The Newsletter

 

First Presbyterian Church, Tullahoma TN 37388

December 2019/January 2020 Volume XLVIII, Issue 10

                                                      

Church Office: 204 E. Grundy St.

Phone: 931 455-9328

Sunday school – 9:15 a.m.

Worship at 10:30 a.m.

Preschool Office: 931 455-1515

Preschool Email:

learningplace@lighttube.net

Preschool Website:

www.learningplacetullahoma.org

 

 

 

 

Church Staff

Pastor: Stephen Yates

CE/Youth Director: Christy Sherrer

Secretary: Martha Bradley

Organist: David Hiebert

Parish Associate for Pastoral Care: Michael Bradley

Learning Place Preschool Director: Bethany Sterling

I

Adults

Sunday School at 9:15

The Christian Living class will meet in Fellowship Hall On Sundays. This class explores new and exciting subjects. The subjects come from different aspects and observations on the Books in the Bible, and scripture based upon renowned theological scholars.

Bible Study

Bible Study in Room 105 will continue their study of the Old Testament in chronological order. 

'

Dear Church Family,

After a lot of planning and hard work, I am pleased to announce that online giving will soon be an option for those wishing to make contributions to the church. As you know, the internet has brought major change to our lives in a very short amount of time - especially when it comes to money.

According to Dan Peres, who has given me some statistics, Amazon.com handles 306 financial transactions a second, or 25.6 million a day! That is a lot of money being moved from one account to another in a short amount of time. And when not shopping online, many of us, of course, also pay monthly bills and even handle transferring money from various accounts when needed.

So while we won’t be handling 306 financial transactions a second (wouldn’t that be nice!), First Presbyterian Church is now going to be part of the digital banking age as well. Once the portal is up and running, people will be able to make a one time donation, or if they wish, set up recurring payments on a regular basis.

 

There will even be an option to give to the various special offerings that we hold during the year. So, for example, when the Christmas Joy Offering rolls around in a several weeks, people will be able to make a specific donation to that cause online. And for those tech savvy people among us, an app will also be available to download to phones and tablets, making the process even easier and simpler.

In case folks are wondering, the online system will also provide automatic notices to our ever faithful bookkeepers Clark Lawrence and Don Jones. So even if people choose to give one time, or repeatedly online, they will still be given an accurate accounting of their giving for tax purposes at the end of each year.

So be on the lookout for more details in the near future. When ready, we will provide the web address for people to create accounts and start giving online to support our church and its various ministries!

 

Your Pastor,

Stephen

Highlights of the Advent/Christmas Season at FPC

  • The Christmas Joy Offering is received throughout the month. Each year during Advent we turn our eyes to Bethlehem and celebrate the wondrous gift of Jesus Christ. By giving to the Christmas Joy Offering you honor this gift by providing assistance to current and retired church workers in their time of need and by developing our future leaders at Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges.

  • Alternative Giving for Christmas provides the opportunity to give a gift to missions to honor someone and will be available through December 15. Tables are set up in Fellowship Hall with the gift certificates and an envelope in which to put your contribution. Choosing gifts to honor someone while helping others is a gift in the true spirit of Christmas.

  • Hanging of the Greens on Sunday, December 1. During our regular worship service at 10:30 a.m. we will add the finishing touches of decorating the sanctuary in anticipation of Christmas.

  • Presbyterian Women’s Christmas Catered Lunch with special music on December 2 at 11:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.

  • Advent Family Festival on December 4 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

  • Learning Place Preschool Christmas Program in the sanctuary on December 17 and December 18

  • Children’s Christmas Program on Wednesday, December 18 at 6:00 p.m.

  • Christmas basket delivery on Saturday, December 21, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Please help bring a little Christmas cheer into the lives of some of the less fortunate in our community by providing a Christmas basket.  You can also help by assisting in the delivery of the Christmas baskets.

  • “No Preaching, No Praying, No Singing, Just Eating” Mission Meal in Fellowship Hall on December 22 at 12:30 p.m.

  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Services – One service is at 5:00 p.m. and one at 11:00 p.m.

Reports for the Annual Congregational Meeting

The plan is to print the reports from the committees and organizations to be available for distribution in February a week before the meeting.  Members of the congregation will then have the opportunity to read the reports prior to the meeting.

NOTE: All reports should be emailed (m2bradley@lighttube.net) to the church office so that they are received by January 27 to allow time for printing and distribution.

Share the Christmas spirit

Provide a Christmas food basket – Help with delivery on Dec.21

 

A holiday tradition at First Presbyterian Church is providing bountiful food baskets for families in the Tullahoma community. The Mission Committee has high hopes for a great response again this year.

You can sign up to provide a food basket by using the insert in the Sunday bulletins or by calling the church office (455-9328) to let us know of your intent. The sign-up form has a suggested list of items. (Please note that the hams for the 2019 baskets will be provided from mission funds generated through the church rummage sale.)

Families or individuals can join together to provide a basket. Or, if you have difficulty shopping and want to participate, you can make a monetary contribution to the Church office or to the Online Giving Page - select "Other" and put in "Christmas Basket" in the text box.

Do you have to put the items in a basket?  No, a good sturdy box will be just fine. Some donors have found that a plastic laundry basket works well and provides an additional gift to the recipient. We do ask that you put your name with the basket/box when you bring it to the church, so that the delivery crew will know whose baskets have arrived.

Delivery of the baskets will be on Saturday, December 21.  Please have your basket/box at the church by 8:30 that morning. We will have the doors from the church parking lot open on Friday, December 20, so that you can bring your basket ahead of time, if you wish. We plan to collect the baskets in the Williams Family Center because there is more room and an easier place from which to load the baskets for delivery. We need helpers to deliver the baskets at 9:00 on Saturday, December 21.


 

Christmas Joy Offering – a perfect gift

 

Gifts are wonderful things. Giving them and receiving them, large or small, gifts can bring a smile, or even a tear of happiness. And the perfect gift for someone you love — well the perfect gift is more than just something they will like. The perfect gift reflects something about the person that receives it — it answers a deep need or recognizes something about them that perhaps very few people know or see in them. The perfect gift — that gift has power, the power to bring you closer together.

One of the most powerful things that Christians claim is that God saw the great needs of the world and offered a perfect gift, a gift that brought God and humanity closer together. God’s perfect gift to us, Jesus Christ, offered the power of being with us. According to Matthew’s Gospel, one of the names given to Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” In Jesus, God shared our human experience  and chose to be with those who were often overlooked, left out, vulnerable, or in need. “God is with us” we proclaim. What a powerful gift, a perfect gift, the gift of “with.”

We offer our own gifts during this Advent Season through the Christmas Joy Offering. We give these gifts because God shows us how powerful it is to “be with.” Because God is with us, we see the potential of students of color who will become our leaders and we seek to come alongside them to encourage them, to be with them. Because God is with us, we see church workers who have critical financial needs and we come alongside them to assist them — we are with them. The power of “with” is the power God shows us in Jesus Christ. God’s perfect gift: Emmanuel, God is with us. Let us share our gifts and be with those who have need.

We ask that you read the bulletin inserts about individuals whose lives have been enriched by the Christmas Joy Offering. Please prayerfully consider giving generously. When making your gift, you may use the Joy Offering envelope, mark a pew envelope “Joy Offering,”, make a check to FPC and designate it “Joy Offering”.  We also have a "Christmas Joy Offering" fund selection on our Online Giving Page. At the top of the banner just select Online Giving and enter your offering online.

 

As we celebrate Jesus’ love in our lives this Christmas, our gifts bear joyful witness to the power of that boundless love that changes lives.

We will be receiving the Joy Offering throughout December.

Minute with Mike

Michael Bradley, Parish Associate for Pastoral Care

What Would We Say?

Part of the wonder of Christmas is the possibility of the meeting of worlds, the coming together of time. We sing, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Though we live so long after those events in Bethlehem, we find ourselves at the manger. In our mind’s eye, we imagine the holy family in the stable, the mother tired, but radiant; the breath of the animals visible in the cold night air. We hear the lowing of the cattle and the rustle of straw. But most of all, we gaze in wonder at the baby, the long expected child.

Would you want to hold the baby? That is the reaction many people have when confronted with a wee one. And, then, what would you say? Little Jesus, let us hold you now, let us cradle you in our arms. Let us hold you and keep you warm. Now, while you are small and vulnerable, let us watch over you. We want to hold you now, because many times in time to come, you will hold us.

Rest well, sweet baby. Rest your tiny hands. You will use your hands for touching a leper’s wound, wiping away a widow’s tear, blessing and breaking bread, and giving it to your friends. Your hands, now so perfect, so tender, so tiny, will someday be wounded for us.

Sleep well, sweet baby. Rest your tiny eyes. For someday you will look at the world and you will see the pain and loneliness and ache that humans bear. You will look at us and see us just as we are, with all our sins and loveliness both. You will look and see the Christ within each one of us, and you will try to teach us to see it too.

Hush now, sweet baby. Rest your tiny mouth. For someday from your mouth eternity will speak. Your tongue will summon the dead to life. Your words will define grace, pronounce blessings, teach, and paint pictures with words so we too might see our eternal God the way you know God to be. Your mouth will speak forgiveness to those who wrong you, will invite us to paradise to be with you forever, will send us forth in your name to all the world. Your words will echo down through centuries, bringing meaning and hope to our lives.

Rest now, tiny child. Rest your infant feet, for someday you will walk many miles to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives. Someday you will stride out in power across billowing waves in a storm-tossed sea. Someday your feet will be anointed with oil by a woman who prepares you for death, and your feet will bear the same nail prints as your hands. Rest your feet now, for someday millions will follow in your footsteps.

Little baby, let us hold you on this holy night, for someday you will hold us. Someday we will feel deep sadness and sorrow. Something will happen in our lifetime that grieves us so deeply that we may wonder where you are. But you will come to us, then, not as a helpless baby, but as the Prince of Peace. You will remind us of the promises of God, of the strength of hope, of God’s deep loving kindness, God’s steadfast love. You will hold us close, and if we are quiet enough to hear, you will whisper to us that all will be well.

 Someday we will grow old or sick, our bodies will fail, and it will be time for us to rest from this world. Then you will come to us, not as a vulnerable baby, but as Mighty God, Everlasting Father. You will welcome us into eternal light and life. You will welcome us to a heavenly feast prepared since the beginning of time, a home and a place for us.

You will do all of these things for us at great cost to yourself. You will teach us the meaning of giving, all that we have and are, on behalf of goodness and love, no matter the cost. But that will be someday. Now we adore you as a baby. And so, little Jesus, this season, let us hold you.

And let us whisper now the thanks that will be yours for all the years to come. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for loving us. We love you too.  Merry Christmas.

Offering From the Office by Martha Bradley, Church Secretary

Let’s play word associations. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Christmas”? The glow of candles during the Christmas Eve service? The bright eyes and excited sounds of children? The bell-ringers at the mall? Carolers going door-to-door? Seeing a production of The Nutcracker?

How about the word “interruption”? “Interruption” probably would not be a word that would appear in a list of this game of word associations. We look to the Advent and Christmas seasons to be a time of preparation, peace, harmony, and joy. But the first Christmas was not that way. It was an interruption.

Consider the timing of Joseph and Mary’s interruptions. They were engaged to be married. Like Christmas an engagement is supposed to be a wondrous time. But it was during this time that an angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would miraculously conceive and give birth to the Son of God. What joyful news! Yet, what an interruption! How would she explain her pregnancy to Joseph? Would he believe her? Would he be willing to take on that responsibility? This was not in their plans. And yet, she accepted it.

We know how Joseph responded. He just couldn’t believe her. How could he? His plans for a happy home with the woman he loved were dashed before his eyes. His life as well as hers had been powerfully interrupted. However, Joseph was unwilling to expose Mary to public disgrace and planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel appeared to him in a dream and explained the whole situation to him. Quite an interruption and a change of plans on Joseph’s part.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God ….”

What a sound that must have been, to hear the angelic host singing out their praise to the One now from heaven to earth come down. What a strange interruption to the life of those shepherds who were more used to passing the night trying to stay awake and trying to stay warm than having a serenade from an angel choir. To say nothing of the interruption of the trip to Bethlehem to see “this thing which has come to pass”!

Then there is the forced journey of a trip to Bethlehem by Joseph and Mary, who were expecting a child very soon, to register for the census. No vacation trip, but an interruption, no doubt, to their lives.

And then there is the problem of finding a place to stay! In addition to that, the biggest interruption of all – the birth of the baby – a joyous interruption, but nevertheless an interruption, in particular being away from their home.

Continuing the interruptions (though somewhat later) The Wise Men’s journey to find the child “who had been born king of the Jews” was delayed by a stop in Jerusalem to talk with King Herod. With help from the chief priests and scribes the Wise Men were soon on their way to Bethlehem and back to their home country “by another road.”  A huge interruption with many more ramifications!

Joseph and Mary get another interruption in their lives in order to protect their young child – an unexpected trip to Egypt at the advice of another angel. As scary and dangerous and difficult as that trip must have been for Mary and Joseph, they made it safely there. Having spent some time in Egypt, their lives were again interrupted when Joseph was told by an angel it was safe to return home.

So, the first Advent and Christmas seasons were characterized by interruptions. Interruptions can at times redirect our lives. This was true for Joseph and Mary. Their plans were interrupted. It was true of the shepherds and Wise Men. The direction their future took was not what they had planned, but it turned out so much better.

All these examples of interruptions have one thing in common: God was at work. When God intervenes in your life, do you find it an interruption or an invitation? Consider how God can do that kind of thing in your life: that God can take what seems to be an interruption, an unforeseen problem, and use it to set your life on a new and better path.

Whatever interruptions you may be experiencing during this season, there is one thing you can do: give thanks to God for Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. And as you praise and thank God, something of the peace that Jesus came to bring can be yours.

 

Around and About FPC

 

Advent Family Festival

December 4, 2019

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

“The Miracle of Jesus”

A Bible-times Christmas event for families. This festival is a multi-generational Advent event for our whole church family. This event will help prepare us for the season of Advent and Christmas.

Let’s all come together for an evening of stories, crafts, conversation, and food. We start by breaking bread together with a catered meal (The cost for the catered meal is $5.00 each and $15.00 for a family of three or more, age 3 and under are free). Then, adults and children will work together, moving through stations where they will be transported back in time to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

It has been some years since that special night, and the miracle baby has gone on to do some truly incredible things: bringing a little girl back to life, feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and some fish, and even overcoming death. The citizens of Bethlehem can’t stop talking about Jesus and his incredible life on earth. Families of all ages will be amazed at the authentic, multi-sensory experiences they’ll find in this “village.”

Our hope is that people of all ages will come together and experience the excitement, hope, and joy of the upcoming Advent and Christmas season. Please contact Christy to RSVP for the catered meal.

Montreat College Conference

January 2-5, 2020

I cannot contain my excitement! For the first time in my 15 years at FPC I have a group interested in going to the Montreat College Conference, in beautiful Montreat, NC.  Pastor Stephen and I will accompany twelve college age young adults (FPC Youth alumni 2016-2019). We have secured housing (which was a feat considering they are expecting 1,200 young adults) at a beautiful private home above Montreat Conference Center. This is what Montreat has to say about this year’s college conference…..

“At the 2020 College Conference at Montreat we will explore the ways Sabbath influences our faith, impacts our personal well-being, and promotes justice and care for our neighbors and surrounding creation. We live in a society that tells us to go non-stop. We celebrate those who are constantly busy and consider those who take time off to be unproductive. The practice of Sabbath invites us to be still and know God, any day of the week. However, the reality of our society and the economic demands of our world prohibit many from even considering a few hours of rest. From Genesis to Revelation our scriptures mention Sabbath over 170 times. In the Old Testament God rests on the seventh day of creation and repeatedly tells the people to observe the Sabbath. In the Gospels Jesus consistently takes time to rest and share with others that Sabbath is also a day to do good and promote the well-being of others. After Christ’s death we read in the book of Acts that his followers continue to recognize the Lord’s Day.”

Please pray for openness, insight, growth and renewal for all of us as we head for the wintery NC mountains this January. Thank you to FPC for nurturing and supporting these young adults throughout all of their time spent at and with FPC Tullahoma Youth and Church.

           

                      Christy

Good Sam Requests for December

When you do your grocery shopping, help Good Sam by purchasing the following items:  canned fruits and vegetables,  crackers, cereal, peanut butter, dry spaghetti, pasta sauce, soup, and canned tuna and canned chicken. Special needs for December are canned spaghetti, ravioli, and chili. Bring some of these items with you to worship on Mission Sunday, December 8.

The deadline for the February 2020 Church Newsletter is noon on January 21, 2020

Session Committee Reports

 

Property Committee – Alan Harris, Chair

 

It's November 18 as I write this update. The sun is breaking over a gorgeous fall day in Tullahoma and it's 7:30 in the morning.  Earlier today, I set out cones and moved the bus in anticipation of a big event. Lo and behold, the contractor arrived at 6:30 and began mobilizing to pave our parking lot!  I've already chased away two folks who have attempted to park in the lot in spite of seeing six trucks, a paving machine, various assorted scrapers and sweepers, 10 workers, and two Bobcats moving around the lot.  Regardless, I'm assured by Jamie (foreman) the lot will be paved today, so I returned home to write this update.  Barring any misfortunes, we should have a new surface by the end of the day today and by close of business tomorrow should have new stripes.  

I wish I could report the same news on our way-finding signs. Even though we wrote a check for the signs to be delivered, I have not seen or heard from our contractor. After three phone calls weren't returned and a personal visit to their shop found the door locked in the middle of the day, I decided to stop payment on the check until I can understand the situation more clearly. It's not looking good for our signs at this point. One way or the other, we will get our signs, but it may require going with one of the other contractors.

One more note about our parking lot: the city of Tullahoma's fire inspector and building inspector dropped by last week to follow up on a complaint by a citizen about our busport sitting in the grass on our front lawn. Imagine, if you will, these two inspectors asking Martha and Christy a variety of questions about why the busport was there: Is this a permanent structure?  Why isn't it staked down? Do you have a building permit for this structure? Was it anchored in its previous location? When will it be moved? Well, if you know either of these two gentlemen, you would know the frustration experienced by both Martha and Christy. Yes, God tests all of us from time to time. He even tested me on this, and I don't think I passed the "good Christian" test that day. Thank goodness for Sunday worship and the Assurance of Pardon. I've needed a lot of those recently.

If you didn't attend the chili cook-off you missed a fantastic array of desserts (I know; you all thought it was about the chili, right?)  A lot of hard work went into food preparation of 7 soups, two chilis, many wonderful desserts, great table set-ups and decorations, and first-rate service. Susan and I had a great time and made modest donations for Alternative Giving.  But I digress. The reason I mentioned this is because I always have an opportunity for a church member to inform me about something else in the church that is broken. You may remember my last update about the leak repairs to the south end of the gym. I learned at the chili cook-off that the north end is now leaking. Did I mention that one repair results in two other things breaking?  I thought so. Even so, we're gaining ground in the quest to make our little church safe and secure from all alarm.

It's been a while since I've talked about creating space in the WFC storage room for a janitor's closet.  We still have this task on our long list of modifications but we hope to get this done in December, about the same time as we conduct our annual scrubbing of the gymnasium floor. The issue about the janitor's closet is near and dear to me personally because our current arrangement requires the custodian to haul mop, bucket, and water from her closet near the nursery all the way down the (carpeted) hallway, down the ramp, and into the WFC to clean bathrooms, kitchen, and gym floors. We first considered creating space in the WFC men's room, but it appears that the mysterious locked door in the WFC hallway that accesses the storage space may have been meant for a future janitor closet.  We intend to try this option soon.  If any of you have knowledge about this mysterious door and its original function and intent, please share it with us.

On a related note, it seems the stage components we moved from Storage Area "A" (place where we store tables and chairs) to Storage Area "B" (location of Learning Place and gym equipment) has frustrated some of us simply because it takes up a great deal of space. I have looked at options on what to do with these stage components and have not been able to get consensus on what to do with them. I'm open to suggestions, but I would prefer these components be relocated to a storage area for "seldom used" stuff. The problem is we don’t have any space left in our existing storage areas. Please share your opinion with me (unless your opinion is to move them back to Storage Area "A"; we need the space for the custodian closet and to ensure our sound system is accessible without emptying half the storage area).

Moving into next year and beyond, many tasks remain to be done that we as a small group still have left to do. Among the first will be renovating the nursery room floor with new floor coverings and possibly a space just inside the room for our youngsters to remove their shoes. As you would expect, our kids crawl around on the floors and it just makes sense for them to have a space inside the room to remove and store their shoes. More on this later, and I'm sure the new Property Chairperson will deliver a great idea.

Second, the sanctuary spotlights remain an issue because access to them from the floor requires rental of a lift, removing pews, and someone unafraid of heights.  Currently, 4 of the 24 spots are burned out and our tendency is to wait until several are burned out before we take action (for reasons I mentioned previously).  Our committee's desire is to figure a way to replace the incandescent lamps with long-lasting LEDs or move all the fixtures to a location accessible by ladder and without removing pews.  Currently, each fixture would require modification to covert them from side-prong plug lamps to a screw-in plug in order to find lamps with enough power and "throw" to achieve an equal to our existing incandescent lights. Replacing each fixture with modern LED fixtures (yes, they are available on the market) costs too much.

Third, we've been talking a lot about our kitchens modernization but haven't made any forward progress other than to determine we probably don't need two full kitchens. Our long range planning committee hasn't met in a while (my fault for not pushing), but when it meets again the issue will certainly come up again. We need everyone's input on this and other items for our long range planning. I was talking with a chap yesterday, and when I asked him about going to church, he was unaware the turquoise bench he was sitting on was on our church property (you mean this is a church?) We have some work to do to let the public know where we are and when we meet. Way-finding signs?  Absolutely.  Some tree trimming?  Probably. 

 

Finally, we've talked several times over a several year period about modernizing our education wing with new windows, better restrooms, better access to the second floor for persons with disabilities, and other improvements. My hope is we will continue to maintain a concentration on this endeavor and make all these a reality. We can do it!

As always, if you feel led to help out in any way, please feel free to let one of us on the committee know. Thanks to Ron Gault, Betty Gault, Jim Johnson, Bob Huffines, John Hawk, and Jim Johnson for all your hard work and good ideas.  Your stewardship of our church property has been extraordinary.  For Don, Ken, Mike, Juergen (J Ray), Stephen, Greg, Charles and others, thank you for your much needed assistance.  I wish for you all and our congregation a very healthy, happy, and peaceful season. 

 

    Alan

 

Stewardship – Cindy Kinney, Chair

 

During the holidays many of you are probably check your “social media outlets” frequently to see how your friends are celebrating.  Perhaps you may see a photo or two with your friends enjoying an exciting holiday vacation, or they are gushing over the incredible gifts they have received!

How does this make you feel? Perhaps jealousy or envy is rising in you? While both feelings and attitudes are common – neither of them is healthy! The Apostle Paul suggested this: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.” Romans 12:15-16a. This is how believers are supposed to act – even though we fall short more times than we would like to admit. For the times when jealousy and envy start to rise, there are four things you can remember this holiday season to keep those feelings at bay.

  1. Remember how much you have been blessed. When you remind yourself just how God has blessed you – gratitude and contentment kick in!

  2. Remember that it’s not all about you. Mature people understand that the world really doesn’t revolve around them. They believe that we are part of a body, so we are affected by what happens to others. When they win, we win!

  3. Remember what’s really important. By remembering what really matters in life, your relationships and your personal mission, will help you keep everything in proper perspective.

  4. Remember that God is in control. If you really believe that God is just and that He’s sovereign, you also have to believe that He knows what He’s doing.

The Bible tells us that envy and jealousy create chaos. So, if we let jealousy and envy take over, we are letting crazy take over, and we all know that there is enough craziness going on this time of year! 

Let’s all try for contentment, gratitude and love – that’s a much better holiday plan!

       Cindy,

 

Mission Committee – Lesley Lawson, Chair

 

No Preaching, No Praying, No Singing, Just Eating” Mission Meal - The Mission Committee continues to invite our neighbors at Autumn Manor, Farris Apartments, and clients from Good Sam to our monthly free meals. Our next meal is scheduled for Sunday, December 22, and we will be serving Chicken and Dressing. Members of the congregation are welcome to join us by preparing and serving  the meal, driving the bus, or just joining us and sitting with our guests for a little social time.


Christmas Baskets – Please help bring a little Christmas joy to the less fortunate in our community this year by providing a Christmas basket.  If you would like to sign up, please fill out the yellow form in the Sunday bulletin and place it in the offering plate or you can take it to the church office. Delivery of the baskets will be on Saturday, December 21, starting at 9:00 a.m. Please have your basket in the Williams Family Center gym by 8:30 a.m. that morning. If you would like to help with the delivery of the baskets, we would love to have you join us! If you can't find the time to go shopping, you can make an Online Giving donation on the Church Website. Just click on "Online Giving" at the top of the home page. Select "Other" put in your donation amount and in the "Text Box" enter Christmas. 


Alternative Christmas Giving – We kicked off our annual Alternative Giving during the Chili and Soup dinner on November 17, and we will continue to provide opportunities during Fellowship Time in December. This is a great way to provide a special gift that reflects the true spirit of Christmas to friends and loved ones and help local, national, and international missions. If you missed the opportunity to give, you can make an Online Giving donation on the Church Website. Just click on "Online Giving" at the top of the home page. Select "Other" put in your donation amount and in the "Text Box" enter Alternative Giving. 

 

Family Activities & Outreach Committee – Betty Gault, Nan Hall, Co-chairs

 

We are looking forward to the Christmas season filled with food, fellowship, and special celebrations in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. Don’t miss fellowship time after the service! Sherry Ray has offered to treat us with her homemade goodies on December 8, and we will be hosting a reception after the service on December 15 when the THS choir joins our choir for some special music!

Nan and Betty 

 

Finance and Personnel Committee – Keith Kushman, Chair

 

Session is starting to develop the 2020 budget based on anticipated income from pledges, other donations, the Learning Place and the Farris properties. Income from the Learning Place and the Farris properties tends to remain stable from year to year.  Pledge and donation income have been declining slowly in recent years and that trend continued into 2020 based on responses to the stewardship campaign – projected pledge and other donation income is $231,000, which is about $4,500 less than anticipated 2019 budgeted income.

 

The number of pledging units increased from 43 to 47 and the anticipated number of total giving units decreased from 69 to 65. This data presents a challenge with which we are familiar.  The challenge is mitigated by some notable reductions in 2020 cost for some budget line items, most notably maintenance of heating and cooling units and the church bus due to new equipment and phone and internet due to changing providers in 2019. There are a few smaller reductions in a handful of other budget line items.  Session committees are looking carefully for more cost effective ways to do our mission and we encourage anyone with an idea to share it with the committee chair, Keith Kushman, or any member of Session.

Thanks to all who contribute to our ministry through time, talent, and funding.

Presbyterian Women

Please join Presbyterian Women for our annual Christmas Catered Luncheon, Monday, December 2, at 11:30, in the Fellowship Hall. We will be entertained with Christmas music by Kathy Nichols’s ensemble. Patch Manor is catering the luncheon and the cost is $11.00. Please make reservations with Bonnie Watts, 808-9809, bbwatts@lighttube.net no later than 11/26. MISSION: We will continue taking monetary donations for East Lincoln School.

January meeting – January 8, 2020, in Fellowship Hall

 

We will look at the 2019-2020 Horizon Bible Study Love Carved in Stone - A Fresh Look at the Ten Commandments for our January meeting.  Lesson four is “Words of Love: Honoring the Life-Givers.” The purpose of this lesson is to explore the gift of life and our responsibility to those who bring us to life.  Scripture: Exodus 20:12; Luke 9:57-62. Deborah Jerry and Elaine Huffines are hostesses. All women of the church are invited to this time of Bible study and fellowship.

Church Women United

CWU will meet Tuesday, December 3 at 11:30 at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, 93 St. Bede’s Drive in Manchester. The Westwood Choir will entertain us with Christmas music. A light lunch will be served.

 

January meeting - Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 301 W. Washington, will host the Tuesday, January 7, meeting. It will be in the Fellowship Hall at 12:00. Director Katie Bates, Coffee County Child Care Center, and Director Emma Coleman, Tullahoma Day Care, are guest speakers.  A light lunch will be served.

FPC Book Club

The November/December Christmas party/book discussion will be on Thursday, December 12, at 2:00 p.m. in the home of Mike and Martha Bradley. The book for discussion is The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts. The January meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 23, at 2:00 p.m. in the church parlor.

While waiting . . .                                  

Advent does not lead to nervous tension stemming from expectation of something spectacular about to happen. On the contrary, it leads to a growing inner stillness and joy allowing me to realize that he for whom I am waiting has already arrived and speaks to me in the silence of my heart.

Just as a mother feels the child grow in her and is not surprised on the day of the birth, but joyfully receives the one she learned to know during her waiting, so Jesus can be born in my life slowly and steadily and be received as the one I learned to know while waiting.
            —Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Genesee Diary

Holly

 

Holly was first used by pagans to decorate for the festival of Saturnalia. When Christians began celebrating Christmas in honor of Christ, they adapted that decorating practice to reflect Jesus’ life and death. Holly’s pointed leaves symbolize the crown of thorns and its red berries symbolize Christ’s blood shed on the cross. Because holly thrives and its berries retain their brilliance even in harsh winter conditions, non-Christians saw it as a symbol of eternity — which is fitting for Christians as well.

Liturgists Wanted for Sunday Services

There is a sign-up sheet on the podium in the narthex. Simply place your name next to the date that you are willing to serve as liturgist. You will be given the information you need by the end of the week in which you are serving.