Can we do Christmas in Peace?

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1 Vol. 1 No. 1 C A LVA R Y U N I T E D M E T H O D I S T C H U R C H FA L L / W I N T E R C R O S S R O A D S Advent is a season of the church year in which we prepare for the coming of Christ. December is a time of the secular year in which we prepare for the coming of Christmas. While those two statements sound like the same thing, we know they are not. Much of December is consumed by rushing here and there to cross off gifts on our list, wrap all those gifts, go to all those Christmas events, send out those Christmas cards, make all those cookies, decorate the perfect tree, and stress about family gatherings. This has little to do with preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. We can say we aren t going to stress this year, that we aren t going to do as much, that we aren t going to buy as much. All those are great goals. Even if we do manage to minimize, the truth is it will still be a hectic season. So how do we do prepare for the coming of Christ in the midst of the errands, the food, the bustle and stress of the season? While we sing about that silent night long ago and think fondly of a picturesque nativity scene, the truth is Can we do Christmas in Peace? by Angela Flanagan that first Christmas had plenty of stress of its own. Mary was a very young, poor, unwed, pregnant girl with a very uncertain future. Surely, this is not how she imagined giving birth to her firstborn away from her family, in an unknown place, while in labor pains searching frantically for a place to even give birth. That night was indeed holy, but I sincerely doubt it was silent! What if peace isn t about silence or stillness? What if peace is an abiding trust in God in the very midst of the noise and chaos of life? How do we experience this kind of peace this holiday season? This Advent we will be exploring these questions and more as we journey through an all-church study, Not a Silent Night by Adam Hamilton. There are lots of study group times available and you are invited to join in! Sunday worship will relate to the themes lifted up in the weekly study, and there will be additional opportunities for you to participate in this exciting time in Calvary s life. Through it all, you are invited to consider how you might do Advent/Christmas/December differently this year? Chances are that you will still cook and bake and shop and wrap how will you it in peace? Longest Night Service All around us we hear the message be merry! Be joyful! Be full of cheer! But for many the holiday season is a mixed bag of emotions. Times of celebration can highlight the loss of those who no longer sit around the table. Picturesque holiday images can isolate those whose lives feel far from picture-perfect. The push for the perfect gift can create high anxiety for those who struggle with financial well-being. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself struggling this holiday season, you are invited to the Longest Night Service on Sunday, December 20th at 4pm at Calvary. The Longest Night Service is a time in which we acknowledge the grief, loneliness and anxiety that can accompany this season and remind one another of the hope we have in Jesus Christ God who came to be with us in the midst of the messiness of life. Jesus who was born in a manger is the same Jesus who refused to let the darkness of this world dampen the Light of God s love. This time of quiet worship will include opportunities for prayer, reflection, Holy Communion, and support of a community of brothers and sisters in Christ. The service is supported by Calvary s Stephen Ministry and Stephen Ministers will be available for all who would like someone to pray with them. Invitations to the Longest Night service will be available at the Calvary Connection desk throughout Advent. Please prayerfully consider who you know who might benefit from such a service and invite them to the special time of prayer and healing. Be sure to take an invitation for yourself as well. All are welcome.

2 What to expect? Watch a short video and discuss the themes in Adam Hamilton s Not a Silent Night. How to register? Sign up on Sunday or contact or call church office When does it start? Most groups begin the week of Sunday, Nov 29th. The Wed. and Thurs. groups begin on Nov 18 and 19. How long are the classes? Most groups are 1 hour long. Wed and Thurs groups run 1.5 hours Is there childcare? All groups meeting at church have childcare available. Please let us know how many children. How much does it cost? The books are $ Scholarships available. Sunday groups (start on November 29) 8:00 am - GSH Leader: Tim Dine (Men s breakfast group) 9:00 am - Room 110 Leaders: Ken and Lucinda Nelson 10:45 am - Room 110 Leader: Lucinda Nelson Tuesday group (start December 1) 6:30 pm - Room 110 Leaders: Dave and Lois Loudermilk Finding God in the Kitchen by Wayne Evans Wednesday groups (start November 18) 12:30 pm - Fishbowl Leaders: Heather Fowble and Lucinda Nelson 1:00 pm - Room 110 Leader: Robin Cooney Thursday groups (start November 19) 9:00 am - Room 109 Leader: Judy Winfield 9:30 am - Room 110 Leader: Kathy Barna, Carmen Hilton I retired three years ago. After retiring, I felt that the next few years should be dedicated to service. Service to my fellow man and to God. Our family has always attended church but, now I wanted to do more just than sit and listen to the sermons on Sundays. I started by volunteering to work in God s Kitchen on Thursday nights. I had no idea what God had in store for me. I have always said that I m still a work in progress. I found out just how true that statement was. Initially, I thought that this ministry was to help those in need of a free meal. I learned quickly that we provided not only food but, support to those in need of friendship and companionship. I also learned patience! I was never the most patient and understanding guy but, it is necessary dealing with the public that we serve weekly. I didn t learn this on my own. I owe my spiritual growth to God s Kitchen and to the other volunteers I work with on Thursday nights. On another weekday evening in the kitchen and our volunteer staff holds a bible study which has helped me in all aspects of life. I ve grown in my Christian Life because of these people. My work in God s Kitchen lead me to the Methodist Men s Group on Sunday mornings. Some of those men are also part of the staff on Thursday nights. I ve worked on more service projects through the Methodist Men and learned how Christian Men live and take the lead in day to day life. Again, this helped me grow in faith. I know that one does not go to heaven on Works. We get to heaven on Faith. But, helping others in their day to day lives can t hurt. My family has been very fortunate and, we are in a position to give back through our church s ministries. We will not have Gods kitchen on the following days: Thanksgiving-Nov. 26 Christmas Eve- Dec 24 New Year s Eve- Dec 31

3 Sharing the Warmth of Thanksgiving & BEYOND This will be done in 2 phases God s Kitchen is sponsoring a warmth drive for local children that are in need of basic things to help keep them warm. With the cold weather just around the corner, our focus is to help provide for those children. Phase 1 We are collecting children s coats, gloves, boots, scarfs, & anything else that will help provide warmth this winter. God s Kitchen will deliver the donated items to local schools that have demonstrated a great need for their students around Thanksgiving. Phase 2 We will collect children and adults between thanksgiving and Christmas. Please consider donating to our warmth drive. donations can be dropped off at the church in the outside vestibule (glassed in area) at anytime. Questions? Contact New Newsletter is now Quarterly Most of you know me from doing the newsletter for many years a few years ago. I have agreed to do it again, and this time, it s a smaller newsletter that you will see quarterly. The newsletter will be out: November: Fall/Winter January: Winter/Spring April: Spring/Summer July: Summer/Fall Terri King MUSIC DURING ADVENT CHRISTMAS CANTATA This year s Christmas cantata is Pepper Choplin s One Silent Night A Christmas Ballad of Love & Joy. The Spirit Singers and Chancel Choir will be performing the cantata in Good Shepherd Hall on Thursday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m., immediately following the God s Kitchen meal. The cantata will also be performed on Sunday morning, December 20 at the 9:20 and 11:00 a.m. worship services. New this year: The Calvary Singers and Cherub Choir will be singing part of the cantata with the adult choir members! This is a family-friendly event that will last approximately 30 minutes. CHRISTMAS ORCHESTRA Do you love Christmas carols? Do you play an instrument? Join the Calvary Christmas Orchestra! We will rehearse in the music room (112) on Saturday, December 19, 9:30 11:00 a.m. Performance will take place in the sanctuary, prior to the 4:00 p.m. Christmas eve service, on Thursday, December 24, To sign up, contact: Beckie Karras ( x 212; All band and orchestra instruments are welcome. If you have a portable music stand, please bring it. Music will be provided. CAROLING AS A CHURCH FAMILY On Sunday evening, December 13, you can spread Christmas joy to friends and neighbors in Mt. Airy when you join Calvary s youth fellowship and go caroling throughout Mount Airy. This event is open to all and begins with a light meal served at 5:30 PM in Good Shepherd Hall. CALVARY CABARET The Eighth Annual Calvary Cabaret will be held this year on Saturday, March 12. Watch for more details in January. And how often do we thank Jesus for his kindness? Not often enough. But does our ingratitude restrict his kindness? No. Because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin (Luke 6:35). Calvary United Methodist Church 403 S. Main Street Mount Airy, MD

4 CHRISTMAS HOSPITALITY Ushers and Greeters Please consider using your gifts of hospitality to welcome 1200 people to Calvary on Christmas Eve. Ushers are needed for all services: 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, and 10:00 p.m. Greeters are needed for 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, and 10:00 p.m. services. No experience necessary, we will train you. Please contact Judy Winfield, or if you are able to help. Christmas Bread Bakers Needed! On Christmas Eve, we are planning for 1,200 people to join us in worship. Our hospitality includes offering gift bags to all of our guests. The gift bags will include the bread and information about Calvary and its ministries. This year we will assemble 100 bags, so we need 20 people to bake bread. If you are able to help, please follow these instructions: 1. Purchase 5 mini loaf pans (aluminum, at any grocery store). 2. Prepare any bread recipe that you like, no nuts please. 3. Bake the bread. 4. Cover the bread with plastic wrap. 5. Wrap the bread in wrapping paper. 6. Bring the loaves to the church between Sunday, December 20 and Tuesday, December 22. Please do not bring your loaves in on Christmas Eve. Place the loaves on the cart by the Connection Desk. Please contact Judy Winfield to let her know that you are baking, at or Thank you! A Prayer for Christmas Morning by Robert Louis Stevenson The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will. Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world? Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, And the Christmas evening bring us to our bed with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus? sake. Amen There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees. Victor Hugo Merry Christmas

5 The Christmas Season is upon us again, what an exciting time of year! We would like to invite you this year to donate flowers in memory or in honor of loved ones, or in appreciation of someone. Christmas poinsettias are a beautiful way to decorate for the holidays and celebrate those we love. Each plant is $ You may take your poinsettias home after all services are over on Christmas Eve, or you may leave them to be shared with shut-ins, those who are lonely, or those who are ill. Please complete the order form below, enclose it with a check for the total made out to Calvary UMC with a note marked Poinsettia, and place it in the offering plate or turn it in to the Church Office by Sunday, December 6. POINSETTIA ORDER FORM (PLEASE PRINT) Name: Daytime Phone Number: Number of Plants: Amount Enclosed: Complete the following as you would like it to appear in the bulletin: GIVEN BY: IN MEMORY OF: IN HONOR OF: IN APPRECIATION OF: (Please check one) I will pick up after services Please share with those who can enjoy (shut-in s, nursing homes)

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