January 1, 2017

Pastor: Rev. Dr. Nancy A. McClure-Long 1039 ROUTE 22, GHENT, NY 12075 518-828-5946 www.angelfire.com/ny5/ghent_ref_church ”We come from where we are and as we are to worship God, to mirror Christ’s teaching and to go where the Spirit leads us; encouraging, informing, nurturing and sustaining those known to us and those whom we have yet to meet.”

THE GHENT REFORMED CHURCH IS A GROUP OF BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONE WHO ALWAYS WELCOMED SINNERS, HEALED THE SICK, FED THE HUNGRY, AND PREACHED GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR. IN AN INCREASINGLY SECULAR WORLD, WE CONSIDER OUR CONGREGATION TO BE A MISSION OUTPOST INOUR COMMUITY WHICH ATTEMPTS TO FOLLOW CHRIST'S EXAMPLE. WE SUPPORT LOCAL FOOD PANTIRES, WELCOME THE DOWNHEARTED TO OUR CHURCH FAMILY, AND OFFER BIBLE-BASED PREACHING & LEARNING FOR HUNGRY SOULS. COME AS YOU ARE. WE DO!

PASTOR: THE REV. DR. NANCY A. McCLURE-LONG

PHONE: 518-828-5946 - 518-828-9778

EMAIL: divinemizn@aol.com

OUR CHURCH SERVICE IS AT 9 AM ON SUNDAY

OFFICE HOURS: 9-10:30am - Tuesday

9:00 am-12:00 pm. W-Th or by appointment

Office Assistant - Bonnie Pflegl

Sexton: Penny Schertel

Sunday School Superintendents: Penny Schertel

Consistory: Vice President - Nick Tipple

Treasurer: Richard J. Leggett Jr.

Elders: Nick Tipple, Martha Leggett,

Deacons: Lisa Meany, Roberta Keller, Rebecca Preusser

Newsletter of the Ghent Reformed Church

www.angelfire.com/ny5/ghent_ref_church

1039 County Route 22, Ghent, NY 12075; Phone: [518] 828-5946

January & February

GRC UPCOMING DATES:

January & February UPCOMING EVENTS 12/26/16-1/13/17 Pastor Nancy is on vacation

1/15 Heart Song leads worship 9 AM

1/17 Cancer Support Group 5:30 PM

1/18 Consistory Meeting 6:45 PM

1/20 WWD luncheon (@ Bootie’s 11:30 AM

1/21 Indoor Yard Sale 9 AM-2 PM

2/4 Horse Thieves luncheon 11:30 AM

2/5 Chili & “Bread” Sale 10:30-11:30A

2/11 Valentine’s Italian Buffet 6 PM

2/14 HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

2/17 WWD luncheon (@ Bootie’s 11:30 AM

2/20 PRESIDENT’S DAY

2/21 Cancer Support Group 5:30 PM

3/1 Ash Wednesday Service 7 PM

HIS LOVING HANDS

January is a hard month for many people. Food pantries get a lot of attention at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, but their need is year long. A collection will be taken for the Ghent Food Pantry for January.

CHILI & “BREAD”

Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th we will have Chili (Schertel style) and some form of bread available. (I hear that corn muffins are included.) Cost for a quart of chili is $8, same as last year.

To pre-order, call the Church Office and leave a message (828-5946) or sign up on the Bulletin Board.

Sunday School Updates:

Mission Project: The Sunday School continues to collect items for the Columbia-Greene Humane Society thru the month of February. Several deliveries have already been made to the Shelter to give them your generous offerings. Needed donations are cat and dog food (wet & dry), pet treats, litter, towels, blankets, brushes, collars and leads. They also use T-shirts that they make into beds for the smaller animals. Believe it or not, they can even use postage stamps, bleach, laundry detergent, paper towels, newspapers, photo paper, sponges and rubber gloves. If you can help in any way, please place your donation in the box in the Sanctuary.

Additional project: Collecting bottles and cans. The recipient of the funds yet to be determined.

CONSISTORY HIGHLIGHTS:

* In order to save money on fuel costs the Sanctuary will be closed off beginning on January 1st and services will be held in the Education wing.

* Heartsong will do service on January 15th

HEARTSONG

Once again Heartsong, a Christian singing group will be leading worship on Sunday, January 15th (9AM). Come enjoy some uplifting, spiritual, moving music by gifted performers. A love offering will be taken.

COMMITTEES: Worship: Martha Leggett

Nurture: Roberta Keller, Rebecca Presseur

Stewardship/Mission: Lisa Meaney

Property: Nicolas Tipple

WWD-Widows, Widowers & Divorcees

Are you in one of these categories where you didn’t expect to be? On the third Friday of each month, a group of people get together (around a pot luck lunch) and discuss, reminisce and ruminate on where they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going.

The group meets at 11:30 AM and if you don’t have any pot-luck but want to come on the spur of the moment, just come on down. For more info, call 828-5946.

Cancer Support Group

For many years now, the GRC has provided a meeting place for people to get together and discuss their experiences and journey with cancer.

If you would like to share your experience or come for a little comfort, our doors are open and you are welcome. No reservations necessary.

This group usually meets the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM. For further information, please call 828-5946.

Birthdays & Anniversaries:

JANUARY 12 MARTHA LEGGETT

13 VIRGINIA SCHERTEL

14 KARALYN PRACK

EMMA LYNNE FISHER

26 KIM ENGEL

29 ANN TROWBRIDGE

FEBRUARY

2 PETER SCHERTEL, SR.

7 JAXON ANDREWS

10 REBECCA PREUSSER

12 EMERSON MORSE III

13 DANIELLE KELLER

14 NICK & MICHELE AMOROSO

15 CALVIN KELLER

24 BILL WHITBECK

ROBBIE KELLER

27 CAROL LAHUT

STEPHANIE BEDNAR

BIBLE READINGS:

January & February Bible Readings

First Sunday after Christmas Day, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day, January 1, 2017

Monday (January 2, 2017): Psalm 20;

Tuesday (January 3, 2017): Genesis 28:10-22;

Wednesday (January 4, 2017): Psalm 72;

Thursday (January 5, 2017): Joshua 1:1-9;

Epiphany of the Lord, January 6, 2017

Saturday (January 7, 2017): Acts 9:19b-31

Monday (January 9, 2017): Psalm 89:5-37;

Tuesday (January 10, 2017): Acts 8:4-13

Wednesday (January 11, 2017): Psalm 89:5-37;

Thursday (January 12, 2017): Isaiah 22:15-25;

Friday (January 13, 2017): Acts 1:1-5

Saturday (January 14, 2017): Psalm 40:1-11;

Second Sunday after Epiphany, January 15, 2017

Monday (January 16, 2017): Exodus 12:1-13, 21-28;

Tuesday (January 17, 2017): Hebrews 10:1-4

Wednesday (January 18, 2017): Psalm 40:6-17;

Thursday (January 19, 2017): 1 Samuel 1:1-20;

Friday (January 20, 2017): Galatians 2:1-10

Saturday (January 21, 2017): Psalm 27:1-6;

Third Sunday after Epiphany, January 22, 2017

Monday (January 23, 2017): Judges 6:11-24;

Tuesday (January 24, 2017): Philippians 2:12-18

Wednesday (January 25, 2017): Psalm 27:7-14;

Thursday (January 26, 2017): Deute. 16:18-20;

Friday (January 27, 2017): 1 Timothy 5:17-24,p> Saturday (January 28, 2017): Psalm 15;

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, January 29, 2017

Monday (January 30, 2017): Ruth 1:1-18;

Tuesday (January 31, 2017): James 5:1-6

Wednesday (February 1, 2017): Psalm 37:1-17;

Thursday (February 2, 2017): Ruth 3:1-13;

Friday (February 3, 2017): Isaiah 29:1-12;

Saturday (February 4, 2017): Mark 7:1-8

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, February 5, 2017

Monday (February 6, 2017): Psalm 119:105-112;

Tuesday (February 7, 2017): 2 Kings 23:1-8, 21-25;

Wednesday (February 8, 2017): John 8:12-30

Thursday (February 9, 2017): Psalm 119:1-8;

Friday (February 10, 2017): Leviticus 26:34-46;

Saturday (February 11, 2017): Matthew 15:1-9

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, February 12, 2017

Monday (February 13, 2017): Psalm 119:9-16;

Tuesday (February 14, 2017): Deuteronomy 23:21-24:4, 10-15;

Wednesday (February 15, 2017): Matthew 19:1-12

Thursday (February 16, 2017): Psalm 119:33-40;

Friday (February 17, 2017): Leviticus 6:1-7;

Saturday (February 18, 2017): Matthew 7:1-12

Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, February 19, 2017

Monday (February 20, 2017): Psalm 119:57-64;

Tuesday (February 21, 2017): Genesis 31:1-3, 17-50;

Wednesday (February 22, 2017): Luke 18:18-30

Thursday (February 23, 2017): Psalm 2;

Friday (February 24, 2017): Exodus 19:9b-25;

Saturday (February 25, 2017): Mark 9:9-13

Transfiguration Sunday, February 26, 2017

Monday (February 27, 2017): Psalm 78:17-20, 52-55;

Tuesday (February 28, 2017): 1 Kings 19:9-18;

THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW YEAR

When “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted in 1965, religious references were unheard of on television. Yet the show’s climax features the Christmas story verbatim. As Linus begins reciting Luke 2, he’s clutching his ever-present blue blanket. Yet, as Pastor Jason Soroski points out, Linus drops it right as he utters the words “fear not”. (Luke 2:10)

Soroski believes the timing is intentional and that “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz sends a simple brilliant message. “The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears,” Soroski writes. It “frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves. The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly and learn to trust and cling to Him instead.”

As we who bask in the glow from the birth of our Savior begin this new year, may we be like Linus, dropping our fears, leaving them at Jesus’ cradle and embracing the love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy that has been provided to us. Fear not, for we have been saved. Fear not, for our path has been set before us. Fear not, for He has promised to be with us always. Fear not. He loves you! Love Him right back.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

Life is really simple, but we insist on Making it complicated. - Confucius

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. - John Lennon

Give thanks for the rainbows, for the butterflies, for all God's creatures - large and small, for the bright blue sky and the soft fog and the gentle rain, for the tree veiled in the season's first frost, for the baby's laugh, for the touch of a hand and the whispered "I love you."

- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

- 1 John 3:17

Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.

- Mary Manin Morrissey

Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right. - Max Lucado

We are most like God when we forgive.

- Anonymous

God doesn't require us to succeed; He only requires that you try. - Mother Teresa

A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous.

- Anonymous

I can see, and that is why I can be happy,

in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world. - Helen Keller

God has no religion. Each one prays to God according to his own light.

- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

When the solution is simple, God is answering. - Albert Einstein

Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.

- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God. -Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Heaven means to be one with God.

- Confucius

Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. - Frank Lloyd Wright

That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

- Albert Einstein

Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.

- Og Mandino

God gives some more than others because some accept more than others.

- Ernest Holmes

Indoor yard sale

Did you get a wok for a present and you don’t even like oriental food? January 21st is our first Indoor Yard Sale from 9AM to 2PM. Lisa Meaney is the Coordinator.

Rent a table for $20 or if you have lots of stuff, rent two tables for $30. Reserve your table(s) quickly. A sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board or call the Office at 828-5946. And, of course, our kitchen counter will be open for breakfast and lunch with delicious homemade food, soups and desserts to eat in or take out.

Heads Up: Second (and last for the year) Indoor Yard Sale will be March 11th.

Italian Valentine’s Day Buffet Dinner

On Saturday, February 11th, we will host our eighth annual Valentine’s Italian Buffet. The buffet will be held at 6pm. Take-outs will be available for pick-up at 5pm. This all-you-can-eat Buffet includes many Italian Dishes, Salad, fresh home-made Bread and numerous yummy Desserts.

The cost is $15 for Adults and $8 for children under 10.

This dinner has sold out in the past, so please get your tickets early. To reserve your tickets, please contact the Church at 828-5946. Come join us! This is a dinner you won’t want to miss. Kim Meade and Beth Colwell are again co-chairs. Please contact one of them if you can prepare some food or set up and/or serve.

Horse Thieves Luncheon

As a fundraiser, we have hosted a luncheon for the Society for the Detection and Apprehension of Horse Thieves. We will again do this on February 4th at noon. Please contact Liz Grattan if you help prepare and/or serve.

2017 GRC Budget Highlights:

The 2017 budget was presented to the Congregation and passed. The 2016 budget was $118,337. The total budget for the coming year is $115,003. This represents a decrease in the amount of $3,374. There are copies of the entire budget on the bookcase outside the Office, but here are some of the line items that were decreased.

• Denominational Assessment ($857)

• Parsonage Electric ($300)

• Mileage Reimbursement ($500)

• Worker’s Comp ($600)

• Church Heat ($1,500)

• Office Supplies ($300)

SENIOR VERSION OF JESUS LOVES ME

An Atlanta Church was honoring one of its senior pastors who had been

retired many years. He was 92 at that time and I wondered why the church

even bothered to ask the old gentleman to preach at that age. After a warm

welcome, introduction of this speaker, and as the applause quieted down,

he rose from his high back chair and walked slowly, with great effort and

a sliding gait to the podium. Without a note or written paper of any kind

he placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and

slowly he began to speak....

"When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your pastor asked me

to tell you what was the greatest lesson ever learned in my 50-odd years

of preaching. I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just

one thing that made the most difference in my life and sustained me

through all my trials.. The one thing that I could always rely on when

tears and heartbreak and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me...

The only thing that would comfort was this verse......

"Jesus loves me this I know.

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong,

We are weak but He is strong.....

Yes, Jesus loves me....

The Bible tells me so."

The old pastor stated, "I always noticed that it was the adults who chose

the children's hymn 'Jesus Loves Me' (for the children of course) during a

hymn sing, and it was the adults who sang the loudest because I could see

they knew it the best."

"Here for you now is a Senior version of Jesus Loves Me":

JESUS LOVES ME

Jesus loves me, this I know,

Though my hair is white as snow

Though my sight is growing dim,

Still He bids me trust in Him.

(CHORUS)

YES, JESUS LOVES ME.. YES, JESUS LOVES ME..

YES, JESUS LOVES ME, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.

Though my steps are oh, so slow,

With my hand in His I'll go

On through life, let come what may,

He'll be there to lead the way.

(CHORUS)

When the nights are dark and long,

In my heart He puts a song..

Telling me in words so clear,

"Have no fear, for I am near."

(CHORUS)

When my work on earth is done,

And life's victories have been won.

He will take me home above,

Then I'll understand His love.

(CHORUS)

I love Jesus, does He know?

Have I ever told Him so?

Jesus loves to hear me say,

That I love Him every day.

(CHORUS)

So it is with us as it was with that old, old preacher. Don't ever lose sight of the FACT that Jesus does and forever will love you.

A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment! "When Satan is knocking at your door, simply say "Jesus, could you get that for me? "!!!!"

The following was written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1849 for his mother-in-law

“To My Mother”

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,

The angels, whispering to one another,

Can find, among their burning terms of love,

None so devotional as that of “Mother,”

Therefore by that dear name I long have called you—

You who are more than mother unto me,

And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you,

In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.

My mother—my own mother, who died early,

Was but the mother of myself; but you

Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,

And thus are dearer than the mother I knew

By that infinity with which my wife

Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.

And, as we go through the summer, let us not forget that on July 4th, we celebrate and remember that our freedom was fought for and won many years ago. Many have died so that we can live.

N-Notes from NaNcy at the eNd of the Newsletter (May-June 2016)

11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. [Jeremiah 29: 11]

This is the season of graduation, spring weddings and confirmation, for celebrating past accomplishments, present happiness and future plans. So whenever I send someone a card in this season, I like to quote Jeremiah 29: 11. It lets people know that not only I wish them well—but, the God of the Universe has positive plans for them too. Even out of context, this one verse is a good choice for greeting cards. But what if we explore the context in which the prophet Jeremiah issued this pleasant-sounding prophecy? Jeremiah wrote this in a letter to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. These included King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths—only the “dregs” of society were left behind to live with the Jerusalem poor, the foreigners, the unskilled, the unlearned. Before verse 11, the letter says:

5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 10For thus says the LORD: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

To these leaders of Jewish society their national God was saying “Go be Babylonians for the next 70 years.” That’s at least two generations sentenced to live and work, reproduce and die in a foreign land. Whoa! Is that what I want to say in my greeting cards this spring—to graduates, to confirmands, to newlyweds? It is fortunate in a way that most people don’t know the story of the Babylonian exile anymore. The Jews experienced this exile as punishment from God. Up until the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. and the aftermath of the 20th century Holocaust, this exile was the single most important factor that shaped the Jews in relation to the rest of the world. They became the Jewish diaspora—keeping only their faith [except for animal sacrifice] but becoming assimilated to whatever nation they found themselves in. That’s when Talmudic Judaism began and the Jews became a people of the book, of the written word. What if they had never been forced to leave Jerusalem and Palestine? Would we even have the Old Testament today? Would Judaism have been spiritualized and universal enough to produce a Jesus and thus the New Testament? What else would have been different today?

There is an old adage put into English by Longfellow: “The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small.” Which means, I think, that God is working out his inevitable long-range plan in human history. It’s going to take a long time; but when finished, it will be exactly what God intended all along. After Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon, he allowed the exiles to return in 537 B.C. They came back to Jerusalem with a faith refined by the rise of the scribal profession, deeply committed to ethnic purity centering on the rebuilt Temple, and yet enriched by universalistic monotheistic values. The Babylonian exile represents not only one of Judaism's darkest hours, but also the beginning of its history as an enduring universal religion that gave birth to the later monotheistic traditions of Christianity and Islam.

None of those unsuspecting people who receive my cards will think my quote from Jeremiah 29 carries so much meaning. They will just think I’ve found a religious way to wish them well. They won’t realize that I am wishing they will find their place within God’s long-range plan for creation, namely the return of everything to its original state of goodness, to Eden. It’s inevitable. God has already thought of it, and in the end, everything is going to be okay. If everything’s not okay—it must not be the end. I pray you will all take some hope from that wish. In God’s BIG Love, Pastor Nancy

Community Hospice

The Community Hospice provides free support to children, teens, adults and families who have experienced the death of a family member or friend, regardless of the cause of death. For more information, you can call our local Community Hospice in Catskill at 943-5402 or go on line at: www.HospiceGriefServices.com.

Point to Ponder:

CHURCH is NOT a noun. It’s a verb. It can be friends gathering around a meal, talking about the things that matter most, building each other up. That’s a lot bigger than 11 a.m. on Sunday.

SOME SELECTED QUOTES:

The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go. --Galileo Galilei. I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me: They're cramming for their final exam. --George Carlin. It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. --Mark Twain. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people. --Gilbert K. Chesterton. In the Bible it says they asked Jesus how many times you should forgive, and he said 70 times seven. Well, I want you all to know that I'm keeping a chart. --Hillary Clinton. No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means. --George Bernard Shaw. There's nothing written in the Bible, Old or New Testament, that says, "If you believe in me, you ain't going to have no troubles." --Ray Charles. Ghent Reformed Church

A Congregation of the Reformed Church in America

Organist: Kira Garvie December 24, 2016 Candlelight Worship Christmas Eve

Pastor: Nancy A. McClure-Long

Liturgist: Sunday School & Teachers

1039 ROUTE 22, GHENT, NY 12075

518-828-5946 www.angelfire.com/ny5/ghent_ref_church

“We come from where we are and as we are to worship God, to mirror Christ’s teaching and to go where the Spirit leads us; encouraging, informing, nurturing and sustaining those known to us and those whom we have yet to meet.”

We Enter God’s Presence

PRELUDE WELCOME & PREPARATION Pastor Nancy Welcome to this celebration of Christ’s birth. We pray that Christ will find a place in your heart and in your life, that you may know the wonder of being loved unconditionally, cherished unceasingly, and saved everlastingly. Rejoice, for God is with us - Emmanuel. In the darkness of our world shines God's holy light. Now there is reason to hope, to love, to laugh, to live. God is truly with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God!

CALLING ONE ANOTHER TO WORSHIP responsive

L: The Lord be with you.

P: And also with you.

L: We gather to celebrate the birth of the one who is the light of the world.

P: We are here to worship God - and his Son Jesus - born this night in Bethlehem of Judea.

L: Upon him rested all God’s grace, through him has come all God’s mercy.

P: His light shines within our hearts tonight even more brightly than it shines from the candles in this place.

ALL: THROUGH JESUS, WE HEAR GOD’S WORD AND CELEBRATE GOD’S EVERLASTING LOVE.

*CAROL “O Come All Ye Faithful” v. 1-3 #130

LIGHTING THE WAY – Relighting the Advent Candles responsive

L: We light the candle of hope to remind us of the promises made by all the prophets that God would raise up a savior for his people Israel.

P: Christ is our hope and our salvation. He calls us to share our hope in him with each other.

L: We light the candle of peace to remind us that it is only with God and by following in his path that true peace can be found.

P: Christ brings the peace of God to us. He calls us to share the peace he gives with each other.

L: We light the candle of love to remind us that Jesus is God's gift of love to us - and that in him, the light of love triumphs over darkness.

P: Love never fails - it transforms all those who give it and receive it. God calls us to share his love with each other.

L: We light the candle of joy to remind us that God gives joy to every heart that abides in him.

ALL: As Mary rejoiced in the birth of Jesus, so his birth in us brings us joy. God calls us to share the joy he gives with each other.

PRAYER >[? Pastor Nancy Gracious God, with joy and thanksgiving we gather as your people. We have come to hear again the timeless story of Christ's birth. In the excitement of this day and tomorrow, quiet our hearts that we may know the peace and fullness of this holy time. Shine, O Light, in the darkness of our world. Sing, O angels, in the stillness of our hearts. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will among all people. This we pray in the name of the Child of Bethlehem. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle [light the candle]

Jesus, the true light, has come into the world. We have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. The light of this Christ Candle reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the World.

SONG “A Candle is Burning” [to the tune of “Away in a Manger”]

We honor Messiah with Christ candle’s flame>[? our Christmas Eve candles glad tidings proclaim.

O Come all you faithful, rejoice in this night,

as God comes among us, the Christian’s true light.

*UNISON READING [©Thom M. Shuman] poem

We have prepared as best we can. We've mucked out the stable and put down the plush carpet; still, you will come: tracking in mud from the Jordan and shaking sin's dust off your clothes. The animals have been dropped off at the shelter, and the room deodorized; still, you will come: leading the lost, the least, the little into our midst. We've turned over the manger and covered it with Irish lace, setting the table with the finest silver and china; still, you will come: tearing the linen into strips for binding our wounds, selling the silver to feed the hungry. We've tamed and made marketable this most holy of nights, shaping it by our desires and dilemmas; still, you will come: slipping between the cracks in our despair, to fill our emptiness with grace; to shatter our complacency with the carols of angels; to transform our acquisitiveness into generosity. Still come, Lord Jesus, come. Be born in us again.

We Hear the Word of God

FIRST LESSON: John’s Prologue John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Thanks be to God!

CONGREGATIONAL HYMN “O Word of God Incarnate” #110, v. 1

SECOND LESSON: Prophets Predict a Messiah Micah 5: 2; Isaiah 7: 14

CONGREGATIONAL CAROL “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” #116, v. 1 & 2

THIRD LESSON: Jesus is born Luke 2: 1-7

SOLO: “Mary, Did You Know” Kathy Jones

FOURTH LESSON: The Shepherds Luke 2: 8-20

CONGREGATIONAL CAROL “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” v. 1 #118

FIFTH LESSON: The Wise Men Matthew 2: 1-2, 7-11

CONGREGATIONAL CAROL “The First Noel” v. 2-5 #120

SIXTH LESSON: And then…..

The wise men returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. And according to Matthew, Herod sent his soldiers to kill all the children in Bethlehem age 2 and under to eliminate the competition for the crown. An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave." So, Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod died.

CONGREGATIONAL CAROL “What Child is This” #126

Christmas Thoughts Pastor Nancy

The Everlasting Father, God With Us, arrived in the humblest circumstances. It was at a time of heavy taxation, a grim reminder of the overwhelming power that Rome held over Israel. Joseph and Mary were required to register in the town of their heritage. Mary was 9 months pregnant. It was undoubtedly a difficult journey from Nazareth. She was expecting, and they were not yet married, but Joseph accepted it all graciously as the angel had earlier told him of Mary's special child.

As was their custom, when the child was born, it was wrapped tightly in narrow strips of cloth that literally strapped the baby's arms to its side and prevented its movement. It was accepted custom to do this because folks back then believed that this would help a child grow up with straight, strong bones. God's son submitted to the customs of the times.

Because there was no other place, he was placed in a feed trough, where livestock fed. It could not have been a more difficult situation for the young mother, child, and father.

[Pastor and participants read this poem]

P: A poem has been written describing that first Christmas:

1: There were no Christmas stockings hung

On that first Christmas day,

2: Just a lonely manger

And a lowly bed of hay.

3: There was no jovial Santa Claus

With toys and gifts galore,

4: But shepherds came from out of the fields

To worship and adore.

P: There was no Christmas tree that day

Bedecked with tinsel bright,

1: But in the East there was a star

That dazzled with its light.

2: There were no Christmas carolers

To serenade with song,

3: But hosts of angels gathered round

To watch the whole night long.

4: No fast last-minute shopping

And no Christmas cards to send,

ALL: But hope was born in one small child—

For new life without end.

We Respond in Thanksgiving

OFFERING OUR GIFTS

OFFERTORY ANTHEM

*DOXOLOGY

Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise him all creatures here below; praise him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

PASSING THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

The church will be darkened and deacons will come down the aisles with candles lit from the Christ Candle. The first person in each row will tip an unlit candle to the deacons' candles and then pass the light down the row, always tipping the unlit candle to the lit candle. Please stand for the singing of "Silent Night." Then extinguish your candles and be seated for the closing prayer. *CAROL: “Silent Night” #122

(Congregation may extinguish candles)

CLOSING PRAYER:

Pastor Nancy *CHRISTMAS BLESSING

May the Christ child fill you with the sweetness of inward peace and goodwill; and may the blessing of God--Creator, Child, and Holy Spirit--be upon you and remain with you always. Go forth now in peace and joy, extending the peace of Christ to all you meet.

*DEPARTING CAROL “Joy to the World” #117

We invite you to the refreshments prepared for everyone in the Fellowship Hall.

Our Mission Statement

The Ghent Reformed Church is a group of believers in Jesus Christ, the one who always welcomed sinners, healed the sick, fed the hungry, and preached good news to the poor. In an increasingly secular world, we consider our congregation to be a mission outpost in our community, which attempts to follow Christ’s example. To that end, we support local food pantries, visit the sick and those in prison, volunteer in many community causes, welcome the downhearted to our church family, and offer Bible-centered preaching and learning for hungry souls. Come as you are. We do!

Holiday Gift Baskets

Holiday Sweets Gift Baskets

Pickup: Wednesday, December 21st 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

BLUE CHRISTMAS

For many of us, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are sad times. Times when they are remembering a loved one who has died and is no longer with them, leaving a void that seems insurmountable. On Wednesday, December 21st at 7 PM, Pastor Nancy will be conducting a service designed to ease some of that pain and refocus our hurt, sadness or despair in a more positive direction. Come, leave your pain at the foot of the cross.

Christmas Sunday Isn’t Cancelled!!!

Not often does Christmas Day arrive on a Sunday, but this year it does. And even though most young children at 9 AM are still wrapped up in the joys of Christmas morning, we at GRC will be joining together with song and stories about our experiences and joys associated with Christmas. Come and join us with your stories.

 Note from Penny

 If your children play in the Children’s Room before-during-after worship, you parents need to make sure the room is neat and toys put back on shelves before you leave.

Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity

This program from the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving is affiliated with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. The Regional Synod of Albany has invited CCCG to come to the Albany area and is willing to cover much of the $500 cost of each church’s team of participants. Each congregation may send a team of 2-4 members, one of whom must be the pastor. The congregation names, authorizes, and empowers this team to serve as their congregational generosity team. Team members must attend all three 1-day sessions [Oct. 29, Dec. 3 and Jan. 21] to be held at First Reformed Church of Schenectady. Registration deadline is Oct. 7. If you are interested in being a member of the team. Pastor Nancy has reading material about CCCG.

Classis-wide INCLUSION BIBLE STUDY CONVERSATION All are welcome to attend a Bible study on four passages of scripture that may be applied to the inclusion of LGBT people in our church communities. The Bible study will take place on four Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. in the library of the Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack. It will be led by Dr. Nancy Hoag, psychologist, and Rev. Linda Miles, pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack. Listed below are the dates and the passages we will be discussing:

October 25- John 9 The Man Born Blind

November 1- Matthew 19:1-12 Divorce, Unchastity, Eunuchs

November 22-1 Corinthians 6- The Body as a Temple

December 6- Romans 14:1-15:7 Prohibition on Judging

We look forward to your presence as we study the Word of God together. For more info, please contact the church office at 518-851-3811 or Pastor Linda at 845-430-3348

STOP HUNGER NOW

This year’s Stop Hunger Now meal packing event will held at the Town Hall in Valatie (the old Martin H Glynn school), hosted by the Kinderhook Reformed Church on October 15, 2015 starting at 1 pm. We pray that many of you will join us as we gather together with STOP HUNGER NOW in this mission to feed the hungry! The goal is 20,000 meals, which equates to $5,800 at .29 per meal! For more information or to sign up to volunteer please contact the church at 518-758-6401 or via e-mail at krc@fairpoint.net

His Loving Hands

Our short-term, hands-on mission group is called His Loving Hands. For December we will be collecting the following items for the Office of Community Care so they can put together gift bags for those undergoing cancer treatment. Your help for any of these short-term missions is greatly appreciated.

• Handmade Lap Blankets

• Handmade hats, socks, mittens/gloves

• Grown-up coloring books [stress relief]

• Multi-color pens and pencils

• Unscented lotions

• Lip Balm [non-petroleum based]

• Drinking Cups with straws

• Tissues

• Fuzzy socks

• Inspirational items [books, magnets, memo pads]

• Puzzle Books, Crossword or Sudoku books

• Playing Cards

• Journals

• Anything that provides comfort to someone coping with illness, chemo

Readings to Ponder

His Name Says It All

Matthew doesn’t want Joseph or any of us to get stuck in the dream. Matthew wants to bring us back down to earth, back to our waking reality, by invoking the name of Immanuel. Because if the Jesus, whose name was given to Joseph in a dream, is to do us any good, he’d better meet us and be with us in all those times when dreams end and when the crushing weight of a miserable world comes crashing down around our shoulders again. If he is only Jesus, the one who saves us from our sins, it would still be too easy to turn him into the one who also saves us out of the real world. But if he is Immanuel, then we realize we don’t have to go anywhere to meet him other than the hurly-burly reality of our Monday mornings and our Thursday afternoons. We don’t have to go find him in some other realm because he has already found us in exactly this realm and this world.

Immanuel is God-with-us in the cancer clinic and in the Alzheimer’s ward at the local nursing home. Immanuel is God-with-us when the pink slip comes and when the beloved child sneers, “I hate you!” Immanuel is God-with-us when you pack the Christmas decorations away and, with an aching heart, you realize afresh that your one son never did call over the holidays. Not once. Immanuel is God-with-us when your dear wife or mother stares at you with an Alzheimer’s glaze and absently asks, “What was your name again?” Ever and always Jesus stares straight into you with his two good eyes and he does so not only when you can smile back but most certainly also when your own eyes are full of tears. In fact, Jesus is Immanuel, “God with you” even in those times when you are so angry with God that you refuse to meet his eyes. But even when you feel like you can’t look at him, he never looks away from you. He can’t. His name says it all. [Scott Hoezee, Comments and Observations]

Mary, Let’s Go To The Barn

I love this story: A grade school class was putting on a Christmas play which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. In that class was one little boy who wanted very much to be Joseph. But when the parts were handed out, his biggest rival was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn keeper instead. He was really bitter about this. So during all the rehearsals he kept plotting in his mind what he might do the night of performance to get even with his rival who was Joseph. Finally, the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the inn-keeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted. Joseph answered, “We’d like to have a room for the night.” Suddenly the inn-keeper threw the door open wide and said, “Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house.” For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do, and a long silence ensued. Finally though, thinking quickly on his feet, Joseph looked in past the inn-keeper, first to the left and then to the right and said, “No wife of mine is going to stay in a dump like this. Come on, Mary, let’s go to the barn.” And once again the play was back on course. It is obvious that Joseph cared deeply for Mary. He would not have risked his own reputation and protected hers if he did not. But his love was deeper and grounded on more than love for his bride to be. For you see he understood that obedience to God, even in the most dire of circumstances creates a life of substance and character. [Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com. Adapted from a Story by John Simmons]

HISTORICAL DATA ABOUT CHRISTMAS

What did December 25 originally celebrate? For some time before the coming of Christianity, December 25 was a time of pagan celebration. The pagans knew that at this point in their calendar the shortest day and longest night had passed, that little by little the sun would rise higher and remain longer in the sky, bringing with it the promise of spring. Prior to this day occurred the week-long Roman feast called Saturnalia (December 17-24), held in honor of the deity Saturn. This festival brought hopes for peace, happiness, and goodness that supposedly occurred during Saturn’s reign. How did December 25 gain its Christian emphasis? For more than 300 years after Jesus’ time, Christians celebrated His resurrection but not His birth. Evidently, sometime during the early fourth century, Christians began searching for the proper day to celebrate Christ’s birth. Some churches had been celebrating Jesus’ birth on January 6, others April 20, May 20, March 29, and September 29. Finally so much confusion reigned that Saint Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, about the middle of the fourth century, inquired of the Roman bishop, Julius, regarding the correct date. Julius wrote Cyril and reported that he personally favored December 25. Obviously refusing to accept this date as valid, Cyril and the Jerusalem church continued celebrating the event for many years on January 6. In A.D. 354, two years following the end of Saint Julius’ reign, the new Roman bishop, Liberius, ordered all his people to celebrate December 25 as the correct day of Christ’s birth. With the passage of time this date became the more popular and was soon adopted by most of Christendom. [Adrian Dieleman]

Prepared

God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You must take it. The only choice is how. [Henry Ward Beecher]

Humor: High Risk

I remember seeing a cartoon depicting a church that had been built in close proximity to an active volcano. In the picture are the church, its sign - “The Church Next to the Active Volcano” - and two men standing in front of the church, one of whom is wearing a clergy shirt and appears to be speaking to the other man. The caption reads, “Of course, there is a high degree of risk being located here, but it lends a great sense of urgency to my preaching!” [Johnny Dean]

Santa Claus In some lands it is the Christ Child who is believed to distribute gifts and blessings, although the name Kris Kringle, a popular variation of the German word “Christkindel”—which means “Christ Child”—is now commonly associated with Santa Claus. The real prototype of the modern Santa was a fourth-century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, St. Nicholas. Little historical information concerning him has been preserved, yet about his name has clung a wonderful world of lore and tradition. Legend tells us that he was a young man of considerable wealth who gave himself to the work of the Lord and generously bestowed his worldly goods upon those whose needs were greater than his own. Usually he preferred to receive no credit for his benevolences, desiring rather to make his visits to the homes of the poor and unfortunate under the cloak of darkness so that no one would know who he was. This venerated man, we are further told, suffered tortures and imprisonment when the Emperor Diocletian was striving ruthlessly to destroy the Christian faith. During the reign of the Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, St. Nicholas was released, and he later is said to have attended the important Council of Nicaea. St. Nicholas has long been associated particularly with the interests of scholars, mariners, and especially children. He is the patron saint of Greece and Russia. Centuries ago, December 6 was designated as the day when he should be honored. The proximity of his day to the birthday of our Lord made him an obvious representative of the charitable character of Christmas. In colonial America the Dutch name Sant Nikolaas was mispronounced as Santa Claus. It is by this name that St. Nicholas is best remembered. [Charles L. Allen and Charles L. Wallis, Christmas, Fleming H. Revell Company, pp. 90-91]

UPCOMING EVENTS

12/20 1:30 p.m. Pastor Nancy to Pine Haven to hold worship & communion.

12/21 3-7 p.m. Pick up holiday sweets baskets [Karen Leggett]

7 p.m. Blue Christmas Worship [for those who mourn] Guest Organist Luke Olivieri

12/24 6 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship, followed by seasonal treats. Kira Garvie, Organist

12/25 9 a.m. Christmas Day Worship – Carol Sing – Kira Garvie, Organist. Telling stories about Christmas memories: funny, awe-filled, favorite, worst, etc. [12/30 to Jan 12] Pastor Nancy on two week vacation; in Texas] 2017 Happy New Year! Jan. 15 HeartSong returns to lead worship for us. 1/18 Consistory Meeting 1/21 Indoor Yard Sale [Lisa Meaney] 1/26: Pastor Nancy to SMB meeting in Schenectady, 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 2/4: Horse Thieves luncheon [Liz Grattan] 2/7: Special Classis Meeting to discuss BCO Additions 2/11: Valentine’s Italian Buffet [Kim Meade & Beth Colwell] 3/7: Classis Meeting to vote on BCO Additions 3/11: Indoor Yard Sale [Lisa Meaney] Please pray for the following individuals and families during the week of Dec. 18-24: Dan & Kathy Jones Family; Ethel Jones; Kent & Roberta Keller Family; Marjorie Kelsey, Michele and Rebecca Klein; Florence Kring; Rick & Karen Leggett Family

For Medical problems: Arlene lymphoma; Sally Charron, more chemo; Bev Coon’s grandson bad sprain; Ed Coon’s son is a grandfather; John DeBella, Nora’s b-i-l, more weeks of chemo; Bunny DeLong; John Dolobath, melanoma; Eryn, Liz G’s friend; Bootie Fenoff, more treatments; Barbara Gansowski; Barbara’s sister Pat; Chris Howard, not doing well; Patricia Hutchings; John, Liz G’s friend, melanoma; Ashlynn Keller; Pat Klein’s son, Michael; Lindsay in Buffalo; Jim Leggett, dizziness; Karen Leggett; Rick Leggett, kidney stones; Lori, cancer; Liz G’s friend Linda, melanoma; Lisa Meaney’s friend Ike, hospice; Lisa Meaney, broken finger; Jason Meaney; Mando, leukemia; Erin Moeller CA; Jim Moore; Nicki Mossman; Marion Ozga; Frank Rizzi; Nancy Romanchuk; Erika Bornn Tipple’s friend Cornelia Sutter and Erika’s sister-in-law Pam Stubbs; Erika’s eye surgery rescheduled; Larry Van Brunt rotator cuff surgery postponed.

For Healing from Surgery: George Bednar; Suzanne Brown; Petrina Graver; Dan Jones’ friend Steve; Kathy Jones; Marjorie Kelsey; Ellie Millback; Kathy Morano; Rebecca Preusser; Marion Ozga; Barbara Slater, heart surgery; Steve Younes

For those in distress: Several members of the cancer support group; Marie Cullen Barnwell 602, phone 758-4898; John & Debbie DeBella; Mildred Felpel, in nursing home; Howard Family illness & depression; Danimarie Jones; Florence Kring at Whittier 102A; Nancy Stinard

For those in mourning: family and friends of Stallman family, fatal car wreck

For support and strength: Liz Grattan’s co-worker Christine; The Hodges Family and Peyton Janet; Dan & Kathy Jones; Diana Jones going back to college; The Ordways whose house burned; Tara Tomlin sentenced to 5-years prison; Leah Whiteman, leukemia. For all veterans. Praise & Thanks: From Bev Coon for all the prayers; from Bootie Fenoff for contributing to all her fundraisers for the Cancer group.

Pray for our commander-in-chief and all service men and women. For our president-elect; and to heal divisions in our country. That the U.S. fulfill its high spiritual destiny.

April Pomeroy’s new address is: 2 E. Marie St., Hudson, NY 12354; phone 822-1118

Dot Losee’s daughter Jan is looking for someone to stay with Dot when Jan is not there, as Dot’s dizziness leaves her at risk for falling [392-2698].

Dear Creator of Our Universe,

We thank you that in Genesis as you created the building blocks of our world one by one you declared them all very good.

Thank you for the goodness of the day and the night,

the goodness of the atmosphere and the seas,

the goodness of the land and vegetation,

the goodness of the sun, moon and stars,

the goodness of all animals

and the goodness of all human beings. (Genesis 1:1-27.)

We also thank you that you created us as human beings in Your own image with the ability to think, to discover and to build. Thank you for our ability to marvel at both the majesty and grandeur of our earth as well as the intricate design of the tiniest detail of nature. Because you created us to feel most alive when connected to the goodness of our earth, Develop in us a deep respectfulness of the delicate balance of nature. Forgive us for the things we have done that exploit and destroy any part of the balance you established from the very beginning of time.

Help us to remember that You have created us as body, mind, soul and spirit and if we neglect to nurture the physical side of our life, our spirits will perish. Help us to nurture the earth as if it were our own body as the Scripture says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore, honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:19 NIV version)

Help us to know that although the earth is our home, we do not own it. The earth is Yours, and everything in it. May we appreciate the infinite cost and value You placed on creation. May we honor You by honoring the goodness of the works of Your hands today and every day the sun rises. Amen.

Copyright Karen Barber 2012 All rights reserved.

Karen Barber is the Founding Director of Prayer Igniters International, a Contributing Editor with Guideposts Magazine, the author of Surprised by Prayer and the creator of the Personal Prayer Power video/study series. Personal Prayer Power emphasizes interactive prayer, including how to find an answer to every prayer and how prayer shapes your future. Visit Personal Prayer Power to order or for more information.

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