What Will This Year Bring?
A fresh new start for all! New year, New You! Optimism abounds at the beginning of a new year - usually… Except when it doesn’t.
2019 has no Olympics, no major elections, no end of days predictions (remember 12/21/12 and Y2K?) and yet I find that it could be one of the most important years for the United Methodist Church. There will be a special General Conference Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri to make determinations for our future as a denomination.
What decisions will be made – what changes will come with those decisions – will these decisions impact our worship and ministry here in Alplaus? Some churches are quite worried about their future – others know where they will stand and how they will respond for any given circumstance.
Here is a list of clergy and Laity who will be delegates to the Special General Conference from Upper New York Conference.
Rev. Bill Allen
Rev. Dr. Michelle Bogue-Trost
Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett
Rev. John Martin
Rev. Bill Mudge
Rev. Holly Nye
Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger
Rev. Beckie Sweet
Carmen FS Vianese
Please pray for these folks and all who will be preparing to gather for this brief and important Conference. For more information – look to UM News or unyumc.org, or ask me.
It’s Advent – Where are my Christmas Carols?
Do you have a specific date for when you or your family accept and enjoy Christmas music? Before that date – “it’s too early for that!” Our timeline may include Christmas decorations too – either in stores or in our neighborhoods – there is a time and a place and in my family it is not before Thanksgiving! (In this same line of thought, it is permissible for craft stores to display holiday items earlier because crafting is not the same as buying and it takes time to put these things together.;-) Mainstream Culture has embraced Christmas and its themes of giving generously, joyful celebrations, and happy and hope filled music. These are sentiments that encourage (obligate?) kind people to buy thoughtful (or expensive) presents, food and drink for hosting social and family gatherings and decorations for our homes, workplace, and even our cars. Commercializing Christmas, or Holiday Cheer is good for business.
It will soon seem impossible to escape Christmas Carols – they will be everywhere – EXCEPT CHURCH!
As people of faith, we prepare for Christmas with Advent. Advent is not about buying or decorating or hosting parties. Advent includes the 4 Sundays before Christmas and prepares us for the comings of the Christ. Not a typo (surprisingly) yes, comings of the Christ. 1. We prepare to celebrate his birth once again. 2. We celebrate that the Christ comes – present tense – continually in Word and Spirit 3. We anticipate the Christ’s return and final victory in the completion of God’s Blessed Community. During Advent worship – we will sing hymns and carols connected to this season of anticipation and expectation. I know it can be frustrating to not belt out our favorite Christmas Carols in church throughout December. Logically, we know that Rudolph and Dominick were not in the manger and Santa was not one of the Magi. But those angels were certainly there: Glory to the newborn King! Part of the truth of Advent is that we are still preparing and holding back in preparation of the joy we anticipate in the Arrival – celebrated on Christmas Eve.
I am neither Grinch nor Scrooge and I share in the love of Christmas and its beautiful music. This year – each Sunday, everyone will have the opportunity to submit requests. Explanation and ballots will be in a repeating insert of our bulletins. On Sunday December 30, we will have a full-on Christmas Carol Hymn Sing! Vote each week of Advent – Janice will have final say as we want her well prepared to play all of our favorites. When, in Advent, we are singing our hymns of preparation, you can actually prepare to sing your Carols of praise and thanksgiving for the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ.
It’s not a political election, but it will be better if everyone participates. Please Do!