Dear Congregational Family,

1. Congregational Annual Meetings: Last Sunday these meetings were held and the Annual Budget for 2022 was presented. It passed unanimously at both meetings. We praise God for His abundant provisions to our church throughout our history! We also know that this abundant blessing takes place through the generous giving of our members. Thank you!! May God bless you!

2. Sunday School: Also this past Sunday we had a special event for our young families during the Sunday School hour. There was a brunch along with the crafting of Advent Wreaths. The older students painted rocks with Bible verses and reminders of God’s truths. A special thank you goes to all who helped make this such a wonderful time! (The proof is in the pictures below.)

3. Advent Wreath: This Sunday we will begin lighting the Advent Wreath during our worship services. I encourage you to do the same at home. Our family’s tradition is to light it during our meal times together. As you do, talk about what the candles symbolize.

a. The First candle is a purple one, which is lit every day of the first week of Advent. Purple symbolizes the royalty of the coming King. It also has a subdued reminder of repentance as we are turned from sin and our hearts are prepared for Christ. The first candle is often called the Prophecy Candle or Candle of Hope, as it points us to God’s promises and His faithfulness in fulfilling them.

b. The Second Candle is also purple. During the second week of Advent, both the first and second candles will be lit each day. The second candle is the Bethlehem Candle or the Candle of Peace, because the prophet Micah foretold that Christ would be born in Bethlehem and that “He would be our peace.” Isaiah also foretold that Jesus would be the “Prince of Peace.”

c. The Third Candle is pink. This is the Shepherds’ Candle as well as the Candle of Joy. The Shepherds received the news that filled them with “great joy.”

d. The Fourth Candle is another purple one. It is the Angel Candle as well as the Candle of Love. The angels sang in the heavens and gave the message to the shepherds of God’s gift of love for all the world.

e. The Fifth Candle occupies the center of the Advent Wreath. This candle is white and is the Christ Candle. Christ is the pure and holy LIGHT of the world!

(Please note that the upcoming issue of the Herald will include a suggested list of Scripture readings for each day in Advent to go along with your candle lighting.)

4. Thanksgiving: This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day! Our service is at 10:00 a.m. Thank you to our Altar Guild for decorating our sanctuary with the beauty of fall harvest for this service! It was exactly 400 years ago this year that the Pilgrims celebrated that first Thanksgiving Feast with the Native Americans. Since that first year, our nation has always had celebrations of Thanksgiving. In 1863, the official Thanksgiving date was set by President Abraham Lincoln to be the fourth Thursday of November.

5. Advent Worship Services: This Sunday is the beginning of the Advent Season! Our Theme this year is: “Come Home for Christmas!” Please make a special commitment to be part of these services each Sunday!

This year we were unable to send out our traditional Advent/Christmas postcard, but you will be receiving an email version this week. Please let us know if you do not receive one, and we will be glad to add your email to our list.

6. COVID-19: Some members of Council asked that I give an update to the congregation regarding COVID-19–our response to it and how we are “living with it” as a staff and a congregation. As you are aware, some of our staff (myself included) did have COVID-19 over the past two months. In all cases, we have carefully followed (and exceeded) CDC guidelines regarding quarantine/isolation and determining when someone can return to church. All has gone very well, and at this time all staff are healthy and at church.

In addition, I am very thankful to our members, as everyone has taken personal responsibility in exercising caution by not coming to church when experiencing symptoms. People have also been careful to give ample time for quarantining, etc., before returning to church. Praise God for our livestream! We have had a number of individuals and families who have had COVID-19 this fall. Thankfully, all have either recovered or are recovering at this time. It has been a blessing to see our church family reach out and help one another through this time, by sending cards, delivering food, etc. We have much to be thankful for as a congregation!

7. Offering Envelopes for 2022: Your envelopes are available in the Conference Room to be picked up. Please pray over and return your pledge cards and Time & Talent sheets, either in the offering basket, via mail, or by dropping them off at the church office.

8. Sermon: Thanksgiving Sermon Title: “He Blesses You So You’ll Praise Him.”
Thanksgiving Sermon Text: Psalm 67
Sunday Sermon Title: “He Comes Teaching! Do You Care?”
Sunday Sermon Text: Psalm 25:1-10

Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God,

Pastor Carlson