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This Month Issue - December 3, 2020
Scripture Reading
Isaiah 40:1-11
Mark 1:1-8

Rev. Nancy Mikoski

Rev. Casey Aldridge, Dr. Christine James, and the Pszczolkowski Family
This is a Communion Sunday.
Worship with Communion will be available at 10:15 am at

The worship without communion video will be available after 11:30 am.
There are instructions for how to prepare for communion at home.
This week there will not be a virtual coffee hour at 11:30 am because the Fall Congregation Meeting will take place on Zoom starting at 12 noon. (Look for an email on Dec. 4 with information that will allow you to join the Congregation Meeting.)
A bulletin as a PDF is available.
Find all these links on the worship online page.

Scroll down for instructions for submitting Joys and Concerns and for accessing the service by telephone.
Joys and Concerns
If you have a joy or a concern you would like lifted up in prayer this Sunday in our worship, by 9 am on Friday, please send an email to  Rev. Nancy Mikoski with "Joys & Concerns" in the memo. She will gather them and lift them up in prayer. The deadline is Friday at noon for the upcoming Sunday.

Note: All of our worship services are available on our website.  Visit the church website home page and follow the link in the upper right. On the worship online page, look for the video player and the link for 'Past Worship Services' is at the bottom of the page.
Sunday Virtual Worship Service Link
You will be starting at the homepage of Click on the worship button on the upper right of the page. (This means you do not have to search elsewhere. The actual video address changes on each occasion.) If your browser and the video player do not 'play' well together, please try rebooting your computer.

By Telephone:
Please share the phone number and meeting identification with those who'd like to listen starting at 10:15 am only.

Dial-in: 301-715-8592
Meeting ID: 838 7961 2457#

(This is a hosted call and takes place only on Sunday at 10:15 am.).

Today's prayer was written by Sarh Are, who was responsible for the liturgy we are using this Advent.

(This is copyrighted used under license from A Sanctified Art LLC.)
"We believe that a voice cried out in the wilderness,
Saying, 'Prepare the way of the Lord.'
And so, we show up for worship, even from home.
We march toward justice.
We roll up our sleeves.
We plant trees for our children.
We make art.
We choose hope.
We gather at the Table.
We set an extra plate.
We sing loudly, with joy.
We share stories and wisdom.
We celebrate children.
We fall together.
We rise together.
We love together.
We do all these things because we believe that God loves us so much that God shows up here. 
So we prepare and prepare for that next beautiful day. 
May it be so. Amen."

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News . . .  Briefly
  • Pastor's Thoughts by Rev. Nancy Mikoski are below. Rev. Mikoski also found a 'physically distanced' "A Christmas Carol" over Zoom to enjoy.
  • Reminder: The Fall Congregational Meeting to Sunday, December 6, at 12 noon on Zoom. The agenda is: elect new officers, vote on Pastoral Terms of Call for Rev. Mikoski, and celebrate our church life with music, photos, and prayer. Please mark this on your calendar and plan to attend.
  • On Friday, December 7. those with an email listed in our Church Family Directory will receive an email with the instructions for joining the Congregation Meeting. You do not need to make a special request.
  • There will be no virtual coffee hour this Sunday due to the Fall Congregation meeting starting on Zoom at 12 noon. 
  • In the same email with the link for the Congregation Meeting, you will also receive a link inviting you to enjoy the Special Christmas Musical Event sponsored by the Older Adult Ministry. Learn about this wonderful tradition delivered in a new way. It's a gift and a blessing for all ages.  
  • A special, important reminder: At this time, during the week when PPNS is in session and while the rest of the building is 'closed', you must use the double glass doors off the courtyard from S. Main Street or the side door through 'the PIT'. When PPNS is in session, do not use the door from the parking lot. Thank you. (This is important and supports PPNS' safety plan filed with the state.)
  • Our musical and ministry staff have begun a new Advent devotional series. The first one is a collaboration between Megan Coiley and Casey Aldridge, titled "O Com, O Come Emmanuel.". It is already posted on While you are there, react to the video and select 'follow' for the page. 
  • While you are there, hit play on the devotional Rev. Nancy Mikoski recorded before Thanksgiving. It is based on Psalm 100.(  
  • The Angel Tree program was another success because of your generosity. Thank you.
  • The Session has committed our church to join a new vision of service and mission to our neighbors, based on Matthew 25: 31-46. Learn more below and then join in worship service online on Dec. 13 as the PPC TaskForce is commissioned for their important work..
  • There will be a special worship service available online for Christmas. Learn more below.
  • The special Christmas offering will go to support important, core missions of PPC. Fifty percent will go to ArminArm to support their winter utility relief fund, and 50% will go to the Yucatan network of Living Waters for the World to support partners as they work to keep plants operating and delivering water during the pandemic and in the aftermath of the hurricanes and storms devastating the region.
  • For youth events for middle school and high school, look out for direct communications from Pastor Casey.

December 2020
One of America’s favorite Christmas songs is a song about dreaming. It begins, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.” Even as a young child in warm California, where I’d never had a white Christmas, I knew and loved the song. It was written by Irving Berlin and made famous by Bing Crosby in the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn.”  Wikipedia gives a bit of the story behind this popular song.

Ronald D. Lankford, Jr. wrote, "During the 1940s, 'White Christmas' would set the stage for a number of classic American holiday songs steeped in a misty longing for yesteryear. Dave Marsh and Steve Propes wrote, “White Christmas changed Christmas music forever, both by revealing the huge potential market for Christmas songs and by establishing the themes of home and nostalgia that would run through Christmas music evermore." It has often been noted that the mix of melancholy—"just like the ones I used to know"—with comforting images of home—"where the treetops glisten"—resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War II. A few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Crosby introduced "White Christmas" on a Christmas Day broadcast. The Armed Forces Network was flooded with requests for the song.

This Advent our theme is “Those Who Dream.” The prophets, the psalmists, John the Baptist, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, the shepherds and the Magi were all dreamers. As Lisle Gwynn Garrity writes in the materials we are using from Sanctified Arts, “They received, discovered, and responded to God’s dreams for the world. In Advent, we step into the mystery and awe of God’s dreams and pray they shape our reality.”

As we begin this Advent and Christmas journey together, some of us may be filled with our own dreams, preferring what we wish over what God wishes for us. Others of us may be feeling the sting of broken dreams and be afraid to dream of something better, a life with more life and hope and peace and joy and love… for ourselves, and for our world. A life filled by Christ our Lord. This isn’t a dream fueled by nostalgia or Christmas card images or holiday songs or snow. This is a dream cast by God for the world God loves. That means God has a dream for you and for me. God has a dream for Pennington Presbyterian. God also has a dream for those who are far away as measured by miles or language or political leaning or experience. Let’s invite God to shape our dreams this December and may we begin the new year, 2021, actively living into God’s dream more fully awake and more fully alive to the grace we are given in Jesus.

Light shines in the darkness!


Last Advent we spent time with the gospel and Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." If you want to add this into your life again this year, there is a great opportunity you can enjoy from home.
Historic actor, Peyton Dixon, is presenting a one-hour, one-person play called "Prelude to A Carol: Dickens Creates A Christmas Carol" where he will portray Charles Dickens and tell the story behind the story of this famous story. It will be a live performance to view on Zoom. The performances are at 7:00 pm eastern time on December 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, and 19.  Tickets are available at  
Peyton Dixon is an active leader at Kingston Presbyterian Church where his wife Sharyl is the Pastor. He offers performances of John Adams and Teddy Roosevelt around the country.


A festive Christmas program will be presented by the Older Adult Ministry Committee and our church’s music staff on Friday, December 11 at 1 p.m. The Zoom program will feature Christmas music, both vocal and instrumental, and coordinated Christmas stories. Musicians include Megan Coiley, her fiancée Marisa Curcio, Laura McMillan, Phil McMillan, Donald Dolan, and his wife Sarah Sensenig. OAM members Barbara Rockel and Jan Black will read special Christmas stories. In addition, we will all have the opportunity to sing some popular Christmas carols from the comfort of our own homes. Everyone is invited to share this wonderful Christmas experience.  

If you have an email in our church family directory, you will receive the Zoom link on Friday, December 4, along with the link for the Fall Congregation Meeting. If you did not receive the link to the OAM event, please contact the church office.



To celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas, the Mission Committee is inviting members of our congregation and nursery school families to purchase children's books that will be taken to Sen. Shirley Turner's office for distribution to the neediest children in our area. 
As you may recall, Sen. Turner sponsors a book drive each spring during non-pandemic times, and we thought that children would enjoy the gift of reading this Christmas.  We are looking for new books and ones that celebrate diversity by featuring stories with many ethnicities, cultures, traditions, and family structures. 
If you want to join us, please leave your books in the marked box inside the double glass doors at the courtyard entrance leading to the church office area between now and December 21. 
We will deliver the books to Sen. Turner's office on the 22nd.  If you would like some help selecting a book, here are great resources put together by Suzanne Elliott:
Social Justice Books (a project of Teaching for Change) has lots (and lots!) of lists and guides for selecting multicultural children's books:
The Conscious Kid has lists of children's books by Black authors and books featuring characters of various races, ethnicities and backgrounds:
Embrace Race has tons of resources for parents and caregivers, including children's book lists - many of which focus on supporting diverse kids in a multiracial society.

This year the Angel Tree supported the Capital Health Auxiliary's Toy Closet, which provides holiday gifts to the children and babies who receive healthcare at the Capital Health Clinics in Trenton.

Thank you for your generosity. The Deacons collected $600 and were able to buy wonderful gifts to make many children happy. By shopping at Twirl just down the street, they also helped raise money for PPNS. That's what we call a 'twofer."

The secret shoppers clearly had fun buying gifts to make the lives of other children happy. 


Announcement of Matthew 25 Task Force
and an Invitation to the Commissioning on December 13 during (virtual) Worship
Our Advent season messages are full of dreaming of what might be.  What might be through our actions to follow God’s Spirit into the world.

The Session has committed our church to join a new vision of service and mission to our neighbors, based on Matthew 25: 31-46.

This is a PCUSA Vision and we are joining hundreds of other congregations across the country including seven in our own Presbytery. We will continue to support our programs of food for the hungry, clean water for the thirsty, clothing for those without, and abundant love for those who find themselves on the fringe of society.  Additionally, we will also seek ways to work toward changing the underlying structures of poverty and racism.  For more information, visit the Presbyterian Mission page. 

A passionate, inspired group has accepted the call to join a special Task Force to construct a plan that will lead us as we begin this new dream in 2021.  The members of the Task Force, Suzanne Elliott (co-chair), Angie Holler, Sandy Lacasse, Cindy Reeder (co-chair), Ron Russell, Rob Thornton, Casey Aldridge, and Nancy Schluter, will be commissioned on Sunday, December 13, during our worship service. 

Please pray for them individually and as a team. Pray that the Holy Spirit will be with them and surprise them as they see the road already prepared for their work.  Don’t forget to include a prayer that your own heart will be ready to find your place in this dream as you prepare to welcome Jesus in a new way this Christmas. 

Advent blessings as you dream!


"O Come, All Ye Faithful..."
That's you! We hope you will set aside a special time on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to worship Jesus Christ, God with us. A beautiful service will be ready for you beginning at Noon on Christmas Eve. You will find it on the church website where you find other virtual worship services. (Start at the homepage at
While this Christmas may look and feel quite different, our service will include many elements that will warm your hearts. Poinsettias. Prelude music by our music staff and talented church family. Advent wreath candle lighting. A Time with Children. The familiar Christmas story read by young adults. A meditation from Rev. Nancy Mikoski. Special music. The Christmas Offering. A Christmas Prayer. And carols that will bring joy to your world!
Pick a time that works well for you. Light a few candles. Sing! Pray! Worship! We may not all worship at the same moment, but we will be united as our hearts are united in gratitude and love.
"O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!"

Return to Table of Contents

On the first Sunday of Advent, there was a special event where our younger church family members learned about Advent, sang seasonal songs, and did special projects. As you can see, this young man enjoyed himself very much. Don't you want a Nativity and wreath just like the one he made? Good job!

Thank you to all who made this special event happen.

This coming Epiphany, January 3, we will again share Epiphany Star stories and receive new words for 2021. Do you recall your 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 that 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)

Please let Nancy Mikoski know of your interest at She will give you instructions. We'd love to have folks of all ages and stages share, so please don't be shy!

Thank you!
Pray for our Community ...
  • Our neighbors at the Pennington United Methodist Church
  • For our country and its people struggling with an accelerating COVID19 pandemic
  • All  those impacted by the economic downturn and struggling with insecurities about the basics of life - food, shelter, and mental and physical health
  • All who are struggling with loneliness and feelings of loss during this Thanksgiving season
Continue to Pray for …
Virginia Silliphant (1); The family of Dorothy Bryan; the family of Alice Blackwell; Marguerite Greener and Family; Bev Willever's Family; Mark Rockey's Family; Don Trismen; Edna Stout; Robin Hepburn; Elsa and Charles Koczan; Melanie Parsons; Family of Grace Scheetz; Bob Macek; Shirley Norton; Corinne Beyer; Bill Sherman; the Bryzezynski and the Williams Families; 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.

(1) Virginia has been in the hospital and is now in rehabilitation.

Pray for Our Church Family ...
We pray each week for members listed alphabetically in our church directory. This week: Diane, Phil, Jaime, and Timothy Kianka; Charles and Elza Koczan; Eric, Diana, Kiersten and Jenna Kollevoll; Tyler Krampf.

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, fool, 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 ... 

"We believe, O Lord; help our unbelief. Offer to each of us your great Spirit to convert us to the ways of faith, hope, joy, and justice following Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"


Recurring Schedules at a Glance

It's never too late to sign up for any Christian Education, Youth Group, or other repeating events. You may send an email to to be put in contact with the program leader.


Sunday Schedule
9:00-10:00 am - Adult Education: Bible and Theology on Zoom
9:15-9:45 am  Age 3 - Grade 4 Church School and Music with Mr. Phil on Zoom
10:15 am  Worship via our website (available on demand; except the first Sunday when the communion service starts at 10:15 am exactly and then on-demand after 11:30 am)
11:30 am - Virtual Coffee Hour on the first Sunday of the month (Find the link on the online worship page.)
11:30-12:30  Grades 5-8 Church School on Zoom
11:30 - 12:30 Grades 9-12 Church School on Zoom
6:30-7:30 pm Sunday Night Central Youth Group (grades 5-8) on Zoom

Youth Group Event Coming Up
Please contact Rev. Casey Aldridge, Youth Minister, if you are interested in programs for middle-shool and high school-aged young people. Registered youth and their parents will receive an invitation to Church School and youth activities with the link to a Zoom meeting.

Weekday Christian Education and Fellowship Events
Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 am, Shalom (a women's study group) on Zoom) Contact Madeleine Mansier if you are interested in joining.

Thursday, 2:00 - 3:00 pm, Racial Equity Discussion Group (formerly the Wednesday afternoon group) following Eddie Moore Jr's "21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge."  Contact Nancy Schluter.

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