This Week – December 14, 2017

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We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

Sunday, December 17, 2017
10:15 a.m. Worship & Youth Christmas Program

Scripture: Psalm 16
Sermon: A Selection of Readings about Advent JOY!
Performance: The Tale of the Three Trees

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Greeters: Gene & Nancy Booker

 

Tis the Season to Donate Warmth!
In December, we will be collecting essential winter gear… (Hats, Scarves, Mittens & Socks).

2018 Greeter/Usher/Flower Sign-Up
Be the 1st to sign-up to greet and/or usher on Sunday mornings in 2018. The ushers and greeters are an important part of our worship service. The Worship Team is always available and happy to assist if needed. Sign-up chart is in the Narthex.
Holiday Carol Sing – Special THANKS to…
• Doug Allen and Mary & Amanda Kerr for leading the singing.
• Sandy Davis-Lerner, Jack Gillespie and Cindy Stille for accompanying us.
• Those who set-up & cleaned-up and brought appetizers & desserts.
• Everyone who sang and brought food for the food shelf.

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Looking @ December…

Sunday the 17th Youth Christmas Program – During Worship
Sunday the 24th Worship Service – 10:15 a.m.
Christmas Eve Service – 4:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve Offering – The Christmas Fund
Monday the 25th Merry Christmas!!

carols

Christmas Eve Worship – 4:30 p.m.
Join us at 4:15 p.m. for a musical prelude; stay for our traditional Carols, Candles and Communion.
We will receive the Christmas Fund Offering during the Service.

christmasfundThe Christmas Fund – Christmas Eve Offering
The Christmas Fund provides direct financial assistance to retired and active United Church of Christ authorized ministers and lay employees and their surviving spouses, including pension and health premium supplementation, emergency assistance, and Christmas thank-you checks. A ministry of the Pension Boards, the offering will be received on or before our Christmas Eve service.

Chapel Hills is a 5 for 5 church; that means we provide support to Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) and the special mission offerings: One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), Strengthen The Church, Neighbors In Need (NIN) and The Christmas Fund. Please give generously.

 

raingardenRain Garden Proposal
The Nine Mile Creek Watershed District (NMCWD) has a Clean Water Legacy Fund grant to work with local nonprofits to reduce the amount of polluted runoff reaching local water bodies. They have determined Chapel Hills is a good location to install a stormwater best management practices (BMPs). BMPs are things like raingardens that capture polluted runoff. The runoff water soaks into the ground and is gone within 24-48 hours. Most BMPs can be planted with plants that attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. We would like to work with you to install a BMP [a Rain Garden is what they propose] at Chapel Hills.
Alan met with a representative from the Nine Mile Watershed District and a Landscape Architect. They proposal is that they pay for design, they pay for the plants, they plant the garden and care for the Garden for the first 2 years. IT IS FREE! Or almost. No funds from us, but then we agree to maintain it (weed it) for 13 more years. It is a 15 year “deal.”
The proposed site location and the description of the proposal is on a poster board outside the office. Take a look and talk to Alan. He knows a little and will tell you what he knows. He will communicate questions to the Watershed District and tell what he learns.
They wish to hear back from us in January.

The HOME Program – Share a Smile
Brighten the day of a senior citizen and have some fun. Hang out with an older adult on an ongoing basis and do things that you both enjoy. Elders reside in Minneapolis or suburban Hennepin County. Small groups and families welcome; youth must be age 12 or older and supervised by an adult. Please contact Jeanne the HOME Program, Volunteer Coordinator at scsvolunteer@seniorcommunity.org or call 952-767-7894 for more information about a variety of unpaid volunteer options.

The HOME Program number is 952-746-4046, if an elder seeks a Friendly Visitor or other services in Hennepin County. Senior Community Services is a nonprofit organization with four programs serving elders age 60+ and caregivers statewide. For more information please visit www.seniorcommunity.org or call 952-541-1019. Seniors outside of Hennepin County should contact the Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433 for information about services in their area. Thank you!

“Shouts of Joy”
Third Sunday of Advent

We love movies where the downtrodden and beaten and dismissed character in a story finally gets their due and all the evil in the narrative gets punished. The girl who is bullied; the poor family who saves their neighborhood; the basketball team nobody thinks will win does win; the orphan boy forced to live under the stairs who becomes a mighty wizard—these are all the kinds of stories that give us a buzz and engender hope.  They reorder expectations about whose likely to have power in this world.  This is the story of Jesus. A story that shines a light on the powerless of this world.  Jesus, born to a mother who felt lifted-up by her pregnancy and whose expectations were that her child would be remarkable.

All mothers should feel that joy of expectation for their children. But there is a hard truth in the world as it is – not every child has the same opportunity or privilege.  Some children are born in a world of misery and hunger, some have no access to education, some are born with a skin color that will mean that they will to work twice as hard to get what others take for granted.  This is a hard truth to digest.  We depend on our belief in the basic fairness of the world.

The question for faithful people is how does God work in this world for justice and fairness? One could say that in Genesis God gave us the world and its resources are at our disposal. What we have we done with that gift? How have we loved this world into being?

The young pregnant Mary believes that God will fix and reorder injustice. What can churches do to spread her joy to all children?

It is not necessary to be a big church to spread one’s love of children into the world. Mt. Cavalry Church, in Woodstock, Virginia, has only 5-7 people in worship on a Sunday, but their members share their love by making special small quilts for children in their county’s shelters. Father north, in Gloversville, New York, the First Congregational UCC houses a program called CAPTAIN (Community Action for Parents, Teens and Interested Neighbors). It provides food, life skill training, support, homework help and a place to go for any teen or youth in the area. FCC Gloversville has only 40 in worship.

There is a mission field around your church. In it teenagers languish without support, children need a blanket and all young mothers need hope and joy. What can you do with what you have? What joy can you share, in this season of giving, to a world that longs to show its love for all God’s children?

Looking Ahead
December 17 Youth Christmas Program – During Worship
December 19 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
December 20 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
December 24 Worship Service – 10:15 a.m.
Carols, Candles & Communion Service – 4:30 p.m.
December 26 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
December 27 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
NO Adult Choir Rehearsal
December 31 Choir is OFF
January 2 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
January 3 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
January 8 Board of Deacons Meeting

Worship this Sunday:
Scripture: Psalm 16
Sermon: A Selection of Readings about Advent JOY!
Performance: The Tale of the Three Trees

Prayer
God, we ask you to give to us: Faith, so that we admit our doubt and still walk on in the way of Christ; Hope, so that setbacks and disappointments do not drive us to despair; Love, so that we may act toward our sisters and brothers as you do; Prudence, so that we are wise and careful when we choose; Justice, so that we care for the vulnerable; Courage, so that we may endure and persist; Self-control, so that we are the people you have called us to be and so that others see you in us. Amen. (Adapted from a Prayer of William Barclay)