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A Busy Advent Weekend at St. Philip’s!

News--Egg Nog

ECW Advent Luncheon, Advent Drop-In at the Rectory, Lessons and Carols, and the Wassail Bowl!


Brothers Sidney Williams and John Williams prepare the infamous egg nog at Saturday’s Advent Drop-In at the Rectory

Our St. Philip’s family was mighty busy last weekend! The ladies started everything off with the ECW Advent Luncheon (for Every Church Woman) on Friday afternoon with Christian parent coach Christine Donavan, who offered her wisdom and guidance to women in all stages of life. Thank you to Jennie Emerson and Katharine Bair for heading this up!

On Saturday, which, according to all of our weather sources, was supposed to be 100% clear and dry, we were all invited to the Rectory for the annual Advent Drop-In. Although a surprisingly powerful surprise rain shower blew through on Saturday morning, it was well past us come 3:00 p.m., when the Rev. and Mrs. Jeffrey S. Miller’s doors officially opened to the parish.


Grace Perry Huddleston with son Heyward

We enjoyed all of our favorites at the drop-in: the food (deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, meatballs, smoked salmon, and other savory and sweet treats), the greenery and other special touches (including the Williamsburg Della Robbia fruit display above the front door), and the Christmas trees on the first and second floors (one of which was the “British” tree, topped with the Imperial Crown, that made its debut last year). The Abraham Lincoln bust was once again bareheaded (he’s worn a Santa hat in years past), but the Rev. Andrew O’Dell was not––he was wearing the top hat we’ve all come to expect, and this year it was adorned with a festive piece of holly.

Something that got everyone talking this year, though, was the egg nog. One parishioner was warning folks not to stand near an open flame when consuming it, and someone else likened it to jet fuel, saying it was powerful enough to send a rocket to the moon! Whom do we have  to thank/blame for that? Was it our Rector or our bartenders, the brothers Williams?


Jean Breza directs the Cherub and St. Nicholas Choirs during Sunday’s Lessons and Carols service

Flammable or not, one thing the egg nog couldn’t do was stop anyone from attending Lessons and Carols and the Wassail Bowl the next day! Our St. Philip’s family packed themselves into the pews and the overflow chairs that lined the aisles, and wow, what a blessing for our ears and our hearts! We are so grateful to God for our music team, Chris Walchesky, Paul Reese, and Zippy Hood, and for all of their preparation and hard work, and we are grateful for all of our musicians and readers for their roles in glorifying God with this service!

The Wassail Bowl that followed was a testament that our parish family knows that there’s no such thing as too much food and fellowship! Less than 24 hours after the drop-in, there we were, together again, sipping on wassail and nibbling on ... well, nibbling might not be the right word.

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Left: Eliza Spinelli helps her grandmother, Angela Clark, transport the ornament decorations from the Inflation Room to the Parish Hall on Sunday morning. Right: The calm before the storm! The throngs descended about five minutes later.

Angela Clark and Lee Moore, whose families have been spearheading the Wassail Bowl for many years (several of which were led by Angela’s father, Gene Lesesne),  were not about to put us in a loaves-and-fishes sort of situation. We had BBQ and brisket, tomato pies, deviled ham biscuits, Hamby’s pimento cheese sandwiches, baked brie, meatballs, shrimp salad, and more––including youth group-approved giant pizzas from Pizzeria Di Giovanni on Market Street. And no, there were not a whole lot of leftovers! Thank you to the Clarks and the Moores (and the descendants thereof), the Gilberts, the youth group, and everyone else who lent a helping hand on Sunday (and the days before)! What a tremendous team effort! And this special day would not be complete, of course, without the poinsettia delivery organized by the Compassion Committee. The poinsettias, which every year go to those particularly in our hearts, lined the Parish House breezeway in ZIP code groups, and we thank all who helped get them delivered. This endeavor was the last with committee co-chairs Monti Hanger and Callie McLauren holding the reins. Upon their official retirement after 15 years of service, we thank them for all they’ve done for our parish!