St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Announcements and a wagon wheel

Coming this weekend – Church dinner If you are a member of St Alban’s, you received a letter last week from the dean of the southern deanery, Father Jos Tharakan. He will be preaching and celebrating Eucharist on at St Alban’s Sunday, December 12, the third Sunday of Advent. I am delighted to be able to sit among you and participate simply as a member of the congregation – It’s a rare gift to me!
In that letter he asked you to let me know that you are coming to Church on Sunday and planning to stay for the dinner he and his wife are making for us – Thanks to those of you who have sent or brought back your note affirming your presence.
A few of you have told me in passing that you’ll be here – and that works, too!
But we really do need to know to make sure we have enough food and that we have organized space for everyone to eat safely.
We are hoping for a full house – and that does include kids! Dinner will be child-friendly, as usual. And if we need to, we will move a table into the hallway to make room for everyone – Just please let me know.

Share Your Christmas after Church After we eat, unless you’re hanging out talking with your friends – which is fine, too – we will put out the large red bags, label them, and begin to fill them for 88 10-12 year-olds.
The great good news is that Polk County Share Your Christmas will be serving far fewer families this year than we have for years. That means that families are doing better than they have for a very long time – that the child tax credit has made a difference. It means that employment is up. It means the economy is doing better.
I am grateful for all of us who together are helping make Christmas brighter for families that for various reasons are not experiencing enough financial stability to manage to buy gifts this year. You are being exceptionally generous – and we are grateful.
Please, also, do sign up to help for an hour or two on either Wednesday or Thursday if you are able to do so. The distribution days are hectic and fun – seeing your friends from other churches is a great bonus, too.

A New Way to Give This is entirely new for us – but Becca Cox has worked with Bank of Missouri to have a place on our website ( where you can make a contribution, either a one-time gift or a regular recurring one .It seems simple. So far. You don’t need to use it. And if there are glitches or confusion we will work to fix that. You can make a specific contribution, for example, to the tree/prairie/garden projects or a general weekly or monthly gift. It should make it easier for those of you who are used to doing things online and have asked for this option.

The Advent wreath as a wheel removed –Earlier cultures in the far northern hemisphere where winters were often brutal, where people mostly stayed indoors or close to home for months at a time, the longing for spring, for light, was intense.
Without electricity to brighten our long nights, we’d find it hard, too. Without heat in our homes, we’d be likely to cuddle up under blankets and sleep by the fire, too – if we had wood enough.
In those climes, removing a wheel from a wagon, affixing candles to it, and hanging it aloft made the perfect indoor light – and it made a perfect Advent wreath as well. The wheel meant the wagon couldn’t be used. It stopped. Waiting was simply necessary. And not always pleasant.
The enforced winter season of waiting and longing in darkness and cold needed those flickering lights, reminders of the coming rebirth of light and life.
It is not a surprise that we call Jesus the Light, the Sun of Righteousness, the Dawn.
We are in literal darkness – and sometimes in emotional or spiritual or cultural darkness as well. Light, little flickering bits of light that gradually increases week by week is always the symbol that will help us hold on to hope – and hope is an obligation to us who know the End of the story – and the One who is bringing it.
Our wreath can serve the same purpose. We always light our in total darkness – so that each week the light actually does grow stronger – The image works for adults as well as for children.



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