Our Advent celebration during December was beautiful! Unfortunately, we missed the first Sunday of Advent as the weather did not comply, but I feel we made it up with three more dynamic worship services. We had families come forward to light the Advent candles of hope, peace, joy and love. On Christmas Eve during our service at 7:30 p.m. we lit the final candle, the Christ candle representing the ushering in of Christ both in our lives and the life of the church. We also had some wonderful music before the service featuring members of Emmanuel’s congregation.
Throughout Advent, the writings of the prophet Isaiah assured us that Israel will receive a savior, a king that would lead the people from slavery and bondage to a new life. II t is the incarnation of Jesus, the Word made flesh, that leads us from the bondage of sin to a new life in Christ and this is for all people, not only a select few.
Now, the opportunity arises for us to face another year as a faith family. Before us lies a road the is not straight, but contains curves and hills. I can’t imagine traveling this road alone. Along this road we will learn more about God, Christ, and ourselves. Perhaps we can even continue to identify with the Holy Word and realize that wow, this was written for me!
Many of us relate the celebration of a new year with resolutions, a firm decision to do or not to do something. These resolutions range from self-change to helping others change, finding the ideal self. I have some personal ones but, I would like to share some resolution I have as a minister at Emmanuel UCC.
For our church: I am going to continue to lead a traditional and dynamic worship service Sunday at 10:30 a.m. My hope is that we continue to learn together more about God and the wonderful works he performs in our lives.
We are going to be treated to some new hymns as we are now in possession of a new projector and are able to place the words on a large screen for all to follow.
The rehearsing of our new praise band (yet to be named), will begin in January. This group will be available for special services throughout the year and give us and others another type of worship experience.
There will be more outreach to our family and friends residing at Smith’s nursing home. I am planning to perform a worship service there the last Sunday of every month with communion and would love for anyone from our congregation who can attend this service come along. I surely could use your help!
And for all of us, me included. Tell a friend about Emmanuel UCC. Share with them stories of your church home and invite them to share in the banquet with you. I know I will! I am proud and elated to be working with you and feel we have much to offer as a church.
Finally, I am working toward ordination following the Penn Northeast Conference guidelines. Continuing to write papers and attend classes, there is hope that ordination will occur this year!
So, let’s celebrate this New Year with a renewed vision for our church and the world, and let us keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. Happy New Year from my family to yours,