A Note From Pastor Tom Zehnder

The Fourth Sunday in Advent is upon us! Advent is that marvelous season in the Church Year when the promises of God in Jesus are made clear once again. The old age of the stubborn bondage of sin over humankind caused by Satan and the Fall (Genesis 3) comes to an climactic end in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! The new begins! All praise to God!

Christmas Eve falls on Saturday this year. Our Sanctuary will be teeming with fellow members of Trinity and with beautiful scores of people from the community. It behooves us to look for opportunities to give warm welcomes to our wonderful guests! I am asking you to speak to someone you do not know and give them a warm welcome befitting to this Season and invite them to come again - and again. One of the really great compliments a congregation can receive is something like, "It's really a friendly congregation. I felt at home..."

Christmas Eve services are many: a children's service at 3 pm, followed by the traditional candlelight services at 5, 7, 9, and 11pm. Pastor Schaefer will assist us at the 9 pm and 11 pm services. I am very grateful to this good Brother!

On Sunday, Christmas Day , we will gather for one service at 10 am. While all of our public worship opportunities through the year are excellent, I personally love the Christmas Day service. It will be "traditional" in flavor, but will also be a time for sharing and perhaps conversation among us! I think of the Christmas Day pastoral message as a "Shared Homily" similar to what we have experiences at the mid-week Advent services. The Gift that Jesus gave the church in the Sacrament of Holy Communion will of course be offered to us on that occasion!

I have mentioned that I will be assisting Tim Norris and others in the teaching of the Confirmands. That will start in January. The plan is slightly altered from its first iteration. I am hoping to be able to be with the Confirmands two Sundays a month (not one) at the 9:30 am time. Again, dear brother Pastor Schaefer will step in at those 9:30 am services as needed. Parents of Confirmands, please note this and help your son or daughter be present!

Foundations Class will also be scheduled for six consecutive Saturdays, starting on January 7. The sessions will begin at 4:00 pm and end at 5:20 pm. I am praying that members of our congregation will join in these discussion sessions with any who are interested in formal membership at Trinity . It is my fervent hope to have at least 50 people in attendance. It will be a wonderful time for fellowship, for learning and growth regarding what the Church believes and proclaims. Your presence will be a great encouragement for people who are newer to Trinity's fellowship. Please RSVP in advance to Chanda at TLC@TrinityDowntown.com so that we can prepare for adequate space and light refreshments.

With you I am praying for the Call Process for Senior Pastor. I understand that a Special Voters' meeting to vote on a Call will be announced for early January.

And so with the Lord holding our collective hand, we move forward into His future. God help us.     -Pastor Z
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Christmas Poinsettias
Last chance to sign up to sponsor poinsettia purchases to decorate the Sanctuary on Christmas Eve. You can take them home with you after worship on Christmas morning.  Order forms are in the Narthex.

Gifted Gardeners Ministry Team
We have recently launched a ministry team under the Properties Ministry Team that is working to keep the campus garden areas pruned, weeded, and watered. The "Gifted Gardeners" have met for a couple of months now. Our next planned work day is tomorrow, Saturday, December 17 at 9 AM . We would like to invite anyone else in the congregation who is interested to come and join us. We have been meeting in the Ruth Lane parking lot just north of the church building. Bring your own tools and drinking water. If you've noticed something else on campus that needs some tender love and care (windows to clean, etc.), come prepared with supplies to tackle the project. This will be our "spiff up the campus for Christmas" work day. There will be no lunch served. Bring a snack if you need it. Contact Darlene Sabin at darlene.rehbein.sabin@gmail.com if you have any questions. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with Trinity. Come join the fun!

He Came to Seek and Save the Lost
On Tuesday, December 20 , Trinity is hosting a special memorial service for 73 men and women who died without a home this past year.  Some were estranged from family, some had no family, many had friends who shared their struggles. All will be recognized as persons who, we pray, knew God loved them and saw His love in action because of you or someone like you who "gave something to eat or drink, or clothing, or care, or a visit" (Matthew 25:35-36) Beginning at 10:30 a.m. in our church sanctuary, Pastor Zehnder will welcome several hundred members of the community and city and county government who believe in dignity for all people.  Scripture readings and eulogies from community leaders with a candlelit memorial highlight the service.  It is a moving and humbling experience you will be thankful to participate in.  A small reception follows in our courtyard.

Hard to Believe
Believe.  A tag line for Macy's?  Or is it a quickly read Bible word?  For anyone who has lost a loved one, a job, a home, a child, the word Believe stirs up emptiness and pain.  Still, in the depths of each human soul there is knowledge and a desire to believe God still loves me.  Trinity church started a Christmas tradition nine years ago for all who want to celebrate God's love, but can't join in happy celebrations because of pain, anger or frustration with worldly loss. WEDNESDAY, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. we gather together for traditional Christmas hymns, a candlelit Luminarium , and a message of comfort on The Longest Night of the year.  If you or anyone you know is struggling to believe and find JOY in Jesus this season, please come and bring your friend to this special service in our church sanctuary.

Bake Sale-Bring Cash
Trinity Youth will be hosting a bake sale in the loggia after the 8:00am and 9:30am services through December. Proceeds benefit Trinity Youth who are raising funds to attend the upcoming District Gathering.  Stop by and support of Youth!

Comfort Dogs Ministry - Informational Meeting
(Note:date Change) The Dogs & Donuts meetings is now scheduled for Saturday, January 14th at 10am in the first floor conference room of the Magnolia building. SASHA Comfort Dog will be joining us for this meeting!  During this meeting we'll share an overview of the next steps in planning to get a comfort Dog Ministry established at Trinity, and all the volunteer roles available to Trinity members.  Please RSVP to Chanda in advance @ TLC@TrinityDowntown.com so we can plan for adequate space (and donuts).

Let's end 2016 by having lunch at Cracker Barrel on Friday, December 30th (correction, it's the 30th, not the 20th) at 11:30am. Please call Bob or Audrey (407-897-148) or e-mail robert.w.gordon@hotmail.com if you are able to attend. We'll meet at Cracker Barrel at 6699 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando 32822.

Christmas Eve Family Service
All families will enjoy a child-friendly Christmas Eve celebration at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 24.  The children of our church are practicing their lines so they can share the wonderful message God's angels spoke long ago - a message that will never grow old!  This service is perfect for families with small children.  Please come and hear the Christ story the way the angels may have viewed it.
Rehearsal Date Change
The Parish Choir is preparing its Epiphany Cantata, Song of Emmanuel , which will be sung at both of the traditional services on January 8.  Extra rehearsals for the cantata will be held as follows:
  • Wednesday, January 4, 7:00 - 8:30pm
  • Saturday, January 7, 9:30 - 11:00am

Servant Saturday, January 28th -- Save the Date
Trinity's first "Servant Saturday" is scheduled for Saturday, January 28, 2017.  This is a morning set aside to reach out into the community and lend a helping hand to others. YOU will have an opportunity to volunteer from 9am to 12pm, at one of the following:
  • Orlando Union Rescue Mission Bargain Thrift Store: sorting, displaying donated items to sell.
  • Grand Ave. Primary School in Parramore: helping indoors or outdoors with special projects for this primary school
  • Coalition for the Homeless: preparing bag lunches for 150 families, serving, cleaning up.
Look for sign-up opportunities in early January, and get your name in before our 15 slots for each place, are filled.   After our morning of volunteering, we will reassemble at Trinity for lunch and sharing. Sounds like a grand opportunity, doesn't it?  For more information contact Gladys Dittmer at odittmer892@gmail.com or 407-488-1919 x101.

Children's Ministry
  • Christmas Celebration is straight "From Heaven Above."  The Sunday morning children's teachers are planning the annual family friendly worship for the 3:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service .  Children who regularly attend Sunday morning classes AND those who cannot are warmly invited to be part of the celebration.
  • NO Sunday School on Christmas or New Year's Day -- December 25 or January 1
  • Children's Choir All K-5 children are invited to be a part of Trinity's Children's Choir. Contact Julia Malkene at jmalenke@trinitydowntown.com .

TYM: Trinity Youth Ministry (6-12th grade)
  • Bible Study: Confirmed 8th grade- 12 grade students Stay tuned for a new study beginning in December.
  • Confirmation Class 9:30am Sunday.  Senior Confirmands - don't forget about worship reports.
  • TYM for Fellowship Put these dates on your calendar:
    • HS TYM Sunday December 18 , 4:00-6:00 (on campus) We will celebrate the birth of Jesus and the sweetness of the season! Bring a favorite or two cookie decorations to share.   Have festive sweaters, shirts, or socks to wear??? Wear them!!  
    • MS TYM Friday December 9 has been cancelled. Please contact Mrs. Blackwood if you have any questions.
  • Looking Ahead
    • Cereal BOWL bowling event - January 29 th .
    • Sunday TYM coming in February!

Midweek Prayer Requests
If you have an urgent prayer request that can't wait until you fill out a yellow prayer card during worship, please submit it via email to Pray@TrinityDowntown.com .  While submitting a yellow card during worship is still the preferred way to share prayer requests, sometimes a prayer need can't wait until Sunday.  Your prayer request (first name and basic details of the prayer requested) will be shared with a team of committed weekday prayer warriors and will also be added to Trinity's regular printed prayer list for the congregation.  All prayers are kept on the printed list for a period of three weeks, so please resubmit long term prayer needs regularly so that they stay on the printed list. Thank you.

Important Dates

Dec 21   Wednesday 12:10pm Advent Devotion
December 21 7pm Service of the Longest Night, for those who are struggling during the holiday season
December 24   Christmas Eve Worship
Family Program 3pm
Candlelight Communion 5pm, 7pm, 9pm and 11pm
December 25   Sunday, Christmas Day, 10am Worship
December 30  OWLS Fellowship Lunch
December 31 New Year's Eve Worship 6pm
January 22-29  National Lutheran Schools Week
January 28 Servant Saturday

Attendance and Giving
December 10-11

Children's Sunday School NR
Youth 7
Confirmation    7
Adult Bible Study  NR

6:00 p.m. 25
8:00 a.m. 67
9:30 a.m. 74
11:00 a.m. 91

Advent 12/7 Noon 17
Advent 12/7 7:00 p.m. 54


                  Mo. Actual          Mo. Budget       Mo. (Under)/Over
C & M       10,723.00            20,636.00             (9,913.00)       
                  YTD Actual    YTD Budgeted   YTD (Under)/Over
                  349,131.59          371,436.00             (22,304.41)

Bridge To The Future    1,050.00 
Faithfully Forward         1,785.00 
Pastor's Discretionary    40.00 
Countdown to Christmas-Traditions/Activities
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Trinity Downtown | The Ministries of Trinity Lutheran Church & School 
407-488-1919 | TLC@TrinityDowntown.com