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St. Matthew’s United Church eBulletin Dec. 13, 2011

§ Congregation votes to call Rev. Betsy Hogan
§ Highlights of the annual meeting
§ Christmas spirit Best-Before dates
§ St. Matthew’s Advent Calendar
§ Help meet the Anonymous Couple 2011 deadline
§ Thanks to ...
§ Congratulations to ...
§ In the Community

Congregation votes to call Rev. Betsy Hogan
At the annual meeting held Dec. 4 after church, the congregation voted unanimously to call Rev. Betsy Hogan to fill the full-time, ordained ministry position at St. Matthew’s. This was the recommendation of the Joint Search Committee, chaired by Paul Bowlby.

What happens next? The congregation’s request to call Betsy goes to Halifax Presbytery for approval. This matter should come before Presbytery no later than Jan. 10, 2012. Betsy will continue in her position as Sunday supply until that time. When the call is approved, she will have a well-deserved break before beginning as our full-time, ordained minister on Monday, Feb. 13.

Highlights of the annual meeting

§ The draw on the endowment fund for the year ended June 30, 2011 was $49,318, down considerably from the budgeted amount ($139,200) and from the 2010 actual ($170,223). While we are getting our financial house in order, there is still work to be done to eliminate this deficit.
§ St. Matthew’s provided $29,165 to the United Church Mission & Service Fund last year.
§ The congregation membership has remained stable over the past year, with membership on June 30, 2011 reported as 343 (344 in 2010).
§ Average Sunday attendance increased by 5% over last year.
§ The Sunday Breakfast served an average of 70 meals each week over the last year.
§ The Art Exhibition held in July raised $1,408 for the Out of the Cold Shelter.
§ Marg Machum is our new lay representative to Halifax Presbytery, replacing Helga Mills.
§ New members of Session are John and Brenda Wallace (sharing one position) and Molly Austen.
§ Ben Black and Bill Colpitts are new members of the Board of Stewards.

Christmas Spirit Best-Before Dates
§ Gifts of clothing for the Sunday Breakfast – Bring your donation to the church by Saturday, Dec. 17. Please wrap your gift and identify who it should go to (e.g., Man Size XL or Woman Petite). Gifts will be distributed this Sunday.
§ Donations of socks for Phoenix Shelter For Youth – Leave donations at the front of the sanctuary before Dec. 25.
§ Knit scarves, hats, mitts, or socks – Leave donations of knit or crocheted goods at the front of the sanctuary before Dec. 25.
§ Brunswick Street Mission – You can donate to Brunswick Street Mission’s “Year of Caring” program and receive a lovely Christmas card and lapel pin to give as your gift to a friend or relative. No deadline! Details available at http://www.brunswickstreetmission.org/

St. Matthew’s Advent Calendar
v Sun., Dec. 18 Advent IV
§ 10:30 am Choral Christmas service with St. Matthew’s Choir and AcabellA Handbell Choir
v Sat., Dec. 24 Christmas Eve
§ 6:30 pm – Bethlehem@Barrington – A Live Nativity Service with donkey, sheep and actors who lead us through the Christmas story in word and song, accompanied by a small band. The music is lively and contemporary (Canadian content pop/folk/rock this year) and the tone is upbeat. Hot cocoa will be served. A joyful beginning to Christmas, with a big crowd of all ages. Outdoors on the North Lawn, weather permitting (otherwise indoors).
§ 10 pm – Candlelight Communion. A contemplative and traditional Christmas Eve communion service with Senior Choir and carols, quieter in tone and a peaceful and beautiful celebration of the Nativity.
v Sun., Dec. 25 Christmas Day
§ 10:30 am Christmas morning service

Help meet the Anonymous Couple challenge

The offer by the mysterious Anonymous Couple to match, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000 in special givings made by members/adherents in the calendar year is still on. There is the possibility of raising $20,000 from this special initiative in the days remaining in 2011, which would significantly reduce our draw on endowment funds.
If you are on PAR, consider adjusting your contribution level or making a one-time envelope offering. Envelope givers could compare their 2011 givings to date with their 2010 totals and consider providing an additional amount.
A retired member of the church with a modest investment income notes that for every dollar donated to St. Matthew’s, his/her taxes are reduced by about 30 cents federally and 17 cents provincially. For information: Ken Moors, kkjm.moors@ns.sympatico.ca or 445-5464.

Thanks to ...
– Anne Faye, author of the children’s Christmas Pageant, and to Kim Moors and Robert Murray for shepherding the pageant cast
– The Cast and Service Leaders: Molly Austen, Claire and Joshua Black, Calista Caron, Anna and Rachel Covert, Aiden and Avery Culligan, Christopher and Stephanie Currie, Angela Dini, Isabella Dini, Matthew and Tom Fraser, Madeleine and Malcolm Gareau, Lindsay MacKay, and Elizabeth Wallace
– Scott Taylor, guest organist
– Wayne Rogers and AcabellA Handbell Choir, who played at United Memorial Church last week to thank them for lending their set of chimes to our bell choir

Congratulations to ...
Marg Machum and Don Fay on the birth of granddaughter Isabelle. A new niece for Anne Fay and baby cousin for Aiden and Avery Culligan.

In the Community
To Bethlehem With Kings – Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 pm, First Baptist Church, Oxford Street. Capella Regalis Men and Boys Choir under the direction of Nick Halley. Tickets available at King's Co-op Bookstore; $30/$20/$10 student. Kids 12 and under free. Patron tickets with priority seating $50.

Carols by Candlelight – Sunday, Dec. 18 at 7 pm, First Baptist Church, Oxford Street. A traditional service of lessons and carols under the direction of Lynette Wahlstrom featuring the Senior Choir and Men’s Choir, conductor Brandon Lang; and Shawn Whynot, organ. Premiere performance of Ben Duinker’s Magnificat, commissioned by the Music Committee

Church office: stmatts@ns.sympatico.ca , 423-9209
Pastoral care: Rev. Betsy Hogan, 423-9209
Sunday Breakfast: 8:30–9:30 am, Worship: 10:30 am
Choir rehearsals: Thursdays, Handbell Choir at 6:15 pm and Senior Choir at 7:30 pm
Lunch Bunch Community Choir: Fridays at 12 noon

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