St. Francis Bulletin

December 2013

From the Rector

O Come, O Come Emanuel! For centuries the people of Israel waited for the coming of the Messiah. Each year we commemorate those thousands of years during a season we call Advent. When He finally came, St. John tells us His own people did not accept Him. But to those who did accept Him He gave them power to be called children of God.  This wonderful season of the year is often lost in the hustle and bustle of the commercial side of things, beginning this year on Thanksgiving Day itself. How do we fight that? I suppose that it is too late to turn things around for those who stay up all night in anticipation of stores opening their doors in the wee hours of the morning. But it is not too late to salvage for ourselves a sense of wonder and fascination that accompanied the great figures of the Hebrew Scriptures whose longing for the Savior was intense and personal. Perhaps to some extent, it is like trying to put the genie back into the bottle. But it is worth a try. The Scripture readings for Advent provide us with that sense of anticipation and wonderment. Take your pew sheets home with you and meditate on those readings during the week. If it is your custom to use an Advent wreath, think carefully upon the prayers that accompany those devotions and let them sink deeply into your heart. Even though Jesus has come in the flesh, He will come again in glory. Fill yourself with the anticipation of that. Look forward to it. Anticipate it. How many of us long to see the day of the coming of the Lord? When will it come? No one knows but it is closer now than ever and we should be prepared. Those who long for it will be able to, as Scripture says, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.

On Tuesday, December 24 at 8:00 pm, we will have our service of Lessons and Carols along with the Holy Communion service. This is always a wonderful liturgical celebration and a great deal of effort goes into the music for it. I encourage you to be a part of it if you can. I realize that a number of you will be out of town with family and that it is late for some of you. But please try. I understand that there will be some refreshments after this service on Christmas Eve. For those of you who cannot make it on Tuesday evening, we will have a Holy Communion service on Christmas Day at 10:00 am. As most of you know, this is a less elaborate service, though we always sing some Christmas hymns to praise our God and His Incarnate Son. Please try to make at least one of these services for Christmas.

There has been a lot of discussion about how we will decorate our temporary space for Christmas this year. The old decorations we used in our previous location were pretty well worn out and we no longer have them. The Junior Warden and I decided not to go to too much expense to buy decorations for a facility we may only use for one Christmas. Since we cannot do too much to the walls in this location, we have decided to hang a few wreaths on some of the doors and let it go at that. Of course, the altar will be adorned with poinsettias and other flowers. We will also have our Nativity set in place. I don’t think we will miss the extra adornments for this year. Hopefully, we will be in our new church for Christmas, 2014, and be able to decorate it appropriately for that celebration of Christmas next year.

Christian Education News

It is hard to believe the fall has flown by so fast! The children in the youth class have enjoyed learning about David in this month’s unit, especially the stories of David and Goliath and David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant. Soon Advent will begin, and we look forward to making wreaths on December 1st and saying the Advent service in class together. Along with the wreaths to take home, we will also give the children booklets with more information about Advent devotions at home. I know my children have really cherished our wreaths and home Advent services in past Decembers and I’m so glad to have the chance to celebrate Advent with the Sunday School children as well.

The older class continues to work on Teach Deep with Doug Cooper. The two classes will come together on November 24th to pack the Operation Christmas Child boxes, a much anticipated annual event!

Operation Christmas Child
Thank you so much to all the parishioners who donated gift items and funds for the annual Operation Christmas Child drive. Your generosity is so appreciated! By the time you read this, we will have packed up the boxes and sent them out, although as of this writing they are not yet packed. We are aiming to donate 50 boxes this year, and I have high hopes that we can do it!

The Sunday School children really enjoy this project, and are excited to begin. Please pray for the children who will be receiving the boxes around the world. Many of these children will not receive many other gifts at all this year, and these special boxes, which will contain both gifts and a copy of the Gospel in the child’s own language, bring much joy. Thank you again for all your support of this ministry.
 - Missy Bernard

Home Group

Doug Cooper's home group has been meeting at my house since August. We have read the Letters to the Hebrews, and held some rousing discussions over some community-effort-generated meals.
We are often joined by Anne I, Dinah A, Phoebe H, Joe G, Michael A, Carole P, Martha F, Lucy R, Brian G, Doug C, and all of you are always invited. It is our greatest hope that the home groups will continue to grow because it is in fellowship with one another that we are called to accountability and a deepening of our faith.

I have thoroughly enjoyed having my fellow pilgrims in my home these past few months. Unfortunately, for reasons that have to do with having so many children and their increasingly complicated schedules, I am not going to be able to continue hosting. I'm passing the torch to our lovely and talented Anne Isdal. Her address and the dates of upcoming meetings are available through emailing Doug Cooper,

Doug told me once, long before I moved to central Texas, that he believed he had two kinds of friends: The friends he chose for himself and the friends that God gave him. Friends whom he might never have spent time with, communed with, or learned from if left to his own devices. He was referring to his home group and the deep and abiding companionship that grew from reading scripture together.

I love that characterization of the body of Christ. I know that my faith has been enriched from being prayed for, with, and over. I love the kindness and the consideration and genuine interest in the lives of others that comes from sitting together and really considering our role in Christ's kingdom. We have a leader with a lot of knowledge and he has been very generous with sharing that knowledge. Each of our members brings a unique perspective and a story of be-coming Christ's own and I thrill to hear those perspectives.

My children have been upstairs and underfoot and some-times right in the middle of us, asking to read a chapter. They have benefited from the open sharing of God's love among adults. The home group has given them a view into a Christian family that they don't have otherwise.

I have shared some scary and sad details about my daily life, decisions I have faced, fears and some really great joys with this family and they have honored me by doing the same. The sounding board that God's friends have provided me has been invaluable as I have sought God's will in my daily life.

Seeing each other once a week in church is a joy, but the breaking of bread and the sharing of God's work brings God's people together in a way that the beautiful formality of our Sunday fellowship can't do.

We hope you will join us. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Mon-days of every month (excluding December this year!) and beginning in January, we will be in the home of our dearest Anne. Please get in touch with Doug for further information
-Claire Carter

Reading G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton may be more widely celebrated nowadays than actually read.  His prose style unwinds so slowly and luxuriously, that modern readers may tend to find him plodding or even tedious.  A friend of mine recently described his The Everlasting Man as, “that everlasting book.”  But taking the time to read patiently this volume can yield literary, philosophical, and spiritual treasures that make the effort seem a delight.

The purpose of The Everlasting Man is to examine Man and Christendom from the outside, as it were, in order to determine what they really are on the inside.  Chesterton regards the transition between men and animals and between Paganism and Christianity to be the central turning points of history and holds these transitions to be so abrupt and sharp as to be revolutionary rather than developmental.  He begins by considering the first men, not Adam and Eve, but their hypothetical early descendants, what we sometimes have called “cave men.”  He draws a contrast between what is often thought about these men and what we actually know about them.  He notes that

Strictly speaking of course we can know nothing about prehistoric man for the simple  reason that he is prehistoric.

One of the things we do know about him, though, is that he created art, and very good art at that.  This fact tells us that there is nothing essentially primitive about early men, or even so-called primitive peoples of modern times, and it distinguishes Man sharply from the other animals, along with other features such as language and clothing (Chesterton says that people wear clothes because they are vestments).

The substance of all such Paganism…is an attempt to reach divine reality through the imagination alone.

Chesterton believes that people are fundamentally monotheistic and that Paganism represents a retreat from this spiritual awareness.  He thinks that Paganism is not a true religion in the sense that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are, but more a kind of ritual behavior that takes the place of real religion.

Sometimes it would seem that the Greeks believed above all things in reverence, only they had no one to revere.

Paganism can be warm and comfortable like the household gods of the Romans or demonic, like the rites associated with Moloch, who demanded infant sacrifice.  In fact, he notes that these forms of Paganism have “a mystical hatred of the idea of childhood” (italics added).

The second part of the book describes how Christianity replaced Paganism and altered completely and irrevocably the worldview and nature of society.  This explanation requires and extensive review of the conflict between Carthage and Rome:

…it is certain that the struggle which established Christendom would have been very different if there had been an empire of Carthage instead of an empire of Rome.

This summary barely touches the depth and breadth of The Everlasting Man.  It is a description and a celebration of the coming of Christianity and Christendom to the world.

Since that hour no mythologies have been made in the world.

-- Claire Ducker

Anglicans for Life

St. Francis Chapter of Anglicans for Life will not meet in December. Their next meeting will be on Sunday, January 19, after the 11:00 service. Everyone is welcome.
- Phoebe Hughes

Christmas Poinsettias

For the duration of Advent from December 1st through the 22nd, there will be no flowers on the altar. This bareness will be in strong contrast with the 12 days of Christmas and on into Epiphany when the altar and the entire church will be beautifully decorated with flower and poinsettias. If you wish to make a donation for the poinsettias as a remembrance, memorial or thank offering, please use an envelope from the table at the back of the Sanctuary to enclose your donation. Fill the envelope front out as appropriate and place in the wooden box on the same table.
-Becky Hunt

Newsletter Submissions

Any parishioner who has news of any kind to share is welcome to send it in writing to Tricia McLean at 640 Lakeside Dr., Wimberley, TX 78676 or to her e-mail address ( If received by the 20th, it will appear in next month’s newsletter.
10435 Burnet Road, #125
Austin, TX 78758
The Rev. Canon Len Giacolone 
Assisting Priest
The Rev. Peter Nganga
Altar Guild
Becky Hunt
Ray Merrill, Ed Sandlin, Arthur Woodgate and James Glomb
Al Parker
Mark Rambin
Music Director
Paula Blaha
Amy Crandell
Senior Warden
Mark Rambin 
Junior Warden
Keith Harrell
Michael Ready
Jim Crandell
Vestry Members
Grady Collins, Doug Cooper, Carole Martin, Don St.Martin, and Fr. Len Giacolone
Women of the Church
Leanne Read
St. Claire's Guild
Eileen Cole
Mothers' Prayer Group
Charlotte Ready
Christian Education for Youth
Missy Bernard
Anglicans for Life
Phoebe Hughes
David and Kim Norris
Jim Crandell
Grace Rowse
Newsletter Editor
Tricia McLean
Sunday, December 1st 
1st Sunday in Advent
9:30 am, Holy Communion
9:30 am, Sunday School for Youth
10:00 am, Choir Practice
11:00 am, Morning Prayer and Holy Communion 
  • Isaiah 2:1-5
  • Psalm 122
  • Romans 13:8-14
  • Matthew 24:37-44
Tuesday, December 3rd
Noon, Anglican Rosary
Thursday, December 5th
7 pm, Evening Prayer
Friday, December 6th
7 pm, Games Night

Saturday, December 7th
9 am, Austin City Prayer Walk

Sunday, December 8th 
2nd Sunday in Advent
9:30 am, Sunday School for Youth
10:00 am, Choir Practice
9:30 am and 11:00 am, Holy Communion
  • Isaiah 11:1-10
  • Psalm 72:1-8
  • Romans 15:4-13
  • Matthew 3:1-12
Monday, December 9th
5:30 pm, Vestry meeting
Tuesday, December 10th
Noon, Anglican Rosary
Thursday, December 12th
7 pm, Evening Prayer 
Sunday, December 15th 
3rd Sunday in Advent
9:30 am, Sunday School for Youth
10:00 am, Choir Practice
9:30 am and 11:00 am, Holy Communion
  • Isaiah 35:1-10
  • Psalm 146
  • James 5:7-10
  • Matthew 11:2-11
Monday, December 16th
Noon, Mothers’ Prayer Group
Tuesday, December 17th
Noon, Anglican Rosary
Thursday, December 19th
7 pm, Evening Prayer
Sunday, December 22nd
4th Sunday in Advent
9:30 am, Sunday School for Youth
10:00 am, Choir Practice
9:30 am and 11:00 am, Holy Communion
  • Isaiah 7:10-17
  • Psalm 24
  • Romans 1:1-7
  • Matthew 1:18-25
Tuesday, December 24th
Christmas Eve
8 pm, Lessons and Carols with Holy Communion
Wednesday, December 25th
Christmas Day
10 am, Holy Communion
  • Isaiah 9:2-7
  • Psalm 96
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • Luke 2:1-20
Sunday, December 29th
1st Sunday after Christmas
9:30 am and 11:00 am, Holy Communion
  • Isaiah 61:10-62:3
  • Psalm 147
  • Galatians 3:23-25, 4:4-7
  • John 1:1-18
After the 11:00 Service, Potluck Luncheon
3:30 pm, Songs and Prayers at the Retirement and Nursing Center

James Rambin
Cassandra Jensen
Cindy Phillips
Mildred Farris
Angie McCown
Tricia McLean
Kyle and Leanne Read
Arthur and Audrey Woodgate
Gary and Gayle Horn