St. Matt’s Hiking Group Fall Outing

A large group from St Matts took advantage of a crisp autumn afternoon on November 16 to explore Harbins Park in Dacula. As revealed in the photos, the woods are especially beautiful at this time of year.
The group typically schedules one hike per month. For more information, contact Ted Sokal or Greg Andrews.

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The Calling of Mother Liz: Adult Forum 9:30 am Nov 23rd

Learn more about Mother Liz and why the Search Committee and Vestry called her to be our next Rector.  Hear their stories about God’s leading throughout this process and why they think she’ll be a great fit for our parish.  And you’ll get a chance to ask questions, too!

See you in the Parish Hall at 9:30 on November 23rd!

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Rosebud Warmth Notes of Thanks

October 13, 2014
Dearest St. Matthew’s Family,

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of your generosity to provide warmth for the children of the Rosebud Reservation. I remember vividly the blazing hot July afternoon that Judy Leavell and I started brainstorming her vision; we were not sure how it would evolve. God is faithful and provides. He has spoken to your hearts and you responded with yarn, knitting skills, money, and internet savvy, which resulted in cases of new winter hats, scarves, and gloves. I know many of these children, and know they will be excited and will feel your love. We have heard that the first shipments have arrived before the first threat of snow!

I am humbled and grateful for your creativity, prayers, and ongoing support. I would especially like to thank Judy Leavell for seeing a need, and then recruiting the people and resources to create a relationship between St. Matthew’s and the Rosebud Reservation. They are a people who loved and cared for me, while I was so far away from you.

Yours in Christ,
Nancee Cekuta

October 10, 2014

Dear People of St. Matthew’s:

Through Judy Leavell, we have begun receiving hats, scarves, and gloves to give to our children here on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It has been a great delight to receive the two shipments thus far, and I know that more are coming. Your desire to help keep our children warm is especially necessary this year, when we believe we will be facing an extremely cold winter. The caterpillars are the fuzziest we’ve ever seen them, meaning we could spend a lot of time shivering in the coldest months. Your gifts will make such a difference!

Blessings and thanks,

The Rev. Lauren R. Stanley
Priest-in-Charge, Rosebud Mission
Rosebud Reservation

Rosebud thank you


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Bracing Against the (Shh!) Holiday Blues

Have any of the following thoughts crossed your mind?

“Do I have to go to one more family gathering?”
“Oh no, why did I eat (or drink) so much?”
“This is my first (fill in the blank) and I’m nervous. My whole family will be here.”
“I have __presents to buy and no money. What will I do?”

If you have had these thoughts or considerations, you may be setting yourself up for “holiday blues.” According to the website WebMD, there are 10 triggers that can produce anxiety and stress as we get closer to the Thanksgiving and winter holiday season. Added to those stress producing scenarios are the usual seasonal ones such as shorter days and lack of sunlight. One of the ways that we can combat a variety of these triggers is to know ahead what they are. Be proactive. Plan ahead.

Here are some suggestions:

Keep your same schedule. Exercise and eat well.
Set a budget for shopping and stick to it. Make a charitable donation in place of gift buying.
Choose to cook the turkey, don’t feel obligated.
More invitations than you can reasonably handle, settle on the ones you really want to attend.
Know your limits on food and drink. Plan ahead.
Keep your prayer and meditation life full. Observe the upcoming Advent season as a way to keep yourself focused on what is really important in your life.
Check the parish calendar for upcoming Advent programming, prayer, and spiritual growth opportunities.

Suggested readings:

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Evening of Remembrance

On All Saints Sunday, November 2, St. Matthew’s again celebrated the lives of family and friends who have gone on before us with a special evening service incorporating some of the traditions used by cultures around the world. Those attending could light a candle, place a flower on the cross or a stone on the altar, or simply sit quietly in prayer as they remembered their loved ones.
Brief memorial services were held in the courtyard during which the names of those we have lost in years past were read. The labyrinth was set up in the parish hall for those who wished to walk its path in prayer and contemplation. Quiet music was provided by Mindy Barringer and Chuck Marsh on guitar.  Mother Debbie and Sally Ulrey were available for those who just wanted to talk to someone.

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Annual Advent Wreath Making

On November 16th, St. Matthew’s Adult, Youth, and Children’s Sunday School classes came together again this year to make Advent wreaths during the Sunday School period. Over 70 wreaths were made as gifts for the preschool families, providing an opportunity to share the message and meaning of Advent with them. The Advent wreaths will be given to preschoolers to take home after their Annual Thanksgiving Feast during the week of November 17 – 21. The First Sunday in Advent is November 30.

Get some ideas on Pinterest!


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A Word From the Senior Warden


I ride an Emory shuttle from North DeKalb Mall to main campus each day, and in September I heard a woman sitting across from another mention that the woman’s shoelace was untied. With her lap full of school books she looked down sadly, knowing that there was no way to get to that shoe. The first woman quietly leaned across the bus and tied it for her. Welcome to a new day.

Then early in October at the 8:00 a.m. service I was privileged to watch young Andrew Byron as he walked a new acolyte, Gabi Paulding, through the paces of serving at St. Matthew’s. The Paulding family are newcomers at St. Matthew’s and along with a reusable tote, bread, pen and some printed materials, Andrew demonstrated another wonderful way to extend a welcome.

Last summer Mara DiGiovanni was sitting near someone new not simply to St. Matthew’s but also to an Episcopal liturgy. The visitor was having a heck of a time keeping up, and I watched Mara quietly open to the correct page in the right book and ease it into the visitor’s hand.

I dropped in to youth group one Sunday evening recently – how great to see some of our youth inviting their friends to young fellowship at St. Matthew’s. It’s so exciting to plan to welcome our new rector, and to think through all the treasures of our church and our community that we have to share. Mother Debbie has commended our parish several times about how warmly we welcomed her, and she’s been a faithful leader showing multiple ways for us to welcome newcomers.

So look around you, find that loose shoelace, and let’s make this a season of welcome.

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