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Advent 1Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

CYCLE OF PRAYER:
Christ Church, Ansonia; St. Paul’s, Bantam
Postulants and candidates for Holy Orders; the Commission on Ministry and its members

MEMORIALS: The flowers near the Altar are in celebration of the life of Kathi Curioli, Mim McDermott’s daughter.

VIGIL LIGHT:
The Vigil Light burns this week in loving memory of Judith McCue Parker by her sister Ruthie and brother-in-law Lou Lovallo

LIVING NATIVITY:
Experience the sights and sounds of the first Christmas with Christ Church’s annual Living Nativity. This Sunday, December 3 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in conjunction with the lighting of the East Norwalk Christmas tree, you can visit with live animals on the lawn of the church. The sanctuary will be open for prayer (and warmth) and the Minister of Music will fill the evening with organ music. Invite your friends and neighbors to this wonderful event. If you would like to participate in the Nativity, please contact Lisa Helwig.

THE GIVING TREE:
The giving tree has been set up in the Guild Room. Please bring gifts of toys and clothes for the Children’s Connection (flyers with specific needs are on display in the Guild Room) and Autumn Lake where cozy fleece lap robes are urgently needed. Thanks for your generosity! Deadline for donations is December 17.

ALTAR GUILD:
On December 17, during the coffee hour, the Altar Guild is inviting all available church members to participate in decorating the church for the Christmas Season. Also forms for your flower memorial requests are available in the Gathering Place. Help us make the church more beautiful than ever this Christmas Season!

WOMEN’S GROUP–RAFFLE TICKETS!!:
The Women’s Group is selling tickets for the Christmas Cheer Basket which is on display in the Guild Room. The basket will be raffled off on December 17, after the 10 AM service during Coffee Hour. See Bunny Zamm for more information.

CHRISTMAS FAIR : Raffle tickets for four of the fabulous Chinese auction items for the Christmas fair will be available after both services . Because these four items are all worth $195.00 and up, the cost of these tickets is $5.00 each. They are 1) a set of Wusthof knives, 2) gift certificate for auto detailing package at Splash, 3) $200 gift certificate at Aitoro, 4) a beautiful Dooney and Bourke bag. Pictures of the items will be on display.

The Holiday Fair will be held at Christ Church on December 9, from 9:00am to 4:00pm. In addition to an extensive holiday-themed tag sale, Barbara has hand-picked and organized at least 17 vendors to participate in the fair. She has also put together a Chinese Auction. See the above announcement concerning the four extra special auction items. The fair will also include a bake sale. Your home-baked goods can be delivered Friday night or Saturday morning before 9am. You are invited to participate! Barbara will need help on Friday, December 8, from 10am to 2pm and Friday evening from 6pm to 8pm. She especially needs help cleaning up on Saturday afternoon. Please see Barbara or call her at 203-847-5237 to volunteer for one or more 2-hour blocks of time. Be sure to get yourself on the schedule soon! Donations of Christmas-themed items for the tag sale are appreciated. Please save your non-Christmas items till next year – storage space in the church is very limited.

BOOK BUNCH:
The next book club meeting is December 12, at 7:30. The book selection is The Martian by Andy Weir. Please contact Debbie Ross at DRoss56@aol.com for more details.

FAMILY FUN NIGHT:
December 15, starts at 6:00pm. The Polar Express movie will be featured. Also there will be pizza, hot chocolate, cookie decorating and a pajama party. Contact Jackie Muha for more information.

CHRISTMAS CAROLING:
We will meet December 18, 5:00 pm at the church for refreshments, then caroling at Ludlow Commons. Then we will walk down Gregory Boulevard caroling all the way to the Marvin at 6:30! Contact Paul Mordoff for more information.

DECEMBER 24 SERVICES:
We will celebrate Holy Eucharist for Advent 4, December 24 at 9:00 am. Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist will be December 24 at 6:00 pm

BACKPACK CLUBS:
You too may join the CT Food Bank in its regular support of Backpack Clubs in the Norwalk Public Schools. Barbara Felter as the point person. Barbara wants everyone to know how much Wolfpit School appreciates your generosity. Most of the items you have donated provide breakfast for needy children. Items may be left in the basket near the pulpit.

Items needed:
Juice Boxes
Milk Boxes (same style, like Parmalat, etc.)
Single Serve Cereals
Fruit Snacks
Fruit Cups
Instant Oatmeal Packets (not cardboard cans)
Granola Bars
Chef Boyardee Ravioli Cups w/pull tops
Macaroni and Cheese Cups w/pull tops
Single Serve Chips/Popcorn

AUTUMN LAKE: Christ Church will sing Christmas Carols at Autumn Lake December 27. Everyone is encouraged to join us for this special event. Please meet at 10:20 in the Lobby.

THIS WEEK AT WORSHIP:
Organist: Betty Belcher
Altar Guild: Barbara Judson and Laura Demms
Ushers: Ed Zamm and Ginny Deering
Lector: Eric Mordoff
Intercessor: Jennifer Gormley
Presider: The Reverend Laura Queen

Old Testament Reading
Isaiah 64:1-9
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence–

as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil–

to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.

You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.

But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;

for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18
Qui regis Israel

1 Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.

2 In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
stir up your strength and come to help us.

3 Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

4 O Lord God of hosts, *
how long will you be angered
despite the prayers of your people?

5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; *
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.

6 You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

7 Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

16 Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, *
the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.

17 And so will we never turn away from you; *
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.

18 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

The Epistle
1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind– just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel

Mark 13:24-37

Jesus said, “In those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

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Ordinary People, Extraordinary Spirit
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