The Lion's Roar
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Chenango Bridge, NY
December 2013
From the Church Guy
     Be careful - December is bi-polar!
     This month is full of Christmas, and it has two very different but related themes: the cultural Christmas and the spiritual Christmas.
     This cultural Christmas is a lot of fun, but can be quite stressful; the shopping, the cards, the decorations, the parties, the family gatherings, the endless Christmas music.  I hope you enjoy it all, but remember that for many, this is a tremendously difficult time of the year.  So be kind to those around you, and be kind to yourself.
     The spiritual Christmas is about the coming of the Word made flesh -- the pregnancy of a Jewish peasant so long ago in a dangerous, occupied land, and the birth of a baby too poor to have a room.  This event is summed up in the word "Emmanuel," meaning "God with us."  God is with us in our sorrows and sufferings, and in our joys and pleasures.
     Both poles of Christmas are part of our lives.  I am not interested in pouring cold water on the cultural Christmas end of the spectrum, but I hope you'll take it with a grain of salt.  Take it lightly, and remember the silence which was so much a part of the birth of the child.  Allow yourself some silence and peace in this bi-polar month.
     A child once garbled the Lord's Prayer, but in a good way.  Mom and Dad were stressed and grumpy during the run-up to Christmas, and the child prayed, "Forgive us our Christmases, as we forgive those who Christmas against us."
     Be kind and enjoy this bi-polar month.  With care.
                                                                         Father Mark +
 Feed Christ on December 22!
     Jesus said that when we feed the needy, we are feeding him.  Our December commitment to the Trinity Canteen hot meal program is the Sunday before Christmas, December 22.  Could you sign up and give a true gift to the Christ Child by feeding his needy friends?
Church School News
     I would like to say a special "thank you" during this holiday season to our teachers who have given so willingly of their time and talents to be with St. Mark's children each Sunday morning.  They are a wonderful group of parishioners! Thank you Colleen Boyce, Erin Kasmarcik, Arden Meier, Kate Abbey, Shanna Laroussi, Diane Pierson, Caroline Thomas, Mandy Black, Heather O'Connor, and Chris Sweet.
     We will have regular Church school classes on December 1, 8, and 15.  Our Christmas pageant will be on Sunday, December 22.  Rehearsals for the pageant will be on Saturday, December 14 and 21 at 9:30 a.m. 
     We are also planning a Christmas Party!  It will be on Saturday, December 7 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  There will be games, crafts, a movie and food!  A sign-up sheet will be posted soon.   This is open to 2 year-olds through 6th grade.  A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board.
                                                                       Mary Taylor 
                                                                       Christian Education    
 Our Guest Guitarist Plays Again
     On Sunday, December 8, our organist, Cindi Ferranti, will be attending her daughter's college graduation (congratulations to Austen!).  Dan Gridley, who played guitar at the 9:00 Easter service, will be joining Father Mark once again to accompany the singing at the 10:00 service on that day.  Thanks, Dan!
 Here's What We Are Reading in Book Club
     Our selection for December is PROOF OF HEAVEN by Dr. Eben Alexander.  This is a remarkable account of a miraculous recovery from bacterial meningitis written by an American neurosurgeon.  It describes his journey into the afterlife which was a transformative "near death experience" for the doctor.
                                                                             Lillian Ruf
Teens - Pizza - December 8
     Need we say more?  11:30 on Sunday, December 8, the EYF gets together to eat and have fun.   
 Let's go caroling!
     Each December, some of us like to go out on a Saturday afternoon to sing Christmas carols to some shut-ins.  You don't have to be a great singer.  We'd love to have you join us.  At 3:00 on Saturday, December 14, we'll meet at church and go out to share our joyful noise.  After that, we'll come back to church to share some snacks and drinks.  It's a great tradition!
St. Mark's Table - Christmas Edition
     Come to the Table on Tuesday, December 17, at 6:00, bring a dish to pass and your own place settings.  After we eat together in the undercroft, we'll depart from our usual routine and instead go up to the sanctuary.  Paula Giroux will once again lead the singing of our favorite Christmas carols.  It's always a nice gift to ourselves in a busy season.  Thanks, Paula!
Christmas Eve: Tuesday, December 24   
     4:00 p.m. Children's Eucharist  -  Everyone is of course welcome, but this service is geared to our youngest members.  It lasts less than 40 minutes, and involves the telling of the Christmas story with children providing the sound effects.
     7:00 p.m. Family Eucharist  -  Often our most crowded service, this celebration includes our favorite Christmas carols, and special music by the chime choir.
     10:00 p.m. Festive Eucharist  -  The late service includes our favorite carols, plus special music by the adult choir.
Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25
     9:00 a.m. Simple Eucharist  -  This quiet service on Christmas morning follows an old English custom.  Although there is no music, it is a full liturgy, and is especially welcomed by people who prefer not to drive in darkness.
     We hope one of these services is for you, and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!
A past friend returns
     Karen O'Brien left our area three years ago and lived in Georgia.  She has now returned from her southern captivity and will once again be part of our church family.  She lives at 320 Conklin Avenue, Apt. 2, Binghamton, 13901 (phone: 217-4982).  Welcome back, Karen!
December Birthdays
Patricia Weller 12/1 Anthonie Brito 12/16/99

Jacob Pierson 12/2/98  Melissa Mellen 12/16
Larry Sweet 12/4 Phoebe McKee 12/17
Kate Marquardt 12/6 Debora Gardner 12/17
Sue Crabbs 12/8 Holly Sensenig 12/19
Christopher Moppert 12/9/07 Gerry Cooney 12/20
Michael Moppert 12/9/07 Heidi Young 12/22
Krista O'Brien 12/10 Ashlyn Rowley 12/23/00
Terri Belveg 12/11 Jo Doolittle 12/24
Sandra Shaw 12/12
Chris Marter 12/27
Kate Abbey 12/12 Chris Sweet 12/29
Arabella Laine 12/12/12 Steve Carr 12/30
Judy Aiken 12/13 Chris Allen 12/30
Chris Brom 12/14 Eileen Rowley 12/30
*  *  *  *
Anniversaries in December
Jon & Jessica Hall  12/8/07
William & Sandy Nichols  12/17/94
Bill & Terry Black  12/18/71
Dave & Peggy Knox  12/22/61
Eric & Judi Laine  12/23/82
George & Ann Dohanich  12/28
John & Lorrie Spear  12/30/72
*  *  *  *
For Your Calendar in December 
December 1 - CHOW Sunday
8am           Holy Eucharist Rite I & Healing
 10am         Holy Eucharist & Healing
9am           Bible Study
10am         Church School
11:30am    Choir
December 2
7pm       Al-Anon
December 5
7am      Men's Group @ Red Oak
7:30am Women's Groups @ Denny's
9am      Morning Prayer
6pm      Weight Watchers
December 6
1pm     Singles Ministry
December 7
10am - 2pm   Children's Christmas Party
December 8
8am              Holy Eucharist
10am            Guitar Holy Eucharist
9am              Bible Study
10am            Church School
11:30am       Choir
11:30am       EYF - Episcopal Youth Fellowship
December 9
7pm      Al-Anon
December 10
9am       Guy's Breakfast @ Red Oak
December 11
1pm      Prayer Shawl Ministry
December 12
7am      Men's Group @ Red Oak
7:30am Women's Group @ Denny's
9am      Morning Prayer
6pm      Weight Watchers
December 14
9:30am  Christmas Pageant Rehearsal
3pm       Christmas Caroling Party
December 15
8am & 10am  Holy Eucharist
9am              Bible Study
10am            Church school
11:30am       Choir
11:30am       Vestry Meeting 
December 16
7pm      Al-Anon
December 17
6pm      St. Mark's Table - Christmas Edition
December 18
1pm      Women's Luncheon @ Cortese
December 19
7am      Men's Group @ Red Oak
7:30am Women's Group @ Denny's
9am      Morning Prayer
6pm      Weight Watchers
December 21
9:30am  Christmas Pageant Rehearsal
December 22
8am              Holy Eucharist
9am              Bible Study
10am            Christmas Pageant & Holy Eucharist
11am            Canteen
11:30am       Choir 
December 23
7pm      Al-Anon
December 24 - Christmas Eve
9am      Guy's Breakfast @ Red Oak 
4pm      Children's Eucharist
7pm      Family Eucharist
10pm    Festive Eucharist 
December 25 - Christmas Day
9am      Simple Eucharist
December 26 - Office Closed
7am        Men's Group @ Red Oak
7:30am   Women's Group @ Denny's
6pm        Weight Watchers
December 27 - Office Closed
December 29
8am & 10am  Holy Eucharist
9am              Bible Study
10am            No Church school
11:30am       Choir
1pm             Piersall/Crandall Wedding
December 30
7pm      Al-Anon
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 458, Chenango Bridge, NY,