This Sunday, January 1st, 2023, is not only New Year’s Day in the secular calendar, but it is far more importantly to our faith the First Sunday after Christmas, and the feast of the Circumcision of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Because I (Fr. Tom) am still in quarantine with the covid, Fr. Terrence will be officiating – both preaching and celebrating – at our 10:30 service on Sunday, and I do not want to steal any of his thunder, so I will simply draw your attention to the significance of Christ, who as the Incarnation of God’s Divine Word created the Mosaic Law, humbly submitting Himself to that Law, that he might fulfill the Law.
Here follow the Propers of the Day, along with the Parish Announcements for the week of Sunday, January 1st, 2023. Though our Christian ecclesiastical and liturgical year began on Advent I, and I pray that it may be a holy and blessed one for all of us, let me wish you a very happy, blessed, peaceful, healthy, and rewarding secular New Year of 2023, as well!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Fr. Tom Harbold
Propers for The Circumcision of Christ.
The Book of Common Prayer 1928.
ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through time same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Philippians ii. 9.
GOD also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The Gospel. St. Luke ii. 15.
AND it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard an seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
The Parish Announcements for the Week of Sunday, January 1st, 2023.
If you are a visitor:
Welcome! Thank you for being here. We are very pleased to have you with us, and hope that your worship at Christ Church Anglican is a blessing to you. Please sign the guest book on the table in the narthex, and provide appropriate contact information. Include your email address to be placed on our parish email list: you won’t be bombarded, but it’s a good way to keep in touch. And may God bless you!
Monthly Vestry Meeting:
Our regular monthly meeting of the Parish Vestry will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at the usual time of noon. This will be the last meeting of the current Vestry, prior to the Parish meeting and election the following Sunday.
Annual Parish Meeting and Vestry Election:
Our Annual Parish Meeting and Vestry Election will be held on Sunday, January 15th, 2023, immediately following the 10:30 a.m. service. This is both our annual “State of the Parish” report, and also the election of new Vestry members.
This year, John Fesq and Travis Case have both fulfilled their current terms. Since the Bylaws permit (Section 3.2) members to serve two consecutive terms, and each has served for one term, both are eligible for reelection. John has agreed to stand for reelection; Travis has declined to stand for a second term.
Therefore, there is one “open” seat, and one “competitive” seat, to be filled. In addition to John, McNeil Chestnut and Doug Champaigne have both agreed to stand for election. I am going to request brief bios from all three of these highly-qualified men, hopefully in time to be included in next week’s Announcements; they will also be included in a parish-wide email.
At the Parish Meeting, every communicant member in good standing of Christ Church Anglican who is then present will be entitled to vote for two candidates. A “communicant in good standing” is defined by our Parish Bylaws as
“any confirmed person… resident in the parish [e.g., on the Parish Rolls] who attends the Parish regularly (in the opinion of the Senior Warden) and who gives regularly to the financial support of the Parish (in the opinion of the Treasurer)” (Bylaws, Section 1.4).
Each voting member of the Parish present at the Annual Meeting will vote for no more than two of the three candidates; the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to the Vestry for a three-year term. A run-off election may be held if necessary, immediately following the announcement of results of the initial vote. Please plan to attend this important meeting!
Annual Stewardship Campaign
Stewardship – being good stewards of the gifts God has given us – takes many forms; but there’s no blinking the fact that the financial aspect is critical for the health of our Parish community! And even more so, as Moore County’s population grows, and other Anglican churches begin to move into the area.
It is that time of year again, when we must plan our Parish budget, and to do that effectively and responsibly, we need to know how much we can expect folks to devote to God’s work here in this place.
A few things to keep in mind, both theological and practical, as you decide what God is calling you to give in the coming year: first, the Lord loves a cheerful giver! This should not be be undertaken with a sense of dread and teeth-gritted obligation, but with cheerfulness and gratitude in our hearts, as a thank-offering in response to all the gifts God has already given us, beginning with life itself.
Second, please remember that the Biblical standard of giving is the tithe: a tenth-part of our “substance,” offered back to the Giver of all things through supporting the work of our own parish of Christ Church – as well as the Diocese, Holy Cross, and the jurisdiction, the Anglican Catholic Church, of which we are a part. If our circumstances do not allow that at present, let us consider it as a goal to be worked toward.
And third and finally, in practical terms, please pledge. Pledges greatly assist the Vestry and Treasurer in putting together a budget, so as to know with confidence how much to expect that we’ll have coming in, so that we can plan accordingly, rather than having to extrapolate from the last year.
Members of the Vestry and parish will be providing additional thoughts on Stewardship on the 8th, 15th, and 22nd of this month, but please prayerfully ponder this vital issue, if you are not already doing so. There are pledge cards in the narthex, or just ask me, one of our other clergy, or a member of the Vestry. Many thanks, and may God bless you for your generosity toward His work!
Holy Day: The Feast of the Epiphany – January 6th
We are still in the holy season of Christmastide, but already it begins to draw near its end: Thursday the 5th of January is the Eve of Epiphany, commonly called “Twelfth Night,” as it is the night of the Twelfth Day of Christmas. And then Friday is the Epiphany itself: the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Adoration of the Infant Lord by the Magi; and then on subsequent Sundays we will hear additional examples of His divine glory being manifested – in the Temple as a boy, “about my Father’s business”; in His Baptism by John in the River Jordan; and turning water into wine at the Wedding of Cana.
I conclude with a heartfelt wish and a prayer that all may enjoy a holy, blessed and joyful conclusion to this Christmas season, and holy start to Epiphanytide! As well as good health, safety, and all other necessities of life. And if I may borrow words from Charles Dickens’ memorable character, Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one!”
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Fr. Tom Harbold