Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
There are just a few days left until Christmas and most of us are in the final stages of our preparations. That includes St. Matthew’s staff and worship leaders who are preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. You’ll find reminders about the services and a couple of other notes below. But first I want to thank everyone who participated in last Sunday’s Christmas Cantata, Advent Poems, Songs and Art services. The music was beautiful and the Christmas message was inspiring. A lot of time and energy goes into preparing and leading those services. We are blessed to have so many talented people who are willing to share their gifts and witness to God’s glory. I want to thank Nancy Cappel, Carol Workman, Susan Ely, and the rest of the music leadership team for their faithful service.
Christmas Eve Worship
We have four very special worship services planned for Christmas Eve:
• 4:00pm -Family Christmas Eve Service: Our children’s choral and handbell choirs will help lead the service and every child who attends will be invited to participate in a very special telling of the Christmas story. Plan to arrive extra early to get a costume and find a seat.
• 6:00pm -Modern Candlelight & Communion Christmas Eve Service: Our Modern Worship Team will lead us as we celebrate Jesus’ birth in a meaningful service of word and song. The service will include Holy Communion and will conclude with candlelight and Silent Night.
• 8:30pm & 11:00pm – Traditional Candlelight & Communion Christmas Eve Services: Our choral and handbell choirs will help lead these traditional services, which celebrate the birth of Jesus. There will be extended handbell preludes before each service. Both services will include Holy Communion and will conclude with candlelight and Silent Night.
Please note that these services are very well attended, so we encourage you to give yourself a few extra minutes to park and make your way to the sanctuary. Overflow parking will be available at Wakefield Elementary School. The nursery will be open for the 6:00 and 8:30 services.
Before we get to Christmas Eve, we will gather on Sunday morning for our regularly scheduled services as we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent and continue our Christmas Through the Eyes of Mary sermon series. This week’s message is entitled, Mary, Full of Grace. The Scripture readings will be Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 1:46-56. Please note that there will be no Children’s or Youth Sunday School classes and no Children’s Worship this week. Everyone is encouraged to attend worship with their families! The nursery will be open for children birth – 3 years old.
So far, we’ve received about $5,200 for our 2018 Advent Offering. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed. As I hope you know by now, St. Matthew’s is partnering with three organizations that are making a difference in the lives of people in our own community and around the world: Weyanoke Elementary School, the Shepherd’s Center of Annandale and Springfield, and Operation Mercy. It’s not too late to participate in the offering and be a blessing to people in need. You can give by text message using the keyword, ADVENT.
We are continuing to receive Estimates of Giving (EOG) for 2019. As of this week, we have received 199 Estimates of Giving for next year, for a total of just over $831,000. Our goal is to receive at least 260 EOG’s by the end of the year, so we need to hear from at least 60 more families. If you haven’t done so already, please go to our website and use the Give link to complete your EOG (or download a form if you prefer a hard-copy), and sign-up for online giving. Remember: online giving saves church resources and makes sure you can fulfill your commitment when you are traveling. Many people find online giving helps them grow in their stewardship. Don’t forget that if you use our automatic online giving service, it must be reauthorized every year. Thank you for your faithfulness, your generosity, and your commitment to all that God is doing through St. Matthew’s Church.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday morning and Monday evening as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Anne, Rob, Andrew and Emily join me in wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas.