We have made it to the fourth Sunday in Advent, heralded in by a major snowstorm! Irving Berlin had the pulse of the nation when he composed “White Christmas.” Somehow that deep longing for snow is captured in our imaginations and represents the holiness and dream of everything a Christmas should be. The aftermath of a snowstorm, though, is when reality hits. In a city, the beautiful stillness and purity of freshly fallen snow quickly gives way to the sound of traffic and slush. However, for a twenty four hour period this past week we could stay safely nestled in our homes and dream of Christmases past and our hopes for the future.
For some of us, though, we had to make our way against the wind and the snow and show up at jobs that are deemed “essential.” May we be mindful of those across the country and in our midst who hold these positions of essential workers, allowing the rest of us to remain safely in our homes. We give thanks for our essential workers. I read recently an article that said the wages of the essential workers in RI are not enough to support a family. Perhaps we can do more than give thanks and work to show our support for a higher minimum wage.
And so, as we worship together on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, let us remember that this is the Sunday called “Love.” How do we show our love for one another? In our nuclear families we care for our children and one another by nurturing them and feeding and clothing them and making sure there is a roof over our heads.
“Justice is what love looks like in public” wrote Dr. Cornel West. West, son of a Baptist pastor, educated at Princeton, and now serving as Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard, reminds us of how we can treat those outside the circle of our families. It is good that we disburse our mission funds to various organizations that work with “the public” but how do we work for justice? Changing systems and cultural morés is not an easy task. There is great resistance in some areas of our country to the idea that “Black Lives Matter.” Gender discrimination is still alive as witnessed by the attack on Dr. Jill Biden for using the title of “Dr.”
We can remember that the one who is coming, waiting to be born again this year, has shown us the way of love. He died on the cross so that we could see what love, enacted, looks like.
When my daughter was 4 years old, I took her to a performance of The Nutcracker at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton. As the first Act came to a close, onstage it started to snow. Gazing in awe at this spectacle, she turned to me and asked, “why isn’t it snowing on us?” Children can so easily help us to look with young eyes to see the wonderment of this world. Nutcrackers turn into princes, mice become soldiers, toys come alive. When you look out your window, do you see the beauty and wonder of this world? A world created for our pleasure. A world created so that we can breathe, be nourished, know beauty.
Even in a year that has brought so much pain and frustration, let us look out the window and see with the eyes of a four year old. With those eyes we will see the love that surrounds us. And, perhaps, when we are able to see that love, we will act in ways that bring justice to all. It’s the least we can do for the great love that has been shown to us.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel…”
Sunday School for grades 1-5 meets every week before worship, from 9:30-10:00 am. The Zoom link was emailed to all registrants and remains the same each Sunday. If you did not get the link or wish to be added, contact Jo Fisher at 617-839-0865.
Sunday School for youth grades 6-12 meets every 2nd and 4th Sunday during worship at the start of the children's sermon. A zoom link is shared at that time in the worship zoom chat, and is also emailed in advance to the group. Contact Matt at email@example.com if you did not get the link or wish to be added.
Sunday Worship 12/20 @ 10am via Zoom
Welcome to online worship with PPC this fourth Sunday of Advent.
By phone: call (646) 558-8656 and enter meeting ID 864 6572 5219
Click on the image below 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.
Youth Group Christmas Party – today (Saturday) @ 4:30
We are looking forward to our virtual Christmas party tonight at 4:30pm! Please use the newZoom link that was emailed to the group yesterday. Bring your festive attire, a dinner plate, a butter knife, and some space like a table set up if possible :)
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.
Longest Night Service – Monday @ 7pm
This Monday, December 21 at 7pm, we will have a service (via Zoom) 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).
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! The zoom link and bulletin will be emailed out later this week.
Please consider a gift to this annual, special offering of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in support of the past, present and future leaders of our church:
50% of your gifts make it possible for students to learn and grow in faith at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color.
50% of your gifts provide assistance for current and retired church workers and their families with critical financial needs.
Three ways to give:
Send a check to PPC (indicate that it’s for “Christmas Joy”)
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.
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.