Every year we celebrate the birth of Christ with a telling of the Christmas story by our kids. This year was no exception! Here are some of the pictures of our congregation in joyful worship together!
Pastor Trina mentioned in her sermon today a sculpture at the UN of a gun twisted into a knot. We were at the UN two weeks ago and took a picture of the sculpture (commissioned by Yoko Ono for John Lennon; originally displayed in Central Park):
The Burlington Interfaith Clergy, together with State Representative Ken Gordon, will host a vigil Sunday June 19 from 1:30 to 2 p.m. on the Burlington town common in memory of the innocent lives that were lost in the senseless and unprovoked attack in Orlando this week. The entire community is welcome to gather as we pay tribute and remember the victims of the tragedy. We stand in solidarity with all who mourn in the spirit of caring and concern.
All, we’ll be having services per normal despite the unseasonable weather. I’ve been out driving the streets of Burlington this morning and, for the most part, they are in good shape. 3A in particular is fine. Weather reports seem to indicate that the storm is moving through faster than predicted and the snow done before 10am.
However, give yourself some extra time this morning, drive safe, and use your best judgement. If you don’t feel safe coming to church, please stay at home. The wind maybe a more serious hazard than the snow as it may deposit branches in the road.
We learned on Sunday that our beloved friend Steve Ross died unexpectedly Friday morning, to our great grief and loss.
Visiting hours will be Thursday, December 17th from 5 PM – 8 PM at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home at 43 Winn St. in Burlington. Memorial Service will be Saturday, December 19 at 11 AM at Burlington Presbyterian Church at 335 Cambridge St. in Burlington.
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.
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: email@example.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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
This Sunday we’re going to hear from two very different voices in the Bible. The first voice is from a man called “Koheleth” (Hebrew for “the Preacher”) who wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes. Folks of my generation (and older) may remember the song “Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There is a Season)” in which the late Pete Seeger put the words of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 to music: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” and so on.
The focus on Sunday will be on Chapter 1, in which Koheleth writes, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanities of vanities! All is vanity! What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? . . .What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. . .I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun, all is vanity and a chasing after the wind.”
Oh, my! What a downer, we might say. Apparently there was some debate among the rabbis when they were putting together the canon of the Hebrew Bible as to whether Koheleth’s voice should be included. Ultimately, his voice is heard, and in fact the whole book of Ecclesiastes is read during the Jewish festival of Sukkoth, or the Feast of Tabernacles, an especially joyous time. Koheleth’s voice is read to add a serious note to the festivities. Presbyterian minister and author Frederick Buechner summarizes Koheleth’s message this way: “There is nothing new under the sun, Koheleth says, with the result that everything that there is under the sun is both old, and as you might imagine in all that heat, it stinks.”
Over against Koheleth we will hear the voice of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel, the 5th chapter, where he heals a woman who has suffered a terrible physical condition over the course of many years, finding no relief in doctors or other helpers. In the midst of a chaotic crowd pressing in on Jesus, who is on his way to respond to another request for help, she touches his cloak—and is healed, with Jesus saying “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease. ” She can live once again in wholeness.
Jill Duffield, editor of the Presbyterian Outlook points out that out of chaos and confusion, there can be newness and healing as she reflects on the church murders in Charleston SC, and the powerful voices of forgiveness that have been raised. Little did Jill know and little would Koheleth suspect that by the end of the week, many states, corporations, and institutions would take the step of removing the Confederate flag, due to its association with past terror and racism. Yes Koheleth, there is much that does not change, but as Jesus said in Revelation, “Behold, I make all things new.”