It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It really is. There will be bright Christmas lights dancing in our streets, festive boughs and ribbons in our homes, cookies and candies that appear only in December, the most glorious music, loving friends and family back home from Timbuctoo, or perhaps exciting holiday travels to loved ones afar. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year because God seems so close to us at Christmas. It’s not that God isn’t close to us at other times of the year, but it is true that we come closer to God. We are more aware of God’s presence. We come with shepherds and wise men looking for the miracle of God among us and then we sing God’s praises with the angels when we discover anew that God has come looking for us!
God bless you at this most wonderful time of the year. May you be filled with the wonder of Mary and the love of Joseph for the baby who is born to us. God has crept among us in this little one.
Peace to you and yours at Christmas,
Epiphany comes early this year! Watch for golden crowns during our worship services as we remember the visit of the Magi to the newborn king.
6:00 pm The Cross Connection Band leads this early family service featuring a brief drama entitled, “Christmas Company.” Come to adore the Christ child with music, scriptures, communion and candlelight!
9:00 pm Our Traditional Christmas Eve service features lessons and carols, a Christmas Eve homily, communion and candlelight. Join us to welcome the Christ child.
We will celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent in one combined worship service at 10:00 AM.
Your donations are needed. Please bring mittens and other items (hats, gloves, scarves, socks, etc.) for the Mitten Tree. The items will be donated to the Salvation Army to keep children toasty warm. The Mitten Tree will be in The Gathering Room; let’s fill it up!
Boy, the end of October and November have both been wonderful times for the Youth Ministry. Trunk or Treat was a blast! We loved being able to serve our community with our maze and by passing out candy. We had an amazing time at Zao Island to celebrate the hard work that we put into Trunk or Treat for the past month. We had an amazing first night studying the book of James, specifically chapter three and learning how one of the smallest parts of our bodies (our tongues) can wield the immense power of words. The opportunity for fellowship and giving thanks for the blessings that God has given us was a highlight at the Thanksgiving party we had this year. Shout out to Ms. Loretta Cooper for that delicious turkey! As we shift gears and look towards the Christmas season, we are excited to participate in the life of our church as we help with the Hanging of the Greens this year.
What a fantastic fall season we have had in our church’s ministry to children. Trunk or Treat was an amazing success as we as a church family came together in service to our community and engaged with over 100 people in the first ten minutes of being set up! Our church continues to serve children from our community via Head Start. Special thanks go out to everyone who joined with Ken Fry in donating coats to the children from the class we host here at the church. Additionally, our church helped provide Thanksgiving meals to the children from Head Start as well, so a special thanks to everyone along with Ken again for the wonderful giving spirits you all have.
It’s a kids’ mini musical for Christmas! Well, actually it happens on the Third Sunday of Advent, December 17th. The Children and Youth Choirs have been working all fall on some wonderful music entitled “Children Sing at Christmas” by Anne McNair. We’ve combined it with a fun retelling of the Nativity story for a charming presentation by our children and youth. The kids of Kids’ Club are very excited to share their gifts. “Children Sing at Christmas” happens in a combined service on December 17th at 10:00 AM. Be sure to come out and support our young people in our church and be blessed by their gift to us at Christmas.
Mark your calendar: 1st Advent Sunday, December 3 - visit the Alternative Christmas Market between worship services and following the Traditional service in the Gathering Place. You will be able to find gifts and shop guilt-less at the following booths: Dunebrook-Every Child, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army and - something new this year - the Presbyterian Giving Catalog. Gifts from this catalog are somewhat similar to those of Heifer International. We chose to introduce this catalog, because of its worldwide flavor (including the USA) and still supports our own PCUSA. You are encouraged to find and browse this Giving Catalog prior to the Market date. They are located on the shelf in the Narthex. Buy where your $$ gives birth to new hope!
Throughout the past year we have been fortunate to have had several interesting and informative speakers, and to share good conversation and good food with others. The month of December brings the Christmas holiday and much activity in preparation. We will not meet for breakfast in December. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I recently attended a great Seminar with the Center for Congregations, called “Growing Young”, with Dr. Kara Powell of Fuller Theological Seminary, who is also the director of the Fuller Institute. Kara has been involved in a large research project funded by the Lilly Foundation to study churches that are engaged in effective ministry with young people ages 15 – 29. These churches are not only growing, but they are growing young. The statistics about church growth in the United States are not encouraging these days. The number of people who identify themselves as Christians has fallen from 78 – 71 percent recently. Kara says no major denomination is growing right now. So, Kara and her two colleagues embarked on a study of churches that are growing young.
To:The Church Mouse (ick!) and others.
From:The one and only Calvin the Church Cat.
OK Church Mouse, I’ve had about enough of your silly ramblings in the newsletter. And, furthermore, I do not smell as you insinuated.EVERYONE knows that mice smell -ALL THE TIME!Enuf. I am looking forward to all the upcoming Advent events (more cookie crumbs for me). Presbies are always eating and I need to keep up my healthy frame. Sitting on the shelf above the oven is my favorite spot. It is nice and warm.