December 29 of Week of Christmas

Merry Christmas!
As this Christmas Season continues I find myself very grateful for our community (and for the many acts of love and kindness poured out upon our family – especially at this time of year).
Can I also say ‘Thank You’ on your behalf to Jennifer Brown and the host of helpers that made our Christmas Eve pageant such a blessed time. It truly was a special night.
Looking ahead, there are a few things you need to know this week:
Visit to the Five Loaves Food Pantry takes place tomorrow, Tuesday Dec. 30 from 9:30 am to 1;00 pm. The Food Pantry is located in the Olivet Christian Church at 14425 Old Courthouse Way in Newport News. All ages are welcome to participate in this day of service and giving.
Deadline for Women’s Retreat Registration is Wednesday, Dec. 31st. Please contact Jennifer Brown or Janie Atwood if you have any questions about this.
NO Men’s Group on January 3, 2015. Guys, we plan on meeting on the THIRD Saturday of January( the 17th) as our first meeting of the new year. We will then get back in the swing of the First and Third Saturdays of the months to follow.
Wrapping Up Christmas this Sunday. All good things must come to an end and the Twelve Days of Christmas are no exception. If you have a few moments after the service on Sunday to give a hand in ‘repacking’ our Christmas decorations it would be greatly appreciated.
Have a great and blessed New Year’s. See you on Sunday for worship.–
Brian Campbell
Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church

December 16 of Week 4 Advent Part Two

It is a busy time of year! A few more notices were passed on to me from Jennifer Brown this week. Please take a moment and read them, and pass them on to those you think might be interested in them.

Fourth Annual Women’s Retreat – Registration Deadline Wednesday December 31: Ladies, please consider treating yourself to this retreat, God Is Calling… This is the fourth annual retreat and if you have attended before you know how spiritually enriching it can be. If you have not attended before, know that you will be warmly welcomed. The retreat is Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1 at Chanco on the James in Spring Grove, Va. Your completed registration form along with a $60 deposit is due New Year’s Eve. Car pooling and roommates can be arranged. Pick up a brochure at the sanctuary entrance for more detail and registration form and/or contact Retreat Coordinators Jennifer Brown Janie Atwood

Return Trip to Five Loaves Food Pantry Tuesday, December 30: Jennifer Brown has organized another visit to Five Loaves Food Pantry If you would like to participate please let her know or you can just show up at the pantry in Newport News at 9:30 AM. If you would like to offer a ride, need one, or want to coordinate carpooling, let Jennifer know. Although all age groups are welcome, this is a great opportunity for our children to see the organization of and participation in charitable giving. The activities will include Brother Tim speaking with the children about helping the homeless, unloading the delivery truck, weighing, sorting and distributing food to those who come in need. The event will wrap up around 1:00 PM with lunch provided to us.

Update on Elise Atwood. Janie wrote this morning informing us that she and Elise are on their way home from Cleveland. Please remember to pray for a safe journey and for continued and full healing.

Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.

The Antidote to Depression?

iStock_Female Hands Praying“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And perform your vows to the Most High,
And call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Psalm 50:14-15

Psalm fifty was a gift from God to me this morning.

I have been surrounded by depressing circumstances recently.  Many conversations with those who themselves are struggling with depression (it is that time of year is it not?); confronted on a daily basis with the senseless violence and abuse that dominates the news (both locally and globally); and discouraged by those who predict more ‘doom and gloom’ as they peer dimly into the near future (both from the secular and religious press).  The difficulty is, depression breeds depression. It is hard not to succumb to a spirit of hopelessness.

Thus the gift of Psalm 50.

Psalm 50 is a psalm of judgment- which means it is a psalm of ‘good news’.  The psalmist describes a scene in the heavenly court where God calls the world to account – ‘He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people….’ v. 5.

How is this good news? It is good news in that it asserts that the Creator’s purposes for and in his creation will not be thwarted; that the evil that presently infects and affects all things will not ‘win’, nor will it even ‘last’. THAT is good news; THAT is something to celebrate; THAT is something to hold onto as we deal with our depressing circumstances.

But remember, the psalm is a Psalm of Judgment directed towards God’s people – both those who are ‘faithful’ (v. 7-15) and those who are not (v. 16 – 23). To the first group God’s issues an invitation; to the second, a warning; but note well that the content of the two are exactly the same!

‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving’ (v.14) is matched by ‘The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me’ (v. 23); ‘Perform your vows to the Most High’ (v. 14) is echoed by ‘to one who orders his way rightly’; and finally ‘Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me’ (v 15) is paired with ‘I will show the salvation of God’ (v. 23).

Whenever God speaks, and to whomever he speaks, the message remains the same.

IF we are to experience ‘God’s salvation’ – that is, to participate in what God has planned for his creation; THEN we need to ‘order our ways aright’; BUT the only way we can hope to do that is if we first ‘offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving’ – that is, if we make our first priority the worship of God.

If you are struggling with depression (or even if you are not), why don’t you stop right now and ‘give thanks’; stop right this moment and worship your Creator and Redeemer. That small sacrificial act will, by God’s grace, enable you to ‘order your way rightly’, because it will place you in the presence of the One who alone can ‘deliver you.’

While you are at it, why not ‘vow’ to make this ‘invitation’ a habitual practice of your life.

December 16 of Week 4 Advent

Dear Friends,
I post this ‘Update’ early this week for a couple of reasons.
First, Park Place School Christmas Event takes place tonight, Tuesday, December 16 at New Life Providence in Ghent Church (Colonial and Spottswood, near Harris Teeter) beginning at 6;30 pm. God has brought our church and this school together in multiple ways and this is a wonderful way of marking that and showing our support. All are welcome.
Second, a Prayer Request: Elise Atwood had surgery yesterday in Cleveland. Janie reports that the operation went well and that the doctor is ‘cautiously optimistic’. Please pray for Elise’s continued healing, for wisdom to be given to the doctors, and patience and hope to all who ‘wait’.
In addition let me remind us all of a few other things on the horizon:
Last Men’s Group of 2014 meets on Saturday, December 20 at the church beginning at 8:30 am. Pete Fraser will be sharing his story and Tom Duffey will be leading our discussion on the fourth chapter of Peter Walker’s The Jesus Way.

Christmas Eve Service takes place on Wednesday, December 24 beginning at 4;30 pm. Please mark your calendars and come ready to begin the celebration of our Christmas Season.
Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.
Peace and grace be with us all.

Brian Campbell

Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church

December 11 of Week 3 Advent

Dear Friends,

In the middle of our Advent Season we continue to look back with gratitude and forward with anticipation.

First, the gratitude:

Welcome to our Two new Leadership Council Members: Pete Fraser and Charles Zimbrick-Rogers were acclaimed to the Leadership Council at our Annual General Meeting last Sunday. They join the team with the four remaining members, Janie Atwood, Clark Garvin, Doris Gomez, and Bruce Harper. Please pray for the Council as we meet for our initial meeting of the new year (‘Church Calendar’ year that is) on Saturday. As you do so, please give thanks for the years of service given to the church through their election to the Council by Rob Slaughter and David Snouffer.

Pledges for 2015. Thank you to all who have prayerfully given your financial pledge for 2015. Tom Duffey informs me that more than 50% of our recurrent givers (several of whom are ‘new’ givers) have acted on the Leadership Council’s request. I encourage those who have not yet had time to do so to take the time and make this an intentional act of faith – as well as a chance to listen for the direction of God concerning this vital aspect of our life. Remember too that we have covenanted ‘to give joyfully, sacrificially, and proportionally, using the biblical tithe as ‘our’ standard’.

Second, the ‘anticipation’:

The Third Sunday of Advent we welcome the Rev. Dan Waterman as our preacher. Dan is a chaplain with the Air Force stationed at Langley and a valued colleague in the ministry of the gospel.

Christmas Eve Service has been set for 4:30 pm on December 24. The children of the Sunday School will be presenting our ‘First Christmas Pageant’ of readings and song and costumes. We start with the decorating of our Christmas tree and end with singing of Silent Night. It is a great way to begin our Twelve Days of Christmas.

Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.
Brian Campbell

Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church

December 4 of Week 2 Advent

Dear Friends
Here are some of the things you need to be aware of this week:
‘Liturgical Welcome of New Members’ takes place on Sunday during the service. Please pray for God’s favor to rest on Jon and Christi Cirillo, Mary Lafferty, Brad and Georgia Maas, and Marty and Amy Schulte as they take this step, and for all of us as we renew our own Baptismal Vows- a great thing to do in the Season of Advent!.
‘Annual General Meeting’ takes place immediately after the service. We begin with a Pot Luck Lunch (so remember to bring something to share) and then celebrate together what God has done in and through us in 2014 and anticipate some of the things that are open to us in 2015. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.
‘Christmas Eve Service’ has been set for 4:30 pm on December 24.  This is a wonderful way of beginning our Christmas Season. We begin with the decorating of the tree, continue with our ‘Children’s Christmas Program’ of readings and costumes and songs, celebrate our first Christmas communion together and end in candlelight singing Silent Night.
Pledge Cards for 2015. We are all asked to prayerfully and intentionally consider our financial commitment to CtR and to bring in our ‘Pledge’ on Sunday.
Men’s Group meets once again on Saturday, December 6 at 8:30 am. We will be discussing the third chapter of Peter Walker’s Jesus Way this week.
Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.

Brian Campbell

Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church