In A Nutshell | December 4, 2015

Hello, Oak Chapel friends,
This Nutshell begins with some prayer requests and updates. Connie Reed is recovering well from her surgery on Wednesday. She was released from Aultman Hospital this afternoon and is at home resting. She appreciates your continued prayers and hopes to be back to church soon.
Please continue prayers for Elaine Sprinkle. Her heart cath yesterday determined that she needs to have a stent placed. This will be done at the Cleveland Clinic main campus, but she is still waiting for a bed to become available there.
Lastly, Tonya Houser has requested prayers for her friend, Russell. She and Russell are in Florida now and he has been hospitalized with cellulitis.
Please join us for worship this Sunday as we continue our “Testify to Love” worship series. Rev. Jim Pfander will preside at communion and Pam Domer will bring the message “Testify to Unfettered Love” based on Luke 1: 67- 80. I am very excited about this Sunday’s worship and look forward to seeing all of you there and sharing the experience with you.
Below you will find announcements and other important information about upcoming events. Please review and mark your calendars accordingly.
Colors of Christmas
This Advent season we will continue our annual Oak Chapel tradition of the “Colors of Christmas.” Members are encouraged to wear something reflecting each week’s color.
            Sunday, 12/6 – Purple (signifying royalty)
            Sunday, 12/13 – Red (signifying sacrifice)
            Sunday, 12/20 – Blue (signifying eternity)
            Thursday, 12/24 – (Christmas Eve) – White (signifying purity)
            Sunday, 12/27 – Gold (signifying riches)
Children’s Sunday School Assistants
Terra Aten leads the young children’s Sunday School class that meets during worship each Sunday morning. Her assistant this Sunday, 12/6 is Phyllis Weaver.  Her assistant next Sunday, 12/13 is Miriam Zech.
We will once again decorate our Sanctuary with poinsettias beginning December 20. Each plant is $10. Deadline to order is this Sunday, December 6. Those wishing to donate a poinsettia should complete the form found in this week’s bulletin. The poinsettias may be picked up after the 7 p.m. Christmas Eve worship service.
Salvation Army Bell Ringing
Members and friends of Oak Chapel UMC will once again rings bells for the Salvation Army. This year we will ring on December 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Buehler’s Town Market. There are still two slots open. Please see Janet Kauffman to sign up or call her at 330-435-4569.
Art and Soul
Please plan to join us at 7:00 pm in Fellowship Hall the first Monday of each month as we explore varying art media and fellowship together. This Monday, December 7 Kay Bergen will instruct us in the art of arm knitting. There will be a $5 materials fee for this project. New art/craft ideas are always welcome.
Christmas Caroling and Fellowship Luncheon
On Sunday, December 20, we will have our traditional monthly fellowship luncheon after worship. After the luncheon (approximately 12:45pm), we will gather in the Narthex, then set out to carol to our homebound members. Everyone is welcome to join us for this festive event! This is a great way to both experience and share the joy of the season. If you know of someone who might appreciate carolers coming to his/her residence, please let Pastor Robin know by Sunday, December 13 so she can coordinate our travel schedule that day.
Longest Night Service
On Tuesday, December 22 (the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year), we will have a Longest Night service at 7:00 p.m. This service, composed of scripture, stories, reflection and healing prayer, recognizes that Christmas can be a bittersweet time. Come experience worship that takes time for remembering, sharing our hurts with God, and preparing for the coming of Christ. This day is also the traditional feast day for Saint Thomas the Apostle. This linkage invites making some connections between Thomas’ struggle to believe Jesus’ resurrection, the long nights just before Christmas, and the struggle with darkness and grief faced by those living with loss.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Our Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship will include the traditional retelling of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, with the sermon titled “Testify to Divine Love” as part of our worship series “Testify to Love.”  Join us on Thursday, December 24 at 7:00pm as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
The prayer shawls knitted and crocheted by members of Oak Chapel have been a blessing to many over the past six years. The group continues to put needles to yarn in hopes of passing on God’s amazing healing grace to those in need. If you have a friend, family member, co-workers or just are aware of someone who would benefit from an extra hug from God especially this time of year, we have prayer shawls available for you to share with them. Just contact Georgia Taylor or any member of this ministry. There will be a prayer shawl blessing next Sunday, December 13 during worship.
Confirmation Class
Confirmation is an opportunity for young people to affirm the faith into which they were baptized as infants or small children, or to be baptized and profess their faith publicly. Confirmation also makes young people aware of how God is and has been at work in their lives, even before they were old enough to realize it. And confirmation affirms a new covenant relationship between a young person and Christ’s body, the church. All youth in 5th Grade and up are invited to participate in confirmation class beginning this January. Pastor Robin will lead students through four months of classes meeting on our regularly scheduled youth nights — the first and third Sundays at 6:30 p.m. beginning January 17 through May 1. Students will be confirmed on Pentecost Sunday, May 15. Pastor Robin will hold a short information session for students and parents on Sunday, January 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the beginning of youth group that night. If any youth are interested in attending confirmation classes, please contact Pastor Robin.
Opportunities for Ministry Next Week
Sunday, 12/6 – Sunday School at 9:30am
                                    “Testify to Love” Worship series at 10:30am
Monday, 12/7 – Retirees Breakfast – Town Market at 8:00am
                                    Bible Study at 10:15am
                                    Art & Soul at 7:00pm
Wednesday, 12/9 – Choir Rehearsal at 7:00pm
Friday, 12/11 – Leave for Mountain Vision at 12:30pm
Saturday, 12/12 – United Methodist Men – Green Leaf at 7:30am
                                    Weight Loss Support Group at 9:15am
It is a privilege to be your pastor and to serve among such an amazing community! I look forward to seeing you in church on Sunday!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Robin

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