• Bring nativity sets by Thursday noon for Advent 1 Come to the Stable display
  • Greening of the Sanctuary this Saturday
  • More entries needed in cookie challenge!
  • Christmas Tea and Carol Sing for seniors Wed. Dec. 12
  • Sharing the Christmas Spirit at St. Matthew's
  1. - Poinsettias on sale for $20
  2. - White Gifts for Sunday Breakfast Dec. 9
  3. - Bake Cookies for Christmas Breakfast
  4. - Advent Food Box for Feed Nova Scotia
  5. - Gifts with Vision
  • Thanks to ...
  • Fundraising for Nigerian music student
  • St. Matthew's Book Club Dec. 18
  • Out of the Cold Shelter opens early, immediate needs identified
  • In the Community
  • St. Matthew's activities


December Calendar

Wed. Nov. 28    Choir rehearsal WEDNESDAY, THIS WEEK ONLY, bells 6 pm, choir 7:30 pm

Thu. Nov. 29      By Noon, bring your nativity set to church for the Come to the Stable display

Sat. Dec. 1         Greening of the Sanctuary, 10:30 am

Sun. Dec. 2        Advent 1, Come to the Stable nativity display, 10:30 am

                          - Deadline to register for the Best Christmas Cookie challenge

Thu. Dec. 6       Service of Remembrance & Action Against Violence Against Women, 12 noon

Sun. Dec. 9        Advent 2, White Gift Sunday, 10:30 am

  -  The Best Christmas Cookie challenge, after church

Tue. Dec. 11       Fundraising concert for Ogo-Oluwa Emmanuel Sobukola, 7 pm

Wed. Dec. 12     Seniors' Christmas Tea and Carol Sing at Summer Gardens, 1 pm

Sun. Dec. 16      Advent 3, Music Service led by Choir and AcabellA Handbells, 10:30 am

Tue. Dec. 18       St. Matthew's Book Club, 2 pm, Summer Gardens

Fri. Dec. 21         Deadline to bring White Gifts for Sunday breakfast

Sun. Dec. 23      Christmas Breakfast, 7:30 am 

 - Advent 4, Sunday School interpretation of the nativity, 10:30 am

Christmas Eve               Bethlehem@Barrington Live Nativity Service, 6:30 pm

                         - Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, 10 pm

Christmas Day               Christmas Carol Service, 10:30 am


Bring nativity sets by noon Thursday for Advent 1 Come to the Stable display

St. Matthew's will host a display of nativity scenes on Sun. Dec. 2 in the sanctuary. If you are offering your nativity set for display please bring it to the church on Wednesday or Thursday THIS WEEK. The office is open from 7:30 am to noon. Contact Wayne Rogers by phone, 902-429-1680 or email,

 Greening of the Sanctuary this Saturday

Anyone interested in helping decorate the church for Christmas is welcome to join members of the Worship and Music Committee Saturday at 10:30 am in the sanctuary.

 More entries needed in cookie challenge

The second Sunday of Advent will bring a fun-filled baking challenge with "proceeds" – i.e., a lot of Christmas cookies – being donated to the Out of the Cold Shelter. Last year's chocolate chip contest was won by Jean Hattie, baker extraordinaire, who along with Craig Reiner has been named one of the judges for this year's competition. The categories are appearance and taste. Entry forms and instructions are available in the bulletins and at the back of the sanctuary. The more participants, the merrier – but the deadline to register is Dec. 2. Coordinators are Gordon and Elaine Murray,

 Christmas Tea and Carol Sing for seniors Wed. Dec. 12

Seniors from the congregation are invited to Summer Gardens, 1470 Summer St., for a Christmas Tea and Carol Sing organized by the Pastoral Care Committee. Sandwiches, treats, coffee and tea will be provided. If you need transportation, contact Jill Rafuse (902) 492-4523.

 Sharing the Christmas Spirit at St. Matthew’s


Remember or honour your loved ones at Christmas by purchasing ($20) poinsettias at the church. Some plants will be used to decorate the sanctuary, and smaller plants will be taken to seniors and shut-ins from the congregation. Shirley McInnes, (902) 423-4320, will be at church on Sunday to take your order. A memorial bulletin will appear later in December.

White Gifts for Sunday Breakfast

Shop for a Christmas gift for a guest of the Sunday Breakfast program. Pick up a White Gift Tag at the back of the sanctuary or make your own – just identify who the gift is for (man or woman) and indicate the size. Gifts can be brought to church for presentation as a White Gift on Sun. Dec. 9 or left at the church by Fri. Dec. 21 so they can be given out on Dec. 23. Ideas: Warm clothing, underwear, socks, hats and gloves, sweatpants, sweaters, bus tickets, Tim Horton's gift cards   

 Bake Cookies for Christmas Breakfast Dec. 23

Donations of homemade cookies are requested to give to our breakfast guests at the special Christmas breakfast on Dec. 23. Cookies can be dropped off at the church hall on Sat. Dec. 22 between 1-3 pm, during set-up. Pick-up can be arranged as necessary. Contact Michelle Jensen,

 Advent Food Box for Feed Nova Scotia

Mark the December days leading to Christmas by gathering any of the following items that are especially needed: Soup, stew, canned meat and fish, canned vegetables and fruit, pasta and rice, pasta sauce, peanut butter, cereal, baby formula and food, powdered and canned milk. You can bring your box to church on Dec. 23 and we will deliver them to Feed Nova Scotia for distribution to local families.

 Gifts with Vision

Each fall the United Church of Canada produces a giving catalogue with ideas of gifts to give a loved one that benefits others. Send a kid to camp, build a well, provide hot meals at homeless shelters, or adopt bees – whatever suits your interest – and while your gift can help change the world, you solve your gift-giving dilemma. Gifts support Mission and Service partners in Canada, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East. Copies of the catalogue are available in the sanctuary, but it is also online at

 Sale of Zatoun Products
On Sunday, Dec. 9 during coffee time, there will be a sale of Zatoun products, olive oil, za ‘atar spice blend, and soap. These make wonderful gifts for others or for yourself. Since 2004, Zatoun has offered fair trade olive oil from Palestine to connect people in North America to the history, culture and challenges of the Palestinian people and the land of Palestine. It creates awareness while supporting the livelihoods of Palestinian farmers and artisans. Janet Copeland will be coordinating this sale.

Thanks to ...

Rev. Dr. Rhonda Britton, senior pastor at New Horizons Baptist Church, who was the speaker on Nov. 25 as St. Matthew's observed its 269th anniversary. Born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, Pastor Rhonda was educated at Princeton and Acadia and began her ministry in New York before coming to Nova Scotia to serve congregations first in New Glasgow, and now in Halifax. Pastor Rhonda practices a living faith by also being active in the community. She currently serves as the Moderator of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia, as chair of the Richard Preston Centre for Excellence, on the Council of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, on Corrections Canada's Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy, on anti-violence initiatives in the Halifax municipality, and various other boards and advisory councils. She stresses the importance of education, encourages youth to make positive life choices, and works to eliminate street violence. Her ministry focus is encouraging members of the body of Christ to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit and their own spiritual gifts to promote liberation and transformation in the lives of all people.

 Fundraising for a Nigerian music student

On Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 pm, St. Matthew's will be the venue for a fundraising recital for a young flute student from Nigeria. Ogo-Oluwa Emmanuel Sobukola, 23, attends Dalhousie University where he studies with Symphony Nova Scotia flutist Patricia Creighton. His financial position is precarious, so St. Matthew's is offering him a recital venue with a freewill offering for him to help cover basic expenses like tuition, housing, and food. Come and support this dedicated, talented, and deserving young musician. Featured artists are Ogo-Oluwa Sobukola, flute; Mark Lee, Assistant Concertmaster, Symphony Nova Scotia; Danbee Ko, collaborative pianist, and friends. Repertoire includes Mozart Flute Quartet in D Major, K285; Muczynski Three Preludes for Flute Solo; Faure Fantasie Op. 79; Josef Suk 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op.17; Every Valley by Handel; Ya mis horas felines by Reveriano Soutullo and Jan Vert; Baba Yet and Bayete medley, Nigerian Traditional for Flute and Talking Drum

 St. Matthews’ Book Club
The Book Club meets on Tue., Dec. 18 at 2 pm in the community room, 1470 Summer Street. Our book is The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje, the coming-of-age story of an 11-year-old boy who takes a 21-day sea journey in the 1950s.  For more information contact Elaine Murray ( or Janet Copeland (902-445-5906,

Out of the Cold Shelter opened early

The Out of the Cold Shelter opened early in the Sunday school area of St. Matthew's. The Shelter offers 15 beds every night for those who need a place to stay, as well as providing hot meals, sandwiches, and some necessities to guests and others who drop by.

 Here's how you can help

Financial Support to St. Matthew's – St. Matthew`s provides space, heat, lights, washroom facilities, etc. for guests. Your donations help cover the operating costs that allow the shelter to stay open for 5 months of the year.

 Sandwiches – Since 2011 members of our congregation have made sandwiches every Thursday for the Shelter. Jean Hattie, who coordinates the schedule, is available after church on Sundays to provide more information. Please consider whether you can assist with this initiative. Information about casseroles and other ways to support the Shelter will be forthcoming.

 Requested items – OTCS lists current requirements on its website, and on its Facebook page. Donations can be dropped off on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the lower level of the church between 8:30 am and 5 pm. OTCS is a peanut-free zone and cannot accept donations of mouthwash, aftershave, or hand sanitizer.

            As the season gets under way, OTCS is asking for underwear (especially men's); t-shirts and sweaters (esp. men's sizes M and XL, women's size L); winter jackets (men's); pants and jeans (all sizes) and winter boots for men and women; waterproof gloves; women's hygiene products; toothbrushes, razors, and shaving cream; lip chap; hand and foot warmer packs; reusable bags and backpacks.

Guests also need bus tickets; $5-$10 gift cards for fast food restaurants; coffee, decaf and regular; juice boxes; granola bars.

 In the Community

RCCO Carol Service – Mon. Dec. 3 at 7 pm, Cathedral Church of All Saints, 1330 Cathedral Lane. Join the Royal Canadian College of Organists for their annual Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas. Begin your Christmas festivities with beautiful choral music, glorious congregational carols, and readings for the season. An Organ Prelude featuring several local organists begins at 7 pm, with the service beginning at 7:30. Participants from St. Matthew`s include Matthew Fraser, organ; Wayne Rogers, choral director; Rev. Betsy Hogan, reader; and several choristers as part of a mass choir. A freewill offering will be received. All are welcome.

 Contemporary Art Society’s Christmas Show and Sale – Thu. Nov. 29 to Sat. Dec. 15, at the far end of the Food Court, First Floor, at Scotia Square Mall, Barrington at Duke Street. Pick up that special Christmas gift between 9:30 am and 6 pm any day except Sunday. For information call (902) 457-0920. 

 Nova Voce: An Evening of Seasonal Music – Fri. Dec. 7 at 7 pm, St. Andrew's United Church, Coburg/Robie. With the Halifax Boys Honour Choir and Bedford Brass Quintet. Tickets $10-$20, available at

 Jubilate Singers 30th annual Festival of Carols – Sun. Dec. 9 at 7 pm, St. Marks' Anglican Church, 5522 Russell Street. The 80-voice choir is conducted by Terry Hurrell, and accompanied by Louise Grinstead, piano; Matthew Fraser, organ; and the Jubilate Rhythm combo. Special guests are Rhapsody Quintet and Ardyth and Jennifer. Tickets available from choir members or the church office. For more information see "Jubilate Singers and Friends" on Facebook.

 Christmas on the Grand Parade – Mon. Dec. 10 at 7 pm at St. Paul's Anglican Church, 1749 Argyle St. A free evening of choral music, singing and readings with one of Halifax’s most historic buildings as a backdrop. Featuring the St. Paul’s Senior Choir and Junior Choir, as well as the Bedford Brass Quintet. Storm date Dec. 11.

 Bereavement Support Contact the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax at 902-446-0929.

 St. Matthew’s Activities


Sunday Free Breakfast  – Sundays 8:30 am (If you are interested in joining a Breakfast Team, please email Carol Smillie at

Thursday Noon Bible Study in the Parlour (enter by glass doors). This fall we are studying the gospel of Matthew.

Choir Practices – AcabellA handbells Thursday 6:15 pm; Sanctuary choir Thursday 7:30 pm

Lunch Bunch community choir – Fridays at noon

St. Matthew’s Book Club  – Dec. 18

Potluck Church  Jan. 23, Mar. 5, Apr. 16 (Seder)


Caritas Service – Second Sunday at 2:30 pm for Victoria Hall Residence for Senior Women, now at the Caritas Building, Mount St. Vincent

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


Congregational Meeting      May 26

Session, Stewards, Board     Jan. 20, May 12

Executive                                 Dec. 16, Feb. 24, Mar. 24, Apr. 28

Worship and Music               Jan. 13


Administrative Stuff

Church office: or  (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:

 Enjoy St. Matthew’s United Church weekly bulletin. Contact the office to add your email or to unsubscribe: or (902) 423-9209