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December 2016 Newsletter

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This year has been like no other for the parsonage household.    Starting with my dad’s sudden passing the beginning of February, adopting my mom into our home accompanied by a couple of falls, hospitalization, nursing home rehab then permanent residence and rapid decline physically and mentally, these elements alone would have been enough to make any time of the year feel not so wonderful.    Becky’s sister-in-law Nancy passed-away in April, so a beach vacation away with all the family children and grandchildren offered potential for needed respite.    Then came a series of additional deaths, some from within our active congregation striking the heart again, a few in families here I have either served previously or needed pastoral service for the losses in their lives, next came  son-in-law Louie’s dad Phil.    Now, my mom.    Honestly, her passing was not as sad as watching her decline, distanced by limited interactive communication and feeling helpless.   It’s been stressing.     
You have been wonderfully supportive, compassionate, patient and loving.   If I may apply the words of Paul and Timothy in their greeting to the Philippians 1:1-6,  “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, [and you Sunday faithful know where else! ;) ]  together with the overseers and deacons:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.    I thank my God every time  I remember you.   In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel  from the first day until now,  being confident of this,  that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”   
An insurance company is currently airing a series of tv commercials depicting someone doing something seemingly silly or stupid with a voice-over tag line,  “ If y o u’r e ( s u c h a n d s u c h ):                        It’s what you do,”  then goes on to promote merits of the insurance company with,  “ It’s what we do.”    
It gives me deepest  joy, encouragement, comfort and gratitude as we have received of your love expressed throughout this difficult year.    However,  you know I am a pastor and preacher,  so as touched in my heart as I am,  I really shouldn’t be surprised:   “It’s what you do. . .as Christians.”     Love,  in the way of Christ:   It’s what we do.   It’s what God gave for us to do.   Yet, love is not simply a matter of our  ‘doing,’   it’s a condition and description of our ‘being.’   
[1 Corinthians 13]  is known as ‘The Love Chapter,’ but [1 John 3 & 4]  also have a few things to say.    For example,  [4:8,16] declare that God is love, then in [4:19] that our capacity to love comes from God loving us first.   God’s love then indwells, being made complete among us by confirmation of God’s Spirit [4:13,17].   And,  “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son (as an atoning sacrifice for our sins) into the world that we might live through Him.”  [4:9-10]   So,  “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”  [3:18]
Many think Christmas is about the Birth of a child in a manger.   I think it’s about the Birth of God’s Love into the world, into us:  God’s Gift of Love to transform the being and condition of the world in partnership with God who is…Love.   It’s not only what we do, it’s who and whose we are.  
Merry Christmas!!!   Let’s Look Forward to a Joyous and Happy New Year in God’s Salvation Love!!!

The 2017 Edition of the God’s Creation Calendars are in church office at the cost of $7.00. Stop by to purchase one or see Pam or Lundy O’Dell to purchase one. All proceeds go to fund the Red Bird Mission Team trip to Kentucky.
                        WE Accept Box Top Labels but do not accept Campbell Soup Labels.

 The congregation extends its deepest sympathy to Pastor Dave and Becky Vensel, Pastor’s brother Bob and Sister, Alexis Bartlo on the death of their mother, Dorothy A. Vensel who passed on November 21, 2016.
The Christmas offering received this year will be combined with the Easter offering received last spring and donations will be made to charitable organizations. Last year $750 was donated to Warren Family Mission and $750 to Red Bird Schools. If you receive envelopes sets, there is a specially marked envelope in the box. Otherwise, you may designate your donation as “Christmas Offering.”
Just a reminder, any donation that would like to be credited towards 2016 giving tax purposes, needs to be received in the office or postmarked by December 31st. Per IRS regulations donations, while greatly appreciated, cannot be backdated if received late.
Our church family will have breakfast on Saturday, December 10th at 9:00 am in fellowship hall.  We will then be entertained by “The Stephen Foster Chorus” celebrating the Christmas season. The meal is sponsored by the United Methodist Men and the cost is $7.00 per person.  Call 330-637-2571 for reservations.
In 2017 the church will be celebrating 137 years in Cortland. The church is planning a Heritage Sunday in the spring.
I’m reaching out to the congregation for your favorite memories of the church and former ministers.  Also, to anyone who chaired a committee or was a member of a committee who helped in anyway do major repairs to the church, when the Sanctuary was remodeled in 1962.  When an organization was formed and why it was formed and if it is still in existence. An example: How long did the elementary school rent or use the educational building and why? How long did the LOGOS after school program run for, when the Men’s bowling league was formed or when was the Turkey dinner started? If you can help, please drop off any memories to Bertha in the church office, or e-mail them to me at pcyphert001@neo.rr.com.  I look forward to hearing from you.
Blessings, Paula
Usually during the second weekend of March there is a Lay Servant Training class.  I encourage everyone to make a New Year’s Resolution to become a better disciple of Christ. One way to do that is to support Lay Servant Training by taking part in the sessions available. There is no better way to support our church and our pastor than taking a step toward becoming a Lay Servant.  If we are to make disciples of men. We must become better disciples ourselves. Please join me.  You will not be alone. You can ride with me and I will support you.  Please take that step to learn how you can better use your life lessons to increase your faith and help disciple the word of God to others. 
Your fellow Lay Servant Jim Mizner, 
CHRISTMAS ANGEL TREE    Our tree this year we will be doing gifts for those in Cortview Village who have no one to share Christmas with.  Co-Chairpersons are Jim and Paula Mizner.  Take a name from the tree and make Christmas happen at Cortview.
 And we are shopping for 10 children. Their names are on tree in fellowship hall. Please leave your name when you take a child’s name. The gifts must be back to church by Sunday, December 18th. Please do not wrap presents and make sure child’s name is on your bag of gifts.
A special service honoring our residents was held Sunday, November 13th. Each received a card made by our children and a small token of our appreciation. We thank all who served in the services.  Frank Stocz and Lundy O’Dell and David Bealer were flag bearers at the 8 am service and  Eric, Alex, and Matthew Fields were flag bearers at the 10:30 am service, and Jean Davis sang the National Anthem movingly.  Thanks to all for making the service meaningful.
 Don’t forget to take time – select a card from box downstairs or one as you enter the Sanctuary. Write a note etc, sign first name and C.U.M.C. – do not seal envelope – as we will be adding a small token. Special thanks to all who donated cards so this project can continue. Vets have expressed their appreciation. Cards go to Wade Park, Veterans Hospital in Cleveland; Tod Avenue Veterans Clinic, Vietnam Motorcycle Veterans Club, VFW Posts in area and extras are passed out on the street.
LIVE NATIVITY on Christmas Eve
 We are still in need of volunteers to participate in the live nativity on Christmas Eve. Times are 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm.  Call the church office and leave your name with Bertha.  
Church family New Year’s Eve at the Burkey’s at 613 Cedar Drive.  Time is 8:00 p.m. until Midnight.  We will have snacks, a movie, fellowship, prayer and praise to ring in the New Year with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sunday, January 8th – Keep this date in mind. We will be removing the       Greens from the church following the 10:30 am service. Your help is       appreciated.
Sunday, January 29th – Pulpit Exchange Sunday with the combined       Worship service at 9:30 am and a pot luck lunch will follow in       fellowship hall. Great time to share God’s love with fellow Christians.
Organizers, Shirley  DiVencenzo, Debbie Miller, Lundy O’Dell, and Pastor Dave will be providing training which will include visitation, help homebound, card ministry and possible recorded sermons to take to shut-ins. Watch for more information and dates.
Lil’ Lambs has closed its doors but we would be remiss to not share with you, the sale benefits over the past 8 years. We held 15 sales beginning in 2009 and ending in October 2016. We are proud to say we reached out to 17 different organizations and agencies that focus on helping children in Trumbull County.  Our total charitable donations totaled $19,742.79 in cash, gift certificates, clothing, baby items, books, toys and food. WOW! Awesome! The list of organizations and agencies included the following: Someplace Safe -     Beatitude House       -  Warren Family Mission Summer Enrichment Program for Handicapped Children of Trumbull County -  Bella Women’s Center            -      Adopt-a-Foot program Trumbull County Children’s services   - Cortland Area Cares Food Bank Cortland Area Cares families with children            - Salvation Army Camelot Center   -     Betty’s Angels    Backpacks for Operation Christmas Child       Cortland United Methodist Shared Ministry  Cortland United Methodist After school program   Postage for Operation Christmas Child   Animal Welfare League in memory of one of faithful sellers
Furthermore, we want to sincerely thank all the loyal workers within our church family, too numerous to name! This event would not have been possible or successfully blessed to have such kind and generous members who are always ready to serve. We also wish to thank the sellers, buyers and the community who became committed to our cause and supported us each year.  It is bitter sweet that the Closet’s closed but we knew it was time to end the campaign.
Praise God and thank you!
RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE          Monday, December 5, 2016 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM                           in Fellowship Hall CUMC
Red_______ White _______ Pink ________  Marble ________     6.5 in   $10.00
Red_______ White ______  Pink ________ Marble _________ 7.5 in  $13.00
Red_______  White _______ Pink _______ Marble _________     8.5 in   $19.00
Red_______ White _______ Pink _______ Marble __________     10 in pot   $20.00
Orders must be placed no later than Sunday, December 18, 2016
                  Payment must accompany your order
In loving memory of:__________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________
In honor of:___________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________
NAME:____________________ PHONE NUMBER_________________
 The December meeting of the Cortland United Methodist Women will be on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 10:30 am in the church parlor.  Please note the change in the date.  After devotions and our business meeting we will be going out for lunch. We invite all women of the church to join us. Cards were sent with a small token included to the college students by the ladies. Let’s all make an effort this year to let them know we care – Students in college are: Noah Acierno,  Andrew Devadan, Georgie Kirby, Marissa Marando, Alex Miller, Gabby Miller, Alex Williams.
 The coming of Christ’s birth was ushered in by several excited members of our congregation recently when they got together for the “Hanging of the Greens”. Thanks so much to those who helped decorate our church for Christmas. The Krieg girls, Raegan, Lauren, and Samantha had a great time decorating the tree. Lunch prepared by Debbie Moore and others was greatly enjoyed. Enter our church and experience the coming of the Christ child.
 Prepare yourself for Christmas by visiting “His” house on Christmas eve – Pastor will offer two services.  You can attend the 6 pm service or the 8 pm service.   
       CHRISTMAS MORNING – celebration of Jesus Birth can be celebrated on Sunday at either service – 8 am or 10:30 am.  Don’t forget to include “Him”, the tiny baby boy, in your Christmas festivities. God is good all the time – so let “Him” know you truly understand that morning. Look forward to share with you in the Celebration (8 am or 10:30 am).  Come as you are.
 Children are still excited about our sponsored after-school program at the Lakeview Middle School.  We recently received another application so the children are spreading the word.  They have been doing some exciting things. Recently they wrote puppet stories re: what they were thankful for and preformed them for each other’s group. They also performed 2 skits – One about Naomi and Ruth portraying “Accepting Others” and one about a man who bought a car and didn’t follow directions so it didn’t work, just like us who don’t follow God’s direction in the Bible.  They also recently named their club – “The Bible Club”.  They do enjoy using the Bible. Starting now, we are entering the true meaning of Advent. We will be exploring the meaning of Advent – acting out the Nativity Story and possibly presenting it to the parents and members of our church. Continue to pray for our group – They are truly “special” children who love Jesus. We will be meeting for 3 more weeks and will stop for their vacation – Then we will start in March, thus advoiding January, February, weather problems. Snack and holiday help for the ending sessions are helpful.  Remember, where ever, we hold the Nativity Play – at school or in our church we hope you will attend.  Shirley & Debbie & Pastor Dave and after-school crew.
 Special thanks to the United Methodist Women and Men’s group who each donated $250 to our after-school program.  Without their held we could not do this important outreach as we do not receive any conference help until next year.  Special thanks also to Lynn and Janet Burkey,  Lundy O’Dell, Jan and Frank Stocz, Bertha and Jack Cyphert, Camille Hunter, Pam Bowers, Melodee Chapin, Jane and Fred Grinnell, Becky Vensel from our church and Debbie Whalen from St Roberts. We also that the Trustees and the Administrative Council for supporting the program.  Volunteers and snack providers are always needed. Most of all we thank God for directing our efforts so we could provide this program. Shirley, Debbie and Pastor Dave