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Thought for the Week:

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”


In worship this week:
December 23
Advent IV

Pastor: Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith

Pianist: Bingyu Peng

Usher: Anne McKnight

Hospitality: Anne McKnight

Communion Servers: John and Louise Dye
adorning the sanctuary are given

In Memory of …

Gordon Baugh by Doris Baugh
Eddis & Sally Buck by Bob & Connie Buck
Bill & Alita Gaines by Bob & Connie Buck
Dr. & Mrs. W. F. Arey, Mrs. Bettye Gallagher  by John & Louise Dye
Jim & Nora Ragsdale by Mike & Tillie Groves
Jo & Garland Groves by Mike & Tillie Groves
Jimmie Martin by Mary Martin
Ed McKnight by Anne McKnight
William “Bill” Perry by Mary Perry
Our parents, grandparents and beloved husband,Donnie Kellebrew, by Bill & Barbara Pfeifer & Debbie Kellebrew
Bonner & Jane Stewart by Todd Stewart
Barbara & Jane Payton by Dudley Payton
Claude W. McElwee, Jr., Robert F. Nast, Sr., & Jane Ebling McElwee [-Nast] by Janie & Brad Smith

In Honor of …

Taylor, Caitlin & Haleigh Thompson by
           Mike & Connie Leonard
Joseph A. & Barbara Bradford Smith
           by Brad & Janie Smith

In Gratitude for …

Caitlin & Taylor Thompson by Lucien & Arthur Smith
The Youth Group by Lucien & Arthur Smith
The Highland Family by Janie, Brad,
          Lucien & Arthur Smith

Focus on HPC:     
The Gifts of Christmas

The gifts of Christmas are people we cherish , joys we celebrate and memories we treasure . These words were found on a Christmas card this week and truly express the sentiments of the co-chairs of the Congregational Care (Louise and Connie) and the chair of the Mission Committee (Barb) as they think about Highland.
Our long-time mission project, “Gift of Literacy” was a joyful celebration for 71 first-graders at Magnolia Woods Elementary. Seven HPC members trekked to Magnolia Woods on Thursday, December 13 - a miserable wet and rainy day, to distribute the books. Inside the classrooms welcoming first graders turned the gloomy day into one of brightness and excitement. The children were so very appreciative. The four teachers were presented poinsettias and a $25 gift card from Walmart. One of the teachers reported that she would be using her gift to purchase art supplies for her class. Thanks to everyone at HPC who collected books throughout the year, purchased books, wrapped books, donated funds for books, and delivered the books! 

(more to follow next week)

This week in PCUSA Mission:            
The Christmas Miracle Reminds Us
To Look for Signs of Hope
Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett

Referenced in sermons from pulpits across the world, printed in fine script within Christmas cards mailed to friends and family, and exclaimed at key moments in holiday movies, the word “miracle” is heard frequently this time of year. Many happenings are often referred to as miracles, but rest assured the real and original miracle of Christmas is that God chose to come be with us through Jesus Christ.

A miracle is a surprising and welcome event. Though all the world was waiting for the chosen one, the birth of Jesus on that night and in that place was a welcome surprise. We may over-romanticize the stable where Jesus was born, but we know that this birthing place speaks volumes about God’s infinite love and compassion toward all people. Jesus was born in an earthy, raw, smelly stable, not in a golden temple or royal palace. Being born in such a place is God’s way of showing that Christ comes to us in all sorts of human conditions — earthy, smelly, broken and accomplished. No matter what we’ve done or haven’t done, God comes to be with us where we are in life, and out of great love for all humanity.

This can be tough to remember when life keeps flinging challenges and hurdles in our paths. Sometimes we dodge them, but most times we must face them head on, channeling as much grace as possible along the way. But in the middle of the chaos, don’t forget to look for signs of hope. Signs remind us that, in time, we will come out of this season with a deeper sense of who God is and how Christ was with us throughout this time. Just like the angel who appeared to the shepherds on that fateful night and said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy,” the shepherd’s fear was transformed into joy. Their bewilderment was transformed into wonderment. I believe the same miracle will happen to us also. Fear will be transformed into joy as we behold Jesus in the earthy, smelly, broken and accomplished places of our life this season.
Immediate Church Family*:
Betty Bagent; Inez Geoghegan; Betty Lancaster; Preston Lancaster; the family of Jim Martin; Mary Perry; Deanna Lewis Sklar; Brad Smith; Doris M. (Skippy) Thompson.

Extended Church Family*:
Brandon Behrmann (Carol’s nephew); Austin Casey (Jack and Betty Bagent’s grandson); Steve Dull (husband of Lynn Nichols Dull); Dan Durway (former Pastor of Highland); Eva Fuller (Inez Geoghegan’s niece); Julius Fuller (Inez Geoghe-gan’s brother); Randy Geoghegan (Inez’s son); Harrison (Rob Stewart’s Mother); Claudia Hill (Connie Leonard’s sister); Phillip Lanier (friend of Rosemary John); the Miller twins (friends of Brad Smith); Aleta Pickholtz; Earl Rabe (friend of Rick Gurtner); Phillip Walker (nephew of the Pfeifers); Larry Wilcoxson (friend of the Leonards); Barbara Zeagler (friend of the Dyes.)

  * New names added to the prayer list this week are in italics.

December 23 - 29: none

December - none
Detail of the Prague Astronomical Clock in thePrague Old Town

This week at HPC:
Monday, December 24:
12:00 p.m. AA
5:30 p.m. - Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Tuesday, December 25: Christmas holiday
(office closed)
12:00 p.m. AA
7:30 p.m. AA

Wednesday, December 26:  Christmas holiday
(office closed)
12:00 p.m. AA
7:00 p.m. Ladies’ AA

Thursday, December 27: 
12:00 p.m. AA
8:00 p.m. Men’s AA

Friday, December 28:
12:00 p.m. AA

Saturday, December 29:
Yard Crew – John Dye & Mike Groves

Sunday, December 30:
9:30 a.m. Worship
7:00 p.m. AA
coming soon brand new product release next up promotion and announce road sign or announcement billboard
Upcoming Opportunities at HPC
  • The Christmas Joy Offering is being received today. For more information contact Barb Pfeifer.

  • Monday, Dec. 24 – Candlelight Christmas Eve Service, 5:30 p.m. Highland’s traditional Christmas Eve Service celebrates the birth of the foretold Savior, Jesus Christ. 

  • Holiday Office Closure. The church office will be closed Christmas Day, Tuesday December 25 (no Tuesday Morning Study) and Wednesday, December 26, 2018. In case of emergency, contact Rev. Janie (314.283.7596) or Louise Dye (225.337.6390).

  • New Year! The new year is fast approaching and with that new opportunities to serve in the ministry of Highland Presbyterian Church. If you would like to help usher, provide hospitality, serve as Liturgist, or provide flowers for the Sanctuary, please indicate when you can help on the new sign-up sheet in the fellowship area.
Session News

The Session of Highland Presbyterian Church met for its regular stated meeting on Sunday, December 9, 2018. The following business was conducted:
  • Session approved pledging to the Presbytery of South Louisiana for 2019 a per capita contribution of $80 per active member shown in the 2018 Statistical Report (totaling $4,400.00).

  • Session approved discontinuing Highland’s ads in both the Advocate and the Yellow Pages beginning January 1, 2019.

  • Session approved the proposed budget for 2019 as presented by the Finance Committee. Projected expenses of $115,540.00 will exceed projected income of $78,360.00 by ($37,180.00). This budget includes five months of employment plus three months of severance for Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith.

  • Session approved putting a hold on any further action by Attorney John Dunlap in regard to the Servitude Agreement with America Homelands. Issues of cost-to-benefit need to be resolved before proceeding further with this matter.

  • Session approved a meeting of the ad hoc property committee with Attorney David Cohn and Mr. Kevin Nguyen, developer for Highland Cove, to discuss issues which have arisen concerning the Servitude Agreement under consideration.

  • Elders-elect for the Class of 2021 Mike Groves and Dudley Payton were examined and approved for installation during Sunday Worship January 6, 2019.

Reports of Interest

Clerk of Session:
  • Session received the report of the October 2018 Presbytery Meeting as presented by Elder Commissioner Jack Bagent.
  • Session received the 2018 Insurance Review. All coverage was found to be adequate.
  • Session received the 2017 Audit and approved making all suggested corrections to procedures. Connie Leonard was thanked for her time and diligence in preforming this audit.
  • Membership – Charter member, Jim Martin, entered the Church Triumphant on November 19, 2018.

  • Plans for Advent are proceeding well. A string quartet will participate in the Lessons and Carols worship service on December 16. Acoustic Oxygen will participate in the December 23 worship service. 
  • Rev. Janie’s personal blog for the month of December is centered around the service of Lessons and Carols.
  • Brad’s health continues to be an issue. Hopefully some resolution to his foot issues will the forthcoming.
  • Some travel in the month of January is expected as Rev. Janie looks for other employment opportunities.

  • For the month of October, expenses of $14,047.76 exceeded income of $10,068.19 by ($3,979.57).
  • For the month of November, expenses of $10,906.63 (includes unbudgeted expense of $2,672.80 to Attorney John Dunlap) exceeded income of $5,020.67 by ($5,885.83).

  • The quilt raffle for Heifer International was a big success. Sales of tickets netted $685.00 and the Third Sunday Luncheon offering on November 18 was $136.00. A total of $821.00 will be sent to Heifer International. Chacko John assisted in drawing the winning ticket, Carol Grow, who bought her ticket from Carol Behrmann. A thank you note was sent to the Wasted Women Quilters for their donation of the quilt.       
  • The Christmas Joy Offering will be received on December 23. Members will be reminded of this offering on December 16 and a Minute for Mission will be presented on December 23.

  • Oct 21. - Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith was on leave. Elder Robert Lowry gave the sermon: “Every Saint Has a Past and Every Sinner a Future.”
  • Oct 28. - Reformation Sunday
  • Nov 4 - All Saints Sunday. A brass ensemble accompanied the congregation.
  • Nov 11 - Veterans Day
  • Nov 18 - Thanksgiving Sunday
  • Nov 25 - Christ the King Sunday
  • Dec 2 - First Sunday of Advent - The tree was obtained and installed by Jack Bagent and Bob Buck. A large poinsettia was placed on the pedestal. Following communion the Congregation hung Christmons the tree. The church was decorated with paraments for Advent.
About HPC
Highland Presbyterian Church is a vibrant tree in God's grace-filled orchard. Deeply rooted in God's life-giving presence here on earth, this tree extends its branches to support one another in faith and reach into the world around it to produce fruit. Whether you are seeking God's presence through questions or service, discussion or fellowship, there is a home for you at Highland.
Connecting with Our Pastor
Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith

due to the Christmas holiday, office hours for Rev. Janie are
Thursday 10:00 am - 1:30 pm

cell (call or text): 314.283.7596
office: 766-5775 (please leave a message)

Highland Presbyterian Church (USA)
10024 Highland Road • Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • 225.766.5775 •