I was curious as to how other countries celebrate Christmas. So, I “Googled” it, and here are a few of the ones I found to be of interest. Hope you find it interesting as well. “Unique Christmas Traditions Around the World…” “Sweden – The Yule Goat has been a Swedish Christmas symbol dating back to ancient pagan festivals…In 1966…someone came up with the idea to make a giant straw goat, now referred to as the Gavle Goat, 42 feet high, 23 feet wide and weighs 3.6 tons! Each year the massive goat is constructed in the same spot. Fans can watch a livestream from the first Sunday of Advent until after the New Year when it’s taken down. Philippines – Every year, the city of San Fernando holds Ligligan Parul (or Giant Lantern Festival) featuring dazzling parols (lanterns) that symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. Each parol consists of thousands of spinning lights that illuminate the night sky. The festival has made San Fernando the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.” Japan – Although Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, its citizens still find an interesting and delicious way to celebrate. Rather than gathering around the table for a turkey dinner, families head out to their local Kentucky Fried Chicken. The tradition began in 1974 after a wildly successful marketing campaign called “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” or “Kentucky for Christmas!” The fast-food chain has maintained its yuletide popularity, causing some people to order their boxes months in advance or stand in two-hour-long lines to get their “finger lickin’ good” food. Iceland – Similar to the 12 days of Christmas in the U.S., Iceland celebrates 13. Each night before Christmas, Icelandic children are visited by the 13 Yule Lads. After placing their shoes by the window, the little ones will head upstairs to bed. In the morning, they’ll either have received candy (if they’re good) or be greeted with shoes full of rotten potatoes if they’re bad. Finland – On Christmas morning, Finish families traditionally eat a porridge made of rice and milk (rice pudding) topped with cinnamon, milk or butter. Whoever finds the almond placed inside one of the puddings “wins” – but some families cheat and hide a few almonds so the kids don’t get upset. At the end of the day, it is customary to warm up to a sauna together. Mexico – All across Mexico members of the Church put on Pastorelas (Shepherd’s Plays) to retell the Christmas story. The Mexican Christmas season begins early in December with Las Posadas, a religious march that re-enacts the journey of Mary and Joseph. The vibrant red poinsettia flowers are also used in holiday arrangements for decoration through the country.”
Renovations Updates: The Parish Hall will soon be ready to use again. The large banquet room will soon be emptied of the remaining St. Anne's and kitchen contents, with everything back in place or put in storage in the shed for a future rummage sale. The new carpeting on the floor will be thoroughly vacuumed by volunteers. The Martial Arts group put away their mats and are also using the former's counselor's room for storage. They have offered again to help set up and take down tables for us once we are using the room again. After the first of the year, construction work will begin on the Nave with the front wall coming down for re-stabilization. The restoration committee held a conference call with DC Renovation last week and will be discussing the scope of that work at the next Vestry meeting on Sunday. Information will be forthcoming. We are happy to have completed the Parish Hall, Phase 1. The progress is incredibly slow and involved. It's true that patience comes to those who wait!
SUNDAY, December 10, 2023
Attendance: 49 In Church 6 Online 54 Total
Those scheduled to serve this coming Sunday, December 17th are:
Layreaders………. Linda Myers & Mary Rubio Ushers……………. Cecile Gloier & Sherry Musgrove Acolyte…………... Grady Gonzales Altar Guild…….. Carol Weathers, Karen Leitch, & Linda Myers VOPD……………. Rachel Bryson Coffee Hour…….Nancy Heuss & Karen Leitch
And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear, especially Sarah Buckner and Peggy Moore, beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service; and to grant us grace so to follow the good examples of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all thy saints, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. We pray also for those who mourn their passing.
We depend on your pledges for our operating expenses to keep Epiphany up and running. The money received from the 1-acre land sale is for capital improvements only. For example: a new air conditioning system, replacing doors, windows, painting, etc. The funds we received from the sale came with stipulations that the funds cannot be used for the daily operational expenses of our church. Our newly formed investment committee has invested wisely, and we plan to draw from the interest as long as possible. The generous funds we received from the Diocese in the form of Disaster Relief and the COVID Fund are to be used for the completion of our massive renovation projects from the plagues endured. Those funds have also been invested in a short-term CD. We are challenged with being good stewards. We deeply appreciate the gifts and pledges received thus far. Thank you.
Also, please remember to fill out the Suggestions for Vestry Nominations form (located in the Narthex). You can either put the nomination form(s) in the offering plate or drop it off in the church office.
Children who would like to attend “children’s services” during the regular Sunday services can meet with Nancy Heuss in Class Room “B” (next to the Library in the administration building). She will have Sunday Children’s Worship Bulletins for ages 3+ and ages 7+.
Bishop Kai Ryan will be at Epiphany on Sunday, January 21, 2024. That means Confirmations and Receptions in to the Episcopal Church. If you are interested in being Confirmed, or have a family member who might be, please contact Janet Wilton, Parish Administrator by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office 512-756-2334. Father Michael and Ashley Harper-Oberle will set up classes to prepare you for that important step.
A BIG THANK YOU to Logan Feltz, Mary and Ray Rubio’s grandson, from Cranz Nichols in helping him find that annoying chirping noise in the admin building. Turns out it was a smoke alarm in the library with a dead battery! Thank you, Logan!
Please remember to sign up to order your Christmas Poinsettias. The signup sheet for ordering is in the Narthex. They are $10 each. Please sign the sheet with how many you want to order and with the dedication of the flowers to whomever you wish. The poinsettias will be delivered to the church on December 22.
The Episcopal Church 2024 Year Calendar is in! You can purchase one up in the Narthex for $5 (to cover the cost of printing and shipping).
There will be a Vestry Meeting this Sunday, December 17th in the Library right after Sunday services.
Please continue to pray for all in need of comfort, healing, and support. We are all God’s children and are called to serve Him in any way we can.
Janet Wilton Parish Administrator
“May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; the spirit of Christmas which is peace; the heart of Christmas which is love.” -- Ada V. Hendricks
Our mission: To be part of God’s family, growing through worship and ministry by sharing Christ’s love with our community and beyond. Our vision: to be a place where people find God’s purpose for their lives and become empowered by the Holy Spirit to make a difference in God’s world.