Lutheran Church of the Covenant
January 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the January monthly news highlighting what God is up to at LCOC! You are invited to share this news with new neighbors and others who may be interested in hearing what God is doing through the people and ministry of LCOC. Also invite others to come and be a part of these various ministry opportunities!

GATHER    GROW    GIVE    GO
Pastor Darcy
 
The Vision for LCOC is a community that is focused on:  knowing, living, and telling the story of God's covenant relationship with us.  Jesus taught in stories - stories teach, comfort, challenge, encourage, and stretch us.  Stories connect us with God, with each other, and with the world.

In 2018, we will focus on making new connections. One way to make a new connection is simply in sharing and listening to stories.  Stories connect us with the broader story of God.  

To help us grow in knowing God's story, on January 7th, we will kick-off the new year with an education series, Animate Bible.  Together we will encounter scripture, God's story and our connection with God's story in new ways.

Come and learn...Come and Live...Go and tell the story of God's love for us!


Council President

Sharing in God's Mission 
at Lutheran Church of the Covenant

Dear brothers-and -sisters-in-Christ ~
When the angel announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds living out in the fields near Bethlehem, he told them:  "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great Joy".  The instruction to not be afraid is repeated in the Bible more than any other command.  It is a tender, merciful directive - and it is for you and for me.  We are all prone to fear, and God does not condemn us for it.  However, He wants to help us break free from this tendency especially when it comes to inviting people to hear the good news of Jesus' saving love.  Sometimes when we sow these seeds, nothing seems to grow.  But we are called to continue the sowing, because one planted seed may begin to grow, sprout, and blossom.  The Spirit might work through our words or deeds and cause the seed to grow!  As we continue to walk in faith and watch our garden grow, our sorrow and disappointment will turn to shouts of joy in the name of Jesus.  So do not be afraid as you invite people to church, share about your love of Jesus with others, and grow into a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior.
Please know that I will continue to pray for all of you, and I ask that you pray daily for all your brothers and sisters here at LCOC and that we are carrying out God's will for us in this place, in the community, and in the world.  I ask that if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, comments, etc. that you feel free to talk to me (in person, by phone (703-670-8365), or through email roger.jo@verizon.net ).  But more than anything, I ask that we all remember never to limit what God can do through us in carrying out our mutual missions!  
May God bless you all as you are a blessing to me and many others.
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus,
Love,
Jo Ann Rudy

GATHER
to worship God and fellowship with the community
Worship

LCOC worship in January includes the Baptism of Our Lord on January 7th  and the  Sundays in Epiphany.
  • 2 Epiphany 1-14-18
  • 3 Epiphany 1-21-18
  • 4 Epiphany 1-28-18
What is Epiphany?
Epiphany is a Greek word which means "to reveal" or "appearance."
The day of Epiphany is January 6.  We celebrate God revealing Jesus as the Christ to the wise men.  The wise men give gifts of gold (the gift for kings), frankincense (incense used in worship symbolizing pray ers rising to God ) and myrrh (oil for anointing and used to  prepa re a  bo dy for burial).  In some traditions this is the day for gift giving.  The color for Epiphany is white.
 
The season of Epiphany or Ordinary Time is that time which includes January 6 through the last Sunday prior to the beginning of Lent.
There are between four and nine Sundays during this season depending on the date of Easter each year.
This ordinary time include two festivals, The Baptism of Our Lord which falls on the Sunday following the day of Epiphany and concludes with the Transfiguration of Our Lord (the last Sunday prior to the beginning of Lent).
The Sunday Gospel readings focus on stories which reveal the true nature of Jesus to the listener.  The color for the season after Epiphany is green which represents spiritual growth.  

Advent Coffee/Tea
Fellowship

We had a wonderful turn out for our Christmas Eve Dinner between services. Every year our numbers grow. This year we had 66 people feasting!


January 20th - Chili Cook-off - 6 pm  
to support our Rise Against Hunger Event!
Pull out your favorite chili recipe and/or prepare your food tasting skills for the annual chili cook-off!  Together with the Woodbridge Rotary Club we will enjoy food, fun, and fellowship AND will have a free will offering that purchase meals for our Rise Against Hunger Event on March 10th.  
Invite your friends, neighbors and family!

Prayer Breakfast
Men's Prayer Breakfast   

 
Our next meeting is January 13th
at 7:30 am  in the DFH. 

LCOC Prayer Garden
Community Prayer Group
The LCOC community prayer group meets the second Saturday of each month from 7:30 am to 9 am in the Work Room. We share prayers of concern and numerous praises along with a strong cup of coffee. We offer this time to the community and congregation to join us for prayer, openly or privately. We will meet again on January 13th  at 7:30 am.

Matt. 21:13 - my house will be called a house of prayer,.....


GROW
in our relationship with God through prayer, Bible Study, and service

Adult Education

Starting January 7th, 2018
Animate Bible  No previous experience required!
You are invited to encounter scripture in new ways through this series Animate Faith.    Each session will include a video featuring a leading voice from the Christian faith and then time for sharing questions and ideas.   
Come and grow in your understanding of the Bible
-the coffee (and tea) will be ready!
_________________________________________________________________

Wednesday Bible Study :

We will meet on December 6 and 13th and then resume on January 3rd


Not able to attend in person?  
You can now "dial in" and join the conversation.  
641.715.3580 code 333-631

Story Time VBS 2017
Education
The following article was prepared by Ray Sutton, Confirmation Teacher Emeritus, and adult chaperone for the 2017 Chrysalis event:
 
"Our high school Sunday school class just returned from Chrysalis in Front Royal, Virginia where they spent the first weekend in December. Eight teenagers (Rachel and Jessica Rosenquist, Kassidy and Sydney Riley, Emily DeGroodt, Sarah Gimmi and Sarah Sutton) attended with Stacey Rosenquist and Ray Sutton.   This year a CJ Terry from River of Grace came along with the group.  CJ attends Forest Park High School and is well known by our class and was a welcomed addition to the group.  Ray was especially glad CJ attended because he was not looking forward to being the only male!  It was a great trip and all had a good time.  LCOC joined 20 congregations and over 130 people during Metro DC Synod - ELCA Lutheran annual retreat.  The Bishop was also in attendance and led Saturday evening services.
                Every year there is a theme, this year's was "Story."  Stories have power. You can argue about a lot of things, but you can't argue with someone's story. We use stories to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others. They connect us. They transcend time and space and impact the way we think. We get to know each other through stories, and the deeper we know each other, the better we can accompany each other on our faith journeys and in our lives. God is at work in and through all our stories. Together we are living in the middle of God's story - for us and for our neighbor.
As we share our stories of life and faith, we come to know God's Story for our lives and the world... to be God's Story of love and reconciliation in the world...and to share God's Story so the world can know all are included in God's Story!      
                Making room to hear others' stories is an act of hospitality in which Christ is present. We are our stories. Who we are cannot be summarized by facts about us, but it is a complicated mess of our stories and the stories of others whose lives intersect with ours. To know someone is to know their story.  During the weekend, students delved into stories of all kinds. Stories of our lives, stories of the lives around us, stories of friendships, both old and new, and stories of Christ's love for us and the world we live in. They discussed how all of our stories are intertwined-yours, mine, ours, and God's.
                The bible verse for the weekend was John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."  They talked about the story of Jeremiah in 29:1, 4-11 and Samuel in 1 Samuel 3: 1-21;
                After large group, the kids were divided into 12 small groups; Ray was group 2 leader and Stacey was group 3.  Each group averaged 7 kids. During large group everyone is together singing and worshiping along with playing games, LCOC led the way.  As our custom, LCOC sat up front and was motivated and encouraging others to participate.  They even got the audience to do the wave. Several times LCOC students volunteered to participate in games or share their story.  CJ was the talk of the weekend because of his enthusiasm and participation.  In addition to our four small group lessons, on Saturday we had activities that group several small groups together and then they participate in group activities.  During one group activity each small group was given a bible story.  For example Ray's group had Adam and Eve.  Each group traveled through different stages and had 10 minutes to:  create their story in play doe, write a song, create a photo, and produce a pantomime.
 
In closing the students were asked, "As you reflect back over this weekend, where have you seen God's story intersect your story? How will God's love continue to frame your story when you return home?"  I ask you to consider the same question:  How will God continue to frame your story?"
 
                In addition to our high school class, the younger children's class discussed the events surrounding Jesus' birth and why we exchange gifts at Christmas, and our confirmation class completed the section on 'Living Lutheran' and began study of the New Testament.

Prayer Opportunities

              Prayer List Ministry                 

Prayer Chain Ministry: 
Please send an email to prayerchain@lcocdalecity.org 
or call the Prayer Chain Lead at 571-210-1979      
Free Ceaseless Prayer App:   

Youth Group




LCOC has registered for the gathering and will send 8 youth and 2 adults!  Please keep the gathering preparations in your prayers!

Watch for more information regarding our February 18th Italian Dinner fund raiser for the Youth Gathing

Property
What a wonderful blessing to have a new roof over our heads. Many thanks to our Property team, trustees, and others who provided support for this endeavor. Thanks, also, to OMEGA for the fine work they have done. This new roof will continue provide shelter for those looking to escape a spiritual storm and to provide a beautiful sanctuary where by God's children can continue to:
Gather Grow Give  and  Go .
 
God is Good...all the time!
 
Ecclesiastes 10:18  -  Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house.

GIVE
of our resources, time, and talents in response to 
God's extravagant generosity towards us

Stop Hunger Now 2017
Stewardship                  
Once again LCOC has shown their amazing generosity and caring hospitality, glorifying God and reaching out to each other and the community in a variety of holiday activities. It was such a privilege and joy to experience this at Advent Teas, seeing the piles of Christmas gifts growing under the LCOC tree for local children in need, and watching the eyes of neighborhood children and their parents light up as they were served hearty food and provided with fun activities under the watchful eyes of our own marvelous Santa and Mrs. Claus at Breakfast with Santa. Thanks to all of you for being part of these events-you truly showed the working of the Holy Spirit and impacted lives.

After the holiday services and celebrations, there will be many more opportunities to share God's love within the congregation, community, and beyond. One of the biggest opportunities for which your help is needed will be the funding of and then participation in an even bigger Rise Against Hunger event. Before we even roll up our sleeves to actually pack up the packets of dried meal and nutrient ingredients, w
e need to raise the monies for those ingredients. Our very robust goal of 30,000 meals will require $8700! That is certainly a stretch, but with funds from a couple of church sponsored events and some donations already made by friends and neighborhood partners, we have over $2000 as of mid-December. There are a number of ways you can help us provide more food for this outreach ministry: help with, attend, and get others to attend the Chili Cook-Off on January 20th where the ticket sales will benefit Rise Against Hunger materials; share the following link with all your friends and social networks: https://shn.secure.force.com/events/homepage?id=701f1000001kZmhAAE
so that they can donate to LCOC's Rise Against Hunger event; and of course join us on March 10, 2018 for the actual meal packing. We will likely run two shifts of about two hours each and if you have not done this before, you will be amazed by the fun shared by everyone pitching in assembly line to make this happen!

Please continue to share your gifts and talents as the Spirit leads in the variety of ministries provided through LCOC. Thank you also for your generosity in your financial commitment and consider using the Vanco option which can be accessed online at: https://www.eservicepayments.com/cgi-bin/Vanco if you haven't already done so. Please consider becoming a Thrivent member as well and if you already are a member and use Thrivent products, make use of the Action Team funds that are available to help fund LCOC's ministry projects. This seed money really makes a difference and helps us increase the scope of our service projects.  Thanks to Pastor Darcy for taking advantage of one of these Action Teams to serve as start up for the January 20, 2018 Chili Cook-Off.

If you are in the habit of making resolutions at the start of a new year, please consider the ministries and outreach (such as continued support of Neabsco Elementary and ACTS) as part of your commitments. And please enjoy this thought and have a happy, healthy, joy-filled New Year!
 
Love and blessings,
 Patti Beattie
Amazon Smile:
Amazon members can help support LCOC while you shop! Click on the link below and pick Lutheran Church of the Covenant as your favorite organization and start shopping! We will receive a percentage of the sale.  smile.amazon.com

Good shop:
Support Lutheran Church of the Covenant when you search the Web at goodsearch.com or shop online with Goodshop.com.    GoodShop

Thank you also for your generosity in your financial commitment and consider using the Vanco option which can be accessed online at:   VANCO Giving Link    

Please consider becoming a Thrivent member as well and if you already are a member and use Thrivent products, make use of the Action Team funds that are available to help fund LCOC's ministry projects. This seed money really makes a difference and helps us increase the scope of our service projects. 

GO
forth to serve others and share the story of God's love for all
Breakfast with Santa 
Evangelism
Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus
 
Twas about two weeks before Christmas and all through the hall,
Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves were having a ball.
          What a wonderful time and celebration we had on Saturday, December 9th, as we greeted parents and children who came to see our very special Santa and Mrs. Claus!  What a humbling experience as we welcomed these lovely people, provided them breakfast, fun, gifts, and lots of love! What great elves that came to help the Clauses before and after their arrival!  Special thanks to Pastor Darcy, Jean Andreas, Patti Beattie, Mel and DeLoris Bellinger, Mark Bellinger, Lorelei Ditton, Eileen Eicher, Mark, Heather and Sarah Gimmi, Debbie Hamilton, Nina and Julia Kunkel, Kathy Lamboni, Shannon and Sandy McMahon, Liela Onorato, Jennifer Rice, Sydney Riley, Rachel, Jessica and Jill Rosenquist, Tricia Schilder, Diane Westen and Fay Yentsch!. Thanks also to all who bought candy, coloring books, and crayons for the children!  In the words of one of the little children who attended "This is for me??"  Yes, we all worked to make this event feel very special for each participant!  What a blessing for all of us who were a part of this great time and we pray that we were a blessing to all who attended!  Thanks again to our wonderful LCOC congregation, friends, and to Thrivent Financial!  Lovingly, Jo Ann and Roger    


Treasurers Report
This month at a glance

Dear People of LCOC,

 "I always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in my prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ". (1 Thess 1:2-3 my paraphrase)
Thank you for your generous Christmas gift and for our continued partnership in ministry.  It is a joy to serve with you as together we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ at LCOC and in the community.  I am looking forward to the opportunities to make new connections in 2018!
 
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a joy filled new year!
 
Pastor Darcy

Happy Birthday to you!
JANUARY
 
                4    John M .
                   Mary S.
                9    Brayden J.
               10   Victoria G.
              13    Roger W.
               15    Elliot H.
              15     Nathaniel O.
              17    Heather W.
              18    Gwyneth H.
              24    Richard C.
              24    Sarah G.
              28    Gwen B.
Happy Anniversary
Karen & Barry S.
January 5, 2005
Baptism Anniversaries
Annmarie B.
JoAnn E.
Heather G.
Joseph H.
Joshua M.
Ryan S.
Troy S.
LCOC will be feeding the homeless at the Hilda Barg Homeless Shelter on February 4,5,& 6.
Hilda Barg Shelter

Our committee will purchase the food and prepare the meals for the residents.
Please consider a monetary donation to go toward the purchase of the food.  A menu and sign-up sheet will be posted in January. Envelopes will be provided for your donations.

Blessings, 
Sandy Strychowski, The Gimmis, and Carla Kreppein.

Homebound Members
Ruth J.
Jean J.
Mary S.
Virginia S.
Members in the Military
Tyler R.
Tom M.
Ryan L.
Samuel B.

Please remember to keep our service members and their families in your prayers as they serve our country. If you have someone to add to this list, please contact the office.

Flower Calendar
The altar flowers for this month are given to the glory of God and contributed by:

January 7
Susanna R. and family in celebration 
of Mary s.'s birthday

January 14
Susanna R. and family in memory of W.Stuart R.

Les & Karen B. in celebration of Beth's birthday

January 21
Mark & Heather G in celebration 
of Sarah's 15th birthday

January 28

Kids Page
elbow-children-line.jpg
OPPORTUNITIES TO USE OUR GIFTS
AT LCOC AND BEYOND
We are fortunate to be able to use our gifts that God has provided us through a variety of ways.   When we choose to give our time, energy and talents to serve others, we are taking part in God's work to share the love of Christ and give God glory.  With God working in us and through us, we can make a difference!


OTLWB Book Club


January 8th at 12:00 pm:

The Ninth Hour
 by Alice McDermott.

If you would like more information, 
please see Sandy S. or Diane D.
Mend-A-House  
Project Mend-A-House  

Click to read:
 


Would you like to participate in the next project? 
contact Ralph M.

In Nature at LCOC


Dear LCOC Family Member ~
If you've never spent time in any of the outside sanctuaries surrounding our church, you are missing an opportunity to feel God's awesome peace and His presence. Allow me to take you on a walk through some of the gardens as we explore what is happening on a spring-like day just a week before Christmas:
* Out walk begins just outside the entrance to the upper fellowship hall. We notice that in the Memory Garden, daffodils are emerging from the ground. They are confused by the change in temperature, but we are sure that they will be fine as winter weather is sure to return.
* We pause to watch a variety of birds flitting to and from the bird feeder. At the base of the feeder we see a grey squirrel and his cousin the black squirrel eating the seeds that their feathered friends drop on the ground. These two fellows scurry away, run up the trees nearby, and sit on the limbs close to their homes (which are high atop these big Birches).
* As we round the corner, we see that the Heavenly Bamboo is still adorned with their beautiful clusters of red berries. We enjoy the pretty wreathes on the doors to the lower fellowship hall and the shed. The greenery that decorates the patio area says "welcome, come on in".
* Pretty little holly berries are spotted on the trees that line the parking lot. A sure sign that Christmas is coming.
* The evergreen trees that flank the doors to the inner sanctuary are surrounded with pretty poinsettias. Another welcome addition and another sign of that special holiday.
* Beautiful wreaths hang from those same doors and our hearts fill with the joy and peace that being in this outside sanctuary provides.
You are encouraged to take a self-guided tour through our w onderful landscape here at LCOC. But be ready - you are going to experience God's peace and presence - so enjoy this special time with our Creator! Next month we look forward to the frosty air, the wildlife, and other activity that we'll find on a walk through these beautiful gardens.

"Nature has been for me, for as long as I can remember, a source of solace, inspiration, ADVENTURE, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion".

Lorraine Anderson

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