Sunday Sneak Peek – December 18, 2022

Join us this Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Advent (in-person and ZOOM when available).


S4K-color-horiz400“An Angel Appears to Joseph”

Thank you for worshiping online with us.  We are so glad that you are spending part of your day with us!

Order of Service

Worship Service Participants

Rev. Scott Siefert | Organist: Penny Rolf | Liturgist: Woody Prehn | Sunday School: Cindy Henschen|

Ringing of the Church Bell


Call to Worship – Woody Prehn

One: We come seeking a sign from You, the One who sits upon the throne.

All: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

One: We come seeking to worship You, the One who dwells with us always.

All:  Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

One: We come seeking to witness your might, a child to be born in a coming night.

All: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

(Inspired by Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19)

Opening Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” (The Hymnal #272)

Prayer of Invocation 

Woody: Creating and sustaining God, in your presence there is life. Living water springs up, and deserts blossom where you pass. Seeking the life that comes from you, we have gathered before you. Our hearts are ready O God, our hearts are ready.

All: Delight us with your presence, and prepare us for your service in the world; through the grace of Jesus Christ. AMEN.   

Lighting of the Peace Candle

Woody: As we gather around the Advent wreath today, we rejoice that Christmas is a time of prayer and of open hearts when we sing songs of joy. Christmas is a time of worship – the moment when the busiest of us pause in wonder. Christmas happens when God comes to us in love through Jesus Christ and fills us with love for all humankind. 

Jesus told us in John 13:  34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Song Before Lighting the Candle

Lyrics (to be sung to “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”)

O come you source of Love unto us all

Enlighten us and help us hear your call

To bear your Love out into the wild

And celebrate God’s wondrous Holy Child!

Rejoice, rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to us

And all things shall be well

One: We light this candle to proclaim the coming of the light of God into the world. With the coming of this light there is love. Such great love helps us to love God and one another. 

(Lighting of the Love candle in the wreath ) – Woody 

All: O God, we thank you that Jesus showed your love for every person – babies and children, old people and young, sick people and those who were strong, rich people and those who were poor. Come to us in this Advent season, and give us love in our hearts for all people. AMEN. 

Prayer of Confession – Rev Scott

One: We gather together in this season of Advent anticipating hope, praying for peace, attempting to cultivate joy and share love amidst commotion, grief, despair, and uncertainty. God our shepherd. Restorer of souls. In a world full of hopelessness, we have sometimes forgotten that you have shown your hope in endless ways.

All: Restore us, O God, let your face shine, that we may know your hope.

One: In this mess of a world, we have sometimes neglected to lean into your peace that transcends comprehension.

All:  Restore us, O God, let your face shine, that we may know your peace.

One: In a time too often  shrouded in doom and despair, we have often forgotten how to fight for our joy.

All: Restore us, O God, let your face shine, that we may know your joy.

One: In a moment when it is easier to hate others because we believe differently, we have forgotten how to love beyond the bounds of what separates us.

All:  Restore us, O God, let your face shine, that we may know your love. Remind us that even in our weakness you are mighty.

–Time of Silent Confession-

Assurance of Grace

One: God has never left us or forsaken us. God is Emmanuel in the face of crisis. Emmanuel in the midst of calamity. Emmanuel in the presence of tribulation. God with Us, helping our unbelief, bringing us back to life, reminding us that we are light. Let that be the good news. 

Scripture Readings 

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 – Woody: Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Matthew 1:18-25 – Rev Scott: Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah* took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,  and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;* and he named him Jesus.

Children’s Message

Pastoral Meditation: “God With Us, Part Four” 

Hymn of Response: Gentle Joseph, Joseph Dear” (New Century Hymnal #105)

Prayers and Concerns

Joys – Concerns – Blessings 

Please share any special concerns, joys, and blessings.

Silent Prayer – Pastoral Prayer – Lord’s Prayer 

ALL: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.  AMEN.

Collection and Presentation of the Offering

Invitation to the Offering

One: We believe in the God of justice and righteousness, and God believes in us to carry forth the mission of loving and caring for community. Let us now share our gifts and resources so that we may continue to walk humbly with God and with neighbors. 

Hymn: “Praise God from Whom All Blessing Flow” (The Hymnal #551)

Prayer of Dedication

All: We dedicate these gifts that have been shared for the fortification of the beloved community. Let these gifts do justice in the world. Let them be a signal to the people that there is a God who saves, heals, and sets free. AMEN. 

Closing and Blessing

Closing Hymn:  “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” (The Hymnal #89)

Benediction and Blessing

Ringing of the Church Bell

Upcoming Events – Save the Date

  • Wednesdays – Confirmation Class – 6pm – schedule on website
  • Thursdays – Bible Fellowship – 6pm – Fellowship Hall and ZOOM
  • Dec. 21 – Blue Christmas Reflection – 6pm
  • Dec. 24 – Candlelight Service – 6pm
  • Dec. 25 – Lessons and Carols – 915am (no Fellowship/Coffee Hour)
  • Jan. 1 – “Happy Birthday St. John’s” Celebration service – 915am – followed by Fellowship and Birthday cake

Announcements for the Community                

Fruit of the Spirit.  The December the Fruit of Spirit offering will go towards the Southwest Carver County Food shelf.  Look for the special collection basket at the rear of the sanctuary.

Weather Watch Policy.  The decision to cancel worship or church activities will be made at 6pm the day prior to the service or event.  Announcements will be made via social media, website, and email.

Many hands make light work!  Please consider serving as a Consistory Team Member.  We are in need of 3 members in 2023.  Contact Michelle Bachmann at 952-361-3033 or Pastor Scott for more details.

Find Food Carver County.  Volunteers are needed to pack produce, sort food items, and distribute food into vehicles in NYA the first Friday of the month.  This program helps with food insecurity and food rescue to reduce waste.  If interested, contact Michelle Bachmann at 952-361-3033 or

Live Streaming:  We want to train others on live-streaming and recording services.  Contact Michelle Bachmann if you’re interested.

Looking for a church family?  If you have been led to St. John’s looking to be more than a visitor, we welcome you openly to our family and would love an opportunity to chat.  Contact Pastor Scott at 804-350-0826 or email

The Word To Go:  Find Sunday morning worship services on our YouTube channel, St. John’s UCC-BongardsWorship will also be live-streamed on Facebook, when available.

Bongards Buzz:  Submit items for the newsletter by the 1st of each month to Michelle Bachmann or

For Pastoral Care.  Please contact Pastor Scott at 804-350-0826 or email  


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