Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekly News 11-28-14

DECORATING SATURDAY

Your help is needed and requested for decorating our church for Advent and Christmas. We will begin at 9 AM on Saturday, November 29. That’s tomorrow! We hope to see you then.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30 is the First Sunday of Advent

Worship on the First Sunday of Advent will key on the beginning of this important season in the church’s liturgical year. We will light the first of our Advent candles, and pray – by way of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and Come, O Long-Expected Jesus – for the Advent of Jesus into our world today. We will hear Mark 13:24-27 and from another Mark, who will preach on the theme “What to Expect from Jesus When He Arrives.” Our Chancel Choir will sing.

AN ADVENT GOAL

Here’s hoping you will make attending worship every Sunday of Advent a personal goal this year. The last three years we have averaged fewer than 135 people in worship during Advent. Let’s make it to 140 this year! Set a personal attendance goal for yourself. This time aside each week will enhance your experience and appreciation of Christmas. See you Sunday.

PROUD OF SALEM

The Bible says somewhere in the Book of Proverbs that pride goes before a fall. Religious tradition names pride as one of the seven deadly sins. But we have reason to be proud of Salem. Did you look around you at the Community Thanksgiving Service? Not only did Dawn, Emily, and our choirs do a fine job, our church as a whole did a wonderful job when it came to attendance. We are not the biggest church in town, but, by one prideful pastor’s measure, we had the best attendance percentage-wise. Good for you!

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

George Adams is hosting December’s Men’s Fellowship meeting. We will gather at 7 PM on Tuesday, December 2.

HOLIDAY BAZAAR

The Annual Holiday Bazaar sponsored by the Women’s Guild will take place on Saturday, December 6, from 11 AM to 1 PM. Good food, good crafts and baked goods, plus good raffle prizes await you. All families of the church are asked to donate a pie, unless asked to bring a salad.

DIAPER SHOWER

The Mission Committee is hosting a diaper shower for Mary and baby Jesus to be held on the four Sundays of Advent. Please bring diapers and wipes beginning this Sunday, November 30. Place your gifts in the manger at the altar. All gifts to the newborn King will be donated in his name to the Verona Area Needs Network. Large sized diapers, especially size 5, are needed.

SPEAKING OF VANN

The Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry is selected for a nationwide Facebook contest to win $20,000. Your votes are needed to help VANN win. The Verona Area Needs Network (VANN) is one of only 150 food pantries nationwide to be selected to participate in Walmart’s 2014 “Food Pantry Holiday Makeover” Promotion. The contest requires that people vote for the pantry of their choice using their Facebook account between December 2 and December 12. The 75 food pantries with the most votes will receive $20,000 each. 
VOTING ELIGIBILITY: Voting is open to all legal residents of the United States of America aged 18 and older.  Voters must have Internet access and a valid Facebook account. 
HOW TO VOTE:  Vote EVERY DAY starting on Tuesday, Dec. 2 thru Friday, Dec 12.  
2. Search for us by Zip Code (53593) or name (Verona Area Needs Network)
3. Click on the “vote” button and log into your Facebook account to complete the voting process. 
Participants can vote once every 24 hours per Facebook account - voting resets twenty-four hours (24) from the time the participant last voted.  Please note that “liking” the Walmart Facebook page or clicking the “Like” button DOES NOT count as a vote. 
If VANN wins the Walmart contest, the organization will use the funds for refrigerators in the pantry store and a children's play area. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly News 11-21-14

TOTENFEST THIS WEEK

This coming Sunday, which is the last Sunday in the church’s liturgical year, is the day set aside for our annual Totenfest ceremony. This special service remembers the people from our congregation who died over the last twelve months. We include, too, the names of all persons whose funerals Rev. Yurs conducted over this time. This year’s Totenfest roll includes Edna Wetternach, Ruth Moll, LaVerne Hagemann, Ferne Frederickson, Steve Larson, and Clarence Witt, Robert Gust, and Elaine Geiger. After this roll is called in worship, worshipers are invited to name aloud anyone whom they would like to remember.

HEBREWS 11:1, 8-16

This New Testament passage will be the focus of our worship service this week. Mark’s sermon, “Thoughts for an Immigrant People,” takes in cue from these words in the text: “They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth . . . seeking a homeland . . . a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” The sermon will thread together the themes of Totenfest and Thanksgiving. The Barry Robinson Chorus will offer some music and the congregation will sing some favorite hymns around the twin themes for the day. [Karen Steele promises to vouch that Mark had this sermon title in place long before the President announced he was to speak on immigration last night!]

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem, St. James, St. Christopher, and Sugar River will join in a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 25, at the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The service will begin at 7 PM. Our choirs will be participating, Dawn Lingard will do all the accompanying, and Mark will offer the Pastoral Prayer at this service.

KNOCK KNOCK RETREAT for MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

Laura Kolden and Marisa Reniero will be on the annual Knock Knock Retreat next weekend, Friday through Sunday. This retreat is sponsored by the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ and is held at Pilgrim Center, or church camp on Green Lake.

POINSETTIAS and WREATHS

Would you like to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia as part of our church’s Advent and Christmas celebration? There will be an insert in this week’s bulletin offering that opportunity. You can also sign up to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia by sending a return email to myurs@salemchurchverona.org or ksteele@salemchurchverona.org. Poinsettias are $9.50 and wreaths (a Boy Scout fundraiser) are $27.00. The first Sunday of Advent in November 30.

DECORATING

Everyone is invited to help decorate our sanctuary and fellowship hall for the Advent and Christmas seasons. The decorating will take place on Saturday, November 27, beginning at 9 AM. Please come to help!

BOOK GROUP

The Book Discussion Group will gather Monday night, November 25, to discuss Holy Ghost Girl, by Donna M. Johnson. The meeting will begin at 7 PM.

COLLEGE CARE PARTNERS

Some of us can remember around mail-time hanging out near the mailboxes on our college campus or coming back from class and seeing a letter waiting to be read. It was good to be remembered. Ways of staying connected with our church’s students who are away at college have changed. The old snail mail system is still effective, and electronic means are on the scene, too. But the reason to stay connected – and the good feeling of being remembered – have not changed. College years are a time huge life decisions are made. How good it is for the church to be present in and with love at just such a time. We will be happy to connect you with a student. If you would like to get in on this important ministry, send an email to Laura Kolden at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org or contact her at the church. She’ll be happy to set you up.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly News 11-14-14

THANKSGIVING BAGS

This Sunday, November 16, is the last day to contribute a Thanksgiving Bag for distribution through the Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry.  The Mission Committee will be taking all the bags collected by Salem to the pantry Sunday afternoon. Our goal is 75. Can you help us reach it?

POINSETTIAS and WREATHS

Would you like to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia as part of our church’s Advent and Christmas celebration? There will be an insert in this week’s and next week’s bulletins offering that opportunity. You can also sign up to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia by sending a return email to myurs@salemchurchverona.org or ksteele@salemchurchverona.org. Poinsettias are $9.50 and wreaths (a Boy Scout fundraiser) are $27.00. The first Sunday of Advent in November 30.

KNOCK KNOCK RETREAT for MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

Laura Kolden and some of our Middle School people will be on the annual Knock Knock Retreat next weekend, Friday through Sunday. This retreat is sponsored by the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ and is held at Pilgrim Center, or church camp on Green Lake.

COLLEGE CARE PARTNERS

Some of us can remember around mail-time hanging out near the mailboxes on our college campus or coming back from class and seeing a letter waiting to be read. It was good to be remembered. Ways of staying connected with our church’s students who are away at college have changed. The old snail mail system is still effective, and electronic means are on the scene, too. But the reason to stay connected – and the good feeling of being remembered – have not changed. College years are a time huge life decisions are made. How good it is for the church to be present in and with love at just such a time. We will be happy to connect you with a student. If you would like to get in on this important ministry, send an email to Laura Kolden at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org or contact her at the church. She’ll be happy to set you up.

THANKSGIVING VOLUNTEERS

Thanks go out to those who have volunteered to help set up, take down, or usher at the Community Thanksgiving Service. It is not too late to volunteer, if you would like to help as well. Just let Mark know. (We are in place as far as ushers are concerned; helpers will still be good for set up and take down at the PAC).

THANKSGIVING SERVICE BANNERS

Hey! Have you seen those beautiful outdoor banners announcing the Community Thanksgiving Service? Those are pretty impressive, aren’t they? They are the brainchild of John Bass in particular, but with the help of the others on our Membership Growth and Development Committee.

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem, St. James, St. Christopher, and Sugar River will join in a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 25, at the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The service will begin at 7 PM. Our choirs will be participating, Dawn Lingard will do all the accompanying, and Mark will offer the Pastoral Prayer at this service.

ANNUAL REPORT BOOKLETS

Annual Report Booklets from last Sunday’s Congregational Meeting are available. If you would like to have one, please stop by the church office or send a return email.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekly News 11-07-14

CONGREGATIONAL MEETING THIS SUNDAY

It’s here! It’s here! The day you have been waiting for! It’s Congregational Meeting Sunday! A potluck supper will start us off at 5. The meeting is set to begin at 5:45.

MORNING WORSHIP on NOVEMBER 9

This Sunday’s service of worship will have a Congregational Meeting-y theme to it. Our hymns will be hymns about the church: The Church’s One Foundation, We Love Your Realm O Lord, and Forward Through the Ages. The Bell Choir will continue our spirit of prayer and follow The Lord’s Prayer with Precious Lord, Take My Hand. Using Acts 24:22-27, Mark will introduce us to the New Testament character Felix and speak on “Putting Off An Important Decision.” The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated.

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem, St. James, St. Christopher, and Sugar River will join in a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 25, at the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The service will begin at 7 PM. Helpers are needed for setting up before the service, tearing down after the service, and serving as ushers during the service. If you are able to help with one or more of these tasks, please let Mark Yurs or Dawn Lingard know at your earliest convenience. Thanks!
(Feel free to stop reading at this point to send a return email, indicating your willingness to help with set-up, take-down, or ushering at the PAC on the 25th. The rest of this weekly mailing will be here waiting for you when you get back.)

TOTENFEST SERVICE on November 23

The special worship service known as Totenfest takes place every year on the Sunday preceding the first Sunday of Advent. That means this year’s Totenfest will be held on Nov. 23. Totenfest remembers the people from our congregation who died over the last twelve months. We include, too, the names of all persons whose funerals Rev. Yurs conducted over this time. This year’s Totenfest roll includes Edna Wetternach, Ruth Moll, LaVerne Hagemann, Ferne Frederickson, Steve Larson, and Clarence Witt. After this roll is called in worship, worshipers are invited to name aloud anyone whom they would like to remember.

THANKSGIVING BASKETS

Salem’s Mission Committee continues to have grocery bags and shopping lists available for those who would like to provide a Thanksgiving basket to the Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry. Last year Salem supplied 71 bags of food! This year we are hoping for 75. A list of what to put in the grocery sack is stapled to the bag.

SALEM’S WEBSITE

The Membership Growth and Development Committee is in the process of reviewing our church’s website, evaluating it for potential changes and other upgrades. The committee would like your input! Send an email to Kelli Malueg at kellimalueg@yahoo.com to let the committee know your thoughts. Do you use our church website? If so, which parts? What do you find most useful? That sort of thing. Thanks.

INACTIVE LIST

The Church Council, in accordance with Salem’s Constitution, periodically reviews our membership roll and slides people over to an inactive or conditional membership list. Such a process is underway now. Often the people who fall into this category are the grown children of members; they are now adults and have moved away and no longer consider themselves part of Salem. Or they may be grown children who have stuck around the area but have become part of another church or are not interested in faith. If you have children or friends you think may fall into a category like this, would you mind talking with them about their continued interest in Salem and then letting the church office know? The standard set by Salem’s Constitution puts on a conditional list those who have not attended worship or contributed to the life of the congregation over a period of two years.