We are Better Together

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1 THE BT TIMES We are Better Together December 2016 Are we there yet? Anyone who has traveled with a young child on a car trip knows that this question will be asked several times during the journey. Tell a child that a trip is going to take two hours and cover 120 miles, and that essentially means nothing. You might even be asked the question a few minutes after getting into the car! Are we there yet? That s the theme of Advent. For most people, the four weeks leading up to December 25 are a time to get ready. There are decorations to put up, cards to send, presents to buy, and plans for the holiday dinner to be made. For others, it is a time to reflect on the need for the Incarnation of our Lord. We ponder on the necessity of Jesus trip to earth, his human birth. With four weeks of pondering why God chose to coming into the world in human form, we are ready to celebrate Christmas. However, preparation for the celebration of Jesus birthday is but one aspect of the season of Advent. The other, perhaps more important one is asking the question, Are we there yet? When Jesus left the earth following his resurrection, he told his disciples that he would return. The early Christians lived with the imminent hope that Jesus return was just around the corner. Paul has to explain the apparent delay of the Parousia the second coming. But nearly two thousand years later we are still asking the same question, wondering when and how Jesus will return. If you pay attention to the readings for Advent, you will see this theme running through them. Are we there yet? The fact we are asking this question means the answer is no. But that should not prevent us from being ready. We are called to live in love, care, and compassion for each other and the world in which we live. We prepare ourselves to welcome the Lord, which means letting go of the familiar and expecting something wonderful yet perhaps a bit scary. So sign those cards and hang your decorations. Plan to be with us as we celebrate Jesus birth on Christmas. But be ready for Jesus return when we will hear him say, Yes, we are there!

2 Almost OURS! We plan to close around December 15 on the purchase of the the adjacent building and parking lot just south of our church at 6112 York Road. It has 8000 square feet that we would love to lease to a great organization or office needing space. It can easily be subdivided among several tenants. So far we have been in conversation with leaders from a synagogue, several non-profits and a special needs playgroup/camp. There are so many exciting possibilities. Come see the building at the Open House scheduled below. Please contact the Reverend T. Stewart Lucas if you have any leads. We anticipate occupancy by January 1, Check out the property brochure with pictures and floorplans on our website at

3 Wednesday Night December 21st 7:30 pm Cool Jazz. Cold night. Candles. Incense. Candlelight. Prayer. A ministry created at Holy Comforter that lives on and continues to flourish. A festive reception follows the service in Hart Hall. Community-wide Christmas Pageant! Sunday, December 18th in Hart Hall after the 10:30 am service 17 th Drop the kids off in Hart Hall with brave volunteers at 10:30 am. You can go to church while we rehearse for an easy presentation of the gospel story. Anyone who shows up will have a part, but there are no lines to memorize! Speak to Stewart or Diane Macklin Shindle if you have questions.

4 LEARN Forum of Faith Join the conversation every Sunday at 9:15 am in Hart Hall. On the Sundays before and after Christmas we will look at a video Bible study entitled: Christmas: The real story. The Bible tells a very adult story of Jesus' birth. Social outcasts and Gentiles were honored witnesses; a powerful king became fearful and murderous. This course explores these issues, and reexamines traditional Western assumptions about the first Christmas in the context of Middle Eastern customs and culture. This five-session study was produced by CROSSWAYS, which offers excellent materials to help us understand the Bible. December 11 - Setting the Stage December 18 - The King is Born December 25 and January 1 No Forum January 8 - God's New Kingdom Grows January 15 - God's New Kingdom Lasts Forever January 22 Linda Chinnia speaks about being a member of the Baltimore City School Board January 29 - Geography of the Holy Land DVD and a look at maps. We will try to understand places like Galilee and the Jordan River, the Negev Desert and Jerusalem. January Soup & Study Series Save the date. We ll have guest speakers and discuss current topics including Islam, Judaism and Race in our world and city today. Simple Soup Supper from 6:30-7:00 pm and Conversation from 7:00-8:00 pm. Book Group We are all wounded people who try to hide the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual hurts that are part of our common humanity. In our January Book club read, The Wounded Healer, Dutch priest Henri Nouwen explores the concept of wounded-ness as a source of strength and healing when shared with others. Weaving cultural, psychological and religious insights, he comes up with a balanced and creative theology of service for ministry applicable to both religious and lay persons or in the words of E.M. Forster just connect. We ll meet Sunday, January 15th. at 12:15 in the Catherine Bishop Library. The Book Club wishes everyone a Happy Christmas!

5 GIVE & SERVE Holy Comforter Members Approve 2017 Budget At a congregational meeting November 13, Finance Committee Chair Dick Perry explained that the updated operating budget was greatly simplified since the sale of the properties at 5513 York Road and the move to Nativity. As approved, the budget covers benevolence to the Delaware-Maryland Lutheran Synod, a 10 percent increase in Holy Comforter s contribution for the use of Nativity s facilities and staff support, Pastor David s pay and benefits package, plus other miscellaneous costs. Expenses significantly exceed projected income from member contributions and earnings on reserves. That deficit will be covered by the reserve fund created from the proceeds from the sale of the church property last spring. Members were told that a small transition team comprised of clergy and lay leaders from both congregations planned to meet to discuss the future of the Nativity-Holy Comforter partnership. One option to be explored is to form a confederation under which the two congregations would combine their budgets and be guided by one clergy person. Members also agreed to a recommendation that the Congregation Council Holy Comforter s governing body be limited to the existing seven Council members. Church bylaws call for a maximum of 12 members, but it was felt that a more compact panel would be more efficient. The Church of the Nativity Annual Meeting February 5, 2017 at 9:15 am Stewardship Campaign We are so grateful with your overwhelming response to our fall pledge drive. There are a few who have not had the chance to respond yet, so we hope you will reflect and pray about your many blessings. Then fill you your pledge card to help us plan our 2017 budget for mission and ministry at home and abroad. Ascension Homes Party Sunday December 18th 2:00pm Help us welcome our neighbors for whom this holiday luncheon is a bright light in their Christmas season. Our GEDCO partners will provide the presents and we will provide the party. Sign up today on the bulletin board! CARES Food helps. We can make a difference. Special Needs: Peanut Butter, Tuna, Pasta, Rice & Jelly

6 Poinsettia Donations If you would like to place a poinsettia in the church in thanksgiving, honor, or memory of someone, please fill out the following form and place it in the offering plate or mail it to office. Mark checks with Poinsettias in the memo by December 18. The suggested donation is $ Number of poinsettias: In Memory Of: In Honor Of: In Thanksgiving For: Given By: St. Nicholas, the original Santa Claus, is the patron saint of needy children. Celebrating St. Nicholas Day is a tangible way of connecting to the true spirit of the holidays by providing an educational, fun intergenerational experience for our church family The American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem are grateful for our generous support and for all that we are doing to help these children and future generations living in the Holy Land. Our Good Friday offering also benefits AFEDJ. Children are our hope for a peaceful, stable future in the Holy Land, and education is the key to providing these children with the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive. The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem provides quality education grounded in Christian values. Its doors are open to all children regardless of religious, ethnic, or economic background. The Lutheran Church also has a ministry in the Holy Land that works closely with AFEDJ. Please pick up a giving envelope in the foyer and give generously to AFEDJ this holiday season! Or simply note this on your check, and we will get your donation to the right place. Check out more at Speak to our Senior Warden Neal Baroody for more information.

7 Reparations? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I will with God s help. How do we do this? How has slavery not respected the dignity of black people? How does the enslavement of vast members show its ugly head in our present day society? (neighborhoods, transportation, jobs, family breakdown, law enforcement, schools, churches political processes) How do we isolate ourselves from others? Who do we trust to walk next to on the sidewalk? You are invited into a conversation on reparations for the enslavement of human beings in the history of the Diocese of Maryland and the United States. Diocesan Council was tasked by Diocesan Convention to begin this conversation when a resolution was referred last May to Council. To that end there are five such opportunities to listen, learn and share being offered across the diocese. Please join us for this holy conversation. Please speak to Deacon Linda or Father Hollis for more on this ongoing conversation. The dates are: December 3, 10:00 AM, Emmanuel, Cumberland December 13, 7:30 PM, Holy Comforter, Lutherville January 11, 7:00 PM, All Saints Sunderland January 16, 10:00 AM, Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore Yoga & Tai Chi On Tuesday nights our own Karen Baroody leads a Yoga class in Hart Hall from 7:00-8:00 pm. Thursday nights the Cedarcroft Community Association will have an intermediate-advanced class at 7:00 pm. Every breath is a prayer. No sign up required, just show up with your yoga mat and $5 and leave with a quiet mind and grateful body. $5 suggested donation each time. On Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30 pm. Priscilla Brown leads a Tai Chi class in Hart Hall. If you have ever done Tai Chi, you know it is an extraordinary practice perfect for all levels of fitness. Every stance is a prayer. $5 suggested donation.

8 The Church of the Nativity & Holy Comforter 419 Cedarcroft Rd. Baltimore, MD CHRISTMAS EVE 7:30 pm Holy Eucharist With choir and organ. CHRISTMAS DAY 10:30 am Lessons and Carols with the Holy Eucharist SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS New Year s Day 8:00 am Holy Eucharist 10:30 am The Holy Eucharist 11:30 am Festive Brunch Craig Hart and Bill Fowler spent much of their Thanksgiving holiday pulling wire for the new phone and internet system for school and church. (That s two days of work times two talented people saving us lots of money!) We are bringing new (50 Mbps and upgradable) internet into the church and school to replace our ailing low-rate DSL. Next up we will install WiFi hotspots and a SIPStrunked VOIP phone switch with private voice mail for both the church and school. This accommodates our growth, aides pastoral response, facilitates partnerships AND reduces recurring costs by eliminating our land lines. Plus we have built in capacity to cheaply expand this existing infrastructure to provide service to 6112 York Road. Many thanks to Rob Sohlberg for his work coordinating this huge task.

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