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12/3/23 Weekly Messenger

Hancock UCC Weekly Messenger for December 3, 2023

"I come from heav'n to tell the Lord's decree: a blessed virgin mother you shall be. Your Son shall be Immanuel, by seers foretold, most highly favored maiden." Gloria!

Upcoming services, meetings, events, and opportunities

Join us for Worship in our Sanctuary or on Zoom at 10:00 a.m.,

or watch the recording later on Facebook or YouTube

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 822 2425 2518

Passcode: 755650

on YouTube at Hancock UCC - YouTube

Choir Rehearsals are held on Sunday mornings at 9:15 am. All are welcome!

(Yes! There will be Choir practice on Dec. 3rd.)

During the month of December, we will be receiving the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross Offering. This is an annual UCC offering that expresses our thanks to retired and active UCC pastors and lay church workers and their families facing emergency financial need, providing direct assistance to supplement pensions, help with the cost of medical insurance, and thank you gifts at Christmas. Envelopes are available in the back of the Sanctuary and in the Fellowship Hall.

This Christmas season we will again be providing gifts for children at the Emmaus Center. The Angel Tree still has several tags left on it. If you haven’t grabbed a tag, please do so.

Let’s help to ensure presents under the tree for these kids.

The Handbell Choir will play again on December 17th.

Rehearsals will be December 3rd and 10th, following the morning worship service.

Gift wrapping fundraiser. We are seeking donations of gift wrap, ribbons, tags, tape, etc. Drop off your presents to be wrapped Friday, December 8th between 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Pick up wrapped gifts on Saturday, December 9th between 2-5 p.m.

Join us on Wednesdays in Advent (December 6, 13, 20) on Zoom for Soup and Study (Zoup!) or join us in person in our Fellowship Hall at the church. 6:00 Soup. 6:30 Study.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

In this Advent devotional, entitled “Maya Angelou and the Freedom Poetry of Advent” biblical texts and simple, accessible practices interweave with Maya Angelou’s stirring vision of faith, freedom, and dignity. Week by week, as we wait, and watch, and pray,

we’ll walk toward Bethlehem - with Maya Angelou as our guide.

A Christmas Pops Concert is scheduled for Thursday, December 14th at 4:00 p.m.

Musicians Gary Bushee and Dwight Ingalls will be entertaining and leading sing-a-longs.

The concert is free, but donations are accepted.

There will be light refreshments provided after the concert.

Join us for local Christmas Caroling on Friday, December 15th. Meet at the church Fellowship Hall at 2:30. Caroling from 2:30 -3:00 and then back to the church for hot chocolate and cookies and a short Christmas movie.

December 24th is on a Sunday this year.

We will have a 10:00 worship service that morning (4th Sunday of Advent)

and the Christmas Eve service will be at 4:00 that same evening.

Stewardship and Offering Envelopes - Thanks to everyone who participated at our recent Annual Meeting and supported passage of our church budget for next year. But please bear in mind that the approved budget is only a financial plan - it still needs to be funded with your donations to put it into action. Your stewardship pledge is still very much needed. For those who have made their pledge commitment for next year, thank you. For those still contemplating one, your pledge of financial support will always be welcome whenever it is received.

Pledge cards are available in the Sanctuary or one can be mailed to you.

Offering envelopes are available to anyone who would like a set whether you pledge or not. They can be helpful in scheduling and keeping track of your financial contributions. Please let David Wildes (422-3739) know if you would like a set or have any questions. Thank you for your attention and generous support of our church and the work we seek to do.

December Birthdays and Anniversaries

04: *Gary* Edwards 05: Sonny Mehl 10: *Ron* & *Kathy* McGlinchey

15: *Frank* Dorsey 16: *Ashley* Ehrlenbach Johnson 17: *Sue* Croteau

18: *Barbara* Reeve 20: *Sheila* O’Neill 21: *Mary Angela* Davis

27: *Jennifer* Ashmore 30: *Keith* & *Pam* Bowie

Please keep the following people in your prayers this week:

Prayers for the people of Lewiston and all of Maine; Prayers for the world, suffering loss and grief in Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia, and so many other ongoing wars and conflicts. Prayers for Debbie R. recovering from tick borne anaplasmosis; Ron & Kathy; Bob & Karen; Jeff & Jill; Ken & Gerald in NYC; Kenny Houghton; John Wood; Doris; Jane Preble; Jonathan Holmes; William Pinkham; Sue Davies; Sue Davenport; Austin’s cousin Danny; Liz & Jim; Debbie & Lincoln & son-in-law Aaron, daughter Ashley, and granddaughter Brielle; Jim Snyder; Kenny Stratton; Joy & David & Lori; Sandy Phippen; Betty & her step-daughter Mollie; Debbie & Hollis & Holly and Debbie’s Aunt Linda Reed; Coulter; Patrice’s niece Erica; Amy Nickerson; Renata’s sister-in-law Joanne; Tom & Judy’s son Andrew & family; Prayers of strength and healing for all awaiting diagnoses and for all recovering from surgeries & procedures; Prayers for all that are unsafe, unhoused, hungry & in need of care & compassion; Prayers for all individuals and families experiencing addictions; for all caregivers; and prayers for all that is in your heart…

From the Maine Conference

The Dwelling of the Holy

Liz Charles McGough, Director of Pilgrim Lodge

The days are shorter now. The darkness that descends when the activities of the day are not yet done seems to force a change of pace. I find myself going to bed earlier, drinking more tea, eating more comfort food, pondering poetry a bit more than I had the presence for in during the elongated summer days. My most treasured time lately has been the first moments of the day…the space between waking and the onset of the hustle and bustle of the day. In these moments, I tip-toe downstairs to avoid waking my children. While the coffee is brewing, I take a look at the layer of frost that formed during the night. I coax warmth from the woodstove and let myself sit in the stillness before the news creeps in and the schedule begins and the emails begin to flow.

We find ourselves this week in the days between Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent. Anyone who serves a church would likely laugh at me if I suggest that there is stillness in these days; days of preparation and anticipation. And yet, in these in-between times, perhaps we are invited to a moment of considering how we traverse the journey toward Christmas. For many, these short days of darkness and cold present real challenges. For many, these days of celebration stir up grief. For many, grappling with headlines of war and violence brings up confusion when we enter a season centered around joy, peace, hope and love. And yet, as we look toward Advent, perhaps this is the very season and our hearts and our world needs right now.

In the stillness, I have been rereading a poem that a staff member shared last summer at camp. It speaks to me of how we can navigate each of our days. In the midst of large and small challenges, it provides me with a sense that each day, we have the opportunity to create sacred moments.

Small Kindnesses

By Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk

down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs

to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”

when someone sneezes, a leftover

from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.

And sometimes, when you spill lemons

from your grocery bag, someone else will help you

pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.

We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,

and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile

at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress

to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,

and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.

We have so little of each other, now. So far

from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.

What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these

fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,

have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”

May we each have the gift of creating “true dwellings of the holy” in each of our days. May we each have the presence to recognize the “fleeting temples” we create when our eyes and hearts connect with another. There are not easy fixes or answers for how we navigate our days, but I believe that the season of joy, peace, hope and love is built on each of these sacred moments in our ordinary days…or perhaps these ordinary moments in our sacred days.

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