January 6, 2020
Midweek Message
Rev. Dr. Cathie Smith

Star light, Star bright...

On Sunday, we celebrated Epiphany Sunday. This is the day in the cycle of the church year that we hear and remember the story of the Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child.

This Sunday, and the day of Epiphany which is celebrated each year on the 6th of January, usher in a new season in our church year. The church year begins, not on January 1st, but on the first day of Advent- so we are already several weeks into this church year. We have already observed the first two seasons of the church year, Advent and Christmastide. Now we move into the season of Epiphany.

Epiphany is a word that describes a big "aha," a sudden and dramatic awareness of something new. It is the moment our minds open up, our understanding is freed, it is that "light bulb" going off. For the wise men, their epiphany was the star that told them something wonderful and powerful had happened with the birth of child far way. For us, in the season of Epiphany, we recognize that God is ready to do something new, wonderful, and powerful in our lives and we open our hearts to discover and receive it.

In worship on Sunday, we passed out, as we have the last couple of years, construction paper stars- with words written on them- our own epiphany stars to guide us this year. You may have received your word and thought, "I know exactly why I received this word." Or perhaps you will have your "aha- that is why I received that word" at some point as the year goes on. But the word is there to open us up to look for a new way God is going to work in us, a new attitude or action God is calling us to, a new place we will be called to go, or a new awareness as we go about our days.

Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26

So, what are we to do with these stars? Like any gift, star gifts can be either received with joy or discarded and forgotten. I invite you to be intentional about your star and the word on it. Throughout the year, as we enter into each new season, I will offer suggestions for how to seek the leading of the Spirit related to your star word.

But first, in this season of Epiphany- of discovery- of "aha!" you can begin by putting the star somewhere you will see it often- your bathroom mirror, beside your computer screen, on your refrigerator or coffee cup cabinet door. Then take some time in this season to think about that word. Make a list of all the words, ideas, songs, poems, idioms, etc. that your word calls to mind. Look it up in a dictionary and really learn its meaning. Look it up in a thesaurus- how do words with similar meaning help deepen your understanding of the word? How do words that express an opposite meaning add to your reflections on your word. Google, "Bible verses about _________" to see what Scriptural insights you can find. And also Google quotes about your word. Record your thoughts, favorite verses and quotes somehow- whether you type them up, or create an artistic piece of some sort. Go back to it and reflect on it through the year, add to it as you have new insights, write down the way the word speaks to you, how you feel and sense God leading you by this word, how you experience "aha!" this year. Be expectant! Be ready! 

(If you were not in worship and you would like a star- let me know and I will set one aside for you!)

You are loved,

Pastor Cathie


This year, as a church family, we'll be focusing on how we can engage in our life of faith in new and fresh ways. One of the ways I encourage all of us to focus on our spiritual growth is to spend intentional and consistent time in God's Word. I'd like to invite you to join me this year in reading through the Bible- all of it!- in 2020. A helpful and refreshing way to read the Bible is chronologically- which in some cases will be in the way it is ordered in our Bibles, and in other cases will be a "little here, little there" order. To help us with this challenge, I'll put together a packet for each week with the readings that will move us chronologically through scripture at a pace that will get us through the- whole Bible in a year. I"ll post the packet on my Midweek Message and on the website each week. I'll also have a couple of hard copies available at the church. I'm excited about this challenge and hope you will join me!

The first two reading packets are below. You can attack them however works best for you- either a little each day, or big chunks on one or two days. However you prefer, set the goal of completing the first packet by January 9th and the second by the 18th. Let me know if you are joining the challenge!

May God bless unto us the reading of His Holy Word!

You can download the packets below...

Support Our Youth Group!
The deadline for the JANUARY order is January 15 .
We are excited to roll out an easy way to help support our youth group as they prepare to attend the Montreat Youth Conference and the Inter-generational Mission Trip this summer!

Through our partnership with SCRIP, church members, family members, and friends can purchase gift cards from over 750 different stores, online retailers, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, cruise lines and more.

Each gift card is purchased at face value, but a percentage of the amount comes back to the youth group from the company. So for example, say you buy a $25 gift card to Eat n' Park. You pay $25, you get a $25 gift card, and the youth group receives $2.25.

You can get gift cards to use for your weekly and regular shopping and use them instead of cash or debit card. For example, if you bought $150 in gift cards from Giant Eagle and used it for your groceries and gas for the week, the youth group would receive $6. Or you can get cards to give as gifts or for your vacations or date nights or all kinds of special occasions- even your trip to Disney!

Here's all you need to do...

  • If you prefer to do your shopping for cards online: Go to shopwithscrip.com and create an account. You'll need our enrollment code (5911E89D65629). You will be asked child's name and group- you can ignore these questions unless you are a parent of one of our youth group members. . Once you are enrolled, your account will be verified and ready to begin ordering. If you go to shopwithscrip.com on your phone, you will receive a prompt that allows you to place a link on your home screen like an app for quick access and ordering.

  • If you prefer to fill out a paper order and let us order the cards for you: Get an order form from the church office, fill it out and return it to the office.

A group order will be placed by the 20th of each month combining all online and paper orders received by the 15th, and we'll have the cards in the office ready for up just a few days later!

This is an exciting and so easy way that we can all help support our youth group! First orders are due October 15! Thank you for your support!
Sponsor a Hymnal (or a few)
Our new hymnals will soon be in use! You can help provide for these great new additions to our worship by sponsoring one or more hymnals in honor or in memory of someone who has been special in your life. Print the sponsorship form by clicking on the image to the left and return it to the church office.

A nameplate will be included in they hymnals you sponsor honoring those you honor with your donation. You can indicate how you would like the nameplate to be worded on the sponsorship form.

Did you miss a sermon?
Past sermons are now available to listen to on our website!!  
Recordings include music, prayers and other parts of the worship service, too!

This Week
at Bethel Presbyterian
Thursday, Jan 9
6:30 pm Bell Choir Rehearsal
 7:45 pm Chancel Choir Rehearsal

Friday, Jan 10
Youth Winter Retreat begins

Saturday, Jan 11
all day: Youth Winter Retreat

Sunday, Jan 12
9:30 am Sunday Schools and Small Groups
10:30 am Worship
11:30 am Fellowship

Monday, Jan 13
11:00 am Staff Meeting- scheduling and facilities coordination
6:30 pm Mary and Martha Circle

Tuesday, Jan 14
10:00 am Quilters Group
7:00 pm Finance Committee
7:30 pm PW Board

Thursday, Jan 16
6:30 pm Bell Choir Rehearsal
 7:45 pm Chancel Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, Jan 19
9:30 am Sunday Schools and Small Groups
10:30 am Worship
11:30 am Fellowship (Prayer Shawls)
12:00 pm Youth Group

Monday, Jan 20
Preschool Closed
11:00 am Staff Meeting- scheduling and facilities coordination

Tuesday, Jan 21
10:00 am Quilters Group
7:00 pm Session Meeting

Thursday, Jan 23
6:30 pm Bell Choir Rehearsal
7:30 pm Personnel Committee
 7:45 pm Chancel Choir Rehearsal

Jan 10-12 Youth Retreat

Feb 2 Souper Bowl Sunday

Feb 7-8 30 Hour Famine

Feb 9 Skating Party

Feb 25 Pancake Dinner


1 Ian Schultz
2 Pete Edwards
3 Bruce Ericson
4 Chrstina McKinley
7 Don Roach
8 Autumn Zimmerman
11 Judy Ritchie
11 John Szott
11 Ansley Virgin
12 Kristie Bozicevich
12 Sarah Kossan
13 Scott Schnabel
15 Kohlton Adomaitis
18 Wendy Roithner
18 Mary Love
18 Edith Wallace
19 Colleen Quinlan-Sullivan
21 Gladys Brown
24 Steve Kloc
25 Thomas Fetsick
27 Randy Burroughs
29 Noah Decker
29 Aaron Placke
31 Lana Kling
31 Mike Smith
31 Luke Stefancin

412-835-0405    www.bethelpresby.org