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Rector’s Corner

To share some thoughts on Advent, I begin with thoughts on Lent shared from my colleague The Rev. Steve Pankey:

The Season of Lent gets its name from a truncated version of the Old English word for Spring. Etymologically, it is thought that the English word has its root in the Old Germanic word that means “longer,” such that it is the season of lengthening days.  This makes sense, practically speaking, since Easter falls on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox (first day of spring), or roughly right near the mid-point of the sunlit portion of our days getting longer. 

Advent, on the other hand, is mostly made up of deepening darkness.  Christmas always falls on December 25th, which means that all but four days of the Advent Season come before the winter solstice, the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. 

Here in Radford, that means Advent will be spent in more than 14 hours of darkness.  On December 7th, the new moon will make for a stark reminder of the growing night.

Additionally, this December will feature the rise of the Full Cold Moon, the thirteenth full moon of 2018. The New Moon will peak on Dec. 7th followed by the First Quarter Moon. The Full Moon will then occur on Dec. 22.

The Full Cold Moon received its name due to its occurrence during the month when temperatures drop and the days are cut short. During this time, the nights appear to be at their darkest and longest, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

It makes sense, then, that one of the themes we hear about in Advent is the juxtaposition between dark and light.  The Collect for Advent 1 sets the tone for the whole season when it opens with these words, “Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light…”  The Seasonal Blessing from the Book of Occasional Services highlights this as well.  “May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of God…”

In the growing darkness of the coming winter, our prayer to God is that we might see the light of God’s face, the unending support of the God by whose grace we are saved, made whole, and restored to right relationship.  This prayer seems particularly poignant this year as the world seems to be a darker place, each day bringing a new danger, further polarization, and heightening fear. 

My prayer this season of Advent will be a prayer for light as in the Advent Blessing, asking in this time of darkness, that our daily bread might be the Sun of Righteousness shining upon the right pathways.

As you prepare for Advent this year, it will be my prayer for you as well.  May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path.

Peace and blessings,



December Mission
Christmas Families

Our December Mission always has been about helping those in crisis, and our congregation responds with much love and generosity. This year our mission remains the same.

Our two current residents, Nancy and Tasha will be with us through most of December. Tasha has family in the area, but Nancy is alone. One has a full-time job and one is on permanent disability; both are saving money for housing. These ladies are moving in positive directions and will soon be productive, independent citizens.

Grace Rooms truly makes a difference for so many women in need, so let those of us who worship together and serve our Lord make this a special Christmas for our current guests. Your donations pay for rent deposits, electricity, moving expenses, and those things that are a must before beginning anew.
During this season of love as we celebrate the birth of our precious Savior, let  us love one another as he loves us. May we also reach deep into our pockets and give whatever we can to deserving folks living in our midst. Second chances with financial help from neighbors can change the lives that once seemed hopeless.

May God's love surround you and guide you during this season of promise and hope.

- Lee Slusher

(Please make checks payable to Grace Church and write December Mission on the memo line. If cash, please place in the blue monthly envelopes. All donations need to be in the church office no later than Tuesday, December 18th.)

Lunch Bunch—Janelle Dobbins and Radford Presbyterian Church would like to invite retirees to a new weekly luncheon beginning Wednesday, December 5. Please bring a sandwich, desserts and a friend. Drinks will be provided. Call Janell at (540) 838-2209 if you need a ride.

Altar Guild—The Altar Guild will meet this Saturday, December 8 at 10:00 to prepare for Christmas decorating. Please contact Diana Jordan for details!

Coffee Cans--There's a need for used coffee cans for temporary vases. Please bring any you may have to the sacristy. Thank you!


Weekly Roles

December 2, 2018

Lay Eucharistic Minister
Michael Cluver (8a)
Jack Brockway (10:30a)

Paula Downs (8a)
Bonnie Cunningham (10:30a)

Penny Sweet and Lee Slusher

Coffee Hour
Lee Slusher

Altar Guild
Sherri Carper, Jennifer Hand, and Beth Gaspard

December 9, 2018

Lay Eucharistic Minister
Michael Cluver (8a)
Mark Carper (10:30a)

Paula Downs (8a)
Dana Giesen (10:30a)

Ann Walker and Diana Jordan

Coffee Hour
Eloise Philpot

Altar Guild
Sherri Carper, Jennifer Hand,and Beth Gaspard

Altar Flowers

It is a wonderful opportunity to honor the memory of someone or to give thanksgiving for someone or something in your life.  Won't you help us provide flowers for the altar this year? 

If you sign up for altar flowers, please bring a check made payable to Grace Church, a dedication, and any special requests to the front office. 

Available Dates:
November 25
December 2
December 9
December 23