Deacon Nancee Cekuta

St. Matthew’s proudly welcomed newly-ordained Reverend Deacon Nancee Cekuta Sunday morning, December 21, at both services. Deacon Nancee preached for the first time as deacon at both the 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services, assisting our new rector, The Reverend Liz Hendrick. Nancee was ordained yesterday, December 20, at The Cathedral of St. Philip, along with ten other ordinands.

Our own newly ordained Reverend Deacon Nancee Cekuta assisted at Eucharist and preached the homily at both services on Sunday, December 21, 2014.

Our own newly ordained Reverend Deacon Nancee Cekuta assisted at Eucharist and preached the homily at both services on Sunday, December 21, 2014.

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Christmas Services


Christmas Eve, December 24

5:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II with the Cherub Choir

7:30 p.m.  Holy Eucharist Rite II

10:30 p.m. Carol Sing

11:00 p.m. Festive Holy Eucharist Rite II with the Sanctuary Choir and Handbells

Christmas Day, December 25

Holy Eucharist Rite II

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Rosebud Warmth Update

Rosebud thank youRosebud thank you

This week we received photos of some of the children on Rosebud Reservation wearing their new hats, scarves and gloves, along with a note from Mother Lauren which read:

I FINALLY got photos of the hats and scarves, which have gone to more than 200 children so far!
It will take SEVEN emails, to make sure we don’t overload your system or mine …

Blessings and thanks!


Many, many thanks to all who contributed time, energy, creative juices or hard-earned cash to make this project such a great success! Thanks especially for the collaborative efforts of Judy Leavell, parishioner, and Nancee Cekuta, our seminarian, for seeing the need and making things happen. It’s the People!



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Outreach Opportunities

Service to othersCrossroads Community Ministries — The collection box for Crossroads is under the table in the Parish Hall foyer. The following items are needed for the homeless men, women, and children we serve. Currently we are helping almost 4,000 individuals.
Items for hygiene bags: small shampoo and conditioner, small bar of soap, lotion, small comb, toothbrush, small toothpaste, non-metal nail file, disposable razor, wash cloth.
Magazines (address labels removed), winter gloves (adults and children), new socks, children’s books, baby bottles, new or gently used book bags and/or gym bags. If you have any questions, please contact Sylvia Campbell at 770 972-3130. Thank you.

Santa Ringing Bell

Ring the bell for the Salvation Army  — St. Matthew’s will be ringing the bell for Salvation Army at the Wal-Mart on Scenic Highway in Snellville on Saturday, December 13.  We will have one station to cover and we will be there from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  We need at least five volunteers and can create as many as ten shifts.  People can also work as a team. There will be a signup sheet on the Outreach bulletin board.  Any questions can be directed to Cheryl Wheeler or Mark DiGiovanni.


Winter Coat Drive  — We will continue accepting winter coats through the end of January. Please leave your donated items in the foyer to the Parish Hall.

ERD Logo
Episcopal Relief and Development — ERD — Wondering what to give this Holiday Season? Consider Giving to Episcopal Relief and Development for their 75th Anniversary Celebration. Now through December 31 your donations will be matched dollar for dollar. They help tackle poverty, hunger and disease. Donate today and send help where it is needed.

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Advent Wreath Outreach

Thank you to all who helped make 80 Advent Wreaths for the Preschool families!  Thank you for showing the Preschool your love and welcome by sharing the meaning and tradition of Advent with those in our greater community!
A special thanks to the Sunny’s Kids teachers for spearheading this effort.  We had parishioners of all ages participating in creating this gift!  Thank you!!!
Advent Wreath Making2 2014 Advent Wreath Making3 2014 Advent Wreath Making 2014 Advent Wreaths 2014


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Mental Health and Nutrition: The Brain-Gut Connection

During the holiday season we celebrate with friends and family with so many food choices that it is often difficult to decide what to eat. The foods that we choose will have an impact on our emotions, our behavior, and our thinking. The opposite is also true as our feelings and thoughts can have a strong effect on our gut (digestive system).

On a gut level (no pun intended) we all know this by the following:

* Feeling “sick to your stomach” after seeing something horrible.
* Feeling so nervous that you have “butterflies” in your stomach.
* Feeling better after eating your favorite “comfort foods.”
* Feeling more focused and energized after a cup of coffee and a snack.

Our food supplies us with the nutrients that we need to make neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry information from one cell to another). The most important ones for mental health are:
* Serotonin – makes us feel calm and happy
* Norepinephrine and Dopamine- make us feel energized, focused, and motivated
Serotonin is made in special cells which line the inside of the gut, and 90% of it is stored and activated there.

To improve and maintain your mental health:

1. Don’t skip meals to maintain your energy and think clearly
2. Have protein (lean meat, poultry, lentils, fish, soy) at every meal to get the building blocks (amino acids) for your neurotransmitters.
3. Have healthy carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, and whole grains) to get the vitamins and minerals needed to help with production and absorption of serotonin.
4. Have healthy fats including fish oil (wild salmon, herring, and sardines), coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados.
5. Eliminate sugar and use limited amounts of honey, maple syrup.
6. Maintain healthy vitamin D levels. Vitamin D has a natural antidepressant effect, and it is deficient in most populations of the world. Since it is difficult to get adequate vitamin D from foods and sunlight, ask your doctor to check your blood level and then start on a supplement.
7. Spice it up with ginger, turmeric, curry powder, and garlic. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and protects the brain and organs from chronic illnesses.

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Nancee Cekuta To Be Ordained December 20

The Right Reverend Robert Christopher Wright
By the grace of God, the Bishop of Atlanta will ordain
Nancee Ann Cekuta
To the Sacred Order of Deacons
In Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
On the Eve of the Feast of Saint Thomas,
the Twentieth day of December, two-thousand and
fourteen, at ten o’clock in the morning

Cathedral of St. Philip
2744 Peachtree Road, NW
Atlanta, GA 30305
Your prayers and presence are requested.

Car pools can be formed at the church for those who wish to attend. Please contact the church office at 770-979-4210 for more information.

We encourage all to join us Sunday morning
December 21 as the newly ordained 
The Reverend Nancee Cekuta
will preach at both services.
A light breakfast reception will be held at 9:30 a.m.

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From the Rector

“In the tender of compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness.”                                                                                                                                                                                                          Canticle 16, from Luke 1:68-79, BCP, 93

Mother Liz & PJGreetings and prayers for Advent!

I share with you this text from Luke’s gospel, because this is our hope in Advent: that out of God’s love and compassion for us, God elects to come to us in Jesus – truly a light from heaven!

The word “advent” is derived from a Latin word for “coming”. It is a time of preparation and expectation for the coming celebration of our Lord’s nativity, and for the final coming of Christ “in power and glory”. In Advent, we look forward in hope and expectation as we remember and celebrate God’s willingness to be with us as Jesus, fully human and fully divine, and God’s desire to stay always present to us as the Holy Spirit.

But Advent is also a time of new beginnings – it is the time when the liturgical church year starts over. In Advent, we change the lectionary year: this year, we will be in Year B, and the Gospel readings on Sunday will be primarily from the Gospel of Mark.

I love that the church year marks a time of new beginnings. We acknowledge the end of the previous year by celebrating Christ as King; then we get to start over, beginning a new year of working to live more fully into that reality. The cycle of the church year affirms that this is not a one-time process, but a continuous one. We are reminded through Advent that God is always coming to us: to renew us; to bless us; to challenge us and to shine light upon us, that we may not remain groping around in the darkness, but have a lighted path – a sacred road map that leads us closer and closer to God. Each year, we are allowed to reflect on our accomplishments, and then lay them down and look forward to where God is calling us next.

This year, the season of Advent is especially precious to me, because it also marks the time of our beginning a new chapter in the life of St. Matthew’s. I am excited about what God has done through this parish, but also about what God has in plan for our future together. I am eager to begin my life and ministry among you; to get to know you; to hear your stories of family and faith; to discern together where God is calling this community in the years to come.

I invite you this Advent to pray with me about discerning God’s call to us as community. However, I also invite you to pray and reflect on what God is calling YOU to be – what new things does God have in store for you in this new year? I look forward to hearing the results!

Grace and Peace,


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