• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship for December 12, 2021


The Holy Eucharist

The Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)

December 12, 2021


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/

Sunday, December 12, at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)





The Holy Eucharist: Rite II



The Word of God



LEV #121: Baptized in Water, Sealed by the Spirit

[Verses 1-5]


1 Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit,

Cleansed by the blood of Christ our King:

Heirs of salvation, trusting his promise,

Faithfully now God's praise we sing.


2 Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit,

Dead in the tomb with Christ our King:

One with his rising, freed and forgiven,

Thankfully now God's praise we sing.


3 Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit,

Marked with the sign of Christ our King:

Born of one Father, we are his children,

Joyfully now God's praise we sing.


Words: Michael Saward © 1982 Jubilate Hymns, Ltd. (admin. by Hope Publishing Co.).

Music: Eugene W. Hancock © 1992 Eugene W. Hancock.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #00017. All rights reserved.



A Penitential Order

[BCP, p. 351]


Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.


If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)


Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.


Silence may be kept.


Most merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned against you

in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in your will,

and walk in your ways,

to the glory of your Name. Amen.


Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.



LEV #236: Lord Have Mercy

[BCP, p. 356]


Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy on us.


Christ, have mercy,

Christ, have mercy,

Christ, have mercy on us.


Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy, have mercy on us.


Words: Public Domain.

Music: Leon C. Roberts, Mass of St. Augustine © 1992 G.I.A. Publications, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #07254. All rights reserved.



The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 212]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:


Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah (3:14-20)


Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel!

Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies.

The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:

Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.

The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory;

he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.

I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.

I will deal with all your oppressors at that time.

And I will save the lame and gather the outcast,

and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you;

for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth,

when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Canticle 9: The First Song of Isaiah

[BCP, p. 86; Isaiah 12:2-6]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

Surely, it is God who saves me; * I will trust in him and not be afraid.


For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, * and he will be my Savior.


Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing * from the springs of salvation.


And on that day you shall say, * Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;


Make his deeds known among the peoples; * see that they remember that his Name is exalted.


Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, * and this is known in all the world.


Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, * for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: * as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.



A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians (4:4-7)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God



The People stand for the reading of the Gospel.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Luke (3:7-18)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.


John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."


And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you." Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what should we do?" He said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages."


As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."


So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.



The Sermon

“Rejoice! Rejoice!” by The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda


The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, which is a Latin word meaning “Rejoice!” It comes from the reading we just heard from Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Phil 4:4). Next week, we’ll sing the familiar hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!” with its refrain: “Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!” Joy is spread throughout the Advent season but today is a special call to spread the joy of Jesus!


Today is also one of the Sundays focused on the ministry of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. That’s why we prayed the Song of Mary earlier (also called the Magnificat, another Latin title). You may notice that the Third Sunday of Advent is marked by the rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath. The rose or pink colored candle represents both Mother Mary and the joy we share as we prepare for and await the birth of Jesus.


All of that means that today is a day to meditate on the meaning of joy. We have a chance to reflect upon why we rejoice -- during Advent, as we prepare for Christmas, but also more generally throughout our lives as Christians.


St. Paul offers us these important words of encouragement today: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).


Why do we need to be told to rejoice? What is it about the lives of Christians that we need this encouragement? How does joy and the act of rejoicing help us be more faithful followers of Jesus?


For one, Paul says, we rejoice because “the Lord is near.” Jesus is coming as a baby on Christmas morning. But of course, the Lord is near even when it’s not December. Christmas is a symbol, a reminder of an ever-present reality. The Lord Jesus came near to us by being born as a human baby. The Lord Jesus is still near to us in the presence of the Holy Spirit. And the Lord Jesus is also near in the sense that we await his coming in glory. We wait longingly for his return to us to judge the world. Advent is always about these three moments: Jesus coming to us as a baby in the past; Jesus coming to us as the Spirit in the present; and Jesus coming to us to judge, restore, and rule the world in the future.


Paul says that we also rejoice because of the joy and peace that God gives to us. This is the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (a phrase you have heard in the Blessing at the end of worship). God offers us that everlasting peace even in the midst of trials and tribulations. That peace isn’t just a nice feeling, or a blissful ignorance of the world as it is. Instead, it is faith that God can and will set the world right.


The Prophet Zephaniah also calls on the people of God to rejoice. He explains in more detail why we should be happy. Through Zephaniah, God says, “I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you” (Zephaniah 3:18b-20a). Zephaniah spoke to people who had suffered enormous losses in a war, had been ripped out of their homes and forced to live in exile in a faraway land where they were oppressed for who they were and how they looked. To them, God promises restoration, an end to oppression, and a return to home, where safety and godly justice are possible.


Based on these Bible readings, we have a renewed understanding of joy. God calls us to joy in the midst of struggles and hardships. The kind of joy we’re talking about does not mean that you’re happy all the time. It does not mean that you ignore the realities of pain and suffering in your life or in the lives of others. It does mean that we believe deep down that love is greater than hate, that good is greater than evil, that God is greater than any other force in the universe. It’s a way of proclaiming God’s victory and trusting in God’s goodness even when it’s hard. It’s an expression of our faith that God will put an end to oppression and lead us home.


Christians don’t believe that good and evil are locked in an even match. God and Satan don’t fight on even ground. God will always win. Love always wins. So we rejoice. The sufferings we live through on earth are real and they matter, but they can and will be healed. So we rejoice. We know that we are loved unconditionally, that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. And so we rejoice.


Finally, joy has the power to transform our reality. Joy changes us and prepares us to see God’s work in the world. Joy helps us prepare our way for the Lord Jesus to return. That’s why sometimes the most effective form of protest against injustice, the best remedy to sorrow can be joy. Why else do we have big gatherings of our family and friends at funerals? Why do we make great meals and throw a party when we lose a loved one? It’s because joy is a path toward healing. So, this Advent and Christmas, don’t hesitate to throw a party or join one. We all need joy because we all need God to be with us. “Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!” Amen.



Hymn #68: Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers!

[Verses 1-3]


1 Rejoice! rejoice, believers, and let your lights appear!

The evening is advancing, and darker night is near.

The Bridegroom is arising, and soon he will draw nigh;

up, watch with expectation! at the midnight comes the cry.


2 See that your lamps are burning, replenish them with oil;

look now for your salvation, the end of sin and toil.

The marriage-feast is waiting, the gates wide open stand;

Rise up, ye heirs of glory, the Bridegroom is at hand!


3 Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear;

Arise, thou Sun so longed for, above this darkened sphere!

With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see

the day of earth's redemption, and ever be with thee!


Words: Laurentius Laurenti; tr. Sarah B. Findlater, alt., Public Domain.

Music: Llangloffan, melody from Hymnau a Thonau er Gwasanaeth yr Eglws yng Nghmru, Public Domain.

All rights reserved.



The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]


We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.


We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


The Prayers of the People

[Adapted from http://theadventproject.org/Documents/adventpop.pdf]


Sisters and Brothers, as we joyfully await the full manifestation of God’s Reign in Christ, let us pray for the needs of the church and the world, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus.”


O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High and reach from beginning to end, mightily and sweetly ordering all things. Behold and bless your church, remembering especially Michael our presiding bishop, Frank our Bishop, Guillermo our priest, Toni and Margaret our wardens, our vestry and delegates, and all leaders in this parish. Be present in ordering the life of this and every congregation.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Adonai, God of the Covenant, ruler of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave your law. Forgive us when we stray from your guidance and will.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Root of Jesse, you stand as an emblem to humankind; before you, rulers will shut their mouths, and nations bow in worship: We pray for your peace and justice in every nation and throughout the world; be present to all whose lives are ravaged by war and strife; especially we hold before you those from among us who serve their country abroad. Guide the leaders of this and every land into the paths of peace and goodwill.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, you open and no one can shut, you shut and no one can open: Guide us in opening the doors of opportunity for the unemployed, for the homeless, for prisoners, and for all who are oppressed; and lead us in closing the doors that lead to poverty, bigotry, and injustice.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O King and Desire of the Nations, you are the cornerstone that makes us one: We lift up all who are suffering and in need, especially Guillermo G. Arboleda, Martha Avery, Christine Brown, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Annie Bell Greer, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Patricia Jenkins, Steve Johnson, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Craig Maxwell, and Helen Scroggins: Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous and help us minister to them in your love.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Dayspring, radiance of the Light Eternal and Sun of Righteousness: Shine your light on those who have died; remember, especially those we name now..., and bring comfort to all those who mourn.

Come, Lord Jesus!


O Emmanuel, God with us, Expected One and Savior, We give thanks for all the blessings of this life; for all those celebrating birthdays: Craig Maxwell (12/14), Darniki Sheppard Ward (12/15), and Renee Watts (12/15); for Craig & Deidre Maxwell (12/14) and others celebrating wedding anniversaries; and for the other blessings we now name silently or aloud… Make each of us ready to receive you into our hearts, to serve you in all whom we meet, and to greet you in the fullness of your glory in the day of your appearing.

Come, Lord Jesus!


The Celebrant concludes with a suitable Collect.

Hasten, O Father, the coming of your kingdom; and grant that we, your servants who now live by faith, may with joy behold your Son at his coming in glorious majesty; even Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.



The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.



The Offertory

[BCP, p. 377]


Giving to St. Matthew's: We know that many people are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The church is feeling it too. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these:

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NOTE: Donations made online (#2 or #3) through Realm incur a processing fee of about 2.5%. Please consider adding an additional 2.5% to your online gift to cover these costs.


2022 Giving Campaign: The 2022 Giving Campaign has just ended, but we have fallen short of our giving goals for 2022 General Operations. We need to raise at least $150,000 toward operations to have a balanced budget, and we are less than 50% of the way there. There are two main ways you can help:

  1. If you forgot to submit your giving estimate, you can still do so using the online form below. You can also request a paper form from our office. Only about half of our regular pledgers submitted a giving estimate this year, so we would love to hear from the rest of you!

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Click here to learn more about how and why to give to St. Matthew's.

Ascribe to the Lord the honor due his Name; bring offering and come into his courts. [Psalm 96:8; see BCP, p. 376]

Give online at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now



LEV #130: Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

[Verses 1-4]


1 Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Since I laid my burden down.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Since I laid my burden down.


2 I feel better, so much better,

Since I laid my burden down.

I feel better, so much better,

Since I laid my burden down.


3 Feel like shouting, “Hallelujah!”

Since I laid my burden down.

Feel like shouting, “Hallelujah!”

Since I laid my burden down.


4 I am climbing Jacob’s ladder,

Since I laid my burden down.

I am climbing Jacob’s ladder,

Since I laid my burden down.

Words: Traditional, Public Domain.

Music: Negro Spiritual, Public Domain; arr. Carl Haywood © 1992 The Haywood Collection of Negro Spirituals.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #AF20211148. All rights reserved.



AAHH #651: Doxology

[See also Hymn # 380, v. 3]


Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

Words: Thomas Ken, Public Domain.

Music: Old 100th, attributed to Louis Bourgeois, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84260. All rights reserved.



Eucharistic Prayer B

[BCP, p. 367]


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.


It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. …


Preface of Advent [BCP, p. 378]:

Because you sent your beloved Son to redeem us from sin and death, and to make us heirs in him of everlasting life; that when he shall come again in power and great triumph to judge the world, we may without shame or fear rejoice to behold his appearing.


Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:


LEV #254:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


[Word: Public Domain. Music: Carl Maultsby, The Saint Mary Mass, © 1989 Malted Milk Music. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #00004C1989. All rights reserved.]


The people stand or kneel.


We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.


On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."


After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."


Therefore, according to his command, O Father,

We remember his death,

We proclaim his resurrection,

We await his coming in glory;


And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you, O Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this bread and this wine.


We pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Sacrament of the Body of Christ and his Blood of the new Covenant. Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice, that we may be acceptable through him, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In the fullness of time, put all things in subjection under your Christ, and bring us to that heavenly country where, with Blessed Matthew our Patron, Blessed Mary the Mother of Jesus, and all your saints, we may enter the everlasting heritage of your sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the firstborn of all creation, the head of the Church, and the author of our salvation.


By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.



The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]


And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.



The Fraction Anthem

[BCP, p. 364, 407]


Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!


This Far By Faith (1999) #36:

O Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;

have mercy and grant us peace,

we pray, O Lamb of God.


[Words: Public Domain. Music: Grayson Warren Brown, arr. Larry Adams © 1979 Grayson Warren Brown, admin. by OCP Publications. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #81590. All rights reserved.]


Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The Gifts of God for the people of God.



LEV #118: Spirit Song

[Verses 1-2]


1 Oh, let the Son of God enfold you,

with His Spirit and His love,

Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.

Oh, let Him have the things that hold you,

and His Spirit like a dove,

Will descend upon your life, and make you whole.


REFRAIN:

Jesus! Oh, Jesus,

Come and fill your lambs.

Jesus! Oh, Jesus,

Come and fill your lambs.


2 Oh, come and sing this song with gladness,

as your hearts are filled with joy,

Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name.

Oh, give Him all your tears and sadness,

give Him all your years of pain,

And you'll enter into life in Jesus' name. [REFRAIN]


Words: John Wimber © 1979 Mercy Publishing c/o Vineyard Ministries.

Music: John Wimber © 1979 Mercy Publishing c/o Vineyard Ministries.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #50048. All rights reserved.



The Post-Communion Prayer

[Enriching our Worship 2 [2000], pp. 56-57]


Let us pray.


For In-Person Worshippers:

Faithful God,

in the wonder of your wisdom and love

you fed your people in the wilderness with the bread of angels,

and you sent Jesus to be the bread of life.

We thank you for feeding us with this bread.

May it strengthen us

that by the power of the Holy Spirit

we may embody your desire

and be renewed for your service

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


For Online Worshippers and Those Receiving Spiritual Communion:

Faithful God,

in the wonder of your wisdom and love

you fed your people in the wilderness with the bread of angels,

and you sent Jesus to be the bread of life.

Though we cannot consume now these gifts of bread [and wine],

we thank you that we have received the sacrament of Christ’s presence,

the forgiveness of sins, and all other benefits of Christ’s passion.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,

may we embody your desire

and be renewed for your service

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.



The Blessing

[The Book of Occasional Services 2018, p. 9]


May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.



Parish Announcements


A. Advent & Christmas 2021-2022 Worship Schedule: Please see our full worship schedule for the seasons of Advent and Christmas below. All Services (except New Year's Eve) are both in-person and live-streamed to our Facebook page:


Please note the correction to the service on 12/31, which will be a Facebook video only (not in-person).

  • 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19: Sundays in Advent - Holy Eucharist at 9:30 AM

  • Friday, 12/24: Christmas Eve - Holy Eucharist with Pop-up Pageant at 7:00 PM

  • Saturday, 12/25: Christmas Day - Rest and rejoice with your family!

  • Sunday, 12/26: 1st Sunday in Christmas - Lessons & Carols at 9:30 AM

  • Friday, 12/31: Eve of the Holy Name of Jesus / New Year's Eve / Watch Night - Evening Prayer ONLINE ONLY at 7:00 PM (Facebook Video)

  • Sunday, 1/2: 2nd Sunday in Christmas - Holy Eucharist at 9:30 AM

  • Thursday, 1/6: Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Holy Eucharist at 6:00 PM

Check out the full schedule: https://www.stmattsav.org/post/advent-christmas-season-2021-2022


B. Conversations on Relationships and Race (CORR) on 12/12: St. Matthew’s is partnering with St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Isle of Hope UMC, and Asbury UMC to hold a monthly book club and dialogue series on race and relationships that will focus on a different book about racial injustice every month. Our hope is to continue learning more about others and ourselves, while also building deeper and meaningful relationships with our greater community across the barriers of denomination and race.


Our third gathering will be held on Sunday, December 12, 4:00-5:30 PM in person only at St. Matthew’s. Refreshments will be served outdoors (weather permitting) before gathering for discussion indoors.


Our current book is called Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho. Please read Chapters 7 through 15 (i.e., Part II and Part III) before the December meeting. You can purchase the book online or in most book stores (Amazon link).


C. Christmas Poinsettias Memorials Due 12/19; Funds For Operations: St. Matthew's invites worshippers to make memorial and/or thanksgiving donations to the church this Christmas in honor of loved ones or other intentions. Please inform the church office about your memorial and thanksgiving intentions by Sunday, December 19.


This year, the Altar Guild has volunteered to purchase necessary poinsettias to decorate the church for Christmas, rather than using these funds to purchase flowers. Christmas donations will thus be redirected toward general operations to help reduce our operating deficit going into 2022. The Altar Guild promises not to compromise the church's Christmas.


D. Upcoming Dates for Baptisms & Confirmations: Holy Baptism is available to anyone at any age who has not already been baptized. Confirmation or Reception is available for teens and adults who would like to make a mature commitment to The Episcopal Church. Baptisms can be performed on almost any Sunday or feast day based on your family's schedule. Confirmations, Receptions, and Renewals of Baptismal Vows must take place when a Bishop is present. The Right Rev. Frank Logue, Bishop of Georgia, will hold his next visitation to St. Matthew's on Sunday, January 16, 2022. If you are interested in taking any of these next steps in your faith journey, please contact Fr. Arboleda by cell phone or email (FrGAA@StMattSav.org).


E. T/W/Th Evening Prayer via Zoom: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, St. Matthew's invites you to pray Evening Prayer over Zoom. The video will continue to stream to Facebook Live at 5:00 PM. Please join the Zoom call by 4:55 PM. Otherwise, watch the prayer service as you have been on Facebook Live.


For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).

Topic: Zoom Evening Prayer

Time: 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Join Zoom Meeting: See e-Newsletter


Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


Dial by your location: +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)

Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


F. Revised COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for In-Person Worship: On June 21, the Vestry authorized revised COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for in-person worship at St. Matthew's. At the October Vestry meeting, they reaffirmed the use of these guidelines and the maintenance of this temporary Sunday worship schedule.


All people in attendance are still required to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth at all times and maintain social distancing in their assigned seating areas. Click here to read the Vestry's June 2021 COVID-19 Safety Guidelines in their entirety.



The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!

Thanks be to God!




The Parish Prayer List


Prayer List: Guillermo G. Arboleda, Martha Avery, Christine Brown, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Annie Bell Greer, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Patricia Jenkins, Steve Johnson, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Craig Maxwell, and Helen Scroggins


Birthdays: Craig Maxwell (12/14), Darniki Sheppard Ward (12/15), and Renee Watts (12/15)


Wedding Anniversaries: Craig & Deidre Maxwell (12/14)


Recent Deaths: Ronald Baynes (11/21/21), Louis H. Martin (11/28/21; brother of Martha Avery)

May the souls of all the departed rest in peace; and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.




Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), African American Heritage Hymnal (AAHH), and other sources cited. The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.


Image Credit: http://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2019/12/sunday-mass-online-sun-december-15-2019.html

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