Third Sunday of Advent
Today is Thursday, December 13, 2018
Dear Pilgrim Friends and Members,
The church season of Advent generally utilizes the color purple (or a dark or royal blue) to symbolize our spiritual preparation and repentance to prepare for the birth of Christ. On this third Sunday out of the four-week season, we see an exception. Like many churches, we will read from Philippians “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near!” and we will light a pink Advent candle representing the theme of rejoicing that comes with the third Sunday, known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means 'rejoice' in Latin. Joy will be the new banner on the wall this week.
In our spiritual season, it is our hope that whatever 'mood' we find ourselves in during the holidays, we will each experience something of rejoicing. It differs from happiness, which may be more easily swayed by external factors (think of the taste of your favorite ice cream, the first moments of a much-anticipated vacation, a movie date with dear friends). While there are different ideas of what joy means, I think of it as a form of gratitude or gladness that comes from recognizing the goodness of God’s love and promises. I don’t have to feel happy, necessarily, to rejoice – to feel glad about and trust in God’s presence and goodness, and its ability to prevail over the world’s difficulties, or mine. Sometimes I feel both at once – happy and rejoicing – but not always. I hope in this season you get some moments with both, and especially a taste of gladness as we finish telling the stories leading up through Christmas Eve.
On this Gaudete Sunday, there will be much to rejoice! Feel free to wear your finest pink something-or-other and help us celebrate the presence of new members, the farewell sermon of Pastor Brooke Baker (and a surprise gift from us to her), the ringing of bells in worship by Pilgrim’s bell choir, and the gift of bell ornaments, one per family, for all our worshippers – a longstanding church tradition.
If you were a gift contributor for the Merrick House children's tree a couple weeks ago, please remember to bring your purchased gift plus the name tag of the giftee. After worship we’ll invite folks to wrap gifts in the parlor, adjacent to fellowship hall (so that you can also indulge in coffee hour!). If you want to bring your own tape and scissors and help wrap, you will speed the important elf work!
Sunday evening and Monday evening at 7pm, Pilgrim will host the much-anticipated concert holiday performances of the Burning River Brass, which is sponsored by Arts Renaissance Tremont and offered free to the public. If you plan to attend one night and would like to help ART welcome and greet people as they enter, please let me know ASAP and I will connect you with them for details. They are always seeking help with hospitality, and it is helpful to have those of you who are a) good at welcoming folks and b) knowledgeable about where to find bathrooms and exits!
Will you be at Pilgrim on Christmas Eve? We are looking for a few extra readers who would like to help tell the Christmas story as it unfolds in scripture. Please let me know by this Sunday if you would like to take part in some way. Also, all the kids will have the option to help bring important items to the nativity scene as we sing hymns that evening – shepherd’s crooks, lambs, the gifts of the wise men and more. No need to RSVP, just come to church by about 7:15 that night!
Before I close – just a reminder that every single Thursday at 4pm, we have the opportunity to meet with other people of faith about 12 minutes southeast of Pilgrim and pray for those impacted by the policies and practices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement just outside their field offices. Over the holidays, I expect several families with children will bring their kids to take part in this, as it is a teachable moment, one for sharing our faith and values with them while they are on winter break. If you haven’t been there yet, please think about joining us some Thursday at 495 Keynote Circle in Brooklyn Heights.
I hope this day you are seeing the sun poke through your windows as I have, and that your spirit is warmed by it as a reminder of God’s goodness. Rejoice!
See you in church!
We invite people of faith and conscience to take part in a weekly interfaith prayer vigil held outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office at 925 Keynote Circle, Brooklyn Heights. Our goal is to unite and amplify many faith voices calling for compassion and justice to guide the actions of ICE and to bear witness to ICE-imposed injustices and human rights violations taking place in our communities. We welcome non-partisan signage that lifts up values of justice, peace, compassion and hospitality to the immigrant. You can help us to stand up with and for our immigrant neighbors with your “ministry of presence.” If you are able, please come to this prayer vigil, led by rotating faith leadership every Thursday from 4pm to 4:45pm.
Fellowship Hour aka Happy Hour!
Think SAVORY this Sunday, December 16! We will have chips, salsa and
avocados! If you are so inclined, please bring a ready-to-serve savory treat and drop it off in the kitchen before worship. Our faithful coffee hour helpers will take it from there. Whether you can bring a treat or not, please stop in and share refreshments and fellowship with your Pilgrim family after worship.
And remember, if you notice a visitor, please invite them to join you at coffee hour. Take them through the line and enjoy getting to know a little bit about them.
The Longest Night
Friday, December 21, 6:00–6:45pm
December 21 is the Winter Solstice, which is the day of the year with the least amount of sunlight. This day can provide a time to step back from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It's a time to slow down and consider that Christmas is not always merry for everyone.
We all hurt sometimes. It’s amazing how alone a person can feel amid all that celebrating. We need the space and time to acknowledge the whole range of our humanity. And we need to know that we are not alone.
Drop in and join with us in praying, reading of scripture, anointing with oil, and music that acknowledge God’s presence is for those who mourn and for those who struggle. Come to stand by your brothers and sisters who are hurting.
The short service will be followed by a brief time for light refreshments and fellowship. Feel free to bring a friend or family member. Longest Night invitation cards are available on the ushers table in the back of the sanctuary.
We are cleaning up some spaces in the church and seeking one, possibly two, used (but still clean and usable!) couches. We can arrange for transportation. Please spread the word if you can think of someone who may have an extra. If you have one, please contact Bridget at the church office (216) 861-7388. Thank you!
Through this past Sunday, December 9, we have received 67 pledges totaling $170,344 for the support of the Mission and Ministry of Pilgrim Church for 2019. This brings us to 93% of our goal, so you can see we're making good progress. There's still time if you've not yet pledged for next year. Pledge cards are available on the ushers table in the back of the sanctuary. Thank-you for your generosity as we respond to the question: What Shall We Bring?
Food Pantry Needs...
The response from the congregation to the request for plastic bags and egg cartons has been great; however, we recently received a large donation of reusable bags and have an adequate supply of egg cartons. We will let everyone know when these items are once again needed. Many thanks to those who provided those items in the past.
The Food Pantry especially needs your small-size toiletries, diapers, feminine products, toilet paper & paper towels, bar soap, laundry & dish detergent, toothpaste & toothbrushes. Thanks!
Stand with Us – Interfaith Prayer Vigil Thursdays
Seeking Sunday School Teachers
We have a small but wonderful group of children at Pilgrim, and depend on caring adult church members to teach and share activities with them on Sundays (after Passing of the Peace) on a rotating basis, once or twice monthly as preferred. Teaching experience a bonus, background check with Safe Church Policy orientation needed, love of children a must! Please see Halldor Gudmundsson or Xander Gallagher.
Yoga Offerings Weekly
Various yoga classes are offered at Pilgrim every week, by different instructors, at different (low) costs. Give it a try – and center your mind, body and spirit, as well as getting a great workout!
- Monday at 6:30pm w/Elaine (moderate level)
- Monday at 6:30pm w/Andy (naked, men only)
- Tuesday at 6:30pm w/Chaz
- Friday at 6pm w/Dan (naked, men only)
- Saturday at 8:30am w/Chaz
Reminders for this week:
- Communion and Bradley Fund offering is the 1st Sunday each month.
- Church office is closed Mondays.
- Every Thurs - Vigil at ICE office - 4:00 pm, 925 Keynote Circle
- Tues Dec 18 - Church Council at 6:30 p.m.
- Friday Dec 21 - Longest Night service at 6:00 p.m.
- Bible study at 9am every Sunday.
- Childcare/nursery is available Sunday at 10 am.
- Non-crinkly cough drops are available at the ushers table.
- Please sign up in Fellowship Hall to bring coffee hour treats or altar flowers, or to coordinate coffee hour.