The Advent Count Down
It is the count down time of year.
Some of us are counting down the days until Christmas. Others are counting down the days until the latest Star Wars movie is released. There are many family gatherings, church, school, and community events on the calendar for the remainder of 2017.
The season of Advent is a special time for counting down the days in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Each week a candle is lit, scriptures are read, songs are sung, moving us closer to the celebration that …unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a savior which is Christ the Lord… (Luke 2.11)
Count downs can be fun, filled with anticipation and expectation. They can also seem to take forever. When I was a sophomore in high school I calculated the number of days, hours, and minutes until I would graduate. I didn’t think the day would ever arrive. It did. Forty-two years, fifteen thousand three hundred and thirty days, three hundred sixty-eight thousand hours ago …it happened. (Please don’t check my math. That was the one subject that almost prevented my escape.)
I meet people on a regular basis who are counting down to something. Getting a driver’s license, getting a knee replaced, going on a vacation. I recently talked to someone who was counting down the days until her son’s military deployment would be over. She confessed that her days of counting down are filled with a blend of fear and prayer. It may be that life is filled with such a combination. Fear and prayer.
The Advent count down suggests that in addition to fear and prayer, life can also be filled with hope, love, joy, and peace. Each of these seem to be in short supply. Much like a popular toy or must-have gift. Could it be that these gifts (hope, love, joy, and peace) are so scarce simply because we do not ask for them, seek them, incorporate them, into our daily lives? How would our days of waiting, anticipating, expecting, be different if they were accompanied by these gifts? How would our lives be more complete (filled with less fear) if we were to trust that God is truly with us?
Let us count down the days until swords are beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning-hooks. (Isaiah 2.4) Let us count down the days until words of mercy and forgiveness are on the lips of all people. Let us count down the days until God’s kingdom comes and God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. That great and wonderful day is near! One prayer, one act of compassion, one work of the Holy Spirit away.
Grace and Peace,
Advent Offering: Grace Children’s Hospital
Birthed from our own West Ohio Conference and long supported mission of The United Methodist Church, we have chosen to send our church-wide Advent Offering to Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Many of you have heard Beth Ann Weber’s presentations on the current crisis the hospital is now in, but if you have not, read below or see our web page.
For the past seven years, the toll on Haiti and on Grace Children’s Hospital has been draining. The 2010 earthquake brought Grace Children’s Hospital facilities to the ground. Their work continued in tent clinics, but to this day the hospital has not rebuilt. They continue to serve their community from adapted office building across the street. On the heels of that massive earthquake, Hurricane Matthew brought more devastation. Tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, malnutrition, maternal and infant death, and other easily preventable health conditions continue to plague the country of Haiti.
Grace Children’s Hospital has not been immune to Haiti’s crisis. The hospital been forced to close many of their outreach and rural clinics. Currently there are times when staff come to work unpaid or are unable to afford transportation to report to work. In response to the great need at Grace Children’s Hospital, we pray you’ll make an Advent gift to help continue their important work. You can give in any Christ Church offering by marking your envelope or check: Advent or Grace Children’s Hospital. You also can give online here.
Mid-Ohio Valley Ringers Christmas Concert
Saturday, Dec. 9th, 4 p.m.
All are invited to the MOVR Christmas Concert held at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1710, 23rd St., in Parkersburg. There is no charge, but there will be a free-will offering. Come out and enjoy an evening of beautiful music and support our own Beth Payton who rings with the group.
From Pastor Cheryl
Our After School tutoring/nurturing ministry, to date, has enrolled 172 different children from 132 different families since it began in 2001. One recent Wednesday, I watched in amazed silence after we dismissed. The display case in the Narthex currently has a tree with attachable handprints for leaves—which people are encouraged to write on, naming the ways our church has blessed them. Some families we’ve known for several years didn’t immediately leave. Instead, they gathered around—and, without any prompting, began picking up markers, writing on leaves, and taping them to the tree. Children wrote things like “Love,” “Friends,” and “This place is fun.” A parent wrote “Respect”—and I was both humbled that she found this here, and left wondering what life is like when you feel its absence. Thank you to everyone at Christ who is developing real relationships with the people we’re in ministry with whether it’s here at church, or out in the community. We are truly blessing others, as they are blessing us.
Here’s some other happenings in our ministries:
- Thanks to Don Archer, Suzanne and Jeff Walker, Norma Dennis, and Steve Downer for leading worship at The Arbors in November. These services are often the only chance residents have to worship with their families, and may be the only opportunity weekend staff has to go to church.
- Thanks to Steve Brown for all his work with our community Ukulele Choir! Just this fall, we’ve performed at the Pines, Jaycee Estates, Marietta’s Christmas parade and tree lighting, and the People’s Bank Theater’s Hometown Christmas. If you play, or want to learn, grab your uke—or borrow one at a rehearsal—and join us Tuesday nights at 7 PM in the Fellowship Hall.
- Sometimes we don’t think of our financial giving as a ministry—but it is! With your help, Christ UMC is supporting UMCOR’s relief efforts, Giving Tuesday’s Advance ministries, Grace Children’s Hospital in Haiti, and so much more in addition to what happens at our local church and in our community. Thank you for faithfully allowing us to change peoples’ lives by sharing God’s love in tangible ways.
- Our quilting group sews sleeping bags for the homeless and dresses/shorts for children in Nicaragua. These ladies will be happy to teach you if you want to learn! Join them upstairs on Tuesday mornings for fun and fellowship.
Do you want to connect with others in sharing God’s love, or do you have something in mind that we’re not already doing? Talk with Don or me and we’ll try to help.
Pastor Cheryl Arnold
United Methodist Women Assembly 2018
May 18 – 20, 2018
Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio
“The Power of Bold” will be the theme of the 19th quadrennial Assembly of United Methodist Women in Columbus, Ohio, May 18-20, 2018. This Assembly is particularly momentous in that it marks both the official celebration of the organization’s 150th anniversary and a return to the location of the first Assembly in 1942. Throughout the action-filled weekend, participants will revisit the journey of Mary, who boldly risked safety and security to answer yes to God’s call to service, and likewise affirm their own commitment to mission with women, children and youth as United Methodist Women in the 21st century.
When women unite, bold and courageous actions occur. In 1869, eight women came together to send a female doctor and female teacher to India and formed the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. One hundred and fifty years later, that society is the largest faith-based women’s mission organization in the world, changing lives for women, children, youth and families down the street and around the globe. United Methodist Women has, is and will be a unique movement for transformation in our church and our world.
“Our movement was launched by the bold action of women who saw a need and claimed their power as disciples of Jesus Christ to address it,” said Harriett J. Olson, chief executive officer of United Methodist Women. “They sent women leaders—Isabella Thoburn, an educator, and Dr. Clara Swain, a doctor—to India to serve women and children in 1869. This daring continued when leaders took a bold stand for racial justice and moved their first Assembly in 1942 to Columbus, where African-American women were welcomed at hotels and other public accommodations.”
Assembly 2018 will be a forum for United Methodist Women members, new friends and partners to gather, worship and learn about the needs of women, children and youth in the 21st century. They will be claiming their 150-year history as women who know how to organize and serve and are willing to be challenged to grow in their faith as they build deeper connections with one another, church leaders and partners in the work of justice for all God’s children.
“The Power of Bold will be evident again at Assembly 2018, when 8,000 women come together in faith to address priority challenges of their day: mass incarceration, economic inequality, maternal and child health and climate justice,” Olson said.
WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND: Assembly 2018 will be a forum for all women. This Assembly will offer an incredible personal faith journey through community building, training for action, and visioning a movement for the future. Worship/Plenaries infused with music and performing arts, quality workshops, and riveting Town Hall meetings with important leaders, action opportunities, and Experience Hall with educational immersion experiences await you.
PRICE: The early registration fee for the 2018 Assembly is $295 with a Nov. 30, 2017, deadline. After that date, the regular registration fee is $330.
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.
Christmas in the Office
With each Sunday of Advent, a nativity scene grows on the bank of file cabinets in the office. Young and old alike are invited to stop by the office to enjoy the scene and grab some candy. This is my (Beth Ann’s) small way of celebrating the birth of our Savior with the congregation and our children. May the anticipation of Emmanuel, “God with Us”, fill you with hope and renew your faith — Beth Ann
Christmas Caroling Party
Youth, adults, children…everyone! is invited to our Dec. 17th Caroling Party with snacks and fellowship afterward. We will meet at the church at 6 p.m. to 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 many faces.
Afterwards, bring your finger food to share over to the Fobes’ (100 Pineview Circle, Marietta) and continue the festivities.
From our Minister of Health
In 1991, our daughter decided she’d spend her senior year of high school as an exchange student and was assigned a lovely small town in the northern part of the Netherlands
through AFS. As we saw her off on her journey, we looked forward to letters and occasional phone calls to learn about her new host family and country. (Remember those years before cell phones, FaceTime and social media?) However, only a month into her stay, we received a call from the AFS officer of the day saying our daughter had been in an accident. She had been riding horses with new friends when her horse fell on a slippery surface, she had suffered a severe head injury and was in ICU in the local hospital. The next hours and days were filled with anxiety about her condition even though her neurosurgeon called us daily with updates. (Ultimately AFS flew me there to assist with her recovery and today she is happy and healthy despite the months of recovery from the concussion.) In those initial hours I found I needed something besides prayer to assuage my anxious thoughts. I needed something I could control and it turned out to be ironing! I enjoy ironing shirts and that mundane, repetitive task helped me organize my thoughts and lessen the intensity of my distress. The repetitive motion became soothing.
Whether it’s the approaching holidays or wondering if the new year will bring more violence or political strife, we need ways to approach our anxious times. Take a breather and make some time for yourself. Try spending fifteen minutes alone, without distractions. Take a break and have some alone time if you’re surrounded by too many group activities this holiday. Find something for you that reduces stress , cleanses your mind, slows your breathing and restores that inner calm. Consider a walk at night to see all the stars, soothing music, reading, ironing shirts or maybe even straightening up that drawer that you’ve been avoiding. Going tech free for short periods may be helpful too. Constant cell phone buzzes, and e-mail alerts keep us in a perpetual mode that is accompanied by bursts of adrenaline that increase our stress levels and lead to exhaustion.
In 1960, Disney released the movie Pollyanna. This young girl taught a whole town how to lessen their pain and anxiety by playing the ‘glad’ game; listing things that they were thankful for instead of dwelling on their distress. This may be another thing to add to our list of helpful tools in dealing with stress. I realize how lucky I am to be in a warm home surrounded by family and friends and to be currently blessed with a sense of normalcy where I can do mundane chores. As we approach the new year, let me know what works for you.
Staff Christmas Gift
Anyone who would like to contribute to this year’s staff Christmas gift may do so by marking the indicated box on your pew envelope or designating your check “Staff Gift”. You may give in any December offering, drop your gift by the church office, or mail 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.
Archive Volunteers Needed
Do you enjoy sorting pictures? Making up photo albums? Researching names, events, or dates pictured? Then you just might be the person that Beth Ann is looking for.
We have several boxes of pictures that need preserved in a way that future generations can enjoy them and learn about their past. Some of these pictures are from as far back as the 1950s and will require some visits with our seniors…which would be a blessing to them and to the volunteer!
If this sounds like something you or you and your friends would enjoy, please contact Beth Ann.
Trustees in 2017
The Trustees have been busy with efforts to maintain and enhance our church facilities, to support our church mission of serving others as well as serving our own family members. Our greatest efforts this year have been on the function of the roof and the operation of the elevator. Funding for all improvements comes from Trustees’ resources which are separate and apart from the church budget.
Contributions to the Trustees efforts are always welcomed.
Inside our church building:
- Conducted inspection of the church to identify issues and concerns
- Annual maintenance of piano and organ
- Digitized schematics of our buildings
- Purchased the water coolers installed in Fellowship Hall and 1st floor Education wing
- Removed plumbed fountains not being used.
- Had ovens and range checked in kitchen. Lowered height of pilot lights on range
- Began efforts to improve ventilation system in kitchen including testing effectiveness of current system and recommendations for better systems
- Maintained the elevator with annual inspection and necessary repairs of the hydraulic plunger and pressure hoses. The plunger needed multiple repairs during which the elevator could not be used.
- Repaired plumbing issues in bathrooms
- Maintained the five HVAC systems installed. Contracted for semi-annual inspection of systems.
- Cleaned carpets and tile flooring throughout the church
- Reviewed insurance coverage for programs conducted in CUMC, special consideration for Safe Sanctuary policy
- Continue to provide Room 202 as office space for staff of Harvest of Hope
- Had kitchen floor professionally cleaned quarterly
- Noted the bubbling of plaster in sanctuary, to be repaired in warmer weather
- Replaced the mechanism that opens and closes front door.
- Purchased tables for Fellowship Hall
Outside of our church building:
- Considerable effort to improve the flow of water off the roof. Inspected and modified some of the gutters and flashing, installed larger cap (3” extension) on chimney, repointed chimney, and enlarged some of the downspouts.
- Contracted to have gutters cleaned twice a year
- Hired a pest extermination company to control unwanted critters inside and outside our building
- Began process of trying to control the weeds overtaking the garage building out back
- Inspected the wooden retaining wall behind Education Building
- Completed annual inspection of roof
- Maintained landscape around building
- Maintained contractual agreements with local business for regular care of landscape and lawn
- Maintained contracts for snow removal of sidewalks and parking lots
- Passed the annual back flow test for water and sewer, required by city
- Completed tests of alarm security system
431 Third Street:
- 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 Bill Beebe, Jim Bir, Rod Carr, Bob Chase, Bob Ferguson, Tom Hamilton, Pete Hoffman, Barney Ott, Marya Ott and Vicki Schwartz McCoy for their service in 2017.