First United Methodist Church
Hughes Springs, Texas
Pastor Bill Laubenberg
Editor Debbie Kelley
A Time of Preparation
This Sunday we started the season of Advent, the four weeks of preparation to get our hearts and lives ready for the good news of Easter. Each week another candle will be lit The Candles are called the candle of Hope, which was lit this week, the Candle of Peace, the Candle of Joy, and the Candle of Love.
This week we focus on hope. We remember the Israelites as they waited for the coming of the Messiah and the hope that carried them through. The wise men traveled in hope as they sought to follow the star. The Shepherds left their fields in hope of what they would find. Mary and Joseph, as any parents, had hope for the child that was to be born. We remember and honor their hope and the fact that on Christmas that hope was fulfilled. Also, this week seeks to remind us that with Christmas we are given a new hope, the hope of the second coming of our Lord.
During the second week we concentrate on Peace. Too often when we think of peace, we see it as the absence of something, war. But peace is so much more than that. Peace is the fullness that fills the soul. It is the smile that comes to your face in the middle of a busy day. It is the warmth that fills a heart. It is the willingness to face the future knowing that God will be with you.
Once you have peace in your heart, Joy is never far behind. This is the theme of the third week of Christmas. Joy is the emotion that lives within us as we face each day knowing that we are not alone. God is always there, and his presence gives us joy the world cannot overcome.
Love forms our focus during the last week of advent. This year it will be a short week as Christmas falls on Monday, but it is important. Love came down at Christmas, The Love of God came into the world in the form of a baby born in Bethlehem. The love of God continues to flow into the world and we are called to be messengers of that love to the world. With all the division and strife that exists in our world, this is an important message to carry to everyone you meet. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” The message of Christmas. So, as you get ready for the coming of Christmas, keep these four words in your mind. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the season when there never seems to be enough time to get everything done, remember the true reason for the season, the Christ Child of Bethlehem. Don’t let that little baby get lost in all the decorating, gift buying, and partying. Remember Christmas is really Christ’s Day.
See You in Church
Pastor Bill Laubenberg
More from Pastor Bill
Bible Study Update
The study “All I Want for Christmas” will be ending soon. After this study, we will be taking some time off from our weekly meetings. The plan for now is to pick up again with a Lenten series.
Pastor Going Out of Town
The week between Christmas and New Year, Dianna, Amy, and I will be going to see our Grandchild. We will be leaving on Christmas Day and should return on Thursday or Friday.
Calling all Readers and Communion Assistants
We have been blessed by those who are already serving the church by taking part in the service as a reader or communion assistant. There is a core group in place, who are doing an excellent job, but we always could use more people. If you are interested in serving God and the church in this manner, please contact Debbie the church office.
For the month of November, there were 23 men who attended the breakfast, including cooks.
The next Men’s breakfast is Tuesday, December 5 at 6:30 a.m.
Come join us!
This breakfast is open to all MEN from anywhere, any denomination and friends.
The CHRISTMAS holiday season has begun.
Dec 10th Second Sunday of Advent
Lighting of the second Advent Candle will continue the special ritual acknowledging the expected birth of the Christ Child. The Choir will sing a Christmas anthem.
Dec 17th Third Sunday of Advent
The lighting of the third Advent Candle will precede the children singing a special program “Tell the Good News – Jesus is Born” during the morning worship service.
The Chancel Choir will present a Christmas cantata “Breath of Heaven”, followed by a reception in Fellowship Hall prepared under the direction of Tina Hill.
Dec 24th Fourth Sunday of Advent
The lighting of the fourth Advent Candle and special music will fill the morning worship service.
The Christmas Eve Candle Light Service will continue the tradition of worship and praise recognizing God’s love for us and His gift to us in providing for our eternal salvation. Let us not fail to honor and adore Him with our presence.
Dec 31st New Year’s Eve Sunday
Following the morning worship service, usual 5th Sunday Dinner. Rather than conflicting with New Year’s Eve parties in the evening, church members will fellowship together at noon, bringing their favorite soups, sandwiches or cookies to ring in 2018.
THE CHOIR CORNER:
Choir practice will be each Sunday after worship and some Saturdays through out the holiday season.
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If your organization or committee has an event to be held at or sponsored by the church, please call the secretary’s office at 903-639-2131, so it can be placed on the calendar, in the bulletin and in the newsletter.
This will help prevent double bookings at the church.
We will be glad to include a listing of your church meeting or activity in the newsletter, but remember that Debbie must have the information before the first of the month in order to have it in the newsletter.
If you are scheduled to enter a hospital please let the church office know. Need name of hospital, city and date of check in. This will help Pastor Bill be able to be with you in your time of need.
If you or a family member is unexpectedly admitted to the hospital, please give the church office the same information.
We are on this journey together and communication is key.
The church office is not on the prayer phone chain. Because of this, sometimes we miss information about members’ prayer requests or joys to share.
If you have a prayer request or know of one, please call (903-639-2131) or email email@example.com, the church office. If you call after office hours, please leave a message on the voicemail.
This will help us to know when one of our church family has a special need.
If you have a Thank you to include in the newsletter, please send it to the church office. You may bring it by or email it to me.
Thank you, Deb Kelley
YOUNG CHRISTIAN METHODISTS
During this month, we will be using our meetings to prepare for the Christmas Program. Please come and take part in the preparation and presentation. Meetings until the program will be two hours long, with food provided. Come join us on Fridays at 6 p.m.
A Look Back at 2016 – 2017
Some of the things that were accomplished under the direction of the Board of Trustees
As much as we accomplished, there are still some things on the pending list, along with regular maintenance and upkeep of the church.
The Chairman of the Committee is probably doing less hands-on work than any member of the committee.
I have been Chairman for two years and have been blessed to have such a wonderful group to work with. I thank each and every trustee that has served with me for the last two years.
I have been able to delegate things and know they are taken care of. The sign of a great committee.
Below is a partial list of things accomplished by this committee as a cohesive working unit
- Replaced the awning at the kitchen door.
- Electrical wires across the back of the building, made secure.
- Gutters installed on the Parsonage and Pavilion.
- New Sound System, station for sanctuary purchased and installed.
- Chimes repaired.
- Large flower containers to block parking under Pavilion were placed.
- Edging around play area updated and repaired.
- Storage areas reorganized.
- One of the two large A/C units replaced.
- All gender designations removed from restrooms.
- New Computer and copy machine was installed in the Administrative Assistant’s office.
- Play area equipment replace with new equipment, chains and chain covers for safety.
- Restroom remodeled to Texas Disabilities Act specifications for handicapped persons. Installed a changing table.
- Repaired the tub and installed a mirror and cabinet in one of the parsonage restrooms.
This is my last year as Chairman of the Trustees. I have been blessed to work with these ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your support. Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to serve my church. We all work together for the betterment of our church.
Submitted by Bill McKinney
Scripture Readings for December
Isaiah 61: 10 – 62:3
Galatians 4: 4 – 7
Luke 2: 22 – 40