December 2015 Crossroads

A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Thursday, December 24 − 7:00 p.m.

It’s a long-lived tradition at BPC. There will be nativity tableaux vivants (or living scenes) featuring young folks in the roles of Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men. Choir and congregation will join in many carols. The service will end with a spreading of candlelight throughout the sanctuary. Pastor Mike will give a brief message. The Christmas Joy Offering will be received. This service is a wonderful way to introduce friends and neighbors to the church – and maybe to make a difference in their lives.

Christmas Cards for George
We would like George to have a multitude of Christmas greetings. There will be cards on the table (along with labels) for you to take to send to George for Christmas. He loves to receive mail. Please help to make him smile this holiday season.

Stewardship Report
This offering, one of four special offerings designated by the General Assembly, has been in existence since the 1930s. Half of the offering is used to assist active and retired church workers in times of need. The fund supplies supplemental income for retirees and emergency assistance grants for workers with special financial needs or emergencies. The other half provides scholarships for minority students who would otherwise be unable to attend the racial ethnic schools and colleges supported by the Presbyterian Church (USA).

In order to continue providing this much-needed assistance, the Christmas Joy Offering depends on congregations like ours. These grants show our faithful response to God’s charge to love one another as Christ commanded. Recipients of the grants say as important as the financial assistance was, the knowledge that the church was standing with them in time of need was even more important. As always, the Christmas Eve offering will be used for the Christmas Joy Offering. There will be envelopes in the pews for those unable to attend that service.

Food Pantry Needs
Volunteers needed at the Food Pantry. Can you volunteer a couple hours per week, or biweekly, or monthly? There are many tasks that we need help with, including helping clients to their vehicles with their groceries, organizing, shelving, and so many others. Find out more by calling 781-270-6625, or email: burlingtonpantry@gmail.com, or online:peoplehelpingpeopleinc.org. Thank you!

“Wish Tree” Volunteers Needed
The Wish Tree at the Burlington Mall runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 16. Families who are currently served by PHP have the opportunity to request gifts, or “wishes” for their children. Our goal is to provide four wishes for each child through high school age. The wishes are printed on cards to be taken by folks willing to provide that gift. When the gift is brought back to the Wish Tree a snowflake goes on the Wish Tree to indicate that wish has been met. The gifts are collected each day and then sorted to be picked up and wrapped by family members on December 21. Our days to staff the table are Tuesday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 from noon to 6 p.m. There is a signup sheet in Fellowship Hall for folks to indicate when they can take a two hour slot to sit at the table to collect gifts. If you’d like to take a slot, but none are available, please speak to Colette Greco or Linda Roscoe, as subs are sometimes needed. Help is also needed for folks willing to pick up gifts each evening at 9 p.m. and deliver them to the sorting place. If you can help do that, see Linda.

We are in need of volunteers for December 6!

PJ and Underwear Drive
We are once again participating in the PJs and Underwear Christmas Drive for People Helping People. This year we have been asked to provide 30 such items. The specifics are written on the cards. If you have taken a card or cards, please make sure that the gifts match the sizes, styles and departments written on the wish cards. If you bring in any of these items, please do so no later than Sunday, December 13. Label the gift(s) by securely taping the wish cards onto the matching gifts. The gifts are to be unwrapped. Thank you again for your continued generosity!

Poinsettia Sales will be continuing Nov 22, 29 and December 6. Please give your order form and money to Annette Chapman-Adisho or Jackulin David. The offering this year will be to support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in providing relief to Middle East refugees. Thank you.

ADVENT DINNER

Come usher in the season of Advent with fellowship and singing at our Pot-luck Advent Dinner and Sing-Along on Saturday, December 5th, 5:00 – 8:00. Bring a main dish, side dish, or dessert to share. Also, if possible, bring a pair of new mittens, gloves or hat (child-size or adult) to decorate our mission Christmas tree – we will donate them to People Helping People. Children are welcome! We will have crafts & puzzles for them. Let us know your favorite Christmas carol or song. Sign-up sheets in Fellowship Hall and back of bulletin.

Book Discussion
We are starting a book discussion on Nov 29. It will continue on Dec 13 and 20 after worship service. The book is “Year of Plenty” by Craig L. Goodwin. Snacks will be provided. Books are for sale for $13 and my email is mary.megan.medina@gmail.com phone #979-777-9055 .

Letters have gone out to parents of children in 3rd grade and above for the Christmas Tableaux. Please return them as soon as possible to the box on the table in the narthex or mail them to the church, no later than November 24th. If you did not receive your letter, there are some available on the table in the narthex.

Christmas Music
The carols of Christmas touch our hearts in ways beyond any other music-reminding us of our past, bringing joy to our present, promising hope for our future.
We will be selling the Legacy Christmas CDs again this Advent season. There will be limited copies available. The cost is $15.00 each. These make wonderful Christmas gifts. The offerings this year will be split between Living Waters for the World and our congregation.

November 2015 Crossroads

ADVENT DINNER

Mark December 5th on your calendar. We will be having an Advent (International pot luck) Dinner and Christmas Sing-a-long to enter into the Advent season. It will take place from 5:30 – 8:00 pm. Children are encouraged to attend. There will be activities for the children. We will also be having a mitten and glove tree. So please be sure to bring a pair with you. The Sing-a-long will follow dinner.

Burlington Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Monday, November 23, 7 pm

The Burlington Interfaith Community will be gathering in thanksgiving at St. Margaret’s this year on Monday, November 23. This longstanding tradition will include leaders and worshipers from Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim faith communities. This joining of religious traditions in Burlington is itself an occasion for gratitude in our broken world – added to the seasonal American holiday which recognizes our Creator’s goodness to us.

The preacher has not been determined at this writing. As usual, an offering will be received for the work of People Helping People.

Deacon’s Corner

We are so happy to report that sisters Caitlin and Kathleen are back in the fold! Here’s to the power of prayers!

The Deacons are readying for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Please note the sign-up sheets in Fellowship Hall let us know if and when you are able to help. On November 22nd, we will be collecting our annual Harvest of Offerings. We will need sorting and transporting items to St. Mark’s after worship. A list of items needed will be published in our church bulletin. Our church will also be participating in People Helping People’s Wish Tree located at the Burlington Mall. Our volunteer times and dates are Tuesday, December 1 between 10 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, December 6 between Noon and 6:00 p.m. Please consider volunteering for an hour slot or more. In addition, we will also help People Helping People with the PJ and underwear drive, Linda Roscoe will have cards with ages and sizes soon.

We also want to thank all of you for your generous contributions to our recent Emergency Fund drive.
Your thoughtful donations will help our church community during difficult times.

Stewardship Report
Sue Hadsell

November is the month we give thanks for what we have and for giving to those who don’t have with our annual harvest offering for the next year. Starting the second week of November, look for documentation that will explain what we plan for the coming year, along with your pledge card and your time and talent questionnaire.

Come Sing With Us!
Nancy Timmerman

All voices are welcome to sing in the BPC Chancel Choir. Regular rehearsal times are 7:30 to 9 pm on Thursdays and 10 to 10:20 am on Sunday mornings during the school year. Regular choir members who are going to miss practice or Sunday morning need to notify the director ahead of time.

The ability to read music is not required. However, for skilled singers who need to miss practice, arrangements can be made to provide the music for individual study. We are a friendly group who sing a variety of musical styles. It should also be noted that, since the choir sings the offertory on communion Sundays and the anthem (before the Word for Children), students in the upper grades can participate, and Sunday School teachers can sometimes participate.

In addition, instrumentalists or not regular members of the choir are encouraged to provide special music (usually during the offertory), as they were during the summer months. This also needs to be coordinated.

Food Pantry Needs
Volunteers needed at the Food Pantry. Can you volunteer a couple hours per week, or biweekly, or monthly? There are many tasks that we need help with, including helping clients to their vehicles with their groceries, organizing, shelving, and so many others. Find out more by calling 781-270-6625, or email: burlingtonpantry@gmail.com, or online:peoplehelpingpeopleinc.org. Thank you!

Women’s Bible Study

Women’s Bible Study meets on Thursday mornings at 9:30. All women of the church are welcome! Our study is titled Encouraging One Another. Please join us! We will be meeting in the front classroom.

We need you
…to drive George to church
…to be a Worship Assistant
…to be a Greeter
Training available for Worship Assistants and Greeters
Please sign up today!

Library News
One new series in our new fiction section is called a “continuity series.” This means that there is an overall story linking the six books but each book is by a different author. In Her Surprise Sister, Violet discovers she has a twin sister named Maddie and the mystery only deepens from there. The series is shelved at the end of the Fiction shelf.
New in nonfiction: Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life.

Safe Child Training
NOV 15 SUNDAY 11:30-2PM (lunch provided).
On behalf of the acting heads of Christian Education, Safe Child Training will be presented after church in the back of the fellowship hall. Anne Boyden, social worker, will describe the elements of child abuse, followed by training on the Safe Child Program at Burlington Presbyterian Church.

Burlington Food Pantry
The Burlington Pantry will be giving all the food for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to over 180 families, including elderly shut-ins and veterans, on Sunday, November 22nd. We hope you will participate in the food collection for this project.

Again this year, the collection and distribution will be at the United Church of Christ, Congregational, on the corner of Bedford and Lexington Streets. Please bring the food you have collected to the UCC church between 12:00 and 1:00 on Sunday, Nov. 22nd. If you have questions about the collection or the delivery, please call Rev. Angela Wells at 781-272-4547.

We are requesting the following specific list of foods for a Thanksgiving dinner. PLEASE ONLY NEW PURCHASES, NO EXPIRED DATES!!!

Stuffing (bag or box)
Cranberry Sauce
Gravy
Chicken Broth
Corn
Cornbread Mix
Mayonnaise

This is a relatively short list – but we need many of each item. Fresh vegetables (potatoes, carrots, green beans, squash, etc.) will be purchased, so if any of you would like to contribute money instead of food items, such donations would be welcome. Checks should be made payable to People Helping People. Rotary will be providing the turkeys again this year. Cub Scout families will be providing pies.

“Wish Tree” Volunteers Needed
Our church has been asked to provide volunteers for the Wish Tree table at the Burlington Mall on 2 days: Tues. Dec 1, 10 am – 5 pm and Sun. Dec 6, 12 pm – 6 pm. There will be a sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall soon.

Please sign up!!

The “Wish Tree” gives shoppers the opportunity to provide gifts for children in need in Burlington. For more information, see Colette Greco.

Snow for December 15

Hi Friends

As of now, we are not cancelling worship for the morning.  If there is a decision to close, it will be made and posted by 9:00 am.

The Adult Class HAS been called off, since we figure that at best folks are going to be slower getting up and out of their driveways.

If we do go ahead with worship, NO ONE should feel obligated to come, even if you have are scheduled to teach, sing, light candles, do coffee, whatever. We would want no one to feel unsafe in coming to church.  You can always reply to this email, or call the church, if you want to send regrets.

One more note: The gun buy back we helped sponsor in Burlington was more successful than the clergy and police had guessed it would be – at least 15 guns were turned in. There may be coverage on the Channel 4 news at 11.

Advent: A Lovely Restlessness

There’s a loveliness to be found even amidst the hard-sell harriedness of the holiday push. It might be in a light early winter snowfall. It might be in a carol piped above mall shoppers that you hear in a new way. It might be in a smell of baking, or a child’s eager question. It could be in the sanctuary, watching a candle take flame and singing O Come, O Come… or in ancient words that promise the coming of peace in the One we call Our Peace.

Heaven knows we need such moments in times like these.

But if our efforts are directed only toward wrapping ourselves in loveliness, we will have missed our Advent calling. The prophets’ messages of this season direct us toward the coming again of One who was born in a dark stable in an occupied town… and as of this writing, this same land of his birth is exploding with rockets and wails of mourning. He came to a humble family and would grow to associate with folks on the margins of his society… and if we look through Christ-focused eyes we see how the real needs of such persons in our land are unmet, even trampled.

Advent’s hope is heralded through the rough voice of the Baptist, challenging us to prepare the way and to bear fruits worthy of repentance. This we can only do by first looking deep inside, and then deeply at the world around us, and allowing a restlessness to surface. A restlessness with ourselves, and with the conditions of our world that call into question our true readiness for a holy birth among us.

And then we must do something, or some things, even in small ways, to channel this restlessness into actions that help prepare the way – in our hearts, our families, our world.

I recently ran across this prayerful poem by Dom Helder Camara:

Take away the quietness
of a clear conscience,
Press us uncomfortably.
For only thus
that other peace is made,
your peace.

May loveliness, and restlessness, be ours this Advent season.

Peace, Rod