Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
During Advent, one of my favorite things to do since I was a little girl is to ride around looking at all the beautiful Christmas decorations. Some years there are many, some not so much. In recent years, decorating the outside of your home has become almost too much with some people as Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation taking decorating to the extreme.
I noticed one beautiful nativity scene last year with Mary looking adoringly at Jesus and Joseph and the farm animals huddled nearby. Of course there were the shepherds and the wise men kneeling in rapt adoration. But outside this familiar inner circle three were a few other characters not mentioned in Luke’s account. Snoopy and Woodstock, Winnie the Pooh, Rudolph and Santa Claus all paying homage to the newborn King.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like all those characters. It just makes me want to ask the question, “Whose birthday is it, anyway? I am glad that we have these secular characters and special television shows about the Christmas season, I just want to be sure that we keep the Holy family sacred. That we truly remember the “Reason for the Season.”
We have a great message, a sacred message and gift from God to convey to the world. And boy, does the world need it! Because the Christmas message often falls on deaf and apathetic ears. More and more our culture fails to connect Christmas with this sacred gift and message, even to the point of now calling everything the “holiday” season, decorations, cards and gifts.
For many, Christmas can be a season of tension and conflicting expectations. It is often a time of having “too much , yet not enough.” Too much to do, too much shopping, baking, food, too many unfulfilled dreams of what a “perfect” Christmas should be.
Over the next few weeks I encourage you to pay attention to what is underneath it all and name it for what it really is. Jesus, the Light of the world, is coming into the world and true darkness will disappear. During this Advent season, let God intrude upon your life and everything that you do. Don’t be threatened or angry at the commercialization of Christmas.
When you encounter the secular side of Christmas, think about what you see. Do you see a desire for family, for generosity, for beauty, for fun, joy, peace, love, harmony, and reconciliation? Are not all these things from God? Rejoice that Jesus has managed to infuse into the most commercialized holiday the elements of God’s Kingdom.
Enjoy all the decorations and prepare your heart yet once again for Christ to enter in.
Yours in Christ,
Advent Bible Study
The Advent Bible study is entitled The Five Questions of Christmas by Rob Burkhart. Please join us on Monday at noon, (bring a lunch) and Tuesdays at 5:00. Please come join us!
December 6 Mayfield Youth Group
This month the Mayfield Youth Group will start meeting once a month on the first Wednesday of the month, December 6 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. This is an Ecumenical Youth Group and is open to all youth in the Mayfield area. Bible stories, songs, games, fun, mission and occasional pizza and praise parties will be held. See Pastor Bonnie if you would like to help or donate snacks and refreshments. SPREAD THE WORD!!
December 10 Christmas Cantata
The annual Christmas Cantata with the Mayfield Community Choir and musicians will be performed in our church sanctuary at 4:00 pm on Sunday, December 10th. It is called “I Hear the Prophet Callin” by Pepper Choplin with Luke Horst conducting. Spread the word as this is a wonderful event that the entire community is invited to enjoy.
December 13 Advent Family Potluck Supper & Christmas Caroling
This annual gathering will take place on Wednesday evening beginning at 5:00 p.m. (note time change from previous years) In addition to the potluck supper (bring a dish to share and your own table service), this will be the last opportunity for pictures to be taken for our Pictorial Church Directory. Pictures will be taken before the meal which will start at 5:45 and the supper will be followed by Christmas Caroling at 6:30 for anyone who is up to a “cool” evening walk around town to share the music of the season.
December 17 Sunday School Christmas Program
The Sunday School Christmas Program is called “What Would Your Gift to Jesus Be?” It will be performed during the church service and promises to be a wonderful morning. The children are asked to be at church by 9:30 that morning to get into costume.
December 20 Blue Christmas Service
A service of healing and wholeness will be held on Wednesday, December 20th at 7:00 pm. This is a quiet contemplative service for anyone who finds the Christmas season to be difficult due to circumstances of their lives. Come for the peaceful service and remember Jesus’ birth as the greatest gift that God has given to each of us. Please pass this information on to anyone who might welcome this service.
December 24 Christmas Eve Jail Service
There is still one spot available to join us for our Christmas Eve service at the jail. It will begin at 1:00 pm and be over by 3:30 pm. Please contact Pastor Bonnie if you would like to go because you will have to have your driver’s license run by the Sheriff’s Dept. if you want to go.
December 24 Christmas Eve Service
We will have our traditional Christmas Eve service at 7:00 pm on Sunday, December 24.
January 7 Baptism of the Lord Sunday
Save the date of January 7! It is Baptism of the Lord Sunday and Kelly Wager will share with us a special Baptism service that day. We will switch communion in January to January 14 which is also Something Beautiful Sunday.
February 4 Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting will take place on February 4th after church. Committee heads and chairmen of events please get reports to Janis Frisch in early January. Her email address is in Session Notes.
February 11 Ordination of Elders
The ordination of elders that are elected at the annual meeting will take place on Sunday, February 11th. The next session meeting will take place on Monday, January ?? at 6:30. Speak to Janis Frisch or Rev. Bonnie if it is necessary to bring up anything before this meeting.
The Annual Meeting will be held February 4th. Committee heads and Chairmen of events should send or give reports to Janis Frisch in early January. It would be easier for her if you emailed them to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sessiion met on Monday, November 27th, for theit regularly scheduled meeting. A proposed 2018 budget was presented and reviewed. All session members approved the 2018 budget which will be shared with the congregation at the beginning of the new year.
With the assistance of Greg Hitchcock, out church website will soon be having a donation link for people to make contributions directly online using their PayPal accounts.
Session approved that a monetary donation be made in memory of Edwin Niles to Covenant Church in Indiana and the Niles Scholarship Fund. Edwin passed away on November 10th at his residence in west Lafayette, Indiana.
Angel ornaments will be vailable for $1.00 each on Sunday, December 10th in memory or to honor loved ones. These angels will help decprate our Christmas tree and all proceeds will go to the Sunday School mission fund.
PLEDGES & OFFERING ENVELOPES
Pledges help us estimate the income that the church will receive next year. Please turn in your completed form as soon as possible.
Offering envelopes for 2018 will be available for pick up in Fellowship Hall in December. Envelopes will be given to those who used them last year and any who requested them with their pledge slips. If any other members and friends would like to have offering envelopes, please contact Ann Mallin at 773-8198 or at email@example.com. REMEMBER PLEASE DO NOT USE 2017 envelopes in 2018.
“I Hear the Prophet Callin’” is callin’ you to come hear this year’s cantata which will be December 10th at 4:00 pm in the church sanctuary. Not only will there be a cantata but also more Christmas music performed by a number of musicians. The cantata has billed itself as an Appalacian tone to tell the Christmas story. However, because of where we live, we have chosen to call it “an Adirondack” piece.
Many church friends and musician friends are helping to present this piece. They have been a part of the summer chorus or have sung with us before. There is great fellowship as well as productive singing at the rehearsals. We invite any who are interested to come sing with us. The first rehearsal is Saturday, December 2, from 10 – 2 pm with lunch provided. Other practices times will be Dec. 5 at 6:30 pm and Sat., Dec. 9 at 10 am.
By the way, we are seeking a guitar player who can read music.
CHURCH SCHOOL NOTES
Children are practicing for the Christmas Program ““What Would Your Gift to Jesus Be?” during Sunday School so it is important that they attend regularly. Some of the children will also be performing instrumental pieces during the service This year's program will be held on Sunday, December 18, during the worship service at 10:30 a.m. Children should be at church at 9:30 to practice and put on costumes on the 18th. There will be practice in the sanctuary before the 18th but no date has been decided as yet. Keep in touch with Kelly and Elaine. There will be no Sunday School classes on Sundays, December 25 or January 1.
WORSHIP COMMITTEE NOTES
Worship Committee members have been busy decorating the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall for the Advent and Christmas season. Windows are decorated with greens, berries and angels. The tree is up and strung with lights in anticipation of “Angel Sunday” on December 10th. Angel ornaments are available to purchase for $1 as memorials to loved ones or in honor of someone or something. (Names can be written on the back.) The sale of these angels will help the Sunday school children with their mission to help three young students stay in school. The liturgical color is changed to purple and the Advent banner is hung. All is ready for the first Sunday of Advent – December 3rd – while we all await Jesus coming into our lives once again.
This committee is preparing a special blue ornament to be used during the Blue Christmas service on December 20. This ornament will be filled with individual’s prayers and hung on the tree. We are also preparing the labyrinth fabric to be taken to Guatemala.
All members of the congregation are invited to “take a turn” at being Bonnie’s liturgist during a Sunday service. See Nancy Frank if you have questions or would like to sign up for a Sunday. New members for this committee are always welcome!
Current members: Pastor Bonnie, Deb Hannis, Deb Lair, Gary DiSanto-Rose, Ginnie Hall, Greg Hitchcock, Mary Lou Bryan, Mary Seaman, Sandra Sparks, Sharon Brower, Vicki Kucel, and Nancy Frank, Chairperson
HARVEST HAM DINNER UPDATE
A very heartfelt thank you is given to the many people who made the 2017 Annual Harvest Ham Dinner a success. This year we raised $3006.00!!!! Thank you to those who helped prepare the food, worked in the kitchen, served our guests, and cleaned up when all was done. Special thanks are given to the Mayfield Stewarts who donated the butter, milk, and cream and to the Kucels who donated the hams.
The Outreach Committee will be busy this Holiday Season as they are baking breads for our “shut ins” for Thanksgiving and baking cookies for Christmas. Those identified as a “shut in” receive cards from the committee on a regular basis. The committee looks for ideas for those whose ability to get out to socialize is compromised. Anyone wishing to visit, join the “Outreach Committee”, or has someone whom they feel could benefit and want them included…please notify Pastor Bonnie or Chairperson Casey Warner.
Additionally, Pastor Bonnie and assistants host the jail ministry annually and will be there for 4 or 5 services on Christmas Eve Day again this year. If there is anyone that would like to join the group that day, please let her know.
There are so many ways to be involved with the group…please let us know of your interests…there is something for everyone!
Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.”
SANTA HOTLINE & MITTEN TREE
We are again taking part in the Santa Hotline project for children in the Mayfield School District who are in need of Christmas gifts. Tags have been distributed and purchased and wraped gifts should be brought to church by December 10th. The knitters have been knitting away all year and have dozens of hats and mittens ready for Christmas distribution. Please give them to Libby Van Nostrand before December 10th.
Thanks to everyone who donated food, money or time to make our Thanksgiving baskets a success. We put out 50 boxes. The clients are really thankful for these boxes. Now we are preparing for the Christmas boxes which will be put together after church Dec. 17th and distributed on Dec. 18th. With all the charities asking for donations this time of year I really can appreciate all you do. As usual, we can always use the basics to replenish the shelves - tuna, peanut butter and jelly, cereal, pasta, sauce, soup, and eggs. Condiments come in handy if you see them on sale. Help is always appreciated, an updated signup sheet will be posted soon. Pantry hours are the first and third Tuesday, from 12:30 to 3:00 pm. (not on Dec 19th ) Thanks again, Crystal
CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING
The Christmas Joy Offering will be collected again this year on December 10 during the church service. This offering is one of four special offerings designated by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to provide congregations direct ways of supporting specific causes that help those in need. The receipts from the offering are distributed equally to the Board of Pensions for assistance programs and to the National Ministries Division of the General Assembly Council to support eight Presbyterian racial ethnic schools and colleges. Envelopes will be available during December.
On November 30th women of the church met with a representative of this project to find out how these sanitary napkin holders are made. We will be having workdays after the holidays to make them to be sent to Africa. These are important for young girls in many places who do not have access to such things and therefore do not go to school for a portion of each month or drop out of school all together. It s not just a sewing project and all women are invited. Speak to Mary Lou Bryan if you have questions or are interested in helping.
DONATIONS TO HELP OUR GUATEMALA TRIP
If you would like to help our trip to Guatemala, we would be grateful for any donations of money, women’s cardigan sweaters, any size in plain colors, Tylenol, Ibuprophen, anitibiotic ointment, school supplies, cheater glasses and old prescription glasses.
PROJECT LIFE SAVER
Electronic braclets are available for people who live at home and have Alzheimer’s disease or young adults with autism. Local churches have been challenged to purchase one braclet at a cost of $300.00 each. A jar is located in fellowship hall for donations toward this project.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to these members who have birthdays in December:
Alex Hitrick December 4
Haleigh Dutcher December 6, 1995
Greg Hitchcock December 7
Deb Hannis December 7
Seamus Donde December 10
Vince Hughes December 18
Marian Elliott December 23
David Fox December 23
Dakota Donde December 24
Suzanne Fox December 27
Chris Dahl December 28
Lauren Kaczor December 30
Darci Wemple December 30
DID YOU KNOW?
…that Shirley Hitrick joined the church on November 19. She is Alex’s grandmother and we welcome her.
…that 22 shoeboxes were packed and sent to Operation Christmas Child by the Sunday School children. Thank you to all who contributed to the effort with boxes, gifts and money!
…that 55 meals were served at Friday’s Table on November 10th at the Church of the Holy Spirit. Next date in the new year.
…that Edwin Niles passed away in November. If you wish to send his wife Paulette a greeting her address is: 321 Highland Dr. W. Lafayette, IN 47906-2405.
…that Victor’s address is: Victor Doe #123
Princeton Theological Seminary
64 Mercer St.
Princeton, NJ 08540 You may want to send him greetings this Christmas.