Longing is a beautiful and complex word. You can partner longing with a wide range of emotions: joy, sadness, confusion, or even frustration. In any time and circumstance we long for a better day, a hope of a future that transcends past and present.
We live today in a world that, while beautiful, is filled with conflict and instability. Our own lives may also be filled with turmoil. We long for a future that is filled with peace and promise. We long with hope for a saving God: Jesus Christ, the one Who is, Who was, and Who Is to Come (Revelation 1:8).
Advent is all about hope, and at St. Mary & St. Martha, you are invited to join together with others as we lean into an Advent filled with hope and light, no matter how challenging the past or present may seem.
We will be leaning into Advent in three key ways:
- Worship: in the joyful presence of the Holy Spirit, our Sunday sermon series will be rooted in the rich legacy of Advent longing, found God’s word to us, the Bible.
- Learning: as a community, we will be reading together the book Stick with Love, a daily devotional which will serve as a companion of hope through the season.
- Giving: hope for tomorrow is inspired by help for today. We will be supporting our dedicated community partners who work on the front lines to bring essential resources to people in need.
More information on these things can be found below, in the weekly emails, and each Sunday. I warmly encourage you to take part in each and every one.
As a community, we are better together than on our own, and our worshipping, learning, and giving together is a powerful voice that God supports and honours. Let us long together.
Yours in Advent hope,
Advent / Christmas Sermon Series Longing
As we enter in this season of Advent, we are reminded of a profound and persistent yearning—a longing – that has echoed through the ages. It is the same longing that was felt in the hearts of our ancestors as they awaited the coming of the Messiah, and it resonates with us today as we await His return.
Advent is not just a countdown to Christmas. It is a season to reflect on the depth of our need for Jesus and to renew our appreciation for the magnitude of God’s gift to humanity. We are invited to pause in the midst of our lives and to remember that before the joyous arrival, there was a waiting, filled with hope and laced with divine promise. Let us embrace this time to reflect, to pray, and to long together for the One who is, who was, and who is to come.
Our Advent series, entitled ‘Longing,’ invites us to journey through the rich tapestry of hope that has been the anchor of generations past and present. We will explore the earnest anticipation with which the people of God awaited the Messiah’s first arrival. Together, we will reflect on how this hope is not just a memory but a present experience as we seek His transformative presence in our daily lives. And with expectant hearts, we will look forward to the promise of His triumphant return. As we light the candles each week, they not only symbolize the light of Christ coming into the world, but the light of hope that flickers within each of us, guiding us through our own periods of waiting. In every moment of longing, we find the enduring thread of divine faithfulness weaving through the story of our faith.
We journey together through this season, embracing the expectant waiting that defines our faith and binds us across time, past, present, and future. In this longing, we find the true essence of hope, and in this hope, we find the strength to persevere through any season.
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (Psalm 130:5)
As we do each season, we have once again picked a song for our community to learn together. This Advent Come Thou Almighty King, reimagined by Advent Birmingham has been selected; together we will learn this new worship music in both traditional and contemporary settings.
As we enter the season of Advent, longing for the coming of our Saviour, we have witnessed a growing need within our community. It is a call that we cannot ignore. In response, we have reached out to our dedicated ministry partners and they have provided practical requests that directly address the needs of those around us. This Advent, we invite you to join in fulfilling these needs, as we strive to live out the mission of Jesus Christ in Mount Dennis, York, & Weston.
· Mittens, Scarves, & Hats
· Diapers, Formula, & Baby Food
· New Socks & Underwear
· Oral Care Items
· Feminine Hygiene Products
· Body & Hair Wash
Grocery & Pharmacy Gift Cards
· Macaroni & Cheese
· Ready to Eat Soup
· Canned Fruit
· Dried Beans & Lentils
· Tinned Fish & Meal
Syme Woolner Neighbourhood & Family Centre – working with diverse communities in our neighbourhood to build self-sufficiency and enhance quality of life.
WAES Food Bank/North York Harvest – helping people that live in our community who are experiencing food insecurity.
Yonge Street Mission – striving to imagine a city where every person feels they belong and where everyone has access to the resources they need to thrive and accomplish their goals.
“Stick with Love: Rejoicing every tongue, every tribe, every nation” by Arun Arora
Advent is a time of deep longing, and this year, SM&SM reflects on this theme through the daily devotional “Stick with Love: Rejoicing every tongue, every tribe, every nation” by Arun Arora.” The author, known for his rich theological insights, explores the universal yearning for a world united by love—a message that echoes the Advent anticipation for Christ’s coming.
Advent is a time of deep longing, and this year, SM&SM reflects on this theme through the daily devotional “Stick with Love: Rejoicing every tongue, every tribe, every nation” by Arun Arora.” The author, known for his rich theological insights, explores the universal yearning for a world united by love—a message that echoes the Advent anticipation for Christ’s coming
This devotional acts as a guide through Advent, encouraging readers to ponder the powerful ties of love amidst the rich diversity of the global church. It’s a perfect companion for those seeking to understand the complex longings of the heart during this sacred season.
To enrich this personal journey, there are weekly Zoom drop-in discussions every Tuesday at 7pm, starting December 5th. These sessions are open for sharing and discussing the weekly devotions, allowing for a collective unpacking of the Advent theme of Longing as seen through Arora’s inspiring lens.
In the spirit of Advent, delve into these pages and let “Stick with Love” illuminate the path through the season’s expectant waiting. Reach out the office to patriciate.
Parish Greening (Decorating) Takes place on Saturday, December 16th, starting at 10:30. All are welcome to come out and enjoy this fun activity.
Christmas Memorial Flowers Should you wish to make a donation in remembrance or thanksgiving to adorn our worship space during Christmastide please contact the parish office. Donations will be gratefully accepted until December 11th.
Wednesday Noon Worship will continue on Wednesday’s during Advent with the Pilgrim Course meeting at 10:30am. Worship is followed by a light lunch. Contact the church office for more details. All are welcome. This service will take a two week pause, with no service December 27th and January 3rd.
The Parish Office will be closed between December 26th and January 2nd.
Baptism is an exciting milestone on your Christian journey, regardless of your age and stage. At St. Mary & St. Martha, Baptisms take place several times a year, with dates planned well in advance. Our next Baptism is on Sunday, January 7. Adult candidates and parents of young children to be baptized must reach out to the ministry team and attend our baptism preparation program.
For more information, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact Sonya (email@example.com)
Historically, 80% of guests have experienced an Alpha because someone personally invited them. It was a real conversation with a real person that made a real difference. The best invitations are rooted in relationships, but here are some practical steps.
Who is God calling you to invite to Alpha this winter?
Invitations cards are available at the welcome desk. Take a few and invite those looking for answers to life’s big questions.
Winter Groups: Starting January
The Chosen On Sunday’s this winter SM&SM will be hosting a weekly watch party for season 1 of The Chosen. Join in after worship to watch and reflect together. Look out for more information in the coming weeks.
How to Hear God, by Pete Greig. You were created to enjoy a real, conversational relationship with God.
Thee Bible says that hearing the voice of our Creator is both central and natural to our existence as humans.
- When life falls apart, we need God’s comfort.
- In moments of cultural turmoil, we need his clarity.
- Facing difficult decisions, we need his guidance.
- Desiring a deeper faith, we need God to say something, anything, to turn the monologue we call prayer into a genuine conversation.
- But how do we really hear God?
Nothing could possibly matter more than learning to discern his authentic voice, and yet few things in life are more susceptible to delusion, deception, and downright abuse.
This book draws deeply from the insights of a wide range of Christian traditions; weaving together the evangelical emphasis on hearing God in the Bible, and the charismatic commitment to hearing God in the prophetic, with the contemplative understanding of God’s “still, small voice” within.
The MMBC (Mary & Martha Book Club) meets online Tuesday’s starting January 13th 2024 @ 7pm. Our time together will include a brief time of devotion and prayer. Books available through the office for a suggested donation of $10 each, ebooks are available online.
The Pilgrim Course Pilgrim is a major teaching and discipleship resource from the Church of England. It aims to help every local church create a place where people can explore the Christian faith together and see how it can be lived out each day. Pilgrim takes a different approach to other Christian programs. It examines the great issues of faith not through persuasion, but participation in a pattern of contemplation and discussion with a group of fellow travellers. Pilgrim’s approach:
It starts at the very beginning – Pilgrim assumes very little understanding or knowledge of the Christian faith, but you came come to the course as a lifelong Christian.
It focuses on Jesus Christ – Pilgrim aims to equip people to follow Jesus Christ as disciples in the whole of their lives.
It flows from the Scriptures – The primary focus of each session is a group of people engaging with the Bible together.
It draws deeply from the Christian tradition – In the early church, the Christian faith was taught by the transmission of key texts which summed up the heart of the Christian message. Pilgrim restores this approach for the twenty-first century.
It honours the Anglican way and its many streams – Pilgrim has been developed as a specifically Anglican resource which aims to cater to every tradition in the Church.
Wednesday Morning Pilgrim @10:30 am in the sanctuary prior to noon worship; starting Wednesday Pilgrim will be looking at the Bible and the Church this winter.
Lay Visitation Team The LVT (Lay Visitation Team) is a group that meets on Wednesday evenings for fellowship and prayer. The purpose of the LVT is to meet together to lift up the needs of people in our parish, and to find new ways of reaching out to people in our community who need a caring and supportive hand. Please keep the LVT in prayer as they engage in this important work. For more information on the LVT, please contact the office for details.
Intercessory Prayer Team This group meets each Sunday for 30 minutes before our time of worship. They will pray for the needs of the parish, for those who have asked for prayers, and to pray for anyone who is new or visiting our community for the first time. After worship the intercessory prayer team with offer confidential prayer for those requesting it. Should you feel called to a ministry of prayer please reach out to Sonya, Michael, or Mark for more information.
Drop in Drawing Ruthia will continue to host a drawing drop-in for those in our community who are 18+. Each week we’ll begin with a micro lesson. The drop-in is informal, bring your own materials (though some materials will be available). Drop-in dates are as follows, 10am to noon. Contact Ruthia or reach out to the office for more details.
- January 13,20,27
- February 3,10,24
- March 2,9,16,23