What’s Happening at Emsworth U.P.? Advent/Christmas Events

Dear Friends and Members of Emsworth U.P. Church:
Whew.  Is it really almost December? 
The last few months at the church have been filled with conversation and prayer, all of it centered upon where we are heading as a church.  We have completed the “New Beginnings” process to see where we are, and are now entering into the Unglued Church phase.  Over the next 6 months, we will be working with our consultant, Rev. Deborah Wright, and our Adaptive Change apprentice, Rev. Sarah Robbins, to imagine a new future for our community of faith. 
Many thanks to all of you for your enthusiastic and thoughtful participation in the process so far.  I know it’s tough and tiring work, but it’s important work.  Although the Gospel of Jesus Christ never changes, we cannot deny that the world around the mainline church is changing, and changing quickly.  For churches to continue their work in meaningful ways, we must undergo an honest assessment of how we are or are not reaching out to our community.  We must focus on being church as opposed to getting people to come to church.   Despite all of the uncertainty, I remain convinced that Emsworth U.P. Church has the potential to become a vital faith community in our little corner of the North Boroughs. 
Stewardship is more important this year than ever as we seek to continue our work at Emsworth U.P.  You should have already received your pledge card for 2015 in the mail, and I hope you will send or bring it to the church as soon as possible.  This year, we are asking each of you to consider increasing your pledge to the church by at least 1%.  That’s it!  If you need a pledge card, please call the church or pick one up when you come to worship.
Meanwhile, Advent season is upon us, and we are looking forward to enjoying our holiday traditions.  I remember a pastor saying that the traditions of this season are important to observe because, without them, “we would anger the old people and confuse the children.”  My view is not quite so cynical, I confess.  Our conversations over turkey and stuffing, our carols and cookies for the at-home members, our engagement in the Advent Conspiracy, our gathering in candlelight on Christmas Eve – all of these traditions draw us close to one another and ever closer to the coming Christ.  I hope you will be able to join us for one or all of these events in the coming weeks:
First Sunday of Advent:  Sunday, November 30th (Mark Shannon preaching) + Kickoff of the Advent Conspiracy.
Advent Turkey Dinner:  Sunday, December 7 after worship followed by One Voice Advent Concert at 2:30 p.m.
Decorating the church and caroling: Saturday, December 13 at 10 a.m. (decorating) and noon (caroling)
Congregational meeting to elect church officers: Sunday, December 14 after worship
A Service of Hope and Healing on the Longest Night:  Sunday, December 21 at 4 p.m. at Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon (Pastor Susan preaching)
Christmas Eve Service:  Wednesday, December 24th at 7 p.m.
1st Sunday After Christmas Day (Joint Worship Service at Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon):  Sunday, December 28th at 10:30 a.m. (Pastor Susan preaching)

Many thanks, also, to all who assisted in refreshing and repainting the mini-meeting room over the past 2 months.  If you haven’t stopped by in a while, please do!  Among the great volunteers who showed up and did marvelous work include Tom Smart, Bez Stellfox, Jon Stellfox, Erin Williams, Dan Williams, Sue Schneider, Paul Zende,  Mary Tadler, Molly Tadler, David Rothenberg and Susan Rothenberg.  We also have some lovely new round tables to use for our meetings and gatherings so we can see each other face to face!
Thank you for all you do for and mean to Emsworth U.P. Church.  May the peace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit accompany you in these days of gratitude and anticipation as we prepare to welcome Emmanuel, God with us.
In shared ministry with you,

Pastor Susan