Category: Bulletin - OTM

Not a Silent Night

By , December 3, 2011 8:19 pm

I love Christmas carols, but “Silent Night”,. Though it carries good childhood memories for me, is no longer high on my list.  Somewhere along the way, I realized that the night our Savior was born was anything but silent.  So I was thrilled to discover – and would like to offer to you – a much different carol called “Labor of Love”.

It was not a silent night

There was blood on the ground

You could hear a woman cry

In the alleyways that night

In the streets of David’s town.


And the stable was not clean

And the cobblestones were cold

Little Mary full of grace

With the tears upon her face

Had no mother’s hand to hold.


Noble Joseph at her side

Callused hands and weary eyes

There were no midwives to be found

In the streets of David’s town

In the middle of the night.


So he held her and he prayed

Shafts of moonlight on his face

But the baby in her womb

He was the maker of the moon

He was the Author of the faith

That could make the mountains move.


It was a labor of pain

It was a cold sky above

But for the girl on the ground in the dark

With every beat of her beautiful heart

It was a labor of love

For little Mary full of grace

With the tears upon her face

It was a labor of love.             - Andrew Peterson                                                           

Jesus came into the world through pain and trauma just live every other baby.  We have a God who knew human frailty and suffering from the moment he touched down on this planet./  My Savior knew my grief from the beginning and He took it on Himself.  That is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown!

Your brother,


The Rev. Jordan Easley

On the Mark December 4


Let the Church Help

By , November 26, 2011 11:58 pm

My favorite church bulletin blooper is, “Don’t let worry kill you, let the church help.”  After a laugh you realize that it is an offer not to go it alone.

The holidays are coming – let the church help.  For many of us, this time of year is a mixture of blessing and hardship.  Let the church help.  I find God when I am with the people of God – we are the church.  The church has helped me overcome past wounds and disappointments.  The church has helped me have realistic expectations.  The church has provided me with opportunities to worship Jesus Christ, and to serve others, which helps me get out of myself.  Here are some ways the church will be available for you in this Advent season:

•• Regular Sunday worship and fellowship

8:45    Holy Eucharist

10:00   Fellowship

10:30   Holy Eucharist & Sunday School

• Tuesday Healing Service and Agape Meal

(Next Tuesday, November 29, a special seminar:

“Turn Your Holiday Blues into Red & Green” -

Christopher & Janet Leighton

• Friday, December 2, 6:30 p.m. “Transformation:  A Service Of Hope and Recovery”, 20 Concord Ave., South Norwalk

• Sunday, December 4, 12:00 p.m. – St. Nicholas celebration for all ages

• Sunday, December 18, following the second service – Caroling in downtown Darien

• Saturday, December 24

4:30 p.m. – Pageant and Holy Eucharist

10:30 p.m. – Festival Eucharist

• Sunday, December 25, 10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist and  Outreach meal

• Saturday, December 31 – time to be determined – New Year’s Eve celebration

• Sunday, January 1, 2012 – 10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist

These are all opportunities offered for worship, fellowship, and service.  In addition there will be the Dove outreach to help local families in need through Person-to-Person.

If you need prayer, counsel or even the opportunity for confession, the clergy and trained lay leaders are available for an appointment;  just contact us through the church office.

Our hope is that Christmas will be a greater blessing for you;  let the church help.

Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark November 27th

Gratitude is Good For You

By , November 20, 2011 4:19 pm

You can almost expect it around Thanksgiving.  Pastors pull out passages from the Bible like “Give thanks in all circumstances” [I Thessalonians 5:18] or “Enter His gates with thanksgiving” [Psalm 100:4].  And for those of us who so easily get caught up in the cares and worries of life (pastors included), the reminder to “be more thankful” can often make us feel more guilty instead of more grateful.  Why does God put such a premium on Giving thanks anyway?

Being grateful is simultaneously hard and easy.  More than that, it has both spiritual and physical benefits.  For myself, I find that when I come to God in prayer, I need to spend about 75% of my time thanking him before I get to my requests.  It’s easy to say the words “Thank You, Jesus”, but it is not always easy to mean them.  For the majority of that 75%, I may just be “saying the words”, but somewhere along the way, the Lord Holy Spirit inevitably comes in and actually gives me gratitude, even if I wasn’t “feeling it” most of the time.  But once the true gratitude breaks in, I find that I can actually bring my requests to God with certainty that He will answer them as a good father (and not just as the “Answer Man”).

Also, it turns out that God doesn’t just care about our spiritual health when He commands us to be grateful:

“Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough point out that gratitude is the “Forgotten factor” in happiness research.  They point out the benefits of expressing gratitude as ranging from better physical health to improved mental alertness.  People who express gratitude also are more likely to offer emotional support to others.  Expressing gratitude in your daily life might even have a protective effect on staving off certain forms of psychological disorders.  In a recent review…researchers found that habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is related to a generally higher level of psychological wellbeing and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology” [Psychology Today, May 10, 2010].

So, the next time you hear the Lord’s invitation to “give thanks in all circumstances,” don’t be ashamed to say “Thank you, Jesus” even if you don’t feel like it.  I promise, if you give him the opportunity, the true gratitude will follow…in spirit, emotions, mind, and body.

Your brother,


The Rev. Jordan Easley


On the Mark November 20

November and Giving Thanks

By , November 13, 2011 4:14 pm

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.  His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

One of the reasons I love the month of November is that it climaxes with the national holiday of Thanksgiving.  There is the food, the cooking, the company of family and friends, even football!  I especially appreciate the fact that our nation stops to give thanks – many even include giving thanks to God!

I  encourage you to make this act of giving thanks something you do each day this month – it just may  become a habit!

Lastly, ask the Lord to bring to your mind the person He is leading you to contact and to offer your thanks to them for sharing their faith with you.  Several years back, Reg Jones took this advice and contacted Renny Scott, a former St. Paul’s clergyman.  Renny and Reg renewed an old friendship as a result.

Let’s give thanks together!


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark November 13th

Come to the Feasting House

By , November 5, 2011 9:13 pm

When the Anglican Church was officially established in the 1500’s, one of its first great books was the Book of Homilies, written in 1547 and 1562.  The first generation of Anglican leaders were fully committed to preaching the Word of God, but since many of their pastors had not been trained to do this, they created this two volume book of thirty-three sermons, so that lay people could (at least) have a Bible-based sermon read to them.  The selection below is from one of these sermons, and I believe it is just as timely for Anglicans today as it was 500 years ago.

“Now come therefore dearly beloved, without delay, and cheerfully enter into God’s feasting house, and become partakers of the benefits provided and prepared for you.  But see that you come here with your holy-day garment, not like hypocrites, not for a custom and for manners sake, not with loathsomeness…come to the church on the holy-day, and come in your holy-day garment.

“That is to say, come with a cheerful and a godly mind; come to seek God’s glory and to be thankful unto him.  Come to be at one with your neighbor, and to enter in friendship and charity with him.  Consider that all your doings stink before the face of God, if you be not in charity with your neighbor.  Come with a heart sifted and cleansed from worldly and carnal affections and desires.  Shake off all vain thoughts which may hinder you from God’s true service.

“The bird, when she will flee, shakes her wings.  Shake and prepare yourself to flee higher than all the birds in the air, that after your duty duly done in this earthly temple and church, you may flee up, and be received into the glorious temple of God in heaven, through Christ Jesus our Lord.  To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be all glory and honour.  Amen.”


The Rev. Jordan Easley


On the Mark November 6th

The Call

By , October 29, 2011 10:22 pm

A long time ago we sang a song, “I heard the Lord call me name, listen close you’ll hear the same.”  Peter Marshall, the Chaplain to the US Senate a generation ago, described the call of God as being as though you were walking along a crowded busy sidewalk and from behind you are tapped upon the shoulder.  At once you turn and respond to the call of God and follow Him.

In the end (as it was in the beginning) what matters most is following Jesus.  If we follow Jesus everything falls into line.

In Isaiah 43:1-3, the prophet writes, “But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob.  He who formed you, O Israel:  ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;  I have called you by name;  you are mine. …When you walk through the fire you will not be burned. … For I am the Lord your God.’”

If you respond to His call and follow Him, he will always show you the way to go.

With joy in the journey,


On the Mark October 30th

The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


St. James the Just

By , October 22, 2011 9:35 pm

Today is the feast day of St. James the Just.  He was one of Jesus’ younger brothers, as was Jude.  He was not one of the original twelve disciples, but after he saw Jesus risen from the dead, he believed!  For thirty years, he was the bishop of the church at Jerusalem.  During that time, he wrote the book of the Bible, the Epistle of James.

Through his preaching, his prayers, and his example, James converted many people to Christ.  He was on his bare knees so often, worshipping God and praying for forgiveness for the sins of the people, that his knees became numb and calloused, like the knees of a camel.  This also earned him the nickname of ‘James the Just’.  He was respected by everyone, even many who opposed what he taught and believed.

“Feeling threatened by the rapid growth of the church, the chief priest, scribes, and Pharisees came up with a plan.  They would force this well known church leader to deny his faith before the multitude.  But James refused to cooperate.  From his place at the top of the temple, he preached with more boldness than ever.  Every person in the crowd below looked up as he proclaimed, ‘Jesus is the promised Messiah!  He is sitting at the right hand of God, and shall come again in the clouds of Heaven, to judge the quick and the dead!

“When the crowd below saw his courage and heard his bold words; they loudly praised God and magnified the name of Jesus. Enraged two or three of the religious leaders jumped forward and pushed James off the temple roof.  Miraculously, James was not killed by the fall;  only his legs were broken.  Then the priests, scribes, and Pharisees said, ‘Let us stone the ‘just man’ James.’  They picked up rocks to stone him to death.  James, kneeling on his broken legs, prayed, ‘Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’

One of the priests, when he heard James praying, begged the others to stop, saying ‘What are we doing?  ‘The Just’ is praying for us.  Stop the stoning!  Stop the stoning!’  While he was shouting this, another man ran up with a big, heavy stick in his hand and struck James in the head.  James died instantly from the blow, still in prayer.” [from Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk]

Next Sunday we will have a special Family Service, celebrating the Feast of All Saints.  Those who have gone before us are celebrating in heaven around the clock.  Are you ready to party with them, as we thank God for their example?  I’m thankful for St. James the Just.  I’m thankful for every one of you.

Your brother


The Rev. Jordan Easley


On the Mark - October 23rd

Our Father is Younger

By , October 9, 2011 9:41 pm

Lately, I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about our children at St. Paul’s.  In the midst of this, the Holy Spirit brought to mind a profound passage that I read a long time ago:

“Children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, they want things repeated and unchanged.  They always say, ‘Do it again’, and the grown-up does it again until he is nearly dead.  For grown-ups are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning ‘Do it again’ to the sun;  and every evening ‘Do it again’ to the moon.  It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike;  it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.  It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy;  for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” [G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy .]

Christians often speak of “child-like faith”.  But what about “child-like monotony”?  What a profound thought:  our heavenly Father is somehow younger than we are, that he never tires of “do it again”!  Perhaps this is why Jesus said, “Unless you become like a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”. [Matthew 18:3]  Perhaps this is why Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE!”

Now that Sunday School is underway, now that we have started our “Supernatural Children’s Curriculum” I hope that you keep on praying LIKE A CHILD for our children.  Pray AGAIN and AGAIN that the Holy Spirit (who dwells within the hearts of those who so naturally say AGAIN and AGAIN) will come with power on the children of St. Paul’s.  Pray that He will fill us (adults) not just with the youth of a child, but with the youth of God Himself.

Your brother,


The Rev. Jordan Easley


On the Mark October 9th

Prayer is the Key

By , October 2, 2011 7:59 pm

The key was left there for us.  At least that is what I thought.  But when Janet, the children and I arrived, the house was locked.  We had traveled two hours at night to a place set aside for us to enjoy a couple of nights of rest and recreation.  But the ice cream we had purchased locally was melting, and there was just no way for us to get in.

The caretaker in the house down the lane was gone, and all lights there were off.  What were we to do?  We decided to pray.  I had learned to be as concrete and simple as possible when I prayed with young children.  That year in Vacation Bible School we prayed for the rain to stop so we could go outside, and voilà! At the “amen”, it had stopped.  So I led a prayer in our dark car that God would bring the key to us right NOW.  It was risky, and it could have disturbing consequences if we didn’t get the answer we hoped for, but I figured God could handle all consequences that are a result of faith.

At the “amen” of the prayer, headlights came up the lane, and the caretaker came to open the door!  As we ate the ice cream, Susannah said, “This is something I’ll never forget.  I’m going to tell my grandchildren!”

What still strikes me about this incident was that we “prayed in” the key, and it has become a metaphor for my faith:  that prayer is the key.

As we embark on this adventure in training our children in the supernatural, let us remember that all God expects of us is that we pray with faith – no matter how small – in a God who is great!

He loves us!  Prayer is the key.


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton

On the Mark October 2nd


Are You Ready For What Our Kids Will Do?

By , September 25, 2011 8:42 pm

Since I’ve been at St. Paul’s, I have been hearing stories like this:  “I strained my back the other day and when my daughter saw my pain, she asked, ‘Mommy, can I pray for you?’  And without hesitation she put her hand on my back, prayed for me, and I was fine!”  Now I don’t know about you, but for me this wasn’t a normal experience of my childhood.  However this ought to be a normal experience for all our children.  Healing, prophecy, miracles – few people have the faith for these like children.  So, we’re creating a safe and structured space where it can happen.

Today, St. Paul’s is launching a new Sunday School called the Children’s Supernatural Curriculum and the name says it all.  We will start with the basics – the Gospel, communion, baptism, covenant, etc.  By January the children launch into a full month (not just one Sunday, but four weeks apiece) in prayer, worship, healing and prophecy.  They will learn what the Bible teaches in these areas and, more importantly, they will have the opportunity to practice it!

Will you commit to pray for our children as they begin this exciting journey.  This is my prayer:  that the Holy Spirit of God will so empower our children that they never doubt His love and presence for the rest of their lives, that our children – emboldened by the power of God – will lead the way in revival, and that their boldness of faith will draw us adults into fresh encounters with Jesus.

Your brother,


The Rev. Jordan Easley


On the Mark September 25th

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