Life at Littlefield
December 2015 – January 2016
LITTLEFIELD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
7560 Littlefield Boulevard
Dearborn, Michigan 48126-1699
MINISTER - FRAN HAYES
What's the world coming to? We've been grieving again lately, mourning deaths in Beirut, Paris, Baghdad, Egypt, Mali, and elsewhere. Our sense of safety was forever changed in 2001, and any sense of security we may have regained since then has been shaken by recent events. Our fear of ISIS grows with every successful attack, and now we have fears of threats on our nation. We live in a broken and fearful world. But I don't believe God wants us to live in fear.
Recently I shared somebody's meme on Facebook that said that the Bible tells us 365 times “Don't be afraid.” It's a nice idea, and we might want to believe that the Bible conveniently gives us a different “Don't be afraid” verse for every day of the year. But it isn't true. When I checked, I found that the phrase is used 80 or so times, and some phrases with a similar meaning are used another thirty-some times. It's a recurring theme, even if we don't have 365 different verses.
Whenever angels show up in the scriptures, what do they tell people? “Don't be afraid.” God wants us to live in hope and faith - not fear. But it can be hard. We look around, and we see a disconnect between God's vision of peace and justice and what we see around us in the world.
The season of Advent invites us to wait expectantly and watch, to be attentive to the signs of change. In Advent, we wait and hope for the love that comes to us at Christmas, embodied in the person of Jesus the Christ. Jesus was born as a helpless baby in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. He meets us as our Risen Lord, often when we least expect Him. He will come again, in God's time. In the meantime, and particularly in Advent, we practice faithful watching and waiting.
We remember God's promises, we scan the horizon for signs of God's Kingdom breaking in to the world, and we light candles in the darkness, as a sign of our hope. And we give voice to our hope in Advent songs:
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)
O.T. Lesson-Malachi 3:1-4
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 1:3-11
Gospel Lesson-Luke 3:1-6
O.T. Lesson-Zephaniah 3:14-20
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel Lesson-Luke 3:7-18
O.T. Lesson-Micah 5:2-5a
Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 10:5-10
Gospel Lesson-Luke 1:39-55
December 24 (Christmas Eve)
O.T. Lesson-Isaiah 9:2-7
Epistle Lesson-Titus 2:11-14
Gospel Lesson-Luke 2:1-20
O.T. Lesson-1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Epistle Lesson-Colossians 3:12-17
Gospel Lesson-Luke 2:41-52
O.T. Lesson-Jeremiah 31:7-14
Epistle Lesson-Ephesians 1:3-14
Gospel Lesson-John 1:1-18
O.T. Lesson-Isaiah 43:1-7
Epistle Lesson-Acts 8:14-17
Gospel Lesson-Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
O.T. Lesson-Isaiah 62:1-5
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Gospel Lesson-John 2:1-11
O.T. Lesson-Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Gospel Lesson-Luke 4:14-21
O.T. Lesson-Jeremiah 1:4-10
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Gospel Lesson-Luke 4:21-30
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
No change will endure unless it is also
accompanied by a change of heart.
Lord, this time of year is a wonderful time for
reflecting over the past year. Sometimes
there is pain involved in looking back, but
there is also so much joy and so many
things that fill our hearts with gratitude.
Renew our dedication to living a life that
brings you glory for as long as we are on
this earth. Remind us of the rich heritage
that is ours through you, and keep us both
humble and grateful. Amen.
Continue to live your lives in God, rooted
and built up in him and established in the
faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
– Colossians 2:6-7
THE MEANING OF ADVENT
As Christians, we follow a different calendar. Today, the high points of the Christian year are Easter and Christmas, though throughout much of church history the three main events were Easter, Pentecost, and the feast of Epiphany. In the early centuries of the church, December 25 was designated as a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Over time Christians came to see that Christmas needed a season of preparation. Throughout the medieval period and until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Advent was considered a season of penitence, like Lent. The mood was to be somber, with the emphasis on the coming judgment and our need for a savior, so the season color was purple, to symbolize penitence. When Martin Luther introduced the Advent wreath in the sixteenth century, the color for the candles was purple, except for the Third Sunday, when the church hears a message of joy from the scriptures and the candle is rose- colored. The liturgical renewal movement beginning in the middle of the 20th century worked to change the character of Advent to more of a season of anticipation and preparation, and the color was changed to blue.
DECEMBER 1 @ 7:00 p.m. &
JANUARY 5 @ 7:00 p.m.
Light, prayer and music are woven together in a contemplative prayer service. Short, simple songs, repeated again and again, help one enter into a meditative state. Thus, this meditative singing becomes a way of listening to God. All are invited, regardless of faith background and age, to come and renew your spirit. You are invited to dress comfortably and casually. Invite a friend!
The Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit (PWPD) will gather on Wednesday, December 2 at Cherry Hill Church from 9:45 a.m. through lunch. The program for this meeting is entitled “A Gift of Song,” featuring soprano Daryl Taylor, and accompanist Carolyn Kent. The morning will also include a, “small change for Hunger,” offering collection. Lunch will cost $8 and reservations should be made to May Eix (313- 563-8738) by Monday, November 23.
Our annual Christmas Cookie Sale will be held after the worship service on Sunday, December 13. This is a great time to buy a variety of Holiday cookies to give to family and friends. Proceeds will support our PW missions.
Thursday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m. is a date for your calendar! The Presbyterian Women in Littlefield Church will host their Advent Tea once again and you won't want to miss it. Not only will there be caroling and festive desserts, but this year our program will be very special. THE ROSE FLUTE ENSEMBLE of the greater Detroit area will perform for us. The Rose Flute Ensemble was formed in 1981. Over the past 25 years, the group has performed concerts for their own enjoyment and to support social justice and environmental organizations. Members, play various flutes, including the alto flute, piccolo, bass flute and the concert C flute. Director, Susan Lazar, has arranged over 100 pieces for the Rose Flute Ensemble. Please join us in the sanctuary on December 3 for a lovely evening of spirit filled music and fun. All are welcome and the only fee is your attendance!
Winter is here and as we search our closets for our hats and gloves, let us remember those who don't have any, or closets to store them. The Presbyterian Women will be collecting "Warm Fuzzies" and donating them to local Detroit shelters. Please bring your donations of hats, gloves and scarves (men's items are especially needed) and put them in the basket in the library on Sunday, December 6 and 13. Remember to leave the price tags on so we can determine the value of our donation. Thank you!
We will be adorning the sanctuary with red poinsettia plants. The price is $11.50/plant. The plants will be in the sanctuary on December 20 & 24 and may be taken home following worship on December 27. The deadline for ordering these beautiful plants is December 8. This is a great way to remember a loved one or show your gratitude and appreciation to someone. You may place your order by contacting the church office by phone or mail.
THE PRESBYTERY OF DETROIT MEN'S ADVENT COMMUNION BREAKFAST CELEBRATION
SATURDAY DECEMBER 12
Come join men from across the Detroit Presbytery to create a network for good in the community. The keynote speaker this year is Jason Hanson, retired football player from the Detroit Lions. Jason spent his 21-year career with the Lions. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. with communion, breakfast, and program starting at 8:00 a.m. This year's program is at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 17567 Hubbell, Detroit 48235. Tickets are $15 by advanced reservations only by December 3. For more details, please see the Mission Board across from the church office.
CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING
SUNDAY DECEMBER 20
“Promises Made, Promises Kept”
In this season when we celebrate the child born in Bethlehem, we also realize that the birth of Jesus ushered in a new realm of God's love at work in the world. This love causes us to recognize the image of God imbedded in all humankind. It compels us to reach out with charity, justice, and grace. We seek to honor every child of God. This, too, is how we celebrate the child born on that first Christmas day.
We can respond to that love at Christmas by giving to the Christmas Joy Offering. For over seventy years, Presbyterians have been giving generously. The Offering helps students at racial ethnic schools and colleges develop their gifts and find their calling to serve God through serving their community. At the same time, the Offering helps families of both active and retired church workers to meet unexpected needs. As we celebrate Jesus' love in our lives this Christmas, our gifts bear joyful witness to the power of that boundless love that changes lives. Again and again, the individuals and families helped by this offering say that as crucial as the financial assistance is, what really sustains them is the knowledge that the church is standing with them in their time of need.
LEAVE THE DRIVING TO US!
If you or someone you know would like a ride to church for our candlelight Christmas Eve service, please call the church office. The Evangelism Committee will be happy to arrange for a member or friend of Littlefield to drive you to church. We want to make sure everyone is able to join us as we celebrate Christ's birth with our service of lessons and carols. To help make arrangements, please notify the church office by December 20.
WORSHIP WITH US THIS ADVENT SEASON
WORSHIP on the Sundays of Advent is a time for us to prepare the way for Christ to come more fully into our hearts and lives. Be with us each Sunday of Advent at 10:30 a.m. as we light Advent candles and prepare for Christ to be born anew in our lives.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service @ 7:30 p.m.
Christmas is always a special time in the life of the church. This year's Christmas Eve service promises to be a moving and joyous celebration of the mystery and joy of Christ's birth, as we meditate on the scriptures, sing Christmas carols and hear inspiring music from the organ, adult choir, soloists, and musicians.
Christmas is also one of the times of the year when people are most receptive to an invitation to come to worship. This is a beautiful service. We urge you to bring a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor, so that they may hear the good-news and the joyous message of God-with-us!
Join us Christmas Eve as we lift our voices in prayer and singing; and light the candles to symbolize the light of Christ. Then let the light of Christ warm our hearts and illuminate our way as we go back into the world.
“O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL”
WHAT DOES JESUS WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?
When we celebrate a birthday, we are careful to give what the person really wants or needs. By helping to provide a goat for a family in Honduras, a decent home for a family in the Gulf Coast, or food for those who are victims of war or disaster, we can give Jesus a birthday gift he really wants.
Heifer International works with families and communities in the United States and all around the globe to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. With as little as $10 you can make a difference. Depending on how much you can afford, you can donate a trio of rabbits, a pig, sheep, goat, llama, water buffalo, or a heifer. You may browse the catalogs in the church library, or you may give online from the comfort of your home at www.heifer.org. To help children to understand more about the children whose lives are changed by Heifer Project, you could give them a lovely picture book, Beatrice's Goat or Faith the Cow. (Both are available at Amazon.com and elsewhere.) Other organizations offering similar gifts include: World Vision (www.worldvisiongifts.org) and Church World Service ..(cwsbestgifts.org).
Several nonprofit organizations work with artisans and small-scale farmers in developing regions around the globe to offer handcrafts and food items. Through your purchase of these fair-trade products, their lives improve, and benefits extend to their families and communities. So, fair- trade-purchased gifts 'give twice'.
Another non-profit organization is Pal Craftaid, a ministry of compassion, hope and healing for peace and justice in Palestine. It sells a beautiful assortment of carved olive wood and traditional counted cross stitch pieces. Profits are returned to Palestinian, Christian-managed organizations in Palestine. Check out the web page: www.palcraftaid.org.
Other possibilities include Ten Thousand Villages which markets goods to provide fair income for Third World artisans. You can visit the Ann Arbor store, or shop online at www.tenthousandvillages.com. A similar organization with fair-trade gifts from around the world is SERRV (www.serrv.org).
Other donation choices include: Habitat for Humanity (www.habitat.org) or locally the Gleaners Food Bank or Presbytery of Detroit Hunger Fund. (For the latter, it could be as simple as dropping a check in the offering plate.)
Some have expressed a desire to help Syrian refugees. If you remember that Jesus' family became refugees and fled to Egypt for their safety, it could be a good way to honor Jesus at Christmas by supporting Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. You can give online or write a check to Littlefield with a memo: PDA/Syrian refugees.
CLOSING THE BOOKS
All contributions for 2015 need to be in the office by Sunday, December 27, so they may be deposited by the end of the year. If you ordered flowers in 2015 and have not paid for them, it is very important to have that money in by the 27th also.
Envelopes for 2016 will be available to pick up beginning Sunday, December 20. Any envelopes not picked up by the first of the year will be mailed out.
MEN'S STUDY GROUP
The Men's Study Group will not meet in December due to the holidays. They will meet again on Monday, January 25 at 6:30 p.m. Watch the bulletins in January for information regarding that night. If you have any questions, please contact the church office.
EVANGELISM AND MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
We end the year by preparing for the new. Advent is a time to reflect and to prepare for the coming of the Lord. It is a time to meditate on what the birth of Christ means to us in all the dimensions of our life. Our Advent devotional “Unto Us a Child Is Born” by Henri J. M. Nouwen has been guiding us in our daily prayers and meditation. Christ has come to bring us new lifeóto show us what a life defined by love looks like and to give us his Spirit so that we can live and love as he does.
We will be issuing our new church directory in January. As of this writing we are doing the final editing. A great big THANK YOU to all who have had a hand in producing this directory. I want to challenge you to think of the directory as a guide to prayer. As you pray for our congregation, have your copy of the directory open as a reminder of those who need your prayer.
The Lenten season starts early this year. Ash Wednesday falls on February 10, 2016. Our committee is currently in the process of selecting the Lenten study book for our four week book study. In early January we will announce the title of the book and we will start taking orders for it. I encourage you to join us for the four week study during Lent. It is a great time of prayer, discussion, and fellowship (along with a light meal).
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Did you know that as a part of the sound system we record each Sunday's worship service on a CD? We are able to make CD's of the services available to anyone not able to come on a Sunday morning. Let your Deacon know if you would like to regularly receive CD's of the worship service. Also, Pastor Fran's sermons are posted on the Littlefield web page, www.littlefieldchurch.org, so you can listen to them again, or if you missed a service. Fran often posts written copies of her sermons on her personal blog, revfranmusings.blogspot.com/, and links them to the Littlefield Presbyterian Church Facebook page. Maybe some of your friends would enjoy listening to or reading Fran's sermons.
FLOWERS FOR 2016
It is the time of the year when we start signing up to give flowers to adorn the sanctuary each Sunday next year. The new flower chart will be ready beginning the second Sunday in December. If you would like to give flowers on any particular Sunday and are unable to get to church, please call the church office and we will write your name on the chart. The cost will be $46 for two arrangements.
PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY
As winter approaches and we settle into our cozy evenings trying to stay warm, I can think of one good way to enjoy those evenings ~ knitting or crocheting a Prayer Shawl! Okay, so most of us are pretty busy even in our winter evenings, but this is just a reminder to let all know that we have yarn, patterns, needles and hooks available if you would like to participate in our Prayer Shawl Ministry. This congregation and friends have crafted hundreds of shawls to date and these have gone out to celebrate new marriages and new life; to console those who are grieving; and to support and encourage those who are in need of healing.
Some of us meet in the Tozer Room at church on the fourth Thursday of the month from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. to pray, knit, crochet and visit. Some of our crafters simply work on their shawls from home and bring them into us to be blessed before being handed on. We will be happy to set you up with the necessary tools to begin and even give knitting or crocheting lessons!
If you would like to get started or need more information, please contact the church office.
CHURCH MISSION STATEMENT
Who we are:
We are a community of ordinary people
committed to growing together as disciples of Jesus Christ
through worship, fellowship, learning, prayer, and mission.
Why we exist:
To love God, one another, and all people.
To show God's love in our work for peace and justice.