Forget Christmas! The busiest couple of days of the year at St. Nicholas are the days around St. Nicholas Day (December 6). St. Nicholas Day, of course, is our patronal feast day, and this year we celebrated in style!
First, on Saturday, we participated in the Hamilton Christmas Parade. Thanks to the leadership of Peggy Martin and Sue Halmrast, a crew of people gathered to decorate Kenny Townsend’s trailer with a snow-covered scene of St. Nicholas himself reading to a host of Christmas elves. We gathered later at the old middle school and led by Fr. Jeff and Sheila Dixon with the St. Nicholas Episcopal Church Welcomes You banner, the entire group marched around town. Great job to all who participated!
While that crew was doing a great job of advertising for our church, another crew, led by Sharon Cheatham was over at the Chipley Women’s Club in Pine Mountain getting ready for the annual Christmas Tea! Once again, we hosted this wonderful event in order to spend some time in fellowship with one another and invite new friends to St. Nicholas. 90 tickets were sold for the event, and on Sunday afternoon, we gathered at 3:30pm for delicious tea, fabulous finger foods, and just a great time! Kathie Torres set up a bake sale, while Sue Halmrast (in two places at once), brought merchandise from the Cathedral Bookstore to be sold. Door prizes galore were given to many lucky winners, thanks to Katherine Johnson and Connie Blackmon. The entire event was a group effort and fun was had by all! Kudos to everyone who came and everyone who helped make it possible!
Not only did we have plenty of fellowship on St. Nicholas Day, we also pulled out all the stops for our Sunday morning schedule. First and foremost, we were blessed with the presence of our bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander for his annual visitation. Bishop Alexander preached and celebrated at both services. He partook of our fantastic breakfast provided by Ben Brooks and Kerri Bingemann. He conversed with the Adult Bible Study class and the Teen Class. After the 11:00 service, he went to lunch with the Episcopal 101 class, which gave our upcoming confirmands some time with him before the confirmation service at the Cathedral this Sunday, December 13. Finally, the Bishop came to the Christmas Tea, providing the group with the opening blessing. We ran the man ragged!
Perhaps the most exciting announcement came when Fr. Jeff told of how the Bishop had suggested that an organ may be available at St. Benedict’s in Smyrna. After a few phone calls and e-mails, St. Benedict’s, in thanksgiving of the ministry of Bishop Alexander to new congregations, is donating their 3-year-old Allen organ to St. Nicholas, and the Allen organ company will be delivering it on December 17 also at no cost to us! St. Benedict’s recently moved into a new building and got a new organ to fit and were generous enough to give us theirs. Our current organ has seen better days, so here is yet another example of God’s provision for us!
The Bishop exclaimed time and again about the energy at St. Nicholas. This would not be possible without the hard work of every single person who believes in our parish, in God’s mission in Harris County, and in one another as the family of God. The Holy Spirit is clearly moving in our church, and everyone should be proud of the wonderful work we’re all doing. Now is the time to invite someone to St. Nicholas, to be a part of this incredible energy, especially those who do not have a church home. So spread the word, tell about all the great things God is doing at St. Nicholas, and give thanks for all our many blessings!
Below are pictures of the weekend’s events.