December 2014 Crossroads

Deacon’s Corner

This year the deacons will be sponsoring the Wish Tree at the Burlington Mall again. Thank you to all who have signed up. There are still some empty spots. We will also be participating in People Helping People’s pajamas and underwear drive. The cards have all been taken. Please return you unwrapped gifts (with card attached) to the office by Dec. 7th

Once again we would like to thank all who have been providing rides for George. As you all know, George loves receiving mail. We will have Christmas cards available for you to send to him on the table in the narthex. (also labels)

Don’t forget our monthly pantry needs of 20 oz. bottles of dish detergent and individually wrapped bars of soap. We always collect on the first Sunday of the month…Dec 7th this month.

Thank you to all for your generous giving.

Stewardship Report
Sue Hadsell

Our last program for the year is The Christmas Joy Offering.

The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. It helps fund the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions, which provides current and retired church workers with the help they need to get through life’s unexpected challenges. The Offering also supports education at Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges, promoting a commitment to higher learning and leadership development for all students regardless of race or economic standing.

This Offering encourages meaningful gift giving in the spirit of Christmas while sharing the message of God’s love during the Advent season.

Look for more information which will be available in your church bulletin.

Women’s Bible Study
The Women’s Bible Study has finished their first study of the year. The Brunch will be held on Dec 4 at 9:30 am. If you are interested in attending Bible Study, please come to the brunch. They will be choosing their next study. There will be no meetings in Dec. They will start up again on January 8 with the new study. All are welcome. Come see what they are all about.

“Wish Tree” Volunteers Needed
There are still a few open slots for staffing the Wish Tree table at the mall on “our” day – Wednesday, December 3. Please consider taking a slot. It gives one the opportunity to witness generosity and good holiday spirits.

In Niloo’s absence, Linda Roscoe will coordinate our volunteers. Let her know if you’d like to volunteer, but aren’t available either of our days; or if you need to change your time slot.

Please sign up!!

Please remember to turn in your unwrapped pjs and underwear with card attached to the church office by Dec 7!

PRESBYTERIAN GIVING CATALOG

What would you do with three extra hours every day?

The bigger question is, what could those who are forced to walk miles for water each day do? Help give this time back through water-related gifts found in the Presbyterian Giving Catalog. Items like the sand dam, which is an effective method of water conservation in dryland communities, provide a sustainable source of clean water for entire communities. Together, we can help change the lives of countless people by giving them a reliable and convenient source of water.

With your support, gifts from the Presbyterian Giving Catalog can lessen the burden for those in need of help. Start flipping through the catalog, or give online at http://www.presbyteriangifts.org. There are catalogs on the table at the front of the church.

Christmas Eve Service
A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Wednesday, 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.

THANK YOU!
On behalf of Session (and our Presbytery), a moment of gratitude to all of you who joined 40% of the voters in our Commonwealth and voted Yes on Question 3 in November.

People of Faith were the greatest hope for reversing a decision that will be particularly unjust to those who can afford it the least, not to mention the number of families who will now deal with addiction.
Thank you again for your efforts.

Shelly Henderson, Clerk of Session

From the Deacons

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.

From the Bethlehem hills, where angel songs ring, to a lowly stable where a mother sings to her newborn babe; we journey in song through the miracle of the Nativity. Legacy Christmas, created by acclaimed instrumentalists and vocalists, connects us, defines us, reminds us.

Millions of God’s children thirst for clean healthy water to drink. To help address this need, proceeds from Legacy Christmas will assist Living Waters for the World and the Presbyterian Women Birthday Offering in providing clean, sustainable water and enhancing the quality of life for women and children throughout the world.

We will be selling the new CD Legacy Christmas-Nativity Carols and Hymns this year during Advent. There will be limited copies of last year’s CD also available. The cost is $15.00 each. These make wonderful Christmas gifts.

Christmas Eve Service

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Hello Friends

Hoping you will come – and invite friends and neighbors:

Tuesday, Christmas Eve, 7:00 p.m. – Our traditional Family Service for all ages with Nativity tableaux (scenes), carols and candlelight. The nursery will be heated for any parents and young children who need a break.

A great time to invite others!

Reminder for all those who are part of the tableaux – rehearsal is Monday night, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 29 – Worship at 10:30 (no classes except for preschool)
A visit from Bethlehem’s innkeeper

A blessed Christmas to you and all your loved ones.

Crossroads for December 2013

News of our Church Family

Outreach to Lord Baron fire victims…
Thanks to all who contributed to the special offering to help support the Basic Needs Fund of People Helping People, which has been helping to fund the stays in temporary quarters of those dislocated by the October 23 fire. Our giving came to: $600 and was added to that of other congregations. The Basic Needs fund has provided at least $11,000 in combined assistance for hotel accommodations, gift cards for food and clothing, etc.

And thanks to those who helped set up and clean up from the Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner for the Lord Baron folks on Monday, November 25, prior to the Community Thanksgiving Service at our church. Special thanks to Sally Morrison, our coordinator. The main meal was provided by Teddy Menounos of Lester’s Barbecue Restaurant.

Final meal served at Dwelling Place…
There was a good team there on November 20, when we served supper to diners at The Dwelling Place for the final time. Jennifer Sullivan, current DP coordinator, was there to express thanks for our many years of service. She understood that it has become more of a challenge to our servers to fight traffic, etc. after all these years.

On Sunday, November 17, all BPC members who have served, cooked, or otherwise provided for the DP over the years were asked to stand and be acknowledged. It look like most of those in the sanctuary were standing!

Deacons Corner
On November 20, we had our last supper at the Dwelling Place. It was a bittersweet event. Many thanks to all who have given so generously for so many years to this special mission of our church. We served 13 guests.

Once again we are volunteering our time to the PHP Wish Tree. Our dates are Nov 30 and Dec 4. Thank you to all who have signed up. We are also continuing our tradition of donating to the Pajama and Underwear Drive. Thank you to all who took cards. The gifts MUST be in the office by Dec 8th.

As you all know, George loves receiving mail. We will have Christmas cards available for you to send to him on the table in the narthex.

See more info under Mark Your Calendar for something new for Advent from the deacons!
Mark Your Calendars

Community Christmas Sing-a Long
December 6, 2013
7:00 p.m.

Please come! Invite family, friends and neighbors!

Family Advent Event
December 8, 2013
11:45 am

All Sunday School families invited! Make stained glass windows for church and home.

Come A-Caroling!
Sunday, December 15  2:45 p.m.

Fun for all Ages
The rallying time will be 2:45 p.m. in the church parking lot. Join a caroling caravan that will take us to various places such as senior residences, nursing homes, and homes of shut-ins. If you have suggestions for places to carol this year, speak to Rod soon! We will finish by 5:00 or 5:30 with a simple but nose-and-toes warming supper. If you’d like to be our host for supper this year, and you live not far from the church, we’d love to have an invitation. Otherwise we will share a meal at the church. It’s a truly intergenerational and heartwarming time. Look for signup on church bulletin board.

Christmas Eve Service
A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight

Tuesday, 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. Mr. MacDonald 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.

Dine for a cause
Friday December 13 at 6:00pm at the Presbyterian Church in Burlington
335 Cambridge Street
Take an evening off from the Holiday rush and join us for a Filipino inspired dinner with lots of Filipino dishes and other types of food, so there will be a little bit for everyone.

Donations will be accepted for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for the Philippines. Make checks out to ʻthe Presbyterian Church in Burlingtonʼ, memo ʻPDA-philippinesʼ Please RSVP to Sally Morrison at sallymorrison19@gmail.com, even if you cannot make it but still would like to contribute please mail checks
to The Presbyterian Church in Burlington, 335 Cambridge St, Burlington, MA 01803

Brought to you by the Deacons

Legacy Christmas is a collection of Celtic-inspired Christmas carols important to Presbyterians throughout the generations—-“treasured carols of the Kirk”. Produced by Living Waters for the World (LWW) through the generosity of an anonymous donor, Legacy Christmas is performed by some of Nashville’s and Ireland’s top musicians; it features acclaimed vocalist Alyth McCormack (of the Chieftains) on three of the ten tracks.

These CDs will be on sale in Fellowship Hall during Advent for $15.00 each. The money will go to support Living Waters for the World, a ministry of the Synod of Living Waters, PC(USA) and the PW Birthday Offering. While the income generated is important, the real story is in the ministry itself—clean water—and PW’s partnership with LWW, improving the lives of women and children throughout the world.

Women’s Bible Study
Thursdays at 9:30 am

Our Women’s Bible Study group is acting as a field test group for next year’s Presbyterian Women’s Bible Study, Water. This is a nine week commitment and an agreement to provide feedback on each lesson. A confidentiality agreement must be signed in order to attend. If you would like to learn more about how you can participate, please see Marylou Lynn.

Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Report from Alex Haney
On Friday November 8, the sanctuary was filled with about 30 members from the Burlington community, to watch A Place at the Table—a film highlighting some of the widespread systemic causes for hunger in the United States. The film addressed some impacts that our food system, the federal food stamp program, farming policy, and individual food choices have on hunger and health.

I’ve seen this film three times now, as it brings up a lot of the problems my fellow food justice YAV’s and I are working on—getting affordable, healthy food to all people and treating the many hands that prepare our food with justice, kindness and mercy while caring for God’s creation that provides the food. After the film, Rod opened up a discussion to the floor as well as to our panel of experts to discuss what we each found shocking or surprising about the film. In my prior experiences with this film the discussion usually leads to policy, and specific ways each of us can petition the government to respond to this.

This time the subject of education took over the conversation, not policy. A general agreement with our audience was that parents aren’t teaching their kids how to cook healthily any more—parents may not even know how themselves. Neither are most schools with the removal of Home Ec. and kids aren’t learning about healthy food, like how to make soup from scratch for instance, and the convenience foods are taking over our diets. Billboard advertisements, commercials, and even grocery stores are promoting the boxed, canned, shelf stable foods, and especially the junk foods and sodas which have become much cheaper than the healthy whole fruits and vegetables. Shelf stable processed foods also fill food pantries because of their shelf life. Farmer Dave mentioned noticing that at farmer’s markets older generations buy more of the vegetables, while younger generations go for the baked goods or ready to eat fruits, because that is what each is used to cooking. There is a generation gap and education gap in our food system. This is having terrible health effects leading to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease all related to diet. This film and conversation called each of us to work to change our own choices, and the broader public’s choices on healthy foods, and learning how to use fresh produce is one way to go.

So what is being done to educate Burlington on healthy foods? Peter Coppola is working diligently to set up community gardens and school gardens in Burlington to teach kids about their food. Jane McIninch and Christine Ventura are doing their part to educate the food pantry clients on what the Farmer Dave’s leftover produce is and how to prepare it so they can eat healthier. We also teach the senior center about the fresh leftovers as necessary to feed their members.

For next year with farmer Dave’s CSA, I hope to get the church involved with bringing more education to the members about what to do with this healthy food members may have never seen before. Recipes, cooking lessons, and other kitchen skill sharing events can do this. The more people share ideas on how to eat healthily and justly, the better we can fight hunger in this area. I would encourage you to watch the film at some point and join this conversation about addressing hunger and health in America and in Burlington. Consider sharing your cooking expertise with the CSA members. Help those misplaced by the area fire through offering a healthy meal and monetary donations. Put something in the food collection bins for the food pantry. Maybe we could start gardens, or advocate for community gardens to donate fresh produce to the food pantry during the growing season instead of only non-perishables. Share your own ideas with other church members. There are many ways to show the love of God to our neighbors through food justice, so let’s keep this work going together!

Burlington Clergy, BPC, and Burlington Police Co-Sponsor Gun Buy Back Program

What do Burlington residents do if they have guns or other dangerous weapons they no long want? The Burlington Police Department will be holding a gun buy back on December 14, 2013.

The timing is to coincide with the first anniversary of the shootings in Newtown, CT last year. The Burlington Clergy group initiated this idea, and it has had the immediate and active support of Police Chief Michael Kent.

Some incentive for those who might consider turning in guns will come in the form of gift certificates supplied by the Wegman’s Supermarkets company, which is building a new store in Burlington. But BPC’s Session has also participated: About 50 “Project Child Safe” gun safety locks have been purchased with $100 from this year’s directed mission line in the church budget.

“Burlington is a safe community and the vast majority of gun owners are responsible and law abiding. This initiative of collecting unwanted guns and weapons, addresses a vital public safety and public health issue” according to Chief Kent.Unwanted firearms are a potential ha zard in any home. Unwanted firearms can be stolen, used in accidental shootings or a suicide. When guns are used in criminal attacks, the outcomes are often irreversible and fatal.

Any unwanted guns or weapons can be brought to the Burlington Police Department on December 14, between 9am and 1pm or can be picked up during those hours by the Burlington Police Department by calling 781-272-1212

The Session hopes that the church family will find this a meaningful part of our mission, and pray for its success during this Advent season when we welcome again the child of Peace.

Christmas in Burlington MA

Our children's nativity scene

Our children’s nativity scene

Dear BPC Family,

We each come to this Christmas with our individual and shared thoughts and feelings. There are many realities to darken the skies over Bethlehem, and the world, as this holiday draws near. But isn’t that true of every Christmas? I think the carol says it well: The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. And we do have hope: the Child of Bethlehem is the assurance of God’s incarnate, en-fleshed, presence with us, the power of love that nothing can destroy.

Our Christmas Eve service, at 7 p.m., is a tradition for all ages, with Nativity tableaux (scenes), carols and candlelight. It is one of our opportunities to welcome many guests and to share our warmth and hospitality, as well as the Good News. Please come, and invite someone to come with you!

This Sunday (December 23) we will mark the 4th Sunday of Advent, with a message of “Songs in the Night.”

On Sunday, December 30, we will have an informal, family-style service to include children, who will not have Sunday School classes that day.

If you are traveling for this holiday, we pray for your safe journey and a blessed holiday.

May you experience the true joy of Christmas.

Rod