WE ANTICIPATE SUNDAY, November 29
First Sunday of Advent
A weekly e-mail from
Plymouth Congregational Church
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
232 E. Onondaga Street, Syracuse NY | 13202 | 315 474 4836
Welcoming All, Growing in Faith, Working for Justice and Peace
Preparing for Sunday Worship
New members Carly Maldonado and David Alicea will light the first Advent candle.
Sunday’s music: Trombonist Nic Abelgore plays two chorale preludes on the hymn Wachet Auf (Sleepers Wake). The choir sings Mendelssohn’s He That Shall Endure from the oratorio Elijah and also Pamela Martin’s Do Not Find Me Sleeping.
Focus Scripture Luke 21:25-36
[Jesus said:] “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
- How do you respond to “apocalyptic talk”?
2. How do Jesus’ words in this passage bring you hope?
3. What “near and close at hand” things are signs of God’s coming changes?
4. What is your greatest longing this Advent season?
5. What do you think the stillspeaking God is calling you to in this new year?
Reflection by Kate Matthews
New beginnings mean change
We can’t enjoy beginnings and endings if we don’t like change. And Jesus is describing the biggest change of all, the transformation of all things, when “the Son of Man” (in the Common English Bible, “the Human One”) rides in “on a cloud with power and great glory” (v. 27). People will be filled with fear, even more fear than when the Romans completely devastated Jerusalem and the Temple. We know that the violent, mighty power of Rome was impressive to behold, but on that great day, the heavens themselves will collapse, and the stars and the moon will fall out of their places in the sky, nothing will work as it should, and things will no longer go on as they have in the past. This time, even the Gentiles are going to be on the receiving end of the suffering and the judgment. There’s going to be some kind of day of reckoning for everyone, just you wait and see.
Now, this is “apocalyptic” talk. When things are especially threatening for a group of people who feel persecuted and small in a big bad world, they express their hope for deliverance and their trust in the God who is really in charge of everything by speaking in large, dramatic terms about a day of justice when all things will be made right. Back in the book of Daniel, the same kind of language expressed the people’s hope for rescue from the evil tyrant Antiochus IV Epiphanes, almost two hundred years before Jesus. How else would God up-root the power of something as mighty as the Empire of Rome, if not by doing big things in big ways, even bringing down the heavenly bodies from their courses?
– The Reverend Kathryn Matthews serves as Dean of the Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. To read her entire reflection, go to http://www.ucc.org/weekly_seeds_signs_of_things_to_come
In Our Church Community
Stewardship Effort Totals $164,381
We give thanks for the 68 pledges toward Plymouth Church’s 2016 budget received for $164,381. We continue to receive pledges, either in the offering plate on Sunday or mailed to the church office. If you need a pledge card, see George Bain.
Capital Campaign Surpasses $636,000
We continue to receive commitments that signify participation in our Bold Vision Bold Witness capital campaign, and two recent gifts have pushed our total commitments past $636,000. There is more money yet to raise to support Plymouth’s vision of a renovated Sanctuary, a building with three floors accessible by elevator and lift, other building improvements, a new website, and a mission giving project to serve our Syracuse community. You can put your commitment card in the offering plate. And join the 97 households that have made their commitments totaling $636,522 to the campaign.
Plymouth on Tumblr
We have a new way to keep you up to date on the progress of capital campaign projects: our new Plymouth Bold Tumblr. Click below for pictures of our electrical upgrades, insulation installation, and more. Check back periodically to see what the Capital Campaign Steering Committee and the Task Forces have been accomplishing. For those new to Tumblr (and you don’t have to sign up to use it), the newest posts are at the top and you go further back in time as you scroll down. Clicking on a picture will bring up a sway to scroll through them and see captions for each pictures. http://plymouthbold.tumblr.com/
Christmas wreaths are in. If you ordered a wreath through Mary Jureller and Liz Pruchnicki, you can pick it up in Memorial Hall after worship Sunday. If you haven’t paid yet, make your checks payable to Plymouth with “wreath” in the subject line.
Advent Devotional Book
Wonder, the UCC’s 2016 book of daily Advent devotions, is now available. Written by UCC authors, including our own Quinn Caldwell. On the table in the back of the Sanctuary for $3 each (let us know if that price is prohibitive for you!)
Advent Workshop will take place after worship Sunday, December 6. Help us usher in the season of Advent as we make wooden candleholders, handprint ornaments, and decorate bags for the Rescue Mission, among many other activities.
The rest of our Advent season includes:
December 6, Second Sunday of Advent, Communion Sunday and Advent Workshop
December 13, Third Sunday of Advent, A Service of Lessons and Carols, Las Posadas caroling event for youth
December 20, Fourth Sunday of Advent, Advent Potluck luncheon after worship
December 24, Christmas Eve
5:30 Family Candlelight Service and unrehearsed Christmas Pageant
11:00 Candlelight Service with Communion
Christmas Gifts for the Food Pantry
The Plymouth Women are hoping to offer a gift bag of toiletries to Food Pantry clients again this December. We welcome and encourage monetary donations from members and friends of Plymouth to fund this project. If you would like to contribute, please see Anne Frank or Leslie Lawrence.
Giving Tree for Refugees
‘Tis the season for generosity! Donations are being sought to help new refugee families facing their first Syracuse winter. New refugees are in need of the most basic winter necessities: hats, gloves, and scarves. Gently used coats will also be accepted. Take a paper mitten (or as many as you’d like) from the tree at the back of the Sanctuary, purchase the items listed on the mitten, and replace the paper mitten with actual mittens intended for needy families throughout the winter season.
Use Your Nametag
Wearing a nametag during worship is a sign of your hospitality here at Plymouth. Seeing your nametag helps newcomers know who you are – and will help you put a name to some of the other faces you regularly see on Sunday but aren’t quite sure of. The Board of Deacons urges everyone to reach for their nametag when they enter the Sanctuary and wear it proudly, thus ensuring the warmest possible hospitality at Plymouth. If you need a nametag, please ask an usher.
Ushers, Greeters, Liturgists and Community Time
Consider signing up! We’ll give you all the training you need, and great partners as well. To sign up as a greeter, email Craig Greczyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be an usher, email Barbara Forsstrom at email@example.com. To proclaim the word and share your voice as a Liturgist, call Jackie Manier at 760-3177 and leave a message. To host Community Time, email Carole Brzozowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plymouth on YouTube
Did you know that Plymouth Church has a YouTube channel? You can find recordings of sermons given at Plymouth on it, along with some of the choir’s anthems. Our YouTube channel is one way that Plymouth is reaching out to folks who missed a Sunday or who want to listen again to a sermon or anthem, and letting the wider community and world know about us. You can search YouTube for Plymouth Church Syracuse or use this link: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4UIrL4OR_uGDy8EkopF_A.
You can also listen to any sermon since November 28, 2012, on Plymouth’s website at http://plymouthuccsyracuse.org/sermons-from-plymouth/.
Plymouth Is on Facebook
If you are on Facebook and you haven’t “liked” the church yet, please do! http://www.facebook.com/#1/groups/109573419061867
Help Plymouth When You Shop
Want to help Plymouth when you’re shopping? Here are two ways.
Staples office supply store has a Rewards Program that allows Plymouth to benefit. When you purchase anything at Staples, tell the checkout person the church’s phone number (474-4836) to activate a reward and Staples will direct 5 percent of that sale to Plymouth.
And you can raise money by shopping with GoodShop and GoodSearch:
You can use Goodswipe, a credit card rewards program. By linking your card with one signup, you can earn donations to Plymouth for every in-store purchase at 50,000 stores. To learn more about Goodswipe, go to http://www.goodsearch.com/
When shopping online, you can use GoodShop.com and benefit Plymouth. For more information on that, go to www.goodshop.com, enter Plymouth Congregational UCC in the box labeled “Who do you GoodShop for.”
The Pastor’s Call-in Hour
Don’t like leaving voicemails? Good news! Quinn will be in the office and directly available by phone every Monday from 9 to 10 a.m. You’ll get an answer by the real live Quinn, guaranteed. (Unless he’s on the other line, of course…)
Quinn’s Non-Office Office Hours
Quinn loves his office, but he’s sick of sitting in it. So, you’ll be able to find him at Recess Coffee (110 Harvard Place) from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Café Kubal on South Salina Street from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays. Come join him; no appointment is necessary.
The Rev. Quinn Caldwell is available to respond to emergencies, to visit those with special needs, or for conversation and prayer about whatever’s on your mind or heart. You can reach him at 315-474-4836 or email@example.com. In an emergency, you can reach him at 617-851-0158.
Food Pantry Offerings
The Food Pantry requests your participation is its “toiletries of the month” collection. Contributions of deodorant are being gathered in December. Put your donations in the box in the back of the Sanctuary. The pantry also needs large paper bags but does not need plastic.
The Week Ahead
Mon. Nov. 30 Plymouth Community Reading, 5 p.m., Parlor
Thur. Dec. 3 Food Pantry, 10 a.m. to noon, Parlor
Bell Choir Rehearsal, 5:30 p.m., Sanctuary
Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m., Memorial Hall
Sun. Dec. 6 – Second Sunday of Advent
Worship – Communion, 10 a.m.
Advent Workshop, 11:15 a.m.
In the Wider Community
Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival
The Syracuse Peace Council’s 45th annual Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 11, at Nottingham High School. Admission is $2 to $5, with under 16 and over 65 free. More than 130 craftspeople and community groups will participate.
Remember, Jesus Was a Refugee
Church leaders urge compassion for Syrian refugees. http://www.ucc.org/news_church_leaders_urge_us_not_to_close_borders_syrian_refugees_11172015?utm_campaign=kyp_nov24_15&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist
Repairers of the Breach
Nothing is more precious to us than the gift of close relationships. Yet sometimes relationships shatter. As John Dorhauer reflects in this week’s podcast, separation and division sever the ties that bind us. Listen: http://www.ucc.org/into_the_mystic?utm_campaign=kyp_nov24_15&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist
Plymouth Church Loses Its Historian
Our Plymouth Church was named for this Plymouth Church, the one in Brooklyn. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/23/nyregion/the-keeper-of-the-institutional-memory-of-a-famed-brooklyn-church-steps-down.html
Cardinal O’Malley’s Call for Compassion
Leader of Boston Diocese asks for humanitarian welcome to refugees. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/11/19/cardinal-malley-decries-calls-bar-syrian-refugees/8lmyJvz5fdjto2m1T1Zi2L/story.html
How to take care of your spirit the six days of each week you don’t go to worship? The UCC has launched a new area of its web site designed to support people in their individual spiritual journeys: Feed Your Spirit. Daily prayers, a biblical personality test, advice column from God-lovers, and magic 8-ball await. Check it out at www.ucc.org/feed-your-spirit.
God in Your Inbox
The Stillspeaking Daily Devotional is written by UCC pastors and leaders, including Quinn Caldwell. Subscribers are sent a daily email containing a Scripture passage, short reflection, and a prayer. Sign up at http://www.ucc.org/feed-your-spirit/daily-devotional/.
Joys and Concerns
In the week ahead, you are invited to pray for
James Rada and Laura Powers as they begin serving as foster parents to Osheeonah
Keith and Juliet Giglio as Keith receives treatment for an illness
Demi Carr, recovering from surgery for a broken ankle
Dottie Clark, recovering from a successful kidney transplant
Patti Brady, Chris Welch’s sister, hospitalized in Virginia
David Mahler, Rebekah Tanner’s cousin, recovering from spinal surgery
Joan Fogarty and Michelle Bell
Janet Bucher, recovering from surgery
Betsy and Don
Dorothy, a dear friend of Joan Fogarty
Cath and Barbara
Lee Dreamer, continuing with cancer care