Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Yes, the season is upon us. Doesn’t it seem this year that it just exploded on us? One day it was fall, with warm but rainy days, leaves falling, and then suddenly the next day we are thrown head over heels into winter! And before we were even able to get our sense about us, Thanksgiving came and went and we are thrust into Advent and Christmas looming in but a few short weeks.
This year I offer to you a gift idea for Christmas. Give yourself a silent night. Turn off all the cell phones, take your land line off the hook, if you even still have one. Turn off your television and hide the remote control (but don’t hide it too well or you will never find it!). For one night resist the lure of your computer, video games and even music. Turn off the lights and let your Christmas tree and a few candles light your home.
We live in a loud world! Media dominates our lives everywhere we turn. According to the Nielson Company, the average American watches more than four (4) hours of television every day! It is estimated that many Americans spend more than four (4) hours on their cell phones every day!
Daily distractions can prevent us from experiencing a moment of peace. The Christmas season can be the worst of all, sending us into sensory overload.
By choosing a silent night, you are giving yourself the chance to experience peace away from the noise of this Christmas season and who doesn’t love sitting in a room lit with a Christmas tree. In the stillness of your silent night, try to imagine a starry night near Bethlehem where an angel of the Lord appeared, bringing the shepherds the good news of Jesus’ birth.
What if those shepherds had been carrying on and were too distracted to notice the angel? I think many times the question is not, “Is God speaking to us?” But rather. “Am I listening to what God is saying?”
This Christmas season, clear away all the distractions, give a gift to yourself and enjoy a silent night! I wish you all a sacred Advent and Christmas!
Yours in Christ,
Our labyrinth offers us a relaxing space and a sacred place where one can reflect on life. Like life, our labyrinth walk may seem to take us further from our goals. However, if we stay focused and persevere, we will reach them. Walking the labyrinth involves three parts: walking in, remaining in the center, and walking out. Its design is one of wholeness and as we take this pilgrimage with mindfulness, it can help to unite our body and Spirit. Thus, walking it becomes a ritual that can help bring symbolic meanings and connections into our everyday reality. Enjoy the Journey!
We hope to line the pathway to the labyrinth with commemorative bricks that can be “In Honor” or “In Memory” of special people in our lives. As we walk the pathway, these bricks will be a gentle reminder of the meaningful connections that these people have made in our lives. We hope you will consider donating a brick to commemorate that special person who has helped you along your life’s pathway. The 4” x 8” bricks are $50 and the 8” x 8” bricks are $80. Brochures and online ordering will be available soon.
Advent Bible Study
The Advent Bible study is entitled The Redemption of Scrooge by Matt Rawle. Please join us on Monday at noon, (bring a lunch) and Tuesdays at 5:00. Please come join us!
December 9 Christmas Cantata
The annual Christmas Cantata with the Mayfield Community Choir and musicians will be performed in our church sanctuary at 3:00 pm on Sunday, December 9th. It is called “Christmas Presence” with Luke Horst conducting. Spread the word as this is a wonderful event that the entire community is invited to enjoy.
December 12 Advent Family Gathering
Rev. Tim Coombs will present his “one-man-production” of Dickens’ –“A Christmas Carol” on Wednesday, December 12th. A light supper of soup and bread will precede the presentation at 6:00 pm. A donation of $5.00 will be charged for the supper/program.
December 16 Sunday School Christmas Program
The Sunday School Christmas Program is called “Gifts – Given and Recieved” 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 16 & 17 Christmas Baskets
Christmas baskets/boxes will be made up after church on Sunday, December 16th and picked up on Monday, December 17th from 12:30 to 3:00pm.
December 19 Longest Night Service
A service of healing and wholeness will be held on Wednesday, December 19th 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 or just wants to celebrate in a quiet way. 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 20 Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Groups
The Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet at 10:30 on Thursday, December20th at 10:30 am in Fellowship Hall. This group is just forming and is educational as well as supportive and open to the community.
The Parkinson’s Advocacy & Education Group meets in Fellowship Hall at 2:00 pm on December 20th. These meetings are educational, supportive and open to the community.
December 24 Christmas Eve Jail Service
Our Christmas Eve services at the jail will begin at 9:00am. There will be four services. At the moment there are enough people going.
December 24 Christmas Eve Service
We will have our traditional Christmas Eve communion service at 7:00 pm on Monday, December 24.
January 20 Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday January 20th after the church service. Committee heads and chairmen of events please get reports to Janis Frisch by January 11th. Her email address is in Session Notes.
January 27 Ordination of Elders
The ordination of elders that are elected at the annual meeting will take place on Sunday, January 27th. The next session meeting will take place on Monday, January 28 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 January 20th following the church service. Committee heads, chairmen of events and heads of service projects should send or give reports to Janis Frisch by January 11th. It would be easiest for her if you emailed them to her at email@example.com.
The Session met on Monday, November 26th, for their regularly scheduled meeting. A proposed 2019 budget was presented and reviewed. All session members approved the 2019 budget which will be shared with the congregation at the beginning of the new year.
Session has met with 18 prospective new members who will be joining the church in December on the 9th and the 16th. We look forward to having them as members.
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 2019 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. REMEMBER PLEASE DO NOT USE 2018 envelopes in 2019.
“Christmas Presence” is this year’s cantata which will be December 9th at 3:00 pm (note time change) in the church sanctuary. Not only will there be a cantata but also more Christmas music performed by a number of musicians.
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 1, from 10 – 2 pm with lunch provided. Other practice times will be Dec. 4 at 6:30 pm and Sat., Dec. 8 at 10 am.
CHURCH SCHOOL NOTES
Children are practicing for the Christmas Program “Gifts – Given and Recieved” during Sunday School so it is important that they attend regularly. Hopefully some of the children will also be performing instrumental pieces during the service. This year's program will be held on Sunday, December 16th, 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 16th. There will be practice in the sanctuary probably after school on the 14th. Keep in touch with Kelly and Elaine. There will be no Sunday School classes on Sundays, December 23rd or 30th.
WORSHIP COMMITTEE NOTES
Many thanks to members of this committee who are “on call” and ready to pitch-in whenever needed. Helping to decorate the church for Advent/Christmas (and in a few days to un-decorate) including building the tree; ordering poinsettias and special bulletins; keeping the candles filled; updating the message on the sign on the church lawn (thank you Ginnie Hall); changing the banners and the Liturgical colors are a few of the things that have been accomplished by the worship committee in the past couple months. Special thanks to Deb Hannis and Joan Montgomery for creating the centerpieces for the tables in fellowship hall in addition to decorating the windows and to Deb for arranging for the Christmas wreaths at the front doors. Special thanks, also, to everyone who helped to “Hang the Greens” after church on November 25th. We continue to try to “keep up” with Pastor Bonnie and the many ideas she comes up with to make the worship fresh and interesting for the congregation. Be thinking about something you could “give” to Jesus during Advent and be ready each Sunday of Advent to write it on the strips of paper that will become straw for the baby in the manger on Christmas Eve.
Worship committee members will be helping with the presentation of “A Christmas Carol” on December 12th and would love donations of soup, bread, and maybe some dessert for the 6:00 p.m. supper prior to the presentation. There is a sign-up in fellowship hall or contact Nancy Frank (518-661-5328).
Current Members: Rev. Orth, Sharon Brower, Mary Lou Bryan, Gary DiSanto-Rose, Nancy Frank (chairperson), Janis Frisch, Ginnie Hall, Vicki Kucel, Deb Lair, Joan Rorick, Mary Seaman, Sandra Ann Sparks
New members are always welcome.
HARVEST HAM DINNER UPDATE
A very heartfelt thank you is given to the many people who made the 2018 Annual Harvest Ham Dinner a success. This year we raised about $3,100. for our church!!!! 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 Stewart’s who donated the butter, milk, and cream and to the Kucels who donated the hams.
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS
As you may know, our Fall Cleanup was postponed until Spring due to Mother Nature’s early snowfall. Speaking of which we need more volunteers to sign up to help with snow removal as the weather people are predicting a snowy winter. Please sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board at church.
Thanks for everyone’s help with the B&G projects this year. Have a blessed holiday season.
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.
Pastor Bonnie and assistants will be doing 4 services on Christmas Eve Day again this year at the jail. We are also providing Christmas gifts for the children of the women who will be in jail over the holiday. Gift ideas will be in Felowship Hall on December 2 and will be brought to the jail after church on the 23rd which is the last visitation day before Christmas.
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 2nd. 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 9th.
Thank you everyone for all you do to make our food pantry a success. We served 65 families this year. Without your help and donations it would not have been possible. We are in need of jams and jellies, and all the usual items. We put out a lot of food and it looks like the Christmas boxes are up to 77. The distribution date for Christmas is Dec 17th. We will be putting them together on Sunday the 16th after services.
I will be away for February and March. The sign up sheet to work in the pantry for those months is posted. Please let Bonnie know if you are willing and able to pick up food in Gloversville during these months. The dates are Feb 8th, Feb 22, March 8th and 22nd.
Thanks again, Crystal
CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING
The Christmas Joy Offering will be collected again this year on December 9 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.
For the past 15 years or so , the women of the church have served what we call The Networker’s Dinner. It began because of extra baggage we inherited when Pastor Bonnie came to be our pastor. At the time, she was the eastern distributor of nets which were to be sewn and treated to cover infant cribs and beds. The nets were sent to Asia and/or Africa, treated with preventive chemical to repel mosquitoes and given to local villagers. These treated nets were to help control the spread of malaria.
Over the years, the postage became prohibitive and so the local women, in Asia and Africa, were instructed in the sewing and treatment of the nets and it became an industry for them. To spread word of this activity, it was decided that we would invite area Presbyterian women to share a dinner, featuring a country’s cuisine, who were recipients of the nets. In later years, it also covered areas that were hit by disaster of some sort.
Donations were taken at the time of the dinner to give to the Networker headquarters and to PDA (Presbyterian Disaster Assistance) and for a few years to CEDEPCA in Guatemala. The local Presbyterian women were always very generous in their giving and we were able to donate a substantial amount.
Because Victor Doe has been with us for the past 2 years and because he has a goal of starting a new free Christian school in Liberia our last 2 years of dinners have featured Liberian cuisine and our donation has been ssplit between PDA and Victor’s school. We are pleased to announce that a check for $701 from the last two years dinners was sent last month to the bank account in Gloverscville that has been designatied for Victor’s school. Thank you to all who have contributed.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to these members who have birthdays in December:
Alex Hitrick December 4
Haleigh Dutcher December 6
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 Decemner 27
Chris Dahl December 28
Lauren Kaczor December 30
Darci Wemple December 30
DID YOU KNOW?
…that 20 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 Marion Elliot will celebrate her 100th birthday on December 23! Her address is 2 Tryon Ave. #213
Glenville, NY 12302 if you would like to send her a card. If you are interested in going with a few of us to help her celebrate on the 14th in the afternoon please contact Joan Montgomery.
…that Victor’s address is still: Victor Doe #123
Princeton Theological Seminary
64 Mercer St.
Princeton, NJ 08540
You may want to send him greetings this Christmas or he may be spending some of his holiday break in Mayfield.