Merry Christmas! This week’s newsletter is simple – Merry Christmas. May the peace and joy of Christ Jesus born anew in our midst, inspire new places of love and community in your life. We are so grateful for you in our community. We hope that you are spending these holidays in healthy, safe, and loving ways.
We are gathering for Christmas Eve Worship at 11p tonight. Make sure you bring a candle and join us for Silent Night as we ring in Christmas Day.
Also, a reminder that Sunday’s worship is back at 11am and our Resident Seminarian, Kelsey Creech, will bring the message for our time together.
Friends, what a gift this new Christ child is to our world, and we get to experience that gift of love whenever we want through the power of God’s still speaking words- scripture. This Sunday, The Third Day of Christmas, we will gather together across the digital spaces to remember and experience again the wonder and awe of Jesus in our world. So, let’s read together the text for this Sunday from Luke 2.
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see this event that God has made known to us.”
16 They hurried and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger; 17 once they saw this, they reported what they had been told concerning the child. 18 All who heard about it were astonished at the report given by the shepherds. 19 Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went away glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.
And all God’s people said, Amen. What wonder the shepherds must have experienced for their stories and journeys to still be told today. Friends, may that message bring you the glory, power, and love of Jesus this day and every day forward. We are hearing our sibling shepherds; may God’s wonder and joy be praised forever.
Merry Christmas y Feliz Navidad.
A quick prayer for your week: Holy and Gracious God, Thank you for the gift of Christ Jesus, Amen.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from The Rev. Francesca Fortunato
Dear Park People,
On Sunday, December 20th, the Park Sunday school children heard the story of the Shepherds who were in the fields on the night of Jesus’ birth. We read from the Doring Kindersley Illustrated Children’s bible, which includes geographical/historical sidebars, along with the scriptures. We learned about the tools used by shepherds in Jesus’ time, the clothes they wore, and the nature of the work they did, which included physically driving-away predators, who might attack their sheep. I had never thought of shepherds as super-heroes before, but they started to seem that way to me (and, I suspect, to the children) after we finished the reading. It seems appropriate that some of the first people to learn about Jesus, were people who did such hard, important; even dangerous work.
On Sunday December 27th, the very last Sunday of 2020, I plan to continue my long-standing tradition of making Sunday school a “party” (to the extent that’s possible online.) The children will be invited to choose which story they would like me to read (and I will be glad to read more than one, time permitting.) We’ll make time for social conversation; talking about the ways that the children and their families celebrated Christmas, and our hopes and wishes for the new year.
I hope that all members of the Park community will find inspiration and joy in these Advent/Christmas days.
Blessings and well wishes as always, Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister
Well, it isn't food for your stomach (though when we are able to meet again in person, we will share a brown bag lunch right after church), but it is food — almost a banquet — for your soul.
SoulFood Fellowship is a gathering of The PARK members and friends who get together from near and far after worship on the third Sunday of each month. We engage in conversation that is bound to get you thinking and talking. We discuss and reflect on books, articles, documentary films, or plays —in light of our faith, Bible Study, and concern for social justice.
Right now we’re focusing on Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for our Own, by Eddie Glaude, Jr. Don't worry if you haven't read the book. It is a slow read that calls forth loads of discussion and reflection on our country, racism, and what God requires of us. We would love to have you join us and share your perspective, experience, hopes, and concerns.
For more information, please contact either RIchard Sturm or Stephanie Wilson at the church.
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.