Parish Thanksgiving Pot Luck Sunday, November 20

Ham, Turkey, Lemonade and Tea will be provided.

Please bring a vegetable, side dish, fruit, bread or dessert to share.

A sign up sheet is located on the bulletin board in the main hallway to give us an idea of attendance, however everyone is invited to share in God’s bounty.


Before, during and after the feast, the Taco Soup Bags will be assembled as an outreach program for the Southeast Gwinnett Coop. Please see the related post here for more information on how you can help.

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Musings From Mother Liz

Mother Liz & PJIt’s hard to believe, but the “holidays” are right around the corner.  I love that in its wisdom, the Church set aside a season of preparation for Christmas, called Advent.  A time of watching and waiting; a time of quiet contemplation and prayer in the midst of all the activities that can consume us as Christmas approaches.  As many of you know, I am a bit of an Advent ‘junky’.  I need the season of Advent in order to embrace Christmas fully – I think we all do.  I think of Advent as pilgrimage.  I am on a journey to Bethlehem, to see the wonderful miracle that God has promised.  A Messiah, foretold in the Hebrew scriptures and realized in Jesus the Christ.

Over time, several people have asked me what they might do to intentionally mark the time of Advent.  So I thought I would share a couple of ideas with you.  If you have practices that you have found useful, please share them on the St. Matthew’s FaceBook page.


I am a big reader, and I enjoy adding to my daily devotions by reading books and articles created for the Advent season.  Here are some books that might interest you:

Watch for the Light:  a series of 50 devotional readings for Advent and Christmas from noted authors, including  Henri Nouwen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Kathleen Norris, St. Thomas Aquinas, Karl Rahner,  Edith Stein, Karl Barth, Oscar Romero, Evelyn Underhill, Dorothy Day, Brennan Manning, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Annie Dillard, Martin Luther, St. John Chrysostom, and C. S. Lewis.  I have used this book for several years and never tire of it.

God is in the Manger:  a series of 40 readings for Advent, Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45), a Christian minister, seminary professor, and theologian who became one of the leading voices of opposition against Nazism during World War II. He was a founding member of Germany’s Confessing Church and was executed for participating in a plot to assassinate Hitler. His theological views have become highly influential in the years since his death.  This will be my reading for this year.
Kneeling in Bethlehem: poetry for the season of Advent and Christmas from Anne Weems. says, “In a style that is reverent and faith-filled, Anne Weems reflects on the mystery of the Christmas season. Included in this collection are twenty-six new poems as well as popular selections from her earlier works, especially Reaching for Rainbows and Family Faith Stories.  If you love poetry, you will love this book.
Taking on a new prayer discipline is another way to mark the season.  You can use the Book of Common Prayer to pray Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer.  There are also abbreviated daily prayer offices: Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families (p. 137-140) offers a prayer structure for both morning and evening; an Order of Worship for the Evening (p. 109-114) provides something more substantial than daily devotions, but still abbreviated from the office of Evening Prayer.  Or you could try praying Compline (p.127-135) before bed.

Another option is the use of prayer beads.  Last year around this time, we made Anglican rosaries for Chaplain Donna Mote to pass out to travelers at Atlanta Airport and some of those involved began praying the rosary.  The Anglican (Episcopal) rosary is quite flexible in the prayers you use, so their use in Advent can have specific Advent prayers.  There is a wonderful book, titled, “Praying with Beads”, by Nan Lewis Doerr and Virginia Stem Owens, that offers rosary prayers for each liturgical season of the year.  In our next e-letter, I will offer some prayers and scriptures you might find useful.


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Thanksgiving Parish Wide Outreach Project Nov 20th

We will be putting together Taco Soup bags at the Thanksgiving luncheon for delivery to the SE Gwinnett co-op. Each bag will contain the non-perishable ingredients and a gift card for ground beef to make a delicious pot of Taco Soup on a chilly fall or winter evening.

You can bring all the items to complete as many bags as you wish or you can donate specific items. The ingredients listing can be found on the Outreach bulletin board. Please place donations in container found in the Old Narthex.

Outreach will be providing the bags and the recipe card with a spot for you to write a special note.

Please contact Cheryl Wheeler for more information.


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Sanctuary Open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Election Day


Prayers for the Election –  November 8, 7am – 7pm

Prayer for an Election

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States  in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This year’s election campaign process has been especially divisive.  And yet, we are called to participate in our form of government and we are blessed with the privilege of being allowed to vote in this country.  We also acknowledge that as important as our President is, our allegiance as Christians is to God as we know him in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, St. Matthew’s will make the sanctuary available for prayer and reflection on election day, Tuesday, November 8, from the time the polls open at 7am, until they close at 7pm.  We will offer prayer cards to guide your prayers and meditations on that day.

A service of Holy Eucharist will follow at 7:30 p.m.


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Evening of Remembrance Photo Gallery

During the Evening of Remembrance, our parish experienced a very meaningful time of meditation, reflection and fond memories.  Around 60 folks, young and old, came out on a beautiful evening to place flowers on the cross, add stones to the cairn, walk the Labyrinth, and find peaceful quiet in the Sanctuary. Music supplied a stirring background throughout the event.


Paying respect to those who have gone on before us, over 180 names were spoken aloud during the Memorial Service, each receiving a resonate toll from the bell. 


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Spotlight: Stephen Ministry Comes to St. Matthews

About Stephen Ministry

We live in a fast-paced and fragmented world.  People suffer crises and tragedies, but they often don’t have caregivers they can count on. Family members and friends may be scattered across the continent—or even the world.  Neighborhoods rarely offer the support they once did.  So when a crisis or challenge hits, many people have no one to turn to and end up facing it alone.

Congregations today are overwhelmed with needs for care—the needs of their own members and the needs of people in the surrounding community.

  • People who are hospitalized
  • Those who are grieving
  • Those suffering loneliness or discouragement
  • People who are divorced or separated
  • Those who are dying—and their families and friends
  • Unemployed persons
  • People fighting cancer or another debilitating illness
  • People providing long-term care to a loved one
  • Those dealing with the losses and challenges of relocating
  • Parents whose children have left home
  • Those who are home-bound, convalescing, or rehabilitating
  • New parents
  • Single parents
  • Victims of disasters
  • Those in a spiritual crisis

The list goes on.

Everyone faces periods of crisis, transition or difficulty.  During these times a caring relationship with someone who will faithfully listen, empathize and pray with and for them, and encourage them with Christ’s love and care can be a tremendous benefit.

Stephen’s Ministry, a 40 year old program, was founded with just this mission in mind. Stephen Ministers are lay Christians selected, trained, and supervised by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders to provide effective, one-to-one care to others.

Stephen Ministries also has a great website: where you can hear testimonies about the life changing  effect Stephen Ministers provide to those who are hurting and in need of care.

Where Plans for Stephen Ministry Are at St. Matthew’s

There are several steps which need to be completed to officially launch this program.

  1. Enrollment (completed)
  2. Select and train leaders (completed–Susan Jung and Priscilla Trescott completed training in June.)
  3. Select and train Stephen Ministers (Our first trainee will  complete his in April. Another training class will begin in September 2017)
  4. Stephen Ministers will be available to St. Matthew’s in April.

For more information, please contact Susan Jung or Priscilla Trescott.

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Christmas Light Program 2016

Christmas Light 2016

December 8th and 10th, 9am to 3pm, both days, Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry

The primary focus of this program is to restore pride and integrity into the parents.  200 children will participate this year.  Each family spends its own money, with a $20 total limit, and a limit of three gifts per child.  Each gift will cost the parents $2.  Each family will receive a Christmas Dinner Box, a cookie making kit, along with socks, underwear, toothpaste and books.

DONATIONS: You may help by providing gifts or cash donations. All donations are needed by NOVEMBER 30! This program prefers a quality gift or two over many less quality, “dollar store” type gifts. Individuals from the parish may team up and buy one quality gift. Suggested price range is $25 to $100 per gift.

A gift tag board will be in the Narthex.  Please return gifts to the old narthex (parish hall vestibule), and they will be promptly delivered.  Gift cards should be placed in the collection container in the church office, or given to Becky Olbon, Cheryl Wheeler, and Michael or Mindy Barringer.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:   Many volunteer are needed for this program.  Please go to to see opportunities and to sign up.  Sign up will be available Nov. 14.  If assistance is needed, please contact Becky Olbon.

NOTE: You must be 14 or older to volunteer and attend the store. No children under this age allowed.

Contact:  Michael or Mindy Barringer

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