Advent at St. Paul’s

advent

Announcements for Advent

Tuesday Night Bible Study will not be meeting in Advent.  Our weekly study will resume in Epiphany on January 7th.

StoryCircles will be held on December 4 & 11 from 6:00-6:45.  During this time, all are welcome to come.  Participants will be working through the “Telling your story” worksheets.

Evening Prayer will be offered at 7pm on Wednesday evenings (Dec 4, 11, & 18).  Join this event.

St. Paul’s Annual Meeting will be held following worship on Sunday, December 8th.  Join this event.

The final meeting of the 2013 Church Council will be on December 18, from 5:30-6:45.  Dinner will be provided.

Christmas Caroling is scheduled for Sunday, December 22nd.

Christmas Eve Candlelight service will be held at 11pm on Tuesday, December 24.  Join this event.

 

Keep up-to-date.  Sign up to receive emails and “like” us on Facebook.

2013 Mission Priorities

At its last meeting, the church council identified three “Mission Priorities” for St. Paul’s next year.  These priorities (discussed below) have given shape to the 2013 budget proposal that will be discussed at the annual meeting on December 9th.   An intentional focusing on building relationships, both new and old, underlies all three priorities.  Through building relationships, we not only grow as faithful followers of Christ, but take part in building the kingdom of God a little closer to home.

Faithful in Worship

Since worship occupies a central place in our identity as a community of faith, council leaders discussed ways to encourage regular worship attendance among members, extending personal invitations to those without a church home, and building relationships with those who come to worship on Sunday morning.

Part of this includes continuing to make opportunities to serve in worship (as Assisting Minister, Reader, etc) more available and for those who regularly fill these roles to intentionally invite others to step into these roles.  And this includes an emphasis on making worship more accessible to families by finding creative ways for children to actively participate in worship and providing more options for parents, like nursery care.

We will also proclaim God’s love through the Art of the Passion. Last year, the exhibit reached over 350 people, many of whom do not regularly attend church.  In 2013, we hope to find ways to improve and expand the exhibit, so that the good news may be extended even further into the world.

Growing as Stewards

The second  priority is that our members and regular attenders continue to grow as stewards of the gifts that God has given them.  Our past stewardship campaigns and cottage meetings have laid a great foundation for understanding our role as stewards of God’s gifts.  The particular ways our mission is lived out is shaped by the individual gifts of the people who recognize how God has blessed them and are eager (even if sometimes reluctant) to share it with the world.  Throughout the year, we will be using the wholeness wheel to identify and encourage each other to grow as stewards of God’s gifts.

This process will begin early in the year, with an exciting chance for everyone to get involved through a congregational listening campaign.  A handful of people will be trained in the art of one-to-one conversations and then will schedule times to interview other members in a mutual discovery of passions & gifts.

Continued Mission Discernment

The third priority identified is that St. Paul’s continues the process of mission discernment.  In the past, churches have engaged in this kind of visioning once in a blue moon – and more often than not, it involved some kind of building campaign.  However, mission is a ongoing process of discernment.

Building upon the discernment done in 2010, we’ll continue working with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod’s Latino Strategy Board and implementing the partnership objectives to discover ways that we can overcome cultural boundaries in our community and become a community that truly shares God’s love with all people.

A big part of discernment is listening.  So once our congregational listening campaign is completed, we’ll turn it outwards, inviting more members to be trained and listening to those in the community who are not participants at St. Paul’s.  All of this will come together at our Triennial Mission Discernment Retreat, where participants at St. Paul’s will have the opportunity to select and award a grant to a local agency with whom we would like to work together to make God’s love known in our community.

 

Through focusing time and resources on these priorities, St. Paul’s will continue to grow as vital ministry in our community.  There is much to be excited about in the coming year and a lot of ways to be involved.  No matter how young or old, near or far, quiet or boisterous you may be, there is a place for you.   There will be a chance to discuss these priorities and share your ideas at the congregational meeting and weeks following.

In the meantime, keep watching announcements in church or on Facebook; talk about it with others and ask a lot of questions; share it with God in prayer; think about what part you a most interested or gifted for – and together we’ll continue to share and proclaim the love of God, while growing in faith as followers of Christ.

The 2012-2013 Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, December 9th following worship.

 

Advent at St. Paul’s

Advent, worship, Christmas

Sundays in December

The season of Advent marks the beginning of the church year and comprises the four weeks before Christmas.  Advent highlights the themes of hope & preparation, nurtures within us repentance & watchfulness, and the contrast of darkness/light, the fullness of Christ and anticipation of his second coming.

These themes are marked in the liturgy by the lighting of the Advent candles and voice of the prophets in the lectionary.

Crunched between Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas morning, Advent tends to be a busy time for many people.  Worship provides a space of escape and a call to remember the things that are easily cast aside.  As Advent approaches, make plans to participate as fully as you are able – and celebrate the moment of anticipation with the community of faith.

Looking for a way to express a bit of creativity this Advent?  Check out the Art of the Passion‘s Creating Art devotional.

Events in Advent

Thursday, November 29: Everyone is invited to pitch in as we make preparations for Advent.  We’ll gather from 5p-6p for a Faith Steps program in which young and old will start placing the decorations around the church. Special activities will be provided for younger children.  At about 6:15p, anyone who would like to be an assisting minister in worship is invited to join a walk-through the Advent liturgy.  The evening will conclude by 7pm.

Sunday, December 2:  On the First Sunday in Advent, the sunday school classes will create chrismons to hang on the Christmas tree.  Their creations will be incorporated into the service during the Childrens’ sermon.

Sunday, December 9:  After service on the Second Sunday in Advent, our congregation will host the 2012-2013 Congregational Meeting, including some discussion about the current grant objectives and a look into next year.

Sunday, December 16:  Bring a poinsettia!  Everyone is invited to bring a poinsettia to worship.

Sunday, December 23:  Building the Nativity together.  Do you have an extra nativity at home?  Perhaps a gift or something that rarely comes out of the box?  Choose a card located outside of the sanctuary and bring a figurine from one of your nativities to contribute to the Nativity that will be displayed through January 8th.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be held on Monday, December 24th at 11:15pm.  Come early and enjoy some Christmas goodies and hot chocolate!

Christmas Service of Caroling will be held on the Sunday, December 30th.  Let us know what your favorite Christmas hymn/song is by sending us an email at office@stpauls39.org.