Christmas Pageants are a time honored tradition in the life of the Church. Legend holds that Saint Francis of Assisi first linked the nativity and theatre back in the 13th Century. Medieval thespians brought bible stories to life through mystery plays, and the tradition has carried through to today. All who were raised in the church probably have some pageant memory, good or bad, locked away in their memory.
Advent is our time to be open to change. In worship, we have intentionally made changes in the order, the format, the sound and the look of our Sunday services. We are trying to meld the freshness of Advent with a new theme each week on how fruitful congregations act and respond to the world around us. This week's theme is: Risk taking mission and service.
Children and adults were in the living room talking, laughing, playing and eating pizza from the Glass Nickel. It was a delightful small group gathering for Judy and me to meet members of the congregation. As the level of noise and enjoyment rose, our host Jessica Taft gently spoke three, stunning words: “I am expecting.” Words as clear and winsome as heaven itself. “I am expecting.” Filled with hope and life changing impact, these three words held me in complete and utter awe. “I am expecting” filled my heart with Advent and the beautiful knowledge that nothing will ever be quite the same in the Taft home.
How can we eat our bread when we know there are others who are hungry?
How can we drink our juice when we think of our brothers and sisters whose mouths are parched for lack of clean water? How can we eat our meal in the comfort of our home when we know many who do not have a home to spend the day/night?
November is Stewardship Month at First Congregational Church. It is my first at First but it seems familiar. The campaign runs for two or three weeks, a letter and a card asking for money and pledge are mailed to the membership, there is a theme ("Now More Than Ever") and a clever logo: a church moving forward. There will be a sermon and we will hear wonderful testimony from some members. The unspoken goal of this relatively short campaign is to garner enough in pledges to meet the budget for 2013.
Many members have returned their pledge cards for the 2013 annual budget. If you have not yet made your pledge, please bring your pledge card to worship this next Sunday to put in the offering plate, or mail it to the church office, so that we can plan our church's budget for 2013. As we continue to discuss the new opportunities made possible by our successful Reach and Renew capital campaign, your annual pledge will enable us to maintain the ministries and missions that are meaningful to us all, and that will anchor our Reach and Renew work. More information about how we support church activities can be found on the Stewardship page.