Dear members and friends of LCR,
Rediscover the Joy of Christmas – our new Advent series – continues this Sunday, Dec. 9. I will share a message, “Rejoice O Favored One,” based on the gospel story from Luke 1:26-38. We’ll hear of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary and discover that her reaction is a template for our own faith. The central theme of this series is the role of joy in the Christmas story, and how we can find joy in the midst of difficult times. The Resurrection Ringers will share an anthem, “Stille Nacht,” at all services (including Wednesday night).
The Sunday School Christmas program will be on Sunday, Dec. 9th at 4:30 pm. It will feature a touching story about familiar Christmas traditions and festive songs from both our preschool/kindergarten aged students and our elementary aged students. A soup dinner will be provided after the program.
There are other unique events and opportunities that we want to alert you to through this weekly e-note. Our website (www.lcrmarion.org) provide more details on each topic.
Blessings to you,
Sunday School meets this Sunday, December 2, for Christmas program rehearsal. Confirmation, WNL, and EDGE will meet this Wednesday night at their usual times.
EDGE Service Crew is back! Need help shoveling snow or cleaning gutters? Putting up Christmas lights or moving things around your house? Call on the high school students to help as they work to raise money for their summer mission trip. Contact Katie with any jobs you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adult discipleship classes this Sunday include:
- Faithful: Christmas Through the Eyes of Joseph – meets at 9:15 in the lounge. Faithful is a DVD/book course by Adam Hamilton. Pastor Miranda will lead this week’s discussion.
- Reading Biblical Literature – this video series, led by Bob Erlandson at 9:05 in the far end of fellowship hall, features Professor Craig Koester of Luther Seminary. This week’s topic is Philippians, Philemon, Ephesians – Gender Roles and Slavery.
- Paul’s letter to the Romans meets at 9:15 in the conference room, led by Jim and Linda Cornally. This course features video teaching on Romans by Prof. Walter Taylor of Trinity Seminary.
Lifetree Café gathers on Friday noon for an hour of coffee, light refreshments, and conversation around relevant issues. We will meet on December 14th to discuss “My Son Is Gay: When faith and sexual orientation collide.”
Our Christmas Eve offering will be divided equally between Mission of Hope, Willis Dady Homeless Services, and Camp Chisomo, based on your input from the survey taken in worship on Nov. 25.
Our 2019 totals stand at 196 General Fund commitments for $467,930 and 151 Growth & Outreach Fund Commitments for $112,130. These totals include 49 Simply Giving commitments for the 2018 General Fund and 30 commitments for the 2018 Growth & Outreach Fund that will carry over to 2019 unless we hear otherwise from the participants. Thanks to all who have responded so far by turning in your commitments for 2019. If you have misplaced your card, there are additional cards with return envelopes in the worship room chair pouches or at a tall table by the usher’s stand. You can also mail it in or drop it off at our church office.
On a practical level, we ask our members and friends to turn in Estimate of Giving Cards so that our Budget Team and Church Council is able to set a realistic ministry spending plan for the coming year. This allows us to make the most of every dollar given to the church. 75-80% of our resources for mission and ministry come from those who fill out commitment cards each year. Last year we received 227 commitments for 2018 totaling $533,338, so we have a long way to go. Every card counts, so please turn yours in before the end of the year.
Fellowship hour – come early each Sunday for coffee and a Dunkin’ Donut before the 8:00 service or stay after either service to have some refreshments and conversation. This week we will add some scones from Wits End coffeehouse.
Christmas Caroling will be held on Thursday, December 20. We’ll meet at the church at 6 pm and return at 7:30 for cookies and cocoa. All ages are welcome, but children 8th grade and under should be accompanied by an adult. Bring a treat to share if you are able. Please sign up at the poster in the gathering space or let someone in the office know you plan to come. Non-member friends are always welcome!
Holiday Giving Tree – Please return your items with the tag attached by this Sunday, December 9th. Please check the tag to determine if the gift is to be wrapped or not. If you have questions, contact Jill Hansen through the church office.
Mitten Tree – You are invited to bring winter mittens, gloves, or hats and place them on the snowy trees in the Gathering Space. These will be donated to those in need at Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids. The envelopes can be used for cash or checks (made out to LCR) as our Christmas gift to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, which was visited by a Resurrection mission group last summer. The deadline is also this Sunday, Dec. 9.
Needed for Christmas Eve Worship:
1:00 – 4 readers, 4 greeters, 6 ushers, 6 Communion servers, acolyte, nursery;
3:00 – 3 readers, 2 greeters, 5 ushers, 7 Communion servers, acolyte, nursery;
5:00 – 4 readers, 4 greeters, 8 ushers, 8 Communion servers, acolyte, 2 nursery;
7:00 – 3 readers, 4 greeters, 6 ushers, 5 Communion servers, acolyte, 2 nursery.
Please note on your welcome card or by email (email@example.com.) if you can help and at which service.
November/December Mission Envelopes will be designated for the Marion Food Pantry. $1,334 was sent to the Willis Dady Shelter from Sept-Oct. gifts.
Our Christmas Eve offering will be divided equally between Mission of Hope, Willis Dady Homeless Services, and Camp Chisomo.
Year End Giving- in order to end the year in the black, LCR will need a very generous response to the General Fund in December. Through last Sunday, Dec. 2, General Fund receipts were $605,703. By the end of December, our goal is to reach $672,500 in General Fund receipts, which is 97% of our 2019 budget. Each year we strive to underspend our budget by 3%, and we are on track to do that again this year.
Several members have brought in their RMD’s (Required Minimum Distributions) from their retirement funds in recent days- thanks to those who have done so. A special mailing went out last week with information on how you can help. A return envelope was enclosed for your year-end gift.
In addition to using offering envelopes, there are several other ways of supporting LCR: Simply Giving – join over 90 LCR families who give regularly through automatic drafts from their checking or savings accounts. You can elect to give weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Enrollment forms are in your Enough packets. PayPal – there is a Donate button you can click on our website for giving. Our Giving Kiosk by the library will receive your credit card gifts. Give+ Mobile Phone App can be downloaded from Google Play or iTunes.