Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Advent Celebrates Love

The theme for the 4th Sunday of Advent is Love. The Tree of Warmth was dedicated during the offering so that the many scarves, hats and mittens could be removed and sent to Isaiah 58 ministries, not a minute too soon as the weather on the weekend was the coldest of the year. Many of the items were knitted by women in the newly formed Shawl Ministry Group.

One highlight of the service was the dedication of baby Peter and his parents, Sarah and Bryan. Peter managed to sleep through most of the morning, although Sarah and Bryan would probably prefer that he start sleeping that soundly at night! Peter was 6 weeks old on Sunday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Club Meets at 6 North

The image is a little fuzzy, but when one forgets the camera, the wireless phone will do in a pinch. This morning 10 avid readers descended on 6 North Coffee House in the Central West End to discuss our selection for the month, Stuff White People Like. We quickly ranged into lots of tangent topics, and also enjoyed the wonderful breakfast croissants, pastry, chicken salad, and/or coffee that this place is famous for. It's the largest group we have had in 3-1/2 years of meeting. Next month we will meet on the 4th Saturday instead of the 3rd: January 24, same time, same place. As soon as the book is at Left Bank, I'll announce it on this blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent: Joy

Joy is the theme of the third Sunday in Advent. The pink candle and the two previous purple candles shine in the sanctuary. We celebrate with song, bring offerings, and meet at the table. Our student associate pastor preached a moving sermon. The choir was harmonious.

Everyone present was asked to write down something that brings them joy on a strip of gold paper. These were collected along with the offering, and added to the straw in the manger.

Our Christmas special offering benefits the Mid America region. So far we have $97 and there will be two more Sundays to participate.

Upcoming Events
  • Saturday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m.-noon, Reading Circle at 6 North.
  • Sunday, Dec. 21, 5-8 p.m. open house at Jacque and Dave's.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m., Soul Care
  • Wednesday, Dec. 24, 6:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service followed by caroling on Flora Place and refreshments at Kreuger's.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advent Event Releases Creativity

Thursday night we had an Advent Event for the entire family. We started with homemade chicken and noodles, followed by the Nativity Story, and then set out to construct gingerbread houses. One house, at left, became a church with a steeple.

Another house acquired a roomy extension, and dormer windows in the roof.

A dream of chocolate chips on the ridge of the roof, and an inviting walkway were features of this house.

A typical south St. Louis flat was the theme of this one. An M&M walkway is surely inviting!

Who wouldn't want to visit this beauty, with warm inviting windows and those red hot garlands on the roof to guide Rudolph and his reindeer crew?

Someone has a wildly creative imagination, from the Christmas tree on the upper deck to marshmallow smoke coming out of the chimney. Even those who don't usually feel creative had a good time and good fellowship tonight.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Peace Sunday in Advent

On this, the second Sunday in Advent, children during the Time of Wonder placed a manger, a sheep, a donkey and a a bird on the simple stable that is a focal point in the sanctuary. More figures will appear in the weeks to come.

Peace is the theme for this week in Advent. A second banner is hung in the sanctuary, and we sing, "peace is a ribbon that circles the earth.." as two candles are lit.

The Tree of Warmth has sprouted scarves, hats and mittens this week! The group of women who are forming the new Prayer Shawl Ministry decided to focus this month on items for the tree and at least four new hand-knitted scarves have appeared since Thursday! Items will be donated to Isaiah 58 for clients who can use them.

Upcoming items of interest:
  • Christmas special offering will be received on December 14 and 21. This offering helps support the ministry of our Mid-America Region of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. More information will be shared in worship on these dates.
  • Tuesday, December 9, 7 p.m., Soul Care for Advent.
  • Thursday, December 11, 6:30 p.m. Chicken and dumpling supper and gingerbread house making.
  • Sunday, Dec. 21, 5-8 p.m. Pastor's open house.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 24, 6:30 p.m., Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship and caroling on Flora Place, followed by cider and goodies at the Kreugers.
  • Elders Circle will not meet this month. In a special called meeting today, the elders voted to donate $6,000 from memorial funds they control to the Compton Cares Campaign when a CD matures later this month. Thank you, elders!
One final note: During 2008 Compton folk raised $420 toward a $50,000 pledge by the Christian Churches and United Churches of Christ in our Southeast Gateway Area to support a missionary couple in Haiti. A link to the blog by Patrick and Kimberly Bentrott is on the right side of this blog, just below the link to the Advent Devotional. Take some time to read the blog posts by Kimberly, a physician, and Patrick, who is working at the local seminary and teaching English in the school. When they left the U.S. this fall, they expected it would take them almost a year to absorb the culture, learn Creole, and become effective in their mission. NOT! A cursory read shows they are already in the thick of things and already making a difference. The blog is honest, about the ups and downs of being in a foreign culture, facing incredible poverty, and trying to do something with almost nothing. In 2009 we will have additional opportunities to support this mission financially, but for now, read the blog and if you are so moved, leave a comment on it, or e-mail the Bentrotts on the link they provide. I can imagine that being so far from home and yet knowing that people here are following their story, praying for them, and giving them feedback would be the best Christmas present this young missionary couple could receive!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent Begins With Hope

We began Advent on Sunday in worship by lighting the first candle in the wreath and singing Advent hymns. It's wonderful to see children like Maya bringing in the light of Christ and Colton studiously lighting the first candle.

"Hope is a star that shines in the night," we sing and that theme is reflected in this banner, which was hung on Saturday by the crew that also put greens all over the sanctuary.

Meanwhile, in the hallway, the Tree of Warmth waits to be decorated with scarves, gloves, hats, mittens and other items that will be distributed to Isaiah 58 clients.

Upcoming Advent events include
  • Prayer shawl ministry group, Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m.
  • Soul Care, Dec. 9, 7 p.m.
  • Elders circle, Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m.
  • Advent event with a chicken and dumpling dinner, dessert, hot cider and gingerbread house building, Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m.
  • Reading circle, Dec. 19, 10 a.m.-noon at 6 North Coffee.
  • Pastor's open house, Dec. 21, 5-8 p.m.
  • Christmas eve candlelight worship, caroling on Flora Place and treats at the Kreuger's, 6:30 p.m.
Remember to download a copy of the Advent Devotional from this page, or pick up a printed copy at church. Inspiring reading, some of it written by people you know!