Weekly News December 15, 2019
A special thank you to Susan Vardy from all of us at First United. Susan is the person who ensures we receive Constant Contact through our email distribution list. Each week, she prepares a special email News bulletin. This week the bulletin contained a write up on the history of White Gift Sunday. Continue reading to find a copy of what she prepared.
White Gift Sunday
Source: Constant Contact Email
December 12, 2019
The tradition of White Gift Sunday has its roots in a small Methodist church in Ohio in 1904. What began as a humble way to reflect on the love and devotion of the giver and not the value of the gift has grown into today’s white gift services in many churches across several denominations. The story is told that a minister’s wife initiated the idea to solve the problem of inequity of gifts given at the Sunday school Christmas party. Instead of focusing on receiving gifts, the focus shifted to bringing gifts to Jesus that could in turn be shared with people around the world who did not have much. All the gifts would come wrapped in plain white paper, so that no one would know which was an expensive gift and which was a more modest one. No one would feel ashamed of their gift and everyone would share in the joy of giving to others.
First United church observes White Gift Sunday with a child-centred service presented by our Sunday School. In keeping with the spirit of the first White Gift service, all those attending bring an item for Bridges to Hope or a small gift or toy for those in need this Christmas--wrapped in white paper!
Services and Events
December 15th is, indeed, White Gift Sunday (not December 8th as reported in last week's news. Oops! So sorry for the mix-up)
15th: White Gift Service led by the Sunday School Children, 11 am
15th: Seniors Christmas Dinner
15th: Vesper Service led by Youth Group 7 pm
18th: Mt Pearl Community Supper, 5:30-7:30pm Park Place
22nd: Morning Worship/Cantata, 11 am
24th: Christmas Eve Service, 4 pm
24th: Christmas Eve Service, 7 pm
29th: Morning Worship/Baptism
Ongoing Every Week
Weekly Prayer Group Thursday mornings 10:30-11:00am First United Church
WHITE GIFT SUNDAY DONATIONS: Bridges to Hope are in need of the following items at this time: canned beans, canned milk, macaroni and cheese, canned meats, canned soup, meatballs, beef ravioli, Irish stew, one litre juice, cereal, canned fruit, canned vegetables, pasta sauce. Please consider these items for your White Gift Donations.
A Message from Bridges to Hope
SEASONS GREETINGS & HEARTFELT THANKS from BRIDGES TO HOPE: Your kindness this past year has helped relieve hunger for over 10,000 of our neighbors, distribute 600+ filled school bags and allowed 360 families the comfort of sharing a turkey dinner last Christmas. Did you know that just $25 can feed 1-2 people for four days?
Merry Christmas from the Staff, Board of Directors and Volunteers of Bridges to Hope Food Aid Center. The generosity of your congregation’s food and financial donations is the backbone of the important work we do and allows us to relieve hunger and restore dignity in our community.
Advent Message from Rev. Ian March-MacCuish
“and the word became flesh and dwelt among us…” John 1:14a
These words, from the opening of John’s gospel, bring us a different picture of the incarnation of Jesus than our typical Christmas stories. No cuddly baby boy here, no sheep or donkeys, no angels or shepherds. Instead we get to use our imaginations. The word, the voice of God, the utterance of the divine, changes from the ephemeral into the tangible. What was not seen is now seen. The formless takes form and it is our human form! God’s word does not stop there though. God’s word in the form of Jesus lives and moves and has being on earth, living as we live, loving as we love, moving as we move.
This Christmas season see beyond the shopping, beyond the traditional manger scene. Join with your church family as we use our imaginations to capture that which cannot be captured fully and yet if we listen and pay attention we will hear the still speaking voice of God in the cry of a baby.
As you are called to new beginnings
As you begin anew, may you be encircled by love.
May joy fill you all the way to your toes.
May peace be in each breath.
May hope give you wings to soar.
May your wholeness be met in the light and beauty of this season
Of love, hope, peace and joy
Source: Seasons of the Spirit
Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas.
Blessings to you all,
CHRISTMAS MITTEN TREE HAS ARRIVED!
Have you noticed our annual Christmas Mitten Tree is standing in the foyer again? Please help us decorate it with warm hats, gloves, scarves, socks, etc. to warm cold and hurting bodies and hearts this Christmas season!
CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS: Members of the congregation are invited to place an ornament on the Christmas tree in the Sanctuary in memory of a loved one or for any special intention or occasion. Please speak to Rev. Ian if you would like it acknowledged.
BOOK CLUB: The December meeting is scheduled for December 18th at 6 pm. The December reading is ‘The Christmas Train’ by David Baldacci. Book Club members will be going out for Christmas supper and they need to know in advance who will be attending. Please call Pam Morgan at 691-0214 or email her at email@example.com to let her know.
New Advent Folder
The Advent Folder which we have become so accustomed to using when making special Advent contributions, is no longer available. Since the income from this source is very important to the life and work of our Church, we have produced our very own 'in-house' folder.
As we move through the Season of Advent, it is our hope that members of our congregation will continue to give, as usual, through the use of this new folder. Or, if you prefer, online donations may be made on this website.
Thank you very much and God Bless!
From the Stewardship Committee
OUR SENIORS CHRISTMAS DINNER (for 70+) is scheduled for December 15th at 5 pm. If you would like to attend, please call the church office at 368-2194 by December 9th to get your name added to the list.
Building Fund Sunday - December 29th: The last Sunday of the month has been designated as Building Fund Sunday. Envelopes are available in the church pews if you would like to make a contribution. Thank you for your continued support.
Food Bank Sunday at First United Church - January 5th: The first Sunday of the month has been designated as Food Bank Sunday. Members of the congregation are asked to bring along any non-perishable food items and place them in the bin in the church vestibule. Envelopes are also available in the church pews if you would like to make a contribution. You can also visit their website, www.bridgestohope.ca, to make a donation online.
UNITED CHURCH BOOKSTORE CHRISTMAS ITEMS: The United Church Bookstore (320 Elizabeth Avenue). Get that gift for a special someone. Lots of great sale items.
UNITED CHURCH BOOKSTORE APPEAL: The bookstore is seeking volunteers to help with inventory December 16th to 20th. If you have any time to give to help out with inventory, please contact Leona Laundry at 1-800-268-3781, ext. 6141. Many hands might light work!
Beverage Container Recycling
DOING CHRISTMAS CLEANING?
Great opportunity to support our Youth Group Beverage Container Recycling: Our Youth Group collects beverage containers for recycling. If you would like to drop off your beverage recycling at the church, here’s what can be recycled: aluminum can; plastic containers; glass bottles; steel cans; drink boxes (tetra); mini sips (drink pouches) etc. (Please wash out all bottles and remove all caps before dropping them off.)
Please note: we are requesting beverage containers only!
From SNAC to all those who participate - Thank you for your support!
Thank you to the UCW
The Stewardship Committee acknowledges with thanks a cheque from the UCW for $5,500 ($2,500 to Local Church expenses and $3,000 to the Building Fund.)
Stay informed with what's going on at First United
Website: www.firstunitechchurchmp.ca Our website is updated on an ongoing basis with upcoming meetings and events being posted to the Calendar as soon as information becomes available. Also, with the exception of the months of July and August, we prepare a weekly e-newsletter under News and Things in the main menu.
Facebook Page - First United Church Mount Pearl: We post to our Facebook Page on a regular basis, sharing some of our photos, other posts that may be of interest and keeping you up to date.
Constant Contact E-Mails: Are you on our email distribution list? If not , why not take a moment to sign-up (click here to complete and send the form). Your email address will be included in our Constant Contact e-mail distribution list to receive information and updates on what's happening in the life of our Church.