A NOTE FROM PASTOR AILEEN – November 30, 2021
The season of Advent is upon us once again when we turn our attention to waiting and watching and making preparations, not only for the arrival of the Christ child, but also for the return of Jesus on clouds of glory. Our texts for the season turn to amazing visual images, from the powers in heaven and on earth being shaken to the valleys that are filled and mountains that are brought low; from one who comes with a winnowing fork to the humble song of a young girl.
Each of these texts and their corresponding Old Testament texts, are part and parcel of God’s story. We celebrate a God who has been present since the beginning of creation, walking with humanity—celebrating with them, calling them to account, expecting just and right actions and worship and loving them despite themselves. In this magnificent story of God walking with humanity, we witness God calling all sorts of people into ministry and mission; calling the most unlikely to be witnesses, testifying to God’s power and grace. Within the confines of the Advent season, two rather unlikely candidates are lifted up – John the Baptizer and Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Each week of Advent, as you saw last week, two characters from God’s story will be lifted up during the children’s story illustrating the beauty and marvel of God’s love for all people. I hope you will enjoy remembering favorite heroes and heroines as well as maybe learning about some new ones.
God’s love for all people and God’s call to lead and inspire, to be a light to the nations, does not end when we close the pages of our scriptures. God continues to be alive and moving in our world. God has called each of us by name and has gifted us with talents for ministry. YOU are called by God to extend the love of Christ to all people. To you a savior is born, and to you the Christ returns, promising life and salvation to all people. YOU are part of the story of God!
May the season of Advent be one of wonder and possibility to you as we explore our place together in God’s great narrative of grace!
This is the last week to order Beautiful Red Poinsettia Plants for Christmas Eve! You may select from two sizes: a 6 inch poinsettia with one plant and five blossoms for $5.95, or an 8 inch poinsettia with two plants and eight blossoms for $14.00. To order, please contact the church office by phone or email with your name, the specific poinsettia you would like (size), and the dedication. Payment should be made before the order deadline, through the mail or in the offering plate; checks made out to Messiah Lutheran Church, with Poinsettia Plant in the memo. If sent in the mail, please write Poinsettia on the envelope as well. THANK YOU!! Orders and payment for Poinsettia plants must be received by Friday, December 3rd.
Advent Wreath Candle Lighters needed for both the 10 am and 5 pm services. The liturgy will be sent to you. If interested, please call the church office or sign up on the communications board.
Messiah’s Christmas Tree Sale through December 12th. Lot workers are needed on Dec.5th, 11th and 12th. Sign up online https://Volunteersignup.org/XXKEM or contact Rhonda Eastland. A sign up board is also in the narthex. Any problemscontact Rhonda. Donations also welcome. Mail to church with Christmas Tree on memo line.
CHRISTMAS IS COMING This year we will have three in person Christmas Eve worship services: Family Focused Worship at 3:00 pm, Traditional Candlelight and Communion at 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm. Please sign up at the following link as seating will be limited at each service due to Covid protocols. https://forms.gle/7ZYiX61TxNczF3M69 EACH PERSON IN YOUR FAMILY MUST BE ENTERED INDIVIDUALLY (just hit submit another response) In the event that these services fill up, we will add one more. If you prefer, you may call the church office or sign up on the communications board at church. The 8:00 pm service will be on zoom, with the same link as Sundays. (see above)
We are in need of worship assistants for all three Christmas Eve services. Please sign up at the following link. https://forms.gle/5mJkF42WVytp1F7t9 or sign up on the communications board at church. We ask that you limit your volunteering to once so that everyone who wishes to, may participate.
Sanctuary Christmas Decorating. Saturday, December 4 at 9 am. We’ll take on the task of getting the church ready for the Christmas season. There are many chores so we’ll need a large group of volunteers, men and women. Furniture has to be moved, the tree put up, the Chrismons unpacked, and wreaths hung all over. Please drop in on the 4th for a couple of hours, work with your friends and get into the Christmas spirit.
Sanctuary Chairs - we need your input! A team is developing a proposal for Sanctuary chairs. Please take a look at and sit in the two chairs outside the Sanctuary near the small window/prayer book and share your thoughts on the forms available (one vote per person please). Please review the instructions carefully, as the samples do not represent a final choice in fabric or features.
The Ripples of Wellness Lunch Bunch will meet in person INDOORS for the first time since March 2020 for this month's first-Tuesday lunchtime gathering. The meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall at Messiah on Tuesday, December 7th at 12 noon. Participants should bring their own lunch and beverage, and plan to wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Dessert will be provided. Although the focus of our discussions is often on plant-based diets, you are welcome to join us no matter where you may be on the diet continuum. A reminder email will be sent to people on our mailing list. The email will include a Zoom link which may be used for virtual access to the meeting. Please contact Janet Graves-Wright if you have any questions.
Indoor worship at 10 am and 5 pm. Masks are required and we are observing all COVID safety protocols.In your bulletin, a prayer or reading may be highlighted and you will be asked to read that portion of the service. If this makes you uncomfortable, you may choose an unmarked bulletin. The service will also be on Zoom with the same links: us04web.zoom.us/j/573579627 If you do not have internet, listen by dialing 270-2524. After the greeting, enter conference ID 291-1296 followed by the # key. At the prompt, state your name, and then press the # key again. The service will be recorded and can be accessed through Messiah’s Facebook page.
Stewardship This is a reminder for all Messiah disciples to please return your pledge cards and Time and Talent surveys as soon as possible. We need this information as we prepare our budget and our ministries for 2022. Thank you for your commitments as we continue to Live Generously Every Day!
Ever Thought about Becoming a Stephen Minister? Messiah Lutheran and Greece Baptist Churches will be training a class of Stephen Ministers beginning January 6, 2022. Stephen Ministers work alongside our pastors to care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support to people who are going through a difficult time, such as divorce, grief, hospitalization, unemployment, terminal illness, relocation, chronic illness, or loneliness. If you have gifts for caring, encouragement, and listening, please begin to prayerfully consider whether you might want to be part of this exciting ministry. If you think you might be interested, talk with Pastor Aileen or Pastor Hans and ask for an application. (You may also get a copy of the application from Cathy in the church office.) Please return completed applications in a sealed envelope to either Pastor Hans or Pastor Aileen.
Holiday Organ Concert at Greece Baptist Church On Friday, December 17th at 7:00pm, Greece Baptist Church (1230 Long Pond Road) will present organist Ryan Chan performing “A Christmas Meditation”—a concert of holiday-related music on its 19th Century pipe organ. Admission to the concert is free, but donations will be accepted for the church’s Organ Repair Fund. For more info contact the church office at 225-6160, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday Bible Study at 10 am on Zoom. We will not meet December 2. Join us December 9 when we will look at the stories of Deborah, Jael and Jephthahs Daughter. Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83034400238?pwd=c0FkVzl6YnM1Wi9uV0taZVFDWlNvdz09Meeting ID: 830 3440 0238 Passcode: 094826
The Spiritual Growth Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 7 – 8:15 pm. If you wish to receive the lesson in advance, contact Julie Gerstenberger. Zoom video: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/971654509 Meeting ID: 971-654-509
Audio only participation: (929) 205-6099 Meeting ID: 971-654-509#
Food distribution needed items Personal products (toothpaste, shampoo etc.), feminine productsdish soap, and laundry soap. DO NOT LEAVE OUTSIDE AT ANY TIME. Bring to the main door on distribution days. (2nd and 4th weeks of the month: Tuesdays 10 am - 12:00 pm, Thursdays 1 - 3:00 pm) To donate a gift card or check (“Food Distribution” on memo line), mail it to church.
Ripples Chair Yoga Group, every Wednesday at 10 am https://us04web.zoom.us/j/450243871 Zoom meeting ID: 450-243-871
Mindful Meditation Ripples of Wellness offers the opportunity to practice Mindful Meditation with Joyce Callen each Wednesday after Chair Yoga from 10:45 am - 11:05. Come join us to learn how 20 minutes of meditation can bring composure and calmness to your life. Any questions, contact Joyce.