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LAMPLIGHTER - December 2016
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     Lamplighter December 2016
      Congregational Church of Soquel

MINISTER

Dear Friends in faith:

During the holiday season the calendar has been more than generous in its attention to the act of  celebration in the life of the church. Not only are we observing the four Sundays of Advent, but this year’s Christmas morning itself arrives on Sunday. What is more, all this is surrounded by a wonderful range of fun and meaningful events including caroling, chrismon arts and crafts, our children’s Christmas play, an Advent Bible Study, music from our choir, and a special Christmas Eve service. In short, when it comes to the holidays, Congregational Church of Soquel knows how to put the “Merry” in “Merry Christmas.”  

What with all this abundance, it’s not surprising that the Life & Worship theme chosen for this Christmas season is, The Fullness of Life. And what better image could you choose than that of stockings, like the kind pictured on the front of our Sunday Advent bulletins. From childhood, most of us understand what this ritual means. We hang our stocking in anticipation of a promise—the act of giving and receiving (in this case receiving), the arrival of a blessing, and the patient hope of a surprise yet to be, well, filled! Yes, Christmas festivities in our commercial culture have always been accompanied by a certain element of greed, consumerism, “Black Friday,” the holiday retail sales index—you name it. Perhaps the stocking has become something of playful icon for that stubborn impulse. 

But let me suggested that this symbol, looked at differently, may lead us to a meaning far beyond the selfish notions it otherwise seems to imply. In Ephesians 3:19 the writer puts a twist on what it means to have your stocking filled: 

“Know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with the fullness of God!” 

The exclamation point was my idea, not the authors, but I think it’s fitting. This scripture describes something like a WOW moment. Here, we are not simply waiting to be “filled,” but rather “fulfilled,” as in, our humanity being made whole. And with what you ask? With the fullness of God! 

Now tell me, how would you like to find that in your stocking on Christmas morning? What would you do on behalf of this world if you found the inexhaustible and inclusive love of God in your possession? May I suggest that, in the story of Jesus' birth, that is exactly what we have, the opportunity to apply God's love among our families, friends, community and world in a manner that reveals the coming of the Christ child, God’s embodiment of compassion, reconciliation and, as always, 

Peace,
Mark Fountain
Minister

Ministry Associate

“Let’s dance and sing and make good cheer, 
For Christmas comes but once a year.”   F. MacFerran
 
This is as everyone knows my favorite season, when hearts are open and smiles abound, when we give joyfully and find our greatest peace, given to us once again through Christ our Lord. I pray that this Holy Season we all may find the true gift of Christmas, the love of God and each other, so that we may face a New Year with Hope and Joy to meet all its challenges. Be sure to join in all of our activities – Advent Bible Study, Caroling, Children’s Christmas Pageant, our Choir’s special Christmas music and of course Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services – for you will be blessed, your spirits lifted so that you might bring “good tidings” to others. And as part of your celebration, I hope you will join Bob and I on December 17th for an old-fashioned gathering of friends for our first Christmas in our new home. I am so pleased to live here in Santa Cruz County and to serve here at Congregational Church of Soquel. 

Merry Christmas and Love to All,   
Rev. Patti
 

“We rejoice in the light, and we echo the song
 That comes down through the night from the                                                                           heavenly throng.
 Ay! We shout to the lovely evangel they bring,
 And we greet in His cradle our Savior and  King.”
                                   --  Josiah Gilbert Holland

 

1 Thursday
10:00 am Craft Group in Parrish Hall

4 Sunday
8:30 am Choir Practice
8:30 am Choir Practice
9:30 am Life & Worship
9:30 am Learning Classes
10:30 am Fellowship

5 Monday
7:00 pm  Advent Bible Study
8 Thursday
10:00 am Craft Group in Parrish Hall
9 Friday
Carols! Cookies! Cocoa!

11 Sunday
8:30 am Choir Practice
9:30 am Life & Worship
9:30 am Learning Classes
11:00 am Church Council Mtg
6:30 pm Christmas Pageant

12 Monday
9:00 am Alice Circle at IHOP
12 Monday
7:00 pm  Advent Bible Study
13 Tuesday
6:30 pm Eve Circle
15 Thursday
10:00 am Craft Group in Parrish Hall

18 Sunday
8:30 am Choir Practice
9:30 am Life & Worship
9:30 am Learning Classes
10:30 am Fellowship

19 Monday
7:00 pm  Advent Bible Study
19 Monday
12:30 pm Lydia Circle in Parrish Hall
20 Tuesday
7:00 Trustees Meeting
21 Wednesday
6:15 pm Deacons Meeting
22 Thursday
10:00 am Craft Group in Parrish Hall
25 Sunday
8:30 am Choir Practice
9:30 am Life & Worship
9:30 am Learning Classes
10:30 am Fellowship
x
29 Thursday
10:00 am Craft Group in Parrish Hall
30 Friday
ANNUAL REPORTS DUE!

Our Advent Bible Study
 "Christian Symbols/Christmas Traditions"
continues Mondays, December 12th & 19th at 7:00 pm in Parrish Hall.  Come and join our study of "Christian Symbols/Christmas Tradition and their Biblical/Historical origins.  Everyone is welcome.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9 ~ RAIN OR SHINE!
In the event of major rain, we will enjoy caroling in Parrish Hall.
 

 I hope all of you had a joyful November as we celebrated Thanksgiving and remembered our religious heritage built on the foundation of our Pilgrim parents.
 
As we enter Advent and look forward to Christmas, there are many activities planned at Congregational Church of Soquel to help you celebrate the season.
 
Fellowship ornament making, Advent Bible Study, this year’s Christmas Pageant, “Three Wise Kings,” presented by our children, Caroling, Cookies & Cocoa, the Christmas choir music Sunday, and worship on both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning are all coming up. I hope I haven’t overlooked anything!
 
Participating in one or more of these activities is a great way for you to put aside the stress that many of us feel during this season and instead enjoy Advent. I look forward to seeing you in church.
 
Wishing you a joyous advent season,
David Miller, Moderator


 

DEACONS
Deacons Lamplighter Report                                               November 27, 2016

Deacons met on November 16, 2016.  We continue to make contact with our friends and members who need us.  It might be an illness or injury, or it could just be a matter of aging.  Whatever the reason, we want to keep the lines of communication open.  Help us to do this.  Let us know if someone is sick or needs help.  We are all ministers to the community and each other.  Thank you for your love and caring!

The “Hanging of the Greens” took place on Saturday the 26th. It was a great time together as the church was transformed with our Advent and Holiday decorations.  A big thank you and love for all of you who helped put it together this year!  It really sets the stage for everything that takes place in our Advent and Christmas time together.

The Deacons wish you a healthy, happy and Merry Christmas Season.
Faithfully,
Bill Abraham
December 2106
 
Trustees listened to a presentation from Melanie Mow Schumacher of the Soquel water district. There is a state mandate that the water district needs to meet the state goal to refill the water basin by.  Soquel’s answer to this is Replenishing Mid-County Groundwater.   The overall goal is to avoid saltwater intrusion.  For more info: http://www.soquelcreekwater.org/our-water/community-water-plan
On a related note, the Green Team is looking into a water catchment system for the church.
 
The primary work of Trustees this time of year is preparing the 2017 budget.  Our thanks to this year’s stewardship team for their Sunday Stewardship Moments and teaming up with Fellowship for an inspirational (and tasty!) Celebration of Giving.   We also thank the many of you who have returned your 2017 pledge cards.  If your pledge card is still lost in that stack of mail, we encourage you to turn it in, in the near future.  It will help us plan appropriately for the coming year.  Replacement pledge cards are located in the narthex and the church office.
 
Other items on out To Do list include:  1) Advertising for an Office Manager. Carol Walker resigned and we are currently staffing the office with volunteers. 2) Installing new whiteboards in the Youth and Community rooms. 3) Security lights have arrived and will be installed soon. 4) Rick Peretto, with the help of the Green team are considering options for repairing/replacing the dishwasher.  4) Organ repairs were made and a donor covered the cost!
 
Thank you,
Joyce Trybom
Chairperson

Learning & Worship

We enjoy the start of the Advent season, with the renewed promise of Christmas and Jesus entering our lives.  We look around at all the excitement the season brings, and now take time to reflect on the symbols and traditions which we hold dear - what does it all mean?  We've started off with making "Chrismon" decorations on the first Sunday of Advent, and talking about these decorations for the Christmas tree. During an Advent Bible study at church on Monday evenings at 7 p.m., Patti Haaheim will be examining the meaning of these symbols and traditions which are all around us, and we hope you are able to join in the discussion.  Then there is our wonderful Christmas play directed by Emily Hanson on December 11th - which deserves a spot on your calendar because it is always so great seeing our youth and adults in another fabulous performance!  A great big "thank you" to our entire music committee, choir and musicians for providing such special music to warm our hearts and soul.  It all culminates in our special services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and we hope you enjoy a little special surprise to you...you'll have to come and see.

--Gloria Wells

Learning Coordinator
 
A special thank you to all those that have donated to our Second Harvest Food Drive.  We will have the barrel in Parrish Hall until December 11 for your donations.

Reverend Patti joined us on November 20 to share with us about Advent and to teach us about the special ornaments called Chrismons that we would be making during our special intergenerational fellowship event on November 27.  Thank you, Reverend Patti for sharing your love for Jesus with us and teaching us about the beautiful Christian symbols.

We have been very busy preparing for our Christmas program which will be December 11 at 6:30 PM in the Big Church.  Some of God’s older children will be joining us.  It will be very special evening.  Thank you to our children and to Emily Hanson and team for sharing their gifts with us.

We had fun singing in church on November 27.  It is wonderful to be part of the service. How thankful I am for our children and for all of the opportunities God has given me to serve Him through them.
 
With God’s Love,
Cindy Boram
Learning Coordinator

On November 13th, after the special "Celebration of Giving" service, the Fellowship Board hosted the final Second Sunday Brunch of 2016 and provided a delicious meal of sweet and savory pies - always a big hit!
 
The Fellowship team, along with the Ministry of Worship & Learning, served refreshments for the fun Chrismon-making Advent project on November 27th.
 
"Caroling, Cookies and Cocoa" will take place on Dec. 9th and the Fellowship Team will be back at Parrish Hall, awaiting our cold and hungry carolers, with hot beverages and some tasty holiday cookies.

Holiday Blessings,
Kathy & Steve Gullickson
Judy & Rick Peretto
 

 

 Chancel choir is preparing Christmasmusic for the December 18th worship service.  The Music Team is also planning music for Christmas Eve.  These promise to be truly inspirational times of worship in the life of our church.  We look forward to sharing these times with you.

We are also pleased to report that a donor has stepped forward and covered the cost of the organ repairs. Thank you!  

This is a good time to thank the many people who fill our worship services and our hearts, with music all year long!

Thank you and Merry Christmas,
The Music Team

Book Report

By library committee member, Katharine Burke
 
Look great and feel great with Twelve Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life Now by Joyce Meyer.  Like the title promises, the book has twelve pointers for getting healthy, staying healthy and preventing many common health problems.
 
Some of the principles are “Let God do the Heavy Lifting,” right vision, make it easy.
 
Both men and women can learn from this book.  Parents can teach their children to eat right, and exercise their bodies and spirits.
 
Look for this book in the church library.   There are also many other books members can borrow from the library.  Parents please accompany small children for the early reader books. 

Thanks & Enjoy!

Prayer Report


November's Prayer Report covered 11 Prayer Band requests and updates and 61 Prayer Meeting concerns.

Quote for the month:
Faith is not the belief that God will do want you want .  It is the belief God will do what is right.
-Max Lucado

Thanks and appreciation to all who prayed.
Cay Melendy, corresponding coordinator

 

FRIDAY 9TH: 
CAROLS ~COOKIES~ & COCOA!
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
We will meet at the church in Parrish Hall, walk around the village of Soquel singing traditional carols, andthen return to the church for cookies and cocoa. BRING YOUR FRIENDS and FAMILY, too!  Jingle bells and Santa Hats welcome!
DRESS WARMLY and BRING A FLASHLIGHT!

SUNDAY 11TH: 
9:30 am  Middle & High School Class meets
10:30 am  ANGEL TREE & PEANUT BRITTLE SALES
6:30 pm Christmas Pageant 2016!

SUNDAY 18TH: 
9:30 am  Middle & High School Class meets
10:30 am  LAST DAY TO TURN IN ANGEL TREE GIFTS
4:30 pm  Progressive Dinner and Gift Exchange!
 

Learning Ways Christian Preschool

Best Friends enjoyed singing in church on November 20th very much! Thank you all for making them feel so welcome! One of our Best Friends really liked the “church filled up with ‘happy’”.

 

On the 21st our class made Stone Soup Thanksgiving Feast! The children welcomed family and friends who they entertained with our Best Friends Stone Soup Story, then served with out one spill or mishap!

 Best Friends were especially happy to greet special guests: Story Teller Dan (thank you for the Feast Donations!), Grandma Patti (Thank you for the beautiful prayer!), Grandma Robin, Mr. and Mrs. Hale and Ms. Carol.

 

In class, we have been learning letters Dd and Ee, as well as numbers 3 and 4. Our shapes have included stars and triangles. Our colors are not red, green, silver and gold. This next few weeks our Bible studies will be mainly focused on the birth of Baby Jesus and memorizing John 3:16. We will be making family and volunteer gifts, learning lots of Christmas songs and hearing Christmas stories. We are also collecting canned food to join in our church’s efforts.

 

We will be out for Christmas Vacation December 20 – January 2nd…. So the next time you hear from us it will be 2017!

 

Merry Christmas everyone… and Happy New Year!

God bless you!

Teacher Marji and Teacher Bethany

 

 







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Congregational Church of Soquel · 4951 Soquel Drive · Soquel, CA 95073 · USA

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