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December 31, 2020

Scripture Reading

Matthew 2:1-12

Rev. Nancy Mikoski

Rev. Casey Aldridge and Matt Heisler
Epiphany Worship will be live on Zoom on January 3 at 10:15 am only.
There will be communion. Please see below for information about how to prepare. 

If you have an email listed in the church family directory, you will receive the Zoom link on Sunday morning.

There is no bulletin for this worship. 

The Zoom link also provides for phone access.
Joys and Concerns
If you have a joy or a concern you would like lifted up in prayer this Sunday, you may offer them up live. 

Let us pray as our Lord Jesus taught us.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

Preparing for Online Communion

You will need to prepare elements to use before worship begins. Communion modeled after Jesus’ meal includes bread and wine or grape juice. If you don’t have bread or grape juice or wine please select something that is close, for instance, a cracker or a tortilla, apple juice, or water. We have several communion services in the next week or two. Shop ahead if you can for bread and grape juice or wine. You may want to bake your own bread for this sacrament. When the time comes in the service after scripture is read, the Word is proclaimed, the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving is lifted up, and the communion Words of Institution are said, you will be invited to eat some bread and drink from your cup. These worship pieces all together, as provided by the church, by the work of the Holy Spirit, are a gift of grace for us during this time of crisis. If for any reason, you do not wish to partake of communion in this way, that is okay also. God’s grace is showered on us in other ways, too.

News . . .  Briefly
  • Please check out the special musical devotionals posted to our Facebook and Instagram by our music ministry team. ( and After you've listened, please leave a word of thanks and of reflection. How did the music and the commentary make you feel?
  • For year-end pledges and contributions to appear on your 2020 tax report, they must be submitted online or postmarked by Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Please note that there will be no bulletins for this January 3 worship because of the interactive nature of this special service over Zoom. Prior to these worship services at 10:15 am, look for the Zoom link in an email from the church office on Sunday morning by 9 am. 
  • Epiphany stars were mailed out with the goal of arriving before January 3. Please look for a navy blue, business-sized envelope. The mailing should have arrived if we have a correct address for you in our church family directory. While we can't get it to you by January 3, we can mail you a star or stars if you send a request to See the article below for the tradition of the Epiphany star word and an opportunity to share your 2020 experience with your 2020 word.
  • The Adult Bible and Theology class will resume their group study on January 3 with a new module, entitled "Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again" by Rachel Held Evans. They will address questions like "What do people mean when they say that the Bible was 'inspired'?" The author is a journalist and explores various biblical mysteries and shares her insights into how the Bible was meant to be read. Classes on this book will run from January 3 through February 21, at 9 am, on Zoom. Contact the church office to receive the Zoom link. You need to buy your own book, which is available on Amazon. 
  • Shalom invites all women in the congregation to join us each Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30. On January 6 the group will begin a new study, discussing “Names for the Messiah,” by Walter Brueggemann. In Isaiah 9:6, we are introduced to four titles, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. This study ponders how the people understood each title then and how we understand each one now. To join in the discussion, please order the book and contact Cindy Reeder or the church office for the Zoom link.
  • Church School classes for adults and children will resume at the usual schedule on January 3, 2021. 
  • Youth should stay in touch with Pastor Casey for information about 2021 youth activities.


On Epiphany Sunday, January 3, we will again share Epiphany Star stories and receive new words for 2021. Do you recall your 2020 word? The 2020 words were all Fruits of the Spirit from the book of Galatians. 
Our tradition is to let people share a brief story of their word in worship; what they learned, how they experienced God teaching them, or encouraging them to grow and serve in some way. We want to continue that tradition!. Our service this Sunday will be over Zoom at 10:15 am. You will be able to share with the church family during the Zoom worship a one or two-minute star story from 2020. (That service will not be recorded for viewing at other times)

We'd love to have folks of all ages and stages share, so please don't be shy!

Look for a navy blue envelope in your mail for your 2021 word. If you did not receive one, contact the church office with the correct address.
The Mission Committee has selected the recipients for the special Christmas Offering that you may make any time between now and the end of the year through the online offering feature on the home page or by a check mailed to the office. In both cases, please put in the 'memo line' that the offering is for Christmas. The recipients will be ArminArm and Living Waters for the World, each receiving 50%. 

The ArminArm contribution will support their winter utility relief fund. Each year this organization helps hundreds of families avoid having their utilities shut off, and this is particularly important during a pandemic. The Yucatan network of Living Waters for the World supports partners as they work to keep water plants operating and delivering water during the pandemic and in the aftermath of the hurricanes and storms devastating the region. (You may also find a video prepared by Hope Anderson posted to explaining these programs.)
Thank You for Making the Book Drive Successful!

The book collection was a great success. We received many books from the congregation and using funds from the Mission, Peacemaking, and Justice Committee to help, we had 92 books to donate!!!  The books focused on celebrating diversity, different heritages and family structures, peace, and kindness.  Nancy and Ron Russell delivered the books to the office of NJ Senator Shirley Turner on Dec. 21 st.  Her office will distribute the books to children in the Trenton area. The Mission Committee wants to thank everyone for making this so successful and helping put books in the hands of local children.

It's not too late to contribute. If you leave new books, someone from Mission will make sure they reach their intended beneficiaries in January.


Pray for our Community ...
  • Our neighbors at the Pennington AG Church 
  • Our healthcare workers who are doing heroic work as the pandemic continues to rage
  • All those suffering from COVID19
  • All those developing, approving, manufacturing, transporting, receiving, and  administering the COVID19 vaccines so that this pandemic may be controlled
  • All  those impacted by the economic downturn and struggling with insecurities about the basics of life - food, shelter, and mental and physical health
  • All those contributing to or staffing food banks
  • All who are struggling with loneliness and feelings of loss 
  • All who continue to wear masks, physically distance, and observe other public health precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and neighbors
Let us Pray for the New Year ...
Jesus, guide our hearts and minds as we reflect on 2020, and help us resolve to be better stewards of our earth and carers of our families, friends, and neighbors -- both near and far. Encourage and forgive us as we falter along the way. In thy name, we pray. Amen.

Continue to Pray for …
Barb Sergeant; Jean Cooper's family and friends; Ruth Morewood's family; Cindy Reeder; Evelyn Marion Keneman; Virginia Silliphant; The family of Dorothy Bryan; the family of Alice Blackwell; Don Trismen; Edna Stout; Robin Hepburn; Elsa and Charles Koczan; Melanie Parsons; Bob Macek; Shirley Norton; Corinne Beyer; Bill Sherman; Marji McAvoy; Hal Wittlinger; Marge Ryan; Galen Meyer and his family; David Anderson; Michael Berkowitz; Karen Kelly; Dawn Cocco; Bob Fletcher; Dee Wilson; Caroline Woodward; Jayne and Jay Neary; and all families who are grieving and lonely.

Pray for Our Church Family ...
We pray each week for those listed alphabetically in our church family directory. This week: Clark and Marji McAvoy; Jeff, Laura, Juliet, Jack, and Fiona McAvoy; James, Jaelyn, and Hunter McIntosh; Phil McMillan and Miriam Diephouse, and Caleb McMillan; Tom and Laura McMillan.

Pray for a Special Joy Born into our extended Church Family …
Laura and Tom McMillan share the joy of the birth of their granddaughter, Eloise Winifred Morgan on December 27 in San Diego to their daughter Julia McMillan and dad, Eric Morgan. They are grateful for Ellie's safe arrival 12 days early but thriving. Please share a prayer of gratitude and care for all birthing parents, new babies, and their caregivers in these stressful times. 

Pray for the People of the World …
Please continue praying for the world. All nations are being impacted by the pandemic, on top of the daily universal challenges that include climate change, and economic, food, and physical insecurity. 

Prayer Chain ... 
Contact Nancy Lehman to request prayers. She will distribute the request to the PPC's Prayer Chain. If you want to use a telephone, please call Barbara Pratt.

Let us Pray in the Name of Jesus Christ ... 
"Shepherd of Israel, you sent a star to enlighten the wise and a child to topple the tyrant. Make us wise enough to seek you among the least of your children, wise enough to trade our treasure for the gift of overwhelming joy." (Matthew 2:1-12 / Years ABC)
Copyright © 2020 Pennington Presbyterian Church, All rights reserved.

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