Agape' Metropolitan Community Church
This Week's News and Updates
December 17, 2019

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What Kind of Rebel are You? 
From Rev. David Wynn

Rebel leaders, I want to invite you to engage The Rebel Test to go a little further in cultivating your Rebel Talents. Please use the link below and I would love to see your results, if you are comfortable sharing! Happy exploring! 

Agape' MCC Raffle was a success!
Thank you to everyone who purchased tickets helping us surpass our original goal.

Congrats to our winner, Gail Gore!
Come join us for our Winter Solstice Gathering
Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 6:00PM

What is the winter solstice? It’s the astronomical moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn, we have our shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere in terms of daylight. Regardless of what the weather is doing outside your window, the solstice marks the official start of winter. 

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) because, during the solstice, the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator (called declination) appears to stand still.

So what does that mean, exactly? Upon the winter solstice, the Sun appears at its lowest in the sky, and its noontime elevation seems to stay the same for several days before and after this day. The Sun’s gradual decrease in the sky reverses upon the winter solstice, marking what many cultures believe to be a “rebirth” of the Sun as the hours of daylight become longer.

The Winter Solstice has played an important role in cultures worldwide from ancient times until today. In fact, many of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with Christmas are actually associated with Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures.

Not all seasons are the same length. The time it takes for the Sun to “move” from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice is 92.8 days, to the autumnal equinox, 93.6 days; to the winter solstice, 89.8 days; and back to the vernal equinox 89.0 days (approximately).

**Winter Soltice Information is quoted from the Farmers' Almanac.
Fourth Sunday in Advent

Matthew 1:18-25 -
“…and they will call him Emmanuel—which means God with us.”

There are times when we anguish over making the right decision - even the trivial ones, like when to go grocery shopping, can pull us in different directions. Then there are the big ones, like whether to get married or not. I know there are times when I just don’t want to make a decision, which takes me right down the path of procrastination. Can I get an Amen? 

For Joseph, I can only imagine the struggle he went through before deciding to heed the angel’s commandment. Honestly, as strange as it may sound, there are times I do wish an angel would appear and tell me what to do! Joseph’s decision was one that he knew would have a major impact in the life of his bride to be and soon to be born son. 

Our own decisions are rarely made in isolation. Almost all of our choices have the potential to affect others, either positively or negatively. That is part of what makes life so challenging. This is especially true when we are led to make a decision that swims against the tide of popular opinion, when you decide that no matter what the consequences, this is something you must do. 

No doubt, Joseph’s choice was not the safe or popular one. It is a struggle to see any of Joseph’s peers counseling him in the same way the angel did. Yet, as the story goes, Joseph did what the angel commanded and took the risk that could lead to ridicule and even being an outcast in his own hometown. 

We often stand on the precipice of important decisions that could set us up for ridicule and being an outcast in our circle of family and friends. The birth narrative in Matthew, and Joseph’s courage, invite us to take a stand, to do the right thing, even when it is not popular. We are blessed to be able to do so knowing that Emmanuel, God is, indeed, with us. 

May the gift of Emmanuel be your guide and strength as you ponder all of the difficult and thorny decisions you are faced with, throughout this season and the New Year. Now, how about another Amen? 

Rev. Elder Tony Freeman

December Birthdays
12/03 - Carol Boutwell
12/05 - Jim Simmons
12/09 - Dan Leaver
12/10 - Jeremy Phillips
12/11 - Taylor Howell Wolfer-Stephens 
12/15 - Cassy Batts
12/15 - Trish Ashton 
12/15 - Randall Roberts 
12/20 - Linda Crear
12/24 - Johnny Price 
12/26 - Pat Kaiser
12/27 - Val McMullan 
12/29 - Jo Pierce
12/30 - Phyllis Sasser
4th Sunday in Advent - December 22, 2019
"The Rebels of Christmas"

Call to Worship

Song of Welcome: "O Come All Ye Faithful" Community

Words of Welcome and Greeting: Rev. David Wynn

Time with our Children, Lighting of the Advent Wreath: Trish Ashton

Contemporary Reading: Jan Richardson, "Night Visions, Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas" - Rev. David Wynn

Reading of the Scripture: Matthew 1:18-24 Lisa O'Grady

Song of Response:  “O Come, O Come” Community

Time of Teaching: "Joseph, the Climber" Rev. David Wynn

Song of Centering: " Emmanuel" Community

Community Prayer: Stephanie Lotz

Response to the Prayer:  “Bethlehem Wind”     TGFM

Bringing Our Gifts: Cassy Batts

Celebration of Holy Communion: Rev. Robert Myers

Song of Sending Forth:   “Joy to the World”  Community

Announcements and Benediction: Rev. David Wynn

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Agape' MCC is a Reproductive Justice Congregation.
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