St. Matthew’s United Church eBulletin Dec 22, 2019   Advent IV: Revelation



  • What's coming up at St. Matt's
  • Church Office hours
  • Christmas Eve Services
  • Keep in your prayers …
  • Donating to St. Matthew's before Dec. 31
  • Volunteer Fellowship Time hosts needed
  • Out of the Cold Shelter update
  • Christmas breakfast and White Gifts a smashing success
  • Music outreach in December
  • Sharing Christmas
  • EarthSpiritAction Christmas and New Year ideas for Reducing Waste
  • In the Community




 What's coming up at St. Matthew's  (* see below for more information)

Tue. Dec. 24                            Bethlehem@Barrington Live Nativity Service, 6:30 pm

                                                Candlelight Communion, 10 pm

Christmas Day                        Christmas morning Carol Service, 10:30 am

Sun. Dec. 29                            Worship service, 10:30 am

Sun. Jan. 5                               Epiphany Service, 10:30 am

Sun. Jan. 12                             Worship Service with communion, 10:30 am

                                                - Quarterly meeting Sunday (Session, Stewards, Official Board)

Wed. Jan. 15                           Potluck Church, 5:30 pm




Church office hours

The church office is open as usual Dec. 23 and 24 (9 am-noon) and closed for Christmas week. Messages will be checked regularly.


Christmas Eve Services

Bethlehem@Barrington – A lively service at 6:30 pm telling the story of the nativity in a unique style – featuring Tia Maria, the lovely donkey – children dressed as sheep, going astray – a pit band with that Fraser kid on keyboards – Calista Caron, our budding professional dancer, who is studying ballet in Montreal but is home for the holiday – Top 40s music sung by a chorus and our lead pop vocalists – Freewill offering.

 Candlelight Communion – Contemplative and less lively, peacefully ushering in the birth of Jesus, at 10 pm. Choral/organ music, communion, and candles.


Keep in your prayers …

  • Students writing exams and all who are travelling this Christmas season
  • All for whom Christmas is difficult or sad, and especially those for whom this is a first Christmas without someone beloved


Donating to St. Matthew's: Dec. 31 approaches

As Christmas and year-end approaches, all are encouraged to think about their annual giving to St. Matthew's. Your contributions are very important – this is how we pay the staff, keep the lights and heat on, run the Sunday breakfast program, offer worship services every week, support community groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and the circus.

            Please ensure you have made any donations by Tue. Dec. 31 to qualify for a tax receipt for 2019.  Supporters who are on PAR may wish to consider a special offering at Christmas to support the ministry at St. Matt's.


Fellowship Time hosts needed

Can you volunteer to host a Fellowship Time?  This important work to ensure a pleasant time of refreshment and conversation after worship services is coordinated by volunteers. Allow an extra half-hour before church for set-up, and after church for clean-up, and the work is done. More hands are needed! Contact Linda Campbell <> if you can take a turn.


Out of the Cold Shelter update

The Out of the Cold Winter Shelter has found a new home in a house on College Street. This will allow the Shelter to spread out and expand their program, with more space and no need to pack up every morning. Jean Hattie and Betsy will investigate how St. Matthew's can support the OTCS – in past years we provided sandwiches and casseroles, but whether those will be needed in this new home will need to be determined.


Christmas breakfast and White Gifts a smashing success

The annual Christmas breakfast was a smashing success, thanks to the assistance of many people. Here are some of the highlights from the morning:

People, lots of people – About 70 guests attended the Christmas breakfast and enjoyed a served, hot meal. The preparation and clean-up was managed entirely by the five regular breakfast teams, supplemented by their friends and family. Thanks to all who donated their time on Saturday and Sunday to wrap gifts, set tables, pack cookies, prepare and serve the food, and clean up.

Tim Hortons gift cards – The response to the appeal for $5 gift cards was overwhelming: more than 160 were donated. Each guest received a gift card and the remainder will be distributed in the coming weeks on Sunday mornings.

White Gifts – There were abundant gifts – everyone was able to choose a gift from the White Gift table, and everyone left with a new pair of socks too. Thanks to all in the congregation, and friends of St. Matt's, who provided the White Gifts of clothing.

Cookies – Many dozen cookies were received, and each guest was able to take the treats home with them. Thanks to all who baked special Christmas cookies for the table.

Knitted gifts – Donna Trafford (Shannon Black's mother) and her friends from the Halifax Newcomers Club and Newcomers Alumni donated two large bags of hand-knitted hats, hoodies, mittens, and socks, which were sent to Phoenix House before Christmas, to be distributed to young people being assisted by that organization.

Poinsettias – The pastoral care team distributed small poinsettias to about 20 individuals and families, while the church was festively decorated with many larger plants. Thanks to all who purchased poinsettias in memory/in honour of loved ones.

Music Outreach in December

Lunch Bunch Open Rehearsal – More than 200 people gathered at Paul O'Regan Hall on Dec. 20 in the Halifax Central Public Library to enjoy an Open Rehearsal by the Lunch Bunch community choir, hosted by St. Matthew's and directed by Wayne Rogers. The choir has 50+ members now. Lunchtime rehearsals resume on Fridays in January, and new members are always welcome.

Acabella Handbells at the Keshen Goodman Library – There was a good crowd on hand at the Keshen Goodman Public Library to hear a Christmas concert by our AcabellA Handbell choir on Dec. 15. This is an annual performance, sharing the seasonal music we enjoyed in church on Dec. 8 with others. This year's special guest was harpist Patricia De Méo.

Carol sing at Lewis Hall – Members of St. Matthew's choir visited Lewis Hall, Parkland at the Lakes, Dartmouth, for a carol sing with residents on Dec. 17. Our host was Karen Pearce, formerly of our choir and a beloved member of the congregation, who is a resident there.

Sharing Christmas

Gifts with Vision The United Church of Canada offers a Gifts With Vision online and print catalogue for those who are looking for an alternative way of honoring friends, family, or any life occasion or season. Support initiatives that address poverty and hunger, education, wellness, leadership, safe spaces, and more. You can send a kid to camp, build a well, provide hot meals at homeless shelters, or adopt bees – whatever suits your interest -- and your gift can help change the world without buying stuff your friends and family neither need nor want. Gifts support the Mission and Service partners in Canada, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East. The 2019 edition has been published and is available online at, and a few copies of the print catalogue are available in the sanctuary.

Canadian Church Calendars – 2020 Church Calendars can be purchased ($6) from our Minister of Music, Wayne Rogers.


In the Community

Messiah from Scratch – Fri. Dec. 27 at Faith Tabernacle Church, 6225 Summit St. Rehearsal at 1 pm, performance at 3:15 featuring the Chebucto Symphony with conductor Melissa Doiron. Featuring Laura Johnson, soprano; Sarah Myatt, alto; Jordan Gracie, tenor; Alan Macdonald, bass; Claire Cuming, trumpet; Garth MacPhee, piano; Everyone is welcome to participate or to hear the performance. Cost is $10 to participate or attend, with a $10 deposit for scores (refunded when returned). Donations and canned food for Feed Nova Scotia are welcome.


RCCO Halifax Centre concert – Sat. Feb. 22 at 7 pm at St. Matthew's. Jean-Willy Kunz, contemporary and jazz organist, in recital.


EarthSpiritAction Christmas and New Year Ideas:  Reducing Waste


Ÿ  Choose functional rather than novelty gifts.

Ÿ  Start a no-plastic gift policy with your family.

Ÿ  Consider the amount of packaging included with a gift before selecting.

Ÿ  Shop for gifts at craft markets, local businesses, and stores that specialize in eco-friendly products such as Planet Organic and The Tare Shop, and even thrift stores.

Ÿ  Choose items that do not include excessive plastic packaging.

Ÿ  Make some of your gifts donations to eco-justice and social causes; such as a local environmental or charity group or the United Church "Gifts With Vision":


Wrapping and Decor

Ÿ  Wrap gifts in reusable cloth gift bags.

Ÿ  Salvage large pieces of wrapping paper to be reused another year. Recycle the rest, removing the tape first.

Ÿ  If adding to your collection of Christmas ornaments, consider where the new item will be in 50 years, 100 years, 1000 years, etc. Bio-degraded within 50, or passed on as a family heirloom is most ideal; buried in a landfill leaching toxic chemicals into the ground for over 1000 years is least ideal.


Food Waste

Ÿ  For occasions where you are expected to bring a food dish, plan ahead to prepare it yourself rather than picking up a ready-to-eat dish with throw-away or "recyclable" packaging from the grocery store. For example, instead of buying a large plastic fruit or veggie tray, buy ingredients of your choice with minimal packaging, cut them up, and transport in reusable food storage containers and bring a serving tray.

Ÿ  If you have leftovers after a holiday meal, store whatever you won't eat in the next couple of days in the freezer right away.


Let's all do what we can today. For more information about food waste and and some tips for reducing waste, visit




Administrative Stuff

Church office: (902) 423-9209,  

Pastoral care: Rev. Betsy Hogan, (902) 423-9209,

Sunday Worship: 10:30 am

Minister of Music: Wayne Rogers, (902) 429-1680,

Student Organist: Matthew Fraser

On the web:


Ushering – Click this link to open the sign-up page


EarthSpiritAction Resources for Thinking About God's Green Earth:


Meeting Schedule 2019-20

Congregational Meeting       May 3, 2020 (budget)

Session, Stewards, Board       Jan. 12, Mar. 8, Apr. 26

Worship and Music                Feb. 2


Regular Activities

Sunday Free Breakfast  – Sundays 8:30 am

Thursday Noon Bible Study – TBA

Choir Practices – Thursdays – Handbells 6:15 pm, Sanctuary choir 7:30 pm

Lunch Bunch community choir – Fridays at 12:15 pm

St. Matthew’s Book Club  – Third Tuesday

Melville Heights Service – Third Sunday at 2 pm at Melville Heights retirement lodge

Potluck Church  -- Wed. Jan. 15


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