FROM PASTOR ANN MARIE WINTERS:
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders…
Jesus came as a little child, in peace and in humility. As we lay the babe in the manger and remember his birth, let us also reflect on his coming as a great and powerful cosmic event. He came as God’s son. Jesus was destined to be the ruler of all the earth, and given titles similar to those given to an Egyptian king: “Wonderful Counselor” refers to a political leader; “Mighty God” to a warrior; “Everlasting Father” to one who cares for his people; and the “Prince of Peace” to one who brings prosperity.
These titles point to an aspect of Christmas that makes me reflect in wonder at God’s coming down. And I stand in awe at the event of God stooping from his throne to be born in flesh and blood. In this act of humbling himself, God “takes the government upon his shoulders”. He is our King, no matter what political powers pertain to us, we are claimed as God’s subjects – in fact, we are his own sons and daughters.
For all its peace and mildness, Christmas is also a powerful moment! Come and worship the newborn king!
Worshipping with you,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING OUR SHARED MINISTRY:
There will be two Town Hall meetings on Sunday, December 3, 2017. The first meeting is at 9:00 am at Living Lord in the sanctuary. The second meeting is a Joint Town Hall at 12:00 pm at St. Paul in Cassel Hall.
Purpose: To request permission for our Shared Ministry Team to continue to prepare a viable plan for consolidation that could be considered for congregational approval in the future. (The vote for permission to develop a plan is scheduled for our January 28, 2018, Annual Congregational Meetings.) There is much more work, investigation, analysis, and planning to be done before a viable plan for consolidation can be completed. At this meeting, we need to answer your questions and to get your input on our proposed process.
Note: A vote for consolidation will not occur until a viable plan is presented in the future.
Town Hall Meeting Procedure: To present current informational data about:
- Our two church buildings – presenting a comparison of:
a. Operational costs and mission activity in the building that affects that cost.
c. Long-term scheduled maintenance costs.
- The financial status of each congregation:
a. A comparison of our budgets.
b. A comparison of our balance sheets.
- Mission Envisioning Plan
Note: The building and financial comparisons will give an overview of our resources and a base from which we can dream about new ministry together and the resources that could make that possible.
Rollie Walters and Terry Ceplecci will present the Building data. Dave Henderson and Phil Lapmardo will present the Financial data. This will set the stage for the presentation of the Mission Envisioning Plan to be presented by Stacey Altiere and Diana Bauman.
We encourage everyone to come to St. Paul at 12:00 pm for soup and sandwiches, provided and served by our youth who are going to Houston for the ELCA National Youth Gathering. A donation for lunch will help pay their expenses.
The presentation at St. Paul will begin as soon as everyone is served and seated. There will be a Q & A session after all three presentations are completed.
You will receive an information packet around Thanksgiving to prepare you for the presentation and to formulate your questions. Please read this information and be prepared.
ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL BUDGET MEETING:
This year our Annual Congregation Meeting to review and pass the 2018 church budget will be held immediately following the 10:30 am worship service on December 17. Since we need a quorum, those who are preparing the potluck luncheon for our Joint Luncheon & Children’s Christmas Program should step out of the kitchen and be a part of the Congregational Budget Meeting for a brief moment. The proposed budget will be available for you to pick up in the narthex beginning Sunday, December 3.
THE GIVING TREE:
The Giving Tree in the narthex gives us the opportunity to donate any warm articles of clothing for homeless men and women in Warren. When we asked the Warren Family Mission what is needed most, they said hats and gloves and hand warmers! (I’ll bet the hand warmers would be a unique and valuable item!) As we give to our brothers and sisters who seek shelter and warmth this winter, let us remember we give to Christ himself. Blessings from Judy Dodge and the Social Ministry Team!
FROM PASTOR WILLIAM D. LEITCH: We are in the season of Advent, “to come”. Jesus is coming, but not here yet. We are to wait and to prepare. We are to keep watch for Jesus, but stay busy preparing.
Jesus wants us to be so busy doing his will that we might not see him come. Still, that is what pleases Jesus – to come and see us working for him as if he were right next to us.
As a small child, we visited an older couple and had supper together. As I snooped around the house and looked at all their pictures and talked to their parakeet, I heard my parents bragging about how well I work around our house and helped with chores. It was the best feeling I could ever have – to know that I pleased my parents. I was ready to go home and get to work right then.
Jesus sees our care and hard work to do his will. God is present in our lives always. I asked a highway worker candidate in an interview once, “What would you do if the crew took a break someday and it seemed like they didn’t care to get back to work?” He responded, “My work glorifies God, and God is always watching.” Work for this highway worker was not just a paycheck, but rather, it was his passion to do it well for the safety and security of those he maintained the roads for and more importantly – for the glory of God.
We can share this blessing with everyone around us by sharing the one for whom we work – God – and to tell them of the joy we receive knowing that we please God by our caring and our working and our doing the best we can.
Go! Tell! Make believers! That is what Jesus means when he tells us to prepare the way. That “call” is part of everything we do. We are called to tell about Jesus in everything we do. We should be looking for every opportunity that presents itself to tell about this Jesus to whom we give the glory. Pastor Bill