Crossroads December 2018

Christmas Eve Service
A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Monday, December 24 − 7:00 p.m.

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 Trina 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.

Every generous act of giving …is from above.
In the lead up to Christmas, many of us spend time in search of the perfect gift — the gift that communicates to friends and family how much we know and love them. We search our memories for indications of what gift might cause the faces of our loved ones to light up. We scour the stores and shops, hoping to come across the thing that will communicate a depth of love that our words cannot. As important as gifts to loved ones are, we have an opportunity to give gifts that help many people we do not know through the Christmas Joy Offering. These gifts in particular draw us back to the manger and God’s perfect gift to us — Jesus Christ.
Jesus came to live among us, bringing light into darkness, and reconciliation to God and to one another. A perfect gift from a gracious God.

During this Christmas and Advent Season, we celebrate leadership; past, present and future through support of the Christmas Joy Offering. We do so because church leaders greatly impact our lives of faith, walking with us down the path to be more like Jesus. We want those church leaders and their families who find themselves grappling with a critical financial need to have the resources they need which are provided through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions. We also support the offering to help our future leaders in the church and world, like those educated at our Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. Supporting these students helps the whole church develop leaders who reflect the wideness of God’s intended diversity.

For those supported through the Christmas Joy Offering, this help is truly a gift from above. May our gifts, and the leaders who receive them, point us always to the truth of the one whose birth we celebrate, Jesus Christ — the truly perfect gift. Please give generously.

The Season of Waiting
There are many plans and opportunities for worship during Advent, including particular ways in which many of you are invited to participate.

The Hanging of the Greens and bows will be on December 1 at 10am-12pm in anticipation of all that Advent and Christmas holds for us. Again we have an Advent Wreath at the front of the Chancel and each Sunday different members and families of our congregation will have a turn to light a new candle on the wreath.

Wednesday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m. is the time for our “Longest Night” service.
Similar to Advent services we have offered in the past couple of years, this evening will provide a different perspective and meaningful space during the holiday season, for reflection, prayer, introspection and quiet.

Brenda Flynn is again planning and directing our annual Christmas Eve Tableaux. Letters have gone out to families to recruit participants in the tableaux. Brenda has also put out the call for help with costumes, and for adults to help ‘shepherd’ (aka wrangle) the participants before and during the Tableaux. Rehearsal is scheduled for Sunday, December 23.

Also on December 23, immediately following worship, before tableaux rehearsal, the Trustees will be setting up the stable in the sanctuary for Christmas Eve. They will need and appreciate additional help with this.

The Christmas Eve Service with Tableaux and candle lighting happens on Monday evening, December 24, and is a beloved tradition at BPC.

To round out the month, Mark Vogel will be leading worship on December 30 and be leading us in a service of lessons and carols/hymns.

Fair Trade Holiday Sale

Save the date and get your Christmas gift list ready! On Saturday, December 8th from 10 – 3. You’ll have the opportunity to do your holiday shopping for a good cause. The Mission Group has invited nine not-for-profit vendors to bring their products for sale here at the church. Possible vendors include Equal Exchange, SERRV, Partners in Just Trade, Fair Trade Winds, and Mayan Hands and a range of products will be available including candles, jewelry, scarves, woodwork, embroidery, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Proceeds will go to mission programs of the church, in addition to supporting the fair trade vendors and artisans who make the products.

Invite your friends and family, and spread the word! We’d love to see a good turnout for this event and will be looking for volunteers to help during the sale on Saturday. If you would like to help with the Holiday Sale, please contact Jane McIninch, (781) 864-9367.

Longest Night Service

“Comfort, comfort my people, says God”

There are many moments in our lives when we need comfort. There are tough times when we yearn for consolation. The suffering people who looked for the long-awaited Messiah were given a hope-filled image of God in the writings of Isaiah. It expresses the belief that no matter what happens to us, God will be there to comfort and support us.

Advent and Christmas can be a painful time for many in need of that reassurance and comfort. The constant refrain on the radio and television, in shopping malls and churches, about the happiness of the season, about getting together with family and friends, reminds many people of what they have lost or have never had. The death of a loved one, whether recent or long ago, the anguish of broken relationships, the insecurity of unemployment, the weariness of ill health, the pain of isolation – all these can make us feel very alone in the midst of the celebrating and spending. We need the space and time to acknowledge our sadness and concern; we need to know that we are not alone.
We need comfort and encouragement to live the days ahead of us.

For these reasons, we are offering a special meditative Longest Night Service, Wednesday evening December 19, at 7:00 p.m. at the church.

Come out, and join with us in sharing and hearing prayers, scripture, and music that acknowledge that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle – and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness. Everyone is welcome.

Clean Water Collection
We have counted the “Clean Water” collection and deposited about $182! Our congregation has a generous heart. During our Sunday school classes we will decide how many jerry cans and water filters we will buy through Presbyterian Giving.

Trustees Report
The fall cleanup finally occurred on November 3rd. We had a reasonable turnout, despite a little rain and wind, and a lot was done to prepare the church and grounds for winter. The fall commuter collection took place on November 13th and 14th. Thanks to Tom Hennings and Ken Dewar for braving the rain and cold respectively. We collected over $3,500 in donations with hopefully more coming in by mail.
The carpets in the Narthex and the double classroom were cleaned and the hallways and Fellowship Hall were cleaned and waxed in September. Try to keep the Narthex carpet clean by wiping your feet on the runner as you enter the church.

All the work on the restrooms are now complete with just a little paint touchup needed in the women’s room. Try to remember to turn off the lights if you are the last to leave the restrooms.

A reminder to all to close and lock any window you open and check that all doors are locked before you leave the church. A special request for parents to lock the playground door when you retrieve your children.

Women’s Bible Study

Women’s Bible Study has started a new study with the Horizons study called “For Everything, A Season: A Study of the Liturgical Calendar”. On December 13, we will be having our Holiday Brunch or Cookie Swap. All women of the church are invited to join us. We meet on Thursday mornings at 9:30. See Marylou Lynn if you have any questions.

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

Hanging of the Greens
Saturday, December 1
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Get in the holiday spirit with us! Join the Deacons on the first Saturday of December for the Hanging of the Greens! We will decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. Advent begins on Sunday, December 2!
Coffee & donuts will be provided.

Poinsettias
Last day to order Poinsettias will be Dec 2.
Please give your order form and money to Kathleen Stegall by December 2.
Thank you.

Mitten Drive
We are once again participating in the PJs, Sweatshirt, Mittens and Books Christmas Drive for People Helping People. This is part of the wishes for Christmas. If you would like to participate, see Anne Denier to obtain a card. PJs, Sweatshirts, Mittens and Books are to be dropped off at the church by Dec 9. Do not wrap, just attach the card to the gift. Thank you again for your continued generosity!

Songs for Cameroon
On November 17th, about 80 people from the Presbytery of Boston and from the Eliot Presbyterian Church in Lowell (Presbytery of Northern New England) gathered at the Korean Church of Boston for an afternoon of song and learning about the humanitarian crisis in Southern Cameroons. Seven church groups sang a wide range of music, and we heard an inspiring message from Elder Ruphous Takang of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Easton. We also watched a video about the deadly and devastating conflict which is ongoing in Southern Cameroons, and the oppression of the people by the government and paramilitary forces there.

We received a special offering at the event, which raised almost $3,750! A combined total of $4,296 was raised from the concert and the offering from the November 12 Presbytery Meeting, held at First Presbyterian Quincy. The offering will go to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon (PCC) to support ministry and relief efforts for internally displaced persons and refugees from the conflict through a designated mission fund of the Presbyterian Mission Association. If you would like to make a contribution, you may do so directly through PCUSA, by going to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/e864103/ and clicking on the Give button.

To give by phone, call 800-872-3283. To send a check, please designate E864103 PCC in the “note” portion of the check and mail to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Many thanks to Korean Church of Boston for hosting, and to the groups and musicians who sang at the concert:
First United Church in Cambridge
Christian Women’s Fellowship Choir of Eliot Presbyterian Church
African Fellowship Choir of Eliot Presbyterian Church
Clinton Presbyterian Church
Young Adult Praise Team of Korean Church of Boston
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
Fourth Presbyterian Church
Stephanie and David Rodriguez, Clinton Presbyterian Church
Virine Morris, Hyde Park Presbyterian Church

Stay awake, and watch

In the rush of preparations leading up to Christmas, it can be easy to lose focus on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. While the world is full of the hustle and bustle of putting up the lights and decorations, shopping for the “perfect” gift for our loved ones, and baking, baking, baking delicious cookies and holiday treats, the church is in a different season altogether. Advent is a period of waiting, of anticipation, of looking for the coming of the Christ child into our lives once more.

The season of Advent is a reminder that our time is not our own. We like to pretend that it is; that we can manage it efficiently, plan accordingly. That by our sheer determination we can will it to bend to our needs and desires. We strive to turn it back, and for so many reasons. To re-experience time with someone we love. To relive time with someone we’ve lost. To recreate a moment in time we want to remember again or that we wish we had handled differently. We wonder if we can alter time in some way, change the course of time.

The charge to keep awake during this Advent season is not just about waiting and anticipation. It is not just about getting ready or being ready because can you ever be ready for Christ’s coming? Can we ever be ready for God entering into humanity, into our sinfulness and brokenness, into our pain and loss, into our joy, into our love, into our longing?

Ultimately, God’s entering into time disrupts time, displaces time, disorients time. Not always comfortably. Not always helpfully. Not always desirably. And never how or when expectable. Why? Because divinity took on mortality, eternity entered temporality, and love eliminated death. This, my friends, is the meaning of Advent time.

May you find space and time amidst all the preparations of the season to remember that our time is not our own. That God bursts into our lives when we least expect it, even though we have been told to “stay awake, and watch.”

Blessings of the season,

Trina

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.

Community Christmas Sing-a-long

Friday, December 5, 2014
Burlington Presbyterian Church
7 – 8 pm

Do you love Christmas music? Do find yourself humming along under your breath as you shop? Come sing loud and clear with us on Friday, as we work our way through traditional and religious Christmas songs together. The young and the old are all welcome to come and sing. We’ll be accompanied by a medley of instrumentalists, and our singing will be followed up with cookies and snacks! No religious affiliation is needed – your presence is welcome and wanted.

After the Star…

We will soon be peering beyond the glow and celebrations of the holidays into the new year. We eye its coming with expectation and uncertainty, hope and anxiety. We know for certain that change is on the way – for you, and for me. The church family will be entering an important time of both saying goodbye and affirming its strengths as my time for retirement approaches at the end of April. More importantly, we know that the challenges of staying faithful to the meaning of the Incarnation, of Christ’s presence in human life, of the message of his coming in peace and with good news for the hurting, will go on. It was his work; now it is ours.

I’ve used this quote from Howard Thurman many times, so I hope you’ll be patient with my offering it one last time. Thurman was the Dean of the Chapel at Boston University for many years, the first African American to hold this post at a mostly-white educational institution:

“When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.”

— from The Mood of Christmas

Another quote from Thurman points toward the hope we can have as we try to follow the Christ of Bethlehem into a struggling world:

“In the conflicts between man and man, between group and group, between nation and nation, the loneliness of the seeker for community is sometimes unendurable. The radical tension between good and evil, as man sees it and feels it, does not have the last word about the meaning of life and the nature of existence. There is a spirit in man and in the world working always against the thing that destroys and lays waste.”

This “something” we know as God’s Holy Spirit. It is at work in you and me, in the Burlington church, and everywhere people are trying to do “the work of Christmas”.

Good hope for this new year!

Rod

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.