I will be out of the office from December 19-25, back on the 26th. There will be no eNotes next Wednesday, but instead I will send a special edition eBlast/eNotes next Monday, December 18, reminding you of the upcoming Christmas services, offerings, and year-end items. (And we still need some volunteers to staff the office for a few hours. Please let me know ASAP if you can help!) -Barb
Hebrews 13:2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Sometimes I am amazed at what happens at Southminster. Last Friday someone called up looking for help for a homeless person. I told them that I could see them at 3:00. A person looking for help is not amazing. That happens frequently. It is often also time consuming.
At 3:00 I escorted three people into the parlor. One woman was Kathy, who is a member of a church in Wheaton. She had driven the others to Southminster because she’d overheard them at Panera talking about catching a bus or walking to the church. She is a radiant person. The second person was a young man who is a veteran. He doesn’t have a car – he uses the bus. He lives with a friend. He doesn’t consider himself homeless because he has a friend. His name is Nick. The third person was a woman who we will call Vicki. She was recently discharged from a mental institution. They put her in cab, and the cab dropped her off in Glen Ellyn. That is when she met Nick waiting at the bus stop.
Vicki is a lamb. She spooks easily and is a bit disoriented. For the past five days Nick has been taking the bus with her to the local PADS (Providing Action to Deliver Shelter)* and picking her up each morning to help her make the bus! After prayer and conversation on my part, I was able to connect with her uncle. Her uncle did not want Vicki to stay with him, but he was willing to put her up in a hotel for a week. The surprising thing about this is that neither Nick nor Kathy had been able to get her to tell them if she had family who could help. By 4:00 she was on her way to the hotel with Kathy driving.
This whole event cost the church one hour of my time, but no money. I felt honored to be your pastor at the moment. What was amazing to me was that God brought three people together to help one little lamb. I know that her story will continue, but we were part of her story.
Why do I care about homeless people? Clearly, as a follower of Jesus Christ I care about lost “lambs,” but there is another piece, as well. In 1994 former presidential candidate George McGovern’s daughter, Teresa Jane, died in Madison, homeless. She was just 45 years old. She had left a homeless shelter that morning. She died in a snowbank. She died because she was homeless. Let that sink in! Someone who could have been president had a daughter die because she was homeless. The previous year, Teresa McGovern had an idea for a book. She wanted to share her life, her comebacks, and her spiritual longings. She even had a title: “Angels and Miracles in My Life.” She never wrote it because she died. Her father had no idea of her need. He knew that she struggled, but they were not estranged. We don’t know why she didn’t reach out to her father. It’s too bad that people like Nick and Kathy were not there for Teresa McGovern, even for just that one day.
I think all of you are kind and helpful people. You never know how important you are to someone’s story. You may be an angel in someone’s story. Take it from there.
Your pastor, partner, and friend
P.S. If you can’t be in church on Sunday, be the church where you are. Take a moment to remember your favorite Christmas memory about church and tell someone about it.
P.P.S. I am “preaching” each Tuesday at Maple Glen, a new memory care facility near Southminster. It is a bit of a challenge, but there is goodness evident. I would like to borrow a few baby dolls for when I worship with them on December 19th. You are welcome to come along, as well. Please call the church office and let me know if you have a doll to share.
*DuPage PADS has widened its mission. Their new thinking is “going from a mat on the floor to a key in the door!” This is a new and welcome venture.
PLEASE, CAN YOU HELP? Barb is going to be away from Tuesday-Friday, December 19-22. If you are able to spare a couple hours on any of those days to answer phones, answer the door, sort through the mail (read books, knit, play games on your phone), please let Barb know as soon as possible. We still have several slots to fill. Thank you!
You are invited to join the WOMEN’S CIRCLE for their annual Christmas Luncheon and Cookie Exchange this Friday, December 15, 11:30 a.m. in the narthex/parlor. Bring a salad to share and cookies to exchange. (The Cookie Exchange is optional – cookies are not required to attend the luncheon! If you want to participate, we suggest 50 cookies to exchange, but take as many as you bring.) We are excited to welcome the Glenbard South Madrigal Singers as our program. All women are welcome!
The DEADLINE FOR THE SESSION DOCKET is this Friday, December 15. Remember that Barb is only here on Monday next week, so if you have anything that needs to be on that docket, it needs to be in the office by Friday. Earlier would be even better!
THIS SUNDAY IN WORSHIP: OUR CHRISTMAS PROGRAM OF LESSONS AND CAROLS! All participants need to be here by 8:30 a.m. Children should report to Fellowship Hall for costumes and warm-ups. Youth/lesson readers will rehearse with Blair.
THIS SUNDAY IN WORSHIP (December 17, 2017)
Southminster’s Annual Christmas Program of Lessons and Carols
Liturgist: Sara Vanderford
Elder: Parin Schmidt
Deacon: Susan Vanderford
Ushers: Tom & Bobbi Frey, Mike Hume, Dave Zink
Fellowship: Deb Bohi
Valet Parking: Steve Kozich
Please let the office know immediately if there are any changes to this schedule.
JUBILEE BUCKS this month: We will sell Jubilee Bucks this Sunday, December 17, with pick-up on Sunday morning, December 24. (You can arrange early pick-up if you need to have them before Sunday the 24th. Just let them know when you place your order.)
Southminster in Mission: This Sunday it’s our turn again to serve at the WARMING CENTER at the Glen Ellyn 1st United Methodist Church, where homeless guests are welcome to rest while waiting for the Sunday night PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) site to open. We serve from 1:15-4:00 p.m. Check the Mission board to see if there are any more slots open to fill out our team, and sign up if you can help!
CHRISTIAN ED. NOTES:
– CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: This Sunday our children and youth will participate in the Southminster Christmas Program which will take place during worship! The children have learned Christmas carols during Sunday School Circle Time, and had a fun rehearsal last Sunday. They’ll be dressed as various characters in the Christmas narrative, singing carols and reading lessons throughout the service. This is a wonderful service for family and friends, as well as the whole congregation. We look forward seeing you all there and worshiping together!
– PROGRAM ARRIVAL TIME: On December 17, please bring the children to Fellowship Hall by 8:30 for costuming and group photos!
– NURSERY: The nursery will be open with attendants for CHRISTMAS EVE, both morning and evening services. Brittany Molenda and Roxane Johnson will be here for our 9:30 a.m. morning service; Anny Davidson and Linda Hume for the 7:30 p.m. evening service. We are grateful for their willingness to serve our families!
WHAT’S AHEAD IN CHRISTIAN ED.?
December 17: Church Christmas Program (please have participants here by 8:30 a.m.)
December 24: No Sunday School; 9:30 a.m. Family service in the sanctuary.
7:30 p.m. Candlelight service in the sanctuary.
Nursery care available at both services.
December 31: Sunday School – Simeon and Anna
– SUNDAY MORNING CLASS: Our study in Jeremiah continues this Sunday at 11:00 a.m. in the Parlor. This will be our last class for 2017!
– The WOMEN’S SUNDAY EVENING BIBLE STUDY GROUP is taking a break through the holidays.
+ CHRISTMAS PROGRAM this Sunday! Those involved, please be in Fellowship Hall at 8:30 a.m. Lesson readers will go over their readings with Blair.
+ PARENTS: Please review the youth schedule that was emailed to you and let Blair know about any scheduling conflicts for you youth. We want to confirm that schedule soon.
Please remember Southminster’s two annual CHRISTMAS OFFERINGS.
– The LOCAL MISSION OFFERING (red poinsettia envelopes) supports the Southminster Mission Budget; 75% of monies go right into the Mission Budget and 25% to our special 2017 designee, DuPage PADS.
– The CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING (purple envelopes) is a special offering collected by our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to support church workers through assistance in their time of need plus racial ethnic education and leadership development. We will collect these offerings through Advent and dedicate them on Christmas Eve. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
Worship with us!
+ LONGEST NIGHT SERVICE – Thursday, December 21, 7:30 p.m.
If this holiday season isn’t very “merry” for you, come in from the longest, darkest night of the year for a service of comfort.
+ CHRISTMAS EVE MORNING SERVICE – Sunday, December 24, 9:30 a.m.
We will leave the season of Advent and move to the season of Christmas through songs. This will be a family service (no Sunday school that morning).
+ CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE – Sunday, December 24, 7:30 p.m.
The story of Jesus’ birth through special music, Scripture, carols, and candles. We will have nursery care available for the littlest ones.
Barb may not be in the office, but the DEADLINE FOR THE DIALOG is still Wednesday, December 20! She will only have a few days after Christmas to put this newsletter together, so let’s be sure she has everything she needs when she returns to the office on December 26!
The 2017 CHURCH FINANCIAL RECORDS must be closed promptly at the end of this month. Any deposits, donations or pledges that need to be recorded in calendar year 2017 or bills to be paid from the 2017 budget must be in the church office no later than 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 2. If you have any questions, please contact Treasurer Tom Frey.
SECRET PALS, save the date for “the big reveal” – Saturday, January 13. We will have a salad luncheon at noon and will find out who our Secret Pal was this past year. Secret Pals is open to all women of the church. If you would like to join or have questions about the group, contact Joan Koska at 630-469-7935.