Please note: there will not be an edited version of this Sunday’s video.
Dear Beloved Community,
This Sunday, December 19th at 10 am, we will gather to celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent by returning to the beginning story of Mary and Elizabeth in the Gospel of Luke. Advent is a brief, four Sunday, season of the church year where we focus on the preparation for the birth of Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. We will light four candles on our Advent Wreath (lovingly prepared by Barbara Johnston).
The scripture readings are highlighted by one of the most revered and well-known passages the world over: Mary’s Magnificat. We have come to know and reflect on this passage over the years through the version we sing during Lent as part of the Holden Evening Vespers. It is a powerful message that sets the tone for Jesus’ upbringing toward his mission as Savior of the world, which will come in very unexpected and upturned ways.
Gathering in-person in our worship space is a joyous occasion for sure! But the risks of the pandemic are lingering as we head into the Fall and Winter, so we are taking precautions described in further detail below.
There is always a Children’s Church / Sunday School program planned during worship. It is held in the Family Room adjacent to the sanctuary beginning right before the scripture readings and ending after the offering. We love having children and all that brings as part of worship! Thanks toLeslie Lapp for leading this ministry.
You can also worship at home through the livestream found at our website. After 5pm. a recording of our worship service can be also found on our website at www.ststephenslutheran.org.
The bulletin and Celebrate scripture readings and prayers are attached, so that you can participate in worship even if you are not able to attend church in-person. Holy Communion will be celebrated, so please have some bread and fruit of the vine ready if you are at home.
The health-safe, new ways that we will worship in-person indoors were shared in detail in our October newsletter. Everyone will need to wear a mask and keep it on over the nose for the entirety of worship. It will also include practices that maintain physical distance: 6ft. distance for families in the pews – sharing the Peace with gestures , continuing to receive Holy Communion with the pre-sealed cups, giving our offering at tables near us, as well as improved air exchange with fans and open doors.We will also not be offering the Coffee Fellowship for the time being. However, all are welcome to gather outside on the patio and greet one another as well as welcome those who are new to this church family.
Our gathering for worship each Sunday at church, in our homes, or wherever we are able, is very essential to strengthen us to meet the world’s challenges. These days, especially, we cling to the hopeful messages of our faith that call us to new beginnings and living a new life with those around us. Previous Sunday worship services can be found at our website. “www.ststephenslutheran.org”
Coffee Fellowship Begins!: Please contact our Church Administrator Leslie if you are willing to host. There are new protocols which include: Serving the coffee (bring your own mug), Having any goodies on small individual plates spread out on a larger table. As soon as we have people willing to serve in this way, it will begin.
- Healing, strength and courage for Kent Madsen as he undergoes surgery to remove a squamous cell carcinoma in his jaw. And for the surgeons, doctors and nurses as they seek his healing.
- Comfort and grace for the family of Ryan Barker – brother-in-law of Shelly Barker – who passed away due to Covid-19.
- For Barbara and Renee Rice’s friend Chris and his spouse as Chris’ life is endangered by contracting Covid-19. And for Renee’s friend Tiffanie who is receiving more aggressive treatment of Covid-19 – that they both will be healed.
- Thanksgiving for the November 11. 2021 birth of Zellie Geberemariam Lapp, daughter of Mrs. And Mr. Rachel Lapp and Dawit Yerdea, and granddaughter of Pastor Jim and Leslie!
- For Dawit Yerdea, spouse of Rachel Lapp, and the safety of his family in the ethnic conflicts of Ethiopia. And that the US Embassy there will remain open and grant him “Emergency Visa status” so Dawit may receive his spousal visa and be reunited with Rachel and Zellie.
- For Dorothy Ronning as she undergoes testing.
- For healing for Janet Slay’s grandson Tyler to make a full recovery from surgery to repair his broken back sustained in a racing accident.
Church office hours changed as of August 2021. They are now Mon-Fri. 12 noon – 5 pm. Please make a note of this change. Thank you all for your amazing support and love and faithful prayers for Leslie and our family. Please refer to Leslie’s “CaringBridge.org” page for details about her story in case you may not have heard about her accident. Leslie has been officially discharged from any further medical treatment. This led to an additional part-time employment opportunity which she has accepted and begun as of Aug. 11 resulting in the office hour change.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your financial giving back to God through our church. Please remember to either give your offering through the mail, through our website donation option, signing up for monthly electronic giving, OR if you just want to get out of the house, then come by the church and drop it off in the mailbox in a secure slot called “Incoming mail”! Office hours are (more or less) M-Th 8:30-2:30, depending on Leslie’s therapy schedules. If you come during those times, you may also want to step into the sanctuary for some prayer and quiet time with God. We would love to see you. Our library is also open to you with quite a variety to choose from.
Flowers for Worship: Please sign up to provide flowers in honor of someone or a special occasion as another way to offer yourself in worship to God. The Flower Chart will be available at worship, or you can call the church office – 476-4700.
- Donations are being collected at church for Socks and Toiletries. These will go towards our work with serving those who take part in our Association of Faith Communities programs for the unhoused, and for the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center respectively.
- Habitat for Humanity Lunches. We will be providing Lunches (sandwiches, chips, fruit & cookies) for 10 volunteers. Reply to this email or call the office if you would like to help out. No lunches needed in December. Our next date is Tuesday, January 25th.
- A few copies of “White Fragility” are available to borrow. Call the office to inquire. This is a congregation-wide perspective that we are trying to adopt as we seek better understanding about the roots of racism, its consequences, and how our lives can better reflect an anti-racism perspective.
Grace and Peace,
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