This Week – December 7, 2017

advent

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.

carolsingSunday, December 10, 2017

9:15 a.m. Choir Rehearsal
10:15 a.m. Worship
11:15 a.m. Book Club
4:00 p.m. Holiday Carol Sing

Scripture: Philemon 1-7
Sermon: “The Anglicans, the Puritans, and the Congregationalists”

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Heidi Schellhas

Thanks…

fans… to Charlie and Jacob Olson for undertaking the much needed maintenance and cleaning of the
fans in the sanctuary.

Pictured to the right:
Jacob Olson and Sandy Davis-Lerner
(Reaching NEW Heights)

 

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december

Looking @ December…
Saturday the 9th Cooks of Chapel Hills – Holiday Family Traditions
Sunday the 10th Book Club – Following Worship
Holiday Carol Sing – 4:00 p.m.
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!!

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.

The 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.

 

Rain 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.

“Human Rights Day”
Second Sunday of Advent

It has been a hard year for human rights.

There have been times in our history when it has felt that indeed the arc of the moral universe was bending toward something greater than we were. Human beings built democracies, shared wealth, created opportunities and it seemed that we were progressing toward a new world.  Then, racism, long bubbling beneath public discourse, resurfaced with new outfits but wearing the familiar symbols of hate. We saw that bedrock evil of white supremacy reanimating itself and marching on Charlottesville chanting the old loathsome slogans of bigotry. We saw the rebranding of these groups, and the normalizing of hate speech. We saw politics become a tool for leaders to embarrass themselves and all human beings with a fear-filled and bigoted reminder of what too many of our neighbors think. We saw many terrible things and we did not back away. In this awful year for human rights the United Church of Christ stood where it has always stood—with the messengers of hope.

It’s Advent, right now, in the church of Jesus Christ. It is a time to imagine what is possible for human beings. It is a time to anticipate wonder and imagine what justice looks like. It is a time to remember that we ourselves are powerful witnesses. We are not fearful, not withering, not timid but outspoken on behalf of a God who comes to us from the underside, from the marginalized, from a stable in a faraway place and declares that evil will not prevail. Our God is born in hope. A hope that is as real as a chain of human beings putting their bodies on the line for love itself.

We, as a denomination long in the service of human rights, have seen our leadership shine.

Reverend Traci Blackmon, our UCC Executive Minister for Justice and Witness, was present in Charlottesville leading clergy in a peaceful and protesting line against hate. Our President and General Minister John Dorhauer said, “Charlottesville made it very clear that the United Church of Christ has not only something to say, but something transformative and critical for the movement . . . We will not be silenced, discouraged, and certainly not diminished. And love will win.” Of course, love will win.

Looking Ahead
December 9 Cooks of Chapel Hills – Holiday Traditions
December 10 Book Club – Following Worship
Holiday Carol Sing – 4:00 p.m.
December 12 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Church Council – 7:00 p.m. Meeting
December 13 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
NO Adult Choir Rehearsal
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.

Worship this Sunday:
Scripture: Philemon 1-7
Sermon: “The Anglicans, the Puritans, and the Congregationalists”
Finally: the end of the 500 year Celebration of the Reformation! Cross the pond to Great Britain and you discover a Reformation driven by the desire for a divorce and ready cash: Henry the VIIIth reforms the Church in England for his benefit. Several Monarchs and lots of martyrs later we find two groups who try to reform the reform: the Puritans and the Separatists. You may recognize those names: the separatists who arrive in this country are often called the Pilgrims. Some of them will become us, alongside German Evangelicals and German speaking Swiss Reformed.

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)