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January 6, 2021 “What happens here, doesn’t stay here…”
Dear Church Family,
Happy New Year! Happy Epiphany! The season of Christmas comes to an end today as we settle into Winter. There is much to do in this season and before we turn around, we will be at Ash Wednesday and entering a season of Lent. However, let’s not rush there yet.
This day is a day in which we celebrate the Gentiles, those not even of the same “faith” belief or culture are recognizing this child in a manger, the one born in Bethlehem as King, Messiah, prophecy come to life. The Magi now affirm this great Epiphany, God incarnate, comes to the world.
What a celebration ensues! They bring gifts and come in awe, the same as the shepherds in the field did. While Herod doesn’t seem to be able to comprehend, this child will not become a king like he understands kings to be, he knows something is different and is afraid of losing power and control. Oddly the one who comes in the manger, whom the Magi now affirm, is one that will come to empower all, to stop division, to stand for justice for all, for love and grace for all! This child comes as a great equalizer that all are loved and beloved and deserving of every good gift. Can you imagine how threatened Herod feels that he may no longer be able to stand on the backs of others to promote himself as an entitled ruler?
Jesus, I believe, came to the earth to show us all a new way of life, a way to love and show grace and live in a place of freedom. Oddly, that means we all are responsible to live in to that way of living that attracts others, that shows others in whom our faith resides in, not man but God. And this brings us back to the reality of this day. This is the day we are called to acknowledge prophesy fulfilled, God sent God’s Son, our brother to teach us all through His living, how to live. We are called to live in a way that draws us close to the source of peace in our soul. Not a place to promote or boast, but a place to truly live as Christ called us to live.
The King has come, Comforter, Counselor, Mighty Prince of Peace, this is Him! That way of living is ministry, no not just for the ordained, the ones "called to be ministers," but to entire body of Christ followers, this birth, this acknowledgement changes us all and calls us all to a life of ministry. And that carries with it a requirement to act and live in a way of peace, love, respect and honor. Live in a way that exemplifies who we are and who we follow.
May the words of our mouths, the actions of our hearts, the work of our feet and hands exemplify Christ in a way that we too can say. This is the Messiah, our Savior. Amen.
In our daily prayers…
You are invited to join your faith family in prayer as we lift up:
· The Family of Ann Wright
· Gladys Fawcett, in GMC Danville
· Georgie Ritter, with continued surgeries
· Greyson Greenawalt, the youngest dialysis patient ever for GMC Danville
· All Front-line Health Care and Essential Workers
· Katy Mahon, awaiting determinations by healthcare professionals about her kidney
· Mina Hoover and her family as Mina (5) awaits surgery at GMC Danville
· Continued prayers for Clarence Snider as he recovers from a recent fall and
· Merle Kay Englehart, awaiting cardiac surgery
· Our prayers are with each individual and family in which we have been made aware of as well as all the unspoken requests on our hearts.
“Reach out and touch…and let the smile of God touch through you.” (as the old hymn goes)
No, really. Reach out and touch someone. Yes, for years I worked for AT&T and their old advertising slogan was “Reach out and Touch…” I am attempting to stay in touch with everyone as I can, however if you have not heard from me in a while, I would love to hear from you. So pick up your phone and give me a call, drop me an email or card and just say hi. This time, while we have been at this now more than nine months, doesn’t seem to get easier, I continue to miss you in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings, hearing you laugh and share stories in the Fellowship Hall, getting to be gathered around the tables in the Fellowship Hall packed in for a meal…wherever it is, I miss you and I know we all miss one another. So, don’t hesitate to reach out, not just to me, but one another. A phone call, a card, an email or note, especially during these long days of winter reaching out will certainly be welcome.
All too often I hear, “well I don’t want to be a bother…” or “they may be busy…” or “I’m not sure they would want to hear from me.” Just reach out to one another, let them know you miss them, you are thinking of them or just to say hi. If you are thinking of others, I’m pretty sure they are thinking of you. If you need a number or an address and don’t have it, call the church office, let us help you stay connected.
Ways to stay connected…
While we already know 2021 will begin a little, ok, a lot differently than in years past, we also know we can’t and hopefully won’t ever stop being the church! There are neighbors to help, there is music to be made (and practiced), there are journeys to be traveled and as we enter 2021, may we always remember we do it all together as one big faith family. There is something for everyone! So, as we begin thinking of ways we can once again be together and be the church in old and new ways alike, I wanted to begin to share a few options for 2021 with you…
Home Brew Wednesdays… Coming Wednesday, January 13, and each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., grab your favorite beverage and join us via Zoom! We will gather for our theological book discussion, share a few laughs, pray together and all from the comfort of your home. Add us to your Wednesday evening calendar! What a great way to spend the winter weeks together!
The first book of 2021 “You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Presence and Power” by Max Lucado. This six-week study takes us through the Gospel of John and the miracles he recorded asking some life-searching questions.
If you would like a hard copy of the book, please reach out to Donna in the church office (570) 568-1433 (books available beginning Jan. 3) or you may find the book electronically on Amazon Kindle as well. Join us on Zoom, Meeting ID: 5705681433; Passcode: 0501 January 13, 2021.
“Take Me Home Country Roads” to a place where we are planning our 2021 Summer Mission Trip! We will depart, Sunday, June 6, following worship and return Saturday, June 12. We will spend a week in the mountains and hills around Pipestem, West Virginia, helping with our neighbors there. We will be staying in cabins, possibly have our own chef along for some great food, if history repeats. We will be offered several cultural adventures around the area after each day’s work.
An informational meeting will be held Sunday, January 17, 6:30 p.m., via Zoom (Meeting ID 5705681433; PW: 0501). Come and learn more!
We are excited to be able to offer this great opportunity for our church family! Schedule your vacation time now and plan to join us June 6 to June 12, 2021! There will be something to do for everyone! Oh, and we have some great experienced Mission Trip leaders going with us too!
Sundays with David and Friends: There’s a great option for adult Sunday School on Sunday mornings at 9:15 a.m. led by David Reid. Each season the group gathers via Zoom, and in this season, they are studying the Psalms. All are welcome, if you know nothing of the Bible or are a Bible guru, your voice and presence are welcome. Look for the group on Zoom, beginning again on January 10. Meeting ID: 5705681433; Passcode 0501.
Fresh Express - Two Monthly Distributions Continue! Fresh Express, our local food distribution program in conjunction with the Central Penn Food Bank, continues into 2021 on the second and fourth Thursdays monthly. The program is currently distributing grocery boxes of mixed perishable and non-perishable food items to between 115 and 120 families each distribution. Extra or left-over items are being distributed to organizations in need in our area as well. Should you wish more information about this program, contact General Al Henry, Earl Fisher or Beth Vincent!
Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate (What did you expect?):
Order your Fair-Trade Equal Exchange products. All proceeds benefit our Saint Paul’s Mission Fund while all Fair-Trade purchases go to benefit independent farmers. The order form is now online via our website.
Products are: Mind, Body and Soul Ground Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Colombian Whole Bean Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Ground, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Whole Bean, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Regular, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Decaf, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; French Roast K-Cups, Regular, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Unwind K-Cups, Decaf, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Black Tea, 20 bags per box $5 per box; Decaf English Breakfast Tea, 20 bags per box, $5 per box; Very Dark Chocolate (71%), $4 per bar; Milk Chocolate (43%), $4 per bar.
This week @ Saint Paul’s:
Wed., Jan. 6 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
Thur. Jan. 7 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
Sun., Jan. 10 9:15 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Worship LIVE (https://tinyurl.com/ran9suv ) / or
Mon., Jan. 11 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Church Office Open
Tue., Jan. 12 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Church Office Open
Christian Education (click on Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433)
· Sundays with Dave and Friends – 9:15 weekly – the book of Psalms
· Monday Morning Preacher – 10:30 a. m. weekly (Let’s talk about Sunday’s text)
· Wednesday Home Brew Theology – 6:30 p.m. weekly (Beginning again, January 13)
· Non-Zoom daily devotions with “Faithful Families”
What happens here doesn’t stay here (ways to connect in the community):
· Fresh Express (2nd & 4th Thursdays each month)
· Painting, Cleaning and Organizing at the Church
· Pantry Remodeling at the church
· Equal Exchange Coffee Sale
· CARE team Goodies and Meals
· Summer 2021 Appalachian Mission Trip
Reach out to learn more about these and many other opportunities at the church!