November: Endings and Beginnings
November 1, All Saints Day. We gather to observe the festival of All Saints with worship and Holy Communion. In this service, we will take time to remember all who have gone before us in the faith, especially those who have entered the church triumphant this year, with special prayers and a candle-lighting. To include your loved-ones in the prayers this Sunday, please see the All Saints post on our Facebook page or e-mail your name and the name of the person you would like to remember to the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After worship on November 1 (11:15 a.m.), we will gather in the memorial garden for brief spoken service to remember all the saints who are interred there.
November 8. Youth Sunday. Our children take leadership roles in our worship -- reading, praying, ushering and assisting -- for this Service of the Word with music from the children's choir.
November 15. Holy Communion. In November, we come to the end of the church year, and we look ahead in hope to the dawn of a new age and to Christ's coming in glory. As we gather with the saints at the table and share Christ's body and blood for us, we join our cry to the ancient cry of Jesus' disciples -- Come quickly, Lord!
November 22. Christ The King Sunday. We mark the end of the church year with a special service of the word that celebrates triumph over sin and death and reviews how God has been at work in every time and every season.
November 29. First Sunday in Advent. We begin our observation of Advent with Holy Communion and the lighting of the first candle on our Advent wreath. In Advent, we do more than countdown to Christmas, we pray that God's Holy Spirit is stirred within us so that we do not lose faith, but continue to anticipate, to watch for and to joyfully hope for the full coming of God's kingdom.
Thank You for Your 2016 Pledge
Thank you for your financial commitment to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for 2016. Your financial commitment, along with that of many others, makes it possible for the congregation to plan our ministry for the coming year.
St. Paul’s anticipates an exciting year next year. Pastor has set aside Wednesday nights as a time when he will meet with you as part of a small group to support you in your spiritual life; our food pantry is expanding the way it is reaching out and serving people in our community; our partnership with other local Lutheran churches is being strengthened; we are reaching out to invite others in our neighborhood to find refuge and strength in Christ as part of this community; and we’re joining with Lutherans around the world to fight hunger and poverty.
Again, thank you for your financial commitment to St. Paul’s. Because of you, we are doing great things together in the name of our Lord Jesus.
If you have yet to send in your commitment form for this year, please take some time to fill it out today. You can mail it to the church office or you can bring it with you to worship this Sunday. To have your commitment automatically transferred each month, please set up your own online giving account through St. Paul's Web site.
God Is Our Refuge
Reformation Day Sermon: October 25, 2015
For a moment, imagine you live in 16th century Europe. Everyday life is hard. There is no doubt about it. Children are especially vulnerable. There is not a parent in your village who has not buried at least one of their children. Women, too, live precarious lives. The death or disability of a husband could drive the family to crisis, and petty wars and squabbles take young men away or destroy crops. Disease is everywhere and outbreaks of plague can kill off an entire village.
In this setting, in this time, it would be difficult for us to believe that God is good and gracious. It would be hard to believe with all this suffering that surrounds and overwhelms us that God is not and angry and wrathful God ready to punish at every turn. It would seem nearly impossible to imagine an afterlife that would be any better, at least for us, living under God’s wrath. What hope of heaven could we have if we start to believe that God has assigned us a life of living hell on earth.
What can we as a church do to make life better, to give refuge and strength and comfort and consolation and hope and faith and love to people in a time like this?
Help with Our Fall Food Drive
St. Paul's is sponsoring a food drive in our neighborhood to help the Middlesex County Food Bank acquire supplies to ensure that all county residents in need have access to nutritious foods and necessities. There has been a recent shortfall in donations and our help is urgently need to restock their shelves. Here's how the drive is going work.
Youth Sunday, October 11
Youth Sunday is the second Sunday of each month. On these Sundays, our youth take the lead, serving as ushers, readers and prayer leaders. The Sunday school choir sings at this service, reminding us all that we receive God's kingdom as a little child.
In Gathering Sunday, October 18
Assistant to the Bishop Pastor Scott Schantzenbach will be our guest preacher, and we will be asked to share our giving pledges for 2016. This year, we are challenging each other to increase in our giving by 1/2 of 1 percent and asking more people to use our online giving system that allows us to give our offerings as an automatic electronic fund transfer through a secure Web site. To set up your electronic giving account with our partner Vanco Financial Services, just follow the Online Giving link.
Reformation/Social Media Sunday, October 25
This year, when we celebrate the start of the Protestant Reformation. The teachings and debates; discussions and reforms of the movement spread because of a powerful new technology - the printing press. Today, we each have the power of the press at our fingertips. Wear red to worship, bring your mobile phone, and let's use social media to witness to the Gospel and God’s presence in the world.
All Saints Sunday, November 1
We remember that in our baptism we were joined to Christ's death and resurrection. In baptism, we were also joined to all who have been joined to Christ. Jesus promised that no one will be able to snatch us from his hand. Even while we mourn and grieve the loss of loved ones, we remember and celebrate our lives together and look with hope for God to fulfill the promise to make all things new. Come and worship with Holy Communion and a time of special prayer and remembrance in worship and in our memorial garden.
Hymn Festival at Nativity, East Brunswick
We are all invited to a hymn festival at Nativity Lutheran Church, 542 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick, on November 1, at 3 p.m. This hymn festival is a worship service that includes specific hymns, readings, reflections and prayers that revolve around the theme of All Saints Day. There will be singers from many congregations and instrumentalists, too, and a selection of favorite hymns from a variety of eras and settings will be featured.
Interim Church Musicians
Stefeny Stofa Krombholz and Paul Stofa, who had been our regular supply musicians, will serve as our interim church musicians while we start the search process with Stefeny taking filling in most Sundays and special services between now and Easter. Thank you to Stefeny and Paul for filling in and leading us forward. The Worship and Music Committee is starting to research what a job description and qualifications for a St. Paul's church musician today, recognizing that much has changed over the past decade.
Mid-Week Spirit Refresher
This year, Wednesday night is Spiritual Growth night at St. Paul's. Each Wednesday night you can be part of a group that meets from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to learn and grow in a different spiritual practice -- centering prayer, Bible study and holy conversation. Each meeting is a stand alone session, so you choose which days fit your schedule and your goals.
October Meeting Schedule
Talking About Hospitality
The latest news, sermons and commentary on our life in mission together.