Temple Bells
 December
2020
  The mission and ministries of First Christian Church are to share the Good News of Jesus Christ by being instruments of God’s unconditional love and grace for all people. We strive to live and practice Jesus’ command to “love one another as you would love yourself.” We are a dynamic and diverse congregation and would like to invite you to become a part of our church family.
215 South Congress Ave. West Palm Beach Fl. 33409
    Phone 561-683-8811
MEETINGS AND SCHEDULES HAVE CHANGED

We are now offering In Person Worship, Sunday mornings at 10:15, safety protocols are in place.

No Sunday School Classes, No Bible Study Classes, or Disciples Women’s Meetings are being held at the church.


AA & NA Meetings continue:
7:00 pm NA Courage to Change ( meets outside)
8:30 pm AA Twelve and Twelve (safety protocols)
Both groups meet in classrooms 1,2




By Rev. Donn Brammer

ANNOUNCEMENT!
Migrant Gift Table:

This table is set up in the Narthex and if you are not able to worship in person, you can still drop your gift off during the week. I am here most mornings, but it is always best to call before you come. This year Angela has asked that we focus our gifts on basic necessities such as bathroom tissue, paper towels, Lysol and Lysol or Clorox wipes, bleach, laundry detergent, soap, sanitizer, and face masks.
Thank you in advance for your support!



ARTICLE: Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” (John 16:33).

Boy has that ever been an understatement for this year. The reality of our brokenness has been evident in ways we never would have imagined when the year 2020 began. From the pandemic to politics, from injustice to insensitivity, from brutality to apathy, we have witnessed words and actions of people that have been disgraceful, hurtful, and hateful.

So many times this year our hearts have been broken, our country and communities have been shaken, and we may have been left wondering and doubting. People have lost jobs, health, loved ones, and hope. Tragedies and crises have caused people to lose their perspective, and even common courtesy has been scarce.

As Christians it has been challenging for us to live out our faith during such difficult times and circumstances and situations, trying to give a faithful witness to God’s vision of wholeness and grace. Fortunately, we have been able to do so by remembering that Jesus did not stop at the word, ‘trouble,’ if you finish reading the verse Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

By looking to Jesus, by remembering that Jesus not only overcame death, we are reminded that Jesus shows us the power of God’s love and grace. We are able to take heart because we know that Jesus’ victory was not just over the grave, it was also over our fears, our pains, and our doubts.

Jesus did not stop at the word ‘trouble’ and neither do we. Jesus went on to claim ‘victory,’ and through Jesus, so do we.

By looking to Jesus we remember that love overcomes. As we come into the month of December, we are aware we will be celebrating Advent and Christmas in new ways, but we will still be celebrating the same Good News. God is with us. That’s what Immanuel means, ‘God with us,’ and that’s what Jesus taught and showed us. Love overcomes. Always.

That’s the Christmas message we share and the one the world needs to hear, especially this year.

Thank you for your faithful witness. Merry Christmas and God Bless.
At this time we are planning on having a Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion worship service at 7 pm, following our Safety Protocols. The service will follow the same general pattern of worship that we have been using since resuming In Person Worship. The only difference will be at the close of worship, after coming forward for communion (again following the protocol and pattern we have been using), members will be invited to exit out the front doors. Weather permitting, Elders will offer to light candles of worshipers who, if they want, can gather around the port cochere loop (drive thru circle) maintaining social distancing and still wearing masks, until all have gathered, at which time we will sing 1 verse of Silent Night (still masked) before leaving for the evening.



Due to the fluid nature of events surrounding the Covid-19 virus and the uncertainty of when we will resume ‘In Person Worship,’ the sermon titles and sermon texts have not yet been identified.

12/6
Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8
(Sermon Text: “Preparing For Christmas”)

12/13
Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
(Sermon Text: “Sharing The Good News Of Christmas”)
Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46b-55
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

12/20
Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38
(Sermon Text: “Saying Yes To God”)

12/27
First Sunday after Christmas
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40
(Sermon Text: “Strange Things Happen When You Go To Church”)

Although we now are offering a full worship Service at the Church , we understand that some may not be comfortable attending physical Church services. So, since many of us might may not be able to worship AT the church ,we are still
blessed with the opportunity to worship AS a church.

The week's worship service will be posted online on Sunday afternoon .


We have also posted a separate Communion Video for those who do not have time for an entire worship service but who want to partake in a communion service.
online bible
Bible Study Lectures have been recorded that you can listen to online. These lectures are currently audio only and range from 12 to 20 minutes, though some have been as short as 7 minutes and some have been so long they required two appendixes, smile! Typically these lectures are designed to go with the coming Sunday’s sermon, but sometimes this may
not be the case. 
Fireside Chats

As Covid-19 continues to have an impact on all of us, we have begun an intermittent series of video Fireside Chats (11 so far) as a way of offering encouragement and support. Stacey has put these online through our website, Facebook, and through our email.
Norma Anne Chattin is hosting a virtual Bible Study the second Tuesday of every month at 2pm. She will be teaching from the book “Bible Women, All Their Words and Why They Said Them.” You do not need the book to participate but please read the listed passages. ALL (men and women) are welcome!
 
December 10, topic: Tamar’s midwife (Genesis 28: 27-30) and Potiphar’s Wife (Genesis 39)

January 14 Topic: Shiphrah And Puah (Exodus 1)

February 10 Topic: Pharaoh’s Daughter (Exodus 2)
Class Link: TBA
Did you know that our website currently hosts over 170 Sunday Sermons that are just 1 click away and over 50 monthly blog messages from Donn

These powerful and uplifting messages are just a click away and can be sorted and selected through the use of key words. .
So go ahead
"Make Our Day" and click away!
Some Things Do NOT Change

One of the things that has not changed during this Covid-19 impact is the expenses of the church. Please feel free to mail in your offering, smile! Expenses continue and we hope that you will also continue to practice your Christian giving and tithing. We also now have ‘online giving’ available. Simply go to our website, and follow the instructions. Thank you always for your generosity and faithfulness.



 215 S Congress Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33409

3 rd. Annual Christmas Message from our beloved friend

Joe Likavec

Wood

– have you thought much about it? Wood comprises many of the things we have around us. The Communion table is made of wood, nicely constructed, sanded smooth, stained, varnished and waxed. The podiums and the pews; and at home, tables and chairs etc., all made up with wood.

As someone who works with wood I have come to appreciate taking the rough piece of a tree, cutting it to the size I need, sanding the roughness away so that it has a silky texture and feel to it, staining it a rich color and preserving that color with varnish or polyurethane.

But wood has an ugly side too!

Jesus’ life ended on two pieces of wood. The cross of Jesus’ day was not finely sanded or stained. It was rough, jagged and splintery. Most of us have seen the movie the Passion of the Christ; now if the graphic bloodletting in it is any where near accurate, how painful it must have been for that cross to be placed across Jesus’ back and shoulders for His trudging walk to Calvary. Then He is stripped of His garments and placed against the rough, jagged, splintery wood rubbing or grinding on those open festering scourge wounds. He did this for me and for you!

Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death but His path began at His birth, He humbled Himself at birth… we all the Christmas story… “Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (KJV – Luke 2:12).

The manger, what a soft sounding, nice word; most Nativity sets show the Baby Jesus in a hay filled square wooden box with x supports for the legs. In reality the manger was a feeding trough where several different kinds of animals went to feed. Animal saliva dripped into it, feed not completely eaten left to mold, rodent droppings in it; this is where Mary and Joseph had to lay the Baby Jesus (hopefully they had some clean straw to put in it but then again maybe not). Humbling to think that our Savior had to start His earthly life this way; how many of us cringe or get that chill just thinking about it? He did this for me and for you!

So during these Holy Days and holidays say a prayer of thanks to and for our King that humbled Himself in the “manger”.


Regional News

(Beth Gillespie was kind enough to catch this from our Regional Minister and shared it with me and I want to pass it on for us all!
Thanks Beth!)



Each year I give out Words from God for the year. I took this idea from Rev. Donn Brammer of FCC West Palm. Each word is prayed over, and each word is biblical. When I was in the pastorate, I gave them out for Epiphany, when God revealed the Christ Child to the wise men seeking him, guided by a star. I believe these words are a gift and blessing from God, as well as something we are to share with others. And the words often come with some challenge or need for growth. Feel free to print/share the attached cards—draw with words hidden, allowing God to choose the word for you.
    My word for 2021 is “Thankful”. Seems like a simple and nice word. Actually, it’s a powerful challenge for me right now. I had already begun to try to shift my focus to this word in the past couple of weeks. My pain and grief are unbearable when I think about all the times I won’t get to be with our daughter Brittany, as today marks 4 months without her, and that there will be no more holidays with her, no more birthdays, no more family vacations. I am working to shift my thinking to gratitude for how blessed I am for the 31 years of her life and all the memories, all the joy, all the love that I have known because of her. So “thankful” is what I am striving for—some days, some moments, will come easily—some will be tough. But it is in that thankfulness that I can celebrate and keep her light shining, which I choose over the darkness of death and despair. It’s a choice I will have to make often until it becomes my better side of this new normal.
    May God bless you with a new revelation or epiphany, speaking to you and through you in many ways throughout 2021.
Blessings, Betsy
Rev. Dr. Betsy Goehrig, Regional Minister

Please keep our Regional Minister, Dr. Rev. Betsy Goehrig and her family in your prayers. Betsy’s daughter Brittany Steier was murdered. Brittany is the mother of 2 yr. old Karter and 1 yr. old Dallas. The children’s father shot her and is now in custody. Cards can be sent to Betsy at the Regional Office, 6455 E Silver Springs Blvd., Silver Springs, FL 34488. The family will be establishing a fund for the children. Until then, please pray.

Betsy’s oldest daughter Christy and her husband Jeff are taking care of the 2 babies in addition to their three children. They need to either buy another home or add on rooms to the one they live in. A Go Fund Me link has been set up and any amount will help with 5 kids. Please see the Go Fund Me link

Your prayers and remembrances will help bring comfort during a time of unbelievable heartbreak and sorrow.



WEEK OF COMPASSION
Hurricane Relief Update

As we saw on our news many communities in Central America, where Week of Compassion has longstanding relationships, were impacted by Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota. Please be in prayer for the people of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and all other areas in the path of this storm.

Answering the Call: Portland FCC Responds to Compound Disasters
Community relationships are important, even in the best of times. In hard times, those connections become essential. And congregations with pre-existing community ties are uniquely placed to meet critical needs when the going gets tough. In the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon, First Christian Church has had a community feeding ministry in place for more than 25 years. Prior to the pandemic, they were distributing 100-125 sandwiches each week.
 
When COVID-19 impacted the city, other downtown programs had to close their doors almost overnight. This left a big gap in services, with many people in need. But because FCC had existing relationships with many of those other ministries and services, they were able to move quickly to help fill the gap. With help from church members and volunteers, with support from Week of Compassion and other denominational grants for COVID-19 Relief, and in partnership with other community organizations, First Christian Church has been able to expand their capacity in a significant way. The church has increased the number of people they reach nearly tenfold. They have opened their doors to house a ministry that would otherwise have closed. And with deliveries of 7 tons of food per week from the Oregon Food Bank, church partners and volunteers sort and organize the food and help distribute the packages to neighbors in need.
 
Because of their long-standing presence in the community, and long history of working to feed unhoused and lower income neighbors, the church also knew that a “one size fits all” approach to food distribution would not work in their neighborhood. Portland’s cultural diversity makes for unique needs among families from different cultural backgrounds. In order to honor those different cultures, and to preserve the dignity of those they serve, FCC works across their wide network of partners to exchange food where needed. Pastor Cynthia McBride offers the example of cheese, while not a common ingredient for some families, it is a cultural staple for others; partners at FCC have been able to share and coordinate these resources. Eventually, they developed both an Asian pantry and a Latinx pantry.
 
Then, as the church continued to adapt to the needs of the pandemic, smoke from the wildfires that had affected so much of their state began to encroach upon the city. At one point, for a full week, Portland had the worst air quality in the world. It was hazardous, and people were not supposed to be outside at all. If you don’t have a house, that is an especially tough situation.
 
This development posed further challenges to the newly expanded ministry at FCC, which had been happening primarily outdoors due to the pandemic. Now, the houseless neighbors, many of whom were relying on the church for food support, also had no place to go.
 
Through those challenging days of the wildfires, the people of First Christian continued responding to an ever-changing situation, working to meet the needs of some of their most vulnerable neighbors. With additional support from Week of Compassion, the church was able to offer water, as well as N-95 masks to their houseless friends. Filtration masks have been hard to come by during COVID-19, and were especially appreciated by those living outdoors with the dangerous air quality every day.
 
Your gifts throughout the year to Week Of Compassion help support ministries such as the one at Portland First Christian Church and show that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that reaches far beyond our own communities. Thank you!




She's in lock down!
Stay in Touch with Rev. Cindy

Cynthia James
Calle Batalla del Salado 34
Esq izq 1 A
28045 Madrid Spain

Email her at 

revcindy2008@gmail.com

 Text or call her on WhatsApp

and look for her soon on Facebook!





Disciples Women are on the move!!!
Working together as women of faith

  

By Candy Hansen

Many across this nation, for various reasons, will experience a Christmas like no other. I am among those, though my heart is especially with those who are mourning permanently empty seats at the holiday table. As I once heard a child say, “They’re at Baby Jesus’ real birthday party.” It occurs to me that, amid the lovely holiday distractions, I don’t give enough attention to the one ‘forever constant’ - vividly brought home to me through my newest granddaughter.

The texted pic looked like a photo shoot: Penelope posed on what appeared to be one of those artificial snow blankets you put under a Christmas tree, palm branches in the background. Clad only in her diaper, she was on her tummy, propped on her forearm, lips slightly parted, closed eyes slightly squinted as if against too bright lights. In reality, she was on her pediatrician’s examining table getting her two-month inoculations. Talk about high quality medical office table covering and wallpaper!! She looked so sweet and vulnerable, dependent on others for absolutely everything. As was the baby Jesus . . . that ‘forever constant’. 

I wonder, during his growing up years, did Jesus have memories of heaven? We know he knew his divine roots when he told Mary and Joseph he had to be about His Father’s business. But did he long for that place of a peace and beauty we can only imagine? If so, even at its best, this earth must have been a tormenting contrast. And yet he came. TO A WORLD where, like Penelope, he would be dependent upon others. Where he would endure unspeakable suffering. FROM A WORLD where he hung the stars. There are people for whom we would do anything. As a parent, I would do anything for my children. As he did for his. Had there been no manger, there would have been no cross. And no opportunity for us to share an unimaginable eternity in his presence.

If my parents were given the opportunity to return to earth for the remainder of my life, I suspect their response would be that they loved me very much. But that they would watch over me from there and have the coffeepot on when I arrive (: (:

A BLESSED HOLIDAY, WHATEVER FORM THAT MAY TAKE FOR YOU THIS YEAR. 2020 TRADITIONS MAY HAVE TO CHANGE, BUT OUR ‘FOREVER CONSTANT’ NEVER DOES !!!

Candy Hansen
Secretary

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At times, we all could use someone walking along beside us, praying for us, supporting and encouraging us. We want to provide the opportunity for you to do just that! We would love for you to feel free to post your requests on the wall or if you feel more comfortable, you can keep your request confidential and our staff will pray for you.

 It is privilege for us to support one another during difficult times, and we want to thank those of you who are faithfully praying for others!

Remember to share those praises as well!



DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS 2020

4       Paul Horne
10     Happy Foster-Kinnear
13     Katrina Acosta
13     Beth Gillespie
13     Gracia Jn Francois
15     Mike Sullivan
17     Ana Del Castillo
17     Derrick Horne
17     Sandy Lagasse
18     Shari Sassman
21     Inali Kinnear
22     Debby Horne
29     Pat Jawdy

JANUARY BIRTHDAYS 2020

1       Scott Del Mastro
3       Sharon Hambright Layton
3       Nicole Richardson
6       Lisa Moore
6       Elizabeth Pilot
7       Cove Lyon   
10     JoAnne Lyon
11     Amy Young
13     Kristen Lagasse
14     Justin Ramich
19     Jamie Kite
21     Karla Del Castillo
22     Charlie Branch
23     Andreus Brammer
23     Karen Conklin
25     Celia Moore
29     Gloria Hambright




DECEMBER ANNIVERSARIES 2020

12     Natalie and Derrick Horne


JANUARY ANNIVERSARIES 2020

7       Mari Guzman and Melissa Holmes (3 Yrs. in 2020)



Note from the Scholarship Committee 
The Scholarship Committee is proud to announce the first series of scholarships given to members of our congregation who are pursuing educational goals beyond the high school diploma.
We are pleased that our church has made this possible and would like to thank those of you who have donated for your donations to the scholarship fund.
For those who would like to donate, please include your donation amount along with your weekly tithe and designate the amount on your check/envelope. As always, we support our congregation in love.
 

  Every Monday at First Christian Church 
( rooms 1-2)

7:00 pm- NA Courage to change group (open discussion)
8:30m - AA-Twelve & Twelve Group (closed discussion)


Be a Prayer Warrior
Every day a faithful group from our congregation pray for those who request and are in need of prayers
 
 
  ONLINE NOW !