Worship, Book group, Sunday school, Advent devotions, Youth activities and more.
Dear Friends in Christ,
My daughter, my first born, was expected on 12 December. She was not born until 27 December! During that year, in my last month of pregnancy, I thought a lot about Mary and what it must have been like for her, uncertain future ahead of her, feeling unwieldy, lumbering around, unable to help much with any chores. Fears for the unborn child—would this be a healthy child? Dreams for the future for a promised son.
The waiting for something wondrous about to happen and yet—what if the birth didn’t happen the way God had promised? What if Joseph wouldn’t marry her? Having faith in the future and yet afraid to be too excited about it.
Mary points us toward waiting with the belief that in the end there will be a birth. A birth that will change everything we had ever thought would never change. When you’re nine months pregnant you have no choice but to wait.
That’s where we are now. Ahead we see the promise of life somewhere beyond our front door. But right now, we must wait. We must isolate in our homes, wear a mask in public places, be very cautious when we do venture outside our homes. We have again heard from the stated clerk of our denomination, J. Herbert Nelson, urging us to stay the course and continue to worship virtually. That is how we care “for the least of these.”
This church is in a holding pattern, too. As your interim/transitional pastor, I am aware that my call is to guide you through this waiting time as we discern where your priorities lie and how you can prepare for a new pastor. That does not mean that in this waiting time we do nothing. Spending time in looking at who you are and what your mission is can be intense work. Looking at these tasks is not easy in “normal” times but in this time of pandemic the difficulties are exacerbated. It may be hard not to fall into the trap of thinking “well, when the real pastor comes” and put off all the work that needs to be done before that happens. My job is to call you to task and see that we spend time in discernment and analysis. Who are you, as a church, and what would this neighborhood miss about us if we weren’t here?
In this season of Advent, let us also give thanks for those who make the wheels turn smoothly in our life together. Milton Liu is a faithful servant as each week he makes our worship service happen. Elena Kishkovich enhances our service by consistently making music that uplifts and comforts. Angie Addo joins us each week with technical support and monthly she lifts our spirits with Ghanaian song. Dan Blackford makes sure that we have bulletins so that you can all follow along at home. I have been so thankful for these four as they support our worship service.
God’s time is in the waiting. There will be a birth. In our waiting time let us keep our faith and give thanks for the many blessings that are ours. Tony sings in West Side Story:
“Could it be? Yes, it could./Something’s coming, something good, if I can wait!”
Right now, that’s what we are called to do.
Sunday School for Grades 1-5: Sundays 9:30am
Sunday school class for 1st through 5th graders started meeting last week and will continue to meet via Zoom Sundays before worship, from 9:30-10:00 am. Join us this Sunday to continue to talk about Advent and embrace this Christmas season.
By phone: call (646) 558-8656 and enter meeting ID 864 6572 5219
Click here to open/download the worship bulletin and hymns:
Receiving of offerings continues to be important to sustain our church community. While it is missing from our order of worship, we hope you will continue if and as you are able to support the mission and ministry of the church—online, through your bank's bill payment system, or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906). Regular and special offerings are all gratefully received. Thank you!
We invite you to stay online after worship for our virtual coffee hour.
Transcripts and audio recordings of recent sermons can be found on our website here. Audio recordings of older sermons are available here.
Thanks to your generous support of the Deacons fund, PPC was able to purchase about 85 turkeys for the Camp Street Community Ministries Thanksgiving baskets to help our neighbors in need. The Deacons fund is also routinely used to provide financial assistance when needs arise within the congregation. Thank you for your continued support of the Deacons fund! Your Deacons are Matt Harrison, Jill Moles, Gladys Oye, and Bob Prunchniewicz.
PPC Book/Discussion Group Today
Our discussion this morning, 12/5 from 10:30-noon, will focus on seeking to better understand political divisions within the church and what it might mean to repair broken relationships and seek dialogue in the midst of disagreement.
By phone: call +1 646 876 9923 and enter meeting ID: 957 4046 7813
Contact Murray at email@example.com if you have questions or suggestions, or would like to be added to the group email list.
Youth Group Update
Sunday 12/6 @ 4:30-5:30pm
This week for our Zoom meeting, find the “weirdest” thing you can find in your house and have it near you—BUT keep it out of camera sight when you log on. Have a pen/pencil and paper handy, too.
We will also discuss our youth group Christmas project to bring joy to some of the older people in our church family.
PPC in Gingerbread 12/12
If you're interested in helping to decorate the gingerbread church this year, see the details and sign up for a time slot here.
Youth group activities take place on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. Contact Jo Fisher at 617-893-0865 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or suggestions.
Create an Ornament for the PPC Tree
While we’re not able to gather as a community this year to decorate the PPC sanctuary for Christmas, we’d like to welcome you (especially kids and youth) to create your own ornament for the PPC Christmas tree! If you’d like to make an ornament, please put your name on it and you can get it to the church either by mail or hand deliver (put it in the church mailbox). If you’re not able to deliver your ornament, Sheryl Mason has graciously offered to drive to your home to pick it up (call/text her at 401-206-7839 or email her at email@example.com).
"Prepare the way for the Lord" —Isaiah 40:3
Please enjoy this year's Advent devotional from the Presbyterian Outlook. We pray that its daily reflections and prayers may help you to prepare your heart for Jesus in this season and always.
Bible Study: Tuesdays 5:30-7pm
This Advent we are doing a 4-week study on Handel's Messiah. If you would like to join, send Pastor Deb an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so she can send you the zoom link.
A service of song, scripture, and prayer on the night/day when there are more hours of darkness than light. “It’s a time to come together for prayers and laments, to mourn the losses and griefs of the year, to let the tears flow for the hurting places in our own lives, as well as for our country and our world.” Although we must worship separately, hopefully we can create a safe and sacred space to share anguish, to plead with God to remember us, to pray for justice and restoration, and to hope against hope, through our doubts and tears and fears, that “God will set things right all over the earth” (1 Samuel 2:10, The Message).
Christmas Eve Service 12/24 @ 5pm
A joyous celebration of our Savior's birth, including a virtual pageant by our children and youth, and singing “Silent Night” by candlelight. Be sure to have candles for everyone in your family!
Reminder: We Want to Hear from You
We are still collecting stories and feedback from as many people in our congregation as possible to gain a better understanding of what draws us to this church community. What about your life in this church has been meaningful to you? If there are areas of concern for you, include those also. We are trying to envision a future for this congregation that is satisfying and helps us grow spiritually. Your contribution will help Session as they consider our next steps. Send your feedback to Pastor Deb at email@example.com.
Also, please help us update our church directory by emailing your contact info (name, street address, email, phone/text numbers) to Monica VanderBaan at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Pastor Deb at email@example.com. It just takes a minute and it is so helpful for keeping us connected!
Continuing Opportunities & Needs
Please contact the leaders listed below if you are interested in getting involved in any of these ongoing opportunities for fellowship and service:
Volunteer to be a Worship Leader: call Jill Moles 401-241-9812 or click the button to sign up here:
If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if possible, or otherwise contact deacon Matt Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-340-9444 and he will coordinate care.
If you have a prayer request or would like to be included in the prayer chain, call/text Suzanne Affigne at (401) 523-4907 or email her at email@example.com.
Milton has put together some helpful tips for using Zoom – read them here and here.
Our presbytery's website (psne.org) and our denomination’s website (pcusa.org) are great resources for information about our faith, connecting with the larger faith community, and opportunities for action.