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The voice First United Methodist Church December, 2014 Pastor’s Message Pastor’s Preparations, Message preparations, preparations to be made! How will we find time to get it all done this holiday season? We’ve been overwhelmed already with all things Christmas – commercials and songs and commercials and decorations and commercials and cards and…did I mention commercials? And yet, every year, it seems like Christmas is upon us before we’re fully ready. Of all the preparations we will make this Christmas, the most important has nothing to do with presents or parties or concerts or houseguests. It is about preparing ourselves to receive the gift of Emmanuel, the “God with us” gift of Christ. Fit it is we find a room to welcome him: the best of rooms. With that charge, I offer this poem by 17th century English poet, Robert Herrick. I pray it inspires you as it does me. “A Christmas Carol” Robert Herrick What sweeter music can we bring, Than a carol, for to sing Come and see The birth of this our heavenly King? The cause, why things thus fragrant be: Awake the voice! Awake the string! 'Tis He is born, whose quickening birth Heart, ear, and eye, and everything. Gives life and luster, public mirth, Awake! the while the active finger To heaven, and the under-earth. Runs division with the singer. We see Him come, and know Him ours, Dark and dull night, fly hence away, Who, with His sunshine, and His showers, And give the honor to this day, Turns all the patient ground to flowers. That sees December turned to May. The darling of the world is come, If we may ask the reason, say And fit it is, we find a room The why, and wherefore, all things To welcome Him. The nobler part here Of all the house here, is the heart, Seem like the springtime of the year? Which we will give Him; and bequeath Why does the chilling Winter's morn This holly, and this ivy wreath, Smile, like a field beset with corn? To do Him honor; who's our King, Or smell, like to a mead new-shorn, And Lord of all this reveling. Thus, on the sudden? Peace and blessings, today and always.
From the Director of Faith Education On Advent and Christmas: These seasons bring opportunity for our children and youth to participate in leading our worship times. Having an opportunity to share our gifts, talents, and presence during worship is important to all of us, including our younger generations. The Children’s Choir will be singing December 14 during worship, as well as the 7:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Choir members are reminded of rehearsals each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. The children will lead worship on December 21. Practices for the program and worship pieces will begin after worship until 12:30 p.m. and continue every Sunday until December 21. The date and time for a dress rehearsal (with healthy snacks) will be announced. Volunteers to provide snacks and help each week during practice will be appreciated. Please see Tami. Friday Night Hangout! Friday Night Hangout is a time of fellowship for children in 1st-5th grade who attend First Church in Oberlin UCC, Oberlin First UMC, Oberlin UU Fellowship and their friends. It starts at 5:30pm, dinner is at 6:00 pm, and it wraps up at 8:00 pm. The three above churches will rotate hosting FNHO. All children attending need to have a permission form fill out and brought with them on the first night they attend. The form is good for all Friday Night Hangouts in the 2014-2015 school year. In order to ensure the proper food portions, it would be helpful if you RSVP to your appropriate staff person the Monday before, however if you forget you can still attend! November 21st: FNHO will be held at Oberlin UU Fellowship (355 E. Lorain St.) Dinner menu will be: Home-made gluten free chicken nuggets, green beans, pineapple bites, and baked apples. Activities for the night include: Thanksgiving centerpieces and service project of fringe tied scarves and blankets. December 12th: FNHO will be held at First Church in Oberlin (106 N. Main St.) Dinner menu will be: Whole grain spaghetti, chicken meatballs, homemade sauce, veggie plate, and home-made rice crispy treats. Activities for the night include: Christmas movie night January 9th: FNHO will be held at Oberlin First UMC (45 S. Professor St.) Dinner menu will be: Hamburgers, kosher hot dogs, baked potato wedges, fruit kabobs. Activities for the night include: Beach party! Flipper races, sand art, dance party, beach volley ball
Youth Group Update The Youth Group gathered on October 26th, a beautiful and sunny day, and took on the challenge of the Lorain County Metroparks Corn Maze at Carlisle. We did eventually emerge from the maze relatively unscathed and regardless of what the kids say, the adults did not get lost. (We were waiting for them to get out of the maze first before we walked around for another 20 minutes, you know, to let them rest.) The kids and a couple of adults spent a sunny, yet crisp afternoon on November 9 th tackling the leaves that took over the Weston’s yard. It was great to have CJ, Evan, Ryanne, Emme, Jack, and Matt helping to rake and dump gigantic piles of leaves. The kids didn’t let all those leaves turn to compost before jumping, burying, and flying into the pile to celebrate a job well done. Thanks again to Joyce Wolfe for feeding hungry teens. If anyone else would like to take on that task the kids are willing to take you up on it. Susan Fury Membership Committee On November 1 the Committee members along with Aiko Ebihara, Joyce Wolfe, Jean Shannon, Jean Reno, Penny Locke and Denise Capers refurbished and enhanced new and old Advent and Christmas decorations for the sanctuary of our church. It was a great time doing this. By the time of this reading we will have decorated the sanctuary (November 23) and I hope you appreciate these efforts. Perhaps you will have joined us in the ‘Hanging of the Greens’ as well as sharing in the Soup Supper. Christmas caroling for our shut-ins will take place on Sunday, December 21. Please join us again as we travel to our home-bound members and the nursing homes to sing for the people. Everyone is welcome. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Bonnie and the Membership Committee.
Musical Voice for the VOICE Since last month’s column was awfully long and serious, this month deals with my favorite time of the year: Christmas! I even wrote a book of fifteen short stories set at Christmas time. (Okay, one of them was Christmas in July, but who’s counting.) I am that into this season. The season has so many wonderful songs, some cheery and some melancholy; some are secular and some religious. If I looked hard enough, some might even be mercenary, so I won’t search out that kind of song. The joy many of us feel is centered on the joy found in song texts. Whether it’s “Joy to the World” or “The First Noel” or “Silent Night” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” they are all filled with a sense of the season, a feeling of joy. Even Rudolph, after the bullying of the reindeer games, comes across with a happy ending. At this time of year, however, the joyous songs and carols don’t always reach where they should. The melancholy mentioned earlier and found in some songs overtakes some people, and for them this is the saddest time of the year. They don’t shop, they don’t go to church, and they don’t go to the houses of friends to enjoy companionship and goodwill. They sit at home and mope. For a limited few, that moping turns their melancholy darker with tragic results. This season, while you enjoy your parties, think about those few who will never reach out but who will sit alone on the family days (Thanksgiving and Christmas! And even New Year’s Eve!). The joy for us all can be spread further. “Have yourself a merry little Christmas,” and help others to do so, too. Note: In our sanctuary, December 14, at 7 p.m. will be a rare, outside of the Conservatory performance of Bassoon Christmas. The honey-brown sound of the bassoon can light up any number of songs. There are popular songs, carols, and even classical tunes – like the Nutcracker Suite. The concert won’t be terribly long, but it is a bright way to get us all into the joyous mood of the season. A reception follows. Alan Montgomery POINSETTIA ORDER Christmas Altar 2014 Cost: $8.00 each Number of plants ______ Orders due December 14 In memory/honor of ____________________________________________ Given by _____________________________________________________ (Payment must accompany this order. Make checks payable to Oberlin First UMC)
Missions Committee Since this is a new venture, the host church is looking for permanent supplies. Needed are: substantial The Missions Committee of Oberlin twin air mattresses; twin mattress First UMC is planning to help the Oberlin pads; flat and fitted twin sheets; Unitarian Fellowship to host Family pillows; pillow protectors; pillow Promise the week of December 28, cases and blankets. 2014 through January 3, 2015. Consumable supplies needed for This program is a part of the Interfaith breakfast and lunch-packing will be Hospitality Network that has been purchased in bulk and available helping homeless families in Lorain nightly for the families to use. County since 1986. Other churches in Funds will be provided by Oberlin Oberlin have participated for many years First UMC Missions budget and including First Church UCC, Peace Oberlin First United Methodist Community Church, Christ Episcopal, Women. Additional donations may Crossroads, Sacred Heart Catholic be needed. Church, Mt. Zion and Rust UMC. If you would like to donate any of The host church welcomes the families the listed items or wish to volunteer at 5:00 p.m., serves a hot evening meal, to help, please contact Sue Brady or organizes craft and homework activities, Jean Shannon. and provides overnight sleeping accommodations. The maximum number of Many Thanks! people is 14 guests plus the two church members. As the ‘partner church,’ Oberlin First UMC will provide supplies for the families to daily pack a breakfast and lunch which they take with them. The shuttle bus picks up the families at 6:00 a.m. to take them to the Day Center, where they are provided with shelter, professional help with job search, housing search and other needs, plus a location to bathe and wash clothing. On school days the children are picked up from there by their school district bus. (The assigned FUMC week will be during the holiday vacation.) At 5:00 p.m. the shuttle bus transports the families back to the host church.
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