December Newsletter

You can read a simpler version of the December Newsletter below or you can read a more colorful version by downloading the file at the bottom of the page entitled "DECNEWPUB".

The Cortland United Methodist Church
CortlandUMC@centurylink.net

Our mission is to Worship, Grow, and Witness
to God’s love in Jesus Christ

This is one of those years when we jump from Thanksgiving to Christmas-in-the-Air within the space of a few days. Christmas can be a festive time for individuals and an opportune time for business. Much is made of the Christmas spirit and season with references to its traditions, practices, activities, opportuni-ties and not least of all, economy, even though there is reluctance to acknowledge its Holy Reason.
Though not fully embraced as a holy holiday, I’d like to redirect your thought toward Thanksgiving before it becomes completely lost somewhere between Halloween and Christmas. By now, the one-day feast has passed and along with it hopefully, all the unwanted, resultant lighter-than-air emissions.
I’d like to share with you what I witnessed at the Thanksgiving Day table in the home of the parents and family members of our daughter-in-law married to our youngest son Joshua a few years ago. We all sat gathered together around one table (fortunately it was a large table because there were a dozen or more of us). Our two-year-old granddaughter Ella began a little activity that seemed innocent enough, but later revealed by her parents Jessica and Louie, that she had been so prompted. One by one, little Ella addressed each person at the table by name, “_______: And what are YOU thankful for?” Around the table the little princess went, one by one, preciously addressing each of us personally without missing a name, even though she had just met some of them. She waited patiently for everyone to answer, making adults momentarily uneasy at the prospect of producing a thoughtful expression of thanks in front of everyone else without any advance preparation. When the sharing had come full circle back to Ella, her mother asked, “And Ella: What Are YOU thankful for?” Ella blurted out, “PIZZA!” We learned then, Ella was supposed to respond, “My new baby!” thus serving as an announcement of joy and thanksgiving a new addition was expected to their family (now known to all as ‘LJ’).
The moment lives on in my heart and the scene illustrates for me what I believe to be a great need: the need to pause, contemplate – even if only for a moment, and express genuine thankfulness for what we hold to be significant and substantial in our hearts and lives.
For me, this is Thanksgiving and this is Christmas. This is the time and opportunity to reconnect with what is real and significant within and among ourselves. This season of time provides opportunity to connect with the holiness of the Holy One who is the substance, meaning and fulfillment of our being.
This is a seasonal time of demanding activity and busy-ness. Be sure to take some time to pause, contemplate, put yourself on the spot and share with someone you love: what you find to be holy, real and substantial. Make an intentional effort to find and connect with God desiring to draw near to you, signified in the advent and birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
I invite you to take a road-trip with me to Bethlehem following the directions of my GPS: God’s Position-ing System. “On the Road to Bethlehem” begins Dec 1 with “Spiritual Map-Questing;” it continues Dec 8 with “Pay Attention to Road Signs.” On Dec 15, we’ll consider using “Cruise Control.” And Dec 22 points out the importance of “Rest Areas.” Three services will be offered Christmas Eve: Traditional candle-lighting and the choir will be at 6 and 8 pm; a less traditional 4 pm service is being added for those with evening plans.
May You Seek and Find the Substance of Christmas in Your Heart this Season. Pastor Dave

OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES
December 11, 2-4 PM , come celebrate the Advent Season with the girls at Hannah’s House.
We will be providing them with devotions and fellowship. Needed are gifts of nail polish, personal care products and gift bags. Contact the office or Katie Watson to sign up.
Christmas Breakfast for our friends at Creekside. Needed are 48 individual small coffee cakes or tea breads. Breads are needed on December 23. Delivery will be the morning of Christ-mas Eve. Contact the office or Katie Watson if you can help make the goodies and help deliver.
Christmas Bells are up in the Fellowship Hall with names of kids and seniors that are in need of gifts this Christmas. Return gifts unwrapped in a large garbage bag on or before December 15. Please put the bell on the “outside” of the garbage bag.
Cortland Area Cares in need of the following: laundry detergent, peanut butter, cake mixes & frosting. CAC serviced over 275 families on November’s distribution. Rite Aid has detergent, on sale for 1.99—- Walmart will match price with Ride Aid’s ad.
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SPECIAL THANKS to the United Methodist
Women for organizing RED BAG Sunday. It has
been such a great success. Thanks, also, to our
wonderful congregation for caring about others in
need.
THANKS!!

WORSHIP
There will be a movie every Sunday during Advent Season. We will eat and have
fellowship starting at 6 PM. The movie will start at 6:30 PM. Please bring a dish
to share.

CHRISTMAS EVE Services will be at 4 PM,
6 PM and 8 PM. A Live Nativity at 5:30 PM and
7:30 PM. Needed are people to participate.
Contact the office or Katie Watson if you can
Participate in the live nativity..
Worship is starting a (Special Sunday Service) that will take place when there is a 5th Sunday in
that month (4 times a year). The first (Special Sunday Service) will be held December 29 starting
at 9:30 am. Plan on being a part of this new celebration. The Men’s Group will provide breakfast
following this special service.
(There will be no services at 8 or 10:30 am on these Special Sundays)
If you have any questions, please see Katie Watson.

NEW YEARS EVE - WATCH NIGHT
Tuesday, December 31st beginning at 8:00 pm you are invited to
come bring a dish to share, enjoy the fellowship of others, play
some games, watch a movie and we will close the evening with
holy communion at 11:30 pm. and welcome in the year of 2014 .

SAVE YOUR LABELS
Continue to save Campbell soup labels and Box Tops for the Red Bird Mission . The container is still located on the shelf in the North narthex.
 
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
The December meeting of the Cortland United Methodist Women will be on Wednesday, December 11th at 10:00 am., in the church parlor. (Please note the change of date). After devotions and business meeting, we will be going to Enzo’s for lunch and then travel to Hannah's’ House in Vienna. Please remember to bring your donation of personal care items for the women at Hannah’s House to our meeting. We invite all lades of the church to join us.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD NEWS
Thanks to all that came out for our shopping/packing party. WE had such a great time and made some new friends. A big thanks to all that gave donations for shopping or shipping for items donated and all of you that brought filled boxes. Our church donated ___155__ boxes
and our Relay Center collected a total of ____397____boxes! Isn’t it exciting to be a part of such an important ministry! The children will experience so much joy and lives will be changed. Praise be to God.

FINANCIAL NEWS
As the end of the year approaches, there are a few items I would like to bring to everyone’s attention:
1. As always we will be receiving a special Christmas offering that will be combined with the Easter offering from last spring. Donations will be made from these offerings to the following charities: Cortland Area Cares, Warren Family Missions, Youngstown Community Center and the Red Bird School. If you receive weekly giving envelopes please use the specially marked Christmas Offering envelope. Otherwise, make a notation in the memo line of your check or use a pew envelope and designate Christmas offering on the line marked “Other”.
2. We are continuing to ask for donations towards our Shared Ministry obligations. Designated green envelopes were mailed with the October and November messengers and are available in the pews.
3. Any donations that are to be credited to giving statements for tax year 2013 must be received in the office or postmarked by December 31, 2013 per IRS regulations. I cannot back date donations received after that..
Thank you all for your continued support. May each of you have a blessed Christmas.
Sincerely,
Jill Freeman
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CHILDREN’S CHURCH TIME
A Reminder that we still have children’s church every Sunday during the 8:00 and 10:30 am worship services. Please invite your neighbor and children, your grandchildren and etc to come to church with you. You will be truly rewarded as they become excited about what they did, learned and made during the hour.

VETERANS HONORED
On Sunday, November 10th an impressive program was held at both worship services to honor our Vet-erans. An impressive flag ceremony was held with three veterans carrying the American Flag, the Christian flag and the United Methodist Flag. Each flag was honored with their respective pledge. Following this a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem was sung acappella by Chelsea Wolfe, a student attending YSU.
Becky Vensel read a poem “A Thank You to Veteran” written by local poet Carole Wiley. Each veteran was recognized and stated his service area and years of service. Tom Lyman shared with us that he had recently opened a case where he found two new Army uniforms and two pair of long johns that had the label dated March 1934, part of World War II. Shirley Divencenzo presented each serviceman a small gift and a card of thanks. The poem “The Cross in My Pocket” was read—Each veteran was given a card with this message on it and cross to keep in their pocket that said God Loves You. Following this the Blessing of the cards to go to Veterans at Christmas was done. The minister read the passage where Jesus and his disciples were at Gethsemane and couldn’t stay awake. He parrelled this with the courage our Veterans has as they stayed awake and met whatever came this way while we as Christians feared fighting the war e faced against Satan. He challenged us to be Soldiers, fearless in our quest to share the Good News that God loves you. A special thanks for all who helped make this Day special. Don’t forget your cards for Veterans will be going out soon.

WEDNESDAY AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM MOVING FORWARD
Planning on starting Wednesday, January 8, 2014. We will meet each week on Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. until Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Information has been set out to all students K-12 in the Lakeview School system. With return dates of December 13th. By then we should have an idea of how many students we will have. The first meeting will consist of registration, getting to know each other, games and Bible story. Following at 6:00 to 7:30 pm we will be having a dinner for all the students enrolled and their parents, followed by a movie.
Our purpose for the program is as follows: “To provide your child with a safe environment after school where they can complete their homework, have access to a tutor/helper, receive a snack, enjoy other children while learning about God, and learning to express themselves through crafts, imagination puppetry and play.”
Our next meeting will be Monday, December 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm at the church. We would like for all volunteers, teachers, and teens to meet at 7:00 pm on December 16th to prepare us for the first club meeting. On January 8, 2014. Thank you all for your help and prayers. Continue to pray that we may reach out to many children through this program.
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CHURCH OFFICE CLOSED
Tuesday, December 24—Christmas Eve
Wednesday, December 25—Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 31—New Year’s Eve
Wednesday, January 1, - New Years Day
Our staff:: Pastor Dave, Bertha, Jill, George and Sandy
wish you a most blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.

NEWSLETTER MAILING CHANGE
For years, we have mailed the monthly newsletter to members’ homes. The cost to do this has become a pattern of steadily increasing rates. Additionally, the Postal Service has begun requiring specific additional procedures to utilize this service. This matter was discussed at the Administrative Council meeting Monday, November 18. It was decided and voted that we discontinue our bulk mailing permit as of January 1, 2014.
Some of the rationale for this decision includes cost of the annual fee for a bulk mailing permit which is $200. This permit makes it possible for us to send the newsletter at a lower rate per piece than the rate for first-class postage. However, this also means the post office does not need to treat it as first-class mail, meaning that each carrier has discretion regarding the degree of delivery priority these receive. .With the permit, we still pay postage for each piece but we need a minimum of 200 pieces to receive the reduced postage rate. Our monthly postage to mail the newsletter typically amounts to $35-$40. Additionally, it is not unusual to have a few newsletters returned to us each month as ‘undeliverable’ for a variety of reasons, including when people on our mailing list have moved and not provided a new address to us. The return cost to us is an addi-tional 68 cents per newsletter. We have also reached the point where our monthly mailing may fall below the 200 piece minimum.
So, we are making these changes to meet these changing conditions. THE GOOD NEWS:
+ We will continue to produce the monthly messenger.
+ You can read it on our church web site or we will send it directly to your
email inbox.

+ WE NEED YOU TO PROVIDE YOUR CURRENT E-MAIL ADDRESS.
+ A ‘Print’ version of the newsletter will still be available at the church:
in the Office, the Narthex outside the Sanctuary and in Fellowship Hall.
+ We will continue to ,mail the Messenger to Shut-Ins, Members Out-of-the-
Area and those otherwise unable to access it and request that it be mailed.
We do not want anyone to miss receiving it.
+ Thanks for reading and understanding .
+ If you have any questions please call the church office.

WOULD YOU CARE TO HELP?
One of the furnaces in the Sanctuary has been shut down because the heat ex-changer went bad and is not safe to operate. That part is under warranty and has been ordered, however the cost of repairs is over $600. If you care to donate to help with expense it will be greatly appreciated.. Mark your contribution as furnace
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David Vensel,
Dec 2, 2013, 7:48 PM
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