December News From St. Paul’s

December 4, 2018

Church News

The Men’s Brotherhood.  The men’s brotherhood will meet for breakfast on Saturday, December 1st at 8:00am at King’s Restaurant.  All men of the church are invited to attend!

Our December Mission Offering:  The Christmas Fund/Veterans of the Cross

For 115 years, the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund has been a tangible expression of God’s love. One of the four Special Mission Offerings of the United Church of Christ, the Christmas Fund provides UCC congregations and members an opportunity to reach out in loving compassion, providing assistance to those who have so faithfully served our Church and who now and themselves facing unexpected financial needs. 

In 2015, UCC congregations and members generously contributed $1,528,481 to

the Offering. This enabled the Pension Boards’ Ministerial Assistance program to provide, on behalf of the whole Church, Pension Supplementation, Health Premium Supplementation, Emergency Grants, and Christmas “Thank You” Gift Checks to individuals and families in need. 

The theme of the 2016 Christmas Fund Offering is God’s Love Colors Everything, and our goal is to raise $1.7 million to help support these ministries of love and care. In the spirit of love, we invite and encourage you to prayerfully consider and support this year’s appeal, and to spread the word so that others will also join in this vital ministry.

A Thank You From the Salvation Army.  On behalf of the Salvation Army, I would like to thank everyone who helped to make our annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner a success.  Thanks to your help and support, we were able to serve over 314 meals.  –Pastor Matt

Humans and Angels

Those interested in being a 2019 Secret Angel should pick up and fill out a Secret Angel form from the table at the rear of the sanctuary.  The Secret Angel program is designed to give participants the opportunity to remember another member of the congregation throughout the year.  Secret Angels pray for each other, send cards, and generally keep each other in mind during the year.  After you have filled out the form, please put it in the Secret Angel box next to the forms in the back of the sanctuary.  The deadline is Sunday, January 13th.  

Christmas cookie sign up:  A sign-up sheet is on the table in the back of the Sanctuary for our annual Christmas Musical reception.  Please put your name on the sheet if you are able to provide some cookies! 

 

Greeters & Ushers for December

December 2:  Communion By Intinction: Andra Snyder—Chair & Elder, Helen Brown–Elder, Nancy Thomas, Craig Weaver

December 9:  Patric Ferko–Chair, Doug Glessner, Melody Glessner, Amy Marteeny

December 16–Musical: John Geary—Chair, Sue Geary, Kim Keim, Greg Keim

December 23: Mike Stutzman—Chair, Barb Stutzman, Paige Housley, Luke Housley

December 24–Christmas Eve, 4pm Service: TBD

December 24–Christmas Eve, 11pm Service: Jonathan Hillegas–Chair, Gary Cameron, Steve Addleman-Elder, Karen Addleman-Elder

December 28: Craig Schenck–Chair, Rich Nichols, Ray Toy, Tim Witt

Annual Congregational Meeting:  Members of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ will meet following worship on Sunday, December 9th for their annual Congregational Meeting.  Agenda items include approval of the 2019 budget and the election of new council members.

The proposed 2019 Church Council Slate

Class of 2020 (Completing a 2 year unfulfilled term)

Pete Hauger (Elder)*

Class of 2021 (3 year term)

Jenn Boland (Deacon)

Angie Brumbaugh (Deacon)

Rebecca Miller (Deacon)

Craig Weaver (Elder

*Please note that with the election of Pete Hauger this will bring the balance of deacons and elders on Church Council 6 apiece as prescribed by the church’s constitution and bylaws.  

St. Paul’s Chrismon Tree

A beautiful Chrismon tree adorns our sanctuary again this year, continuing a tradition started in 1978.  The tree is decorated with Chrismons, proclaiming our Lord Jesus Christ through the use of symbols, called Chrismons.  Each Chrismon presents a unique message; some are simple copies of Christian symbols used since the earliest days, and others are more recent presentations of God’s presence in our world.  

All Chrismons are made in white and gold.  White is the liturgical color for Christmas and symbolizes Jesus’ purity and perfection; the gold color symbolizes the His majesty and glory.  The concept of Christ as the light of the world is evidenced by the tiny white lights on an evergreen tree; the tree evokes the eternal life which our Savior has secured for us.  

As we continue the St. Paul’s Chrismon tree tradition, remember Ruth Shaffer who was one of three wonderful women who spent thousands of hours crafting these beautiful ornaments.  She has now joined Lorraine Gerhardt and Mildred Berkey, both who were instrumental in this project, in the church triumphant.    

May you each be blessed with the love and joy and true meaning of Christmas, and may these symbols continually remind you of God’s greatest gift to us all, Jesus Christ.

2018 Advent Devotionals are Available

“2018 ADVENTure!”  Be sure to pick up this one-of-a-kind devotional that features the stories of St. Paul’s members and friends.  Copies are available in the Edgewood Ave. Narthex.  

“Preparing the Way” Advent Family Devotional

Please help yourself to a unique kid and adult friendly devotional by Illustrated Children’s Ministry.  Copies are available in the Edgewood Ave. Narthex.

Advent 2018 Special Services and Christmas Eve Worship

Blue Christmas remains for 2018, Sunday, December 23rd at 9:30am.   This service was so well received on Christmas Eve last year that we scheduled it as part of our regular Sunday morning services this year.  Commonly referred to as a “Blue Christmas Service,” this service will still focus on celebrating the birth of Christ, but doing so in the midst of challenging life situations such as grief, anxiety, unrealized hopes, economic hardships, and strained relationships.  Highlights of the service will include guided meditation, the Service of Healing and Anointing, and candlelight prayers.

“A Little Child Shall Lead Them” is the theme of this year’s 4:00pm Family Christmas Eve Service.  We will journey through scripture, learning about God’s saving work, while we sing carols and other songs to celebrate Jesus’ birth.  Children and youth will assist in leading the final two lessons as we mark the arrival of the Light of the World with a unique twist on the ancient tradition of lighting candles in celebration of the Light.  Kid-friendly lights will be shared with worshippers as we leave the sanctuary to spread the warm glow of Christ’s love in the world.

The Traditional Candlelight Service begins at 11:00pm.  Worshipers will experience the holy watching and waiting for the Light of the World to break forth as we celebrate Holy Communion and sing the great carols of the season.  

Somerset Area Ministry Community Advent Service

The churches of our local ministerium will hold their annual weekly Advent service beginning on Wednesday, November 28th.  The services are held each Wednesday at 12:05pm at First United Methodist Church in Somerset.  Pastor Matt will be preaching on Wednesday, December 5th.  A light lunch will follow each service at 12:30pm.

Christmas Family Fellowship Meal

Our annual Christmas Family Fellowship Potluck will be on Monday, December 3rd at 6:00pm in Fellowship Hall.  Please bring your favorite covered dish, family, and friends!  The evening’s entertainment will be a local bell choir.

A Note from the Christian Education Committee… 

There will be no Church School and Children’s Church on the following weekends:  December 16th (Christmas Musical), and December 30th.

Winter at St. Paul’s

We have a long tradition of being open all the time!  Whether it is sheltering the homeless or for those who just need a place for some solitude, the church is always open.

Our inclement weather policy is that we will worship whenever two or three are gathered. However, we ask that you use your judgement when venturing out in bad weather.  We’d love for you to worship with us, but rather you’d be safe than end up in the hospital.  Regular Sunday worship begins at 9:30am, followed by Sunday school at 10:45am.

Tuesday Bible Study:  Bible Study will be cancelled anytime the Somerset Area School District is cancelled or delayed.

We will endeavor to keep our website updated with recent sermons and devotional materials so that your spirit may be warmed even during our blustery Somerset County winter.

The Happiness Advantage book study

We are pleased to be partnering with Somerset Trust Company in an exciting discussion group study of happiness.  Henry Cook, a life-long member of St. Paul’s, and his team at Somerset Trust will lead us in a two session discussion of the New York Times bestselling book The Happiness Advantage.  Shawn Achor, a Harvard Psychologist and the book’s author has spent years studying happiness and how happy people are more successful and productive in their personal lives and at work.  We will be discussing the Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Achor has identified as keys to happiness.  

Here’s what others are saying about the book:

“Shawn Achor is funny, self-deprecating, and devastating to my notions of what his field is all about…I’m butter to his knife.”  —Boston Globe

“Achor bases his training on a burgeoning body of research on the positive psychology movement, which emphasized instilling resiliency and positive attitudes.”  —Wall Street Journal

Those who are interested in participating in the group should place their names on the sign up sheet in the back of the Sanctuary.  Books are also available if you’d like to borrow one.  Please sign up and indicate if you’ve borrowed a book.  The books will be with the sign up sheet.  

We will spend December reading the book and meet for the discussion sessions in January.

Notes of Thanks

From the Penn West Conference

Dear Pastor Matt & Friends,

I want to write to thank you all very much for your deeply generous donation of $41,295 to help alleviate the suffering caused by hurricane Florence. That is such a tremendous blessing! Please know that your gift will be well stewarded by our United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries. Your generous gifts to Our Church’s Wider Mission ensure that the infrastructure is in place so that this gift may go directly to the relief efforts that you intend to support.  May God’s blessings be with all of you and your extraordinary ministry!

Sincerely,

Rev. David Ackerman,

Penn West Conference Minister

From Lancaster Theological Seminary

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your gift, given in memory of Rev. Richard and Carolyn Shellenberger.

Your gift is not only a lasting testament, but also serves the mission of educating and nurturing leaders who will “join in God’s redemptive and liberating work so that all creation may flourish.”

Your prayerful support and generosity help to open the doors for our students’ education, open their minds to learning, and open their hearts to serving.

Thank you agin.  We are deeply grateful.

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Carolyne Call

Executive Director of Development and Communications.  

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