December 2014 Newsletter - The Church of Our Merciful Saviour

The Saviour’s News
As John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, he baptized people and urged them to turn their
lives around and live for God. As powerful as this ritual was, John was clear that Jesus’ baptism
would be more so: “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark
1:8, NIV).
The story is told of a gruff old man who’d resisted baptism all his life. Finally, he told his pastor he
was ready to be baptized, according to the church’s custom, that Christmas. After breaking the ice
off the surface of the local pond, the minister plunged the man, face first, into the frigid water
three times “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
As the man emerged the third time, he exclaimed, “Thank God that’s over!”
“Oh, no,” replied the pastor. “Baptism is just the beginning.”
Mark Lowry, who wrote the lyrics to the Christmas song “Mary, Did You Know?” says he’s always
been amazed by Mary’s silence at the cross, as her son was being crucified. Maybe she was
remembering back to that first Christmas, he wonders, when she counted Jesus’ fingers and toes.
“I wonder if she realized then that those were the same fingers that had scooped out the oceans
and formed the seas. I wonder if she realized those were the same feet that had walked on streets
of gold and been worshiped by angels. Those little lips were the same lips that had spoken the
world into existence. When Mary kissed her little baby, she wasn’t just kissing another baby; she
was kissing the face of God.”
Mary silently watched her son die 33 years later, Lowry notes — not just for the world but also for
his own mother. “The baby boy she had delivered on that first Christmas was now on a cross
delivering her.”
With Humble Hearts
Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, which marks the likely spot of Jesus’ birth, has a fourfoot-high entrance. Throughout the centuries, the height of the entrance has been lowered
twice: once to prevent looting and once to keep out camel- and horse-riders.
Because visitors must bow as they enter, this has become known as the Door of Humility. It’s
a reminder of the reverent, submissive posture our hearts should take as we approach our
newborn Lord and Savior. It’s also a reminder that Jesus is the narrow door (Luke 13:24) —
the only path to eternal life.
As you worship this Christmas season, whether or not you’re physically able to kneel, enter
Jesus’ presence with a humble and thankful heart. He alone deserves our reverence because
he alone is able to save.
Christmas Traditions Around the Globe
Although Americans celebrate the holiday with candlelight services, piles of gifts, large feasts,
lights and trees, people in other countries mark Jesus’ birth in many interesting ways:
• Nine days before Christmas in Mexico, Las Posadas processions reenact Joseph and Mary’s
search for a place to stay in Bethlehem.
• Instead of decorating trees, Italians place fruit on small wooden pyramids.
• On Christmas Eve, the streets of Caracas, Venezuela, are blocked off so people can roller-skate
to church.
• Ukrainian Christmas trees often feature an artificial spider and web. According to a folk tale, a
poor woman who couldn’t afford decorations awoke one Christmas morning to find that spiders
had “trimmed” her children’s trees with delicate webs.
• In Brazil, the gift-bringer is known as Papai Noel (Father Noel), who lives in Greenland, according
to legend. When he arrives in Brazil, he wears silk clothing because of the summer heat.
• It’s considered bad etiquette to send red Christmas cards in Japan because funeral notices are
customarily printed in red.
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Below are the worship services to be celebrate at The Church of Our Merciful Saviour:
Wednesday, December 25th, at 4:30 P.M.
Family Worship Service with Holy Eucharist
Thursday, December 25th, at 9:30 A.M.
Worship Service with Holy Eucharist
We raise up thanksgiving for those celebrating another Birthday year in Christ:
Judy Houtz
Justin Simmons
Cynthia Gunning
Mya Brown
Deborah Gagliardi
Crystal Hogate
We raise up thanksgiving for those celebrating another Anniversary year in Christ:
Bill and Christy McAllister
December 23rd
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The parishioners who have been meeting on a monthly basis to set the wheels in
motion for the celebration of our 100th Anniversary have finalized the following to
 Saturday, July 11, 2015, The Right Reverend William H. Stokes, XII Bishop of
the Diocese of New Jersey, will celebrate Mass.
 A Stand Up Reception will follow the Mass in the Parish Hall. Light refreshments, fruit, desserts and cold drinks will be served.
 Prior to the Mass a short possession (a Parade Permit has already been
obtained) will take place down Hayes Street, turning onto Plant One Road, up
to the corner of Plant One Road and E. Maple Avenue onto the sidewalk and
into the church. Everyone will be invited to join in the possession if they
choose to do so. (According to historical notes a parade took place on the
day our church was established.)
 A tent replica will be displayed, to include a reed organ (weather permitting)
which is the type of organ used the same day 100 years ago.
 An open house of the church with tours, the history of our organ, and our
stained glass windows will be presented.
 Information has been gathered for portable air conditioning in the church
 Photographs and new articles pertaining to our church throughout the 100
years will be displayed in the Parish Hall using easels. If you have any photos
or news articles you would like to share we will really appreciate it.
 On Saturday, October 3, 2015, we will continue our 100th Anniversary
Celebration with a dinner at the Sakima Country Club. The dinner will be
catered by Di Paolo’s Italian Ristorante in Penns Grove, NJ.
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If you would like to participate in the planning of the 100th Anniversary
Celebration of our Church there is a meeting on the first Sunday of every
month everyone is welcome to attend. Out next meeting will be on
Sunday, January 4, 2015, in the Parish Hall directly after our worship
Can’t make the meeting………send in your thoughts and/or suggestions via
the church email [email protected] or you can mail them in
to our address at 110 East Maple Avenue, Penns Grove, NJ 080692065.
Bible Quiz #1
What’s the name of the angel who told Mary she would give birth to God’s Son?
A. Gabriel
B. Raphael
C. Michael
D. Jonathan
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Bible Quiz #2
When Jesus was 12, he worried his parents by staying behind at the temple as their travel group departed
Jerusalem. What Jewish festival had they celebrated in the city?
A. Hanukkah
B. Purim
C. Passover
D. The Feast of Tabernacles
Bible Quiz #1: Answer: A (See Luke 1:26ff.)
Bible Quiz #2 Answer: C (See Luke 2:41-49.)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!