From the President’s corner...
Wow, November has passed and it seems we just got started! There was a lot happening in the life of St Paul UCC as is pretty much the normal state of affairs here at this busy church.
We had the pleasure of seeing our new Pastor installed. It was a beautiful day for everyone, and I don’t know where to start to mention and thank all the people and groups that made that day happen! As I have said, we had waited for what seemed like a very long time for that day. But it was really worth the wait. I think the biggest delight to me, in addition to seeing how so many members of our Illinois South family took part in that day, was to see how our congregation stepped up to help make that day so special. I asked each group, Fireside, Mingles and Singles, Music Ministry, Youth, Culinaires, Church Council and Boards, Women’s Guild and Office Staff, to help us pay for a beautiful reception following the Installation. Even the Mother’s Day Out staff and kids got in the act and provided a fantastic wall of art work for the day! I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of the willingness of this congregation to be so generous and willing to step up and insure that we were able to welcome visitors to our beautiful church in such a fine manner. It was such a special day in so many ways!! Thank you to all of you who had a part in making it a day that we could all be proud to show off our beautiful church and allow everyone to see that we all had a part in welcoming them to our day of celebration!!!!
This past Sunday we celebrated Totenfest, our nod to our German Evangelical tradition, that remembers our members who have passed on during the past year. Totenfest is celebrated on the last Sunday of the Liturgical year. It is a special day, especially to those families who have last a loved one during the past year. It is a sad day, and yet it is comforting for all of us to be a part of such a remembrance.
We also began our entrance into the Advent and Christmas Season, by once again inviting the congregation to take part in the Annual Hanging of the Greens events. The Celebration Service kicked off the event on Sunday morning as that congregation decorated their massive tree, placed the Nativity Scene on the altar and added all the other decorations to celebrate the season. Tyler provided a craft station for the kids, large and small, the B Street Band provided background music and some elves provided cookies and punch for everyone. Then later in the day, another group of people joined in the Sanctuary to put up trees, garland, lights and all of the beautiful decorations we have for our joy during the season of Advent and Christmas. Once again, it was a festive and fun environment and more elves showed up with outstanding snacks for the workers. It was a great evening of sharing fun and stories and making the Sanctuary beautiful for all to enjoy.
So now we enter into December. There are a LOT of activities happening in December and we hope to see many of you at many of them. Those activities are listed in this publication of the OSP. Please read through and mark them on your calendar. The Star Tree is up in the Welcome Center. Choose a star and make a child’s Christmas!! You can donate to those in need through the Mission Board and their Christmas Baskets. And we love Undie Sundays! Bring items the kids in need really NEED! New undies, pjs, socks, hats, mittens, etc. On Dec 2, we will have a reception for Dan, our Music Director, and Jayne Fry, to celebrate their recent marriage in Quincy. Then on the 8th, there is Cookies with Santa, a special time for our kids to have some fun with the Jolly Red Elf. Bring your kids, grandkids, neighbor kids, etc. All are more than welcome. On Saturday December 15th, the Fine Arts Christmas Concert will take place at 7 pm. It will feature the Chancel Choir, ensembles, handbells, soloists and the B Street Band. DO NOT MISS THIS!!! The Mingles and Singles will gather for their Annual Christmas Party on Friday December the 14th As usual, all of you are WELCOME!! And then the real reason for the season – our Holiday Schedule. This year, Pastor Michelle will bring us a Blue Christmas Service. This service is designed for those of us facing a difficult Christmas due to a lot of reasons, loss of a loved one, difficult memories of the holiday season, etc. Then on Christmas Eve, there will be 2 services, one at 4:30 and one at 7. One of those times should fit into your calendar. Then on December 30, Craig Bielke will join us for a 9am Single Service.
So, wow, we really do have a lot to offer for December. I really hope there is something that reaches out to you and causes you to want to join with us in celebration. Lets all enjoy one another and share in the joy of being a part of a loving church family. My blessings to all of you and those you love and hold close at this time of the year, as well as the remaining 11 months of the year.
President St. Paul UCC Church Council