Monthly Archives: November 2013

December Letter From Pastor Greg

Dear Faith Family,

We are living in an Advent world. With an economy that can at best be described as
uncertain, with a war whose length can only be described as indefinite, in times that
must be described as anxious… the world just may be open to the Advent message.
Just maybe, the word of a prophet, the voice of an angel, the cry of a newborn child,
have a chance to get through.

In an Advent world, people know that the way things are is not the way things should
be. In an Advent world, people are searching for something, but that something is more
than just the return of consumer confidence or a rejuvenated job market, important as
these are. In an Advent world, people wonder if there really is a Purpose that comes to
us from beyond our own desires, if there really is a Presence that empowers us to live, if
there really is a Love that enfolds us when times are tough. In an Advent world, people
are looking for hope.

When times are tough and people turn to the living God, hope is exactly what they find.
Not easy answers for complex questions, not short-term fixes for deep-rooted problems,
not band-aids for the wounds of the soul. Instead they find hope: the sure and certain
promise that God is at work, within us and among us: guiding paths, strengthening
resolve, encouraging justice, lifting burdens, wiping tears, healing hearts, empowering
lives, right up until our last breath when we return to our eternal home.
We teach our kids that “it’s more blessed to give than to receive,” and in our consumer
culture, celebrating the joy of giving is surely a virtue. But somewhere in the midst of this
Advent, stop…pause… and remember that Christmas is also about receiving. It’s about
receiving the gift that God offers each and every Christmas, if we will only take it. The
gift is hope, and the package has your name on it. Sometime in this holy season, make
sure to open it.

Grace and peace,
Greg

Presbyterian Response to the Typhoon in the Philippines

Lord our God, be the provider of your people’s needs according to your riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (from Phil. 4:19)

Super Typhoon Haiyan left monumental devastation when it struck the central Philippines on November 8. The storm, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, has been identified as one of the worst storms in recorded history.

Reports indicate severe destruction, with damaged roads and buildings, downed power lines and telecommunications, and flooded villages. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced. The areas hit cover already-poverty-stricken communities, which have suffered from successive and simultaneous emergencies.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is working in collaboration with our mission partner, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and other members of ACT Alliance to respond to this crisis. Initial response includes the provision of nonfood items, material resources, drinking water, emergency-shelter kits and cash-for-work-programs.

What you can do

Learn more: get the PDA situation report at www.pcusa.org/pda

GIVE. Share your financial blessings Give through WPC (mark your check or envelope “Philippines”), or online at www.pcusa.org/pda You can also text PDA to 20222 to donate $10 for disaster response.

ACT. Sign up to receive PDA RIN (Rapid Information Network) emails to stay aware of current responses and urgent needs that you can share with your congregation. Visit PDA on Facebook for more.

PRAY. Please pray that through the response of the faith community, the people and communities affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan and those offering assistance will be strengthened, have their needs met, and be reminded of the hope and compassion that are found in Christ.

November Shavings Letter

Dear faith family,

November begins and ends with a feast.

The first Sunday of November, we celebrate All Saints’ Day by gathering at the Lord’s
Table and reading the roll call of the saints – all God’s people who have returned to their
heavenly home in the last year. It is at once both a somber moment, as we remember
those we love who are no longer accessible to our five senses, and a hopeful one, as
the communion service anticipates the great feast at the end of time, when we all gather
together and there is no more sorrow, no more death.

The fourth Thursday of November is the great American feast, when we gather at the
tables of family and friends, in our national rite of thanksgiving. Whether we are religious
or not (or, as many people say, “spiritual but not religious”), we all acknowledge that we
are grateful for something – even if we’re not all sure to Whom we’re grateful.
The first feast of November involves a small scrap of bread and thimbleful of juice; the
second often involves more than any of us should have eaten. The first includes those
who claim some kind of faith in a living God (doubters welcome!), the second includes
those whom God claims, which is, of course, everyone. At their best, both feasts are
about welcome, forgiveness, and gratitude.

In between there are opportunities for all kinds of feasts. At your household table or
the lunch table at school or office…. the chili supper for Habitat for Humanity or the
doughnuts at coffee hour… the cookies you bring to a neighbor who has lost a mother or
the encounter with the waitress at the cafe. Those feasts, too, can be about welcome,
forgiveness, and gratitude. Especially if you make it so.

May November be a time of feasting for you and yours!

Faithfully,
Greg