We have reached the fourth Sunday of Advent and if we are to get clues from the rest of scripture this Sunday of “Love” is one to pay attention to. Love is used 538 times in the Bible and is a cornerstone to our faith and understanding of Jesus. Love is a concept and an action, a feeling and a connection. Love is all things and through all things. That is why love is the Sunday before Christmas; the coming of the Christ Child.
This Sunday we don’t have a traditional hour of worship at The Park. Our musicians and worship leaders have cultivated and prepared an hour of worship that weaves scripture, music, languages, and of course love into the story leading up to the birth of Jesus. If you can make it in person, this will be a Sunday you won’t want to miss.
Of course, Monday is Christmas Eve and we want to make sure you’ve marked your calendar to come and worship with us at 11am and 11pm to ring in the birth of Christ. Christmas is a time to give thanks to God who with such love and compassion sent a child to lead us and love us through our lives.AtChristmaswe gather and give thanks for the abundant blessings that abound in a life with Christ. Both Christmas Eve services will be unique, so come to one or both,we hope to see you there!
Finally, as we take a moment to give thanks to God for all that we have, we want to make sure you know that we at The Park give incredible thanks to you.Each and everyperson who connects with us in person or online, and who contributes their time, talents, and offerings to our ministries is a blessing to this community and helps us continue to do the work of building the kindom that God has called us to do.We hope that you will continue to journey with us into and through 2019. We cannot do this work without you, nor would we want to.
I can’t wait to see what this future holds for all of us.
A prayer for your week: Holy one, small and vulnerable, I give you thanks. Holy One, strong and filled with love, I give thanks for you. Holy One, present in the beginning and the end, I give thanks with you. Amen.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
Dear Park People,
On Sunday, December 16th, The Park Sunday school children read Philippians 4:4-7. We talked about what “rejoicing in God”meant to us, and the various ways we could express that joy. (Examples from some of the children included “smiling,” “dancing,” “saying how you feel,” and “hugging people.”) For our creative response activity, we made jingle-bell bracelets to wear for “joyful noise-making.” The children really seemed to like this activity, and most of them made bracelets to give to friends and family, as well as for themselves. At the closing of children’s worship (before snack time) I invited the children to stand up and dance around with their jingle bell bracelets. There was much jingly joy!
The December 23rd Pageant Service will be multigenerational, and children will be in the sanctuary; not Sunday school. They will be invited to participate by doing some of the readings, playing percussion instruments (including their beautiful jingle bell bracelets) and helping to set up the manger scene. There will also be a play space available (supervised by the Sunday school teachers) for any child whose attention span or level of interest might not make it easy to be fully present for an hour-long church service. All child participation is enthusiastically welcomed, but entirely optional.
There will be a children’s Christmas party at the Manse on Sunday the 23rd, from 1-3 PM. All children and their adults are encouraged to attend, and bring friends.
On December 24th, at the 11 AM service, children will be welcome to either sit with their families, or stay with me and the Sunday school teachers, Ms. Glenda and Ms. Laura, in a separate space (to be announced) for reading of the Nativity story, playing, and Christmas partying together.
Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister