Noon on Friday, December 4 is the deadline for signing up!
2020 has been the year we need to be creative about everything we do, so we will still start our Advent season in a different way this year. On December 6th we will have a Zoom Advent Festival for anyone to attend. Take a look at the crafts available (left), then sign up here to let us know which ones you would like to make and your craft kits will be delivered to you. On Dec. 6th, directly after worship, we will be put into Zoom breakup rooms and someone will explain how to do your craft and help if it is needed. Please thoroughly read instructions on the sign up so we have all the information needed. Each craft is limited to 25 total crafts for completion.
For many years, MHCUCC has generously donated hats, scarves, mittens and socks for needy members of local organizations or congregations. This year we cannot hang items on Christmas Tree in the parlor; instead, beginning Nov. 16 we will collect donations of new hats, scarves, mittens, gloves and socks in a brand new secured trash can, located just outside our parking lot entrance. The donations will be distributed to several organizations, including Church Street Ministries (food pantry clients), Denison UCC, and others.
Due to economic hardships this year, many parents will not be able to provide gifts for their children. This year we will collect gifts for children 6 months to 17 years of age. Suggested items are: new books, socks, underwear, games, African American dolls, coloring books and crayons, stuffed animals, new clothing (various sizes infant – teens), toiletries and gift cards (Target, Walmart, Game Stop, Kohls). A gray Rubbermaid tote near the parking lot doors will be available for unwrapped gifts only. Gift cards in envelopes go in the church mailbox located just to the right of Fellowship Hall door. Gifts will be distributed through Church Street Ministries.
Tuesday, December 22, 6-8:30 PM
While we cannot safely sing together in the sanctuary, singing our beloved carols will continue to be a part of the season. Not only will we include familiar carols in our worship services, we will also combine our traditional caroling with our cheer parade. We have a plan to do this safely (masked, outdoors, with a minimum of 12 feet distancing).
Please sign up to participate by Sunday, December 20.
The holiday season with all the joys and celebrations can also present some challenges for those who have lost a loved one. Grief is often intensified during these times of family and traditions. And this year especially, with the challenges of pandemic and isolation, the absence of our loved one will surely be felt.
You are invited to join us via Zoom on 3 consecutive Mondays: Nov 30, Dec 7 and 14 at 7:00 pm. Regardless of whether your loss was recent or years ago, you are welcome to be with us as we tell our stories, consider new traditions, and be present for each other.
Our Grief Through the Holidays sessions will end on Monday, December 21, which is Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year. Join us for a Blue Christmas service at 7 pm to acknowledge the many forms of loss we have experienced this year: loss of loved ones, of income, of our sense of “normal.” This brief but poignant service will offer an opportunity to lift our pain to God as we gather as a community of support, healing and love. We will create quiet space for reflection, prayer, scripture and music. Come and receive a gift of healing for the holidays.
As we focus on music during this Advent season, we will watch and discuss a series of documentaries about the power of music in difficult times. Each session, on Wednesday evening at 7 pm, will pair a musician and a study group leader. Films should be watched ahead of the session and are readily available for viewing on Amazon, DVD, or YouTube. Please note that an Amazon Prime membership is not necessary to stream the movies. If you are interested in a film and unable to determine how to watch it, please contact Vicki (216.849.1942 or email@example.com) for assistance. Here is the schedule of films:
December 9: Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice! – a documentary that captures the extraordinary sound and unwavering message of social change and empowerment of Sweet Honey in the Rock, a Grammy Award-winning African American female a cappella group with musical roots combining jazz, blues, and sacred songs of the black church such as spirituals, hymns, and gospel. The film uses concert footage, archival stills, and interviews to chronicle the history and music of the group. No trailer is available, but you can discover more on their website.
December 16: Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony – filmed on five continents and in twelve countries, this documentary tells the story of four people who lives have been transformed, repaired and healed by the 9th message. The film, part road trip, part adventure, tells the story of the power of music and human resilience during dark times.
December 23: Girls on the Wall – When the girls of a heartland prison are given an unlikely shot at redemption – the chance to write and stage a musical based on their lives – they must relive their crimes, reclaim their humanity, and take a first step toward breaking free of the prison system. Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9QsEj3KPAo
December 30: The Singing Revolution – While most people don’t think about singing when they think about revolutions, song was the weapon of choice for the Estonian people when they regained their freedom from decades of oppressive Soviet occupation in 1991. This documentary tells the unknown story of this peaceful movement that toppled an empire. Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4njksFKyycY
If you miss being in the beautifully decorated sanctuary, especially during Advent, you will want to take part in a special contemplative opportunity. We are so anxious to welcome you on Sunday, December 20 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm for our Stations of the Manger prayer walk but will not violate CDC guideline or state and county recommendations to do so. So we are moving ahead in a sense of hope with plans for this event, however please be aware that we will make adjustments based on the latest guidance as the date gets closer.
Not only will you be able to stop by a number of no-touch prayer stations with beautiful artwork, inspiring scripture, and thought-provoking reflection questions, but you will have a chance to spend a few moments in the decorated sanctuary to pray at the crèche. However, you must sign up to participate so that we can safely manage the flow of people while adhering to all COVID protocols. Reserve your spaces here or leave a message in the church office (440.842.7743). When signing up, please reserve the number of slots needed for all family members attending.
Christmas Eve candlelighting will still be the beloved end to our Christmas Eve service, although each of us will be in our own homes. But the effect, as everyone turns down their lights and then lights their candle and holds it up to the screen, will be magical. Instead of sitting in a pew in the middle of it all, you will have a view of the whole scene on Zoom! Our plans for candle distribution are on hold at the moment, but will hopefully take place during Stations of the Manger on December 20 or with at-home deliveries just before Christmas Eve. Service time will be announced soon.
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