In A Nutshell | December 18, 2015

Hello, Oak Chapel friends,
Christmas is just one week away! Are you ready? I don’t mean “ready” with all your baking and shopping done. I mean “ready” to make space for the Christ child in your life. One way to ready ourselves for this is through worship. I look forward to worshiping with all of you this Sunday, December 20. We will continue our “Testify to Love” series with the Rev. Dr. David Wilcox bringing the message “Testify to Transforming Love” based on Micah 5: 2a – 5 and Luke 1: 39 – 45. After worship we will have our traditional monthly fellowship luncheon. When the luncheon is over (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.
Below you will find announcements and other important information about upcoming events. Please review and mark your calendars accordingly.
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, 12/20 is April Aten.  Her assistant next Sunday, 12/27 is Tracy Braucher.
Colors of Christmas
This Advent season we continue our annual Oak Chapel tradition of the “Colors of Christmas.” Members are encouraged to wear something reflecting each week’s color.
            Sunday, 12/20 – Blue (signifying eternity)
            Thursday, 12/24 – (Christmas Eve) – White (signifying purity)
            Sunday, 12/27 – Gold (signifying riches)
Longest Night Service
This 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.
Canal District Leadership Training
The annual Canal District Leadership Training Event will be Saturday, January 30 at Northampton United Methodist Church in Cuyahoga Falls. This year’s theme is “Church Vitality and Our Wesleyan Tradition.” The sessions will address leadership of various committees needed to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Anyone may attend. All church leaders should attend. Please see upcoming bulletins for additional information.
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.
Confirmation Class
Confirmation is an opportunity for young people to become aware of how God is and has been at work in their lives, even before they were old enough to realize it. 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, 12/20 – Sunday School at 9:30am
                                    “Testify to Love” Worship series at 10:30am    
                                    Fellowship Luncheon after worship
                                    Christmas Caroling at 12:45pm
Monday, 12/21 – Bible Study at 9:00am
                                    Trustees at 7:00pm
Tuesday, 12/22 – Bell Ringing at Towne Market – all day
                                    Longest Night Service at 7:00pm
Wednesday, 12/23 – Choir Rehearsal at 7:00pm
Thursday, 12/24 – Christmas Eve Worship at 7:00pm
Friday, 12/25 – Happy Birthday, Jesus!
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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