Dear Friends of FUMC,
After the soul-satisfying and hope-filled season of Christmas, we enter into Epiphany–the Church’s season of Light and Revelation in which we celebrate Jesus as Light for the world. And we begin a new year. Who knows what the new year will bring for us, for the church and for the world? We can’t know for sure. But we can know we have choices about how we might receive and respond to whatever happens. Our Christmas story tells us that in Jesus’ birth we receive Emmanuel, God with us. In Jesus’ birth, God becomes Incarnate in the world and in our lives. Even the Gospel of John, that has no birth narrative, tells that Jesus was born into the world and dwelt, or “pitched tent,” with us. We are not alone.
There will surely be challenges for each of us. And the peoples of the world will certainly face difficulties. People with names and identities and histories and contexts and locations will face inordinate difficulties. For some of us at First Church even, the new year has already brought much pain and sorrow and fear. I hope we remember that we are not alone: we have each other for love and comfort and encouragement. And we have God, whose constant presence allows us to hope and to persevere. So as we continue through this new year, let us love and comfort and encourage one another. And let us remember to take time to dwell in God’s presence and Spirit.
This year my hope is that we will cling more to peace than to war; that we will choose the way of truth over lies and trust rather than fear; and that we will remember that it is human to be vulnerable and even when we feel vulnerable we can be courageous. Because we are not alone. We were made for each other. For relationship. This is why Church Community is so important to me, and so necessary for us.
Every Sunday during the past month or two we’ve have several visitors in each worship service. Some leave their names and contact information for us, but others don’t. Have you seen people at worship that you don’t know? If so, have you reached out to meet them, introduce yourself, welcome them? Have you kept your eyes open for unfamiliar people just so you can let them know that we welcome them and care about them? It’s a powerful thing, to come to a new church and feel the welcoming love of the community. It can change lives. It can be redemptive. It can lead to transformation–yours and theirs. As the new year continues, I urge you to reach out, open up, and connect with others in Christ’s love.
AND so, a poem for the new year:
“Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope–not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything Is Gonna Be All Right.” But a different, sometimes lonely place, of truth-telling about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle but joy in the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we’re seeing, asking them what they see.” -Victoria Safford
Looking for a place to speak candidly about your theological point of view? Craving some rousing debate on topics that don’t always come up in Sunday worship? Pub Theology is a monthly gathering of minds, where challenging questions and meaningful discussion are always on tap. What better place to loosen our tongues and open our minds than a pub, eh? Join us for a pint (of theology, of course) and a laugh.
When & Where:
- Capitol Hill: 2nd Tuesdays at 8 p.m., The Stumbling Monk, 1635 E Olive Way (Leader: Cary Lee)
Seeking financial peace? Need help managing debt? Financial Peace University is a 9-week DVD presentation by radio host Dave Ramsey. This isn’t your typical “money class.” Financial Peace University is practical, entertaining, and fun. Learn some hints and strategies to managing your money so it doesn’t control you; whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or a millionaire, this class has something to help you grow in joyful living. (There is a $93 cost for registration and class materials.)
Leader: Laurel Arenivar
When & Where: Sundays at First Church, beginning January 18, 1 p.m., Room 301
Register online today!
A “Sunday Lunch” program after church on January 25 will feature Gretchen Brown and Alan Allis, United Methodist “U.S. 2” Missionaries currently assigned to work in Seattle. Gretchen is with Faith Action Network (FUMC is a member), and Alan is assigned to Wesley Club at the University of Washington. They’re examples of the many types of mission service opportunities through The United Methodist Church. We’ll be chatting about these opportunities, hearing about the experiences of Gretchen and Alan, and learning what “U.S. 2″ means!
Work teams for Salud y Paz: We’re planning to organize a work team to go to Guatemala in 2016, most likely in the month of July. And earlier, our church is invited to send participants to help with a medical team being assembled by Dr. Frank Anderson of Spirit of Grace UMC of Everett, to go in September, 2015. If you would like to receive our email “blasts” about these, furnish Dave Williams or Katie Harris with your email address. If you would like a hard copy by regular mail, give your mailing address to Dave, and he will mail you one.
Our team has been given responsibility for FUMC participation in the United Methodist “Imagine no Malaria” campaign. This will involve a major education component in our church throughout the year 2015, and some fund-raising, the manner of which is yet to be determined. This is important! Malaria is a huge reality in Africa, and it impacts virtually all of the other health-related issues that we are hearing about regularly.
Haiti will be a “Sunday After Church” Lunch focus later in the spring, when Jackie Putt Celin, and her husband, Oge Celin, will tell about their experiences with the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission program there.
December 30 – January 1
Once again it is time to give your family this special holiday treat! Join other First Church families for 2 nights of relaxation and fellowship at beautiful Camp Indianola. This is a great way for new members to get to know people better. Highlights include: beach walks, bonfires, great food and conversation, puzzles, and plenty of games.
You’re Invited to Experience Advent with us at First Church!
- November 30: 9 & 10:30 a.m. Worship, 7 p.m. Spiral Service (Celtic service of song and candlelight)
- December 7: 9 & 10:30 a.m. Worship, 12 p.m. Children’s Christmas Pageant
- December 14: 9 a.m. Worship, 10:30 a.m. Worship with Choir Concert
- December 21: 9 & 10:30 a.m. Worship, 2 p.m. Peace Light Service (German & English), 4 p.m. Peace Light Service (Non-Religious)
- December 22: 6:30 p.m. Blue Christmas Service (a non-traditional service for those who feel the blues at Christmas)
- December 24:5:30 p.m. German & English Christmas Eve Service, 7:30 p.m. & 11 p.m. Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
Thank you for your support of First Church and its ministries. As year-end and tax time approach, here is some information that may be helpful to you when you are finalizing your year-end giving:
To claim a charitable contribution for 2014 tax filing, checks and cash need to be delivered to the church office or postmarked no later than December 31. Checks placed in the offering plate January 4, 2015 will not qualify as a 2014 gift regardless of the check date. To ensure the deductibility of your church donations, please do not file your 2014 income tax return until you have received your year-end statement of giving. If you have questions, please contact Eric Liljegren, our church Business Administrator, at 206-622-7278 ext. 102 or by email, email@example.com.
If you are planning on making a gift of Securities please do so before December 15 or earlier. We recommend you initiate a Security transfer prior to December 12th and coordinate with the church bookkeeper, Dan Rounds, well before your transfer is scheduled. Dan may be reached at 206-622-7278 ext. 101, or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your cooperation during this very busy season.
Traditionally, Christians celebrate the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany – noting the arrival of the three Magi – as a time of joy and fellowship.
First Church congregation has a long history of honoring this time by opening their homes to each other in the spirit of celebration. In recent years we have had youth gatherings, fondue or country themed parties, holiday desserts, and potlucks all over the greater Seattle area.
You are invited to participate in this annual event as a host and/or a guest.
As a host, you may determine the day (12/26/14 – 1/3/15), the time, format (potluck, appetizer, tea, dessert, or other meal format) and number of guests you can comfortably accommodate in your home. Some parties designed as youth or children and family friendly and others are not. You will receive a list of guests and will be responsible for contacting your guests.
As a guest, you may sign up for one or more of these neighborhood parities. The host family will contact you regarding directions and offer more specifics about what you can bring to the table.
If you decide to host an event, or are requesting more information about this seasonal event, please notify Elizabeth Blanton (email@example.com), Ann Bristow (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Candy Bonham (email@example.com). Party sign-ups will begin after Thanksgiving, so if you would like to be a host, please contact one of the three organizers before November 30th, with the date, time, party format and number of expected guests.
Watch for more information in future Chimes and/or bulletins.
The Advent Spiral Service is a meditative service that gives us the opportunity to take a break from the stress of the season and focus on the true meaning of Christmas. As we take turns walking the spiral and lighting our candles from the Christ candle at the center, we focus on the spiritual aspects of the season.
Prayers of sympathy for the DeGabriele family. Albert DeGabriele passed away on Saturday, November 1. The Celebration of Life service for Al DeGabriele will be held at First Church on Saturday, November 15 at 1 pm. Reception to follow.
Paul and Connie McCutcheon: For Connie’s brother in New Mexico, on hospice suffering from COPD and heart condition; Jane Hines: Prayers for friend with cancer and for myself, going through a difficult time; Don Drury: Peace in international strife. Healing in Marysville-Pilchuck community.
Continuing prayers are requested for
Jean Wiswell, Millie Kugler, June Whitson, Roger Whitson, Chester Morgan, Marge Dickey
It’s that time of year when things change: the time (November 2), the weather (windy, rainy and cooler), winter clothes, Church program and activities, annual Church Conference AND…Annual Stewardship time. Last Sunday we began a 6-week Stewardship Emphasis in worship, which will continue through our Pledge and Celebration Sunday, on Thanksgiving Sunday, November 23. The theme and focus for this year’s Stewardship Drive is “ENOUGH! Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.” In the next six weeks we are going to consider and reflect on the financial challenges facing us as a nation and examine our own spending, saving, and giving habits. We’ll look at biblical principles that speak to how we use our money and consider John Wesley’s teachings on money. All of this is to prepare ourselves to experience the joy that comes through simplicity and generosity. At the end of the emphasis, we will have the opportunity to make personal and family commitments of giving for the coming year. We will consecrate our commitments to First Church on Sunday, November 23.
The 2014 Stewardship Team includes Sally Deneen and Robert McClure (Co-chairpersons), Gary Parker, Judy Waring, David Ham, Jackie Putt, and Jim McClaine, First Church Finance Chairperson. In addition, the staff persons who will offer support to the team are Eric Liljegren, Elizabeth Blanton, and Rev. Moe.
Over the next 5 weeks you’ll see bulletin reminders, Chimes and eChimes articles, and email from your Pastor. In addition, you will receive 2 mailings with help ideas for discerning your 2015 commitment, as well as discerning the priorities of your own life and faith. And we invite you to consider, reflect on, and make part of your daily devotions Wesley’s admonishment to “Earn all you can; Save all you can; Give all you can.” With gladness of heart and generosity of spirit.
Come together with the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility at First United Methodist Church on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 2pm! This is the last weekend before election day and we want to come together to make sure we are helping voters in our communities raise their voices in support of I-594 by sending in their ballot.
Join us, bring a friend, invite your neighbor–together we can make sure we have a common sense background check law in Washington state on November 4th.
The First Church Book Group will next read Proverbs of Ashes by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker. Does Christianity sanction violence? It is described as a full and powerful critique of the theology of atonement. We will discuss it Sunday. Nov 2 at 10:15 in room 302.
At this service we will remember members of our community who have passed away during the year and have an opportunity to lift up other departed loved ones who are on our hearts. All Saints’ Day is a Christian tradition celebrated in both the western and eastern church. United Methodists call people “saints” because they exemplified christian discipleship and love. In this sense, every Christian can be considered a saint.