Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,
In just a little while after writing this eNote, I will be going with a team from our church to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Charlotte. We have 10 people volunteering at the center today and 17 volunteering tomorrow. We will be joining with 30,000 volunteers from all over the United States helping prepare 2.4 million shoeboxes for delivery to children throughout the world. Please pray for us as we travel, for all the volunteers and staff at the processing center, and most especially, for the children throughout the world who will receive gift-filled shoeboxes – 143 of which you so lovingly prepared.
This Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Joy. We’ll continue in our series The Carols of Christmas with a sermon on “The Song of Zechariah.” Found in Luke 1:68-79, this song – also known as Benedictus from the Latin translation of its first word – is recognized by many scholars as one of the first Christian hymns. It was composed or sung by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, just after John was born. It is a prophecy concerning John and Jesus, who would be born six months after John. It is a beautiful and hope-filled section of Luke’s gospel that speaks powerfully to us and prepares us for Christmas in surprising ways. Please attend worship at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday – and bring a friend with you!
The final verses of Zechariah’s song are, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” On Sunday, we will be talking about the light that the darkness cannot overcome. In many marvelous ways, you are helping push back the darkness this Advent and Christmas season:
Your efforts to touch the lives of children through Operation Christmas Child will have an impact around the world.
For Christmas, we are adopting a local Northern Orange County family of 6 children with a single father. Please bring your gifts for this family to church on Sunday.
Near the space where we drop off food donations for OCIM, we have a basket to collect donations for Imagine No Malaria. As you pick up your bulletin and drop off your food for OCIM on Sunday, please see if you have any change in your pocket that you can drop in our basket. Help us “change” the world as we imagine no more malaria! Your donations will provide supplies, medicine and education to wipe out malaria in our generation.
We collect canned fruit and other non-perishable items to support the food pantry at OCIM throughout the year. Please remember to bring your OCIM offerings each week as a way of reaching out to brothers and sisters around us.
On Sunday, the Men’s Prayer Breakfast group will meet at 7 a.m. for great food, fellowship and fun – and to prepare more than 30 baskets of fruit to take to shut-ins later in the day. Men, please plan to join us!
Also on Sunday, the All God’s Children group will meet for a Christmas celebration lunch after worship. Children of all ages and the people who love them are invited!
On Wednesday, Dec. 24, we will have our community Candlelight Christmas Eve Communion service at 5:30 p.m. at CGUMC. This will be a very special service as we join with brothers and sisters from Eno/Fairfield Presbyterian and people from throughout northern Orange County and beyond to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Please join us!
The new UMW cookbook pays tribute to cookbooks of the past and includes more recent recipe submissions. This cookbook remarkably honors our heritage and celebrates our future together. The cookbook costs $15, and proceeds will support the UMW’s mission efforts. See any UMW member to pick up a copy, or several copies – they make great Christmas gifts!
In the church office, we have a blue notebook that is our “Have It/Need It” Notebook. The idea is that if you have something, an item or a helping hand, that you think someone else could use, write it in the “Have It” section. In the “Need It” section, perhaps you need some help around the house or the yard. If you think of something when you’re away from the church, just email the church office at
and we’ll write it in for you. We’ll also post things that are written in the notebook on our website, and I’ll include them in my eNotes. This is just another way that we can “let our love be genuine” and care for and support one another.
You can follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in a number of ways:
- News of upcoming events, the current GPS (Guide to Prayer and Study) and links to MP3 recordings of recent sermons can be found at www.cedargroveumc.net under the “News” link.
- Catch up with all the events at Anathoth Community Garden at www.anathothgarden.org.
- Catch the daily GPS readings, post prayer requests, announce praises and find other announcements on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Cedar-Grove-UMC/161622617284308.
- To reach the office staff by email: for the church,
; for Pastor Karl,
; for JoAnne Starks personally,
I just wanted to say a word about the wonderful Love Feast in the Moravian Tradition that we hosted last Sunday. More than 100 people attended, and some of those were from other congregations and several who attended do not attend church regularly anywhere. This service was just another powerful way of shining light in the darkness! Thanks to everyone who helped, from those who prepared, served, played musical instruments, sang, read or helped in any other way – we could not have done it without you! A very special thanks goes to Paula Crabtree for planning and coordinating this service. I heard several people who had attended other such services in the past that this was the best one they had ever seen. Well done, servants of Christ at CGUMC!
Well, I’ve got to run. I’ll see some of you at the church in a few minutes, I’ll see some of you in Charlotte, and I’ll see all of you in worship on Sunday!
I love you, CGUMC. Together, we are pushing back the darkness!