Volume 4 Issue 9 | December 2021
True Christmas Spirit
by Lee Strobel, from The Case for Christmas
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 8:11 NIV

The Chicago Tribune newsroom was eerily quiet on the day before Christmas. As I sat at my desk with little to do, my mind kept wandering back to a family I had encountered a month earlier while I was working on a series of articles about Chicago’s neediest people.

The Delgados — sixty-year-old Perfecta and her granddaughters Lydia and Jenny — had been burned out of their roach-infested tenement and were now living in a tiny two-room apartment on the West side. As I walked in, I couldn’t believe how empty it was. There was no furniture, no rugs, nothing on the walls — only a small kitchen table and one handful of rice. That’s it. They were virtually devoid of possessions.

In fact, eleven-year-old Lydia and thirteen-year-old Jenny owned only one short-sleeved dress each, plus one thin, gray sweater between them. When they walked the half mile to school through the biting cold, Lydia would wear the sweater for part of the distance and then hand it to her shivering sister, who would wear it the rest of the way.

But despite their poverty and the painful arthritis that kept Perfecta from working, she still talked confidently about her faith in Jesus. She was convinced He had not abandoned them. I never sensed despair or self-pity in her home; instead, there was a gentle feeling of hope and peace.

I wrote an article about the Delgados and then quickly moved on to more exciting assignments. But as I sat at my desk on Christmas eve, I continued to wrestle with the irony of the situation: here was a family that had nothing but faith and yet seemed happy, while I had everything I needed materially but lacked faith — and inside I felt as empty and barren as their apartment.

I walked over to the city desk to sign out a car. It was a slow news day with nothing of consequence going on. My boss could call me if something were to happen. In the meantime, I decided to drive over to West Homer Street and see how the Delgados were doing.

When Jenny opened the door, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Tribune readers had responded to my article by showering the Delgados with a treasure trove of gifts — roomfuls of furniture, appliances, and rugs; a lavish Christmas tree with piles of wrapped presents underneath; carton upon bulging carton of food; and a dazzling selection of clothing, including dozens of warm winter coats, scarves, and gloves. On top of that, they donated thousands of dollars in cash.

But as surprised as I was by this outpouring, I was even more astonished by what my visit was interrupting: Perfecta and her granddaughters were getting ready to give away much of their newfound wealth. When I asked Perfecta why, she replied in halting English: “Our neighbors are still in need. We cannot have plenty while they have nothing. This is what Jesus would want us to do.”

That blew me away! If I had been in their position at that time in my life, I would have been hoarding everything. I asked Perfecta what she thought about the generosity of the people who had sent all of these goodies, and again her response amazed me.

“This is wonderful; this is very good,” she said, gesturing toward the largess. “We did nothing to deserve this — it’s a gift from God. But,” she added, “it is not His greatest gift. No, we celebrate that tomorrow. That is Jesus.”

To her, this Child in the manger was the undeserved gift that meant everything — more than material possessions, more than comfort, more than security. And at that moment, something inside of me wanted desperately to know this Jesus — because, in a sense, I saw Him in Perfecta and her granddaughters.

They had peace despite poverty, while I had anxiety despite plenty; they knew the joy of generosity, while I only knew the loneliness of ambition; they looked heavenward for hope, while I only looked out for myself; they experienced the wonder of the spiritual while I was shackled to the shallowness of the material — and something made me long for what they had. Or, more accurately, for the One they knew.
Looking for fun things to do with your family this holiday season? Here's a list.
By Michael Wimberly, interviewing Angela Wimberly
What does your ministry do?
The Communications Department spreads information about Ephesus to those within and outside of the church. We tell the story of what God is doing in and through His people at Ephesus.

Who do you consider your audience? Who are you serving?
Our audience is both members and nonmembers of Ephesus. It’s amazing how many nonmembers subscribe to our newsletters and social media sites.

How does your ministry serve the church?
Without the Communications Department, very little information would be shared, particularly in this pandemic era. We arrange for those pathways, such as One Call and Flocknote messages, website updates, announcements in the bulletin and on the screen, Google accounts for church officers, and social media posts. We also ensure that visitors to our church know where to go through the use of interior and exterior signage. Finally, we ensure that consistent branding is used on all church communications.

What are the major goals for your ministry in 2021?
Our major goals were to increase communications to members, to keep our website and social media sites consistently updated, to create a way for departments to meet virtually, to put out a monthly newsletter, and to update and clarify our church’s interior and exterior signage.

Why should people participate in your ministry?
Everyone wants to be in the know. But not everyone realizes the work that goes into ensuring that there are consistent messages that flow to all our stakeholders. The only way that can happen is if there is a team dedicated to that work.

If time and money were no object, what would be your most audacious goals?
I would love to liaise with the First Touch department to develop a welcome center and visitor kiosk in our lobby that would provide our visitors with an opportunity to receive resources and have questions answered. I would also love to see our social media sites updated daily so we can better attract interested people to our church. Finally, I would love to develop a photography and videography team to document events at Ephesus.

Does your ministry have any specific needs?
As with every other department at Ephesus, our biggest need is people. To take the Communications Department to the next level, we need people who are willing to write articles, shoot video, and work with our graphic designer, among other things. We would be grateful for anyone who has a real interest to contact me asap.
Manage Your Giving
  • You can reach Adventist Giving directly by using this link or by going to www.adventistgiving.org. Once you log in, type in the ephesus sda church, hit Enter, and select our church in Columbus, Ohio. Then you can follow the steps as you normally would.
  • You can drop off your offerings in person, M-F between 10 AM and 1 PM.
  • You can mail your offerings to the church at this address:
Ephesus SDA Church
Attn: Treasury
3650 Sunbury Road, Columbus, OH 43219
1: Allison Washington; 5: Freda Moise; 6:  Tre' Reid; 10: Sharon Ayers, Donald Vanterpool; 14: Lloyd Ayers; 15: Daniel Francique; 16: Angela Jenkins, Kim Upchurch; 18: Vivian Cunningham; 20: Marzane' Hawthorne; 22: Adam Lee, Andrew Lee; 23: Mark Orelien; 24: Wesley Hawkins Jr., Lorenzo Monk, 25: Ann Gray; 26: Carl Campbell, Mike Davis; 27: Tarshalla Hanks; 29: Marie Desrossiers, Renee Lee
Did we miss your December birthday? Let us know by emailing announce@ephesus-sda.com.
  • Adult Bible Bowl Team practices begin, December 4, 6:15-8:15 PM
  • Angel Tree donations end, December 13
  • Walking in the Winter Wonderland, December 16, 6-8 PM
  • Christmas, December 25
  • Communion, December 31
  • Resolution Success 2022 meetings end, January 7, 7 PM
  • Young Lions / Positively You meetings begin, January 15, 1 PM
Ephesus Communications Department
Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church
3650 Sunbury Road Columbus, Ohio 43219