Sunday's amazing Christmas Cantata honoring John Porter!

From our Director of Music

One of Advent’s prominent themes is that of waiting. My wife, Amy, will finally move here this June after four years. That’s a long time to wait. Waiting can be reactionary – you know something is going to happen, but you simply have to wait for “it” to happen; then you respond. Waiting can also be proactive – you know what the end-result will likely be because you are largely guiding the process to get there. Kids at Christmas, waiting in anticipation, are a great example of the former. This last Sunday, celebrating The Rev. John Porter, was the latter.
Most of you likely know that I love good food. Amy is an exceptionally gifted cook so finding restaurants that at least meet her, and my, expectations are hard to find. The Optimist, Lyla Lila, and Lazy Betty are a few of our favorites. If you don’t know them, you should try them. As such, I tend to make a lot of food analogies. 
Ministry, good ministry, for me is executing a well-planned meal. Every ministry area is bringing their dish to the table for a finely crafted sensory experience, Sunday after Sunday. Bill trusts his experts to be precisely that -- experts. It’s part of the reason I love calendar meetings. Our ministry leaders have largely planned a year out and Bill trusts everyone to bring their menu items to the calendar table. We go through month by month, day by day, to make sure nothing is going to conflict and/or to see if another area can help augment something else going that day. This last weekend was an excellent example of those efforts.
We knew this date last year. Religious Education was able to plan for an extended time around St. Nicolas and his gifts. Music’s gift was the cantata. So what goes into a plan like this? Here’s the quick version: set the date; find a composer; discuss text, format, and length; secure permissions which also includes the composer securing the poet’s copyright which can be complicated if they are famous and/or still under copyright by the family, trust, or foundation; execute professional contracts and have lawyers review them; contract the orchestra which also involves working around professional musician schedules; rehearse the piece – which means the piece is finished and engraved far enough in advance to get it which is harder still if physical published scores are coming from say…the United Kingdom! Then we plan the piece in the context of the liturgy. Bill had to work with the school to get all the HI swag, other ministries planned John’s favorite flower (yellow rose), others planned the cake and cookies, etc. Yes, this was on a grand scale but there’s a micro version of this being done every single Sunday. Not every meal needs to be on a royal scale but the care at which it is planned is worthy of royal attention week after week. It’s a pleasure to work with friends and colleagues who understand that.
The hardest part of all of this: being in a state of Advent for an entire year. This event had both forms of waiting and it was worth it. When it’s someone you love, it’s always worth it. 
May your holidays be filled with both the mystery and wonder of Advent, as well as the miracle and joy of Christ’s birth. I hope to see you at the Georgia Boy's Choir Christmas Lessons and Carols this Sunday at 7:00 pm at Holy Innocents. The event is free, and we hope you will invite your friends and family.

Dr. Sean Vogt

Guest Preacher
This week at our 8:00 and 10:15 am services, we welcome Rabbi Philip N. Kranz to our pulpit as part of our 150th Anniversary Preaching Series. Rabbit Kranz served as Temple Sinai's Senior Rabbi from 1980 until his retirement in June of 2006, when he became Rabbi Emeritus. Prior to coming to Atlanta, he served for nine years as rabbi of the historic Chicago Sinai Congregation. Rabbi Kranz remains active at Sinai, teaching, writing and overseeing collection building in Temple Sinai's Rabbi Philip N. Kranz Learning Center. Married to Nancy Weston Kranz since 1971, Nancy and Rabbi Kranz are the parents of two married daughters, Rebecca Friedman and Abigail Ornstein. 

Other Notes

  • DONATE... If you would like to donate toward our Christmas Flowers in the church in honor or in memory of someone, please make a check to the church with the information provided or give online here.
  • LIKE... It really does make a difference when you follow our Facebook and Intstagram accounts. This is the easiest possible evangelism method to share what's going on here at HI and spread the love of God.
  • FIND... We have a HI-lights Archive here where you can refer back to earlier versions of this weekly newsletter. If you did not get the November/December Good News in the mail, please email us. The mailing can still be found here.
Stewardship Update

We are so thankful for the pledges and donations that we have recently received. You have generously pledged over $1,785,000 to pay off our capital debt. 

The interest rate on the loan has increased to 5.88% from 2.35% in April, so principal payments make a big difference. As for our 2023 operating budget, we have over $1,082,500! 

Please consider pledging if you have not pledged as we plan for the 2023 budget. Any amount you can give over the next three years will help us to be Set Free to Serve! If you have pledged already, thank you for your support! Make a pledge here. If you have questions please contact Caroline Fleming.
Children: Polar Express Party | December 10
Step onto the Polar Express at Holy Innocents and remember that we all believe! Join us on Saturday, December 10 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM for a very special Children’s Christmas event! Enjoy hot chocolate, cookie decorating, crafts, playing with snow, Christmas games, and letters to Santa. All Aboard! Cost $20, register below!
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Lessons and Carols with the Georgia Boy Choir | December 11 
Friends of Music is proud to welcome the Georgia Boy Choir this advent season. Please join us for lessons and carols at 7:00 PM on December 11. 

Advent Retreat | December 14 & 15
      As we inch our way toward the winter solstice, Advent beckons us into the dark to play with shadows and ponder the light. Ruth Pattison's book Celtic Ways to Pray, Finding God in the Natural Elements,* will provide the basis for the retreat, as we venture into this experiential moment apart from the daily stress of our demanding routines.
     Please email the session you would like to attend. Wednesday, December 14, 4:00-6:00 PM, or Thursday, December 15, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM.
     *no purchase necessary, but the first 3 people to sign up for each of the retreat options, will receive a free book, compliments of your author-leader! Or purchase it online here.

Ventulett Gallery Opening | December 15
The Ventulett Gallery provides a venue of visual expression for Holy Innocents’ parish and the local community to inspire and promote curiosity. Witness the colorful Heaven & Nature Sing exhibit featuring works of art by Lorraine Kimsey and Beth Blackwell Cullen. Join us from 6:00-8:00 PM for wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a live performance by guitarist John Martin. Heaven & Nature Sing will run through January 23rd. You don’t want to miss it!

Ordainment of Hannah Kelly | December 17
God, the Bishop, and the People willing, our recently graduated seminarian Hannah Kelly will be ordained a Transitional Deacon on Saturday, December 17 at 2 pm at the Cathedral of St. Philip.  All are welcome to attend this wonderful and joy-filled day.  Hannah is planning to become a Priest.  The process includes a 6 month period of working as a Transitional Deacon to learn that a ministry of service is a deep part of the calling to the priesthood.  Even if you cannot be present, please pray for the ministry of our friend Hannah! 
Children's Choir | December 18
The Children's Choir will sing as a part of the 10:15 AM Lessons and Carols. For more information including information about practicing at home please contact Renee Stephens. We are so excited!
Children's Christmas Pageant | December 24 
Mark your calendars and prepare for a wonderful afternoon of children retelling the story of the Nativity. Children will rehearse for the pageant in Sunday school and Children's Chapel and friends and guests are invited to join in the fun anytime! The pageant begins at 3:00 PM.
Men's Dinner and a Book | January 10
The next Men's Dinner and a Book is Tuesday, January 10 at 6:30 pm and the book is "Never” by Ken Follett.  Donley Klein is hosting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Jeremy Webber at for details.  All men at Holy Innocents are included and invited.
Lift Every Voice and Sing | January 20 
Postponed from the pandemic, this interfaith event will feature a new Spelman College arrangement on “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Dr. Kevin Johnson, Director of the Spelman College Glee Club. We will be joined by multiple choral ensembles for this event, accompanied by gospel instrumentalists. Join us at 7:00 PM at Sisters Chapel, Spelman College. 
Annual Parish Retreat | February 10-12
We’ve reserved a spot for you at our Annual Holy Innocents’ Parish Retreat at Amicalola Falls State Park on February 10-12, 2023. This is simply a time of fun, fellowship, rest, worship and renewal together with your church family. There are activities for children and youth as well as the young at heart. What does it mean to have Open Minds and Full Hearts? Join us as we delve deeper into our church’s tag line. Our new Vicar Stewart will coordinate the retreat year with a fun planning team.
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This Sunday
8:00 AM: Worship, Christ Chapel
9:00 AM: Artist Talk with Dan Gilstrap, Inglett Hall
10:15 AM: Worship, Nave
5:00 PM: Spanish-speaking Worship, Nave
6:00 PM: Celtic-style Worship, Christ Chapel
7:00 PM: Lessons and Carols with Georgia Boy Choir, Christ Chapel
All Day: Still Processing, Ventulett Gallery 

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