Chalice News
Round Rock Christian Church

Embracing our neighbors with Christ-like love 
December 8, 2020
In This Issue
This Sunday in Worship -- 
December 13, 2020

The Third Sunday 
of Advent

"When Your Identity 
Is Questioned"
John 1:6-8, 19-28

A Message from the Pastor
Sunday afternoon's meeting of the Ministries Council reminded me of all that God has continued to do through us during these tough pandemic times. God has blessed our congregation despite the many challenges posed by the global health crisis. 

Beyond that, God has even used us to continue to reach out in love--beyond our church family--to our neighborhood schools, hospitals, and the Round Rock Area Serving Center. COVID-19 has not stopped our mission of embracing our neighbors with Christ-like love.  I am thankful for this committed group of people who have said YES! to following Jesus and sharing his love with all.

Like you I am looking forward to seeing what God will be doing through RRCC in 2021. Doesn't it feel great to say it and write it?! 2 0 2 1. 

See, I am making all things new.
Revelation 21:5

In Christ's love,
Pastor Mitch
Worship ZOOM Link/Meeting ID and Password
Our Meeting ID and passcode are:

Meeting ID: 864 8287 2175
Password: 273770

The link is: 

Dial by your location: 1-346-248-7799 
RRCC Online Giving

Even though we are unable to meet in person,
RRCC has three ways you can still give your tithe:
  1. Go to the RRCC website and click on the "GIVE HERE" button at the top of the main page. Or use the link at the top of each newsletter. It will take you to the same place.
  2. Use your bank's electronic bill pay feature to have a check mailed directly from your bank to RRCC.
  3. Mail your check directly to RRCC.
Address your envelope to:
Financial Secretary
Round Rock Christian Church
22 Chalice Way
Round Rock, TX 78665
Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Service

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting on the 2nd Sunday in December unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who left too soon. As candles are lit on Sunday, December 13th, 2020 at 7:00 pm local time, hundreds of thousands of people commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon. But note that the event begins at 6:30 p.m.
Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the annual Worldwide Candle Lighting (WCL), a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. TCF's WCL started in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance and has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held, and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes, as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died and will never be forgotten.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Central Time
on Sunday, December 13, 2020.

       The Disciples Women's Ministries Invite You to
A Morning of Inspiration With Venessa Harmell 

Save the date: December 14, 2020, 9:30 A.M.

In lieu of the traditional December fellowship luncheon, the Disciples Women's Ministries invites the entire congregation to join them via zoom this year, at 9:30 A.M. on December 14. This time for fellowship over coffee we will be blessed to hear from our own Venessa Harmel. Venessa is completing her seminary studies this week with a master's degree. Following the required ordination interview Venessa's service of ordination, a reception will occur late spring here at Round Rock Christian.

In addition to graduate coursework at Brite Divinity School on the campus of Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Venessa is the director of Spiritual Life at the Juliette Fowler Communities in Dallas.

     Venessa's Christian service began many years ago when she held several positions of leadership in our congregation, including youth director. Three years ago, she began studies at Brite. During seminary, Venessa has held student pastorates, including one at Richland Springs Christian where Anna Marie Blair now ministers.

Next Monday Venessa will share her spiritual journey and bring information about her current ministry at Juliette Fowler. It is a remarkable faith-based, nonprofit organization founded in 1892. It is named for a Dallas philanthropist, Juliette Peak Fowler, who had a vision for helping people in need, especially women and children. Approaching 130 years of service, this organization now includes senior living apartments, licensed assisted living, certified memory care, skilled long-term nursing care, skilled short-stay rehabilitation, and out-patient therapy. It is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 

The zoom invitation for 9:30 A.M., December 14 is:
Senior Access
       Mistletoe Magic...Memorable!

The annual Senior Access Christmas Concert is "in the books" and one that will, no doubt, linger in the memories of choir members for years to come! The 2020 COVID 19 Pandemic has been marked with constant new and innovative methods of doing things. Such was the case with the choir presentation at this annual church "Outreach to the Community" which welcomes the Christmas season! Although we weren't able to gather together to share the evening of Christmas music festivities, we were able to "socially distance" and put together a special Christmas piece, with the creativity of Jimmy and Randy, and submit it for a recorded presentation during the evening event. This stylized piece, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", was shared with the congregation during zoom worship on Sunday, 12/6/20 and is recorded on You Tube for those that missed it. 

Jimmy graciously opened his home recording studio and choir members scheduled appointments to record "their parts" individually or in pairs, which Jimmy then "laid over" each recording to combine the voices on a track that sounded like the choir was singing together! All of this, while sanitizing between recording sessions, and working his magic to create the right "sound" so that choir members sounded like a choir and not individual soloists. It was a "first" for the choir members that had never recorded in a recording studio!


Similar to each weekly zoom worship service this year, Randy then took the music recording and added a beautiful Christmas backdrop and lyrics to bring the music to life.

Thank you to the choir members that "took the leap of faith" to try something new, and to Jimmy and Randy for providing their time, energy and talents to make this year's choir contribution to the community Senior Access and our church worship service something very memorable!

In case you missed it, you can still enjoy the concert on YouTube! Just click here:
University and Divinity Students Wrap Up Fall Semester

Mary Collier
Abbie Hardt
Robert Jenkins & Taylor
University of North Texas
Abilene Christian University
Texas State University

Jacob Barker
Venessa Harmel & Zeena

Texas A & M University
Brite Divinity School ~ TCU

University and divinity school life has been altered considerably in 2020; however, our five Round Rock Christian students have taken it in stride as they continue to pursue their career goals. While each look forward to Christmas break to be with their respective families, January 2021 will find them once again scattered across the state in College Station, Denton, Abilene, San Marcos, and Fort Worth.
Congratulations to each of our students. You are wished God's grace and blessings as you continue your education and plan your future.

Jacob Barker, the son of Lori Barker, is a sophomore at Texas A & M University, College Station, studying Aerospace Engineering. He is in the Aggie Class of 2023. Jacob's academic excellence at Georgetown High School prepared him for his goal as an aerospace engineer.

Mary Collier, the daughter of Brenda and Gary Collier, is a junior at the University of North Texas in Denton, studying Music Education. Mary is scheduled to graduate in 2021. Her marching band skills learned at Round Rock High School have provided numerous opportunities to work with North Texas high schools while she studies at UNT.

Abbie Hardt, daughter of Korin and Chris Hardt and granddaughter of Jackie Switzer, is a sophomore at Abilene Christian University, Abilene. She continues the extra-curricular activity mastered at Georgetown High School as a member of the ACU Colorguard. Her major is English, with a librarian certification.

Robert Jenkins, son of Irene and Bob Jenkins, is a junior at Texas State University, San Marcos, with a projected graduation date of spring, 2022. His baseball achievements at Stony Point High School gave interest to a career in physical therapy. His major is Exercise and Sport Science. Robert's post undergrad plans are to continue his education, working toward a doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Venessa Harmel, will complete her final semester in grad school next week at Brite Divinity School, on the campus of Texas Christian University. Her ordination service and reception will be in our sanctuary sometime in the spring of 2021. Vanessa and Jim raised their children at RRCC. They each held numerous lay leadership positions here. Venessa studied and met the criteria to become a licensed minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) several years ago. Following Jim's passing she set out to reach yet another goal of Christian service, that of ordained minister. Congratulations Venessa. Your home church members are proud of your accomplishments and look forward to sharing in your service of ordination. Currently Venessa serves as the fulltime Director of Spiritual Life at our Disciples Juliette Fowler Communities in Dallas.
Year-End Giving Opportunity


The Permanent Fund of Round Rock Christian was established several years ago through the Christian Church Foundation to expand witness and mission of Jesus Christ and to serve the human needs in our community and around the world. It provides a means to invest by giving gifts and bequests that enable RRCC to expand ministry beyond the general budget.

The account is managed is by a team of five members who hold the positions of immediate past senior trustee, the two current trustees, treasurer, and financial secretary as well as the moderator and senior minister who are ex-officio members. This team reports to the Guiding Board, which is the managing entity on how funds from this account will be withdrawn for ministry.

The Christian Church Foundation planned giving investment program includes two separate entities: congregational and personal (family or individual). In early 2020, the Permanent Fund Task Force reviewed and revised the operating policy and procedure for the fund and planned to host a planned giving seminar to provide information for church members to set up their personal account.; however, it has been postponed until 2021.

Our RRCC account has grown more than two thousand dollars this year by giving by members and reinvesting in a higher yield account to a current balance of over eight thousand dollars.

Prayerfully consider your 2020 gift to this fund. Each of us may contribute to the congregation's account via online giving or by mailing a check to our church, 22 Chalice Way, RR, 78665, attn. Financial Secretary, with memo: RRCC Permanent Fund. As with other giving these gift amounts are confidential and are included on members annual statement of giving.

Should you need more details please contact trustee, Patricia Mouser.
December Special Day Offering

DISCIPLES MISSION FUND SPECIAL DAY OFFERINGS provide an opportunity to highlight specific ministries as part of our faith celebrations. There are six Disciples Mission Fund Special Day Offerings received each year during Easter, Pentecost, Thanksgiving, and Christmas seasons, plus Reconciliation and Week of Compassion.
Our 2020 Christmas Offering supports the work of regional ministries. Our own Southwest Region benefits the ministry and mission of Round Rock Christian Church by working to:
  • Connect congregations to each other
  • Foster faith development
  • Gather Disciples in camps, conferences, and assemblies
  • Nurture the development of a new generation of pastors
  • Assist churches in calling new ministers
  • Interpret the global mission of the Church
  • Represent the Church in ecumenical gatherings
  • Counsel and pray with those who are troubled of spirit
  • Lead the Church to address racism
  • Inspire leaders to experiment and create
  • Witness to the power of God to make things new
The Christmas Special Day offering will be received on December 13 and 20. You may give by check or online at, designating your gift as Christmas Special Day Offering.
New Signage

Free Devotional Resources for Advent

If you're looking for some devotional resources for Advent that you don't have to pay for or print, but rather can simply download and view on your computer or tablet, here are three options for you. Let Rev. Maxted know if you have any trouble accessing any of them. 

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary offers an Advent devotional in pdf form (36 pages) that you can download for free. This year it is called "Singing Our Advent Joy." Faculty members of APTS share messages of inspiration based on sacred music. 

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary offers an Advent devotional in pdf form (22 pages) that you can download for free. The devotions in this resources are written by alumni of PTS.

The Vanderbilt Divinity Library of Vanderbilt University offers an Advent devotional in the form of four PowerPoint slide shows.  After clicking on the link, you'll see a section called DAILY SLIDESHOWS FOR THE ADVENT SEASON. Here you can click on each of the four weeks of Advent for a PowerPoint slide show. 

Upcoming Events 

There will be no events/meetings held in the RRCC facility until further notice.  
Many RRCC activities and events have been cancelled until further notice. Some are continuing online.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
2:30 p.m.
- Moderator Transition Meeting
7:00 p.m.
- Shalom Congregation (via Zoom)

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
1:00 p.m.
- Caring Hearts Prayer Group (via Zoom) Link HERE
5:00 p.m.
- Join our General Minister and President, Rev. Terri Hord Owens on her facebook page for prayer time
7:00 p.m.
- Chancel Choir (via ZOOM) Link HERE

Thursday, December 10, 2020
11:00 a.m.
- "Shall We Pray" Small Group Study (via ZOOM) Link HERE
1:00 p.m.- Book Group Link HERE
7:00 p.m.- Book Group Link HERE

Friday, December 11, 2020
10:00 a.m.
- Vision Advisory Team Link HERE
4:30 p.m.
- Moponic Monthly Church Cleaning

Saturday, December 12, 2020
8:00 a.m.
- Shalom Congregation (live stream)
8:30 a.m.
- Disciple Mens Ministry Breakfast Link HERE
9:30 a.m.
- Handcrafters Ministry Link HERE

Sunday, December 132020  
Special Day Offering
9:45 a.m.
Explorers Sunday School (via Zoom) Link HERE
9:45 a.m.
- Open Circle Sunday School (via Zoom) Link HERE
11:00 a.m.
- Worship (via Zoom) Link HERE
1:30 p.m.
- Ministries Council Meeting Link HERE 
6:30 p.m.
- Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Service Link HERE
- Manantial de Vida Congregation (off site)

Monday, December 142020 
9:30 a.m.
- DWM Ministry Meeting Link HERE
7:00 p.m.- Guiding Board Meeting Link HERE

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 
7:00 p.m.
- Shalom Congregation (off site)

Events and details can be viewed on the RRCC Calendar
Staff Love Offering   

Annual monetary love gifts of appreciation for our senior minister and staff are a tradition at Round Rock Christian Church. Serving with Pastor Mitch are Molly Salzwedel - Administrative Assistant, Randy Preston - Director of Music Ministries, Jimmy Horowitz - keyboard, and Katie Maybaum - nursery. Each person will receive a portion of the giving.
With all of the changes we have experienced this year, we are especially grateful for the extra creativity and effort our faithful staff has contributed to our worship and church life.
Contributions may be sent in two ways: If you have registered to use the online offering link at just click on the "Give Here" button at the top of the home page. Indicate in the "Other-1" comment box "staff love offering." Or you can mail your check with "staff love offering" indicated on the memo line to:

Financial Secretary
Round Rock Christian Church
22 Chalice Way
Round Rock, TX 78665

Please complete your love offering so that it is received
no later than December 15, 2020.
Keep Round Rock Warm
Some members have asked about this year's Keep Round Rock Warm, a program of the Round Rock Area Serving Center for children within the RRISD who need a coat for the winter. In past years, the Serving Center has placed coat collection barrels in the community for donated coats. This year, because of the pandemic, only new coats will be distributed. These are funded through donations and the "Coins for Coats" collection cans placed each year in RRISD school libraries. Donated coats and other gently-worn clothing items are always welcome, and are placed in the Center's "Treasures" thrift store.
Remember to include your monetary donations for the Serving Center's Food Pantry and other services in your regular donations to Round Rock Christian Church.
"Shall We Pray" Study is Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. via ZOOM
Katherine Cratin is leading these class sessions, which will continued to be held on Thursday mornings at 11:00 a.m. through December 17th. 
Those interested in this series please let Katherine know via text (281) 728-6448 or email

You can still participate in the last two sessions.
RRCC Newsletter Deadlines

Please submit your
Tuesday Newsletter articles and pictures 
before 10:00 a.m. on Mondays.
 and your Friday Reminders articles and pictures 
before 12:00 p.m. on Thursdays.
Thank you!
Chancel Choir

Chancel Choir meets via ZOOM Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.:
Did You Miss a Newsletter?

Past newsletters dating back to mid-March 2020 are currently archived under the "ABOUT US" tab on the RRCC Website.

Upcoming Birthdays

December 8
- Jackie Switzer
Prayer Needs

1. Our Guiding Board, Ministries Council, Elders, Deacons, Ministries and Teams 
2. Our staff: Jimmy, Mitch, Katie, Randy, and Molly
3. Our music ministries and their leaders: Randy Preston, Rod Walker, and Jimmy Horowitz
4. Our tech team: Gary Collier, Tara Pollock, Katie Maybaum, Randy Preston, Rod Walker, and Dan Knight
5. Our "Reopening" Task Force--Perry Mouser (chair), Gary Tucker, Gary Collier, Mildred Adair, Amy Tucker, Pam Knight, Amy Osteen, Tricia Mouser, Pastor Maria Rosario of Manantial de Vida, Omar Roque, Juan Pena, and Carlos Cortez of Shalom, Pastor Mitch Maxted, and Linda Glover
6. Our Caring Hearts Prayer Group
7. Our Stephen Ministries (Care Receivers and Caregivers)
8. Our partnership with Shalom Seventh Day Adventist & Manantial de Vida congregations (and their pastors Edy Rosa Paez and Maria Rosario) 
9. Reverends Christal Fisher (South Texas) and Andy Mangum (CCSW)

1. Mary Acree -- ongoing fall concerns
2. Davis, Marilyn
3. Glover, Linda -- pain management
4. Guilbeau, Rick & Cynthia. Cynthia's  father, Harold Hubbard, is receiving hospice care from HospiceAustin
5. Habtemariam, Solomon and Meaza
6. Mouser, Tricia -- rheumatoid arthritis infusion treatments and side-effects
7. Nichols, Martha -- sister Barbara having heart and BP challenges
8. Plough, Paul 
9. Pollock, Chris -- chest pains
10. Rilda and Charles Scarborough -- friend Joe Aleman is ill with COVID-19
11. Sherry, Bea
12. Shrader, James (husband of Patti) -- femoral artery bypass surgery on Thanksgiving--now home; Patti's older sister was critically ill and on a ventilator, but now off the ventilator
13. Family of Rev. Ed Snider
14. Terry Tucker, brother of Gary Tucker -- cancer treatments
15. Walker, Lisa (awaiting the results of a kidney biopsy; prayers for Lisa's brother Dale as he recuperates from brain surgery, and for her sister Connie as she tries to support and encourage him
16. Wilson, Garvid -- next consult with oncologist is this Friday -- immunotherapy treatments expected

1. All who don't know Jesus
2. COVID-19 (the ill, their families, medical professionals, essential workers, treatment and vaccine researchers, the logistics of distributing the vaccine safely and efficiently)
3. Those who have lost jobs during the pandemic; businesses that are struggling
4. A transition of power in Washington that is marked by good communication and good will
5. All people who are persecuted for their faith throughout the world 
6. Our military personnel and families
7. International cooperation in responding to climate change challenges
8. Development of an immigration policy for the U.S. that is fair, just, and responsible 
9. For all efforts toward affordable health care for all Americans; that pre-existing health conditions not be a barrier to securing health insurance coverage
10. U.S. lawmakers and community leaders to work together to solve the problem of frequent, deadly mass shootings
11. All teachers, administrators, students, and parents. Our neighborhood schools: Union Hill Elementary School and Hopewell Middle School.
Sunday School Classes
[There will be no Sunday School classes at the church for the foreseeable future. Some classes will be meeting via Zoom during this time of social distancing.]
Early Childhood Class (ages 4-7) -Taught by Lisa Walker

Intermediate Class (3rd - 5th grade) - Taught by Jennifer Kienzle 
Chi Rho Class - (6th - 8th grade) (studying the book, "Middle School TalkSheets" for ages 11-14.  "These TalkSheets present every aspect of Jesus' life in a way that young teens can connect with as they learn to apply the lessons to their own lives.")
CYF Class (9th - 12th grade)  
Open Circle (primarily adult women) - 9:45 a.m. Sunday mornings via ZOOM, Studying The Cherry Log Sermons by internationally recognized preacher and accomplished teacher Rev. Fred Craddock. "These sermons on a variety of topics and texts show Craddock's deft use of storytelling, an astounding ability to interpret the biblical text for our day, and a keen pastoral sensitivity to the everyday needs of listeners." ALL ARE WELCOME!  Link HERE
Explorers (mixed adults) - 10:00 a.m. Sunday mornings via ZOOM, Facilitator is Mildred Adair; studying the New Testament Book of Acts, using the resource by John MacArthur. Link HERE
RRCC is on Social Media

Follow us on Social Media!

We can be found on:
Twitter as @ChurchRound
Instagram as rrccdisciples
Photo Submissions

Submitting a photo? Awesome! 
We love pictures of congregational life!
Please remember to include
identification (who, what, when, where, why) 
 for each photograph submitted to the office.  
Also, please indicate where you would like the photo to be used (RRCC website, social media, weekly newsletter, etc.)
Please email photos to the church office:
RRCC Office Hours

9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Elder's Prayer Corner/Closing Message

It is still with us and we are very tired of dealing with it - The Corona Virus! 
For nine months we have been battling an enemy we cannot see, touch, smell, hear, or taste. It defies all our five senses. But it does exist and has affected every life on our planet in some way. Is there a lesson in this?
It seems there is something else in our lives that affects us in much the same way. - Faith. Faith is not a tangible object that we can see, smell, touch, taste, or hear. In  Matthew 17:20, we are reminded of Jesus' admonition that if we have faith like a grain of mustard seed, nothing is impossible to us. It might seem our faith is really mustard-seed size sometimes - about one to two millimeters - small for our five senses and tested to its limits at various times. How can we survive this tsunami of death, destruction, violence, and fear that plague us today? Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as "...confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." How can we use our five senses to help faith grow?
 See the "good" in people. See beneath the exterior people present as self-protection and politeness. See the world through willing eyes. See all the elements of worship in a new light as we connect with technology.
Smell is so present with us that we often forget to take notice. Do you light a "Christ candle "? The fragrance affects the senses as well as the light. Take a walk and breathe deeply while you ponder the wonders of God's ability to sustain our life through the exchange capabilities of single cells.
Touch people's lives without expectations. In this time of social-distancing, people often hunger for physical contact.  A truly responsive, listening heart and ear, a card, a phone call, or a kind word, can fill a portion of the void. During communion when the pastor says, "The body of Christ broken for us,"  break your bread. It is a powerful reminder that Jesus endured great suffering so that we might enjoy fellowship with God.
Taste life! Participate in communion; it is more than just ritual, we are demonstrating what we believe as well.  "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Psalm 34:8). During communion we can actually engage this sense in our worship of God and his grace!
Hear the word of God. Listen to others with your eyes and heart as well as your ears.. Hear the pain behind the anger, need for affirmation behind the sorrow, and the swallowed pride behind the apology. There are so many ways to hear but it is up to us to open our ears and hearts to His message - Bible study, Sunday School, sermons, small group studies, reading, listening to the wisdom of others, prayers, music,  and the words of institution during communion. We also need to make time to be solemn, quiet and in a state of quiet worship, listening for God to speak.
There are many ways to engage our five senses to develop, and share, our faith. Mainly, we need to be aware and make a concentrated effort. Applying the five senses to our church plan of "Worship, Serve, Grow," will give us direction, build structure, and provide fertile ground for the growth of Faith.  
Prayer: Lord God, We know you are always with us. Having You at our side gives us the ability to face whatever comes. Help us keep faith in You despite our circumstances, have peace, and not falter in our thinking. Use every day of our lives to show those around us Your love and grace. Amen.