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Abundant Blessings

There is a strong hint in the air that we are approaching the changing of the seasons here in our little piece of paradise. Fall is a time which always reminds me of God’s abundance in my own life and the life of the community of St. James’ Church. It is a natural time to count our blessings and to pledge to give back to God some of what he has given so freely to us. We will be doing this in October and November as we prayerfully consider how to express our gratitude for God’s abundant blessings in our lives.

In the last quarter of the year in addition to the Silver Tea on December 4, we will observe two much loved traditions at St. James’. And we will add a new event that perhaps will become a tradition in years to come.

On Sunday, October 5 at PM we will gather in the church garden with our pets for a blessing of the animals. Perhaps we should call that event “the blessing of a blessing” because so many in our congregation and in our community are blessed to have the companionship, joy and unconditional love of a pet. What an abundant blessing that is! One of the prayers in the blessing of the animals is: “We thank you God for the pets you have entrusted to us. They bring us such joy; they calm us, make us laugh, play with us and keep us safe.” We hope you and your pets can join us as we gather to give thanks for such abundant blessings.

On Friday, October 31 at 6:30 PM we will observe All Saints’ Eve at St. James’. We will honor the memory of those saints who have gone before us by celebrating the joy of children and families who are currently in our midst. As we dress in costumes and hand out treats to friends and neighbors of all ages, our organist John Wiley will be playing the organ. Our red doors will be wide open and the lights will be on to welcome all who visit us. Last year we handed out 1000 treats, many smiles and words of welcome. What an abundant blessing it is to have families and children and grandchildren in our lives.

Our new event will happen on Sunday, December 21, the fourth Sunday of Advent. In addition to our regular 8 AM service that day we will be having “An Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols” at 10 AM. This ancient service begins with a bidding prayer which contains these words: “Let us hear and heed in Holy Scripture the story of God’s loving purpose from the time of our rebellion against him until the glorious redemption brought to us by his holy Child Jesus, and let us make this place glad with our carols of praise.” Our choir will be preparing the music for this special event.

Following the service we will gather for “stone soup”. Based on the children’s book Stone Soup, someone in our congregation will gently simmer some soup bones on Saturday. On Sunday we will bring whatever we have to add to the soup—a can of diced tomatoes, a bunch of carrots from our refrigerator, a can of beans, a couple of onions. The cook will add those ingredients to form a delicious soup. We will bring bread and maybe some Christmas cookies to round out our feast. The idea is to take what we have and share it and to give thanks for God’s abundant blessings.

As we live out the final months of the year, let us give thanks for God’s abundant blessings in our lives from pets and people to the gift of the Christ Child!

Thanks be to God!

The Rev. Betsy Porter

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