Volume 46
Issue 48
December 8, 2016
              
Christmas Pops Concert
Come and enjoy some of your favorite Christmas music performed by special guest Zachary Sayle, who played Crutchy in the award winning musical Newsies, alongside UAB's jazz ensemble. Join us tomorrow, December 9, at 7:00 pm, in Tyson Hall for this thrilling and heartwarming evening as we hear Christmas music being played and sung in a variety of arrangements!

Belles, Docs and Sounds of the Season
Come join us for a joyful evening 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). From "White Christmas" to "Silent Night," we'll celebrate together during this very special Worship Service this Sunday, December 11, in Tyson Hall, at 5:00 pm.
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" this 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.
Youth Christmas Breakfast
Mark your calendars for our annual Youth Christmas Breakfast this 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! If you are interested in volunteering, contact Anna Watts (awwatts@bellsouth.net).
Come Grow with Us
Come join our congregation at our Informal Joining Service this 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.
Christmas Flower Memorials and Honorariums
In celebration of Christmas, the Flower and Altar Guilds will be adorning the worship services with poinsettias and fresh cut greens. You can participate by donating flowers in memory or honor of a loved one for $20. There will be a limited number of poinsettias available to be picked up after the last Christmas Eve service.

If you wish to make a memorial or honorarium tribute, you must contact Margaret Flowers by Monday, December 12th. (769-0112 / mflowers@vhumc.org). Order forms will also be available in binders on the desk counter in the church office.
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).
Calendar Image A Random Act of Kindness
Elementary Ministries would like to extend a big thank you to the Young Professional's Sunday School class! They put together calendars for our 1st-5th graders with daily ideas for random acts of kindness that our children could do during December. The calendar encourages the children to write a thank you note to their teacher, bake goodies for their neighbor, and more! We are thankful that the adult Sunday School classes in our church support our children in such a positive way!
Service of Healing and Light
The holly-jolly Christmas atmosphere can be difficult if we are experiencing the recent loss of a loved one or a significant life-changing event. We need the space to acknowledge our grief and hold it up to the light of the Christmas message: God is with us. Come be a part of this very special service on Wednesday, December 21, at 6:00 pm, in the Chapel
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 an important 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).

Family Nativity Workshop
Children's Ministries would like to thank everyone who came to our Family Nativity Workshop! We had a great night with the 65 children and their families who joined us to kick off our Advent Season by creating unique nativity scenes. We hope that they become a beloved keepsake for your children to remind them of the coming of Christ each year.
College Christmas Party
Attention All College Students! You are invited to the VHUMC College Party on Wednesday, December 14, starting at 7:00 pm. Come reunite with old friends at the Prewitt's home. Drop by any time and please help us spread the word to your friends!
Christmas Day Blessing of Toys
Join us in worship on Christmas morning, Sunday, December 25, at 10:00 in, the Traditional service for a Blessing of the Toys for Children's Time. We want to help your child understand the link between the gifts they receive and the ones the magi from the East brought to the baby Jesus as a way to help kids connect their faith in Christ to their play. Have your child bring one gift with them to worship on Christmas morning. We will bless the toys and they can take them back home with a special blessing for their play.
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).
Give the Gift of Music
The Conservatory of the Arts has Gift Certificates available in any amount for music lessons, Piano Camp or Musicianship Classes. Give the gift of music to someone special in your life! Email Ellen Bryant (coa@vhumc.org) for more information.
New Musicianship Classes
Coming in January, the Conservatory of the Arts will be offering new musicianship classes for both adults and children taught by Dr. Kawai Shiu, from the University of the Philippines. You do not have to be a Conservatory student to enroll in these classes. In addition to Classical Music Appreciation and Composition, we will have three graded classes. Students should sign-up for their appropriate level of instruction: Level 1 (first & second year students), Level 2 (third and fourth year students), Level 3 (third, fourth, and fifth year students). Current students interested in one or more of these classes should discuss it with your teacher. You may also contact Ellen Bryant in the COA office for more information about dates and times (coa@vhumc.org).
COA Spring Session
The Conservatory of the Arts has qualified teachers available on all instruments and is now registering for our Spring Session. Voice Lessons, Children's Art Classes, and Theatre Classes for both children and teens are also available. Sign up now to get your schedule ready for Spring.

Hilltoppers Hilltoppers Meeting
Our next meeting is Tuesday, December 13, at 10:30 am, in the Fellowship Hall. The Chuck King Band will be performing for us. For information or to make a lunch reservation ($6.00) call Frances Cook (822-2013) or Margaret Flowers (mflowers@vhumc.org / 769-0112) no later than 11:00 am tomorrow, Friday, December 9. Please note the price and, if possible, have correct change or an extra dollar bill.

Vestavia Hilltoppers is a VHUMC-sponsored organization for persons of retirement age, which meets each month for lunch and a program. They also sponsor trips and other activities that are publicized at meetings. Guests and new members are welcome.
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!
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.
Volunteers Are Needed
Fairies don't magically restock and straighten our Sanctuary pews each week, but faithful volunteers do. We need a couple more volunteers on our team. Please contact Barbara Porter (444-9793) if you could help us once a month for about an hour at a time that is convenient for you prior to the first Sunday of each month. Thank you.
Julian Family Recital
The Julian family would like to invite you to their annual Family Recital in the Sanctuary, on Tuesday, December 20, at 7:00 pm. The evening will feature Rachel Julian and Katrina Julian Booth on the organ, Karl Julian on the piano, and Kyle Julian on the French horn. A reception will follow the performance in the church parlor.
Memorials and Honorariums
Click on the link below or visit www.vhumc.org to see the memorials and honorariums given last month. Thanks to everyone who has given to help the church in recognition of a loved one.

Outreach Corner

Stop Hunger Now
Our Stop Hunger Now event dates have been set. We will be hosting another event on April 23-25, 2017, so mark your calendars now and save the dates! Soon you will see more promotions for our event and our fund-raising efforts. We not only pack hundreds of thousands of meals here, but we also pay for all of the food that we pack. We could not host this great community event without our fundraising efforts, and we will need lots of support. You may also see some fund appeals to give to Stop Hunger Now through the United Methodist Church Advance program. We are excited to see the UMC embrace the efforts of Stop Hunger Now worldwide, but wanted to make you aware that giving through the Advance does not pay for the event at VHUMC. Only your gifts to the church marked "Stop Hunger Now" or "Lenten Offering" will pay for the food that we will pack. If you have any questions about this, contact Natalie Giesen (ngiesen@vhumc.org).

Health and Bedding Kits Needed
Thank you to everyone who recently participated, donated, or packed cleaning buckets. We received this note from Amy Fuselier, Director of the UMCOR depot in Baldwin, Louisiana: "I would like to thank all of the many churches who responded to our call for cleaning buckets in September after the flooding. The response was overwhelming. Because of your generosity, we were able to replenish our inventory and prepare ourselves for the next request for assistance."

The current UMCOR need is for health and bedding kits for those affected by fires in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Click the links for kit directions:
If you are interested in helping with health and/or bedding kits, please contact Rachael Hayes, (rhayes@vhumc.org) or Ginny Slay (ksaop@bellsouth.net).

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 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.

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 Missions
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. 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
Lessons and Carols

9:45 am         Service of Word and Table
Lessons and Carols

11:00 am         Traditional Service
Lessons and Carols

11:00 am         Contemporary Service
Lessons and Carols

5:00 pm         Sunday Evening Worship
Special Christmas Music
The Four Docs and The Harmony Belles
Our Time and Resources
 

Donations this past week

October YTD Summary
Donations
Other Income
Auxilary Ministries Net*
Total Income
Actual
$76,302


$2,788,578
$167,991
($39,516)
$2,917,053
Targeted
-$86,127


+$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
Margean Brasher
Chris Dibble
David Dixon
Julie Duffee
Kendra Haddock
Fay Harbin
Cortez Harden
Fred Hatfield
Risma Ilma
Pug Kaufman
Mary Morgan
Mary Morman
Paul Noto
Mary Owens
Jim Sanders
Diane Sausen
Annette Smith
Suzanne Stalnaker
Vicky Sullivan
Wallace Williams

Requested prayers for service members in combat areas:
  • Darkhorse Unit, USMC, (Afghanistan) 
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.