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February 2016 ~ St. Sebastian's by-the-Sea Newsletter

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Jesus reminds us in the 13th chapter of John’s gospel beginning with the 33rd verse:

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

The month of February has us all turning to thoughts of love. We celebrate that love by sharing cards, chocolate candies or flowers and for some, a special dinner date is made to show how much we appreciate someone. It is also the month when the church will ask us to once again focus on that love of God as we begin our Lenten journey. On the 10
th of February, we will be invited to join in community and receive the imposition of ashes while hearing those familiar words of our Prayer Book said by the priest, “I invite you therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word . . .”

We begin our preparation for the season by gathering the night before in Smodell Hall for our annual Shrove Tuesday pancake supper. Laurie Stone will host the event this year and promises some wonderful food for everyone to enjoy. It reminds us that Lent is a special time set aside for fasting and self-denial. The invitation also asks each member of the church to set time aside for self-examination and repentance. I know that individual confession is not something that most of us do as a regular discipline anymore but I would invite you to consider making a confession by calling the office for an appointment or contacting me directly. We will also host our Wednesday evening soup suppers followed by a program for all to share. This year I am delighted that my wife Barbara will be offering a series on Art as Prayer. She will share a five week study that will get all of the participants into thinking about expanding prayer as creative art into their own life’s journey. This surely will set the stage for our Holy Week journey as we prepare for Easter’s morning.

God’s love is expressed on the cross of Christ on Easter’s morning. We are reminded of that love everyday of our lives when we take a hard look at ourselves and how blessed we are to have a God who loves us as we are. I hope we can meditate on this love as we begin the month and then let that love carry us through our journey to the cross. I pray that you will make it a discipline to attend church faithfully in this season. The lessons of Lent also help us to understand our journey to Easter. We will be challenged to do some hard work in preparing our hearts to receiving God’s special love. The journey sometimes may seem long but the rewards are everlasting.

Fr. Norman†


Our next luncheon is Tuesday, February 9th, at 11:30 am. All are invited to join us at Ocean 302 Bar & Grill at 302 Ocean Ave, next to the Melbourne Beach Market. The sign-up sheet is in Smodell Hall.


Come join our 3nd Annual Pancake Supper on Tuesday February 9th.  “Supper” will be served from 5:30 PM to 7 PM. Donations appreciated to help offset the cost. Please sign up in Smodell Hall so we know how much to prepare. We look forward to serving you.


Over the 5 weeks of Lenten Soup Suppers we will discuss art as prayer in several forms, both traditional and current. After an initial overview of the series, subjects such as Labyrinths, Mandalas, Icons, and possibly Rose Windows will be looked at in more depth. Interactive exercises will complement the evenings’ presentations on most evenings. This is an opportunity to expand one’s appreciation of sacred art, and to also learn new ways to incorporate creativity into one’s own spiritual journey. Our Lenten program begins February 17th.

All are invited to bring a soup, salad or side item to share. Sign-up sheets are in Smodell Hall.


The friendship dinners start up again in on February 19. For those who don't know about this fellowship opportunity, let me explain. Those who are interested in attending dinners are parishioners who meet for dinner on the third Friday of every other month. We gather at each other’s homes and everyone brings a dish to share. It is a great way to make better friends within our church family. This year we will be meeting in February, April, June, August, October and December. If you are interested, please contact Nancy Miller (725-1598).


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February 2Oth’s book will be the Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan and we will meet at Valerie’s home at 12 PM. Bring a brown bag lunch, drinks and dessert will be provided. We welcome new members. Please just RSVP to the host that you are coming.


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At a time of deep struggle in Elijah’s life, God made his presence known to him. How?

A. In a strong and destructive wind
B. In an earthquake
C. Through fire
D. Through silence

Answer after February Birthdays.


On February 1, 2016, at 7 PM, Ladies, please join us for a wine tasting at Nancy Miller's home. There will be 6 wines to taste, cheese and crackers to eat and wine information to be shared. A professional wine connoisseur will be with us to answer questions about wine and food pairings. There is no cost for the event, wine will be available for purchase but there is no obligation to buy. Come join us for the fellowship. There is a sign-up sheet in Smodell Hall, any questions please call Nancy (725-1598).


Although Lent starts early this year, before spring appears in many areas, it’s an appropriate time for spring cleaning. Indeed, Lent comes from old German and English words for “spring.” So, while it might be too soon to open windows or hang clothes on the line, now is ideal for some spiritual spring cleaning. Lent calls us to examine our beliefs, confess and dispose of old grudges and selfish habits, dust off our Bibles for a new routine of study and prayer, air out our hearts and brighten up our attitudes. “Lent cleaning” lets the Holy Spirit freshen our faith — and it’s never too early for that.


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Ladies, please join us on Saturday, March 5th, for the “ECW Annual Spring Card and Game Party”. Bring your friends and play the card or games of your choice. We will be providing breakfast pastries, beverages, appetizer, wine, served lunch and dessert buffet. Raffle prizes and a 50/50. Tickets ($20 each) go on sale Sunday, February 7. Volunteer opportunities are also available, sign-up sheets coming soon to Smodell Hall.


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At a time of deep struggle in Elijah’s life, God made his presence known to him. How?

A. In a strong and destructive wind
B. In an earthquake
C. Through fire
D. Through silence

Answer after February Birthdays.


Rather than sacrificing something for Lent — especially something easy and spiritually insignificant, such as chocolate — Patty Kirk, in Guideposts magazine, suggests finding new ways to indulge in God’s presence. Surely one can do this by having extra devotions or attending Lenten worship services. But Kirk offers these ideas: • Spend time outdoors, sensing God’s magnificence. • Spend time with others, extending generosity and compassion. Remember Jesus’ promise that when you care for others, you care for him (Matthew 25:31-46). • Pray for the “little things,” coming before God in childlike trust and feeling peace. • Watch attentively for God’s answers to prayer, and receive them as reminders of his presence. • Turn anxiety into prayer. As you frame concerns as prayers and entrust them to God, you “sacrifice” the tendency to wallow in worry.


Life involves lots of waiting. We wait in groups, in lines, in cars. We wait for packages, for the bus, for the sun to rise. We wait in doctors’ offices, at the post office, at the DMV. Waiting implies we’re at someone else’s mercy, but it’s also usually linked to hope. Perhaps that’s why Paul Tillich called waiting a metaphor for faith. Why would one wait if there weren’t the firm belief that the object of one’s wait will eventually materialize? Waiting can be enervating, which is why Isaiah 40:31 is so promising: “They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Yet waiting is tough if you have nothing to do while waiting. That’s why Jesus, when talking about waiting, also talked about working — work for the night is coming. Sometimes it’s less tiring to work than it is to wait. There’s a lot of waiting during Lent. You’re waiting for a payoff. You’re waiting for the Resurrection. You’re waiting for spiritual growth. And then you realize this isn’t waiting at all. It’s life. It’s joy. It’s opportunity. Its blessing.


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Because in ancient times an anchor represented safety, early Christians adopted it as a symbol of their hope in Christ. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19, NIV). Word play may have been involved: ankura, Greek for "anchor," sounds similar to en kurio, or "in the Lord." As Latin became Christians' primary language, however, the "anchor-Lord" connection would have faded.



Don’t look for the flaws as you go through life;
and even when you find them,
it is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
and look for the virtue behind them.

For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
somewhere in its shadows hiding;
it is better by far to hunt for a star,
than the spots on the sun abiding.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The smudge of ashes on the brow
The charge “Remember Man” that thou
Art dust and shalt to dust return
These are the words, the dictum stern
Of God, relayed in rite the ages down to hearts contrite
Remember then, above the sod
That dust thou art
Gold dust to God

(A favorite of Fr. Bob Lieffort – author unknown)
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12th, Larry & Nancy Bass
13th, Jim & Lucretia Braddock
15th, Pete & Robyn Peterson


3rd - Dorothy Hayes
5th - Sandy Burger
7th - David Lehr
14th - Kurt Belsten
24th - Nick Belsten
25th - Bunny Thompson
27th - Beverly Berard


Elaine Davenport


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The church office is open Tuesday through Friday from 8 AM – 1 PM.
Phone number - (321) 723-3015, Fax - (321) 723-0009
Email -
Office -
Web site:
In case of emergency, you may call:
Priest: Fr. Norman Desrosiers – 321-243-4815 (cell)
Deacon George – 723-0069 (home); 890-6712 (cell)