St John’s United Church of Christ Bongards
4th Qtr. Newsletter – Nov 13th, 2016
The choir members have our practices 2 times a month on Wednesday evenings at 6 PM and are generally done by 6:45. We are working on a song for Thanksgiving and will start working on Christmas music sometime this month.
If you’d like to sing with the choir during the Christmas season, please watch the bulletin for practice times or talk to a choir member. This is a great time to be part of the choir and really helps get into the Christmas spirit. The songs we’ll be practicing will be familiar Christmas songs and won’t be complicated, so please think about joining us during the holiday season.
Pork Chop Dinner Update
The Pork Chop Dinner was held on September 18th and had a good attendance with a total serviced of 340 and our profit was $2400. This money will be donated back to the church’s general fund. All in all it was a good turnout as there were other dinners being held in the area. We wish to thank everyone who helped to serve the dinner. Without everyone’s help so faithful every year, we couldn’t get it done. Also, thank you to the many people who worked double shifts.
Faith and Fellowship (and Fun) news
October was busy! We planned the llama outing, World communion Day, and family movie night. Thank you to everyone who participated in these events. And who can forget “itsy bitsy” in our entry for this year’s Waconia Chamber Scarecrow tour? Our committee is planning events for November, December, and beyond.
November 18th -6:30 PM All Ages Game night and Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.
December 18th-10AM Holiday Worship service featuring Matt & Allan Carlson with cookies & cider following the service.
December 30th-7: 15 Open Skate at Waconia Ice Arena
January –Movie night with God’s Not Dead Part 2
Check the bulletin or http://sthohnsuccnya.org for additional events and details. If you have any ideas for fellowship activities or if you would like to be part of the planning committee and all the fun contact Michelle Bachmann
Upcoming dates to reserve
- Thanksgiving Sunday Nov 20th Pie Social after service
- Dec 3rd – 9:00 am decorate Christmas tree
- December 18th 10 AM Matt & Allen Carlson concert cookies & cider following
- Dec 24th Christmas Eve Service 6:30 PM – Sunday School program
- Dec 31st Church year end.
- Annual meeting reports need to be in by Jan 8th 2015
- Jan 8th 2015 Take down Christmas tree after church service
- Annual Meeting Jan 15th after church. (Weather permitting)
Sunday school updates
By Michelle Bachmann
We’ve been having a fun time learning lessons from “13 Very Cool stories and Why Jesus Told Them.” Some of those stories include the Good Samaritan, the lost sheep and the prodigal son. The children are having fun learning the lessons and making friends at church. They have a lot of excitement and energy. It warms my heart to see children excited about learning and being at church.
As a congregation family, God has given us the responsibility to foster our children’s growth and excitement in Christ. Children in church always remind me of this story in the bible from Matthew 18: 1-5 “And that time the disciples came to Jesus saying “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like a children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.
A big “Thank You” to everyone who supports the Sunday School Program and our Children.
Upcoming Sunday school Schedule
- On Friday November 18th, we will finish packing the boxes for Operation Christmas Child starting at 6:30 PM which is the same night as our Game night for all ages!
- Christmas Eve program December 24th at 6:30 PM
- No Sunday school on December 18th, 25th, and January 1st.
- We will have a gathering on December 30th at 7:15 for a group ice skating outing at the Waconia Ice Rink
A Note from the Pastor
Reclaiming the Wonder of the Season
“Perhaps the most characteristic element of Christmas is what we call the ‘Christmas Spirit,’ its joy, its reassessment of life as good. This persistent presence is difficult to explain, but no one questions its genuineness.”
– Author unknown.
I am really looking forward to the holiday season. I don’t know if it is being in a new place, getting to experience a “country Christmas” again, having finished an over-the-top election season, or the extended beautiful weather that Fall has continued to bless us with. No matter why, I am excited. I am looking forward to a heartfelt Thanksgiving service and pie social, decorating the tree with the Confirmands, the Carlson’s holiday concert, and having the children lead us in worship with their Pageant on Christmas Eve. I am even looking forward to leading a Blue Christmas service for those in the Community who might be having a hard time this holiday season (more on that in the newsletter).
The Christmas Spirit is most present, I believe, in the wonder of children. The way they wonder about the mysteries of a baby in a manger, gifts that magically appear under the tree, and the magical nature of snowflakes in the season’s first snow. My sermon theme for this Advent season will be “reclaiming the wonder of the season,” because I want us to experience a little of that wonder that we all had as a child. From the first moment of the annunciation to the wise men that traveled from so far away, all of these Advent moments can fill us the wonder of the season. Peace, hope, love, and joy – these are what we long to be filled with during this season, and every year at Christmas. Experiencing the wonder of the season can help us to be anchored in miracle story of baby Jesus.
I hope that you can join us on this journey of reclaiming the Christmas Spirit! I hope you can find moments of joy, hope, peace, and love amidst the always-busy holiday season. And I hope that you can join us in worship each week, and in the variety of other activities that we have planned – including Game Night, Operation Christmas, the Thanksgiving Pie social, or the Christmas Eve children’s pageant. And most of all, I hope that your holiday season is wonderful, and wonder-FULL.
Blessings and peace,
A BLUE CHRISTMAS
Blue? Yes, blue as in the blues. As in “I am feeling blue.”
Not everyone is up and cheery for the Christmas holidays. Dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with cancer or some other dis-ease that puts a question mark over the future, and a variety of other human situations can make parties and Christmas celebrations awkward and painful for many people – both in our congregation and in the community. And it may be especially true for someone who might not have a church family or church home where they feel supported
A Blue Christmas Worship service is a time when we can come together as a community of faith and support each other in our sorrow. It is a time when we can honor the complicated and mixed emotions that always come with the holiday season. And it is a time when we can reach out to our community and find people who might be lost or hurting.
St. John’s will be hosting a Blue Christmas service on Sunday December 11, 2016 at 4pm. If you are feeling sad, lonely, anxious, or lost – come and being those feelings with you. If you know someone in your circle who has experienced loss or change that might be causing them pain or grief, extend an invitation and let them know they are welcome to come as well. (Pastor Cathy will have postcards upcoming in the next few weeks that you can give away). Together, we will honor our feelings of sadness, and be met with the eternal hope that comes in the Christmas message: that you are never alone, that God meets us in our sad times, and walks with us on our journey.
I hope to see you there.
A Blue Christmas Service: Worship of Healing and Remembrance
Sunday, December 11, 2016, 4:00 pm
What an exciting year we have had and still 7 weeks to go for 2016. If we take a few breaths to relax would be a good thing for all of us. So now, to continue onward we had a special meeting on November 6th to discuss and vote on installing new furnaces in our church. The almost 30-year-old ones are failing and sooner than later we would have been without heat and more issues would have occurred. So Thank you for voting and giving permission to install new ones very soon before the cold weather arrives.
This week the bell tower was painted and the sidewalk railings also got painted so that project has been completed this year. This project will take care of our building fund checkbook for this year. We will have to replenish the building fund before any more projects can be introduced or discussed.
So how is our general budget you ask? We are well in the black and a Big Thank You for all your contributions. That doesn’t mean it’s self-sufficient either so your contributions are need to stay this way so with prayers and contributions we can keep your Church operating in the black. When we have our annual meeting the third Sunday in January all balances will be in the annual report as well as next years budget. Books will be closing the 31st of December so that means all reports need to be turned in by 8th of January so we can get the annual report ready for the 15th meeting after church.
I hope you have enjoyed this late fall weather lately and are getting ready for the holiday season. We have a few special things going on this holiday season and hope you are able to share your time and enjoy these events. Yes, it’s for our congregation but invite your friends and folks from the community to share these special times as it truly is for everyone.
With Thanksgiving coming up shortly it’s a good time to consider all the wonderful blessings we have. Reflecting on the material things in life is easy to do, but reflecting on spiritual blessing will help prolong that good feeling and make sure you pass it on to others. So Have a Happy Thanksgiving and help spread the good blessings!