Christmas Eve Service

Come and join us for a family Christmas Eve service complete with familiar hymns, wonderful readings and uplifting messages ending in a circle of candlelight!  It all begins at 6:30pm!

All are Welcome!

 

Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace – in the darkness

stars

It is Advent! A time of anticipation, a time of reflection, of thanks, of excitement. Four Sundays beginning on December 1st mark the days and weeks as we move towards Christmas day.

In the northern hemisphere, we are also marching towards the Winter Solstice, the day of the longest night. It’s no coincidence that the German and Scandinavian Christians created the ceremony of lighting candles to mark each week of Advent. Each week another candle was added, another source of illumination. In Oslo, Norway this year the sun won’t rise until 8:41am and will set at 3:36pm, just 6 hours and 45 minutes of light. More candles and more light becomes part of the celebration.

This year our Advent series isn’t focused on light but rather on the darkness. All too often we look at the world as binaries, good/bad, simple/complex, light/dark, but that isn’t the world is it? No one person ‘all good’ or ‘all bad.’ Nothing is really all that simple, everything has a little bit of complexity and even in the depth of the night there is a beauty. If you don’t believe me go somewhere away from the street lights and on a clear night look up you will see the heavens unfold before your very eyes.

Even the Advent candles are made more special because of the holiness of the darkness. Don’t believe me? Light four candles outside in the middle of a sunny day. Not exactly spectacular. Now light the same four at night in a dark room and watch the flames bring the room to life!

Each Sunday of Advent we are going to examine, to experience, the holiness of the darkness. You recall in Genesis that God created both the night and the day? God created both, and both are ‘good. Each Sunday we will hear the same stories we hear at Christmas, the angels, the shepherds, the manger, Joseph and Mary but we will see what an important role darkness plays in each story.

So come this Advent and share the darkness together. Wrap yourself in it, let your soul rest there. Come and relish not only the day but the glories of the evenings. Come and light a candle together to see in the darkness the holy, the wonder, the beauty that God has created for you.

Pastor Rick

“Be mindful of whom you represent.”

“Hello – My name is Rick and I am a ……. err…….. well…. I work with people….”

Ever since responding to God’s call I have had a difficult time telling people I am now a minister. It’s not that I am ashamed of it, it is that when I say what I do most people change how they interact with me. You know, they suddenly are conscious of the beer they are drinking or magically try to eliminate swear words, maybe they say how they meant to come to church, or they find an excuse to leave the conversation. It got me wondering, “Why is it so hard to talk about your faith and be faithful?”

From October 20th to November 24th Rev. Sam Wilde and I will be exploring this topic during our worship services. We will examine how we as individuals respond to our call to faith and how we invite others into it. Each week we will explore the opportunities we have in living life as a disciple and how our actions can encourage or discourage someone from following Jesus. We will link each topic to scripture and then bring it back to application.

The reminder ‘Be mindful of whom you represent’ is meant for us to take a moment before we respond, reply or take any action, that we are disciples of Jesus Christ. As Christians in the community and world, we are His representatives and our behavior can either be a welcoming breath of love in a world of hate or something else entirely.

The series is focused around five “I” words. The “I” here being you. Here are the topics for the five weeks ahead.

Sunday, October 20th ,10 am service – Introductions – How do you present yourself to someone? Introductions can set the stage for someone to take another step, to come closer or they can send them fleeing.

What sort of introduction can lead someone to want to know more about Jesus?

Sunday, October 27th ,10 am service – Invitations – Don’t you love getting a text, an email, a phone call from a friend who invites you to their house or to go to a movie or a game, maybe a picnic? Why is it so hard to invite someone to share in the joy you have from accepting Jesus in your life?

Sunday, November 3rd ,10 am service – Interactions – How many ways are there to interact with someone? All these interactions say a lot about who we are and the question is, ‘does anyone know you are a Christian by your interactions?

Sunday, November 10th ,10 am service – Intentions – There’s a saying and some debate as to who actually coined the phrase, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ What does Jesus intend for us to do as disciples and more importantly, what is your intent when you talk to someone about your faith, your church, and your trust in God?

Sunday, November 17th ,10 am service – Inspiration – Sometimes I think Jesus’ disciples had it easy, He was right there with them! How we can use the gifts from Christ, our solid foundation, to stabilize us and to keep us steady? What in your daily life do you do to receive inspiration from Christ?

November 24th – The Open Door – All this journey, through the introductions, the invitations, the intentions, interactions, and inspirations we have to remember the person we are talking about it you! Yes, you are that representative of Christ and his mission, to bring about wholeness, to spread God’s love, to bring peace in our world. During this last Sunday, before the first Sunday of Advent, before Thanksgiving, we will take the time to reflect on our community and how we are fulfilling Jesus’ call to be disciples.

I hope you will take time out of your busy schedules to join us Sunday mornings. Worship begins at 10am, our Sunday school starts at 9am.

Pastor Rick Rabe

Holy Week is here!

Join us this week as we prepare for Easter!  Here’s what’s happening this week.

 

Thursday, April 18th – Maunday Thursday:  Join us at 5:30pm for a simple meal together.  At 6:15pm we will move into the Sanctuary

Friday, April 19th, Good Friday

Noon – 2:30: Ecumenical Good Friday Cross Walk. Meet up at noon at the former St. Frances Cabrini Church on Main Street.  The walk lasts until about 2:30 p.m. in the downtown area of West Springfield. There are 10 stops along the way, and we finish at the First Congregational Church on Park Street.

3:00pm – Short Good Friday service in the Sanctuary

April 21st – Easter Church Service, 10am

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: