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Open Table: from poverty to community

Three of us at St. Francis (Beverly Valtierra, Michele Koch, and I) have been serving with a group called The Open Table (, which trains congregations to use their vocation and life experiences to assist men and women in poverty using a sharedpurpose model to change their lives. It changes everyone’s lives. Catherine Lillibridge (our bishop’s wife) represents The Open Table and travels all over the U.S. promoting the program. Often people in poverty are stuck in poverty by their circumstances. To get them “unstuck,” we help them formulate goals, then the participant (called a “Brother” or “Sister”) and the team devise a plan and are held accountable for implementing it.

Christmas Remembrances

The Flower Guild is planning a beautiful display for the Christmas season, including greenery and poinsettias to last for the entire two weeks. You can dedicate flowers in honor or memory of loved ones, or in thanksgiving for all your blessings. Here’s how to help: 1) Fill out a flower dedication form (look for the display in the narthex). 2) Write a check to St. Francis Church with “Christmas flowers” in the memo line, or count out cash. Suggested donation is $25. 3) Fold up the form with the check or money and place them in a blue “special offering” envelope. 4) Drop the envelope in the collection plate or the basket in the narthex by December 13. That’s all there is to it! Thank you for y

Reaching out at Christmastime

Perhaps you feel a little queasy or you feel a pinch of a stomach cramp, unhappy that you didn’t grab something to eat on your way out the door. Unfortunately, this happens every day in the neighborhood around the church. The St. Francis Food Pantry provides food to the needy in the church’s zip code, 78240. Sometimes a single parent loses one of the three jobs that have kept their family fed and housed. Or there’s a couple who had lived on two incomes, and now one of the incomes is gone. Maybe a mother with a disabled child lost her job, and the assistance agencies available do not supply the special care and medicines she needs at a price she can afford. All these people and others worry a

Is your child the perfect shepherd?

Children of all ages enact the wondrous story of the Nativity of our Lord at the Christmas Eve 6 p.m. worship service. Mary and Joseph will lead a company of shepherds, angels and an assortment of “animals” at the retelling. The congregation enters the story by singing several Christmas carols. All children are welcome to participate. There are many parts to play, and they vary in skill level, so there’s something for everyone. Watch the weekly E-pistle for notices of practice times (there will probably be three). There will also be notices in the Sunday bulletin. Please contact me if you wish to play a part in this joyous worship service. (reprinted from the December Hilltop Herald)