Every week there are many opportunities for members and friends to serve others through ministries that touch individuals directly and personally. Often, we think of those ministries that fulfill basic physical needs as tangible ways we serve. Receiving and packing food boxes on Monday mornings, distributing the food to clients on Tuesday mornings or sorting and serving clients in the Clothes Closet are some of the ways to serve, but there are many others important ways, too.
Serving others also means being present and extending radical hospitality to every person that comes into the church building. Welcoming with warm hospitality those who come in off the street to the fellowship time before Sunday School, those that visit our Bible Study on Sunday or Wednesday, or those that find their way to the worship service is just as important a part of our overall ministry as any other.
Welcoming, befriending, listening and taking action are all a part of who we are called to be. Take a moment to think about how you welcome others and engage in opportunities to be the presence of Christ by using your gifts to bless others. The place of belonging, the warmth of fellowship, and the bond we share in Christ may be exactly what brings hope to those you welcome and serve.
The weekly Wednesday evening activities begin this evening at 5:30 p.m. with Fellowship supper and a time of prayer followed by the second session of a study series entitled “Baptist Identity” presented by Dr. Roxburgh. Over the next several weeks, the Missions and Ministry Committee is focusing on some of our community ministries, especially the Food Bank and Clothes Closet. The cold weather of the winter months make life extremely difficult for individuals with less than sufficient food, clothing and shelter. Often, more of the resources typically used for food and clothing are used for heating costs. Our mission of being the presence of Christ in our community includes the direct services of our Food Bank and Clothes Closet through which individuals and families receive food and clothing. There is always need for individual-serving food items to put in the snack packs for homeless individuals as well as canned food items to put the boxes distributed each week to the Food Bank clients. A collection bin for the food items mentioned above and those on the shopping list below will be located in Drennen Hall and the Narthex. You may also make a monetary donation designated for local missions food drive, if you prefer. One of the most pressings needs now is for volunteers to help with the sorting and sizing of clothes in the Clothes Closet. Additionally, if you are available to come volunteer for a few hours, please contact the church office.
We celebrated the Epiphany of the Wise Men last Sunday, reading of and imagining their journey to Jerusalem to see the Christ child. The wise men were on a mission to understand and to find the one for which this bright star shined. The star ultimately led them to Bethlehem and confirmed that indeed this was the promised One. We are all on a journey following Jesus who has called us to be on a mission wherever we go by being the presence of Christ whose Spirit is with us and in us. Let us begin this new year with a resolve to discover more of what it means to live faithfully and to believe that amazing and wonderful things are before us.
This evening is the first gathering for Wednesday fellowship supper, prayer and Bible study. Dr. Roxburgh will begin a new series of study entitled, “Baptist Identity,” helping us understand more about who we are and how that shapes our mission in our community and beyond. Plan to be present for this gathering to learn and to share your insights.
Do you need some time to rest, read, reflect on scripture and pray? Each Thursday at 5:30 p.m., a Communion Service is held in Memorial Chapel during which we worship through, music, reading of scripture, silent prayer and meditation and celebration of Communion. This time is an outstanding opportunity to rest in silence and listen. I hope you will join us for this time of worship.
Happy New Year! This Sunday, January 6, is Epiphany, the celebration of God’s manifestation through Christ to the world. The Gospel reading Sunday, Matthew 2:1-12, tells of the wise men and their visit to Bethlehem to see the Babe Jesus; a visit that came after following a brightly shining star to the place where He was born. Words describing this brightly shining star and its importance are similar to those spoken by the prophet in Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” A message from God to all people that a message of light, life and promise had now come. I look forward to our worship together as we celebrate this special day.
Please remember that our mid-week evening activities will resume next Wednesday, January 9.
Our annual church-wide Christmas Party is this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., and is part of the whole of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany; a season which calls us to reflect and prepare our hearts to receive Immanuel, “God with us,” experiencing his love grace and mercy and giving out of those experiences in ways that bless others and bring honor to God. I hope you will make plans to take part in the joyous celebration as we approach the 4th Sunday of Advent. We will share a delicious meal of ham and turkey with side dishes provided by members. Following dinner, a program of music and memories is planned. Share in making this Christmas even more memorable by celebrating with your church family the birth and presence of the One that makes us family.
The second week of Advent began as one would expect; inspiring worship, wonderful fellowship, and an awareness of increased anticipation this season brings. The reminder to anticipate Christ’s presence and influence in my life and the lives of those I encounter enriches each day of this holy season. I am surprised when events that I least expect to touch me leave a lasting impression. Quite often, the experience is accompanied by a feeling I believe to be similar to what the two disciples on the road to Emmaus described when explaining how their hearts burned within them as the risen Christ came alongside them and talked with them as they journeyed. What an overwhelming privilege to experience the love, grace of mercy of God as the Spirit of Christ guides, illuminates and teaches us as we journey through Advent and as we live each new day.
Opportunities for worship, study and fellowship Wednesday evening follow the usual schedule of Fellowship Supper at 5:30 p.m., Prayer at 6:00 p.m., followed by Bible study at 6:15 p.m. In addition to Sunday School and Worship on the 3rd and 4th Sundays of Advent, there are special events planned for Advent and Christmas.
Food Bank Client Breakfast – Tuesday, December 18, 6:30 a.m
Church-wide Christmas Party – Wednesday, December 19, at 5:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion – December 24, 6:00 p.m.
I encourage you to experience each day of this season with wonder, expectation and joy!
The first Sunday of Advent was wonderful and will surely heighten our anticipation and expectation of this season. Hope for the world and for each person seen evident in scripture, prayers, hymns, choral responses, and visible in the lighting of the Candle of Hope are reminders of God’s presence in all events and circumstances of life. I encourage you to savor the experiences of Advent through worship, reading and meditating on scripture, fellowship and by giving and serving. Live these days with intentionality, eyes wide open, with a sense of wonder, amazement, joy and gratitude that this season embodies. Let us celebrate: the birth of Jesus the Christ, the hope in Him for the future, and the love and grace that is ours through him for today.
I look forward to participating together in the events of Advent expressing our faith together.