to step out into deep waters (Matthew: 14). We must not be afraid to take risks and to engage in fruitful conversations with the “other.” Stepping out of our comfort zone helps us open ourselves to new ways of looking at things, new ways of doing things, and new ways of being.
Because there are so many things we do not know about our neighbors, these dialogues are essential for a better and renewed understanding of what and who we all are.
Growing up in a multi-faith setting in the Philippines was eye-opening for me. My involvement in interreligious dialogue started during my college days and has continued ever since. It took a serious turn when I intentionally enrolled in graduate courses on Islam and the Philippines. Encounters with fellow Christians who were serious about dialogue led to the establishment of interfaith groups. One thing I took away from all these conversations is that they are basically a dialogue about life. And as with all positive dialogues, we are changed and we are drawn to relationships that involve mutual respect for each other’s differences while celebrating common bonds in our faith tradition.
Diocesan Convention: The annual diocesan convention is the ultimate organizational decision-making body comprised of clergy and lay members. Convention meets annually for two days in November.
Each year, representatives from around our diocese gather
to review and discuss issues, policies and structures. Conven-tion delegates decide the diocesan budget (based on recommendations from Diocesan Council), elect members of the diocese’s various administrative, executive and judicial bodies and vote on any resolutions – including those that amend or add to the Constitution or Canons – that may be brought before it. Please include the delegates from our parish [Kim and Fal] and everyone helping out in your prayers during this important moment in the life of our Diocese. (http://www.dioceseli.org/convention/)
Liturgy of Belonging: On Oct. 29, we formally introduced four new members to our congregation. I first encountered this practice when I was starting out as curate in Texas. We will have this liturgy every fifth Sunday for newcomers who have been worshipping with us. According to my former mentor, the origins of this liturgy are Episcopal but un-known.
Thanksgiving Service at St. Margaret’s: Everyone is invited to our Thanksgiving service on Nov. 23 at 10 a.m. as we continue to give thanks to God for all the things God has done in our lives. Several parishes in our local deanery that are not having their own Thanksgiving services have been invited to join us. I encourage you to express your gratitude by inviting your own friends and family as well!
RECTOR'S OCTOBER MESSAGE
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Jose have captured the nation’s attention. As a Texas resident for 10 years, with friends and family in Houston and other affected areas, the hurricane’s destruction hits heavily. While I only saw images; my loved ones saw the real thing, up close and personal. Their homes, streets and stores were underwater, unrecognizable. Most people prepared for intense storms, but not devastating floods, so many are still piecing together solutions from limited resources. The marginalized and poor are once again vulnerable. The rest of the country has moved on with new stories and different news, but residents of both affected states will eventually have to begin the long process of rebuilding.
Friends, God is here. God is moving through those who love, and He wants you to be part of it. Never lose sight of hope.
FALL FAIR 2017
Kudos to everyone who worked so hard for the success of our Fall Fair!
You are all a blessing to St. Margaret’s.
Every year, hundreds of friends from the community turn out to enjoy homemade food and desserts, raffles, auction baskets and goodies for the whole family. This year, we welcomed members of BIBAK North East, who performed Filipino drumming and dances in colorful ethnic dress. As always, we will tithe 10% of net proceeds to a designated non-profit to share our blessings with others.
St. Margaret’s is blessed to have the energy and efforts of dozens of volunteers every year – including community members and parishioners – who make our event one of the most successful church fairs in the Plainview/Old Bethpage area. The fair helps support our budget that enables us to support many ministries, including our interfaith/ecumenical community outreach, as well as our global outreach programs such as partnering with our friends in Haiti.
Do you know any kids who want to learn about the Bible and Jesus in an age-appropriate and special way? Invite them to Sunday School at St. Margaret’s!
In our children’s program, kids meet friends and get to know God through an exciting time of worship, Bible stories and small-group time. For this year, I would like to emphasize the three basic truths that will guide each one of us:
1.) I need to make the wise choice.
2.) I can trust God no matter what.
3.) I should treat others the way I want to be treated.
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS
Blessing of the Animals will take place at both services on Oct. 8, the Sunday following the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
In the Scriptures, the act of blessing means “the imparting of power or life.” The person performing the blessing is mediating that power from God or Christ to the person or the animal involved. To bless is more than an expression of goodwill and caring — to bless is to impart God's power in person! The blessing of each animal, by name, means that health, healing and life are being mediated from God for the benefit of the animal in its relationship with its human partners. Consider reinforcing our common kinship by blessing ALL animals -- human and otherwise.