News for the Church, 12/1/23

Good Morning to you, Church,

Here’s the news for the week: 

Sunday, December 3rd

This Sunday is Buzzing with Activity! This week we will begin celebrating Advent– the season leading up to Christmas when we wait and prepare for the coming of the Christ child. As funny as it sounds, we will kick this year’s advent season off by digging into understanding better the war between Israel and Hamas– in light of Jesus who comes as the Prince of Peace. 

Christmas Wreaths Have Arrived

If you ordered a wreath from Roberta, you can pick it up at church this Sunday. The hospital ordered more than they sold, so if you didn’t get an order in and you’d still like one, there will be some extras available to purchase. 

Food Festival at Beth-El Synagogue

If you’re interested in supporting our neighbors across town, and enjoy delicious food in the process, stop by the synagogue after church this Sunday for a delicious meal and the opportunity to take home some goodies. Their food festival will run from 11am-2pm. 

Crane’s Candlelight Service at 3pm

After you’ve filled up on delicious food, you are then invited to head over to Hosmer Hall for this year’s Candlelight service at Crane. Many of our folks will be participating in the concert, and from what I understand, this year’s music is going to be particularly special.

All Church Potluck and Communion, Sunday Dec. 10th

Bring a dish to share next Sunday, the 10th, and we will enjoy a festive Advent meal together. We will also be celebrating communion on the 10th as the early church did, which they called a Love Feast. We will do this by incorporating the Lord’s Supper into our mealtime. 

Choir to Sing on the 10th

If you’d like to join our pick-up choir, which will be singing in the service on the 10th, rehearsal will be happening next week. See Keilor for details. 

Giving Tree Gifts

If you picked up a Giving Tree tag this year to buy a gift for a local child, don’t forget to bring your unwrapped present and the tag with you this Sunday. We are collecting our gifts under the tree in the Center. If you still want to participate, grab a tag off the tree and try to get your gift in later next week. 

Pledging Season

You should have received a pledge card in the mail this last week, asking you to prayerfully consider your giving for next year. If you are able, please fill out the form and bring it to church with you in the next couple of weeks. As always, we need everyone’s monetary support. Whether you can only give a little, or you are able to offer a lot, this is yet another way we all come together as the body of Christ.

One More Volunteer is Needed for January’s Community Supper

I’m delighted to hear that a few of you have stepped up to help run Community Suppers in January and March. We still need one more person to sign up to help organize in January. You will have a partner to work with, so the task will be shared. If you’re willing to help please let Sharon Pickard know. 

Trillium to Donate $8,000 to the Church

When Trillium folded as a not-for-profit at the end of last year, the church took on the responsibility of coordinating and overseeing all of Trillium’s activities– from yoga and tai chi classes to renting out office space to the massage therapists, mental health counselors, and physical therapist who practice in our building. As we near the end of our first year in this new role, I am delighted to say that Trillium is thriving. 

I am also delighted to say that the old not-for-profit Trillium had some money leftover in their coffers and they have decided to donate all of their remaining funds to the church! Half of their $8,000 donation will go to help pay for the new ramp and handrail we installed at the parking lot entrance last month, and we will save the other $4,000 for further building repair work. 

This is a beautiful gift that Trillium is giving to us, and I am thankful to Terry de la Vega and the rest of the Trillium folks who decided to pass this gift along. 

If you’d like to learn more about the classes that Trillium offers– from exercise classes, to a variety of yoga and tai chi classes– visit the church’s website:

Giving to the Red Crescent Society

As I mentioned above, this Sunday we will be learning about the war in Israel, and my challenge to us is to consider what our response should be as Christians. I’m going to offer some suggestions on political action we can take, but today I’d also like to suggest another option for helping those who are currently being ravaged by war. 

This last week Session met, and realized while looking over the budget, that we still have $720 left to give away in our world mission budget. Given the situation in the Middle East, your elders determined that the best use of this mission money would be to support the people being hit the hardest by the destruction of this war. Consequently, we will be donating this money to the Red Crescent Society, which is the Middle East’s version of the Red Cross. It is a humanitarian organization bringing food and medical supplies into the worst damaged parts of the Gaza Strip, where people have been without necessary supplies for weeks now. 

If you’d like to add to our church’s giving, please feel free to drop a check into the offering plate this week with ‘Red Crescent Society’ written on the memo line. 

Update on Winter Wear Being Sent to Ukraine

Our boxes are now overflowing with hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters, socks, and warm winter jackets! Thank you to all who donated items. What’s more, you have graciously donated $475 to help pay for the postage of all of these items. A big thank you to those who have given. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to be living through war in the cold of winter, and so we offer these gifts to those affected as our prayers for safety and warmth. 

Continued Thoughts on PTSD (and War)

Following our worship service a couple weeks ago about mental health challenges and PTSD, I shared with a veteran friend of mine who served in Iraq about how trauma shows up in the life of King Saul because of his war experiences. 

My friend, who still struggles with the traumas he experienced at war, felt a kindred spirit with Saul and all that he struggled with. My friend Adam had this to say in response, which I received permission to share with all of you: 

“For many veterans returning from war, there is a fear that civilians will think of us as having ‘something wrong with us’– as though we are cursed with an evil spirit, like people imagined had happened to King Saul. But when we label those with PTSD as having “something wrong with them,” we lack the path to understand what is really going on; which is that the person is broken. 

Thankfully, broken can be worked with, fixed, and improved upon. Brokenness can be healed. But when society sees us instead as having “something wrong with us”/perceiving us as having an evil spirit, that path to healing collapses. We start to believe that we are beyond repair. 

I would encourage anyone like me who struggles with PTSD to remember that there is nothing ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ about us. We are simply broken people who suffer. But also, we are also people who can be healed. Our brokenness can be repaired.” ~Adam

In the book of Jeremiah, the people of Israel feel that they are beyond all hope. They are broken in body, mind, and soul, because they have been living in exile for generations. But God does not let them stay in that place forever. ‘”But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD.’ ~Jeremiah 30:17

Friends, let us remember that we serve a God of restoration and redemption. There is no brokenness too big for God to heal. 

In Faith,
Pastor Katrina