December 5, 2018
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

Hebrews 11:1
Come Lord Jesus
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First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette
600 Ninth Street
Wilmette, IL 60091-2779

Dear Friends,

After Mary's extraordinary visit from the angel, Luke tells us she hurried to see her older cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was perhaps the one person who could understand the magnitude of what Mary was experiencing; she herself was pregnant with John the Baptist.  

It's another extraordinary scene: At the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and blurts out loudly, "God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry!" And Mary unleashes her amazing song of praise, the words tumbling out of her as if she just can't keep it in any longer. 

Read it in Luke 1:46-55; it's astonishing.

The poetry is beautiful, and Mary's emotion is palpable, but it's in no way sentimental or even "maternal." This is not a young woman in nesting mode, thanking God for her pregnancy and daydreaming about cuddling her baby. This is radical--revolutionary--and if we are honest with ourselves, ought to be a little frightening to us as comfortable, educated, privileged North Shore people.

Mary insists that with this act, God "has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty-handed." This is good news, according to Mary.

I don't know about you, but it brings up some uncomfortable questions for me:

Where am I located in Mary's prophetic words? Am I one of the poor and lowly, or rich and powerful?

Whose side do my actions show I am on?

What power and wealth do I have in my life? Do I work to amass more out of pride and fear, for my own family's security?

Or do I use what I have to advocate and care for those without?

Where am I broken, and in need of God's repair? 

Advent blessings,
Lindley Traynor
Sunday, December 9, 2018
Communion Sunday
8:45 am
Confirmation Class
Advent Adult Study
10:00 am
11:15 am
Fellowship Hour
Night Ministry Sandwich Making
5:00 pm
Tower Youth

We are grateful for your continued support and commitment to fpcw.  Thank you for your dedication and your generosity!

Have you donated stock to the church recently?
If you have recently donated common stock to the church, please inform the Clerk of Session, Bill Tempelmeyer, of the specifics of your donation.
Thank you!
Congregational Gathering
Join us Sunday, December 16, at 11:30 am after the 10 am worship service for a Congregational Gathering to process the difficult season we've experienced, share emotions, ask questions and offer hope, as we move forward together into healing. God's deep peace be with you.
Faith & Fellowship - Experience 

Giving Tree 
Thanks to all of you who so generously donated gifts to the fpcw Giving Tree project. Through your kindness, we collected more than 180 gifts which will contribute to a much brighter Christmas for the children and adults who receive them. fpcw mission partners participating in the effort this year included The Boulevard, Erie House, Family Promise and Orchard Village. 

Men's Council
Gathers on Saturday mornings at 7:30 am for breakfast and a presentation. Please RSVP to Edwin Bender. December 8th presentation: "Understanding and Designing Vaccines," presenter: Jeff Martin. All are invited.
What's New on The App?
Did Lessons and Carols get you in the mood for more hymns of the Advent season? The app has a link on the ADVENT page to Spotify, where you can listen to some of our favorites. If you have a favorite playlist, let us know and we will add it! 

Advent Adult Study
Join us Sundays at 8:45 am during Advent for a compelling review of scripture. Our Advent theme, this year is "Advent Through the Backdoor." Examining Advent through the lens of it's opposites.  If you cannot join us Sundays pick up a beautiful Advent devotional booklet in the Narthex, containing exquisite artwork created by a young man with Down's Syndrome.

Hark, Ye Christmas Cookie Bakers
Deacons plan to assemble holiday cookies for delivery as gifts to various church members and friends. If you plan to bake, we would love to have your help. Please fill out the form in the Sunday bulletin or call the church office. We are asking for 1 batch of (3-4 dozen) cookies. Please deliver cookies in a zip-lock bag and drop them off at church during regular office hours beginning Mon., 12/10, Tues., 12/11, Wed., 12/12 and Thurs., 12/13. For more information please contact Ann Boyle.

Calling All Carolers!
Young and old alike are welcome to join us for some good old fashioned outdoor caroling in our neighborhood around fpcw! Wednesday, December 19, at 5:30 pm, followed by pizza in Wallace Moore. RSVP Stephanie Phelan

An Advent Spiral Walk
In the midst of Advent and the bustle of the holidays, there are few moments for deep contemplation. This year we're offering an Advent Spiral Walk in the Fellowship Garden, in connection with the Longest Night Service on Thursday, December 20th  at 7 pm. Similar to walking through a labyrinth, a spiral walk allows you to take a few moments of peace and quiet to settle yourself, pray, and reflect on what you're experiencing in the moment (whether it is joy or sorrow). As you enter the center of the Spiral, you may let go of any loneliness, sadness, hurt, grief or depression you are feeling. You can also light a candle and be led out of the Spiral by that light. The Spiral is also lit to remind us that in the darkness, Christ is present in the light. To be reminded that even in our darkest days, his presence is one of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

Longest Night Service
We're offering a Longest Night Service (also known as a Blue Christmas Service), on Thursday, December 20th, 7 pm in the Chapel. You can walk the Advent Spiral Walk before (6:30 pm, Fellowship Garden) or after the service. This service is a safe place to bring your feelings surrounding this time of year, or simply acknowledge some loneliness, pain or loss you are carrying. For all who may be struggling or wrestling with a concern, the Longest Night Service a place where you can be accepted as you are, in the midst of all our human struggles, and a place to feel God's presence and love.  All who come will feel blessed and prayed for, in the presence of Christ who is our light and life. God has promised to meet us here and welcome us for who we are. Light will defeat the darkness.  For it is God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Christmas Greeting Cards
What better way to get to know new faces at church than by sharing our Holiday Cards with each other. As you are mailing cards to friends and family, don't forget to send one or drop one off at church. They will be displayed in the church Narthex. Church address: 600 Ninth Street Wilmette, IL 60091. 

Ring those bells on Christmas Eve ! Come join the Chancel Bells for a short session leading up to ringing at the 9:00 pm service on Sunday, December 24th, Christmas Eve. We'll rehearse Thursdays Dec. 6, 13 and 20 from 8-9 pm in the Music Room on the Lower Level. Please let Peggy Massello, Director of Music and Worship, know of your interest.

2019 Women's Retreat
January 18-20th at fpcw
Guest Speaker, MaryAnn McKibben Dana will lead us in the topic: The Art of Saying Yes: When Life Doesn't Go According to Plan.  See registration forms on the table by the elevator.

Fellowship Hour 
It seems our request for Fellowship Hour hosts is an ongoing need each month. Fellowship Hour is an important long-time tradition at  fpcw,  and one that we cherish and look forward to each Sunday. Please help us to continue this special tradition and jump on board to be a host. It's easy to do and so appreciated by the congregation.  Click here  to access the SignUpGenius link and pick a Sunday that works for you.

Mission - Transform Lives

PCUSA Young Adult Volunteer
Emily Hicks, former fpcw member, is now serving as a PCUSA Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Washington D.C. YAVs  accompany local agencies working to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation while exploring the meaning and motivation of their faith in community with peers and mentors. fpcw is pleased to support Emily through the May Fund, an fpcw endowed fund given to support and encourage theological education. Click here to read an update from Emily.  

Katawa, Malawi School Project 
fpcw donated money to our sister church in Katawa, Malawi, for a new school building. For students to be eligible to attend school, each child is required to have various school items. Click here to access the list of items school children need. Please consider donating to this important mission and help support these children with  an opportunity to continue their education.

Family Matters
Volunteers are needed to tutor students in grades K-12. Tutors/mentors receive an orientation and on-going training and support, and meet with students once a week during the academic year. Questions? Please contact 
Greg Korak. 

Stock the Shelves Truck
The missing link that unites an abundance of North Shore  resources with under-resourced refugee families. Food stamps don't buy necessary, every day items such as soap, diapers, laundry detergent or toilet paper. The STS truck delivers these items on the 4th Wednesday of the month to Warren Park where over 125 refugee families select the items they need to continue to build sustainable lives.

How can you help? Click here to access the Stock the Shelves website for ways to donate and volunteer.

Wilmette Food Pantry
fpcw contributes food and non-food items to the Wilmette Food Pantry. Donations may be left in the containers located in the fpcw parking lot lobby.

Need some glad tidings? 
More activities, inspiration, and cheer 
available on our