January 2013

Happy New Year! With just a few days of the season of Christmas left, we are thinking about the job of taking down all the decorations that have made our home so festive. The house looks so bare once all these decorations have been taken down. But everything is back into its place and put in order. Perhaps there is a message we can glean from this experience. A question that comes to mind is: “Have we cleaned up and put in order our life’s preparations?”

Our Prayer Book directs the Minister of the Congregation to instruct the people from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provision for the well-being of their families, and of all persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal good, not neglecting, if they are able to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses. (Page 445) In today’s culture that raises many questions. Have you a “do not resuscitate document,” if that is your wish? Do you have someone who can legally make medical decisions for you if you are not able to communicate your treatment? Do you have a will? Have you appointed a legal executor? Have you remembered the Church in your will if you are able? Have you provided instruction as to your wishes for your burial? Have you designated who is to raise your children in the case of both parents’ demise?

This may seem a strange way to begin a New Year’s article, but it is of vital importance as good stewards of God’s gifts. It is also a way to put our house back in order. Yes it may seem bare, but it is the responsibility of every Christian to be prepared and witness to our Lord and Savior both in their life and in their death. Is our house not only cleaned up spiritually but have we considered those who are left behind when we go home to our Lord and Savior?

January brings us a feast of days to celebrate and give thanks. We can thank God for the many blessings he has given us. We can give thanks for the hopes and betterment of the year facing us. We can thank God for the various ways he has manifested himself in this world and in our lives. We can give thanks for calling us to be his children through the Sacrament of Baptism. We can thank God for all the love and mercy that he offers us so generously.

The first Sunday of the year, January 6th, is the Feast of the Epiphany. The Feast of the Epiphany falls on a Sunday once every so many year. It is of great joy to hear the Gospel of our Lord being manifested to the world. The sages followed the star and found the child in a house. They presented Jesus with gold, incense and myrrh—symbols of kingship, priesthood and death. We will be having a feast following the 10:30 Eucharist. Monica is preparing a feast of nations with the help of a number of parishioners who bring their heritage and culinary skills. It is a feast you won’t want to miss.

On the Second Sunday of Epiphany we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord. It is through His Baptism that we are made children of God and if children then heirs. We will renew our own Baptismal Covenant on this Feast Day. We are to remember this year as we go forward that God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit and through that gift, we belong to God and his family, the Church.

On January 20th we will have our Annual Parish Meeting. There will be one Eucharist on this Sunday at 9:00 am. We will then meet in the Parish Hall where snacks will be served followed by our meeting. The candidates for Vestry have been published in the Legate in December and in this Legate. Please pray for the Parish and our people who are asked and have agreed to take part in the life of the Parish as Vestry members. Pray that God will help those who are chosen to be instruments of his grace. Again please mark your calendars to gather as St. Alban’s family at the Eucharist at 9:00 am.
January 28th through January 31st Fr. Scalisi and I will be at the Diocesan Clergy Retreat at Montserrat Retreat House on Lake Dallas. It is part of our discipline as priests and I encourage everyone in the parish to make a retreat at least once a year. It is not only a refreshing spiritual time but a time of reflection, prayer and community. If there is a pastoral emergency, please call the Church Office during Office hours. If it is after hours, please call Sharon, our Parish Secretary and she will contact a priest to help as soon as possible.

I cannot end this newsletter article without expressing my gratitude and appreciation for all those who have made Advent and Christmas seasons so special. Our children; our choirs; instrumentalists; music directors and organist; our altar and flower guild; our ushers; lectors; servers; chalice bearers; oblationers; our parents and helpers; bell-ringers; and the St. Alban’s staff have all done a fantastic ministry. I know I have been blessed by them and by you. May God Bless and Keep you this New Year.

In Christ,

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