Saturday, December 23, 2017

CHRISTMAS EVE

We will have three services, all different, on Christmas Eve. Here is the schedule:
10:15 AM:       Worship for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
                                    Sermon: Imagining a Better World
                                    Music: A Festival of Carols (A Congregational Hymn Sing)
                                    Baptism of Becky Zurbuchen’s and Ladell Pope’s daughter Eleah

            7:30 PM:          Christmas Eve Worship with Candlelight and Communion
                                    Sermon: The Light of God Is in the World Now
                                    Music:  The Chancel Choir

            11:00 PM:        Christmas Eve Worship with Candlelight and Communion
                                    Sermon: The Song in the Night
                                    Music:  Duet by John and Ellen Bass

A GLIMPSE OF GOD

An older-looking man was going passed our house Monday morning as I was wheeling our garbage and recycling bins to the curb. He wasn’t going fast enough to say he was jogging and he wasn’t going slow enough to say he was walking. Sherrol tells me it is called “wogging.” Whatever it was he was doing, he wished me a “Merry Christmas” as he passed and continued along his way. But he did not get too far along before he stopped, turned around, and returned to me. He pointed to the stable and manger scene we have by our front porch, and he said, “I love your crèche!” And he was off again. I thought of Habakkuk 2:2 (you can look it up!) and how good it is to know the message of Christ finds room in the hearts of people still today.

WOMEN’S MINI RETREAT

Women of the church are encouraged to gather at the home of Cindy Remus on Thursday, January 4, at 7 PM, for a “mini retreat.”  There will be a short devotion followed by a time of fellowship and conversation. Those who attend are invited to bring an appetizer or beverage to share. Please contact the church office for Cindy’s home address, or ask by way of a return email.

WEEKLY MAILING

This is the final weekly mailing of 2017. Watch for the next one to appear on January 5.

Friday, December 15, 2017

CHRISTMAS

Christmas is not the nostalgic practice of remembering and repeating beloved traditions and rituals from the past. Christmas is about the ever-present God who is constantly and even now breaking into our world with the power of heaven to respond to what is chaotic and troubling and wrong in life. Christmas draws from the past and proclaims God’s relevant word to persons today. Be sure to come to worship – I wish you could and would come to every one of them this season – what God might have to say to you. God is eager to speak with you and to strengthen you with a message of rejoicing hope.

THIS SUNDAY MORNING

The sermon Mark has prepared for this Sunday is about “Finding Ourselves in a Land We Do Not Know.”  Based on Psalm 137:4 – “How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? – the message is meant for people who find  themselves in perplexing circumstances in a world in which religion is mocked and keeping the faith is not encouraged.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Our Christmas program will take place Sunday afternoon beginning at 3 PM. Titled “A Contemporary Christmas,” it features our Sunday School and youth as well as music from our choirs. A reception will follow.

CHRISTMAS EVE

We will have three services, all different, on Christmas Eve. Here is the schedule:
10:15 AM:       Worship for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
                                    Sermon: Imagining a Better World
                                    Music: A Festival of Carols (A Congregational Hymn Sing)
                                    Baptism of Becky Zurbuchen’s and Ladell Pope’s daughter Eleah

            7:30 PM:          Christmas Eve Worship with Candlelight and Communion
                                    Sermon: The Gospel in the Candle’s Gentle Flame
                                    Music:  The Chancel Choir

            11:00 PM:        Christmas Eve Worship with Candlelight and Communion
                                    Sermon: The Song in the Night
                                    Music:  Duet by John and Ellen Bass

DIAPERS AND WIPES

The Mission Committee will be collecting diapers and wipes this Advent season. Beginning December 3, place your gifts in the manger by the altar in the chancel. Our humble gifts will be donated to the Badger Prairie Needs Network in honor of the newborn King, who brings us hope, joy, love, and peace. Larger sized diapers are especially needed.

SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING

There will be a special and brief congregational meeting following worship this Sunday. The purpose of the meeting is to act on a proposal toward renovating the church kitchen.

GLIMPSES OF GOD

One of our members has been having a discouraging time. Work has been leaving her feeling defeated and devalued. The news has left her dismayed and depressed. Much has seemed joyless. She has been playing a particular Christmas CD in her car on her way to and from work and on her shopping errands. One song she has been hearing repeatedly has grabbed her attention and filled her with hope. The song is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” One verse tells of despair: “’There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men.’” But, in the very next verse, “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.’” The bells of the old hymn pealed hope straight into our parishioner’s heart.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY

Mark’s sermon theme this Sunday is God’s Word of Advent Hope to a Broken Nation. The Chancel Choir will offer music, and Holy Communion will be served.

GINGERBREAD HOUSES

There will be a time for decorating gingerbread houses this Sunday, beginning at 1 PM. Cindy Remus is organizing the event, and she will be able to answer any questions you may have.

CAROLING

Join us for a time of Christmas caroling Sunday. Meet at the church at 4 PM and try to leave promptly so we can make all the stops on our list. We will only have about an hour availableto us for singing and driving. After our round of singing, please plan to be our guests for supper at Pizza Ranch. If possible, bring a dozen cookies with you, for we divide them into plates be left as gifts to the people to whom we go a-caroling.

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

The men’s group will meet Thursday, December 14, at 6:30 PM. This month’s meeting is at the home of Kevin Booth. For directions to Kevin’s house, please contact the church office.

CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: December 17

“A Contemporary Christmas,” our 2017 Christmas program, featuring the children of the Sunday School and music from some of our choirs, will be held at 3 PM on Sunday, December 17. This annual program is one of the highlights of our year, and you will not want to miss it.

SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING

There will be a special congregational meeting after worship on Sunday, December 17. The purpose of the meeting will be to decide on a proposed renovation project for our church kitchen. See the plan on display on an easel in fellowship hall. Members of the kitchen committee can field any questions you may have. The members are Gary Aebly, Cara Bahr, Judy Hansen, Steve Sundby, Paul and Rosemarie Wieland, Karen Williams, Sherrol Yurs, and Gladean Zurbuchen. Doug Smith, who is currently away in New Zealand, also served on the committee.

DIAPERS AND WIPES

The Mission Committee is collecting diapers and wipes this Advent season. You can place your gifts in the manger by the altar in the chancel. Our humble gifts will be donated to the Badger Prairie Needs Network in honor of the newborn King, who brings hope, joy, love, and peace. Larger sized diapers are especially needed.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST

The Crossing is asking for volunteers to help on Thursday, December 14, with its annual pancake breakfast for students preparing for finals. Some folks from Salem are signed up to help, but a few more are needed. The hours are between 9 and noon. There are shifts as short as an hour or as long as three, and volunteers are free to sign up for the length they prefer. Contact Laura Kolden by email at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org if you have interest.

WELCOMERS and FELLOWSHIP HOUR HOSTS

Please look for the calendar on the kiosk in the fellowship hall to sign up to serve either as a welcomer some Sunday morning or a fellowship hour host. Welcomers are part of a team of four. The greet people at the door, distribute worship bulletins, collect the offering, and are available to answer questions worshipers may have. Fellowship hour hosts provide light refreshments following worship. Both these services are important pieces of our church’s ministry of hospitality and help us reach out to all with the love of God. 

A GLIMPSE OF GOD


One of our members shares this “Glimpse of God.” She reports she had a problem she had not shared with anyone. But the solution to her problem came to her as a result of a chance meeting with someone. The chance meeting occurred because all kinds of improbable intersections happened, bringing together what had no likelihood of coming together. Was this a chance meeting, or was it a glimpse of God?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. Mark will be preaching on the subject “The Other Advent in Our Faith,” which is the Second Coming of Christ. The Children’s Choir and the Handbell Choir will both offer selections.

DECEMBER USHERS

See the kiosk at the church to sign up to be an usher in December. All the Sundays are currently open and in need of people to serve as Sunday morning welcomers. Tasks are those of hospitality: greeting people at the door, handing out worship bulletins, offering directions that may be helpful to people unfamiliar with our building, and being attentive to anyone who may need help during the service. Ushers also receive the morning offering, passing the collection plates through the pews and bringing the offering forward during the offertory hymn. This is a job that joyously captured the attention of a psalmist (see Psalm 84:10). Does it attract yours?

DECEMBER FELLOWSHIP HOUR HOSTS

See the kiosk in fellowship hall to sign up to be a fellowship hour host in December. All the Sundays are currently open and in need of people to serve in this way. Fellowship hour hosts offer the hospitality of food and drink to accompany the conversation that takes place after worship. The fare that is offered need not be extravagant. Simple things to nibble are just as good. Interested but inexperienced in this piece of our congregational life? Let us know by way of a phone call or email, and we can help connect you with someone who will be glad to guide you.

POINSETTIA CARE

Let the pastor know – by way of telephone or email – if you are willing to water the church’s poinsettias during this Advent season. A once-a-week watering should be sufficient, and it can be done at a time that is most convenient for you.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST

The Crossing is asking for volunteers to help on Thursday, December 14, with its annual pancake breakfast for students preparing for finals. Some folks from are signed up to help, but a few more are needed. The hours are between 9 and noon. There are shifts as short as an hour or as long as three, and volunteers are free to sign up for the length they prefer. This is a wonderful way to engage with the people and place of this campus ministry which Salem has supported since its inception. Contact Laura Kolden by email at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org if you have interest.

DIAPERS AND WIPES

The Mission Committee will be collecting diapers and wipes this Advent season. Beginning December 3, place your gifts in the manger by the altar in the chancel. Our humble gifts will be donated to the Badger Prairie Needs Network in honor of the newborn King, who brings us hope, joy, love, and peace. Larger sized diapers are especially needed.

CAROLING

Join us for a time of Christmas caroling on Sunday, December 10. Meet at the church at 4 PM. After our round of singing, please plan to be our guests for supper at Pizza Ranch here in Verona. If possible, bring a dozen cookies with you, for we divide them into plates to be left as gifts to the people to whom we go a-caroling. We will try to reach as many folks as we reasonably can in about an hour of singing and driving.

GINGERBREAD HOUSES

There will be a time for decorating gingerbread houses on Sunday, December 10, beginning at 1 PM. Sign up on the board in fellowship hall so there will be plenty of supplies. Cindy Remus is organizing this event, and she will be able to answer any questions you may have.