CCH Congregator Weekly December 22, 2016

 

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Christmas Eve: Light and Dark
Christmas Eve at The Congregational Church of Huntington can be seen as a study in contrasts. Noise and quiet. Light and dark. Crowds and solitude. We hold two very different worship services to welcome the coming of the Christ Child. The Pageant, at 5:30 PM, is full of children bursting with anticipation for Christmas. Then, at 10:00 PM, we gather as a much smaller group to quietly greet the Christ child with communion and candles.This complex mix of behaviors and emotions does justice to the stories of Jesus’ birth. It was surely quiet and lonely for Mary and Joseph as they settled into the hay of the innkeeper’s barn. What a contrast to the arrival of shepherds with stories of angels and, eventually, kings bearing gifts from the east. The stable becomes quite full, and I would guess, unruly, with such an assortment of characters. Our ceramic crèche scenes capture the mob, but they all seem so peaceful and calm. I assume the first Christmas was anything but peaceful. Just imagine all those animals milling about, running into the people, stepping on their feet, and making all sorts of noises (not to mention the smells).

I like to picture the crèche in chaos. It affirms my hope. We often make the mistake of thinking that God only comes when we are calm, quiet, and our lives are altogether. Yet the history of God’s interaction with humanity demonstrates that fresh spiritual insights and bold actions for God’s world usually come in times of turmoil and challenge. It is the ability to affirm the goodness of God in the middle of confusion, or pain, that often gives us our greatest moments of growth. I pray that all will be calm and peaceful, but when it isn’t, I pray for strength to find the ones bearing gifts.

May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year!

Pastor Mark

CCH Christmas Schedule

Be sure to watch our Christmas video that was created by John Leary (thank you, John): Christmas Video

Saturday, December 24: Christmas Eve
5:30 PM Christmas Pageant for all ages
10:00 PM Candlelight Communion Service

Sunday, December 25: Worship at 10:00 AM

We hold Chris Bausch and his family in ours prayers on the passing of his mother, Grace. There will be a funeral next week at Boyd Funeral home in Deer Park, but the details have not be finalized yet.

Confirmation to Begin

Confirmation is the process by which seventh and eighth grade young people study to make the decision about joining the church. In our church we offer the program every other year for both grades together. Pastor Mark leads the class and the program will begin in early January  and conclude on Confirmation Sunday on Pentecost, June 4. Typically we start the program in the late fall, but we are trying something different this year. The program will not last as long, but will be more experiential and will require a greater commitment during that time.

There will be an introductory meeting on January 8, following worship, in order to explain the program to the young people and their parents. All seventh and eighth graders are invited to attend.

Worship Calendar

December 24
5:30 Christmas Pageant Service
10:00 Candlelight Communion Service
December 25: Christmas Worship at 10:00 AM

The special Christmas offering will be divided between the United Church of Christ’s Haiti Relief fund and Erase Racism of Long Island.

January 1: New Year’s Worship Service
Guest Preacher: Rev. Nancy Schaeffer

Pastor’s Book Group

“Sometimes Brilliant,” by Larry Brilliant is the next selection for the pastor’s book group. It is a longer book than usual, but the group isn’t meeting again until January 25, 2017.

From the publisher: When a powerful mystic steps on the hand of a radical young hippie doctor from Detroit, it changes lives and the world. Sometimes Brilliant is the adventures of a philosopher, mystic, hippie, doctor, groundbreaking tech innovator, and key player in the eradication of one of the worst pandemics in human history. His story, of what happens when love, compassion and determination meet the right circumstances to effect positive change, is the kind that keeps hope and the sense of possibility alive.

“Sometimes Brilliant is a mesmerizing read—a window inside some of the most unique social and spiritual movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and the story of how people from a dozen nations came together to eradicate one of the world’s most terrible diseases. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.” (Jim Wallis, New York Times bestselling author of America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, president of Sojourners, and editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine)

Please Return Pledge Cards

Now is the time to make your faith commitment to our church for 2017. Please return all pledge cards to the church as soon as possible so that our Trustees may begin to plan a budget for next year. If you wish to email in your pledge please send it to our financial secretary, Marion Munch.

Please note: “According to recent IRS rule changes, ALL donations must be DEPOSITED by end of year in order to be deductible in the current tax year. “
Please make sure all donations for 2016 are RECEIVED at the church by the end
of day on Thursday, December 29, 2016.

Thank you for remembering the church in your will. Your bequest will help insure the future of our congregation.

New CCH Website

We are thrilled to unveil the new design for our church website: lichurch.org. It is the same address, but a totally redesigned site. Thanks to the design work of Joanna Stasuk and the web work of Doug Munch we were able to completely redo the site and it is now based on WordPress which will be an easy platform for revisions and new material. Joanna used much of the content from the previous site that was done by John Leary. The site is still a work in progress, but we wanted to make it live for Christmas. Thank you so much to Joanna and Doug for all their hard work!

Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative

The Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative provides housing for homeless people in Huntington in religious organizations throughout the winter. The need for this was highlighted recently when a homeless man died of hypothermia in Huntington Station. We will provide volunteers to run the program on three Saturday nights in 2017: January 21, February 25 and March 11. Please sign up on the signs at the church.

Donations needed for the 2016 HIHI program:
• Items for hygiene kits:
o Disposable razors
o Small bars of soap
o Toothbrushes
o Travel-sized toothpaste
o Travel-sized shampoo
o Combs
• New men’s socks and underwear (small/medium)
• New hats/gloves
• New or gently-used T-shirts
• New or gently-used bath towels
• Gently used men’s coats, boots and sweatshirts

There will be a box in church for donations.

Volunteers Needed

Peace and Plenty Needs Extra Help During Christmas Break
Sandwiches or trays of hot food are needed for the Tri CYA during the week between Christmas and the New Year. Children coming in get free meals at school so food at the center during the school break is important. Any donation is welcome. Even holiday leftovers. For more information please contact Anne Canadeo. (acanadeo@aol.com).

Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative (HIHI)
We are looking for volunteers to staff the HIHI program on three Saturdays in 2017: January 21, February 25 and March 25. Sign up on the signs at the church.

Northport Food Pantry
We collect food for the Northport Food pantry each week at our church. Please place donations in the box by the church office.

Peace and Plenty Food Outreach:  You are invited to help make sandwiches and prepare snacks for children in Huntington. Peace and Plenty will meets on Mondays at 6:30 PM. They are also in need of donations of lunch meats and cheeses, fruit and healthy snacks.

Cooks Needed for the Peace & Plenty program
We’re looking for a few volunteers who can help us send the Tri CYA trays of
cooked food such as baked ziti, chicken and rice, pasta with meatballs or meat sauce, etc. Most children at the Tri CYA receive free breakfast and lunch at school during the school year and rely on the Tri CYA  for at least one nutritious meal. We try to support
that effort with some substantial dishes, beyond sandwiches.  Some of the food may also be sent to individuals unable to get out to food pantries and living with food
shortages.
If you would like to help  please contact Anne: acanadeo@aol.com.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, December 25
Intergenerational Service at 10 AM
Fellowship Hour at 11 AM: Michael Morgan
Sunday, January 1 – New Years Day
Intergenerational Service at 10 AM
Fellowship Hour at 11 AM: The Engelkings–Left-over cookie fellowship hour. Please bring extra Christmas goodies to share.
Tuesday, January 3
Peace & Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM
Church Council at 7:30 PM
Thursday, January 5
Bell Choir at 6:30 PM
Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM

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The Congregational Church of Huntington

30 Washington Drive

Centerport, NY 11721

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