What’s happening at Christmas? We’ve been planning and preparing for weeks already. On of the most popular events of the season is the Children’s Sunday, with the traditional “Hanging of the Greens” liturgy and the children bringing in the manger scene, piece by piece. That will happen on Dec. 14. Music is one of everyone’s favorite things about Christmas. This year, there will be a variety of good music to highlight our worship times. We’re looking forward to Dakota and Josh singing again for us on the 7th. Choirs will be featured on the 21th. On Christmas Eve, JoAnne will play Celtic harp. Since we think a lot about gifts during this time of year, the message series is called Gifts of God’s Grace. It will encourage us to think about the gifts that God wants to give us through his Son. Here is all the info in chart form.
Gifts of God’s Grace
Hymns and Choruses
Advent Wreath Lighting begins
A Light for Revelation
Lift Up Your Heads; O Come, O come Immanuel; For All the World
Music by Dakota and Josh
Joy To the World UMH #246 Angels From the Realms of Glory UMH # 220 For All the World
Children’s Sunday Program including
Hanging of the Greens and bringing in the Manger Set
Fellowship time following
Salvation from Sin
Go Tell It on the Mountain UMH #251 O Come, All Ye Faithful UMH #234 Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light UMH #223For All the World
On Earth Peace
Sing We Now of Christmas UMH #237
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing UMH #240It Came Upon A Midnight Clear UMH #218
For All the World; Away In a Manger UMH #217
Silent Night UMH #239
A New Heart
Luke 1:57-80 Ezek. 11:16-20; 36:24-27
That Boy-Child of Mary UMH #241; O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright UMH #247; Ring the Bells
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s not just the food either. I do admit I’m a fan of cranberry sauce and turkey and stuffing, apple, pumpkin and mince pie, etc. But there’s more to this great holiday than the good food.
I also have many good family memories of this important day. They go way back to my childhood when Uncle Jerry would come for deer hunting at our upstate western NY farm and he and Dad would tell the stories of their youthful deer hunting days. Then Mom and Grandma would put on a feast, except in those days we didn’t eat turkey, we ate roosters we had raised and butchered ourselves. As an adult I remember not only Thanksgiving dinners with my Mom and Dad at their house, but also Thanksgiving times with JoAnne’s family at her younger brother Mark’s house in Bath. We played pool in the basement and watched football while the turkey was cooking.
Over the years as a Pastor, I have developed an affection for what this day stands for through my work with people. So many folks are deeply burdened. They expect the worst and focus most of their energy reciting their troubles. There is no thought of thanksgiving. But by contrast, sometimes I go to the hospital and visit a very sick parishioner and find them giving thanks that things aren’t worse and praying for someone in the other bed who is so much worse off than they are. I’m quite sure right then that person will make a good recovery. They have the attitude of gratitude which is so foundational to spiritual and mental health and affects our physical health as well.
“Thanksgiving is Foundational” will be the theme for our November sermon series at Copper Hill Church. I hope to guide us in reflecting together on how the habit of being grateful can change our lives for the better. Thanksgiving is just so wholesome. Here’s the series outline. It’s only a three week series because the Advent/Christmas season begins on November 30 this year.
Thanksgiving is Foundational
Hymns & choruses
Gratitude, A Road to a Better Attitude
All Creatures of Our God and King #62For the Beauty of the Earth #92
Thanksgiving and First Fruits
Praise to the Lord, The Almighty #139Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven #66
Nov 23 Choir & Procession of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Pleases God
Psalm 69:30-32; Col. 1:10-12
Now Thank We All Our God UMH # 102Come, Ye Thankful People Come #694
Here’s a few pictures from the children’s costume party and hayride today. I can put up more if you send them to me.
Seventeen children and twenty-two adults spent the noontime on Sunday celebrating the fall season at Copper Hill Church. The party kicked off with a costume parade led by Pastor Kelvin and his grandson Sam. Pastor Kelvin’s everyday look in jeans and T-shirt didn’t quite compare to Sam’s cute monkey costume. Costumes represented included beautiful butterflies, a Navy special forces man, a baseball player, a surfer, a princess, a beetle, a fox, and many more. Carol Griffin said her clown shoes were the most comfortable she had worn in a while. No one knew JoAnne when she put on her Moroccan clothes. Next was a perfect kids lunch prepared by Judy Holcomb – mac and cheese and hotdogs, with some raw fruit and veggies to keep it healthy. Then JoAnne led in two children’s songs. Since one family spoke Spanish we sang “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish too. JoAnne gave a short object lesson featuring a glass pumpkin candle that reminded us about the light of Jesus’ presence in our hearts. Then it was time for the hayride. Thanks to Harrison and Jonathan Griffin we were treated to a ride on fresh haybales in a kicker-baler wagon up Copper Hill road to their farm, around the fields and back. The wind was crisp but not really cold. Everyone snuggled in the blankets and had a great time. Afterward, we had cookies and hot chocolate and each child received a bag of candy and a small pumpkin. This wonderfully fun event was organized by JoAnne Jones and Lisa Griffin.
Last week we enjoyed a great report short term missions from Dakota Doney, his friend Heather and their team leader, Sue, from Second Baptist church in Suffield. We could sense their excitement at being able to serve others in need. We enjoyed their photos too, both projected and on the memory boards. Dakota and Heather did a great job fielding questions too. Thank you to Rhonda Doney for arranging for this good report.
This Sunday Sunday we are ready to start a new series. It will be a three Sunday series covering the remaining Sundays in October and the first Sunday in November. It has a dual purpose. One is to take us back into the Old Testament to learn more about a key figure and a pivotal time in early Jewish history. Another equally important purpose is to give us a greater understanding of who God is and what he is doing in our world and in our lives. I’ve titled this series, “The God of Moses.”
Here is the link to a good reference site for basic United Methodist beliefs. This particular page talks about Methodism distinctive take on grace, explaining the three terms used in Wesley’s doctrine — prevenient grace, justifying grace and sanctifying grace. On the left of the page is a menu with links to other helpful info about Methodism.
Who can resist the lure of table after table of items at tag sale prices! This Saturday, September 27, from 9 AM – 2 PM will be the annual fall tag sale and bake sale at Copper Hill Church. Items big and small have been coming in for weeks and more are still arriving. Weather permitting, we’ll have the bigger items displayed outside while the smaller things remain inside the fellowship hall. A pair of skis, a decorative dish, a Christmas decoration, a used book, a piece of lightly used furniture, or just a new-to-you jigsaw puzzle illustrate the breath of choices. Half the fun is in browsing the collection. The other half is in finding a prize or two that work for you! And if you are like me you don’t want to miss the bake sale either. The cooking is excellent!
It’s back-to-school time. That means new beginnings for most of our teachers and school children. Programming at church somewhat follows the school year too. So shortly after school begins, plans are laid for new Bible studies and other small groups. Musical groups start practicing again.
New beginnings are important in our lives. During the month of September, the series of messages is entitled simply, New Beginnings. I took the idea for the series from a book I recently read called No Little Places. Here is the outline for the series as I see it now.
Hymns & choruses
A Spiritual New Beginning
(Philippian Jail Keeper)
Summer Send-off was a fun party! The children at Copper Hill Church enjoyed a great time at church on Sunday, August 24. Organizers JoAnne Jones and Lisa Griffin planned a series of activities bound to please. It began with active outdoor games on our West lawn under Lisa’s direction on a perfect sunny day. After various types of tag, relays and sack races, the children went inside for snacks appropriate for kids– sandwiches, veggies, and watermelon. They even had beach “cupcakes” prepared by Ruth Robison. These had ocean-colored gelatin with a topping that looked like sand on one side and a tiny beach umbrella jutting from the sand. JoAnne Jones led the children in singing some children’s songs. Next there was a skit put on by adults and teen helper, Hunter Prevost. Pastor Kelvin served as narrator and explainer as the children learned about the event in Jesus’ life when he fed 5000 people with just 5 loaves and 2 fish. Finally, it was craft time. Parents helped supervise as the children decorated crosses in honor of Jesus. The gallery of pictures is thanks to Christian Robison and Pastor Kelvin Jones.
On Sunday, August 17, volunteers from Copper Hill United Methodist Church spent part of the afternoon on the local rail trail walking to raise funds for the fight against malaria. The annual Skeeter Walk as it is called brought out a baker’s dozen volunteers to hike in the pleasant afternoon sunshine. Each one had asked for sponsors to support them on their walk. All together the group raised $700 toward the United Methodist Church’s campaign called Imagine No Malaria. Currently, the biggest goal of the campaign is to distribute sleeping nets in Africa that prevent children from getting malaria. It is a practical way of being a part of today’s expression of the healing ministry of Jesus. http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Programs/Global-Health/Imagine-No-Malaria
Many in the group wore T shirts for the occasion and carried fly-swatters so people on the trail would recognize the walkers who were part of the effort, giving additional publicity to the cause. The biggest fund-raisers were Susan Madry, Judy Holcomb and Robert Loomis. Any slackers on the walk itself were put to shame by Louise Holcomb’s brisk pace despite her walker. JoAnne Jones probably set the fastest pace as she nearly walked the circuit twice, first accompanying Nancy out and back, then catching up again and finishing the course with Susan. Jan was the bravest as her direction was determined by those who pushed her chair, Hunter, Robert, and Ron. One walker not shown in the picture is Pastor Jones.