Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guadalupe, bells, pageants

A lot is going on at St. Paul's this weekend. We have the Christmas Pageant by our kids at the 10 a.m. worship on Sunday. And no sermon! But before you get to Sunday, here's what is happening Friday and Saturday:

On Friday at 5:30 pm we are doing a special service marking the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, followed by a Mexican dinner at 6:15 pm in the parish hall as a fund-raiser for PACEM, our homeless ministry. The feast day of Guadalupe is the major Mary feast in Mexico. Guadalupe is particularly iconic for the poor and destitute in our world, so it is especially appropriate that we donate to PACEM this time of year on this day. Our suggested donation is $15, and Lori is making tortilla soup.

And on Saturday at 10 am, our Green Team is leading us in ringing the St. Paul's bell 350 times to sound the alarm on global warming, and joining other faith communities across the nation in a campaign called “Sound of Hope and Spirit.” The idea is to ring each church bell 350 times to spread the call to action, in conjunction with founded by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben. is a coalition pushing for effective action to address the global warming crisis and encouraging action that will result in recognition of the goal of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide from 385 parts per million to 350 ppm.

The bell at St. Paul's Memorial Church was installed in 1957 and has been rung every Sunday morning since to call the faithful to worship – and has also been rung to celebrate joyful occasions such as weddings or to signal attention during times of national crisis such as 9/11. “Such a crisis is now upon on us, threatening devastation of our environment, economy and creation as we know it,” said Gwynn Crichton, organizer of the event for parishioners at St. Paul’s.

While ringing the bell on Dec. 13, parishioners will be served hot drinks and cookies and will also be encouraged to write Congressional representatives and the White House to urge support for reductions that will meet the target goal for 350 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

St. Paul's is a member of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, a non-profit initiative working for a more just, sustainable and healthier creation by reducing global warming. Those of you from California will recognize it as part of the network of Interfaith Power & Light, founded by the Rev. Sally Bingham of the Diocese of California, offering concrete opportunities for congregations and individuals to protect the planet.

I hope you can join us for some or all of these events this weekend.

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