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St. Paul's United Methodist Church  •  7740 Lackman, Lenexa KS  66217  •  913-268-9551
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In this issue:


LOVE

  • Message from Pastor Lora
  • Worship
  • Share the Love with a St. Paul's mask
  • New Congregational Care Ministry launching in 2021

SEEK

  • Join a Small Group
  • Read (and discuss!) the Bible Daily
  • Advent Devotionals
  • Advent Calendar

SERVE

  • End of Year Contributions
  • Video: serving at the Hub Argentine
  • Christmas Offering
  • Star Words & Serving our neighbors

KIDS & YOUTH

  • Youth Zoom gatherings
  • Kids' Connection programs


Message from Pastor Lora


Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? Almost the end of 2020?

I hardly can. It boggles my mind every time I write the date and let myself process what that means. Luckily, we did most of our shopping and mailing of presents a couple weeks ago, so we are feeling good about that. But it still feels sad a good bit to think we are building up to this holiday where we would normally be traveling to family Christmas in rural Kansas and then off to North Carolina and Virginia.

This year we will be in Kansas City except maybe some day trips to see family outside if it gets above 19 degrees!

We’ve been trying to find some silver linings like the rest of you. Things like planning fun meals to make together—today’s recipe finds were a pesto lasagna and a lemon orzo soup we will try. We are getting a fence as a Merry Christmas to us, but mostly to our dog, Ollie. Living big over here!

It’s just a different year.

This week our neighbor Alicia rang the doorbell. She smiles every time we see her and has been helping Carter practice her Spanish. My Spanish is just about non-existent so I was a little worried about how the conversation would go with just me being home. Turns out that they are heading home to Mexico to see her 90 year old father and the rest of her family and that means they need a dog sitter for two weeks for their *pregnant* dog.

My goodness. Carter and I talked about it, introduced sweet Bella to our dog Ollie, figured out we lost a week in translation and it is actually three weeks of dog sitting, and decided to say yes. Because, why not?

It is probably bananas, but it was a chance to help our neighbors in a big way that we absolutely couldn’t have done in a year of travel and hustle and bustle. Their relief and gratitude as they continue to get ready for their trip has been overwhelming, and feels like the confirmation that we are doing the right thing.

Have you had any chances to extend generosity in ways that are different this year because of the pandemic? I know for some of you that looks like serving at Cross-Lines. For others it is a generous year-end gift to the church Christmas offering. Some of you might also be thinking of your neighbors in special ways too.

We will read John 1 on Christmas Eve. The Message translation says that the Word was made flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. Where are you seeing God With Us, Emmanuel in your neighborhood? If you haven’t, take a walk around the block and ask God to open your eyes today too. Trust me, it is worth it (and maybe don’t ask me in three weeks when we might have puppies at our house if I’m still feeling as neighborly!)

“See” you Sunday,

Pastor Lora
 


Comfort & Joy


This Sunday, December 20
The LOVE of Christ comes down at Christmas and always—we will “let loving hearts enthrone him” and explore how our love can spread Comfort & Joy to the world.

Participate in the livestream on Facebook, Sundays at 10am (except Christmas Eve services, which will be on Christmas Eve :) at 5 & 7pm). If you miss out you can always watch later on Facebook or YouTube.

Christmas Eve
Contemporary Service 5pm | Traditional Service 7pm
You’ll have TWO different options to worship on December 24—contemporary at 5pm and traditional at 7pm. That’s right, for the first time in almost nine months we will pull the blended service apart for two different worship styles and experiences and sounds.

Kids are important at St. Paul's! This year on Christmas Eve, our kids are invited to play Bingo Christmas Eve while participating during service. The idea is that as kids see or hear certain words in the sermon, they get to cross out a box on their bingo board. The bingo boards are being mailed out to our families this week; if you don't receive one or want to invite a friend to participate, you can find them here, or download a non-reader version here. Feel free to comment "Bingo!" or better yet, "Jesus!" in the Facebook comments section during Christmas Eve services. Merry Christmas!
Facebook
YouTube
Online Worship Guide & Bulletin
St. Paul's volunteers wearing masks


Share the Love with a St. Paul's Mask


Come on down to the lower parking lot (turn left after entering the driveway) this Sunday, December 20, 11:30am-12:30pm and get a St. Paul's Love Seek Serve mask! One way to share your faith with others is to make sure they know about St. Paul’s. These Love Seek Serve adult-size masks can help you spark conversation with friends, neighbors, and strangers. Make plans to drive through, pick up your mask, and share your faith with others while keeping safe with your new mask!

New Care Ministry Beginning 2021


We are excited about a new ministry that will debut in 2021 that we believe will greatly enhance our ability to respond to the care needs of our church family. Modeled after a similar ministry launched at the Church of the Resurrection by Rev. Karen Lampe (a St. Paul’s native!), it is based on a team of volunteers called Congregational Care Ministers (or CCMs for short). Working closely with Pastor Sandra, this team will multiply our ability to be in touch with you when you need support or encouragement or prayer.

CCMs will begin with their natural gifts of care and compassion. And then they will receive training in how to reach out to folks in need of contact and share together in a time of prayer. They will meet regularly as a team to receive assignments from Pastor Sandra, as she becomes aware of needs in the congregation.

Are you excited yet? Are you wondering how you can support this ministry? Well, we ask you to pray. PRAY! And then PRAY some more. Pray and ask yourself, “Is God calling me to this ministry?” We are looking for folks who are good listeners, empathetic, and who enjoy encouraging others.

Could that be you?

If you are intrigued, if you are feeling a nudge that God might be leading you to share your gifts in this ministry, please contact Pastor Sandra. She would be happy to talk to you about how you might become a Congregational Care Minister at St. Paul’s.
 
Join a small group

We encourage you to make time in your Christmas preparations to pause and reflect and connect with others doing the same. We believe it will lead you to a more meaningful celebration of the season. Groups meet via Zoom; contact the host to join.

Find more info here and choose a group to become part of your tradition this year and beyond.

Read the Bible Daily

One of the ways we deepen our relationship with Jesus is to read the Bible daily. Find daily readings that correspond with our sermon series and questions for reflection, then join the conversation in the comments or in a small group. Contact Pastor Sandra if you have questions!

We invite you this Advent to make space in every day to read and reflect on what it means for God to be with us in real and living ways. The good news of Christmas is that Christ comes to bring us hope. Christ comes to bring us joy. How will you hear that message this year, in all that has happened in 2020? How will you believe in the nearness of Christ and feel his peace and his love?

Advent devotionals are a good resource for daily reading and reflection. We've compiled a list of materials that we find especially meaningful and helpful. The title of each devotional is a link that you can use to order a copy. The description highlights what you will find within its pages.

Take time to look through this list and select one that you find most appropriate for you. Share that time with your family and grow together in the hope of God-with-us.

Advent Calendar

 

Through December 25


Each day you will find a different way to Love, Seek, or Serve to lead you in a meaningful Advent. Be sure to check Facebook each day or download a printable version from St. Paul's website to follow along with your church family.
 

End of Year Contributions 


In order to be posted during 2020, contributions need to be postmarked by December 31. Automated giving, text giving, or online contributions via our website need to be entered by December 29. Please clearly indicate the funds you are contributing to on the check’s memo line. You can view your giving history and pledge drive balance from your InFellowship account. Contact Lisa Groth, financial secretary, if you have questions regarding your contributions. Thank you for your stewardship.

Serving at the Hub

Check out this video (featuring folks you may recognize!) inviting you to get involved with the Hub Argentine.
 

Our Christmas offering this year will be split between two local organizations: MORE2 and Shawnee Community Services. You may make your contribution to the Christmas Offering
fund category any time between now and the end of the year.
 
Star Words


Star Words and Serving our Neighbors


This tradition is back for its second year! The wise men followed the star that pointed them to Christ. You will receive a star with a word on it and that word will point you toward Christ in the year to come!

After online worship on January 3 you will be invited to come pick up your star word and also to bring non-perishable food items for The Hub Argentine food pantry and the Johnson County North Central Multi-Service Center.

The Hub is asking specifically for donations of 15 oz. cans of protein beans (black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans, pork and beans, chili beans, refried beans).

The Multi-Service Center will accept similar sized non-perishable foods of all types.

Make plans to get your Star Word and drop off donations at the same time on Sunday, January 3, right after online worship!
 
Kids & Youth


Youth: Middle School/High School


Check out our activities for youth and join us any time! Programs are open to all youth grades 7-12. Contact Allison for Zoom links, and be sure to join our Facebook group for updates.

Youth Christmas Party
Join us for our annual Youth Christmas Party, this year being held on Zoom, Sunday, December 20 from 4-5:30pm. Contact Allison to receive the Zoom meeting information and hope to see you there!

Sunday School
Sundays, 11–12pm via Zoom
Topic: Faith & Justice 
 Open to all youth grade levels.  

Small Groups
Sundays, 3-4pm via Zoom 
Who Am I? A look into our identities as God each uniquely created us. Open to all youth grade levels.  

Sundays, 6-7pm via Zoom
Relationships and the Bible. Open to all youth grade levels.
 

Youth Groups and Activities
Youth Facebook Group
Contact Allison Marcus

Kids' Connection: PreK - Grade 6

 

Check out our multimedia opportunities for kids to connect with God and each other! There's a place for you here.

We begin worship this Sunday with Kid's Time! so be sure and gather round for that, 10am on Facebook Live.

Bingo Christmas Eve
Contemporary Service 5pm | Traditional Service 7pm
Kids are important at St. Paul's! This year on Christmas Eve, our kids are invited to play Bingo Christmas Eve while participating during service. The idea is that as kids see or hear certain words in the sermon, they get to cross out a box on their bingo board. The bingo boards are being mailed out to our families this week; if you don't receive one or want to invite a friend to participate, you can find them here, or download a non-reader version here. Feel free to comment "Bingo!" or better yet, "Jesus!" in the Facebook comments section during Christmas Eve services. Merry Christmas!

Kids' Connection & KIDS456 weekly meetups
Join us! Contact Jamie for the Zoom links.
  • Kids' Connection: 11am Sundays
  • KIDS456: 6pm Sundays
Learn more & get this week's Parent Guide
Join Kids' Connection Facebook Group
Contact Jamie Turk
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