Christmas Eve Schedule

Christmas Eve Services

Family Christmas Eve Service — 4 pm.
Once again the family service will begin with an extended prelude offered by our own musicians, from amateur to professional.  If you’d like tmichelangelo_merisi_da_caravaggio_-_nativity_with_st_francis_and_st_lawrence_-_wga04193o participate, please let either me or Mary Jane know so that we can formulate an order.

The service itself consists of the birth narrative (Luke and Matthew) and Christmas carols.  The hallmark of this service is a Christmas story appropriate for children of all ages (of course including adults!)  As always we’ll sing Silent Night by candle light.

Nine Lessons and Carols — 7 pm
Led by our fantastic choir, we’ll work our way through the prophecies of the birth of Jesus, the stories of his birth and the reason why they are so important even still.  The choir will sing several glorious pieces of Christmas music and the congregation will add their voice with some of the carols we love to sing — including, of course, Silent Night by candle light.

Christmas Sunday — 10 am
Christmas falls on a Sunday, and yes, for those who would like to gather for worship, you are welcome!  It’ll be small. It’ll be filled with the peace and joy of Christmas day.  It’ll be short.  But what a way to celebrate.  I do hope you can join us!

Live Nativity

Partly because of the church concert schedule, and partly to encourage more participation, this year’s Live Nativity will be on Sunday, December 18, at our usual worship hour!  We’ll start indoors, so come on in and listen to Mary Jane on the piano, but keep your coats with you.  After the choir sings their anthem, we’ll head outside to the stable and sing carols while children, dressed up as Mary and Joseph and all the other cast of characters make their appearances with the animals. We hope to see you there!

nativity

Holiday Concerts (Chronologically)

Waterbury Community Concert Band
The Waterbury Community Band will present a concert in our sanctuary to benefit the Waterbury Food Shelf on Saturday, December 10th at 2:30 pm. Admission is by cash donation or donation of nonperishable food.

brass-web

Mad River Chorale
The Mad River Chorale presents “Jubilant Holiday Harmonies,” Saturday December 10, 7:30 pm at Waitsfield United Church Rte. 100, and Sunday December 11, 3:00 pm at Waterbury Congregational Church.

The Chorale is conducted by Arthur Zorn and accompanied by Mary Jane Austin. Featured soloist Mary Bonhag will be joined by a string quartet, tympani, handbells, and (on Saturday) the Monteverdi Young Singers Chorus. Programming features the Pergolesi Magnificat, selections from the Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio, other varied works, and the traditional audience singalong.

Tickets: Adults $15, Seniors/Students 12-21 $12, kids 11 and under free.  More details at www.madriverchorale.net

Counterpoint
Counterpoint, under the direction of Nathaniel G. Lew, joins forces with the VSO Brass Quintet to ring in the holidays.  The program includes arrangements of The Friendly Beasts, I Wonder as I Wander, Masters in This Hall, and You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!  Traditional favorites, a singalong, and a brand-new student composition round out the performance which will be held at the Stowe Community Church at 7:30 pm on Thursday, December 15.

Adults – $24; Seniors (65+) – $20; Children (under 18) – Free (however, tickets are required.)

Solaris Vocal Ensemble
solaris-holiday-poster-2016-optimizedAs Solaris begins its fourth year, we have more exciting performances planned for this season! Here We Come A-Wassailing, our holiday concerts with the fabulous Inora Brass Quintet as our guest artists will include a wide variety of festive carols for voices with brass. The quintet consists of Grammy Award-winning musicians who have played with the Vermont Symphony, the Nashville Symphony, Itzhak Perlman, James Taylor, Gustavo Dudamel, on Broadway and at Carnegie Hall.

A special highlight of the concerts will be several joyous carol arrangements by Robert Shaw and Alice Parker as part of Solaris’ 100thbirthday celebration of one of the greatest American choral conductors and arrangers, Robert Shaw (1916 – 1999).  The concert will also include works by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Randall Thompson, Mack Wilberg and Vermont’s own Robert De Cormier.

Nominating Cmte Needs Your Help!

Calling all those with a mission……

Annual Meeting is coming up in January and believe it or not, that is right around the corner. The Nominating Committee has prep work to do and Nancy Metivier and Laurie Emery are quickly making phone calls, seeking Board volunteers, and filling slots on the various church boards. We have openings on the following boards: Finance, Christian Education, Business Administration, Outreach, and Nominating. The board titles are somewhat self-explanatory, but if you want more information see Nancy, Peter, or Laurie. If you want more details on the nitty-gritty of what a particular board does, attend their next meeting on the first Tuesday of the month (December 6) at 7 p.m. at the church. Attending a meeting does not commit you to being nominated, although Nancy and Laurie would love that, but it will give you a good idea on what that board does and whether you would be interested in being a member. Terms are for two years and up to ten meetings per year. Current members are happy to fill you in on the details. Of course, whether you attend a board meeting on Tuesday, December 6 or not, you could get a phone call from Nancy or Laurie about joining a board. Talk to you then, and thanks!

Nominating Committee, Laurie Emery and Nancy Metivier

Photographs for Church Database

The deacons want to create an in house directory with pictures to help us identify members by name. We would need your assistance by emailing, texting or otherwise delivering a preferred picture of  yourself to Diane Leavitt’s email at dbleavitt@gmail.com or text to 802-373-3637). You may, of course come by the church office, and we’ll snap one for you!

If you need assistance with a picture just ask Diane for help. Thank you!

Post election reflection

It was silent in my house on Wednesday morning as my two daughters, who are usually joking around and singing songs from”Hamilton” as they get ready for school, contemplated a country that would hire as it’s top leader a man who holds open disdain for the rights of all women.

Donald Trump was for them, from the moment he announced his campaign, the Aaron Burr of the 21 century. He was not supposed to win; he was the antagonist.  But win he did and as Secretary Clinton says in her concession speech, we cherish the constitutionally mandate of a peaceful transfer of power and vow to keep working with our leaders for what we take to be the right. She said:

This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it

For his part, president elect Trump sounded a conciliatory tone and acknowledged that differences of opinion do not mean exclusion from the conversation to which all citizens are welcome. These were welcome words to my ears, for so much of what he said on the campaign trail seemed contrary to the spirit of genuine conversation.  Our founding fathers recognized and enshrined in various ways two very closely related ideas.  First they recognized that to err is human, to fail to see the whole picture is what it means to be mortal and as mere mortals, systems of checks and balances must be provided to keep the ship of government upright.  And secondly the recognized that only through intense, reasoned conversation could truth be discerned.

Because of the first recognition, no truth could ever monopolize in the market of ideas or goods,or be made to subject  peoples to its dictates.  And because of the second, they recognize that we must never give up on the effort to understand, indeed to lay claim to truth.

But I am only guardedly optimistic for our president elect has a past history that he himself acknowledges with some pride, or misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, egoism and greed.  In a prescient and beautifully written paragraph at the end of Isaiah Berlin’s credo titled “A Message to the 21st Century,”  he asks

 . . . what is to be done to restrain the champions, sometimes very fanatical, of one or other of these values, each of whom tends to trample upon the rest, as the great tyrants of the twentieth century have trampled on the life, liberty, and human rights of millions because their eyes were fixed upon some ultimate golden future?

The answer is, as I have tried to imply, not easy.  And depends upon a fragile and tenuous balance between our needs and the needs of our neighbors, between one political party’s ideals and values and the ideals and values of another . Oftentimes parties clash.  But the clash is only to be the signal that something more profound is at work.

. . . .we must weigh and measure, bargain, compromise, and prevent the crushing of one form of life by its rivals. I know only too well that this is not a flag under which idealistic and enthusiastic young men and women may wish to march—it seems too tame, too reasonable, too bourgeois, it does not engage the generous emotions. But you must believe me, one cannot have everything one wants—not only in practice, but even in theory. The denial of this, the search for a single, overarching ideal because it is the one and only true one for humanity, invariably leads to coercion. And then to destruction, blood—eggs are broken, but the omelette is not in sight, there is only an infinite number of eggs, human lives, ready for the breaking. And in the end the passionate idealists forget the omelette, and just go on breaking eggs.

Berlin’s statement can, and indeed should, be read as a warning to President elect Trump who has said that “he alone can solve our nations problems.” That statement is as patently untrue as it is frightening.

I am, and I hope you are too, more hopeful that the flag of despair under which he was elected and to which he has responded as savior, will not in fact become the drummer to which his administration. And I am confident in the long history of serious reasoned conversation to prevail, in the end. That hope is not pollyannish.  We must never stop calling out hate when we see it, but always be ready “fight for what is right,” because that alone, no matter who is the president, is worth it.

Check Your Pledge Status

It is easy now for you to check on the status of your last year’s pledge.  And we encourage you to do so!  All you need to do is go to wcc.breezechms.com.  You will be immediately presented with a login screen (unless your computer saves your logins for you, in which case, you’ll go directly to step 2).  If you do not remember your login and password, or never set one up, please let us know and we’ll send you a link to reset it or to set it up in the first place.

Once in, you’ll be at your page, and you can click on the “Giving” item in the left side menu.  That will open up a page that shows all of your contributions for the year, excluding, very likely, last week’s.

Again, if you have any questions, please let us know and we’ll be glad to help.

 

Pledge Ingathering

2016_stm_poster_large

And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

It is time once again for us to solicit each other’s pledges of financial support to this church that is so much more than a mere institution, but a place of renewal and hope, of beauty and inspiration, of rest and peace as well as challenge and engagement.  Because the church is important to you in a way that is related to your ultimate good we are encouraging you this year to think about your pledging as going and doing likewise. In other words, we hope that you’ll consider this an opportunity to celebrate the rich presence of God in our life and give likewise.

If you do not have a pledge card, please call or email us and we will take care of you as soon as we can.

Annual Human Food Chain

For over 15 years, as soon as the weather gets truly nasty, we line up from the church to the food shelf, and in a show of solidarity pass bags of food from person to person to fill the shelves at the other end.  Why is this important?  Worthwhile?  0122021129

First, because we’re approaching that time of year when families and individuals who have little in the way of resources, both financially and socially, are feeling the pinch.  The food shelf is full of people looking for a supplement to their grocery bill during the six hours per week it is open.  We help keep it stocked at a time when the foodshelf is running through food.

Secondly, there are many who feel that foodshelves are a waste of good people’s time and energy.  We can at least, by our actions indicate we think otherwise.  There are a good many other people who simply don’t think about the foodshelf and the plight of the hungry families in our town.  Again, without comment, our actions suggest that here is a group of people not unconcerned with all members of our community.

You can help by bringing a bag or two to share in the effort.  That bag can be filled with anything you’d likely want to have stocked in your kitchen shelves.  Exotic items or that can of prune sauce that’s been sitting in the cabinet for two years, are less needed!  And, if you can stick around after worship for 45 minutes or so, grab a cup of coffee and then line up on Main Street and the fun begins.  The Closet Club youth group will be serving hot-chocolate at the other end!