A Blessed Advent and Joyous Christmastide

 

The offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis will close at noon on Friday, December 23 and re-open on Tuesday, January 3, at 8:30 a.m. For assistance during this time click here.

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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Christmas Message 2016

“This child came to show us how to change the world,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2016. “So this Christmas, make room for Him to change us. This Christmas help us change the world.”

Watch the video and read the complete text of his message in English and Spanish here.

News

Potable Water Returns to Mithon, Haiti

Joy! Mithon, Haiti once again has potable water, following the destruction by Hurricane Matthew earlier this year. Diocesan Convention voted to allocate 120k in our remaining Haiti funds to help Mithon rebuild.

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pathways to vitality
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Youth Fall Conference: Moving from Stress to Success

The diocesan Youth Fall Conference took place at Waycross on November 18-20, 2016. The weekend included plenary sessions, worship, workshops, recreation activities, fellowship, and other activities. Participants discussed stress, how it affects us, how our faith can help us in different stressful situations, and also practiced techniques for managing stress.

The event was planned and facilitated by the Youth Steering Committee. Thank you to all of the participants who joined us! We hope you can join us again for the Youth Spring Retreat, March 3-5 at Waycross.

Around the Fireplace 

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10 Great Things to Say and Do with Your Christmas Guests So They'll Want To Return In The New Year

Kathy Copas
Coordinator of Communication and Evangelism

I call them "creasters"---you know, those Christmas and Easter people who may think the only types of flowers we ever use in church are poinsettias or lillies? As they fill your pews during the Christmas season, these guests present a special opportunity for reconnection and parish growth. Here are five things you can do or say to amp up the possibilities for a positive and lasting encounter.

1. Talk it over among yourselves as you are finalizing Christmas Eve preparations. Build intentional awareness and a sense of personal responsibility among your regulars before your guests arrive. Practice conversational small talk. Discuss the critical steps of acknowledging everyone in a positive, caring way, of seeking out and offering a positive word to everyone even in the midst of the hectic time of the celebration. Of erring on the side of hospitality when you don't know if someone is a newcomer or a longer-term member who hasnt been around for a while. Talk over some parish initiatives that genuinely excite you, so you can comfortably share that excitement with others.

2. Walk around your church and do a quick last-minute evaluation on the basics. Is it easy for potential guests to find out when your services are via phone, answering machine, web, Facebook, notices in your local newspaper, and perhaps even signage or a real-estate type of flyer box at your curb? Is it clear where guests should park, enter, and find a restroom? What first impression have you created with your entryway? How could it be improved? Who will be greeting guests and assisting them? Are your greeters and ushers on the same page?

3. Consider how you can utilize your printed bulletin, especially that day or night, as an expanded tool for invitation. With so many guests present that night or day, consider offering a special insert in your bulletin that briefly highlights your most important ministries and programs in the new year and how others can engage. Most guests will take the bulletin and glance at it later. Does it clearly describe what your parish is about and how you are making a real difference in your community?

4. Consider how you can celebrate your outreach joys during announcement time so your guests can get a sense of what you've really been doing throughout the past month and year. If you have fed families once a week for a year, prepared Christmas baskets or organized clothe a child efforts, or even supported our work in Brasilia or Haiti, Christmas is an excellent sort of end-of-year time to name and celebrate it. This is also something important to do if you offer a last-minute bulletin geared toward your guests.

5. Remember the importance of continual listening and invitation with your guests, during their visit and in the days to come. Example: if one of them, during small talk, mentions sports, invite them to your parish Super Bowl party. If they mention a restaurant they just liked, invite them to attend your parish supper club. Listen and think about connections with other people and events in your congregation. Focus on building friendships and person-to-person connections. Ask for their opinion and advice on how to strengthen your church guest experience or how to make things more helpful for guests. You'll likely get some good ideas or insights and perhaps some continued connection. Invite them to connect with you on social media. Designate someone who met them to send a personal message to them through Facebook Messenger thanking them for visiting and wishing them a joyous Christmastide and Happy New Year. Just strive to keep the conversation going and widen the circle!

Don't forget to post up photos or videos of bits of your Christmas liturgies on social media.

Advent Blessings and Christmas Joy,

Kathy

Around the Diocese

Photos shared on social media recently.

All Saints, Indianapolis, set an Advent goal of making possible 3,000 pairs of socks for the homeless through Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis.

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The musical group Celtica provided music for Advent Lessons and Carols at St.Paul's, Columbus.

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St. Paul's, Indianapolis, offered a Parents' Day Out during Advent, providing lots of activities and fun for parish kids while their parents caught up on some Christmas shopping or other errands.

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With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year, St. Matthew's, Indianapolis, elected to try and hold its Blue Christmas service on Sunday at 11 a.m. Other parishes in the diocese have held services for those who are hurting this season at other times in December.

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St. Mary's, Martinsville, regularly offers welcoming messages on their chalkboard.

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St. John's, Lafayette, partnered with Lafayette Urban Ministries for Jubilee Christmas, where "stores" are set up for persons in need to select their own items for their loved ones.

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 Christ Church, Madison, is known for its lovely gardens, which are still showing beauty and interesting texture in the cold days of December.

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St. John's, Speedway, shared their final parish visit with Bishop Cate on December 11.

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St. Paul's, Evansville, donated 610 boxes of Jiffy Mix to the Evansville area rescue mission, exceeding their goal of 500 (yay!).

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Advent beauty at St. Stephen's, Terre Haute.

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St. Andrew's, Greencastle, held a beautiful and well-attended Christmas pageant on December 11.

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Lighting of the Advent wreath at Good Samaritan, Brownsburg.

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Trinity, Bloomington, had a fantastic day of liturgies and Baptisms on All Saints Sunday.

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The third Sunday of Advent at St. Philip's, Indianapolis.

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Chaplain Kempton Baldrige recently visited Trinity, Lawrenceburg, to talk about the Seamen's Institute and River Ministry opportunities and needs.

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Mary and Joseph traveled from household to household at Trinity, Indianapolis, during Advent.

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Youth at St. Christopher's, Carmel, participated in a fall activity of caring called "The Compassion Experience."

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Holy Family, Fishers, had a big year with contributions of gifts for those in need through the Angel Tree program. The gifts were distributed through Fishers Elementary School and the Delaware Township Trustee's office.

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St. Francis-in-the-Fields, Zionsville, hosted their 18th annual Brass Christmas Concert featuring the Indiana Brass Quintet.

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Captivated children at Christ Church Cathedral explored the unfolding of the Christmas story through a variety of Advent activities.

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"Betty Lou Who" paid a visit to the Christmas party at Good Shepherd, West Lafayette, as many students prepared to travel home for their winter break.

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The Holy Family has also been traveling to a different parishioner's home each night during Advent at St. Paul's, New Albany. One parishioner took them shopping at Meijer and says she had trouble keeping them away from the donuts!

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On the First Sunday of Advent St Paul's, Jeffersonville, celebrated the beginning of a new lectionary year featuring the Gospel of Matthew by passing the Gospel book to every member of the congregation before the deacon read the Gospel. It symbolizes that the story of Jesus belongs to the people of God, which is why it is read in the midst of the congregation.

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St. Luke's, Shelbyville, partnered with local merchants and a motorcycle club to provide 28 families with a supply of December food at the Medora, IN Food Pantry.

 

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For Fun and Inspiration

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Events & Calendar

For more events, complete details, or updates, see indydio.org/events/list/.

LOVE FOR WAYCROSS: DINNER + SILENT & LIVE AUCTION

Show your love for the Waycross Camp & Conference Center at the first annual dinner fundraiser on Friday, February 10, 6 p.m., at St. Paul's, Indianapolis. Tickets are $50 and include a meal prepared on-site by Chef Kyle Dahncke with appetizers, entrée (vegetarian option available), dessert and drinks (alcoholic and non). Auction packages feature Disney World, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Holiday World, BRAVO, Tom O'Brien Dealerships, Indianapolis Pacers, Monkey Joe's, Starbucks, a Montana cabin weekend getaway & more.

There are a limited number of tickets due to space; please don't wait long to purchase yours! Adults only, 21+, please. Tickets and info at love4waycross.org.

Auction items are still being accepted. If you have a donation item (or an idea for one), please contact Erica Jeglum, ejeglum@stpaulsindy.org.

Flyers are being mailed to each parish in the diocese. Please post them for Waycross. It would be much appreciated!

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On the Diocesan Calendar

Jan 7: Episcopal Women's Ministries Council @ St. Matthew's, Indy, 10 a.m.
Jan 14: Executive Council @ Waycross, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Feb 10-11: Vestry College @ Waycross
Feb 18: COM @TBA
Feb 23-25: Fresh Start Retreat @ Waycross

Mar 2: Ember Day ("2018 Pension Fund Changes" presenter: CPG)
Mar 3-5: Youth Spring Retreat @ Waycross
Mar 23-24: Trinity Institute "Water Justice" @St. Paul's, Indy, time TBA
Mar 27-28: Bishop w/Presbyters: Ending of a Pastoral Relationship @ Waycross

Apr 6-8: COM Spring overnight @ TBD
Apr 8: Episcopal Women's Ministries spring luncheon with Bishop Cate @ St. Paul's Columbus 10:30 a.m.
Apr 22: A Liturgy to Celebrate the Life and Ministry of Bishop Catherine Waynick @ St. Christopher's, Carmel, 11 a.m.
Apr 22: Farewell party for Bishop Cate @ IN State Museum, 2- 5 p.m.
Apr 29: Ordination/Consecration of the 11th Bishop @ Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University, Indianapolis at 11 a.m.

May 13: Episcopal Women's Ministries Council @ St. John's, Lafayette, 10 a.m.
May 18-20: Fresh Start Retreat @ Waycross

Jun 3: COM Information Day @ TBD

Jul 10-14: EYE @ Edmond, OK

Sep 14: Ember Day (Center for Congregations: Resources & Grants)
Sep 29-Oct 1: Episcopal Women's Ministries fall retreat @ Waycross

Nov 17-19: Youth Fall Conference @ Waycross
Nov 30: Possible date for Ember Day

Dec 7: Possible date for Ember Day