Traces of Grace
Thoughts from Pastor Scott
The sanctuary is looking beautiful these days (thank you to everyone who helped decorate!).
The nativity is set up outside the Dayton Avenue entrance (thanks, Stan!).
The presents have been bought + the cookies have been baked (thanks, Meg!).
The Christmas services have been planned + the bulletins are being printed (Thank you, Staff!).
There's so much we do to get ready to celebrate Christmas, it can be easy to miss Jesus in the midst of it all. In fact, I received a Christmas card today that illustrated it so clearly for me. There was a beautifully glowing manger filled with hay + lovely swaddling clothes, but there was no baby in the manger, no Jesus in Christmas.
Now, I don't think that was the intention, but it got me thinking about how often I do the same thing. I get so focused on all the details + all that needs to be done that I miss the whole reason for the celebration.
Let me encourage you to take time in the last days before Christmas to slow down, make space, and invest some time in reflecting on God's choice to put on flesh and come as a helpless baby. He was born so we may have life.
There are a lot of things people are afraid of; spiders, the dark, heights, being alone. You get the picture. You may even have some things you are afraid of. Fear isn't wrong, in and of itself. It's a response to a perceived danger we encounter. The problem comes when we let our fears control us. We can feel powerless in the face of our fears, but the reality is we have a choice of how we're going to respond.
Four times in the Christmas stories recorded in the Gospels, an angel appears to someone and some of the first words they speak are, "Do not be afraid." Which tells me, these people were afraid. We are going to spend the four weeks of Advent looking at the choices those individuals made in the face of their fears and what we can learn about facing our own fears.
- 11/28 - Luke 1:5-25 - Zechariah: Choosing Trust in the Face of Fear
- 12/5 - Luke 1:26-38 - Mary: Choosing Surrender in the Face of Fear
- 12/12 - Matthew 1:18-25 - Joseph: Choosing Integrity in the Face of Fear (Also, the Children's Christmas Play!!)
- 12/19 - Luke 2:8-20 - The Shepherds: Choosing Obedience in the Face of Fear
We often talk about Christmas as a joyful time, "the most wonderful time of the year," but for many of us that joy can be tinged, or even overshadowed, by pain and grief. You are invited to join us for a special Christmas service that acknowledges the grief we can feel in the holiday season when we have lost someone we loved or experienced another type of loss. All are welcome.
The Longest Night Service
We often talk about Christmas as a joyful time, "the most wonderful time of the year," but for many of us that joy can be tinged, or even overshadowed, by pain and grief. You are invited to join us for a special Christmas service that acknowledges the grief we can feel in the holiday season when we have lost someone we loved or experienced another type of loss. All are welcome and we encourage you to invite others.
Young adults are meeting at Pastor Scott & Meg's home for lunch after the 10:30am service today. Anyone who considers themselves a young adult is welcome to join in. There will be food and a chance to build relationships as we celebrate Christmas together. All you need to bring is yourself.
Poinsettias have been placed in the sanctuary in honor or in memory of loved ones by members of the congregation. Lists of those who have been honored or remembered are available at the sanctuary entrances. If you ordered poinsettias, you are welcome to take them following the Christmas Eve service or after worship on December 26.
Worship on Christmas Eve 12/24 @ 7:00
We hope you will join us, either online or in person, as we gather to worship and celebrate the birth of Christ! The livestream will be available on our website. In person, masks are welcome, but not required and a portion of the sanctuary will be roped off (every other pew) for social distancing.
The Church Office
The church office will be closed between Christmas and New Years Day to give our staff time to enjoy with their families. For any pastoral concerns during that time, please call Pastor Scott at
The two Sundays following Christmas, December 26th and January 2nd, we will be having one combined service at 10 a.m. each week. Sunday school and fellowship time will resume January 9th.
Staff Love Gift
Since we are having only one service on Sunday, 12/26, we will be presenting the staff love gifts that day when everyone will be in attendance. If you have not had an opportunity to share, we are extending the time for giving to Sunday, 12/19. Thank you!
Bus Trip - "Sight and Sound"
The show "David" will be at Sight and Sound on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Lancaster, PA. Also included is a meal at Shady Maple. The cost of the show and the meal is $122.00. The bus has a limited capacity and seats are being filled. A deposit of $22.00 must be paid to hold your spot. If you have any questions, please contact Pat Gunning.
We praise God and thank Him for all the prayers that have been answered throughout this challenging time and also:
- For all God is doing, even in the smallest of details!
- For our freedom to worship together in person.
- For members of our church family who have recovered from surgeries, treatments and illnesses.
Verse of the Month - December
Pray for the Zooks!
Please pray for us throughout this transition and beyond, and would you also consider joining our support team in the following ways?
To contact us, or join our prayer team:
Shawn - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole - email@example.com
To join our financial support team:
(Monthly support & one-time gifts are tax-deductible)
(Choose “Shawn and Nicole Zook” for your designation)
Checks payable to "Amoveo Group;" add “Shawn and Nicole Zook” in the memo line. Mail to: PO Box 464, Media, PA 19063
Thank you for all your prayers and support!!
Prayer Warriors needed! If you would like to be part of this vital ministry, please call Shirley Latch, (856) 854-4777, or the church office, (856) 858-1186, and join our church prayer line. If there are any questions, please contact Shirley Latch. Thanks so much!
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have
received it, and it will be yours."
"Prayers in the Garden" has now been changed to "Prayers in the Parlor" during the colder months. It is a time to gather and pray over the requests of our congregation and happens every Monday through Thursday, beginning at 9:00am. Feel free to come and join us!
Please continue to pray for...our homebound members; our church members who are in need of spiritual, emotional and financial care; any families and relationships that have been strained during this time, our Troops and our Missionaries. The list is long, but God is BIG!
Please pray for the following:
- Pastor Scott & Meg - for the Lord's guidance & direction in all matters and decisions.
- The Zook Family as they look for a home and prepare for their new ministry.
- Jaime Frost, daughter of Harry & Linda Rameriz - serious health issues
- The Arnold Family in the passing of Arnie Arnold
- Jennie Berryhill - throat issues
- Ryan Chetty - Age 20 - Discharged from hospital/COVID
- Virginia Morrow - in the hospital
- Dave Hammond - cancer treatment
- Joan Steward - son-in-law has COVID
- Ella & Angie Patterson -brother Jack's seizures slow down
- Ryan Chetty - Age 20 - Discharged from hospital/COVID
- The Ollis family in the passing of Nancy Ollis
- Brian and Shauna Coffey
- Carol Harding - fell and suffering sprained ankle.
- Mary Emily Cameron - home from hospital - continued healing for leg infection.
- Dick McCloy - Classic Hodgkins Lymphoma having chemo every other week and leaky heart valves that need repaired
- Mary Ann McCloy - double vision and extreme dizziness
- Linda Adams' son-in-law - received a kidney transplant and is doing well.
- Linda Hamrick -continues to recover .
- Carol & Bud Shropshire - health issues; son David's cancer; grandson Brian's cancer.
- Karen Kline, her son Craig, & his family - as he continues his cancer treatments.
- Nicholas Ferrara(Grandson of Charles & Joan)- presently serving in Saudi Arabia.
- Charles Ferrara
- Gus Mondatsos - pain management for his back was unsuccessful; visit with Orthopedic dr. set for end of Oct.
- Joel & Kay Shannon- grandson Andrew Sperry, helicopter pilot, has been recently deployed.
- SPRC - as they determine our staffing needs for the future.
- Our Missionaries
- God’s hand upon our towns, state and country and our elected leaders.
If you have any other prayer concerns or ways we can serve you please let us know. We desire to journey with you.
Remember, you are loved!
In His Grace,
The FUMC Staff