This week we celebrate Halloween (not to mention All Saints Day) as well as the end of Daylight Savings Time. They all always seem to mark the end of the first half of fall.
And what a first half it has been. Our annual kick-off weekend was festive and fun, though intentionally muted in view of the climate of crisis in the larger Church. We also enjoyed two other “big” weekends: Small Group Launch, our ministry push for Christmas Eve at the Fairgrounds, in which 500 parishioners stepped forward to serve. And then we hosted our Missions weekend, celebrating all the great and good work Nativity is doing, in association with our ministry partners nationally and internationally, as well as locally here in Baltimore City.
We have enjoyed two new message series, with accompanying series for Small Groups. Resurrection and Uprising, our Youth Ministry programs, have taken off this semester, and reached a whole new level of impact for middle and high school students in our community. And, of course, our kids ministry makes church an amazing experience for our youngest members, week after week, while introducing them into a loving relationship with the living Lord. Meanwhile our Pastoral Visitors and Member Care ministers extended loving care to our elderly and most vulnerable members, including the expansion this fall of a loss and grief support system.
And as we began our second year in our new sanctuary, our musicians, tech team and other creative folks continue to work to best use to space to enhance our weekend experience and transform our worship.
That was the first half.
We have a saying around here that the day after Halloween is Christmas Eve, because the time between the two seems to speed up. Like most families, most parishes can easily count the next two months as their busiest time of year. Here are a few highlights:
- We will be finishing up our current message series with our annual celebration of Stewardship Sunday, November 18. This is our once a year challenge to parishioners to evaluate their support of our local church and recommit for the coming year. This year we have a very special message and video presentation that will be thoughtful and moving.
- Nativity was established in 1968, that means this year is our 50th! To honor that milestone, we are hosting a 50th Anniversary Celebration on Stewardship weekend. It is going to be fun and full of surprises you will not want to miss.
- The weekend of November 24 & 25th we’ll be launching a new message series for the pre-Christmas, Advent season. It’s a Wonderful Life will be all about celebrating the season in a life giving, life renewing way.
- December always brings some quality time with our friends at Catholic TV. This season Tom and I will be appearing on the Christmas edition of “This Is The Day” (their weekly talk show) on December 18. Additionally I’ll be celebrating Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent on December 23rd (Both programs are shown multiple times, check out their website; which is where you can also watch the programs as Catholic TV isn’t currently available in Baltimore).
- And of course, the season, and the year, culminate in Christmas Eve At the Cow Palace. Now, unbelievably, in our 12th year, it will be bigger and more beautiful than ever. This year we have some additional features that you will simply have to see to believe. Christmas Eve Mass will also be broadcast later that evening on Catholic TV. So you can attend Mass, and then go home and watch it again!
Join us for the second half of our amazing fall season here at Nativity.