Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message 2014: May Christ be born anew in you this Christmastide
The altar hanging at an English Advent service was made of midnight blue, with these words across its top: "We thank you that darkness reminds us of light." Facing all who gathered there to give thanks were images of night creatures - a large moth, an owl, a badger, and a bat - cryptic and somewhat mysterious creatures that can only be encountered in the darkness.

As light ebbs from the days and the skies of fall, many in the Northern Hemisphere associate dark with the spooks and skeletons of secular Hallowe'en celebrations. That English church has reclaimed the connection between creator, creation, and the potential holiness of all that is. It is a fitting reorientation toward the coming of One who has altered those relationships toward new possibilities for healing and redemption.

Advent leads us into darkness and decreasing light. Our bodies slow imperceptibly with shorter days and longer nights, and the merriness and frantic activity around us are often merely signs of eager hunger for light and healing and wholeness.

The Incarnation, the coming of God among us in human flesh, happened in such a quiet and out of the way place that few noticed at first. Yet the impact on human existence has been like a bolt of lightning that continues to grow and generate new life and fire in all who share that hunger.

Jesus is among us like a flitting moth - will we notice his presence in the street-sleeper? He pierces the dark like a silent, streaking owl seeking food for hungry and defenseless nestlings. He will overturn this world's unjust foundations like badgers undermining a crooked wall. Like the bat's sonar, his call comes to each one uniquely - have we heard his urgent "come and follow"?

God is among us, and within us, and around us, encountering, nudging, loving, transforming the world and its creatures toward the glorious dream the shepherds announced so many years ago, toward the beloved community of prophetic dreams, and the nightwatch that proclaims "all is well, fear not, the Lord is here."

May Christ be born anew in you this Christmastide. May his light burn in you, and may you labor to spread it in the darkness. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, and it is the harbinger of peace for all creation.
What is God up to at Christ Church, Harlan?
 E nveloped in the rugged terrain of Eastern Kentucky is a small stone church on the busiest street in town. In so many ways, Christ Church Harlan reflects the beauty and challenges of the community in which it is located. The parish is small in number but bound together in a way that only families who have loved one another and worshipped together for generations can be. The love and tradition that connects us is outwardly visible in the ministries and worship of our parish.

Christ Church Harlan is blessed with a meticulous Altar Guild that cherishes the delicate work of preparing for services. A contingent of capable Lay Readers add to each Sunday's worship. The choir is populated with well-trained musicians who use their gifts inspire the congregation. The choir boasts significant youth participation. The children are fostered in their musicianship and encouraged to perform vocally and instrumentally. Their talent and professionalism is a testament to the mentorship provided by our choirmaster, organist, and adult choir members.

The past year has given Christ Church Harlan many opportunities in our community. Our small parish participates in a thriving ecumenical group that includes the Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches in our area. The churches hold joint services with a covered dish meal on 5th Sundays. They also join together for special services on occasions such as Thanksgiving. The ecumenical group is currently holding community advent vespers on Sunday evenings. These services are graced by music performed by a choir of musicians drawn from the congregations. Christ Church Harlan's choirmaster works tirelessly to blend the voices of four churches into one.

Spring was a busy time for Christ Church Harlan as the parish hosted its annual fundraising dinner. Months of hard work culminated in a French Quarter Soiree. Invited guests were treated to a four course meal served by Christ Church parishioners and prepared by professional chef, Mrs. Sarah Cahill. A representative of Mountain Heritage Hospice gave a presentation about a camp held at the Domain that serves children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. By the close of the evening, guests at the dinner had contributed over $8,000 in support of the camp.

A short time later, the undercroft was filled with delicious food once again as Christ Church Harlan hosted the clergy of the diocese on their mission trip to Southeastern Kentucky. The clergy ministered to our community by volunteering at Christ's Hands, a local soup kitchen and homeless shelter, before gathering for a dinner with Christ Church parishioners. Our church was grateful for the opportunity to host the clergy and to answer their questions about life in the mountains. Their visit and genuine interest reminded our outlying parish of its importance to the diocese.

Autumn brought with it the addition of a monthly "fireside chat" in the rectory with Father Bryant Kibler. Father Kibler's informal group discussions of topics such as church architecture and the symbolism of Advent have become a favorite event among parishioners and visitors alike. Participants have welcomed the opportunity to ask questions and explore faith in the intimate setting.

The children and teens of Christ Church have been busy pursuing their own ministry opportunities. This December, children have decorated Christmas ornaments to be shared with Oklahomans who lost their belongings in the devastating tornadoes. The youth also collected money from parishioners and organized a drive to provide Christmas gifts and food boxes for families in our community. The presents were selected, wrapped, and delivered by the young people.

These are difficult days for communities in Southeastern Kentucky. Harlan has suffered the drug abuse, poverty, and job loss endemic in the region. We have seen our population dwindle as our neighbors are forced to seek opportunity elsewhere. But, in the face of tremendous hardship, our delightfully stubborn community has chosen hope. When we look at our beautiful mountains and we enjoy the care of our neighbors, we can feel nothing but gratitude for the gifts of God to our town.

As parishioners at Christ Church Harlan, we live our lives alongside one another. We have comforted those among us who grieve. We have helped our brothers and sisters carry their burdens. We have sat vigil with those who wait. But, in the midst of the struggles, we have celebrated weddings and baptisms and college graduations and the births of adorable grandchildren. Our fellowship has been strengthened and our worship enhanced by the sharing of sorrows and joys.

We are eager for Bishop Hahn's visit as his presence in our parish makes this meaningful season even more special!
St. Nicholas Festival
At the St. Nicholas Festival, children wrote letters to St. Nicholas asking for something for someone else.  Here are their requests:

Dear Bishop Nicholas,

"Please bring a cure for Ebola.
Please bring my brother a soccer ball.
Please get my sister a princess.
Please bring peace to the world.
Please get a snowman for my Mommy & Daddy.
Please feed the hungry.
Please bring my cousin get a Lego Set.
Please bring a princess Barbie doll for my sister, Josie and a stuffed animal dog for my sister, Edie.
Please give a magic set for Christopher.
Please give jobs to the unemployed, give money to the poor, and give my mom a promotion.
Please get my teacher, Miss Sinkorn, a World's Best Teacher Mug and hot cocoa too.
Please give my Mama a train set.
Please give toys to poor children.
Please pray for us to help each other.
Please give children who don't have shoes some warm shoes.
I know you like to give to other people that might not have as much stuff or be as lucky, so I was hoping you could help the poor people in West Africa that have Ebola. Please help find a cure.
Merry Christmas and Happy Advent"

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Leadership Training Offered In Central KY January 9-10
Diocesan Leadership Training will be held at St. Michael's Church in Lexington Friday evening January 9 and Saturday, January 10th. Attendance is necessary at both sessions. Those who are interested should contact the Office of Leadership Development, Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin ( or 859-252-6527) as when groups are filled, a waiting list will be developed.

Leadership training in the Diocese of Lexington is based in the concept of experiential learning: humans learn most effectively by experiencing (doing) and reflecting on the experience as well as understanding the theoretical base for the experience. This training model includes concepts such as typology, human interaction, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry and systems theory. Participants can expect to participate in both small groups (know as "View from the Pew" groups) and large group sessions. "View from the Pew" Groups offer leaders an opportunity for self and other awareness- keystones of all models of leadership. As individuals move into leadership in any system, they move more into the role of setters and implementers of vision, and further away from their entry into the system. By becoming a part of a group of new people, relatively unknown before, leaders are offered the opportunity to re-connect with the experience of being new to a system, as they endeavor to strengthen their own gifts in developing leadership in their parishes, boards, commissions and all organizations.

There are many forms of leadership training available through both religious and secular entities. We believe that the integration of theories and skills strengthen all who desire to be leaders. We also encourage participation in Diocesan Leadership Training to provide a common vocabulary in work toward developing and maintaining a healthy system in the Diocese of Lexington, and as a wonderful way to engage with brothers and sisters across congregational lines. Those who are interested may also want to consider the possibility of working with the Diocesan Leadership Team after further training.

Persons wishing to brush up on skills are welcome as repeat participants, enrollment allowing! Many former participants have stated that a "refresher' session after utilizing the concepts for a number of months, is extremely valuable.

Cost of the workshop is $25, payable to the Diocese of Lexington, memo Leadership. All reservations should be received by December 23rd to insure participation. Please include e-mail address and best daytime phone number with registration. Box 610, Lexington, KY.
Convention 2015
The 119th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Lexington will be held at Morehead Convention Center (MCC), 111 East First Street, Morehead, Kentucky on February 19-21, 2015. A Registration form, Certificate of Election for Deputies & Alternates form and an Exhibitors Application are linked to below for your convenience; please make copies as needed. Please make sure that all the information requested on the forms is provided prior to returning them to the diocesan offices. Convention materials will be sent electronically to the email address provided with your registrations no later than the end of business on February 6, 2015. A test message will go out one week prior to the mailing to ensure we have the e-mail address entered correctly in our database.
Documents for Convention
Registration Form
Exhibitor Application
Exhibitor Letter
Certificate of Deputy and Alternate Election
Hotel Information

The Diocese of Lexington's Annual Acolyte Festival: January 31

Calling all acolytes and those who serve on the altar! Join the Diocese of Lexington's Annual Acolyte Festival. Fun: check! Learning: check! Chance to interact with acolytes from around the diocese: check! Celebration: check! Games: check! Missing: YOU!


Mark your calendars for January 31, 2015. The Acolyte Festival starts at 9:30AM and includes a Celebration Eucharist with the Bishop, workshops, Acolyte Olympic Games, and lunch. It will be held at Christ Church Cathedral this year. Cost is $10 for lunch per individual and a $5 fee per church. 


More information will be coming out shortly. For questions contact: Lauren Villemuer-Drenth: at the Diocese, Kate Bryd: at the Cathedral, and Andrew Hege: at Good Shepherd.  

Youth & Young Adult Mission Trip to Guatemala
The Diocese of Lexington is sponsoring a mission trip for high school age youth and college-age young adults to Guatemala City, Guatemala. The trip will cost under $1400 (depending on airfare) and be all inclusive (transportation costs, lodging, all meals, bottled water, construction supplies, tools, missionary guide, and expenses related to work done.) The trip is scheduled for June 6 through June 13. Deadline to register is February. Contact Lauren at

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What's New
A Ceremony of Carols

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 22


Christmas at the Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 24-December 25

What's Happening

 #GoodGivingChallenge online fundraiser supports St. Agnes' House November 3-December 12


Advent Morning Prayer

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 1-December 23 


Merton Book Launch

Church of the Good Shepherd - Undercroft, December 11


Second Sunday Concert series features The Firebird Chamber Ensemble

Our Saviour, 2323 Lexington Road, Richmond, December 14


A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 14 


A Candlelight "Blue" Christmas with Pleasant Company

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 21

The Cathedral Domain, 800 HWY 1746, Irvine, December 27-December 30


The Electric Revival - Youth Dance & Lock-In

Trinity Episcopal Church, 326 Madison Ave., Covington, January 17-18 

Advent 3
Emmanuel Church, Winchester (Network)
   The Rev. Chana Tetzlaff, Priest-in-Charge

Advent 4
The Church of the Nativity, Maysville
The Rev. Michael Henderson, Rector

10 Dec. Bryant Kibler, Sr. P
14 Dec. W. Douglas Hahn P
15 Dec. Arthur Conaway D
              W. Douglas Hahn B
16 Dec. John Cavendish P
17 Dec. Carol Ruthven P
18 Dec. Phillip Haug P
20 Dec. Margaret Shanks P
21 Dec. Donna Barr D
              Cynthia Duffus P
              Philip Linder P
              Johnnie Ross P
22 Dec. E. Dana Hardwick P


We pray for beloved clergy experiencing medical concerns: Jay Pierce.

We pray for the friends and family of those who have departed: John Madden and John Dews.


Download the 2014 Intercessory Prayer List

Download the 2015 Intercessory Prayer List

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