News for the third week of advent

From the Vicar:   Thanks for Lessons and Carols
(Note, me trying to thank everybody involved in the Lessons and Carols is far too big a task resulted in far too long a list to put here at the beginning of the Newsletter.  You might fall asleep before you get to the important stuff. ) So I have added at the bottom of the Newsletter, in hopes that many of you will read most of it.  …..

Results of the Outreach Collection at the L&C on Sunday last:
Our Treasurer is happy to report that we collected a goodly total for our Outreach programmes.  Due to the generosity of the congregation assembled, we were able to collect well over 2000 euros!  May God bless all the willing donors to this worthy cause.  AMEN.

Children’s Nativity Play this Sunday….
Attention parents…. We will have a rehearsal this coming Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in the church, for any children wanting to have a “starring role” in the Nativity Play.  Would your child like to be Mary, Joseph, head Shepherd, Star Angel, Head Angel, or any one of the 3 Wise Ones?  If so, please bring them Saturday morning for a quick walk through.  Costumes will be distributed.  If, on the other hand, your child wants only to be a sheep, an angel, or a shepherd, they do not necessarily need to be at the rehearsal.  Some kids get nervous if they feel too much pressure.  Other kids like to familiarize with what is expected.  You know your child best.  The Rehearsal is needed only for those in the leading roles.

Ulm Lessons and Carols this Saturday….
If you missed the wonderful L&C service last Sunday, or simply can’t get enough of singing your favourite carols, come to Ulm on Saturday afternoon for the English Church in Ulm’s Carol Service at 16:00 in the Haus der Begegnung.  (Google it to find the location.)  It will be quite similar to the one here, although we expect less than 100 people to attend.  You are welcome to share in the fun, if you find yourself in Ulm. on Saturday, 17 December.

Christmas Schedule

  • 18th December – 4th Sunday of Advent
    11:15 – Children’s Nativity Play with service of Holy Communion.
  • 24th December – Christmas Eve
    14:00 – Family Christmas Communion
    20:00 – Candlelit Christmas Communion
  • 25th December – Christmas Day
    11:30 – Holy Communion for Christmas
  • 1st January – New Year’s Day
    11:15 – Holy Communion
  • 8th January – Epiphany
    11:15 – Holy Communion with visitation from the Three Kings.

The Wednesday Adult Bible Study
will be on hold for several weeks so that everyone can fully enjoy the festivites and travel opportunities that Advent and Christmas have to offer.  The class will reconvene in Janurary.  K+

Silvester Blessing  changes this year….
When I started the Silvester Blessing New Year’s Eve service several years back, the idea was that those interested could gather in the Church on New Year’s Eve, to quietly meditate on the past year and the upcoming year.  We sang quiet songs in a darkened building illuminated by candlelight.  For two years it was quite nice.   But in later years it seems the firework discipline has been breaking down.  No longer do people wait until midnight to set off their rockets and bangers.  For the past few years, it has become impossible to meditate and sing quietly.  The church walls radiate the noise of the street into the building where we sit in a darkened room which sounds like there is a war going on around us.  So, knowing I cannot control what is happening outside, I have taken steps to accomplish the same thing in a different direction. This year New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday so it makes the change easy.  Instead of doing this on the night of the rockets, we will do it on the morning after.   So, Sunday, 1 January, we will officially be keeping the 1st Sunday of Christmas, but unofficially we will be enjoying a congregational “Blessing of the Coming Year.” We will not have the late service on Saturday.  Go and enjoy your fireworks wherever, but come to church on Sunday morning at the regular Sunday time, and we will Bless the New Year then, in the quiet of the morning after the night before.  Our partner in the Silvester Blessings, The Rev’d Dr. Axel Schwaigert’s Salz der Erde MCC congregation of Stuttgart is also moving their blessing to their regular weekly time, which is Saturday at 1830.  I will plan on going to both services,… one to think about the year coming to an end… and the next day, to think about the coming year, full of hope and possibility.  Let me know if you are interested in coming with to Axel’s service auf Deutsch on Saturday night.  I will be glad to have you go with me.

Rescheduled Men’s Pub-Night
15th December, and the weather is promising to take a turn for the cold, then I suggest a Gluhwein (Mulled Wine) – other beverages are available – at the Christmas Market in Stuttgart.
Meet at 7pm outside the arched entrance to the market – at the junction of Schillerplatz and Planie: https://goo.gl/maps/LXVhnUkkfhJ2

Ladies’ Evening Group – Tuesday 17th January, 19:00 – Rote Kapelle, Feuersee. e-mail legs@stcatherines-stuttgart.de if you would like to join us.

Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus…
Yes, again this year, following both the Christmas Eve services, and the Christmas Day service, instead of a regular coffee hour, we will have a Birthday Party for Jesus.  Stay after the service and join us in the Ecumenisaal (Coffee Room) for a slice of Birthday Cake and something bubbly with which to toast our Lord on the occasion of his birth.

Prayers for Edeltraud S., who is undergoing a hip replacement surgery Thursday, 15 Dec.  She will stay in the hospital  for a week or so, before going to Reha out in the beautiful countryside dear Pforzheim. Pray for her doctors, nurses, medicines, machines, and anything else through which God will bring her healing and hope.

From the Vicar:    Thanking Everyone who deserves to be thanked…….

Dear Friends ….It is stupid of me to try and think on Tuesday of all the people who made Sunday possible.  I have made a good start, remembering 45 names of people who did such a wide variety of things.
Roger and Kingstone were good greeters, making sure everyone got a service sheet and a booklet.  But they probably didn’t do it alone.  Who helped?
Heather Anderson not only procured beautiful potted flowers for the altar but also organized the candles for the children during Silent Night.  But several other people were at the altar helping with the kids.
Mark Cheadle not only supplied his son who bore the cross at the front of the procession, but was everywhere doing so many little tasks, as a true supervisor/warden should do. Whom did he help?
Christopher Cheadle proved his mettle as crucifer, setting a very dignified pace and showing the candle bearers what to do.  His candles were Sabina and Roscio… who did a great job.  But thanks also go to Lwasi, who wanted to be acolyte, but ended up as an extra.  She was willing, and that is a big gift.  Willing workers are not always called upon, but without willingness nothing gets done.  Another willing Acolyte was Praveen John who bore the Church banner in the procession.  It is not easy walking behind a banner which totally blocks your view.  He made it look easy.
Eric was in the choir, and organized the readers,…. all of whom did an excellent job.  Elinor, Susannah, Solomon, Meg, Christopher, Susan, Alison, and Laverne.
Jackie did double duty as treasurer working the baskets and collection of donations, Some of her basket workers were the Girl Guides and Brownies Frances brought along to deliver the Bethlehem Peace Light.  But who else helped pass the baskets and count the cash?  I’ll bet she didn’t do it alone.
Jackie also was very effective supporting the hospitality committee. Who is that Hospitality Committee?  Darren and Rainer were in charge, but in the photos Jim made I can see several other people helping out.  Renate and Edeltraud are there, but I could not identify all the others.  Teamwork makes all things possible.
Gary was everywhere, as always.  His muscle guys helped carry, arrange, and clean up.  He is Mr. Logistics, seeing to it that we had everything we needed in the right place.  But he also filmed several bits of the service which one can find on Facebook.  And Haywood, who assisted Gary in innumerable ways, doing so many little things which if undone might have spelled disaster.  Julie, Stephen, Solomon, Wolfgang, Brigitte and Walter added to the dignity of the service, coming in their liturgical vesture, and processing with the clergy.  Walter’s Methodist robes made our Anglican robes all the more festive in comparison. Did you know he is an ordained Methodist minister?  Wolfgang added a great bi-lingual bit by assisting me with a German version of the Collect for 3 Advent.  With so many German-speaking visitors in the service it seemed only right that they should be able to understand what we are praying about.
Rev. Suzie was not able to attend due to illness but her husband did terrific work with the choir, as tenor and soloist on one of the 3 Kings stanzas.  Along with Tobias and Drew, our three Kings stood out as great singers, and good sports, as I asked them this year for the first time to don a kingly crown while they sang. All were super!  Anja was both singer and wood-flute player.  What a nice touch to add the high pure tones of the flute into the music of the choir and organ.  I have known she could play for years, but this was the best I have ever heard! Our trumpeter this year was a Herr Hilze.  His soaring descants and improvisations made the music come alive with that electricity which comes from unexpected harmonies and brass bravado only a trumpet can supply.  Laura Lane came from another choir to enjoy our choir as a one-off experience.  We sure enjoyed having her voice.  And it was so good also to have Alex singing again with our choir, after such a long time.  The New Laura, Anna, Crispin, Drew, Sally, Stephen, and all the choir did such a great job singing so many songs so well under Stephen’s accomplished batton.  What a thrill to be enveloped in such beautiful music!
I want to thank Naomi as well, who fed the singers and mucisians and certainly did a great service to us all by photographing many nice moments, and posting them on Facebook for us to see.  Others also have posted photos which help many many people enjoy our service…. people around the world who only can share by what they see and hear on Face book, or on our web page, where Jim’s photos are collected.
Jim’s photos are epic.  His use of special lenses give a real drama to the space and those who filled it. see http://stcatherines-stuttgart.de/?p=869
Thanks to those who worked the publicity for the service:  Thomas K, for designing and helping get the flyers published… and the multitude of people such as Gary and Lauris who placed the flyers at various places around town for people to find.  I know many people did that.  But who exactly?  I will never know.
Lastly I want to thank all those who came, listened, sang and donated – without a congregation it wouldn’t have been the same.

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