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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
  • Interactive Prayer Station
  • Note from Staff Parish Relations

SEEK

  • Advent Studies
  • Advent Devotionals
  • Advent Calendar

SERVE

  • Nov. Blood Drive results
  • 2021 Giving
  • Serving Cross-Lines
  • Ten Thousand Villages Holiday Event
  • Silent Night Video featuring YOU!
  • Christmas Offering
  • Star Words Day

KIDS & YOUTH

  • Youth programs - join any time!
  • Kids' Connection programs: new schedule starts this Sunday


Message from Pastor Lora


A few weeks ago on one of those surprisingly warmer days, I was working on our porch swing when my neighbor, Karen, walked up. Karen, like some of you, spends her days caring for her grandchildren and helping them log into their online classes during remote learning. She is the go-to person on the block if you want the scoop on anything.

She motioned toward our pumpkins and the mums that were just hanging on by that time and said, “So I was just talking to [neighbor down the street] and she said I should just walk down here and ask you, so here it is: are you all going to out-decorate me for Christmas?”

We looked at our porch and sort of laughed. We had gone a bit all out on the pumpkins with our fall decor, because we bought them at Shawnee UMC and were new homeowners and wanted to decorate and did you know that pumpkins come in itty bitty sizes and white ones and who doesn’t need a good gourd? I digress…

We responded to Karen playfully, “Well, that depends. How decorated do you get for Christmas?”

The challenge was on and our answer was clearly what Karen wanted to hear, because she cracked open a smile from ear to ear. We talked for the next thirty minutes or so about Christmas decorations and traditions and church and pandemic and good food and back to Christmas decorations.

We gave Karen what she was looking for when she walked over that day without even knowing it—it wasn’t a yes or a no—what she wanted was a conversation.

If you’re like us, you’ve been checking off a shopping list for those you love. My conversation with Karen has me wondering if what we’re giving people is anywhere close to what they are really looking for.

For our neighbor, we still ended up buying her this really cute Rudolph decoration for her to hang on her door, but I know what was more special to her than our gift is the fact that she has someone to talk to about her Christmas movies and what she decided to do with that one tree in the back and how excited she is that more people than she thought have lights outside on our block this year.

Comfort & Joy.

It looks different for everyone, but my prayer as we remember God coming down among us is that we notice what folks (including the one looking at us in the mirror) are really looking for. It’s hard right now, but a call or card or prayer or message or act of kindness goes so far these days. Let’s give it a try (there are about a million recourses listed below to have a centered Advent and Christmas—maybe you’ll find something you’re looking for there.)

“See” you Sunday as we sing the songs we know and listen to a message of “peace on earth and mercy mild” and how Mary didn’t have much mildness about her message of peace!

Spreading Comfort & Joy with you,

Pastor Lora
 


Advent Series: Comfort & Joy


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.

This Sunday, December 6
Mary’s song will remind us that PEACE always comes with justice. “Peace on earth and mercy mild” might not be the best way to describe it, but we will have a chance for interactive prayer station Dec. 6-12 outside St. Paul's. Find more info below.
Facebook
YouTube
Online Worship Guide & Bulletin
Interactive prayer


December 6 - 12 @ St. Paul's


From December 6th through the evening of December 12th, you and your family are invited to come and add to St. Paul's Advent display! We'll be decorating the Christmas trees outside of the bridge. Weather permitting, decorations for the trees will be available to add so that we can pray together. Come to the bridge classroom doors, just off the lower parking lot, to add your prayers to the tree and collect a prayer for this Advent season. Instructions and sanitizing supplies for materials will be provided at the station.

St. Paul's is very fortunate to have such dedicated and talented people on staff, especially this year! As 2020 comes to an end, the Staff Parish Relations Committee wants to recognize that even during a global pandemic, the staff at St. Paul’s has enabled our community to continue to Love, Seek, and Serve in safe and meaningful ways. Pastor Lora’s recent email asking for estimates of giving for 2021 reminds us of some of the things St. Paul’s has accomplished this year, and it is truly breathtaking! 

Thanks to the staff’s innovative and bold leadership, we’ve had opportunities to turn a year of pain, loss, and anger, into growth, action, and hope. As the saying goes, St. Paul’s continues to be St. Paul’s, even in 2020, and this is largely due to the staff’s tireless efforts in re-envisioning how we worship, study, and serve. Things certainly look and feel different this year, but the one constant is that the St. Paul’s community continues to love others unconditionally, educate ourselves and challenge injustices, serve those hurting physically and emotionally, and seek God’s love and call.

With all of this in mind, we wanted to give you the opportunity to show your appreciation to the staff for their love and care this year.

First, we invite you to contribute monetary gifts to a love offering that will be distributed to the staff in January 2021. You may make your contribution online by selecting “Staff Gift,” or designating a payment by text or check to the "Staff Gift."

Second, as you are addressing your Christmas and New Year’s cards, we invite you to send a card or note to the church so that the staff can read your greetings and updates. Pictures are particularly appreciated, especially by the newer members of St. Paul’s staff.

On behalf of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, I wish you all a peaceful and blessed Advent season.

~ Kimberly Goff
 
Advent studies

We're excited to offer four Advent studies this year to help you prepare your heart and your life for the coming of Christ into the world. Each of the studies will meet via Zoom; contact the host to join.

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.

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

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

 

November 27 - 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.
 


November Blood Drive Results


From the Community Blood Center:
Thank you so much for supporting our community by coordinating the recent blood drive at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Mobile blood drives such as yours account for more than 70% of the blood needed to keep our hospitals adequately supplied. Without your help, it would be difficult to collect the 580 pints needed each day for our family, friends, and neighbors.

At your Sunday, November 8 blood drive the Community Blood Center staff registered 17 volunteers and collected 15 units of blood. There were 2 first time donors.

Please pass on our gratitude to the volunteers who supported the blood drive...Thank you for your commitment to the Community Blood Center and patients in need.


To learn more about this ministry and how to get involved, contact Bob Casey. Our next blood drive is tentatively scheduled for February 22, 2021. 
 

2021 Estimate of Giving


You should have received a follow-up email this week to our invitation to prayerfully consider your giving in the coming year. In case you missed it, here's a link!

If you haven't done so yet, make your estimate of giving online here. If you prefer, a printable version is available here.
 
Cross-Lines volunteers
Cross-Lines volunteers
Cross-Lines volunteers

Serving Cross-Lines


St. Paul's volunteers provided 260 meals at Cross-Lines food kitchen on our November serving day, a record high for our teams. The pandemic has hit this population hard, and the meals our food teams prepare and serve are greatly appreciated! We serve a meal at Cross-Lines the third Friday of every month. Find out how to get involved here.

It's time for our annual Holiday Event to support the fair-trade artisans of Ten Thousand Villages Overland Park and St. Paul’s Peace and Justice causes! There won’t be a holiday party this year, but you will be able to shop through Saturday, December 5, either in person at the Overland Park store (7947 Santa Fe Dr.) or online. When you check out, use the code SPUMC20 and St. Paul’s Peace and Justice causes will receive 15% of the sale price.
  
Silent Night

Even if you've never participated in choral music before at St. Paul's, we're excited to involve you (and as many people as possible) in our video of “Silent Night!” Jackson Thomas, St. Paul's Director of Choral Music, will provide specific instructions, practice tracks, and a support system at every turn. Find out how it works and get ready to submit your video by December 14. Jackson will compile everyone’s videos together to create something really special for our Christmas Eve service. Read all about Jackson's plans and how you can be part of this very special Silent Night.
    
Find out more here and email Jackson with any questions or hesitations - he will put your mind at rest! We hope you'll join us!
 

Our Christmas offering this year will be split between two local organizations: MORE2 and Shawnee Community Services.

MORE2 (Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity) is made up of people of faith in Kansas City who are called to break down barriers that divide us by race and class. Rather than providing services or programs, More2 works to change policies through grassroots movements, in ways that promote racial and economic equity in Kansas and Missouri. We hope to join More2 as a partner congregation in 2021.

Shawnee Community Services is a long time partner in mission. They exist to offer a hand up to those in need throughout the Greater Kansas City and serve their customers with integrity and respect, giving them a hand up and the tools they need to be self-reliant and give back to our communities. This hand up includes:
  • Food, clothing, emergency financial assistance for shelter, utilities and health care; and, advocacy.
  • Empowering our clients through education and development of life skills and resource management.
  • Promoting practices that respect all people of the Earth and the Environment with special emphasis on all types of recycling.
  • Actively recognizing the central role that charity plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally & internationally.
  • Wisely utilizing the energy and generosity of volunteers, churches, businesses and other organizations in these efforts.
Star Words

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 invited to bring food for The Hub Argentine food pantry. Check back later in Advent for our assigned food items this month.
 
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.

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.

Kids' Connection & KIDS456 weekly meetups
Starting this Sunday, December 6, we have new meeting times! Contact Jamie for the Zoom links.
  • Kids' Connection: 11am Sundays
  • KIDS456: 6pm Sundays
Follow the links below to learn more and join us!
 
Learn more & get this week's Parent Guide
Join Kids' Connection Facebook Group
Contact Jamie Turk
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Email
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