Reaching Heights December 2020
Reaching Heights December 2020
Links to this month’s news:
See the Serving Schedule
December Worship – “Those Who Dream…”
November 29 – First Sunday of Advent – “…keep awake” – Isaiah 64:1-4, Mark 13:24-27 – Pastor Roger preaching
December 6 – Second Sunday of Advent – “…prepare the way” – Isaiah 40:1-5, Mark 1:4-8 – Pastor Roger preaching
December 13 – Third Sunday of Advent – “…sow joy” – Luke 1:46b-55 – Rev. Kristine Eggert preaching
December 20 – Fourth Sunday of Advent – “…are not alone” – Luke 1:26-45 – Pastor Roger preaching
December 20 – 5:00 pm – Longest Night Service of Remembrance and Grief
December 24 – Christmas Eve – “This Night We Are Those Who Dream” – Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 9:2-7
7:30 pm – Candlelight Worship
December 29 – “Those Who Dream…will not keep silent”
First Hour resumes with Advent Study
Sunday morning 9:30 – 10:30
Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, Dec. 20
Use the Zoom link for Sunday morning worship.
Led by Pastor Roger, Dr. Kate, and members of the Education Team
Peace, Justice, Joy and Salvation
At Christmas, we celebrate the greatest of God’s gifts: the birth of Immanuel, God with us. Throughout the season of Advent, we’re able to anticipate God’s gifts to us and consider what they really mean. Over the four sessions of this study, we will consider familiar texts from the book of Isaiah through the lens of gifts. Embedded in these texts are gifts that God longs to give us and deeply desires for us to receive into our lives: peace, justice, joy, and salvation. These gifts are nothing short of transformative. If we receive them, they will re-form us into what we were intended to be from the beginning: reflections of God’s own being.
MidWeek Bible Study returns for Advent
A Season of Hope and Expectation: An Advent Themes in the Four Gospels
Tuesdays 1:00 pm Led by Dr. Kate Gillooly
Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15, Dec. 22
Please email Kate to indicate your interest so she can send materials ahead of each session. Zoom Link:
Topic: Season of Hope and Expectation Advent Bible Study
Time: Tuesdays 1:00 pm Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22
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Meeting ID: 818 1584 4252
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This four session study examines the Advent themes found in the four gospels, including hope and anticipation. As we prepare for our celebrations of Christ coming into the world, we explore how each gospel writer chose to shape their narrative and proclaim the Good News.
Advent Devotional for 2020
This year, since you can’t come to the church to pick up a copy, we’d like to send a copy to you! And we’d love to send it to your inbox!
Our 2020 Advent Devotional has been put together by the wonderful artists and writers of A Sanctified Art. This devotional fits perfectly with the themes, liturgy, and art of our weekly Advent worship. And this year they have prepared a version which we can send to you daily via email. Included are wonderful poems, meditations, coloring pages, and journaling and sabbath ideas and suggestions. And it can all come to you by signing up here: https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/advent-devotional-signup/
They are set to begin November 29th and will continue until just past Christmas. So sign up today. If you’d prefer to have a paper copy mailed to you, contact the church office, 216-561-4800.
Along the Path:
With the daily barrage of political and pandemic concerns it is difficult to remain hopeful and thankful. During the month of November the “30 Days Grateful” emails coming into my inbox have helped. Each day they have caused me to think about what I am grateful for and who I am grateful too. One of those persons is Kate who found and then suggested using these memes.
I am grateful as well to the Renewal Works Team that has led our prayer efforts over the last few months. On Wednesdays I am grateful for the call to pray together at noon and for the prayer ministry that meets Wednesday evenings. Both are good reminders to all of us of the power and gift of prayer in our daily lives.
As we move into this season of Advent I am looking forward to receiving the Advent Devotional in my inbox. I will confess that I have been at best a haphazard user of the print devotionals from past years, but the immediacy of that daily email will be helpful to me. I hope and pray that the emails or the printed devotional will be an aid in bringing the God of hope, peace, joy, and love front and center in your life. As we continue to strive for some sense of normalcy in these troubled times, staying connected to that source of strength and peace will most certainly help to see us through.
Praying for and with you and wishing you a blessed Advent – Pastor Roger
I am a person who values tradition and embraces innovation. I am grateful for the long tradition of the Christian church, and the way it points to meaning in symbols and rituals. And I treasure the traditions of my family, particularly around holidays. But I am often looking for some new way to express these traditions, or some innovative way to share them with others. In this time of pandemic and rising COVID numbers, we cannot safely celebrate the upcoming holidays in the “good old ways.” There is a sense of loss in that, I am aware. There is also opportunity. We have a chance to determine what meaning our traditions are pointing us to – what really matters to us about turkey and pumpkin pie, about candles and presents and evergreen trees. And as we do, I’m confident we will discover and create new ways to celebrate those same values. The reason I’m so confident is because of my belief in a God who is constantly creating and re-creating, communicating and accompanying, remembering and including. This God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This same God shows up in new ways each time we open our eyes to that possibility. So Happy Advent, and Merry Christmas! However we celebrate, may our holidays be joyful, kindle hope, remind us of Love.
Power of Prayer
As the pandemic continues, the ReNewal Works Team invites you to bolster your spirits and join us in harnessing the power of prayer. While we cannot gather physically for corporate prayer, we can join together in spirit. To that end, we invite you to set aside 5 minutes each Wednesday at noon to pray for our church and its future.
The Prayer of the Month can be used as a starting point for your own short prayer session, knowing that as many of us as possible will be pausing and lifting our prayers at the same time. If you can’t pray at the suggested time, please pray at whatever time works best for you.
Here is this month’s prayer:
We are waiting, O God, we are waiting. We wait in joyful anticipation of the arrival of your Son, Jesus Christ, as we do every year during Advent. We wait imagining the amazement of Mary, the faithfulness of Joseph, the startling message of the angels, the love that is coming. We wait. We wait.
Our waiting this year, Loving God, is not our usual waiting. This year, we experience anxiety and fear as part of our days. We experience uncertainty and loss as part of our nights. We long to experience our “normal” Advent, but nothing is normal.
Although we are stressed, we know that you are accessible to us whenever we turn to you. Help us to feel your love as the bedrock of our faith during these difficult times. Calm our minds and spirits. Help us to find the joy, peace, hope and love that Advent embodies. Help us to appreciate the season, open to experiencing it in new and different ways. Help us to dream big dreams of what is yet to be.
We ask your special blessing on those who are ill and suffering, those who are separated from those they love, those facing hunger and homelessness. Guide us to be your agents in addressing their needs. We, your beloved children, must remember how very fortunate we are and must reach out in whatever ways we can to share our bounty with others.
And so, Dear Lord, we wait. We wait with the sure assurance that you hear our cries and love us unconditionally. Draw near to each of us as we move through these days of Advent. Sustain us, sustain our church, sustain our community and world that we may all emerge from this time of waiting embracing the message and meaning of your gift to us, Jesus.
Advent Photo Challenge
Our GodSightings takes on a new feel for the season of Advent. Each week of Advent has a theme (Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love) and so we’re challenging you to snap a photo of something that portrays that theme for you. Continue to send your photos to Kate Gillooly at 216-408-9512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post in our album on the HCC website and on social media.
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5 HOPE
Dec. 6 – 12 PEACE
Dec. 13 – 19 JOY
Dec. 20 – 24 LOVE
Gift Cards for the Holidays in 2020
This year, more than ever, Christmas shopping will be challenging. We are being asked not to go out. We are being warned to order early because supplies are light and supply chain and delivery problems will be significant. Do you want to deal with all of that?
Try gift cards! They let you avoid the internet, the crowed stores and the post-season credit card bills. And your ‘giftee’ can spend the card(s) as they wish at the selected stores. They are good in person and for internet buys. Don’t know what store card to buy? Target and Amazon are easy choices with great flexibility for the giftess.
The earlier you shop for gift cards, the sooner you can sit back and relax. A list of all gift cards, including Special Orders, is available HERE. Special orders are accepted for pre-Christmas delivery through Tuesday December 8, 2020. We will then place a consolidated order on 12/9 for delivery by about December 15th. Orders must be turned in to the church office along with your payment.
Don’t see what you want? Please ask and we can see if it is available. Our card vendor has Disney, airlines and other cards too numerous to mention.
Support HCC while you shop. Get your shopping done early. And make your life less hassled. Gift cards are easy.
Prayer List Requests
Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. (Philippians 4:6)
Even in the ongoing pandemic (maybe especially in these times), individual and corporate prayer continue!
Our Hearts Together in Prayer group meets each Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. to share prayer concerns and updates, and to spend time in prayer together via Zoom. (contact Kate or Val for the link if you’d like to join). We begin and end with a set of prayers that change each month and are read by the facilitator, and the time in the middle offers opportunity for everyone to share their own petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings. All are welcome and encouraged to join us as you are able; praying together is powerful and lifts the spirits. If you have a prayer request, you can use the online prayer request form (https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/prayer-request/) or send an email to Pastor Roger.
These requests will be lifted up on Wednesday evenings and forwarded on to the Elders, and our Prayer Ministry Team.
Shaker Food Drive
The Unity in the Community campaign continues to provide food to those who need it. The next distributions will take place on December 7 & 14. These distributions take place from the circular drive off Winslow Road at the back of our building from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are also making deliveries to families without transportation.
You can sign up to help with distributions and other tasks online: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508084ba4a62ba6fc1-unity
And your monetary gifts are always welcome and encouraged. Those gifts can be made online on our website (just specify the food drive): https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/donate/
Social Media outreach
HCC is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and You-Tube! If you see something you like, share it on your page! This will increase our reach and may draw in our next visitor!