Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Eve Sermon

The December 24, 2009 sermon is now up on the North United Methodist Church website.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Worship Schedule Change

Sunday, December 27
One Worship Service
10:00 am

This will be a service of Lessons and Carols, with a presentation by the Sunday School Children and the Choir.

Please assist in getting the word out to members who do not have access to the internet. Thank you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One Hour Delay

Today's Worship Service - December 20, will be delayed one hour.
Service is now at 11:30 am.

Notification of this change is posted on NBC and an update is on the church phone greeting message. If you know of anyone that may not access these sources, please help out by calling them. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Website Updates

There is a new sermon on our website from December 13, 2009 and there is also a NCD and Health Team update. Check them out!

Worship Team

The (temporary) Worship Team is concluding their work and preparing to form a permanent working team.

Potential Worship Team members are requested to speak with Pastor Laurel.

Please indicate your interest on your attendance slip or speak with Pastor Laurel directly. This request includes those who are currently working on the temporary team (if interested in continuing), and those who hold positions as coordinators of various worship components such as - ushers, liturgists, fellowship time, altar guild, etc.

Thank you – Pastor Laurel looks forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Alpha Course Starts January 14, 2009

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What happens when we die?
  • What relevance does Jesus have for our lives?
  • How do we deal with guilt?

If you would like to explore questions like these, then ALPHA is for you.

What Is Alpha?

Anyone interested in finding out more about Christian faith. Adults of all ages are welcome.

Learning and laughter. It is possible to learn about Christian faith and have fun at the same time.

People meeting together. An opportunity to get to know others and make new friends.

Helping one another. The small groups give you a chance to discuss issues raised during the talks.

Ask anything. Alpha is a place where no question is seen too simple or too hostile.

The Alpha course will meet for ten weeks beginning Thursday, January 14, 2010.

In the Memorial room you will find brochures with registration forms and more information. Please speak with Pastor Laurel with any questions.

Friday, December 11, 2009

NUMC Event Planning Book

Looking for a good book to read? Let me suggest the NUMC Event Planning Book. Through the Natural Church Development (NCD) process we heard from our members that they wanted more opportunities to gather as a community of faith, but were unsure about how to go about it.
With input from many members of our community we have come up with the event planning book. This is guide for those who would like to organize and/or host an event. The book is divided into three sections:
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Service to the Community/Church
  • Fellowship
The books (two copies) are located in the Memorial Room and is on our website. We invite you to take a look and encourage you to host an event or two!

New In Our Library

Our "new" Quent Mangun Library is making some changes. In an attempt to strengthen the reference section, I have added the Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. It is a five volume set which provides material for biblical study.

Other additions include several books on dating and marriage which can be found in the 248 and 241 sections. Another new book is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. It is a book written for the recent widow or widower. This book was mentioned in Newsweek magazine in their list of top new books.

In the near future there will be a shelf containing books used by the Wesleyan Study Group.
If you have been unable to be part of this group, here is an opportunity to find out what books they have been studying and enjoying.

Our library is a pleasant and attractive place to visit and I hope you will find some great books to enjoy and take home to read on a cold winter day.

Joan Byron, Church Librarian

Letter From the Pastor's Desk

During the Thanksgiving season as I watched a television commercial from a local jeweler, I marveled at the ingenuity of the offer. Those in the area who are unemployed or facing financial difficulty were invited to receive a free pendant with a tiny diamond that represents hope. Recipients were encouraged to keep up their hope for improvements in the economy and in their individual financial situation. The commercial also said that there were (this might be slightly off) 1200 pendants available but only several hundred had been claimed. Maybe those to whom the offer is made are reluctant to accept because there might be an obligation attached to the offer. I’m guessing; since in offers like this one, there is usually something tying you into acceptance or there is pressure to purchase an item .

I thought to myself, we offer hope to people every day of the year, in every season of life as the church has and continues to offer the hope of eternal life. This hope does not fade; this hope does not lose its value. This hope is sure, for the work of Jesus of Nazareth in redeeming the creation was done once, and for all.

We simply have to accept this offer, which comes to us as a gift, the gift of redemption. And the completed work of redemption began with the birth of the tiny baby in the town of Bethlehem, whose birthday we are preparing to celebrate in this season of Advent.

Not only do we celebrate this pivotal birthday, an event in history, we also eagerly anticipate the birth of the new creation as the Christ spirit is birthed in humanity. This second coming that we look forward to is the genesis for our hope. And this hope does not just restrict itself to improvements in the economy, but to every single aspect of our lives in this world, and the next.

This Christ whose birth we celebrate and rebirth we anticipate, is truly worthy of hope. I sing along with the hymn writer Edward Mote of UMH 368 “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.” Enjoy the celebration. Delight in the anticipation.

Accept the gift of hope and eternal life, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16, NIV)

Pastor Laurel

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Season Of Change

Heavenly Father be with us during this season of change,
Help us to remember our community of faith is our family.
We are daughters, mothers, sons, and fathers.
Just as Ruth devoted herself to Naomi, help us to be devoted to this community.
It is our prayer that we will take Ruth’s words into our hearts;
“Your people will be my people..”
May we, as a community, seek security so that we may be well with You.

It is a season of change.

In New England the weather can change fast and it can be a challenge at times to keep up with the changes. I watched the trees turn vibrant with color and then become covered in an inch of white snow. Despite the unpredictability and rapid changes I love it none the less.

Ruth is one of my most favorite books in the bible. It is one of the shortest books, but full of powerful messages of devotion and hope. The reading starts like this - Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you.” Naomi has lost her husband and her two sons and is returning home. She tells her two daughters-in-law to go back to their mothers’ homes. One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, refuses and tells Naomi:- ―Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

We pick up the story in Bethlehem where the two women are getting by on the scraps left in the fields after the harvest. Naomi seeks security for the future of Ruth whom she loves so much she calls her daughter; not daughter-in-law, but daughter.

We, at North, are facing another season of change. There is uncertainty in our future. We are not sure what will happen in the upcoming year. We are much like these two women and we are seeking security so that it may be well with us too.

In the NCD profile we scored highest in Loving Relationships. I encourage you all to read this short book as part of your prayer practice and see where it speaks to you about your relationship with North and this community of faith.

Best, Vickie

Singing Of Christmas

Just before bringing this news-letter to press, I was driving along listening to the radio and heard the announcer tell the story of the bishop in England who was anxious to change some of the words of Christmas carols. And example given was "O Come All Ye Faithless".

This was because the bishop was dismayed at the fact that so many of us seem to have lost the original meaning of Christmas. He had asked some Sunday school children in his jurisdiction what was at the center of the Christmas celebration. They had responded variously, "Santa Claus", "gifts" and "reindeer". Not even angels, a baby or magi!

I would have been shocked as well, but my response to this seeming lack of knowledge of the real meaning of Christmas is to ask us to turn again to the carols which all tell the story — the real reason for Christmas.

My neighbor across the street knows what’s at the center of Christmas. A Congregationalist, on the same day I was listening to the story of the bishop on the radio, she offered me a button which had been distributed at her church "Christ is the reason for Christmas", it said. She then told me of delighting to give one of them to a store clerk, who inquired about the one she was wearing. What a great non-obtrusive way to evangelize and to remind us of the reason for the celebration!

Of all the associations with the word Christmas, singing is one of the most widespread. Singing because Christmas is a joyous celebration and when we are joyful we tend to break into smiles and song.

Since the Christmas (originally the mass of the Christ) celebration began in the early church, the type of songs initially associated with the season are those that feature the events and personalities surrounding the birth of the child, Jesus.

My favorite carol is "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", one of the more modern carols, relatively speaking, written in the 1800’s by Edmund Sears. This beautiful carol refers to the angels’ message on that first Christmas – "Peace on earth goodwill to all" found in Luke chapter 2 and to the message of peace that continues to come to us today through everyday angels. It calls to us who "toil along life’s climbing way with painful steps and slow" and bids us look forward to the time when "peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling and the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing." My hope is for a world just like that.
There are other beautiful carols as well, several of which are found in our United Methodist Hymnal. We know the popular ones – Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to The World, Away in a Manger, O Come All Ye Faithful. (The one the bishop wants to change!)

I like to look at those less well known hymns and it seems as though my favorites all feature angels. UMH # 220 is Angels from the Realms of Glory, written by James Montgomery in 1816. It invites us to "Come and Worship, Worship Christ the Newborn King;" and #238 is Angels we have heard on High, which speaks of the shepherds who heard the angels’ song and invites us to "Come to Bethlehem and see" the wonder of the baby’s birth as we sing with the angels "Gloria In Excelsis Deo." (Glory to God in the Highest)
Hark, The Herald Angels Sing (UMH # 240) was written by Charles Wesley, one of Methodism’s most prolific hymn writers, in 1734. I am particularly drawn to the final stanza of the hymn that summarizes the reason for the celebration and points to Christ’s mission: "Mild, he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die. Born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth." I can think of no better reason to sing these hymns and all the others, even the unfamiliar ones, with gusto and spirit as they remind us of the real reason for the season, the real reason for the celebration.

So as you sing these carols this season, look at the words, enjoy the tunes and remember the real reason for the season as you give thanks. Have a Blessed, joyful Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Sermons and Music Online

The November 29, 2009 and December 6, 2009 sermons are now up on the North United Methodist Church website.

The children of NUMC singing Jesus Loves Me on November 29, 2009 is also now on the music page of our website.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Party Saturday, December 12 at 5pm

Food, music, games and crafts for the whole family.

We will share a potluck. Chris Collins will play music for a carol sing. There will be some crafts/ornaments to make, and Anita Haynes will lead a game or two. Please plan to join in this fun evening – and please do bring friends!

Sign-up in the Memorial Room or on Facebook.


This is a reminder to please return your pledge cards at Sunday Services or by mail as soon as possible.

Your attention to this is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Reminder: One Service This Sunday

Sunday December 6th, One Service at 10:00 am

Directly following service, after a 15 minute break for fellowship, there will be an All Church Conference to approve the 2010 Church Budget and Nominations followed by a Congregational Meeting facilitated by Barbara Lemmel.

Childcare is available, please send your children downstairs after fellowship time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Altar Flowers

Altar Flowers are a wonderful way to acknowledge the Memory of a Loved One or Celebrate a special person or occasion. Forms are available in the Memorial Room to make such requests. Any questions may be directed to the flower steward, Doris Timbrell (860-649-6494).

We are currently in need of Altar Flowers for December

Christmas Card Mailbox is now available

The North United Methodist Christmas Mailbox is available for exchanging holiday cards. The mailbox has alphabetically labeled slots. Please remember to check each week for cards by last name. The box will remain available until Sunday, January 3. Please check for your mail each week.