Volume 46
Issue 47
December 1, 2016
              
Magic City Nutcracker
Returning for its fourth year, the Magic City Nutcracker will delight children and adults alike with this heartwarming holiday tale. This community and volunteer based cast and crew create an annual magical event for Birmingham families to enjoy. Performance dates are this Friday-Sunday, December 2-4. Tickets are $15 for regular seating and $25 for preferred seating.

This year the production is benefitting Hearts Cry, Casa Paraiso. This ministry is building the very first orphanage in the country of Panama that is specifically designed for special needs children. All proceeds from the ornament sale in the lobby will go directly to the building fund.

A Bluegrass Christmas
Join Jim Frazier and Friends as they lead us in some down-home Bluegrass Christmas songs this Sunday, December 4, at 11:00 am, in Tyson Hall. Kipp McClurg will be preaching from the first chapter of Matthew and communion will be served as we worship God in new and different ways.
Join Us for Sunday Evening Worship
Come as you are for a special evening of worship with our Senior Pastor, Bill Brunson, this Sunday, December 4, at 5:00 pm, in the Rutland-Memorial Chapel. Make plans to enjoy Sunday Evening Worship in Tyson Hall on December 11 for an evening of Christmas music!
Gospel Jubilee Singers
This Sunday our Gospel Jubilee Singers will gather in the Chapel at 4:00 pm, before Sunday Evening Worship, to sing some of the great songs of our faith. We hope to see you there!
Children's Christmas Musical
Don't miss our upcoming Children's Musical "Hark the Herald Angel" on Wednesday, December 7, at 6:00 pm, in Tyson Hall. This delightful musical is all about the angel "Hark" who doesn't have a clue when it comes to the true Christmas story. Admission is free.
Angel Tree
Angels are now on the trees outside of Tyson Hall, the Narthex, and the Lighthouse lobby. This year's partners are Inglenook and South Hampton K-8 schools, Dream Garden, Aid to Inmate Mothers, and Piper Place. Select an angel and help a child in need have a wonderful Christmas morning! Most of the gifts are about $35, although some children requested larger items, like bicycles. Please return the unwrapped gift, with the angel attached, to the front office by Sunday, December 11. For more information, contact Hazel Eddins at hreddins@gmail.com.
Thankful for So Much
Last week VHUMC was the host church for Family Promise for the last time in 2016. This week could not have been possible without all of our dedicated volunteers. Church members prepared lunches and other meals, donated towels, brought Thanksgiving dinner, donated their time to fellowship, spend the night, and visited for a few hours on Thanksgiving Day with our guests. Our guests all enjoyed it so much and were able to sleep in and have a very relaxing day on Thanksgiving. Also, because of your time and effort, the Family Promise staff was able to have the holiday off. Our church and its continued support for missions is so amazing! Thank you to everyone - individuals, Sunday School classes, and families, who made last week a true blessing for so many.

A special thank you to Rob Armstrong and Susan Sturdivant, our new Family Promise coordinators for 2017 who started their year a little early by coordinating last week's events. As Rob and Susan prepare to lead our volunteers in 2017, the bar has been set very high by our own Lisa Holloway.

Lisa has faithfully served as our Family Promise coordinator for the last ten years. She has been the one to make sure our guests have had everything they have needed for a decade. Lisa's dedicated service and her heart for Family Promise has made it a major part of our church family and missions programs. Lisa will continue to volunteer with Family Promise but in a more "behind the scenes" role. Thank you, Lisa, for your faithfulness over ten years! Many lives that have been touched by your sincere hospitality.
Why Make a Pledge?
We often hear misconceptions about our request that each member and regular attendee make a financial pledge to VHUMC. We believe that every Christian should give from their finances to support the church - mainly because God commands it as a way of worship. An annual pledge is a way to plan ahead for your gifts. If we don't plan how to spend our money, we often regret our impulse spending. Your pledge also helps the church plan how we can best serve you. Most of our budget for each ministry area of the church is based on the pledges for the following year.

Finally, a pledge is not an irrevocable commitment. For some of you a pledge needs to be a disciplined commitment to give. But, we know that jobs and family situations change and can affect how much you can give. Although your pledged amount shows up on your quarterly statements, there is never any judgement of your actual giving. In fact, we work hard to keep your giving confidential. If you have not yet made a financial pledge for 2017, it is not too late. Pick up a pledge card at the church or pledge online at vhumc.org. Contact Gary Wyatt (gwyatt@vhumc.org / 760-0108) if you have any questions.

End of Year Giving Plans
Because of "Giving Tuesday" and all the financial appeals from non-profit organizations, you don't need a calendar to know the end of 2016 is near. 41% of giving from individuals to non-profits happens between Thanksgiving and December 31. As you plan out your year-end giving, we would ask that you also consider a special gift to the General Fund of VHUMC. This year has been quite a "roller coaster" in terms of church income. At the extremes, we were $65,000 over budget and $108,000 under budget! Our plans for ministry in 2017 will be affected by what we receive in December of 2016. Because of our history, we budget to receive about 21% of our annual income in December - over twice the amount of an "average" month. If you can give extra in December, it would really help VHUMC continue to serve you and the body of Christ through our many different ministries and missions. If you have any questions about the church's finances, please contact Gary Wyatt (gwyatt@vhumc.org / 769-0108).
Youth Christmas Breakfast
Mark your calendars for our annual Youth Christmas Breakfast on Saturday, December 10. This year we will be serving and eating with needy families from the Birmingham community here at our church. Come to the Fellowship Hall at 9:30 am to help prepare for the families to come at 10:00 am. After we eat, Santa will come to visit and the kids will get presents!

We need new toys donated for boys and girls, ages 1-12! There will be donation bins on the Youth Hall for you to drop off your toys through this Sunday, December 4. This is always such a wonderful experience for all who are involved so we hope to see you there! If you are interested in volunteering, contact Anna Watts (awwatts@bellsouth.net).
Confirmation 2017
Attention parents of 6th grade students. Confirmation is just around the corner and in order for your child to be a part of this process, we need you to register them online! This is not simply a "rite of passage," nor, just a class to complete. It is just one step in a life-long journey of pursuing the unending reach of God's love and vowing to live in relationship with Him for the rest of someone's life.

Confirmation 2017 begins on January 22, 2017. Each lesson will be on a Sunday night from 5:00 - 6:30 pm, in the Fellowship Hall, and facilitated by one of our clergy members. To register please click on the link below. If you have any questions, please contact Jeremiah Stone (jstone@vhumc.org / 769-0135).
Come Grow with Us
Come join our congregation at the next Informal Joining Service next Sunday, December 11, at 12:15 pm in the chapel. We will have a brief service followed by lunch. Please contact Suzanne Scott-Trammell (sstrammell@vhumc.org) to let her know you can attend.
Sounds of the Season
Come join us for a very special Sunday Evening Worship of Christmas Music performed by The Four Docs (Bill Brunson, Bob Dowda, Kipp McClurg, and Tom Watson) and The Birmingham Harmony Belles (Louisa Elmore, Nancy Hastings-Hornsby, and Kiley Watson) on December 11, at 5:00 pm, in Tyson Hall!
Sunday Morning Options
Every Sunday morning, we are offering new adult education opportunities during the Sunday School hour (9:45-10:45). Each class will be held in the Tyson Hall.
  • 12/1-12/18 - Who is Baby Jesus
  • 12/25 - No Sunday School
Serve on a Care & Support Team
As we approach the end of the year, how can you give some of your time to share in ministry to others? Can you give a few hours a month to extend loving care and encouragement? There are many ways you can give of your time and talents to help others each month. Two of our current needs are:
  • TLC Visitation Ministry - join others in visiting those who are unable to fully engage in the life and ministries of VHUMC.
  • Sacred Connections Special Worship Service - join our team of volunteers who assist this monthly service for those experiencing memory loss and mobility limitation issues.
For more opportunities and information, contact Butch Williams (bwilliams@vhumc.org / 769-0102).
It's Christmas Time All Over the World
Combining traditional carols with classical and contemporary favorites, Nancy Hornsby will be presenting a Christmas music lesson "It's Christmas Time All Over the World" on Sunday, December 11, at 10:00 am, in the Chapel. Singing the songs of other traditions and hearing their customs and poetry, we will join the world-wide celebration and also be in prayer for our brothers and sisters around the world.
Holiday Home Safety Tips
  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles. Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren't easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations added to your tree are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • If you use outside extension cords, lights and spots, make sure they are rated for outdoor usage.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.

VHUMC has a Home Safety Team that has been trained by the Vestavia Hills Fire Department. If you or someone you know would like to have your home inspected for free please contact Jim Frazier (jfrazier@vhumc.org / 769-0126).

December Memory Verse
Our 1st - 5th graders have a new memory verse for December. The verse is, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life." - John 3:16. Children can recite their verse and receive a sweet treat before or after Sunday School in the sensory room. They will also get to enter their name into a drawing for the chance to win a bike at the end of the school year!
Investment Discussion Group
How do new tax laws affect my pension, IRA 's, 401K, Mutual Funds, etc.? Where should I have my money invested? Join our weekly Investment Discussion Group of men and women of all ages. The group meets each Thursday, at 9:30 am, in Room 318. There is no selling or buying, just discussion and an opportunity to share ideas and ask questions.
Inclement Weather Plans
Before we get our first big cold front, we wanted to remind you of our inclement weather policies. Any time that Vestavia Hills Schools close, our Vestavia Day School, Vestavia Dance, Lighthouse, and Conservatory of the Arts will also close. The Kitchen will also close for breakfast meetings (although lunches and dinners may still be served). In some instances, these church departments may close when schools are still open. If so, all parents will be notified. School closures do not necessarily mean that church services or meetings are cancelled or that the offices are closed. Look for notices of closure by email, on our website, or on local TV stations (ABC, CBS, and NBC). Always use caution and common sense going to and from Church. Our Vestavia "Hills" become dangerous quickly with moisture and freezing temperatures.
Outreach Corner

Family Promise Gift Wrapping
VHUMC volunteers will once again be available to wrap your holiday gifts this season at Brookwood Mall benefitting Family Promise of Birmingham! Come by during mall hours beginning December 1 through December 24 with your gifts and let the volunteers make your hectic schedules a little bit easier! Although you are welcome to come at any time during the season, VHUMC is organizing two different dates: Monday, December 12 and Monday, December 19.

Picture Frames Needed
We are collecting 5x7, 4x6, and wallet-sized picture frames for homeless families in the Birmingham area who will be recipients of free holiday portraits this Christmas. The International Help-Portrait project was started in 2008 by celebrity photographer Jeremy Coward to give those who otherwise couldn't afford professional photographs the chance to have a family memento. Local photographers, makeup artists and editors will donate their time and talents to provide photos for residents of area shelters including First Light, Family Promise, Interfaith Hospitality House, and Jessie's Place. Collection boxes will be in the church office, by the Chapel, and outside Tyson Hall through December 2.

Food Pantry
The food pantry distributed food to a record 270 families the week before Thanksgiving! Thanks to your generosity, that also included 248 turkeys. We will purchase hams for Christmas distribution with your continued support. Vestavia Elementary West and Central also came through for us with super food drives. We are still sorting all the cans and boxes. Thanks to each of you!

Oak Mountain Mission
Oak Mountain Mission thanks you for the coats that were delivered to them from the recent coat drive. As winter comes in they need blankets, coats, hats, gloves and winter clothes. Furniture is always needed. Please call Brenda at 685-5757 to arrange pick-up. The mission has just had their 15th anniversary of helping families start over after tragedy strikes. Thank you for your continued support of this wonderful ministry.
Wednesday Night Menu
  • Dec. 7 - Salad, Baked Ham OR Greek Style Flounder, Rice Pilaf, Sautéed Veggies, Bread, Ice Cream. Kids: Chicken Nuggets, Mac & Cheese.
  • Dec. 14 - Salad, Swedish Meatballs OR Baked Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Roll, Assorted Desserts. Kids: Chicken Nuggets, Mac & Cheese.
  • Dec. 21 - No Dinner
  • Dec. 28 - No Dinner
Worship & Music Focus
8:30 am         Traditional Service
"The Men of the Story"
Matthew 1:18-25
Bill Brunson

9:45 am         Service of Word and Table
"Obedience, Resistance & a Roster"
Matthew 1:18 - 2:18
Butch Williams

11:00 am         Traditional Service
"The Men of the Story"
Matthew 1:18-25
Bill Brunson

11:00 am         Contemporary Service
"All in the Family"
Matthew 1:18-25
Kipp McClurg

5:00 pm         Sunday Evening Worship
" Rejoice, You Gentiles!"
Romans 15:4-13
Bill Brunson
Our Time and Resources
 

Donations this past week

October YTD Summary
Donations
Other Income
Auxilary Ministries Net*
Total Income
Actual
$43,622


$2,788,578
$167,991
($39,516)
$2,917,053
Targeted
-$29,250


+$26,163
+$11,892
-$34,951
+$3,104

(+) Better or (-) worse for the church than our target
* Includes COA, Summer Days, VDS, and Vestavia Dance
Care and Support
Congratulations, hospitalizations and sympathies

Prayer Requests
 
Careline: 205-822-9336 
Weekend or After-Hour Health Emergencies: 205-914-3121

Please be in prayer for the following persons: 
Dale Beasley
Pat Bendall
Margean Brasher
Chris Dibble
David Dixon
Julie Duffee
Kendra Haddock
Fay Harbin
Cortez Harden
Fred Hatfield
Milton Hogland
Pug Kaufman
Mary Morgan
Mary Morman
Paul Noto
Anne Osborne
Mary Owens
Jim Sanders
Diane Sausen
Annette Smith
Suzanne Stalnaker
Wallace Williams

In an effort to keep the prayer request list current, names will be listed for two weeks unless we are otherwise notified. VHUMC will not publish the names and/or concerns of persons known to be minors (18 years of age or younger) without the permission of said minor's legal guardian. Thank you.