December 2020
At the beginning of this year, “2020 Vision” became a trending phrase among congregations. More than a clever turn of phrase, this served as a title for sermons, a framework for goals, a tool for assessments, and much more. The year 2020 not only felt full of hope, it seemed quite filled with certainty. Take a moment to peer back all the way to January 1. What did you anticipate that this auspicious year held for you? 

In our ministry, the twelve months of 2020 appeared poised to be a year with expanding family and campus ministries, the launch of our “Called to Life!” Teams, introduction of the vision for our “Journey Outward,” and much more!

This past week, I was speaking with my friend, David, about the process a caterpillar goes through when it climbs inside its cocoon and begins its transformation process into a butterfly. David pointed out that while it’s inside its chrysalis, the caterpillar’s body actually completely dissolves altogether and is basically rearranged into a completely new body - the body of a butterfly. As Pastor Lawrence and I were talking about this later, we observed that it was hard for us to Imagine any other organism that could survive something like this: having our bodies completely dissolve and then rearrange into a new body. A biological miracle of our natural world. Death and resurrection.


December 6: Last day to order flowers or donate to Special Music Fund 
December 6:  Deacon’s Food Drive

December 13:  OPW Christmas Tea (Zoom)
ALL are invited.  

December 20:  Visio Divina
See Pastor Lawrence’s article
For the latest information on upcoming ministry events, please check: 
The Church Calendar  
Visit Our Facebook Page
or contact the Church Office.

Advent season is here. This year we are offering two daily devotionals - a printed devotional “Those Who Dream” and an online devotional “Let Us Light Candles: Matthew 25 and the work of Advent.” You can pick up your printed devotional from the church, or you can request that it be mailed to you. Also, the children and youth each received The Story of Christmas storybook set and Advent calendar – many thanks to the CE members who personally delivered these gifts!

Confirmation class is going great. They continue to meet weekly under the leadership of Pastor Marc and a few dedicated members of our congregation. 

Virtual church school for the Pre-K through 5thgrade classes is up and running. If you haven’t already done so, check out the weekly church school lessons on OPC’s church school webpage.  

Middle school and high school youth group continue to meet every week. They recently met at Hueston Woods for a socially distanced hike led by Dick Munson. It was a beautiful day and a great time was had by all. 

Our beloved Christmas program, Celebration at the Manger, has gone virtual! Carla Rice is currently working with our children and youth to create a unique, beautiful virtual program for all to enjoy!

“Because of the extenuating circumstances with COVID, my supervisor has waived the inspection requirement and your reactivation transaction has already been approved in the OCLQS. 
You are free to resume operating on January 5, 2021.”  GOOD NEWS!
Since we plan to reopen January 5, 2021, CCNS will have a surprise inspection between the time we reopen through the end of May- This will be used for the reopening inspection as well as our annual inspection. I am continuing to work daily, keeping CCNS compliant for our state inspection. 

All families have received new contracts, enrollment forms and updated COVID Rules and Regulations. Currently, I’m working on administrative duties (staffing, communication with CCNS families, ODJFS and OPC staff & members, keeping up-to-date with COVID rules and regulations, finalizing an updated budget to present to S&F and etc.) and teacher duties (lesson planning for return, zoom meetings with children on Thursdays, trainings, classroom organization and updates, cleaning and etc.). 

As changes continue to happen daily... I will try my best to keep everyone up-to-date with the status of CCNS. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I hope everyone is staying healthy and thanks for your time. Thanks again, Sarah Lake

Sarah Lake
CCNS Director & Teacher 
Tuesday Afternoon Circle
Tuesday (monday) Evening (afternoon) Circle


OPW will be holding a virtual Christmas Tea on December 13 at 2:00 pm.  You are invited to put on your Christmas sweater or sweatshirt, make a cup of tea at home, grab a cookie, and settle down in front of your computer or iPad screen. 

We will take a moment of friendship to share Christmas memories, hear a Christmas story, and hum along with Christmas carols sung by a soloist.  Let us gather together on Zoom!!  We invite everyone—women and men—who would enjoy this interlude in this most unusual Christmas season where we are apart and want to be together.  Mark your calendar now and stay tuned for more detail in the future.

If you are willing to help by reading a Christmas Bible verse, a Christmas poem, or share a Christmas memory, let Sue Wilson know.

Something New from SERRV for this Christmas!

Dear members and friends of our congregation,

Because of the unusual circumstances brought on by COVID-19, the Oxford Presbyterian Women will not be holding the Cookie Walk this year.

We are, however, offering something new! SERRV and EARN! Handicrafts from around the world can be purchased through SERRV’s wonderful catalog. There will be: No minimum order, Home delivery, Special offers for free shipping AND 20% goes to OPW.

We will dearly miss the COOKIE WALK; the beautiful and tasty baked goods and the wonderful fellowship. We look forward to its return. 

Shop and support the “OPW in Lieu of the Cookie Walk SERRV Fundraiser.” 

It's never been easier to change a life for the better. Now thru (ongoing), when you buy handmade gifts and home decor using the web link 

20% of your purchase will be donated to OPW!

Dedicating to fighting poverty through fair trade since 1949, Serrv International works with nearly 8,000 artisans and farmers in 24 countries to bring you the world's most beautiful handcrafts. #worldofgood

SERRV proudly supports
✔       Fair wages
✔       Sustainable income
✔       Safe working conditions
✔       Education
✔       Equality

For questions or a catalogue see Becky Quay, Prue Dana, Janet Ziegler.

Each year, Oxford Presbyterian Church makes contributions to our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), to support our worldwide mission as well as denominational ministry such as new church development, Youth Triennium, General Assembly, and leadership development in our Presbytery – to name just a few. The contributions, referred to as the “per capita” payments, are based on the number of our confirmed members.

We encourage every member to give toward your per capita of $52.20. Your contribution not only connects you with the work of the church throughout the world, this also allows finances budgeted by our congregation to pay the per capita in 2020 to be used instead in support the missions of the Oxford Presbyterian Church.

If you haven’t already contributed to your per capita for 2020, it’s easy. Simply, send a check for the total amount to the church office. To ensure proper credit, please write “2020 per capita” in the memo field.

From our Presbytery at a local level to the General Assembly on the national level, our denomination offer us a valuable connection to Christians around the world, and the per capita is an opportunity for you to support our denominational partners directly. Thank you for your continued generosity to the Body of Christ that is the PC(USA).

Betty Barnhart, Jim Baer, Rodger Cromer, John Curry, Bob Douglass, Nancy Gates, Genee Hesse, Ruth Miller, Dick and Marian Nelson, Jan Reinhart, Becky Rudolph, Sarah Soika, John & Jean Woodruff

Keep these friends in your prayers
We are so pleased to welcome four new members! Our newest friends, each transferring membership from another church, are:

Kay Estes (The Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, OH)
Amber Stitt (daughter) & Peggi Stitt (mother) (Westwood Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, OH)
David Woods (Morning Sun Presbyterian Church) 
We welcome you with joy in the common life of this church. We promise you our friendship and prayers as we share the hopes and labors of the church of Jesus Christ. 

By the power of the Holy Spirit may we continue to grow together in God’s knowledge and love and be witnesses of our risen Savior. Amen!
I see trees of green   Red roses too   
I see them bloom   For me and for you
And I think to myself…
Say the last line OUTLOUD!!

·      Dick Munson, elder of the month, presented a thought provoking talk on our caring for creation.
·      Many joys, and a few concerns, were shared among those present.
·      Discussion underway to change the number of elders and deacons serving. This will be decided in 2021 after further review.
·      Leaf guard portion of the gutters and downspouts, at the Seminary Building, have been installed.
·      Eliminating Systemic Poverty Team, in conjunction with the City of Oxford and the Family Resource Center are developing a one-year pilot program for a cold shelter and transitional housing .
·      Planning for Advent and Christmas Eve - trying to keep as many traditions in place and, at the same time, being aware of the pandemic time we are living in, is challenging. Kudos to the staff and Worship and Music for their efforts.
·      Karen Baker and Associates CPA firm will continue to serve OPC in 2021.
·      Christian Education Committee will enhance the virtual Advent season for children with Advent calendars, family gift packages and Advent wreath kits.

Judy Fisher
Highlights and Take FIves


1.    The 2021 W&M Committee budget was finalized and approved. 
2.    Planning was undertaken for the four Sundays in Advent. The worship services will include both in-person and live streamed offerings Individuals and groups were chosen to be Advent Wreath readers.
3.    Two Christmas Eve services were discussed.  One may be an evening service of lessons and carols.  It would have an in-person congregation and also be live streamed.  The other service may be held in the afternoon and focus on families with children.  It would also be an in-person service.


The AV system in the Memorial has been adjusted by the contractor and is functioning properly. One additional component is required to allow for pre-recorded items to be seamlessly included in streaming live services. Aerial inspection reported that the leaf-guard portion of the gutters and downspouts project on the Seminary are installed. The foldable dividers in the CCNS room have been removed.

An estimate has been obtained for the repair of the women’s restroom toilets on the first floor of the Memorial. This work will replace the obsolete internal mechanisms but will not require replacing the actual toilets. Trustees authorized the work to begin. 

The hallway carpeting in the Memorial can be done as soon as funding is determined, but discussion on the Molyneaux Lounge is desirable in that a different type of floor covering might mitigate the expense of regular stain removal. 


Coalition for a Healthy Community Oxford Area - impressive presentation by the Rev. Logan Dysart, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, who cited the need for funding from external donors to continue work and obtain matching grants
Funded the following - Mercy Ships for $750, Famine Relief in Africa for $1000

Deacons - both TOPSS and Open Hands Food Pantry are well stocked with food
ESP - reported on FRC plans for cold shelter and transitional housing 


COVID 19 Fund: It is being used for food, rent and utilities. OPC is reaching out to several community partners to identify needs. The balance is currently $11,000. Both pastors and Bridgite coordinate requests with disbursing funds.

Each of the Personnel Committee members who assisted Pastor Lawrence in staff reviews were asked to give a summary of the review. The overall conclusion is that OPC is blessed to have such a talented and committed team


The Communication Committee was formed to aide and assist OPC in its efforts to improve the technology of how the church worships.

The new addition of a much-improved AV system to the church, made possible by a generous and anonymous donation, has allowed the church to achieve the goals for which the committee was created.  
Therefore the Chair suggested, and the committee concurred that the Committee be dissolved, as the new functions of the improved AV system are currently delegated to a consortium of staff and volunteers.

A debriefing for the members of the committee and staff will be held soon.
The chair would like to formally thank Matt Benzing and Kim Logsdon for serving on the committee, and their valuable insights.  Kim will be continuing her work on the website.

We thank you for your willingness to seek, serve and share in your role as OPC leaders.

Rick Bailey, Joe Simpson, 
Tom Holmes (class of 2021)

Cornelia Browne, Stephanie Hartman, Savannah Hofer, Becky Quay, Joni Marcum, Jill Grajewski (class of 2021)

Matt Benzing, Danny Cross, Pat Gifford, Deb Sayers, Jenn Walter,
Steve Flee (class of 2021)

Even though we have been struggling through the persistent pandemic, our congregation has continued to focus on the needs of our church. Your generosity confirms the creativity of our staff in managing a difficult period and maintaining a continuing dedication to the work God has assigned. 

During the fall we have received gifts of 

$1,000 from Gregory and Elaine Hellwarth                   
$1,000 from an anonymous donor to be used as needed. 

Randy and Layne Listerman contributed $1,000 for the pastor’s discretionary fund and an additional $1,000 in memory of Joan Teckman which will support facility needs. 

Kate Wespiser gave $5,000 to the COVID-19 emergency fund and 

Jim and Dolly Thomas provided $2,000 in memory of their daughter Amy which will be used for a video system to share our church heritage.

Our stewardship 2021 campaign theme this year has been “God activates our gifts”. We are grateful for the gifts we have received in His name during this year and look forward to the continuation of such generosity in the year ahead. 

If you would like to make a special gift before January 1, contact Bill King, Special Gifts Coordinator:

Phone: (513) 523-2546 (h)
           (513) 720-7345 (c)
Answer to the Question of the Month (And remember, I already apologized.) Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer
(or two)

A Christmas Tradition

Christmas was big in our house because Dad's salary was boosted by a Christmas bonus which amounted to about one-third of his annual pay.  This was the time Mother bought us 5 children things we needed as well as wonderful presents from Santa Claus and anyone else she could conjure up as givers.  She and Dad spent a lot of money on gifts for each other, too, and each knew that the other would exceed any reasonable expense. Dad would also wait until Christmas Eve day to buy the 12 foot tall Christmas tree we needed and that, of course, was prime time to pay an exorbitant price for a tree.  One or two us kids would go with Dad to help pick out the tree and our eyes popped when we saw the price he paid.  On the drive home, Dad would say to us, "when your mother asks how much I paid for the tree, you will answer $5.00."
Mother always asked and we always answered, "$5.00."

By Christmas Eve, Mother was exhausted with the preparations and arranged for the family to go out to dinner before the 11:00 p.m. church service.  We always went to an Italian restaurant in the next town.  Before we left the house, my father, feeling very poor by now because of all the expenses piling up, lined us 5 kids by the door and said very sternly, "now, when we get to the restaurant, all of you will order spaghetti."  We knew it was the least expensive menu item but we didn't care; we liked spaghetti and we were going to a restaurant! We did this every year before our Christmas Eve schedules of choir rehearsals or going to an earlier service made the restaurant meal impossible so my mother made our family recipe of a half day simmer of spaghetti sauce with meatballs and Italian sausage and we ate at home.

To this day, on Christmas Eve, my siblings and I and several of our children make this family recipe and we call each other to ask, "is the sauce on?"  
Judy Schiller 

We have so many Christmas stories but we decided the Kansas City one was the most painful.  As we had just left our navy life and bought a house with a chimney, Santa was bound to come! So we bought a set of a kitchen and a stove made of very heavy cardboard. When the girls (only two of them then) went to sleep we got it out with screwdrivers ready.  There were “millions” of screws and tiny square nuts to put it all together.  It took til 2:30am.  And our fingers were the sorest ever and some were bleeding! But that set was absolutely marvelous and the kids played with it every day. The best toy in the world and it lasted til it went to California before the next Christmas where it still was part of their lives.

Of course there was the other story about the first Christmas in California when the girls were not sure Santa would come there. We made sure that no one was to get up early and touch the packages Santa would leave. All was quiet when we adults got up to get the turkey etc. ready.  When I looked out at the tree to switch on the lights two sleeping heads woke up from their sleeping bags!  They were under the tree with the presents, none of them touched at all, but they knew Santa had come!!!
Larry and Kathy Hardy

My dad loved popcorn, so one year I got a 5 pound bag of popcorn kernels, a big bottle of corn oil and our old dented popcorn pan and popped all that popcorn for him.  It filled a huge bag, was a great hit with my dad and surprisingly lasted in good condition.
Nancy Moeckel

Thank you to Judy and Larry and Kathy for sharing your treasured memories.
The Worship and Music Committee of Session hopes to make each of the worship services as meaningful as possible. Congregational participation is a crucial ingredient in that effort. One example of participation is seen in the enthusiastic response to the opportunities to honor or memorialize others with the purchase of flowers to enhance the beauty of the sanctuary throughout the year, particularly at Christmas and Easter. It has been suggested that opportunity be given to honor or memorialize others with a gift to the Special Music Fund in lieu of, or in addition to the purchase of flowers.

The Special Music Fund is for the express purpose of providing a small honorarium for guest soloists or instrumentalists or musical events not included in the regular worship and music budget. Contributions to this special fund will be welcome at any time, but members and friends of the church are invited to make contributions during the Christmas and Easter seasons. One may designate a person or persons to be memorialized or honored. Such gifts will be noted in the church bulletin.

The last day to order is Sunday, December 6, 2020.

Mitten and Shoe Tree
Due to the pandemic, our annual Mitten and Shoe Tree will not be on display. However, that doesn't mean we are not collecting monetary donations. Your gift of $40-$50 will bring a gift at Christmas time to a local child. A gift of $12 will bring new shoes to an orphaned child in Russia. Please don't let this annual giving die out. Note on your check payable to our church, mittens, shoes, or both.

Thank you from the children!

This Advent, the Deacons and the Youth Group are working together to organize a "no-contact" food drive to help support TOPSS. The food drive will be taking place on Sunday, December 6 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Seminary Building.

Please load your food items into the trunk of your car, and remain in your vehicle (with mask on), and our youth will help unload your items into the Seminary Building. 

Items that TOPSS has requested of OPC: instant mashed potatoes, stuffing, canned yams, canned pumpkin, corn muffin mix, other canned vegetables like corn, green beans, carrots, etc., and cranberry sauce or the gel in a can.

See you at the Seminary and Thank you!

On behalf of the FRC, your ESP Team (Eradicating Systemic Poverty) is providing a more specific list of items for the “now in operation” transitional housing here in Oxford. FRC received CARES funding for two transitional housing units. However, they are mostly unfurnished and thus household items, including furniture, are needed. 

Large items needed include: bed frames, box springs, mattresses, dressers. Smaller items include: sheets and pillow cases, towels, wash cloths, blankets, pillows, kitchen towels, pots and pans, plates and glasses, silverware, kitchen utensils.

If you or someone you know have items to donate, please let me know and I’ll arrange to have them picked up.

Thanks so much—

Anne Bailey, on behalf of the ESP Team and FRC
earth care congregation image

“ This is my Father’s World, And to my listening ears, All nature sings and round me rings”
 A year ago our congregation participated in the “Called to Life” seminars which resulted in our desire as a congregation to engage more fully in protecting God’s Creation, environmental justice, and living the gospel.  

An Earth Care Committee has recently been formed and is chaired by Carla Blackmar Rice.  Members of the Committee include Sandra Woy-Hazleton, Dick Munson, Lawrence Bartel, Amy Bartel, and Sue Wilson.If you would like to join this committee, contact Carla!  

To become certified as an Earth Care Congregation through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, we will conduct an environmental audit of our church activities and projects in four areas:  worship, education, facilities, and outreach. Congregations applying to be Earth Care Congregations will become involved in making their church buildings, operations, worship services, education and outreach respectful of the glory of God’s creation as a continuing ministry.  For more information 

Sue Wilson
Sue will be contributing a monthly article on the committee and other earth care topics.  Something to look forward to!
What are your favorites?

·      It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
·      A Christmas Carol (1951) Only the Alistair Sim version—ed.
·      A Christmas Story (1983) Have you seen the summer counterpart called Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss?  Just as good.
·      Miracle on 34thStreet (1947) Natalie wood was 8 years old.
·      A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) Apple TV, a subscription service acquired the rights to this show, but after an outcry, there will be one airing on PBS, on Dec. 13, 7:30 EST, Check local listings. 
·      How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. 

Oxford Presbyterian Church Staff
Office Hours: 8:30-4:30, M-F
Telephone: 513-523-6364
Fax: 513-523-8215
Seminary Building: 513-523-7411
Pastor: Lawrence Bartel

Associate Pastor: Marc van Bulck

Music Director: Kent Peterson

Organist: Lynn Jacobs

Pastor Emeritus: Dr. Joseph R. Hookey

Parish Associate: Rev. Diane Ziegler

Clerk: Julia R. Fisher

Administrative Assistant: 
         Bridgite Dickerson:         office@oxfordpresbychurch.o
Financial Secretary: Nick Fears

Youth Director: Currently Seeking

Director/Teacher C.C.N.S.: 
Sarah Lake:                                                          ccnsoxfordpreschool@gmail .com    

Newsletter Editor: 
Nancy Moeckel,

Custodian: Priscilla Parks

Sexton: Nick Fears


2        Joe Foltz
2        Nancy Parkinson
2        Ned Stephenson
2        Virginia Swanson
4        Prue Dana
4        Alex Rezanka
5        Carol Flee
8        Randy Trostel
9        Zeke Groom
9        Evan James
10      Carol Bowers
10      Louise Griffing
10      Sue Skillings
11      Laura Harvey
12      Ann Bader
13      Linda Boardman
15      Robin Vealey
15      Sue Wilson
17      Jan Reinhart
18      Nick Fears
18      Paula Green
20      Steve Brown
20      Dick Munson
23      John Curry, Jr.
24      Megan Murray
25      Holly Gage
27      Cori Babcock
27      Anne Bailey
28      Tom Poetter
29      Jean O’Connell
30      Megumi Satkowski
30      Nancy Sturgeon
31      Whitney Hartman


With apologies in advance, here is the question of the month.
What do you call a bunch of chess players bragging about their games in a hotel lobby? Search the newsletter for the answer

The winter solstice is Monday, December 21, 2020. This is the astronomical first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day of the year.

Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride is a Christmas standard. It’s been a hit ever since it was recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. It was written during a July heat wavein Woodbury, Connecticut and it never mentions Christmas

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” may be one of the oldest of all Christmas songs. It was written in Latin around the 9th century. Researchers believe that Gregorian monks first composed the song. It has been associated with Christmas for almost 1200 years and was translated into English in 1851.

if you’ve ever seen a majestic caribou, you were looking at the species, Rangifer tarandus — or reindeer.

Reindeer are the only deer species in which females have antlers too.

The Arctic tern, a very small bird, migrates from the North Pole where it breeds to the South Pole where it lives during the winter months. The trip is 21, 750 miles long.
  1. We welcome your feedback on the newsletter. We LOVE your feedback like Velma loves to snuggle.What is missing from the newsletter that you would like to see? Is there anything you like about it? Let me know. Now here is your bonus for reading this section: What do you call Santa’s little helpers? Subordinate clauses.