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DECEMBER 2020 

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

What is Advent?

From an early age, I remember an Advent Wreath in our home. Ramona and I continue this tradition today, often assembling it out of candle-holders and decorations we have collected through the years.

The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming" or "visit", begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the church year for Christians. This year Advent begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas on November 29, and ends at sundown on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24

One of my grandchildren’s favorite activities during Advent is the daily posting of an advent symbol pinned each day on a felt calendar, used when my own children were in pre-school! They just received a new calendar a week ago from a cousin that now includes a gift of chocolate each day of advent when you open a special door numbered with the day of the week from December 1 – December 25.

During Advent, we prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for and need of forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward, anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.

When my wife Ramona and I visited Bethlehem last year on our trip to the Holy Land, we waited in line for several hours to see this holy site because of its world-wide significance. I remember joining in with groups waiting in line at the Church of the Nativity and singing some of my favorite carols including Silent Night and Charles Wesley’s Hark the Herald Angels Sing!  

Although we are accustomed to celebrating Christmas on a single day, in both our Christian tradition and on the church calendar, the Christmas season actually begins at sundown on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) and lasts through the Epiphany of the Lord on Jan. 6. This is sometimes referred to as "The 12 days of Christmas!"

The color for Advent has traditionally been purple, although some churches have now adopted Sarum Blue from the Medieval Sarum Rite at Salisbury Cathedral in England. Blue is the color most associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

From Advent to Christmas to Epiphany, we make our journey each year to find the star that leads us to the manger in Bethlehem.

Once Again, this Christmas we will gather at the manger;

Once Again, this Christmas we will worship the newborn king;

Once Again, this Christmas we will sing the songs of our faith; and,

Once Again this Christmas we will answer the call to follow the star!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 NIV

O Come Let Us Adore Him;

O Come Let Us Adore Him;

O Come Let Us Adore Him;

Christ The Lord!

 

 

CELEBRATE ADVENT 2020 WITH US! 

November 29 was the First Sunday in Advent. As we enter into this season, here are some Advent resources for you to consider using personally or within your church.  
 
We hope you will read scripture and pray each day. You can access daily Advent Scripture Readings from Rev. Lisa Degrenia, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Sarasota: https://www.flumc.org/newsdetail/2020-advent-wreath-and-readings-14451121. Each week of advent includes an advent wreath reading, a daily scripture reading with a sentence prayer, and a weekly Christmas carol.  

Additionally, each week you are invited to join in Singing Mary’s Song, a four-week Advent video series journeying through the Magnificat. Join four women with different backgrounds, different points of view, different experiences and ages as they share together in reading Mary’s song from their point of view. Contributors include Rev. René August -- from The Warehouse in Cape Town, South Africa, Rev. Michelle Shrader -- from Good Samaritan UMC in Tallahassee, FL, Rev. Esther Rodríguez -- from Spring of Life UMC in Orlando, FL and Rev. Dr. Latricia Edwards Scriven -- from New Life UMC & FAMU Wesley in Tallahassee, FL. Videos will premiere Monday at 9 am. To join the Facebook page and access the content click here: facebook.com/SingingMarysSong/ 

 

SPRC TRAINING

For those who serve on or will serve on in 2021 a Staff Parish Committee we held a training on Tuesday, December 1.  If you would like to see a copy of the presentation, click here.  SPRC+Training+2020.pdf.  If you would like to view the recorded Zoom meeting, please email flumc-nw@flumc.org and we will send it to you.

 

 

OUTDOOR CHRISTMAS CONCERT WITH CLOVERTON

Killearn United Methodist Church is hosting a FREE outdoor Christmas concert with Cloverton, (a contemporary christian band from Manhattan, Kansas) Tuesday, December 8, 6:30 PM. Bring your own lawn chair, blanket, and some hot chocolate for a great night of Christmas cheer. We will be practicing social distancing and wearing masks when you are not in your seat.

Seating is available starting at 6:00pm, and the concert will begin at 6:30pm. We will gather in the grass parking lot to enjoy a great night of music and fellowship outside together. If you have any questions, call or text Mike Toluba at 850-544-7087 or email mtoluba@kumconline.org<mailto:mtoluba@kumconline.org>

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/3485494494870824


 

 

NAVIGATING CONFLICT WEBINAR

Bishop Carter invites you to an incredible webinar on Wednesday, December 9 at 2 pm on the topic of Keeping Peace in Home and Family: Navigating Conflict Through the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Holidays. This webinar is limited to the first 100 who register and pay here and is intended to help clergy and their families as well as helping clergy work and interact with families in the church. The cost to each clergy person is $35 (a spouse can join on the same device).

For more information, please visit https://www.flumc.org/navigating-conflict-webinar. The registration deadline is Dec. 7.

 

 

ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MARKET

John Wesley UMC's Alternative Christmas market has moved online! Because of Covid-19, our event will be virtual this year. Please go to this site, then follow the links to whichever organizations you would like to support this year. Thank you for supporting these local and global missions again! https://sites.google.com/view/acmumc/home

 

 

FILL THE TABLE UPDATE

During the Charge Conference meetings we introduced you to the "Fill the Table" initiative. Here is the monthly update as reported by the Conference office. 

-1,070 volunteers fed the hungry

-$32,958 was raised for feeding initiatives

-283,899 pounds of food given

-336,809 meals served

Don't forget to report your monthly totals! Help us reach our goal! Please fill out the online form each month to report metrics on your church or ministry's efforts to Fill the Table! Find the form online here: fillthetableflorida.org/monthly-form

Questions on how to fill out the form? Contact your Fill the Table Coordinators: Molly McEntire: mmcentire@flumc.org or Emily Autry: eautry@flumc.org

 

 

From the NW District office we wish you all a very merry

and blessed Christmas.

 Wayne, Peggy, Janet & Piper