The Christmas season runs from 25th December to 6th January – the 12 days of Christmas. Immediately following Christmas day, on the 26th, we celebrate the Feast of St Stephen, the ﬁrst martyr for Jesus. As he was dying Stephen looked up and called on God to forgive his murderers, echoing his Lord who forgave those who cruciﬁed him from the cross. Stephen was God’s man to the very last breath by the power of the Holy Spirit. On the 27th we celebrate St John the evangelist, who wrote the fourth Gospel, 1,2 & 3 John, and Revelation. John is the one apostle who was not martyred, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t try. According to the recollections of the time they tried to kill John at least twice, but it didn’t work – so they exiled him to Patmos, which gave the opportunity for his solitude to be a receptive space for the Revelation he received. On the 28th, we remember the Holy Innocents. These are the children who were killed by King Herod the Great when he was trying to kill Jesus before he could grow up. The children of Bethlehem paid a heavy price, as did their grieving parents, for the greed and fear of an unrighteous leader. Christmas is a very human story and yet it is a witness to the grace, mercy and glory of God in the midst of human good and evil. Christmas is God’s light shining in the darkness, showing us a better way, a living way to move through life in hope, love, peace and with the glory of God to guide us. Christmas is the story of Emmanuel, God with us, who changes lives so amazingly, so wonderfully, that those who embrace this Messiah will have the deepest peace and the most courageous hope to face the evils of this world and shout them down. As we look to a new year, we begin by remembering the truth that to follow this Jesus is to live a life surrendered to him in a world which will not bow down, even though he is Lord. The ﬁrst 3 days after Christmas remind us of this fact. They also remind us that the Lord will stand with us under persecution; that sometimes the very thing that looks like a disaster may just be the best thing for hearing what he wants us to know, or even what we need to tell the world; and that although humanity will continue to be cruel, our Lord sees our pain and will always weep with us. As we approach 2024, can we choose to be people who truly work at being lights to the world, even when the darkness deepens? After all, God is with us.
|Holy Communion, 8.45am
|Family Service, 10.30am
|Holy Communion, 10.00am
|JANICE’S DAY OFF
|Holy Communion, 8.45am
|Family Service, 10.30am
Regular Worship Times
|Family Worship with Children’s Ministry
|(Holy Communion – 1st Sundays)
|Healing Service – 1st Sundays
Parish Contact Details
|Monitored contact points
|0493 280 691
|Parish Web Addresses
|Pastoral Care Coordinators
|Kevin and Anne Cranwell (0438 234 457 Kevin)
Thank you to all who helped with the funeral for Irene yesterday. It was a good send off and I had so many comments on how well organized and supportive our community is. Well done St Mark’s community. I’m sure Irene is proud of you, as am I. Janice.
Men, can you help? Commencing Sunday, 17th December 2023, we plan to have a roster of men from both services to oversee the carpark whenever there are church events. There will be a ‘sign-up” sheet in the foyer. For more information see Kevin (0438 234 857).
Our next Alpha course will begin on Thursday 1st February at 6pm at the home of Steve and Carol Parkinson. Please consider who you can invite to join us as we learn who Jesus really is and answer some of the questions of life together. Contact Carol 0411405597 or Steve 0437984679 for further information.
This Week’s Prayer Focus
In our country and the world:
- For all suffering from the effects of the bushfires in West Australia and the terrible Christmas storms in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria..
- For all in Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine.
- For all firefighters in Queensland and NSW, and all those suffering trauma and loss as a result of the fires.
- For those facing homelessness, hardship, anguish and despair amid rising costs.
- For families affected by violence.
- For those affected by natural disasters in around the world.
- For King Charles III, the UK and the Commonwealth.
- For peace and unity in countries around the World.
- For aid agencies such as “Save the Children”, Oxfam, CARE, UNICEF, World Vision.
In our community:
- For teachers and students.
- For doctors, nurses, paramedics, Coast Guard, the CFA & SES.
- For local community outreach groups such as the Dromana Community House and “Food for All”.
In our Diocese and beyond:
- For Archbishop Geoffrey Smith’s ministry as Primate of Australia.
- For Archbishop Philip Freier’s ministry in the Diocese of Melbourne.
- For the ministry of Bishop Paul Barker in the Jumbunna Region and for Archdeacon Helen Phillips in the Frankston Archdeaconry. Give thanks that Archdeacon Helen is now well and beginning to return to work.
- In our Deanery, we pray for the Parish of Sorrento & Rye and their Vicar Fr. Nicholas Wallace.
- For the work of the Church Missionary Society and Wei-Han the Victorian Director.
- For Anna Radkovic our CMS Link Missionary. Pray thanks for the progress of Anna’s residency visa.
- For Christian churches around the world to be free to worship and be witnesses of the love of God as shown through the coming of His Son.
In our Parish:
- For Keith & Jan Thomas and Mike & Vicki Brown as they are received into the Anglican Communion.
- For our leadership and ministry teams.
- For Rev’d Janice O’Gorman our Vicar.
- For the finances of our Parish.
- For our Parish, its people and those we reach out to every week.
- For the success of the new Family and Children’s Ministry.
- For the 9am at home prayer time for the Parish, Dromana & Mornington Peninsula.
- For: Irene’s family and friends, Helen R, Jessica, Audrey, Joan, Christine, Backy, John R, Margie, Fred, Robert, Jan, David, Guy.