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Dear Friends in Christ,

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…”

Deb
Sunday School

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 morattico@gmail.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.
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 new Zoom 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 jo.evonne.fisher@gmail.com 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).

Click HERE for the worship bulletin and hymns.
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 revdeb02@gmail.com so she can send you the zoom link.
from Handel's autograph manuscript of the Messiah oratorio
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! The zoom link and bulletin will be emailed out later this week.
Christmas Joy

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”)
  • Text JOY to 56512 to learn more/donate
  • Learn more/donate online at https://pcusa.org/christmasjoy
Alternative Giving

Looking for alternative gifts this Christmas—or anytime? Visit https://presbyteriangifts.org, or consider a donation to one of these local organizations: Or another cause dear to your heart.
"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.
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 revdeb02@gmail.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 monicavanderbaan@gmail.com or to Pastor Deb at revdeb02@gmail.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:
  • Grief Group: Pastor Deb 585-703-0987 or revdeb02@gmail.com
  • Small-Group Zoom Gatherings: Murray Blackadar murray.blackadar@gmail.com
  • Wednesday Morning Prayer Gatherings (~8:00-8:30am via zoom)Suzanne Affigne 401-523-4907; Jill Moles 401-241-9812; Dan Blackford 401-273-2435
  • Mission and Outreach: Bipen Rai 510-499-7339 or bipenai@gmail.com
  • Nurture Committee: Kathy Cooper kathycooper@aya.yale.edu
  • Help with Building & Grounds projects: Sheryl Mason 401-206-7839 or sgmason65@gmail.com
  • Gardening: Suzanne Affigne 401-523-4907 or smclouthaffigne@gmail.com
  • Volunteer to be a Worship Leader: call Jill Moles 401-241-9812 or click the button to sign up here:
Resources

If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if possible, or otherwise contact deacon Matt Harrison at morattico@gmail.com 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 smclouthaffigne@gmail.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.

You may continue to reach the church by phone message (401-861-1136) or email (provpresri@verizon.net), both checked daily. Pastor Deb Packard may be reached at revdeb02@gmail.com.

 
Submitted by Marianne Harrison, Tech & Communications Committee

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For our full calendar please visit our website.
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