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Notices for the Week: Nov 27th – Dec 3rd  

Christmas Bazaar Thank you to everyone to helped to make the Bazaar a huge success.  Special thanks to Lynn Turner and Co. for all the organizing, set up, and take down.  

Letter to the Parish – The letter to parishioners for Advent and Christmas is ready to be picked up today.  Please do not leave without yours and, to save us postage, if you are able to take a letter to someone not here today, please do so.  An envelope for Christmas offering to meet our yearly budget is included with the letter.

Helping Others at Christmas – As we get closer to Christmas, there will be phone calls to St. Helen’s from people in need requesting help.  We do not budget any particular amount for this ministry but help as we are able.  If you would like to help, please make a special offering and designate your gift as ‘St. Helen’s Helps’ in the memo line or in your note.  This means it will go to our ministry of helping families and individuals particularly at Christmas.  

Telling the Christmas Story - Outdoor Decorating We are in the midst of creating three special scenes using Coroplast and pictures that will be set up in a few places around the outdoor of the church.  The scenes will include the Annunciation, Mary and Joseph on the way to Bethlehem, Shepherds and Sheep, and a wood framing reflecting the entrance to the stable.  We are also planning to put lighting on the Holly Trees located between the church and the cemetery.  If you would like to make a special donation to this project, please designate your gift as ‘Telling the Christmas Story’ in the memo line or in your note.  

Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) Goats and Solar panels.  Through PWRDF St. Helen’s has been helping with the purchase of goats in developing nations to support family incomes.  This year we are adding the purchase of a ‘solar suitcase’ for healthcare clinics.  Many villages do not have power so when the sun goes down there is no light to continue the work of the clinic.  Providing a solar suitcase which has a solar panel to collect the sun’s energy will help to ensure that clinics can operate beyond the daylight hours.  The Canadian government is providing 6X matching funding for the purchase.  Please remember that PWRDF works with our overseas partners and communities to provide what the community knows it needs to strengthen the life of the community.  We do not simply give what we think they need.  For the last number of years St. Helen’s has focussed support for PWRDF during over the season of Advent.  Our rep, Paulette Smith will be happy to receive your donations once again this year at coffee hour over the next few weeks.

Advent Prayer Series – Starting this Tuesday, November 29th and each Tuesday Morning and Tuesday Evening of Advent there will be a time of prayer in the church.  The morning prayer will be from 11am to 11:45am.  Following the morning prayer time there will be a light lunch for those who have gathered.  The evening prayer time will be from 7pm to 7:45pm. Yes, Advent is a busy time of getting ready and everyone is invited to take some time of getting ready in prayer.  We will pray for the world and our community.  We will pray for those on the prayer circle and for whom we pray on Sundays.  We will pray for anything else that is brought to us.  There will be the opportunity to light a candle as a prayer as well as to quietly reflect on God’s Word.  

Bottle Drive Today:  Kelly & Les will be delivering all our deposit recyclables to the recycling depot. Please bring in all yours to go. They need to be left outside the lower hall door before or immediately after the service please.  

Words and Music for Advent and Christmas Next Sunday Evening, December 4th, at 7pm we are holding a candlelight service featuring Scripture readings and carols in both English and in some of the variety of languages of our congregational members.  This Advent season let us pray together to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ Child.  Please do invite your friends and family to this special time of worship.  There will be refreshments and fellowship following the service.      

Lunch Bunch Our lunch in December will be on Monday Dec. 5th at the ABC Restaurant, 15373 Fraser Hwy at 11:30am. Lunch at 12 noon, cost will be $18.00 which includes Turkey Dinner, desert, coffee or tea, gratuity & tax. (The price of the Dinner is gone up to $20.00 and the difference will be paid out of the Lunch Bunch money.) We need to know how many are coming by Nov.27. If attending, please put your money in an envelope with the correct amount and your name on it. Envelope to be given to Joan Hnedish or Pat Nociar.  

2017 Church Calendars:  are available NOW!  The Anglican and Lutheran churches have worked together to produce this expression of their joint commitment to living out God’s mission in the world.  The format allows lots of space for recording your busy schedules.  They cost $7.00 each and available from Jos Laskey.  Only 50 are available.      

Mission, Ministry, and Outreach Working Group – In order to build on our work in and around the community, it is important for St. Helen’s to have a small working group to keep us up to date on the needs of the community.  This team of people would be able to see how our faith community could be of help in the neighbourhood.  Are you interested in working on such task group?  It is a great way of turning our prayers into action.  Please speak with Father Steve or one of the wardens.  

Surrey Urban Mission – SUM is looking for some help in the following areas to fill immediate needs:  1/Are you able to help with pick up and deliveries, especially a Cobb’s Bread pick up on Monday nights. This requires a SUV, mini van or a pickup and can be done on a rotating schedule. 2/Volunteers on Tuesdays to lovingly interact with our guests and help with lunch service. Perhaps a group of folks that could come in and just sit, share lunch with our guests and hear their stories once a week. 3/Someone with a pickup truck who is available during the day, there are times we need to drive stuff to the dump.  

St. Helen’s Refugee Working Group – It has been a few years since our refugee committee has been in operation.  Now is a great time to re-establish this working group as we continue to wait for Esther from the refugee camp on the Burmese-Thai border.  If you are interested in being a part of this working group, please speak with Father Steve or one of the wardens.

Dates for Your Calendar
Dec 4 – 10am – Holy Eucharist – Advent 2              
            7pm – Words and Music for Advent and Christmas

Dec 5 – (Note: this is a Monday) Lunch Bunch meets at the   ABC Restaurant 
            (see notice in this sheet)
Dec 6 – 7pm Executive meets
Dec 11 – 10am – Holy Eucharist – Advent 3
Dec 13 – 7pm Parish Council
Dec 18 – 10am -Confirmation and Holy Eucharist – Advent 4 with Bishop Melissa
Dec 24 – Christmas Eve – Services at 7pm and 11pm with Carols and Candlelight
Dec 25 – Christmas Day – Sunday Service at 10am as usual  

Readings for Sunday, December 4th  – Advent 2
Isaiah 11:1–10;
Psalm 72:1–7, 18–19;
Romans 15:4–13;
Matthew 3:1–12

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Melissa Skelton
As we all know for some years the parishes not only in our diocese but across the whole Anglican Church of Canada have been wrestling with a loving, caring, good and proper way to proceed regarding the blessing of marriages of same sex couples.  Blessings have gone on for a number of years and now with regard to the marriage canon, we are reflecting on not just a blessing but the actual marriage of same sex couples in the church.  Bishop Melissa has had a number of gatherings for consultation to consider how we might reflect on this between now and the next gathering of General Synod in 2019.  Now having had these consultations, Bishop Melissa has written a pastoral letter to the diocese which you are asked to read for your own reflection and prayer.  If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to approach me for conversation about it all as well as prayer.  Here is Bishop Melissa’s letter:  

Greetings to you all,
At General Synod 2016 a 2/3 majority of delegates in each house (laity, clergy and bishops) voted to amend the marriage canon to make marriage available to "all persons who are duly qualified by civil law to enter into marriage." The resolution that passed also specified that the potential change "shall come into effect on the first day of January after being passed by General Synod at Second Reading."  

Different dioceses have chosen different approaches as to what to do during this three-year period before a second reading of and vote on the change at General Synod 2019. I am writing to you to clarify our approach, an approach that comes after my own soul-searching and prayer and after a broad consultation with many both within and outside our diocese. I ask that you listen carefully to this approach in that it is not simple but instead reflects the diversity of people and perspectives in our diocese and in the Anglican Church of Canada.

First, during this three-year period we will strengthen what we offer all couples who seek marriage or the blessing of their marriage in the church. I will convene a group to create standards and develop or refine materials to assist all couples in preparing for their making monogamous, lifelong commitments of fidelity to each other.

Second, we will abide by what General Synod decided, that is, during this three-year period we will hold off on our clergy officiating at the marriage of same-sex couples, preserving this period as a time to study, reflect, discern and pray for General Synod 2019 and its decisions. I, myself, did vote for the change in the Marriage Canon and do believe that offering marriage to same-sex couples within the Church is an expression of the Gospel. At the same time, as your bishop I feel I should respect and abide by the full resolution as passed at General Synod 2016.

Third, building on the work already done in this diocese, I will authorize new liturgies for the blessing of marriages that enhance and maximize what we as church do and keep to a minimum what marriage commissioners do. These liturgies will be available for the use of clergy and parishes who would find them helpful and for all couples who are duly qualified to enter into civil marriage.

Fourth, I will continue to emphasize that in our diocese we have a wide range of perspectives on the issue of marriage both in our parishes and among our clergy. Thus, while many clergy and parishes in our diocese will desire to move forward in offering new blessing liturgies in this three-year period and later in officiating at marriage liturgies of same-sex couples (should the change in the Marriage Canon pass in 2019), other clergy and parishes will choose not to do this. As bishop of all our parishes, I want to assure you that our diocese will stand by both of these choices. I also want to assure you that where a parish or its clergy is on this question will not serve as a kind of "litmus test" of inclusion in the life of our diocese.

And, finally, I will continue to emphasize that all denigration of LGBTQ2 people, no matter where it occurs, is contrary to who we are as Christian people. This denigration includes prejudice against, violence directed towards, and any criminal sanctions related to LGBTQ2 people. These are the main elements of our approach as a diocese to the next three years. I will be sending out a more detailed communique to the clergy of the diocese that I hope will address the many questions they raised during my conversations with them earlier this fall.  

In closing, I want to thank all who offered their perspective and experiences to me on the question of what we would be doing over the next three years. Please continue to pray for all the people of our diocese, all the people of the Anglican Church of Canada and all the people of the broader Anglican Communion as we all discern our way forward.  

In Christ, +Melissa  IX New Westminster