Women’s Group Information Meeting, Feb. 14th

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Women’s Group Information Meeting
Sunday, February 14th
11:30 – 12:30

We have heard from several women that they would be interested in starting a Women’s Group at St. James. You are invited to stay after the 10:00 service on February 14 (for about an hour) to share your ideas for a possible Women’s Group.
We will gather information from the group about what format the group should take as well as:

† What is the purpose of the Group?
† How often to meet?
† Who could lead the group?
† Is the group a Bible Study, a study group or something else?
† Are you willing to be on a small (3-5 women) planning committee?

Your thoughts about these and other questions will be recorded by Julia Steer from St. James Groveland who will facilitate the meeting. Julia has agreed to work with us on a short-term basis to mentor this new ministry, and she will also be preaching on February 14 at both services.

Julia is a certified Spiritual Director and founder of Martha and Mary Productions, a non-profit women’s ministry providing retreats and workshops for the past several years for women from several different Christian denominations and Churches.

Julia holds an MA in Theological Studies from Andover Newton Theological School and a BA in Organizational Behavior from Lesley College. She lives in Merrimac with her husband Bob and two terrific dogs. Julia has worked with St. James Amesbury in the past.
You can read more about Julia at www.juliasteer.com.

Please come and share your ideas!

Fr. John’s Christmas Message

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Dear St. James Family,

The first verse of the Christmas hymn In the Bleak Mid-Winter resonates with me every Christmas. Part of the hymn reads “earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak mid-winter, long ago.” I remember one Christmas morning, waking up to a very faint beam of sunlight shining through my window. “Had it come, was it really here”, I thought. I got out of bed and went to the window and the picture of the back yard was that of the hymn—the earth stood hard as iron, the grass damp and cold and gray from the frost. The sky was very pale and cloudy. I realized that it must still be very early as no one was up yet. I carefully crept back to my bed and lay there overwhelmed with excitement—for as the hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem tells us Christmas had come once more. That image of our back yard has always stayed with me and that vision says “Christmas” to me.

Sometimes we come across sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch that can remind us of different times in our lives. I would like to invite us all to take some time and ponder what it is in this world that says Christmas to us. Perhaps, it’s our Christmas tree encircled with lights and ornaments, tinsel and gifts, or the wonderful fragrances coming from our kitchens, perhaps it’s the beautiful Church services or something not necessarily associated with Christmas, the sounding of the clock alarm Christmas morning, coming down the stairs seeing the sky and knowing it is Christmas, a vision of a snow covered lawn, or maybe it is another image unique to ourselves. All of these images are embodied with the Christmas spirit, the spirit of love, charity, forbearance, good will, Salvation. This spirit is a tremendous blessing for us as well as for others for it can stay with us throughout the year whenever these images of Christmas come to mind.

While these images can be great fun, depending on where we are in life, images of Christmas may seem sad and even unwelcome. Perhaps we are weighed down by the troubles in the world, perhaps this past year has not been kind to us, perhaps the last few years have not been kind to us, perhaps Christmases of the past have not been kind to us. We feel caught in a bleak mid-winter which seems too thick to be pierced by the sounds of the year. One sound, however, that is constantly reverberating is the Angel choruses, which triumphantly proclaim that a Saviour has been born for all! If we cannot find that Christmas spirit or if that spirit has been tainted in some way, believe that in this and in every bleak midwinter, that at all times of the year, this spirit is searching for us anew, for it came for us and will not rest until it settles over each of us, scattering the darkness and shining light in our life. The Christmas spirit of love, charity, forbearance, good-will, and Salvation is alive in our world proclaiming through the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, that in the bleak mid-winter Jesus Christ was born for all people, for all of us, to save us! This is the message of Christmas and something we should hold with us all the year round so that it can sing out triumphantly for us when we need it the most and so that we can bring it into the lives of others in their times of need.

My friends I look forward to greeting you at Saint James this Christmas, I pray for safe travels for those spending Christmas away from Amesbury and wish you all and those you love a very merry and Blessed Christmastide.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. John

 

 

 

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