A Weekly Newsletter of The First United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 14
Sunday Worship

Third Sunday of Advent
Special offering to benefit local missions:  Special mission giving at Christ mas is added to mission gifts given at  Easter and midsummer to help make mission ministries possible in Madison, throughout Wisconsin, our nation, and the world.  
Message: Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler
Text: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Music: Chamber Choir  at 9 a.m.; Quadrilateral Quartet at 11:15 a.m.  
Worship: 9 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary
Coffee Fellowship: 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall;  11 a.m.-noon in the Narthex
This Weekend in Christian Formation

All Church Event - Everybody Visits the Stable: A Christmas Program and Reception
(See description below)
Theology for the 21st Century
Room LL05  
Discussion of Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the 21st Century, a collection of writings by Marcus Borg
Everybody Visits the Stable: A Christmas program for all ages
Sunday, December 17
10:15 a.m., Sanctuary 

An inter-generational, fully participatory retelling of the traditional Christmas story. Children will choose costumes (if and as they wish) and EVERYBODY else gets involved in the storytelling too. This will be a short, fun-filled and faithful celebration for people of all ages followed by special Christmas treats in Fellowship Hall.

Thanks, and Yes! A Fund Update

Thanks for all your Yeses to fund First Church's ministries in 2018. We have received 211 Annual Ministries written and electronic giving commitments for $614,686. In addition to these commitments, we have received 49 Principal Reduction commitments totaling $44,885.  We hoped for a 4% increase in Annual Ministries commitments and have received 4.1%. Of our total commitments, $31,974 is from new commitments. Thanks to both our continuing and new givers!  If our members and friends who made financial commitments for 2017 but have not committed for 2018, give the same (or an increased) amount we will exceed our $700,000 goal.
Thank You!

Advent Meditations

Sign up to receive daily meditations for creating space and appreciation this holiday season. Every morning, you'll get a hand selected quote delivered right to your inbox. Send us an email and let us know you'd like to be added to the list. 
Message on Isaiah 40

Watch Rev. Mark Fowler's message from 9 a.m. worship on Sunday, December 10, about God's promise to comfort us. Watch now.

Christmas Eve Worship
Fourth Sunday of Advent: Worship at 9:00 and 11:15 a.m.
Sunday school classes for children and youth at 10:15 a.m. and Brass Music in the Octagon
Family Oriented Christmas Eve Worship at Trinity UMC:  5 p.m. at Vilas Ave.,  led by pastors Breanna Illéné, Mark Fowler, and Tina Lang
Christmas Eve Worship at FUMC: 7 p.m. led by pastors Mark Fowler, Tina Lang, and Breanna  Illéné
Christmas Eve Worship at FUMC: 9 p.m. led by pastors Mark Fowler, Tina Lang, and Breanna Illéné

Longest Night Observance
Thursday, December 21, 3 p.m.
Capitol Square, Intersection of E. Main/S. Pinkney/King
Fellowship Hall/Chapel

Participate in an interfaith service of light and remembrance of our neighbors who have died this year and were homeless. A horse drawn hearse will lead a procession around the capitol. Afterward come to First Church for a simple meal in Fellowship Hall and an interfaith worship service in the Chapel.

Share the Warmth at Christmas  
During the four Sundays of Advent we will again have opportunity to donate mittens, gloves, scarves and hats to be shared with families who participate in the ministries of Northcott neighborhood House, a United Methodist community ministry in Milwaukee. New items that have been purchased or made by hand are all appreciated. Bring items to Fellowship Hall and help fill up the manger bed which serves as the collection spot. The gifts will be lovingly packaged up by United Methodist Women and sent to Northcott Neighborhood House where they will be distributed to those in need of warm clothing for winter weather. Thank you for sharing the warmth!  

Christmas Community Meal Signup
Our annual Christmas Community Meal will be served in Fellowship Hall on Monday, December 25, from noon to 2 p.m. This meal is free, with no reservations needed. If you would like to help prepare or serve the meal, donate homemade desserts and other meal items, donate money to support the dinner or help in other ways visit the table in the Octagon this Sunday or contact Karen Andro at 608-338-0320 .
Pilgrims of Ibillin Gift Sales
Sundays, December 10 and 17, Octagon
Find some alternative Christmas gifts and help Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Israel. Your purchase of these fair trade items change lives for students by providing scholarships, and for families by supporting living wage jobs. If you have questions or special requests, contact Joan Deming at  608-241-9281 .
Examples of products available: Organic olive oil (fresh from this year's harvest), olive oil soap, embroidered coin purses, mother-of-pearl dove earrings, traditional Palestinian kafiyahs (scarves) in new color patterns, pashmina scarves woven in the West Bank, stained glass ornaments made from broken glass in Bethlehem, olive wood ornaments, hand-embroidered decorative pillow covers, alternative Christmas Gift Certificates in any amount you want to give ($10 or above) to help give the Living Stones a better life in the land of Jesus, book: Blood Brothers by Father Elias Chacour.

First Church Ministry Highlights 
During worship we express our appreciation for the wide variety of critical ministries to which our friends and members give their gifts of time and energy as an offering to God. There are many ways we can give to God and serve our neighbors. Maybe you will be inspired!


Sunday in the Welcome Center
Stop by and pick up your 2018 giving envelopes at the Welcome Center in the Narthex. Forms for electronic giving will also be available. If you are interested in gifting stock shares to the church you can learn more about that giving option as well.

Sunday in the Octagon:

Just Bakery Initiative - 

Fresh bakery products for sale from this program of Madison Urban Ministries (MUM).   Learn More

International Ministries Equal Exchange Coffee - What goes better with bakery than a good cup of coffee? Coffee, chocolate and other goodies available. Learn More

Sing-Along Celebration
This Sunday at 12:15 p.m., Fellowship Hall
Celebrate the season and Carolyn Betz's special birthday with Christmas "Carol(yn)", some favorite hymns and songs, and maybe a round of Happy Birthday. Kathy Maldegan donated her piano accompaniment as a special item at this year's Youth Auction. Everyone is invited to join the fun! Send song requests here.  

Isthmus Brass Christmas Concert
Tuesday, December 19, 7:30 p.m.

Free concert with a free will offering to benefit Porchlight.

Young Adult Discussion Group
Tuesdays, 7 p.m. at  Barriques (127 W. Washington Ave., Madison)
Talk about faith, current issues, and what we can do.  Contact Breanna Illéné or call 608-338-0545.

United Methodist Women Tabitha Circle
Thursday, December 21, at 11:30 a.m. in the Chapel Lounge
Join us for a Christmas lunch and fellowship. (Note earlier time.)

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203 Wisconsin Avenue
Madison, WI 53703