From Pastor Don
The People In Darkness
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” — Isaiah 9:2
These words are part of our Advent and Christmas celebration. I wonder if the reverse might also be true.
The people in light have seen a great darkness.
Holy Scripture is filled with stories of darkness, despair, and lamentation. The struggles of the Hebrews in Egypt, the periods of disobedience and foreign conquest, the exile, the destruction of the great Temple … just to name a few.
Certainly, we (the human race) are in such a period. We are indifferent to the continued warnings about climate change. Within five years the regime in North Korea will have the ability to launch nuclear missiles capable of reaching cities in the United States and other parts of the world. Hatred and distrust among races, religions, and political parties have reached new lows. Civility has become extinct. Social media has rapidly eroded the art of conversation.
It would be wonderful if the church could offer some sort of hope in the midst of this despair. Unfortunately it cannot. Even within the church, there is division, distrust, and disillusionment. By the year 2020, The United Methodist Church (as we have known it) will most likely cease to exist. We must find our hope in the person of Jesus.
Such times are part of the life of faith. Dark times. Wilderness times. The Valley of the Shadow of Death times. Garden of Gethsemane times. We cannot wish them away or whistle a happy tune and pretend they do not exist. Such times must be faced, endured, and experienced with faith. Not the faith of instant gratification and simple solutions but the faith of the martyrs. The faith that there is something beyond the present chaos. The faith that we may not see the light in our time but that future generations may behold it. The faith that out of chaos comes creation. The faith that out of scandal the Messiah is born. The faith that out of the darkness of the tomb new life emerges. The faith that once more the people in darkness may see the greatest light.
Keep the faith. Live by grace. Look for the light.
Grace and Peace,
When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on October 4, 2016, the storm brought devastation to a people who already lacked basic healthcare, sanitation, and access to clean water. After the storm passed, over 1,000 people had lost their lives and more than 175,000 were homeless. The UN declared a humanitarian crisis with 1.4 million Haitians in need of urgent assistance.
The relief arm of the United Methodist Church, UMCOR, has long had a presence in Haiti. Our international relief team was able to respond quickly with emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance. UMCOR is working alongside GlobalMedic to provide water purification systems and for emergency medical need.
Each year during the Advent season Christ Church collects a special Advent offering as our gift to the One who gave the greatest gift, our Savior. This year we offer you the opportunity to make a special donation to support the UMCOR work in Haiti. Look for the Advent offering envelopes in the pew or send your gift to the church office (301 Wooster St., Marietta, OH 45750) designated Advent. Our gifts will be added to gifts from around the world to relieve suffering and bring hope to the people of Haiti.
Miracle on Third
Attention all youth! It’s time for our annual Christmas shopping trip. On Sunday, Dec. 11th, meet at the church at our normal time, 5:30 p.m. We will then depart for Wal-Mart and an evening of choosing Christmas gifts for children in our community. Each of you will be given a toy-shopping budget, funded by the generous giving of our congregation. These gifts will be distributed through the Secret Santa program and Toys for Tots.
Sarah’s Thank You
Thank you for the beautiful reception, cards, and gifts on the day of my retirement. Your kind words and expressions of love have given me many happy thoughts to reflect on during this time of change. I will dearly miss being a part of the music ministry at Christ Church. Sharing sacred music with you has always brought me great joy. Thank you for making me feel so blessed to be a part of the Christ Church family.
In dulci jubilo,
Hats & Mittens
Have you stopped by the Education Wing to see our Hat and Mitten Christmas Tree? This is our way of collecting warm hats and mittens for local children. You can add your new hats and mittens to the tree any Sunday or during office hours. After Christmas, these will be taken to local elementary schools to help keep our children warm.
From Pastor Cheryl
Do the holidays leave you feeling stressed, worn out, or depressed? While clinical depression is best treated with a combination of medication and social support (including talk therapy), taking care of our souls can go a long way. Dr. Matthew Sleeth’s book 24/6 has been our Advent Study this year. Sleeth reminds us that even God took a day of rest—and that when we remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, the 4th commandment, we are better able to become the people God created us to be. Because of our study, I’m being more intentional this season about taking time to be with God…and about taking time for myself, away from everyone else. Already, I can tell I have more energy, patience and goodwill. I’d encourage everyone to try to include a regular time of rest during this season, focusing on your relationship with God, and see if your life doesn’t feel more balanced.
Here’s what’s happening in some of our other ministries:
Thanks to Sue Smith, Norma Dennis, Don Archer, Bob Westbrook, Jeff Walker, and Suzanne Walker for leading worship services at The Arbors during November. These services provide an opportunity for residents to worship with their families and for some of the staff (who work Sundays) to come to church. Besides this month at The Arbors, we also lead Sunday worship services at the Marietta Center (top of Harmar Hill) every August—if you want to help, we’d love to have you!
The children and youth of our church are a real blessing! If you haven’t gotten to know them yet, you’re missing out. Our next Safe Sanctuary training will be after late worship on Sunday, January 22nd. Once you’ve completed training you’ll be able to help with Children’s Church, Children’s or Youth Sunday School, Youth Group, After School, or Vacation Bible School. If you already went through the church training but haven’t completed the online training this year, you will be sent another invitation and link for that. Questions? See Cheryl Arnold.
On Wednesday afternoons at Christ United Methodist Church, our After School ministry tutors and nurtures 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders from Washington Elementary School who were selected by their teachers as children who would benefit from extra attention. We are blessed with 12 children again this year—including 5 from last year. Since this ministry began, 16 years ago, we have enrolled 164 different children and served 125 different families. We have also had over 100 volunteers, including 26 youth (grades 6 through 12). As we go through this year, please keep our After School families and volunteers in your prayers.
What are you passionate about? Let us know if you need help getting involved.
During a recent Mission Committee meeting we discussed Tabby’s Clothesline, a project initiated by the Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC), a school club, and the National Honor Society at Marietta High School. These student organizations were looking at factors that might keep their fellow students from attending school. Their discussions led to the realization that not having proper clothing or hygiene products could be a barrier to attendance. Tabby’s Clothesline enables students whose basic needs are not always being met to privately get what they need.
The Mission Committee has decided to assist in obtaining donations to support Tabby’s Clothesline.
Items needed are as follows, for children 4-5 years old to high school age, sizes up to adult men’s 4X and adult women’s 3X:
New and gently used, age appropriate, usable clothing; the clothing must be machine washable, no dry cleanable clothing please!
- winter coats
- new socks
- new underwear
- shirts (t shirts are ok, but any logos must be within school dress code)
- light wear clothing
- personal hygiene items such as: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, maxi pads, tampons
You may bring the items to the church. We will have a drop box in the Narthex. Or you may take your donations directly to Marietta High School. You may contact Liz Beymer, Mission Committee member, at 740-374-6239, with any questions you may have.
Thank you in advance for your assistance with this project.
Christmas Caroling Party
Youth, adults, children, and even Grinches are invited to our Dec. 18th Caroling Party with snacks and fellowship afterward. We will meet at the church at our normal Youth Group time, Sunday evening, 5:30 p.m., drop our finger foods off in the kitchen, and then carpool around the community, blessing our Seniors and care facilities with the gift of Christmas joy. Bring along your guitar, ukulele, kazoo, or singing voice. It’s sure to be an evening that will put a smile on our faces.
We’re looking for a host or hostess or two to have coffee, hot chocolate, and the snack table prepared. If caroling isn’t your thing but the cozy kitchen is, please contact the church office to volunteer.
Norma’s Thank You
A profound thank you to the United Methodist Women for selecting me for their “Special Mission Recognition” award. It was certainly a surprise when Beth called my name to come forward and receive this honor. Thank you for the award and for the opportunities to be of service not only to the children and youth, but to our very special church family.
Sit & Get Fit Comes to a Close
It seems like just yesterday that I decided to get back into leading an exercise class. But that was 6 1/2 years ago and now I have decided that it’s time to put my instructor shoes back in their box. Classes will end December 21, 2016.
I hope that my routines have shown all that have attended that a little movement can go a long way in keeping us alert and active. And remember you don’t need an instructor to exercise. All you need is some music and a chair. Then just start marching your way to a healthier, fitter you. Don’t forget to add a few punch ups, scissors, and circles with your arms.
I want to thank everyone who has ever participated and especially thank those who have been faithful followers for so many years. You all hold a special place in my heart.
From Ruth Drissell
After our Good News from Christ (GNFC) Sunday, celebrating 25 years of radio ministry, a copy of the celebration was sent to Ruth Drissell. Ruth is the widow of Norm Drissell who was the visionary that sparked GNFC. The following is an excerpt from her letter.
Thank you so much for sending all the items from your celebration of the 25th anniversary of “Good News from Christ”. I really enjoyed it all and I’m sure that Norman would also have enjoyed it! . . . I had not realized the services were still being broadcast, but I am thankful for Norman’s part in helping to get it started and I am also thankful for you and the others who helped keep it going. I hope and pray that the “Good News from Christ” has helped many people through the years! Thanks for renewing those happy memories of the years we spent in Marietta!
A Ukulele for Christmas?
One of the highlights of General Conference 2016 was the variety and beauty of each worship service. What a treat to be able to live stream the services taking place in Portland, Oregon! In the midst of uncertainty and chaos the praise and worship of God managed to remind us of what (who) is most important.
Perhaps the most unique contribution to the collective worship experience came from The Grace Avenue United Methodist Church Ukulele Choir, from Frisco, Texas. This group performed on the final day of General Conference. The choir included children, teens, young adults, older adults and even older adults! It was so obvious that this group was having fun. There was joy on their faces as they shared God’s love through music.
A seed was planted. I began to wonder if we might try this at Christ Church. As I have talked with some of you about this, I sensed both excitement and energy. I think it is an idea worth exploring.
If this sounds like something you would like to try please do the following:
- Stop laughing.
- Pray about the possibility.
- Read this article about the Ukulele Choir from Frisco, Texas.
- Contact me or Steve Brown about playing the ukulele.
- Put a ukulele on your wish list.
I am thinking that we might do some formal learning/training sessions after the new year. If things progress we might do some music during the summer months. More importantly, I think this might be an instrument (pun intended) for outreach. Besides … choir members get to wear Hawaiian shirts!!
Grace and Peace,
Each year we offer the congregation an opportunity to give a special year-end gift to support the ministry of Christ Church. If you would like to participate in that offering, look for the Christmas Offering envelopes in your pew, drop your designated check off at the Church Office, or mail to 301 Wooster St., Marietta, Ohio. Thank you for making Christ UMC a part of your Christmas Giving.
From Our Minister of Health
24 Hour News
Our daughter and her husband work for Northwestern University in another country. She is also currently working on a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development. I share the following story she sent me because I feel we need to understand the global impact of this past election and the affect it has had on children everywhere. Even kids recognize that it’s not okay for an adult to mock people with disabilities, people of different races or skin tones, and that it’s not okay to make fun of women.
“There was an incident this morning at the school where I volunteer. A student got in trouble because she brought a toy gun to recess. She was distraught because yesterday another student told her that ‘the bad man from America was going to bomb their school.’ The student said she needed the toy gun ‘for protection.’ She’s 4 years old.”
As in the case of this young girl, our thoughts seem to be consumed these days with the recent election. The news media is only too willing to bombard our senses with intense coverage. People can experience trauma indirectly by constant exposure to sights and sounds of disaster. Some folks have confided feeling incapable of moving away from TV news channels leaving them with much anxiety and a sense of loss of control in their life.
If you have been carrying too much of this stress lately, it’s possible to re-direct it in positive ways:
- Our children recognize the world is often a messy place. Allow time for them to air their thoughts and feelings. Listen. Limit their TV time and plan relaxing family outings and activities that will lessen their stress.
- Take back some control of life by maintaining your routine as much as possible.
- Take time to care for you to help restore balance: walk, get a massage, see a concert, have lunch with friends, go fishing. If you use the TV as a daily background sound, switch to good music on the radio or pop in a tape. Take a break from social media too.
- Stay connected with family, friends and maintain your worship schedule. Sharing anxious feelings with others that care can help.
- Choose relaxing activities before bedtime. Our adult children have been known to tease me sometimes when I decline an invitation to watch an intense movie or show with them in the evening. Unless it’s going to make me laugh, I don’t want to be exposed to a movie that is going to disrupt my sleep pattern. I also gave up watching national news for a time; summaries in the paper or on my newsfeed suffice for me.
I had a conversation with one of our former pastors, Charles Martindell, and he had these thoughts to offer:
Christmas Eve Service
Mark your calendar for our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Saturday, December 24th, 7 pm. This sacred time is one of the highlights of our church year. It quiets our hearts and centers our minds on the worship of our Newborn King. The service will feature a Brass Ensemble, Handbell Choir, Sanctuary Choir, congregational carols, and our candle lighting tradition. If you have not attended Christmas Eve Candlelight before, make this the year to join us in worship of God’s greatest gift, his son.
Joyce’s Thank You
Thank you to the church members for all the emails, cards, phone calls, and comfort food sent to me after my broken ankle. A special thank you to my quilt buddies for fabric; I am looking
forward to the design phase for these fabrics.
I am expected to be in a cast for 6-8 weeks with a “no weight bearing” requirement.
CUMC grounded member
What Your Trustees Were Up to in 2016
The Trustees have been busy in service to maintain and enhance our church facilities, to support our church mission of serving others as well as serving our own family members. Funding for all improvements comes from Trustees’ resources which are separate and apart from the church budget.
Inside our church building:
- Maintained the organ with the 30-year overhaul. Project included housing two Klais employees and car rental for five weeks
- Completed major overhaul of Grand Piano in sanctuary
- Repaired wooden doors along Wooster Street, to seal leaks and restore finish.
- Repaired thermostats to ovens in Kitchen
- Improved air flow to back classroom to reduce/remove bad odors
- Maintained the elevator with annual inspection and necessary repairs of the hydraulic plunger and pressure hoses
- Refurbished old cross, now on display in Narthex
- Repaired plumbing issues in bathrooms, drinking fountains
- Repaired five split-type HVAC units. Purchased annual inspection and maintenance services for ac equipment
- Reviewed and updated the wifi capabilities in the building
- Repairs to malfunctions of the security system
- As the plumbed water fountains continue to be ineffective, installed bottled water fountains in Fellowship Hall and 1st Floor
- Cleaned carpets and tile flooring throughout the church
- Reviewed insurance coverage for programs conducted in CUMC, special consideration for Safe Sanctuary policy
- Provided use of Room 202 as office space for staff of Harvest of Hope
- Updated draperies in Sunday school classrooms
- Provided volunteer support for Bike & Build visitors in June
- Purchased new entrance rugs for the Narthex
Outside of our church building:
- Completed annual inspection of roof
- Installed new church sign in parking lot
- Completed paint touch ups to trim, and cleaned gutters
- Refurbished wrought iron handrails
- Repaired exterior lighting
- Followed up on roof repair of 2015 due to leakage along Third Street, causing damage to some walls of sanctuary
- Replaced missing tiles at front entry
- Installed new curbing along alley to better direct heavy flow of water to Third Street, away from the Education Building
- Updated landscaping along Third and Wooster Streets sides of building
- Maintained contractual agreements with local business for regular care of landscape and lawn
- Trees trimmed around building and flowerbeds maintained
- Maintained contracts for snow removal of sidewalks and parking lots
- Passed the annual back flow test for water and sewer, required by city
- Installed new sign at Parking Lot
- Completed tests of alarm security system
431 Third Street:
- Landscapes improvements by trimming hedge adjacent to parking lot, removing old clothesline and concrete pad
- Plumbing repairs were made as necessary
- Updated agreements with those using the building
Special thanks to all who helped the trustees throughout the year with your concerns, service, gifts, and prayers. Thanks, too, to Mary Lou Atkinson, Bill Beebe, Jim Bir, Bob Ferguson, Tom Hamilton, Sally Hess, Pete Hoffman, Barney Ott, Marya Ott and Vicki Schwartz McCoy for their service in 2016.
Staff Christmas Gift
Anyone who would like to contribute to this year’s staff Christmas gift may do so by using the pink envelopes in your pew or designating your check “Staff Gift”, dropping it by the church office or mailing to 301 Wooster St., Marietta, OH 45750. Please use this opportunity to express your appreciation and thanks to our staff for all they do to minister to us and with us.
2017 Offering Envelopes
Look for your new box of offering envelopes in the Narthex. Each box is labeled by name. Due to condensing our list, your number may have changed. If you have not been assigned a box and would like one, please leave your name at the envelope table.
If you are unable to attend services and would like your offering envelopes mailed to you, please contact Beth Ann. Thank you!