The youth were busy on Sunday! After worship, some helped to host a card making table for Concord Prison Outreach’s holiday bags while others learned a new song that they will sing in worship on December 16th. Later in the afternoon, many returned to church to join with Sunday Fellowship in marking the beginning of Advent with songs, scripture, prayers, craft activities, and labyrinth walking. Finally, we ended the day with a well deserved pizza party/game night in North Hall. Feeling grateful for the many ways we can serve, sing, and celebrate during this holy season!
Posted in Children and Youth
We had a wonderful first Sunday of Advent with a focus on Angels! Take a look.
The youth group celebrated Thanks-Giving this year by making promises to support WCUC and by baking pies for people in our congregation who could use some extra cheer.
After brainstorming in class the many ways that people can “give back” to this church and offer thanks to a community that nourishes us, the youth made their own pledges of commitment for the year ahead. Their “tokens” of appreciation showed a wide array of promises including: Sunday Fellowship participation, Youth Group and school service activities, more consistent attendance at worship and at youth group classes, spreading love and peace, being more kind, worship leadership, inviting friends, and making a monthly monetary donation. We are beyond blessed to have these thoughtful and generous young people in our church community!
Putting their faith and giving spirit into action, many of the youth came to church early on Sunday morning to be welcomed by Ann Schummers, and adult volunteers Amanda and Debbie, for our annual pie baking adventure. Fifteen small pies and hand written cards were prepared for delivery and the youth got to enjoy a “sample pie” to be sure they were good enough to serve to others. A huge thanks to Mrs. Schummers for keeping this tradition alive. It has become a Youth Group favorite. Happy Thanksgiving!
Check out the fabulous pictures from our FANTASTIC greeting card and chalkboard napkin ring sale, sponsored by Children’s Ministries and Sunday Fellowship! Last Sunday was a wonderful success, and we thank all who participated and supported our ministries and our lessons about Congregational Giving. The proceeds from the sale will be divided between Children’s Ministries and Sunday Fellowship and offered as our pledges for 2019. Stay tuned for the sale totals!
As our preschool and kindergarten children continue to learn about Congregational Giving at WCUC, last Sunday they had a hands-on lesson on managing money. Assisted by several older Middler helpers, stations were set up around the classroom that either cost money or earned money by participating. Washing a truck earned one coin, babysitting earned another one. Serving food at the restaurant earned a coin, but buying food cost one. The children even had to purchase their snacks for two coins each! Sometimes the lights would go out and a coin would be paid for the electric bill. The heat bill was paid too. And all children were invited to share a coin that they earned back with the church. It was a fun and dynamic lesson about earning, spending and giving away money – just as Jesus taught us!
Don’t forget to bring your cash or checkbooks THIS Sunday to purchase our very special handmade birthday, thank you, and get well cards, as well as sets of chalkboard napkin rings (complete with chalk marker! Perfect for teacher gifts or your holiday gatherings!). Our Sunday School kids have been hard at work producing these fantastic goods for you, and they will be ON SALE this Sunday right after worship. All proceeds from the sale will be pledged right back to WCUC on November 18th as the Children’s Ministries contribution to our congregational giving appeal. The prices are as follows:
$3 per card or $5 for two
$10 for a set of four napkin rings + chalk marker
Check out the pictures for a teaser of our fabulous products! Thank you for your support of our special congregational giving lesson and Children’s Ministries!
I wonder if you all could help me this morning think of ways that our church welcomes people. When people arrive at our church doors on a Sunday morning, what are some of the things we do to help them feel welcome? (Ideas included: provide greeters, say “good morning!,” shake hands, provide an elevator.)
As folks come into the sanctuary and participate in worship, are there things we do to make people comfortable, or to make sure they can participate? (Ideas included: chairs to sit on, space for wheelchairs, large-print bulletins, hearing assist devices, visual worship guides, headphones to block out noise, toys to keep our hands busy if that helps us, activity stations.)
Do we do anything outside our building to help people feel welcome? (Ideas included: Welcome Garden, special parking spaces, rainbow flags, Black Lives Matter & Yes on 3 signs)
This church does a lot to welcome people, and we keep trying to make our welcoming muscles stronger. We want everyone to feel that they have a spiritual home; that they’re not alone.
Our scripture story today is about someone who felt alone, and afraid, and who didn’t have a home. Naomi and her family are refugees, people who are forced to leave their homeland to survive, like so many people in our world today. They are able to travel to a new place, and they find the food they need. But then, Naomi’s husband and sons die. The only people who are left in Naomi’s family are her, and her two daughters-in-law. Naomi knows that she does not have what she needs to keep her daughters-in-law safe and healthy. So, she tells them to go back to the homes they had grown up in. She tells them to let her go, alone, back to the place where she grew up: Bethlehem of Judah.
Naomi is trying to be practical, and she is trying to be generous. She’s worried that she doesn’t have much to offer anyone else. But here is the really amazing part of this story. Ruth decides that being together with this person that she loves is more important than anything else. She decides that whatever is going to happen next, it will be better if she and Naomi face it together. So Ruth tells Naomi: “Where you go, I will go; where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God… Not even death will part me from you.”
Ruth goes with Naomi, and together they help one another make a new life, and a new home.
This season at church we are thinking about how we can be more like Ruth. Ruth gives the gift of help and companionship along the way. She goes with Naomi, even though it means traveling to a place she has never been before. Ruth brings the gifts that God gives her out into an unfamiliar world.
How can we be like Ruth? If we’ve already built strong welcoming muscles, how can we strengthen our muscles to bring forth the love of God beyond our walls and into the world? A few ideas:
- On Friday night, folks from this congregation and other congregations and the greater community gathered at our local Jewish synagogue, Kerem Shalom. Because of things that are happening in our country, we wanted to be sure that folks there knew that we care about them. We lit candles, and sang songs, and then joined them in worship, to help make sure these neighbors felt at home.
- This morning, we are gathering gifts for Open Table. We want to offer food to folks nearby who, like Naomi’s family, are going hungry.
- In the hallway, you can see a poster of our Mission partners, folks who we dedicate our shared resources to help, bringing our wealth and service into our community for the common good.
How else can we be like Ruth? What are some other ways we can bring forth God’s love and justice into the world? (Folks reflected on this and recorded their ideas on hearts to share).
Dear God, open our hearts to follow in the ways of our ancestor Ruth, Going, and staying, and living, and dying, together with all your children. Amen.
Belated thanks to everyone who helped prepare for and host our Open House! It was a wonderful day connecting with each other and with visitors. See photos below!
Last Sunday the children in all three Sunday school classes began a 4-week series of lessons about congregational giving and the special community of West Concord Union Church. We asked the children to think about our community as a puzzle – what are the essential pieces of WCUC? What happens if a piece is missing? The children thought of themselves as a piece of our puzzle too, recognizing (with the help of some very powerful quotes from other adult members) just how important their presence and energy are to the faith experiences of everyone. Next Sunday we will begin to talk more about money, learn about pledging and how the money is used at WCUC, and wonder about our dreams for the future.
In order to support the congregational giving appeal this year, the kids are again creating handmade greeting cards to sell during fellowship on November 11th. All proceeds from that sale will be counted by the children and offered as our 2019 pledge on November 18th. Check out the pictures to see a peek of their hard work and fantastic creations!