In This Week's E-Pistle, You Will Find:
This Week's Service Notes
On the 1st Sunday after Christmas, the Christian Church celebrates the "Feast of the Holy Family," where we put our focus on Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. At Sunday's "Video Worship Service," Pastor Sal will give an inspiring message about "Faith and Family," and we'll enjoy uplifting music from Peter Black and Jeff Spangler. Plus, there will be a "Holiday Slideshow" of our Douglas UCC family. We hope you will join us.
Tune in on Sunday at 10 AM via our Facebook page, YouTube channel, or here on our website.
Last Week's Service Video
Last Sunday, we lit the fourth and final Advent wreath candle for "LOVE," for love is the reason for the season. Please enjoy our "Video Worship Service," when Pastor Sal gave an inspiring message about "The Power of Love." Music by Peter Black and Stan Greene. You can find and share this homily, its podcast, and its video from the Homily Library here.
Christmas Eve: "Service of the Lessons & Carols"
Tune in above to watch our Christmas Eve service, broadcasting tonight at 7pm and available whenever you like after that time. This service is online-only this year. For more than 100 years, Douglas UCC has taken part in the Christmas Eve tradition of the "Service of the Lessons & Carols," in which we hear the story of the birth of Jesus told through lessons from the Gospels and through Christmas Carols that we all know and love. This beautiful service will touch your heart and lift your spirits.
Special Collection: UCC Christmas Fund
This week, we are taking a special collection for the UCC's Christmas Fund. Since 1902, the Christmas Fund has provided assistance to clergy and lay employees who, after years of service to others, now find themselves facing unexpected needs. To donate to the Christmas Fund, you can make a one-time donation on our online "Giving" page (please write "Christmas Fund" in the 'Optional' comment space) or write a check made out to Douglas UCC and mail it to Douglas UCC, P.O. Box 519, Douglas, MI 49406. Please write "Christmas Fund" on the memo line of the check. Our church will match whatever funds are collected. Thank you, as always, for your generous giving.
Reverse Advent Calendar -- Easing Hunger in Your Community
This project, conceived by our church member Chris Clark, is called a “Reverse Advent Calendar” because it starts after Christmas and you're giving, not receiving. If you would like to participate, you might find it easiest to download and print out the two files below to keep with your Reverse Advent box. Then, Chris recommends:
Start with an empty box and each day add the item listed on the calendar. When the box is full, donate it to a food bank . He advises, "This is only a rigid project if you want it to be. You may substitute items, finish late, skip days, or add multiple items on one day. This is a private activity and it’s not a competition." If you have questions, contact Chis Clark.
These kinds of items are PREFERRED:
Please do NOT donate the following:
Below are two local food banks that DUCC supports. You may deliver the box yourself or let Chris know if you want someone to pick it up and take it for you.
Ladders of Hope, 717 E. Main St., Fennville, (269) 455-9452
Tuesday 5:00 - 7:00pm
Christian Neighbors, Community Church of Douglas, 6874 Wiley, (269) 857-1050
Mon/Tue/Thur/Fri 9:30am - 12:00pm
Congratulations and Thanks to Lakeshore Community Chorus -- The Gift of Music
Joy, Peace, Love, and "all the good things you deserve to feel over the Holidays," were offered in abundance via video broadcast from Lakeshore Community Chorus, an enormous effort to sing separately, but come together digitally, which premiered this past Sunday and remains available for viewing through January 6 (click the link above!). We hope you get a chance to enjoy this beautiful collection of performances. Thanks and congratulations to the Chorus' Artistic Director, our church member Nancy Plantinga, and to all of our friends and church members who performed in this Gift of Music!
Centering Prayer Websites, Apps and Books!
During the months of November and December, Pastor Sal has led a Centering Prayer group, who met weekly to learn about and engage in this meditative form of prayer. Along the way, Pastor Sal shared a number of helpful resources for exploring and deepening our centering prayer practice including these:
Contemplative Outreach, a "spiritual network of individuals and small faith communities committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel." This community offers many ways of approaching this practice, including a Centering Prayer meditation app for your phone!
MeditationChapel.org We found it a powerful experience to meet together online to pray in this way. And behind this link is an "online multi-faith community of contemplatives," including a long, long list of online prayer groups from many faith traditions. There is almost no time of the day or day of the week when a meditative prayer community is not available to you from somewhere in the world! Read the rules and register with this group to receive the Zoom links. Meditation Chapel nurtures unity and world peace through the sharing of divine stillness and sacred listening. They support groups of all faith traditions in offering and sharing the contemplative experience.
Open Mind, Open Heart, by Thomas Keating, known throughout the world as a teacher of and writer on contemplative prayer. A Cistercian (Trappist) monk of St. Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, he was one of the founders of the Centering Prayer Movement.
We hope you'll enjoy exploring these resources. Do you have more questions about centering prayer? Just ask Pastor Sal!
Shopping Receipts Raise Funds for Food Pantry
Are 9 months of Family Fare receipts piling up in your kitchen?
Have 36 weeks of D & W receipts overwhelmed your entryway?
We sure hope so, and it’s time to clean house! The old familiar dropbox has been moved from the Friendship Hall into the vestibule of the Retreat House. Please drop off those receipts so we can total up the past nine months and move closer to our goal of collecting $150,000 worth of receipts. Once we hit that goal, DUCC will donate $1,000 from Spartan’s ‘Direct your Dollars’ Program to Ladders of Hope Food Pantry in Fennville. If you forgot to save receipts before, now is the time to start! The collection box will stay there until further notice, so drop by Retreat House - and drop them in! KUDOS to Dee Mikos Graves and Kathleen Mueller for managing this program and counting up all of those receipts!
Friendship Hall News
At Friendship Hall this past Sunday, we remembered our church member and friend Myron Freund, and heard from Dale Lower and Ted Sommers, who cared for Myron in his last days. Stan Greene pointed out that Freund is "Friend" in German, and Myron was certainly that to all of us. We will remember him in love. We heard that Nancy Plantinga's Dad is still in the hospital. She is headed back to be with him, and thanks everyone for their prayers. Pastor Sal called on all of our pets at our meetup! And they came out for their cameos to receive lots of love and attention! Bev Hawkes thanked Pastor Sal for his book, Childish Thinking, which she gifted to her sister in New York. Her sister is on her third reading, and is finding it healing! Pastor Sal talked about preparing the book from his Homilies while he was on sabbatical, and he shared that his latest homilies are now available, together with the Podcast and Videos at www.DouglasUcc.org/homilies. Thanks to Chris Clark and Julie Ridl, for maintaining this library!
Birthdays & Anniversaries
January 2- Jane Brodt, Greg Harvath
Birthday and Anniversary cards are a great way we can continue to reach out to one another during this time. If you wish to mail a card to one of our church members, addresses can be found in our Church Directory. If you don't have a directory, please let us know, and we will email one to you.
Mary Elizabeth Loudin (friend of Laurie VandenBeldt); Richard Graham; Max Brown; the Klott Family; five members of family of Max Brown's sister; Audrey Looman and Michael Titus, (friends of Ruth VandenBosh; Ruth Pearson (Wendy Hamlin's sister, Fred Hamlin's daughter); Jimmy Hotwagner; Tish Swinehart and Diane Carr (Debra Carr's sisters); Char Clausing (Nancy Plantinga's cousin); Brent Havens; Ruth VandenBosch; the family and friends of Chris Cook, especially Larry Fuerst and Sue Scott; Pamela Chappell; Bubba Beaudreaux; Marilyn Ondersma (the Reimans' friend); Chris Robinson (Peter and Kathleen Mueller's nephew); Dan Mack; Leith Letcher and Jim Shewell; Warren Plantinga (Nancy Plantinga's father); Gregg Kirchen (Sheryll and Greg VanPortfleet's friend); Sidney Matheis; Jodi Berault, Dirk Hollebeek (Ruth VandenBosch's godson); Larry Gregsbeek (friend of Mark Reiman); Daniel Ver Meulen (Susan Fleming's son); Vivian Libby (Sheryll Van Portfleet's Mom); Hannah Sherman; Gary Plantinga (Nancy Plantinga's brother); Terry Stough (Catz Dienes' son); Ted Sommer; Phyllis Wallis (Kathy Austin's mother); Drew Carter; Jeff Cooley (Jo Cooley's brother); Marcia Sullivan (Jo Cooley's friend); Len Lynch (Kathleen Mueller's brother); Curtis Coffin (Marty Coffin's brother).
All of our Covid-19 pandemic first responders, and for the researchers and scientists working on effective tests and treatments for Covid-19. Prayers for all in the military and their families; all who are homeless or addicted or abused or neglected or rejected or hungry; The UCC; the Grand West Association; our Church Council; our Stephen Ministers; our church committees; our communities, our schools, our nation and our planet.
To add or remove a name from the Prayer List, please email us.
Viewers for December 20 Online Service Videos: 774
Online Giving: $3,448.12
Your generous giving allows us to sustain our church community and our mission of service in the world. Please consider giving online, which is easily done by texting your donation amount to
844-931-2849, or sharing through the donate buttons on Facebook or Instagram, or at our website.