Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –
   Happy Friday!  I hope you’ve had a good week and have enjoyed some quiet time in the aftermath of Christmas Day – and I hope you’re staying warm in this bone-chilling cold weather!  It’s been fun to see on Facebook the pictures many of you have posted of your Christmas celebrations – looks like it was great for one and all!  Well, now it’s on to celebrating a new year, but before that, here’s what’s happening this weekend at church:

-          On Sunday, we’ll have one combined service at 10 am.  It was great fun being all together last Sunday for our morning service!  We had a packed house, and a great service together.  So we’ll do it again this week at 10 am and we’ll be treated to the music of Steve Gilmore and our fabulous Chancel Choir.  My sermon, entitled “Follow the Star” will look at the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and how we can reflect on that in terms of our lives in these days. 

-          A few reminders:
o   All women attending this year’s Women’s Retreat are reminded to send in your meal request to eumc@comcast.net no later than Wednesday, January 3rd.  You can have either crab cakes, prime rib, or vegetable primavera.
o   A reminder to the men in the church that there’s still space available for the Men’s Retreat, which takes place January 19—21 at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh.  A brochure containing all the details about the retreat is available on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
o   If you give your offering on-line, and changed the amount you’re giving in 2018 from that which you’ve been giving in 2017, you need to make that change on-line.  Go to the church website – elktonumc.org – click on “On-line donations” then follow the instructions to change the amount for 2018.  Questions?  Call the church office.
o   The January newsletter will be available this weekend – in print and on-line.  You can pick up a copy from the counter across from the Welcome Center or access it on-line via our church website – elktonumc.org.

Well, I think that’s it for now, except to say a great big thank-you to all who took part in our Christmas Eve services last Sunday.  It was a great day all around, made possible by so many who gave so much to make it happen. 

Have a great Friday – stay warm, if you can!  Then have a wonderful weekend, enjoying the festivities of the dawn of a new year.  Spend time with those you love, and then come and be in worship at 10 on Sunday morning – as we end one year praising God and prepare to start a new one the same way!  I so look forward to being there with you!
                                                                                                Grace and Peace,
                                                                                                Karen

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Happy weekend before Christmas! I hope you’re having a good week and aren’t too frazzled over all the things you have yet to do before Christmas! I’m trying to just take one thing at a time and trust I’ll get everything done. Fingers crossed!

As you know, Sunday is Christmas Eve and it’s going to be a great day at church, so here’s what’s happening:
  • - Don’t forget that we’ll have just one worship service on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.  It will be a fourth Sunday of Advent service, not a Christmas Eve service. But it will be a wonderful service during which I’ll continue my sermon series, “Do Not Be Afraid,” by focusing on Joseph and an invitation to not be afraid to take risks for God. We’ll be treated to musical offerings by the Children’s Choir and the Chancel Choir. It will be good to worship together as a blended congregation. I’m really looking forward to it, and hope to see many of you there, and especially encourage those of you who can’t come on Sunday evening to be there on Sunday morning. (Oh, by the way, if you want to sit in your “normal” pew, you’d better come early, because the person who has that same pew in the other service might grab it first! LOL! Actually, it might be fun to see who sits in “your pew” at the other service!)
  • - Our Christmas Eve services begin at 5 pm with the always lively Family Service. This service is designed for families with children and it’s about 45 minutes long, filled with lots of singing, a video of the Gospel story, and a book for the kids to hear. There is no sermon at this service. The Children’s Choir and the Ingram brothers will offer special music! Nursery is available.
  • At 7 and 9 pm we’ll have identical candlelight services, featuring wonderful, wonderful music – lots of carols, music by the Chancel Choir, the Handbell Choir, a brass choir, our fabulous organ, and soloist Maddy Funke. Oh yes, there will be a sermon too! It is the last in the “Do Not Be Afraid” series, and it’s entitled “Do Not Be Afraid for Unto You is Born a Savior!” We’ll end the services with the wonderful sharing of candle light throughout the sanctuary, and singing “Silent Night” together. Nursery is available during the 7 pm service only. Why don’t you call some family and friends and invite them to come with you that night?
  • - Finally, from 10 -10:30 pm we’ll celebrate Communion in the sanctuary. It’s a lovely, candlelit time of silent communion where you can come and go as you please.
- Those are all the services of the weekend, but here are some other reminders:
  • There are still a few offering envelopes for 2018 that haven’t been picked up yet. They are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
  • Attention Women’s Retreat participants: Your final installment is due now. Please turn it in to the church office as soon as possible.
  • Calling All Men! There is still space available on the Men’s Retreat (Jan. 19-21). Pick up a flyer on the counter across from the Welcome Center for all the details.
  • There’s also a flyer on that counter about the next Classic Christians’ bus trip to Virginia in April. Anyone can take part on the trip – you don’t have to be a Classic Christian! A sign-up sheet is there on the counter also.

Well, I think that’s it for now, except to say a few thank you’s:

- To the Chancel Choir for their incredible cantata last Sunday!

- To the children for their delightful Christmas pageant!

- To all of the people who contributed to our wonderful Advent devotional – it has made every day of the journey special!


Have a good Friday, and a wonderful, wonderful weekend! Try not to let your “to do” list take the joy out of the holiday. Find some time to put your feet up a little bit, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday – a lot, I hope! I’m so looking forward to it!

                                               Grace and Peace,
                                                                        Karen

Friday, December 15, 2017

Happy Friday (Updated)

Wow, what a crazy week it’s been with the weather, huh?  And now, I just finished watching the report on the weather channel, only to find out that there’s a 90% chance of snow for this afternoon, and we might get 1-3 inches.  Oh, the fun never ends!  Oh well, it is winter after all (well, not technically for a few days yet), but you know what I mean!
So, because of that forecast there will be one change in plans on our weekend schedule.  We will not have a Classic Christians’ meeting tonight.  We were scheduled for a potluck dinner and night of Christmas fun, but it’s not worth the risk of people traveling in bad weather or falling.  So, if you’re a Classic Christian, stay home and stay warm, and if you know someone who usually attends, but doesn’t receive email, please give them a call and let them know.
Here’s what’s happening the rest of this weekend at church:
  • On Saturday evening, our youth group will have its annual, very-popular progressive dinner.  Participants will move from house to house for the various dinner courses.  If you need information about the event, or want to sign up, please text Sandy at 443-309-0160.
  • Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent – the Sunday of Joy!  We’ll mark it in some very joyful ways.  First, the Chancel Choir will present their Advent cantata at both services.  As you know, they always do a fantastic job, so you won’t want to miss it, and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to invite your family, friends and neighbors to come along as well.
  • Then, our Sunday School children and youth will present their Christmas program at 10 am in Weldin Hall.  It’s going to be great, and I especially invite you to come and support them.  A lot of these children have grandparents who live far away and can’t be here to watch, so why don’t you come and be surrogate family for them?  It’s not going to be a long program, and your attendance will mean the world to them!
  • On Sunday afternoon at 4 pm, we’ll have our annual Blue Christmas service in the sanctuary.  The Blue Christmas service is provided for those who have experienced loss or are sad at this time of year.  It is a quiet, contemplative 45 minute service.  So if you know of anyone who might benefit from taking part, please give them a call and tell them about it, and then offer to come with them, as well.

A few reminders:
  • The last installment payment for participating in the Women’s Retreat is due now. Please drop your payment off in the church office.
  • There is still space available for the Men’s Retreat, which takes place Jan. 19-21 at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh.  Brochures about the retreat are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.  This year’s theme centers around Prayer, and is based on the recent movie “War Room.”
  • If you have not yet picked up your offering envelopes for 2018, please do so on Sunday.  You picking them up saves the church the expense of sending them through the mail.
  • Sadly, we received word this week from Meeting Ground that there will be no Rotating Winter Shelter this year.  They simply were not able to get enough churches and other groups to sponsor weeks.  Thank you to those of you who had already signed up.  The Missions Committee will continue to look into ways to address the needs of the homeless, and will keep you updated.


Well, I think that’s it for now.  As you can see, it’s going to be a busy, but exciting weekend for all of us.  I look forward to being with you for one or more of the activities, and most assuredly, for worship on Sunday.  So take care, have a good Friday and a great weekend.  Try not to wear yourself out doing too much!  Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday!
Grace and Peace,

Karen

Friday, December 8, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –
     Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week, and are getting ready for a great weekend, because there’s a lot going on, especially at church!  All of a sudden, the weather looks a little interesting for Saturday – but, never fear, we’re going to carry on anyway with all of our activities!  So, here’s what’s happening:

-          Tomorrow at 9 is the UMW COOKIE WALK!!!  Bakers from all over our church have been busily baking a wonderful variety of delicious cookies, so plan on being at the church at 9 tomorrow to get the first crack at them!  Some years, the crowds are so good that we sell out quickly, so don’t delay if you want to make sure you get some!  Remember, all the proceeds from the cookie sale go to missions!
-          Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Advent, and I’ll offer the second sermon in my “Do Not Be Afraid” sermon series.  This week, I’ll invite you to not be afraid to believe the impossible can happen.  The central characters will be Elizabeth and Mary.  We’ll be lifted up by the music of both the Men’s Choir and Chancel Choir, and we’ll light two candles on the Advent wreath.  Oh, by the way, since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll also have Children’s Time.  We’ll invite the children to come forward to hear a wonderful book entitled The Sparkle Box, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it too!

A few other things about Sunday morning:
o   If you took a tag from the Angel Tree, your gifts are due this Sunday, so that we’ll have time to deliver them before Christmas.
o   If you ordered a wreath from our Boy Scout troop, the wreaths will be available for pick-up this Sunday.
o   Sunday will be the last day to order poinsettias and/or nets for Christmas Eve worship, in memory of or in honor of someone you love.  There will be an insert in the bulletin on which to place your order.
o   If there are any cookies left from the Cookie Walk, you might have a chance to get them on Sunday morning, and copies of our new church cookbook will be available to buy as well.
o   A reminder to Classic Christians (age 50 and over) that flyers about the spring bus trip and a sign-up sheet are on the counter across from the Welcome Center, as is a sign-up sheet for next Friday night’s (Dec. 15) Classic Christians’ meeting.
o   Also a reminder to all youth and men and women of the church that there is still space available for the January youth rally, and men’s and women’s retreats.  Brochures about the men’s and women’s retreats are on the counter across from the Welcome Center, and youth can see Sandy or text her at 443-309-0160 for more details or to sign up.
o   LAST CALL FOR PLEDGE CARDS – We’ve gotten a great response to the pledge campaign for 2018, but there are still a number of pledge cards that have not been turned in.  If you haven’t had a chance to turn in your card yet, please do so this Sunday.  If you need a card, please see one of the ushers.

-    We have a great treat in store for us on Sunday afternoon at 4 pm in our sanctuary.  The Cecil County Choral Society will offer their Holiday Concert, and Sharon tells me it’s going to be great!  Not only with the Choral Society sing (accompanied by Sharon, of course!), but our Handbell Choir will be ringing, and a group of children will be singing with the adults!  It’s going to be quite a concert that you won’t want to miss.  What a lovely way to end the weekend!

 
Finally, it’s time to get ready for our church to host the Rotating Winter Shelter.  The shelter opens the first week in January, and we’re the hosts for the week.  The following is information from Susan Starrett, who serves as the Site Coordinator for our week.
 “As the weather gets colder, it is time for the Emergency Rotating Shelter to open for the season.  EUMC will be hosting the shelter Monday, January 1st through January 8th.  This year the shelter will operate a bit differently - the guests will eat dinner at the Paris Foundation each night then come to the shelter.  Therefore, the amount of volunteers that we will need are fewer.  Click on our church’s website (elktonumc.org/NewsEvents.html) to see the schedule for the week and the list of supplies we need; this will also be posted on the Missions Committee Bulletin Board on Sunday morning.  Since we only have a few weeks before we host the shelter, please be sure to sign up quickly!  If you have any questions please reach out to me at starrett623@yahoo.com.”
Please, if you are able to help, respond to Susan as soon as possible.  Since there are fewer tasks than in previous years to undertake, we should (hopefully) have no trouble fully staffing our week for the shelter.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I don’t know about you but every time I look at the calendar I realize how quickly Christmas is coming, and how much I still have to do before it gets here.  So I try to take just one thing at a time, and trust that everything will get done.  If you’re in the same boat, I pray that even in the midst of the busyness, you can find some down time when you can put your feet up for a few minutes and rest.  Hopefully, you’re using our Advent devotional and find that gives you moments of peace as well (you can find it on our church website – http://www.elktonumc.org/pdf/publications/Advent2017.pdf


So have a good Friday, and a great weekend.  Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship as we celebrate the 2nd Sunday of Advent together!
                                                   Grace and Peace,

                                                                            Karen