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One of the most striking and often offensive to the modern mind aspects of classical Anglican worship as we practice it in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is the frequent references to our own sinfulness and unworthiness to receive the manifold and extraordinary gifts which God bestows upon us through faith in Jesus Christ. The Prayer Book services repeatedly call upon us to recognize, admit, and confess our own failings “in thought, word, and deed” and to implore God to extend to us forgiveness, mercy, and grace to empower us to amendment of life. To those without faith this can seem to be a sort of mental or spiritual masochism, a constant self-condemnation with no perceptible purpose beyond self-abasement.

This is of course a blind misreading of Christian life. The Prayer Book portrayal of our natural state is profoundly accurate; we are by our fallen nature selfish, self-centered, self-indulgent, and inclined to value and pursue our own goals without concern for anything beyond our own desires, despite the fact that such a course leads inevitably to increasing misery and discontent for ourselves and others. What we are offered by being bound up in the life of Christ is a new and different nature, freed from the shackles of our fallen nature and empowered to live as God would have us live and to find purpose, meaning, satisfaction, and even joy in obedience to His eternal will rather than the pursuit of our own transient and petty desires.

We Christians are works in progress, saved but not perfected, and often torn between the stubborn lingering habits of our fallen nature and the rich promise of a better life following in the way of Christ and His saints. The Prayer Book reminders of our temptations to stray from that way are not final judgments on our hopelessness but reminders of our need to place our hopes upon His grace working within us.

I'll close with one of the best pieces of practical advice on this matter of which I am aware. It's from Richard Whateley, Anglican Archbishop of Ireland from 1831 to 1863, who was one of the most influential and literate Churchmen of his day. His writings are full of pithy and insightful observations on human nature and affairs and especially on the practice and cultivation of the Christian life, and I believe that this particular statement is one from which every serious Christian can benefit: “Though not always called upon to condemn ourselves, it is always safe to suspect ourselves.” 

 -- Fr Bragg+

To do good, and to distribute, forget not; for with such sacrifices
God is well pleased

Upcoming Events

Men's Group, Saturday January 15, 8:30 AM undercroft

Sunday Services, 7:45, 9:00 & 11:15 AM nursery care provided during 9 & 11:15 AM services  (for online participation for the services go to:  

Sunday school, 10:30 AM
 Vestry Meeting, Monday January 17, 7:30 PM, undercroft

No Wednesday morning Bible study

Wednesday Service 12 noon (can be seen also at
Annual Meeting, Sunday January 30. 10 AM (combined 9 & 11:15 services), starts immediately after 10 AM service. If you are not sure you will be able to attend, please fill out a proxy at church or respond to this email with your email stating that you give your proxy for the January 30 annual meeting to Fr. Roddy/Ron Pearson.  It is important that we have a quorum which is made up of communicant members in attendance and communicant members giving their proxies to another in attendance.

And please remember to pray for everyone on the parish's prayer list that is in the attached bulletins.  Thank you.

Please Help Feed the Hungry -- Updated Food Needs
Food donations are much needed. Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 

MaRIH Center  (crisis pregnancy center) Needs -- Updated
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
Baby wipes (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1, 4, 5, & 6)
Similac Advanced Formula
Batteries (all sizes)

Winter Clothing  Boy/Girl (new only please)
Clothing (0-6 months, boys and girls)
Winter jackets(24 months to 2T, boys and girls)