Weekly Email in advance of Sunday December 10th

Photo: The Pageant is coming next Sunday, the 17th, during 10:00 AM worship! It is not too late to participate as a character or chorus member, child or adult! Next rehearsal is after worship this Sunday from 11:15 to noon.  Be in touch with Annemieke if you are interested: annemiekemclane91@gmail.com or show up at church and join the fun!

Dear Church Family,

This week I am writing about the following items:

  1. Notes about this coming Sunday’s service 
  2. “Noël” Concert this Friday the 8th at 7 PM–Don’t miss it!!!
  3. Come sing with the choir during Advent and Christmas
  4. Children and Advent
  5. Advent series on Transforming Fear into Trust continues
  6. Mission Note
  7. Civil Rights Film and Songs, Youth and Adult Event January 7th
  8. Past sermons
  9. Description of upcoming Advent and Christmas church services
  10. Calendar of Upcoming Events
  11. Please help spread the word!
  12. Speaking with the pastor

Please note that if any of the links in this email do not work, you can find the content on our website  https://unitedchurchofstrafford.com/  using the headings or the Search (magnifying glass) window.

1. Notes about this Sunday’s worship, 12/10, the Second Sunday of Advent  The children and elder members of the Mission Committee will light the Hope and Peace candles of the Advent wreath, we will hear the comfort, encouragement and beauty of scriptures that promise the coming of peace, and we will hear about an exciting calling that is stirring in this congregation to be an instrument of peace in Strafford and the world.  To read about the service, click here.

2. “Noël” Concert This Friday Night, December 8th, 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary Annemieke’s recent concerts have left people so full of energy, joy, inspiration and a feeling of oneness that we have instituted a new feature–refreshments following the concert so we can share the high with one another.  This Friday’s event promises to be equally exuberant with the return of the three master musicians who joined Annemieke at the concert this summer.  Here is a brief description:
December 8th, 7:00 PM “Noël” Advent and Holidays music through the ages and countries, with Soprano Julie Ness, Bagpiper/whistler Timothy Cummings, Accordionist Jeremiah McLane & Pianist Annemieke McLane (Cassotto Duo).

 3. A great time to join the choir  Advent and Christmas music is particularly beautiful and uplifting to sing.  Come to church this Sunday at 9:00 AM to begin–no prior experience necessary!

4. Advent is particularly magical for children.  Every Sunday during Advent all the children will be invited forward to participate in the Lighting of the Advent Candle.  The Pageant will be taking place on December 17th during 10 AMworship.  The 5;00 PM Christmas Eve service will be child friendly (and extra magical) and will begin with a special “Time with the Children.”  We encourage families to invite friends to participate in all these activities–many families come only during Advent, or they come then and stay.

5. Advent Program  “Transforming Fear Into Trust: A Contemplative Journey Through Advent” led by Mark and Lisa Kutolowski, continues this Wednesday, December 13th from 5:30 to 6:30 PM in the Parish Hall.  Each session stands alone, so newcomers are welcome–we had a wonderful session including some new attendees this past Wednesday.  Arriving a little late is not a problem.  No experience or church affiliation necessary.  The last session will be in the Parish Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 20.  To read more about this program click here.

6. A Note from the Mission Committee  
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed food and other non-perishable items in the basket for the food shelf in the back of the sanctuary. A big load of items was delivered on Saturday, December 1 to the Sharon Food Shelf. We are grateful for your continued thoughtfulness and generosity. Thank you, one and all! We also ask that you please continue to show your support through the winter months with non-perishable food items and health items. Your donations are appreciated more than you could ever know. Also, while we have been grateful for the donations of the magazines, we are no longer collecting them.  Again, thank you, thank you for your donations and kindness. Bless you!

7. New date for an exciting Civil Rights Movement film and singing event  Note the date change, please: Sunday, January 7th from 4:00 to 8:00 PM we will be launching a new program for youth (and adults are welcome, too), entitled “Songs That Can Change the World.”  We will be watching the award winning film, “Freedom Song,” a fictional but very accurate portrayal of a small town in the south during the Civil Rights Movement starring Danny Glover with a soundtrack featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock.  Annemieke McLane will teach us some of the songs of the Movement, and the youth choir (and maybe adults, too) will sing them during worship on Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday, January 14th.  Civil Rights Movement veteran, retired Dartmouth professor Bruce Nelson and his wife Donna, will join us.  To read more about this event and see a clip from the film, go to our website by clicking here.

8. To read past sermons, click here.

9.  Every service is special between now and mid-January.  This Sunday is one of my favorite in the year, focusing on the inner and outer peace that the way of Christ is meant to bring us.
Next Sunday, the 17th, is the Sunday of Joy, and the original pageant written by Annemieke is designed to give us great joy.
Sunday morning, the 24th, is another of my favorites, the Sunday of Love, focusing on Mary the Mother of Jesus as a model for our spiritual lives and singing some hauntingly beautiful carols and hymns, “Lo, How a Rose” among them.
The 5 PM Christmas Eve service combines lessons and carols with a special children’s time and extended reflection in the magical candle light, ending with Silent Night.
The Sunday after Christmas, December 31st, is the most informal service of the year, a carol sing by request, and you are invited to bring favorite Christmas poems or stories (personal or published) to share–a completely child friendly and uplifting service with Christmas joy. Bring favorite Christmas treats to share for refreshments as well!
January 7th celebrates Epiphany, the brilliant light of the star over Bethlehem and the recognition of God’s manifestation in this world in Christ and all around us.
January 14th is inspiring and empowering as we celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a model for our Christ-like prophetic action in the world.  The youth will sing songs from the Civil Rights Movement, as will the adults!

10.  Below is the calendar from this week’s bulletin.  You can also find a more comprehensive calendar on the website at https://unitedchurchofstrafford.com/church-calendar/.  Thank you to our congregation’s wonderful Administrative Assistant, Jane Prescott, for keeping the website calendar up to date.  By clicking on entries on the website calendar you can read brief descriptions of the events.
Sun. Dec. 10               Second Sunday of Advent, Sunday of Peace
Wed. Dec. 13              Advent program here 5:30-6:30 PM
Sun. Dec. 17               Third Sunday of Advent and
Christmas Pageant 10:00 AM
Wed. Dec. 20              Advent program here 5:30-6:30 PM
Sun. Dec. 24               Fourth Sunday of Advent, 10:00 AM
Christmas Eve Service  5:00 PM
Sun. Dec. 31               Carol Sing & Christmas Storytelling 10 AM
Sun. Jan. 7                  Epiphany Sunday
4-8 PM Civil Rights Film and Songs Event
Sun. Jan. 14                Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday

11. Please help spread the word by using the “share” and “like” buttons on our website, and by liking, sharing and commenting on our facebook postings  https://www.facebook.com/UCStrafford/(every time you do that the number of people seeing our postings increases exponentially!) or by using the most effective means of communicating yet invented: word of mouth!

12. I am only a half time pastor, so I cannot take the initiative to reach out to everyone, but I am very eager to hear from those who would like to talk and I can always find the time!  It is something I am honored to do and love to do, so thank you in advance for the opportunity!

Please feel free to email me at rev.thomas.cary.kinder@gmail.com or call me at my home office in the parsonage at 765-2710 if you would like to talk or set up a time to get together.

Thank you!  I am so excited to be going through my first season of Advent and Christmas with you!  I love each of these services and hope you will as well.  Last Sunday‘s service was so uplifting with the children bringing in the greens and all the energy of over 50 in worship!  Thank you all!

Hope, peace, joy and love,
Pastor Tom Kinder

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