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

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We have had a safe summer. God has blessed us with lots of rain lately but managed to keep the major storms away. I now find myself thinking about the holidays, and begin to long for those all-time favorite treats that come in the fall of the year. Commercials offering Pumpkin Spice drinks both hot and cold are all over the air waves. Soon the stores will be asking us to start shopping in October for Christmas.

Money is always an issue during the holidays with the shopping and preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many continue to watch as the stock market goes up and down taking 401k’s on a roller coaster ride. What a mess we are in.

As Christians, we are reminded of the verse in Matthew 6:24 which says, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (NRSV)

We do have choices to make as Christians. We must be prepared to put God at the center of our life and not find ourselves under the influence of all this stuff we hear about in the media. All too many people fall into the trap of temptation. When the holidays are over and done, many will sit back and wonder how they will pay off the debt that has been accrued while trying to find the right item to make someone they love happy. Isn’t it such a viscous cycle?

Maybe before we get ourselves over extended in debt, we might pause and ask God to guide us through the season. Come to God in prayer and ask Him to accompany you to the stores of your choice and seek His guidance on how much to spend and what to buy. This may seem foolish but God does remind us in His word that we can come to Him with any need and He will be there for us. I know he doesn’t want us struggling to pay back with money we don’t have and then live a life filled with stress to seek answers to surviving day to day living.

October is a good month to begin to put this into perspective. Set up a budget for yourself as you approach the holiday season. Make it realistic as to what you can afford and then cover your gift with prayer and love. God will work miracles through your offerings. I know this year can be so much better if we take away the complications and make it a simpler time. May God answer your prayers and make this a season filled with love and hope while leaving the stress and worry outside.

Remember Matthew’s Gospel, “You can’t serve both God and wealth.”

Fr. Norman†

Our next luncheon is Tuesday, October 11th, at 11:30 am. All are invited to join us at Strawberry Mansion, located at 1218 E. New Haven Ave. The sign-up sheet is in Smodell Hall. See you there!
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It's time to begin developing our budget for next year. If you are responsible for a budget line item or church activity that requires funding, please submit your 2017 budget requests to Janie Conner by October 15th. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Janie at or 345-4497.
St. Sebastian will host the Monday night dinner for the Protestant Campus Ministry at Florida Tech on November 14th. It's a fun evening with 60 or so students coming for a taste of a home-cooked meal. We usually arrive at 5 PM at the All Faith's Chapel on campus to warm up the food, set out drinks, and prepare the tables. We need all the help that we can get, and hope you'll let George or Carole know (; 984-2886) that you can come and contribute. The menu isn't decided yet and suggestions are welcome. Sometimes we even have them sing for their supper... :-)
Monday, Oct. 3, 6 pm, Smodell Hall - The ECW will be making small Chrismon Crosses which will be included with this year’s Christmas gift bags for our parishioners. All women of St. Sebastian’s are invited to participate. Experience is not needed, materials will be supplied.

Monday, Nov. 7, 6 pm, Smodell Hall -
ECW Business Meeting.

Thursday, Dec. 1 - St. Sebastian’s will be
Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army in front of the Publix on Eau Gallie Blvd, Indian Harbour Beach. More information and a sign-up sheet for Volunteers will be available in November.

Monday, Dec. 5, 6 pm, Smodell Hall - The ECW will be preparing
Christmas Gift Bags. More information will be provided at a later date.

2016-2017 Officers and Committee Chairs:

  • President: Valerie Lewis Coles
  • Treasurer: Doreen Yandell
  • Secretary: Janie Conner
  • Phone Committee: Kay Ives
  • Women’s Social Fellowship: Nancy Miller
  • Spiritual Growth and Renewal: Lauri Stone
  • Card Care: Judy Divine

Cookbooks: The St. Sebastian’s Anniversary Cookbook make excellent hostess gifts or gifts for teachers, neighbors, thank you, new home, or include in a gift basket for a wedding shower. Now is the time to stock up, with our One More Last Time Cookbook Sale, cookbooks are $5.00 per book. You can find books on the sign up table in Smodell Hall, take the books you need and drop your payment, cash or check in the basket. All proceeds go directly to St. Sebastian’s. Thank you for your continued support.
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October 8th - The Pallets will be set out on the lawn. WE NEED PEOPLE WITH STRONG BACKS who can lift pallets out of the truck and place them on the ground.

October 9th - Stuff Goody Bags in Smodell Hall after 10:30 service.

October 15th - PUMPKINS ARRIVE! WE NEED folks to unload pumpkins, serve water to workers and sell pumpkins following the unloading.

October 16th through October 31st - WE NEED SELLERS EVERY DAY AND SOMEONE TO PICK UP DAMAGED PUMPKINS AND PLACE IN DUMPSTER EVERY TWO TO THREE DAYS. Sure hope I can count on all of you! Pumpkin Patch Patty over and out {aka Judy Divine}
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Book Club will meet on October 22 (fourth Saturday this month due to Pumpkins coming) from noon - 2 PM at Gail Picking's home this month. The book is Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. Bring a brown bag lunch to share and drinks and dessert will be provided. Please RSVP to Gail so she knows how many to expect. The November book will be chosen by then. Also, mark your calendars for our Book Club Christmas Luncheon - it will be on December 10.  More details to follow!
With Fr. Norman and Barbara retiring at the end of December, we are in need of someone to maintain the church website and upload the Saints Alive newsletter each month. If interested, please contact the office, or Fr. Norman, as soon as possible to allow time for training. Thank you.
Many of those we minister to have found Fr. Richard Rohr's daily meditation to be of help to their spiritual growth. Fr. Richard is a Franciscan priest who has a center in New Mexico. He has a refreshing slant on spirituality that crosses denominational lines. We often hear Fr. Norman refer to him in his sermons. We invite you to take a "look see" at his website, books and daily meditations.

We have moved our Taize service into the sanctuary for the next 2 months.  Our last one held on Sept 12 was so full of graced spirit. As we sat in the silence listening to readings and then chanting the Taize songs our sanctuary was just filled with palpable grace. Please consider joining us once to see if this kind service is right for you. You may sit quietly and just absorb the holiness of the hour or participate more fully with adoration and prayers at the cross. 2nd Monday of the month at 7:15 PM.   


There will be a Kairos Outside weekend held on Oct. 28 - 30 in Ocala at a church camp. This is a weekend for those women who have been or have currently a family member or significant other incarcerated in jail or prison.  Many women feel both shame and isolation when this happens in their family.  The team listens, loves and affirms their goodness and reassures them that their God loves them. The weekend is free. The weekend is built around the Cursillo model.
As a congregation, we ask for your prayers, of course. We also ask that if you know anyone who would wish to attend the weekend that they see Renee' Koenig (,321-726-9265) for an application before September 30th.
We will also make available meal tickets at 5$ each. You may underwrite one of the meals for an attendee. One would write their first name on the tickets and they would be presented at meal time. 
We are in need of small to medium teddy bears to give our ladies. Used are fine as long they are in good condition.

Thank you for support of all kinds.
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There will be another Kairos Prison Ministry weekend 11/10/2016. I will be at coffee hour 10/23, 10/30, and 11/6 asking you to participate with me with Prayer, cookies, and money.

What is it that attracts Christians to the prison ministry? How do I explain the sense of clean and pure spirituality we who serve there find in Christian gatherings at the prison? “Why did Jesus seem to prefer to be around poor people and sinners?” Could it be their sense of honest and forthright humility? Could it be their obvious state of sinfulness and need for healing that attracted him? I believe these are somethings that attracted me to prison.

There is another thread of meaning found only in prison: The sense of emptiness and self-denial. There are well known benefits to fasting, and there are different ways to fast. “Fasting attacks, not human life or values, but those tendencies of ours to remain on the earth and "me" levels. The whole idea behind fasting is not to impose a hardship on us, but to open us up to God and to one another. And this is what counts. Luke 3:51: ‘He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich (those who deny themselves nothing) He sent away empty.’"

Those who are in prison, while not fasting in the food sense, they are fasting from almost every other source of human comfort. They are empty of concerns with job progression, family activities, sports, outings, dining out, birthdays and other celebrations. The list is almost infinite. However sometimes these are the same things that keep many of us from engaging in meaningful practice of Christianity, which by definition is something that brings radical change into our life and those around us. Are we missing something truly heavenly?

I have found those who attend Christian activities in prison benefit and are open to the Holy Spirit in ways that can exceed our own Worship services. Most of our inmate participants return often, praising and thanking God for a new life, found in a place that they would have never willingly visited. I often hear an inmate say that he is happy being in prison because that is where he has found Christ.

To attend a prison weekend of spiritual awakening is to see firsthand the workings of the Holy Spirit, and to know that spirit can never be constrained by man-made walls and barbed wire.

We rely on your support and those from other churches represented on the weekend to allow the Holy Spirit to be present to the “Men in Blue”.

In Christ,
Walt Koenig

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Lee & Laura Abbey
Don & Anne Forrester

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10th, Norma & Stephen Bennett
14th, David & Jan Mays
19th, Don & Norma Way
22nd, George & Carole Maul
26th, Stephen & Elaine Gumbs

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1st, Teddy Chandler
2nd, Sheila Howard
4th, Judy Divine
4th, Doreen Yandell
6th, Herbert Thompson
8th, Gail Picking
12th, Stephen Gumbs
18th, Gary Conner
21st, Fred Ritter
23rd, Chuck Reisinger
24th, Janie Conner
24th, Arthur Miller
29th, Joseph Staudinger


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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)