On the Mark December 20th 2009

By admin, December 20, 2009 8:00 am

Don’t Miss Out on

Christmas – Part II

The missionary teacher told her class about the real meaning of Christmas.  It is the celebration of the birthday of God’s Son Jesus.  The reason Christians give gifts to one another is in honoring Christ and the gift of eternal life.  The thoughtfulness and kindness toward others is a response to the grace we have received from God.

A few days later on Christmas Day there was a rare beautiful shell placed on her desk.  A smiling young boy stood beside it.  The teacher was truly moved because she knew the boy had travelled a long distance to the beach and back. When she commented on the effort, the boy replied, “Long walk part of gift”. 

Is all the effort you put into celebrating Christmas a response to God’s offer of grace in Jesus Christ?  Is your activity around gift-giving an expression of kindness toward others in Jesus’ name?  Are there certain things you should just stop doing?  Are there certain things worth taking on at this time?

We don’t want to miss out on Christmas!

Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark December 13th 2009

By admin, December 13, 2009 8:00 am

Don’t Miss Out on


The young family set out one cold evening to go door to door caroling.  It didn’t matter to them that the father was Bing Crosby, the very popular singer and actor.  They just wanted to bring Christmas joy to those around them.

The family approached one fully-lit home and after several pushes of the doorbell a harried woman opened the door and said in an exasperated tone, “What is it?”

“We’re going door-to-door to bring Christmas joy.  We’d like to sing to you,” came the invitation from the family.

“No, no.  I’ve got company coming and there’s just too much to do,” said the busy woman as she shut them out, closing the door.  She missed out on being sung to by America’s top star and his family.


Do you think you might be shutting out of your busy life the possibility of real joy this Christmas?  Do a quick evaluation of your schedule and cancel any unnecessary activities.  If some activities are obligatory, consider appearing briefly, offering your regards, and moving on quickly. 

But do make keeping your appointment with God your top priority with prayer and scripture reading.  One person told me recently that, in response to a challenge offered by a Christian leader, she’s reading three chapters of the Bible every day.  Come to church and rest in the presence of the Lord!


Don’t miss out on the real joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus this Christmas!


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark December 6th 2009

By admin, December 6, 2009 8:00 am

Awake and Hearken

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry

Announces that the Lord is nigh

Awake and hearken, for He brings

Glad tidings of the King of kings.

Then cleansed be every heart from sin

Make straight the way of God within;

Oh, let us all our hearts prepare

For Christ to come and enter there.

In this ancient Advent carol from 1690, we sing the word hearken. We don’t use words like hearken anymore, but look at the word and you see within it “hear”. Hear the announcement of John the Baptist that the Lord is near. Hear him as he calls us to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Hear him as he tells us how to prepare: Cleanse your heart! Align your life with God! Repent! Remove the hindrances…the things in your life that would set up a roadblock. The Christ wants to come to YOU!

Hear the psalmist also as he exhorts us to praise and prepare: “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; cast up a highway for Him who rides through the desert; His name is the LORD, exult before Him!” Psalm 68:3-4. Praise builds the highway for the King to come to us! Let’s sing our hearts out to Him this season, looking for deeper meaning for our lives in the sometimes too-familiar words of the carols. They hold glad tidings for each of us! Come to think of it…we don’t use words like tidings anymore either.

With anticipation,


The Rev. Roberta Schneider


On the Mark November 29th 2009

By admin, November 29, 2009 8:00 am


My generation has felt far away from God.  It has been customary to ponder the absence of God.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Where is God when it hurts?  These and other such questions have been discussed and discussed.  We were the ones who announced the death of God and at the same time we pushed His name out of the public square.  We forsook prayer in school and civic meetings.

Yes all of this talk is foreign to us at St. Paul’s.  We are countercultural.  Ours is a faith that is robust – even intense.  It is as though we have pondered the words of Goethe who urged that the ministers of his day should proclaim the truth and not their doubts – he had enough of those of his own!


Here we know Christ and make Him known.  Jesus Christ and His kingdom are very near to us.  Indeed, we are in Him and He is in us!  The season of Advent, which begins today, announces the nearness of the Kingdom of God.  In Advent, we believe that Jesus is coming soon.  I encourage you to prepare yourself.

Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark November 22nd 2009

By admin, November 22, 2009 9:47 pm

Evangelism Now

The church that is not evangelizing is fossilizing.  To evangelize means to share the good news.  While sharing the good news might include showing people that we care for them – in fact that is the best beginning – sharing the good news also means that we care so much for them that we tell them about Jesus.  It is as though we have found the source of water in the desert and it would be criminal NOT to tell others.  Have you ever thought about your faith that way?  People are lost without Jesus;  they really need Him.

In addition a church whose members do not share their faith is a church that is dying and is under the judgment of God.  God expects us to tell others.  How else will they know about His wonderful Son?

In December, we are being given the opportunity to share our faith in a number of ways.  On Saturday, December 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Dan Mohler (www.neckministries.com) will be teaching us new ways to share the timeless gospel of Jesus with others.  And we will go out on mission and then return to tell of what God has done. 

On Sunday, December 13, after the 10:30 service we will go caroling in Darien to stores and restaurants and on street corners.  Each year, this is gladly received by our community.

Another way you might consider sharing your faith is by inviting a friend, acquaintance or family member to church.  Did you know that the time most people begin going to church, or return to church, is the holiday season.  The people around you need God!

And the church needs to evangelize or it will die and fossilize!

Yours in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark November 15th 2009

By admin, November 15, 2009 7:00 am

Situation Normal…

Situation Normal for the Christian is to be all filled up. The normal life is a Spirit-filled life of the believer. Our rule and our trends, our standard and our typical experience, is fullness, abundance, and outpouring. The usual and natural happenings, the common and general occurrences are saturated with Holy Spirit presence and power. Right?

Well, actually, the often repeated saying is “situation normal: all fouled up!” We operate frequently out of weakness and paucity, emptiness and dryness. Or it may even be worse: we function out of the flesh – our fallen sinful nature. Right?

What can we do; who will we be? Jesus described the reality of the believer with his promise in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses.”

We need fresh in-filling; let’s receive the Holy Spirit anew. We will walk in grace and move in power. Our situation will be normal: filled up!

Your brother,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark November 8th 2009

By admin, November 8, 2009 8:00 am

A Month of Thanksgiving;

A Life of Thanks-living


“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and make good your vows to the Most High.”                                                 Psalm 50:14


November is a great month!  It is still autumn, weather can be quite nice, and you can see into the woods again!  It is also a time for rich, spiritual growth.  I have made the month of November a month for giving thanks as a purposeful activity.  For example, it is good to say “thank you” to those who serve you at work or in stores and restaurants, even to family members.  Have you ever thanked someone so much they became embarrassed – they may tell you how infrequently it actually happens!

I suggest that you recall someone who has made an impact upon your spiritual life.  Give thanks to God for that person. It may be a parent, a teacher, a pastor, or a friend.  If possible, make a point of calling that person or writing to say “thank you”.

 If we took a month, we would not run out of things to be thankful for!  If we took this month of November to be purposefully thankful our thanksgiving would become thanks-living!


Love in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark November 1st 2009

By admin, November 1, 2009 7:00 am

Stand and Go

I commend you, members of St. Paul’s, for your strong stand and your commitment to go forward in following the Lord, going only in the direction He leads you to go.

No one can question the commitments this parish has made over the years.  You have absolute loyalty to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  You are living out your mission “to know Christ and to make Him known”.  Your belief in the Bible as God’s infallible Word is the expression of your desire to obey the Lord whom you love.  Your fellowship in the Gospel creates a loving parish where joy in worship leads to healing and mission to the world.  You go forward as the Lord directs your lay and clergy leaders.

Yet there are places where your stand for Christ will not allow you to go.  You will not tolerate teaching which goes against the Lord and His Word.  There is much in The Episcopal Church with which you disagree.

I have been asked about the recent overtures by the Vatican to incorporate disgruntled Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church.  Some people have received this invitation by Pope Benedict XVI to be good news.  The Pope’s offer shows just how deep the crisis in Anglicanism is.  Yet I believe the views of St. Paul’s will clash with such teaching as papal infallibility, the sacrifice of the Mass, the authority of the tradition of the church, the ministry of the clergy and laity, and the current views about the Virgin Mary.  There are probably additional disagreements with Rome.  I don’t see us going there.

Where are we going?  We are keeping our feet under us as we stand for God’s Word.  We are keeping our eyes on Christ as He leads us.  We are clasping one another’s hands as we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.  God shows us the way one step at a time.  You are moving forward, St. Paul’s, and I commend you!


Love in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark October 25th 2009

By admin, October 25, 2009 10:23 am

Lofty Endeavors

It was frightening news to hear about a young boy adrift in a balloon. I prayed for him, didn’t you? Of course, we now know that his launch was a hoax, but I can’t help wondering if little Falcon will always bear the name “Balloon Boy”.

Hebrews has taken us on a lofty journey, even into the eternal Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, where Jesus opened a way for us into the presence of the living God. But now in Chapter 10, the author gets very practical and tells us how to avoid drift.

Hold fast without wavering the hope we confess and our acknowledgement of it…the Creed we confess every Sunday.

Give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up to love and helpful deeds and noble activities [The Amplified Bible on Hebrews 10:24]. Hmm. What do noble activities look like?

Retain the habit of assembling together as believers, for worship, and for encouraging and warning one another…and all the more faithfully as you see the Day approaching.

Confident in Christ,


The Rev. Roberta Schneider


On the Mark October 18th 2009

By admin, October 18, 2009 7:00 am


It would be hard to count how many times the word “new” has been used to sell you a product or service.  Advertisers know there is something in our human make-up that is attracted to what is new.

Likewise, the human heart yearns for a new approach to God.  Our humanity is beaten down by the law and attempts by religions and philosophies that “help us” to try harder.


Newness is what being a Christian is all about.  Jesus came to inaugurate a new kingdom for the people of God which could be entered through a new covenant or new testament with Him.  Jesus himself said “Behold, I make all things new!”  [Rev. 21:5], which is not difficult to believe if you accept that He is risen from the dead.  Those who believe in Christ are told in II Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;  the old has gone, the new has come!”

 The book of Hebrews has been our study together this Autumn.  This book is all about the new and better approach to God through Jesus Christ.  In fact, the words “new”, “better”, and “superior” are used of Jesus Christ over and over.  Today we hear read in Hebrews 9:15, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Thank God for newness and the new life we receive in His Son Jesus!



The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


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