A Full and Joyful Season

 

We are moving towards the end of the Christian year and the fascinating beginning of a new liturgical season.  The transition from November to December is more that the passing of months: It is the recognition of the sovereign Christ and the waiting for the infant Jesus. We, your staff, have been thinking hard on how we can help this significant time be even more exciting and informative for our church. I want to give you a rough sketch of what lies ahead.

Stewardship Sunday is set for November 18th, the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day. I can imagine no better time or way for us to begin this week of gratitude than showing our gratitude for the church. When our pledges of time, talent and money equal the gratitude in our hearts all will be well.

Thanksgiving Eve will be marked with a 7:30 service in the Chapel. It will be simple and filled with gratitude in keeping with the season. Our hope is to reach those who will be in the church preparing the Thanksgiving meal as well as many others who seek a spirit-filled entry into Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day will be dedicated to sharing the blessings we have received with as many as we can reach. As a new person at First Congregation Church, I look forward to seeing your generosity on full display.

November 25 marks the end of the Christian year. Called “Reign of Christ” Sunday it is the day for us to praise and acknowledge the ascendancy of Christ. As part of the celebration we will begin a five week thematic preaching series based on the book (being studied by the Executive Council) Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.  Each Sunday we will focus on a different aspect of the book as it relates specifically to our church and to the meaning of Advent in our church life. We will also change the method of delivery of the message. For these five Sundays, two of us will preach in hopes that through our different voices we may touch all who hear.

After the November 25 service we will “green the church” so that on the first day of Advent our sanctuary will look like Advent. Also on November 25 and December 9 there will be an opportunity to “talk back” to the sermons or anything else raised during the service. The preachers for the day will be on hand to talk, answer questions and look forward with you to Advent in our church. Our hope is to encourage real dialogue about the church, where God is leading the church, and how we can work in partnership with God. 

For some of us, the season of joy is not all that happy. We realize this is true and so we will offer a different service on Saturday, December 22nd. At 5:30 in the Fellowship Room all are invited to share a meal and then join together in worship, singing and prayer and in the common acknowledgement that the darkness of winter is real but is indeed passing away.

The traditional Thursday night Vesper services will continue through the season. These simple reflections and meditations on Advent - followed by tea, shortbread cookies and fellowship - are based on services conducted at Iona Abbey in Scotland. Vespers offer the perfect quiet break we need from the stress and noise of the season.

We will draw this glorious season to a close on Christmas Eve with two services. The first at 5:00 will be directed to the young of age and spirit. The second service at 9:00 will be a traditional service of readings and carols and candle light. Our hope is that the light of Christ will shine in us and through us as we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world. 

We believe as we move through this long season together we will be drawn closer to each other and to our church. We believe that as we share our gratitude and our love of God and Christ we will be formed more perfectly into the body of Christ. 

~ Doug Moore

 

Posted on October 23, 2012 at 10:49 am in Featured Content.

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