December 2023

937-426-3988 /

What part of the holiday season do you most anxiously anticipate and await? Is it the Christmas Tree Little Debbies or the Christmas Tree Reeses? Perhaps Christmas cookies or cocoa or stories? Maybe for you it’s decorating or unwrapping presents with family or Christmas movies or music? For many of us, the Christmas season is overly busy; Christmas plays, parties, presents, cooking, decorating, traveling, planning…and then, POOF! it’s over. There are many unique and special things that only occur during the holidays so we can feel like we have to do them all while we can! Time passes quickly, but it seems to pass even quicker during the holiday season. We spend lots of time (and money!) preparing to celebrate Christmas. We try to prepare our homes, our schedules, our bank accounts, our menus, and our plans. But how well do we prepare our hearts?

Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, is a season of reflective preparation; a time of directing our hearts and minds to Christ’s coming. How are you preparing yourself?


The Psalmist writes “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from God…Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in God.” (Psalm 62:1,5). What if all of the holiday preparation could be less stressful? Finding moments of rest are important in every season; but especially in seasons of stress. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season are you taking time to prepare yourself, your heart and spirit for the coming of Christ? I encourage us all to find moments of rest and time with God, especially during the holiday season. We are created as human beings, not human doings; we were created to rest with God. All the truly important things will still get done this holiday season, even if you take a few moments to rest. In fact, you may even find yourself doing those things with more peace, hope, love, and joy! Think of all the preparation for the arrival of a new baby, or the preparation for a big sports match or a big concert; we should be preparing our hearts and spirits in that same way for the arrival of Christ. May we all prepare our hearts through prioritizing rest and connecting with God’s Word amidst this busy season.


If you’re not sure where to start, start with sitting and deeply breathing; just be with God for a few moments. Below are some Scriptures that may be useful in directing your time preparing your heart and connecting with God’s Word during this 4-week Advent Season.


Hope: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

Peace: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Joy: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; Luke 1:46b-55

Love: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38


You Are Loved,

Pastor Abby


If you are looking for a way to add some devotion time to your day, here is a great way to do that.

Pastor Laurie does a daily devotion on Facebook for a half hour, Monday-Friday @ 9:00am.

click the link to get connected!

Then you have an informal devotion to use throughout your week.

If you have questions, contact Pastor Laurie for more information at [email protected]


Advent Study Groups

Join us this Advent Season as we journey through "The First Christmas: Stories from the Birth" of Christ. It was a night that no one would forget. The night the Christ Child was born. We will dive deeper into stories from Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, The Inn Keeper, A Wiseman, and A Shepherd and reflect how we might connect to pieces of each story. Each was invited to take part in the birth of the world's savior and so are we. Each session will have facilitators who will help the group; there will be time for fellowship, a brief video of teaching from our Pastor's, and group discussion questions to help guide your conversation. Click here to sign up!

Visit our Website

Spotlight in Ministry

Thursday, December 21 there will be a Blue Christmas service from 7pm-8pm

On Christmas eve there will be regular Sunday morning services. Traditional service 8:30am and Modern service 10:30am.

There will be two evening services for Christmas eve:

Family Service from 5pm-6pm

Candlelight, No Communion Served,

Childcare not available.

Traditional Service from 8pm-9pm

Candlelight, No Communion Served,

Childcare not available

Sunday, December 31st (New Year's Eve) there will be a combined worship service at 9:30am.

A Night In Bethlehem

December 10th from 3pm-5pm.

Families will discover what life was like in the town where Jesus was born. Come listen to the choir perform the Christmas cantata "Bethlehem's Child", see a puppet show, and wander through the village of Bethlehem. There will be crafts, snacks, and activities for the whole family.



 The UWF (UMW) will hold its annual Cookie Walk Saturday, December 2nd from 9am – 12pm in the Welcome Center. You may drop off your items in the kitchen between 6-8 pm on Friday evening. We will have homemade cookies and candy and stocking stuffer crafts for sale. Everyone is welcome…bring a Friend. All proceeds will be used to support missions.  

If you have questions,

call Michele Donaldson, 937-684-3828 or

Susan Lehneis, 937-901-4398.

Christmas Caroling 2023

This is a family tradition at Aley, on Sunday evening, Dec.17, we visit our shut-ins. Christmas Caroling will definitely get your whole family in the Christmas spirit. Our caroling and especially seeing the children means so much to our shut-ins who can’t get to worship with us regularly. They need to feel that they are important to us. The plan is to gather at the church in the Hospitality Center about 5:30. We break into groups, receive our caroling routes, get into cars, vans, etc. and through our singing, show our love and concern for our members who can’t be with us. We also take a basket of cookies and fruit to them, which I will provide. After we have completed our assigned routes, we can return home; but please remember to bring the song booklets back on Sunday. The plan is to complete our route and still be home before 8PM.

Any questions? Contact Karen Engel at 426-3988 or [email protected].


Service Opportunity at St Paul UMC Breakfast Saturday, on December 9th

 It's time again for Aley to provide breakfast for the less fortunate at St Paul's UMC. If you are able to help, we are asking for 9 fully cooked cheesy potato casseroles, 4 fully cooked egg sausage casseroles, bags of fruit (bananas, oranges, apples), and 6 cases of bottled water. The recipes are posted on the UWF Bulletin Board downstairs next to the Coke machine. We also need at least 2 people to help serve. You can bring your food to Aley kitchen by Thursday, December 7, 2:45 pm, Friday, December 8 by 11:45 am, or Saturday morning, December 9 by 7:30 am, and put your casseroles in the refrigerator, and fruit and cases of water on the kitchen counter ALL MARKED for St Paul's.

Please contact Susan Lehneis

(937-901-4398) or

Renee Albright (937-272-1259)

if interested in helping to prepare food or serve, or if you have any questions.

Blood Drive

The next blood drive will be on December 12th from 4pm-7pm out in the church parking lot. If you will be donating, there is a link below to sign up for your appointment.

Blood Donation Appointments

Any questions? Contact Karen Engel at 426-3988 or [email protected].

Save the Date!

Our next hosting will be on January 9th & 11th, 2024. We will have online sign ups to provide the food and supplies we deliver. You will be able to sign up on the "Get Involved" page soon.

Aley UMC Website:

For any question, contact

Debi Heidrich #937-623-4624

Aley United Methodist Men's monthly meeting will be held on December 16th in the hospitality Center beginning at 8:30am. We'll enjoy breakfast and have a short business meeting. All men are invited to join us.

Youth Ministries at Aley

Youth At Aley

YAA +1 Christmas Party!

Our annual YAA+1 Christmas Party will be December 13, 6-8pm. Students in grades 6-12 are invited to come celebrate Christmas and bring along an adult to join all the fun! We’ll have food, lots of Christmas games, and some awesome prizes!! RSVP to Pastor Abby at: [email protected]

by December 10 so we can have enough supplies and food. *Christmas sweaters are encouraged but not required



December 20 - YAA Christmas Movie Night (6-8pm)


December 27 & January 3 - No YAA 

Mini-Camp Grant Award

The Great Miami River District recently awarded Aley a $3,500 grant to increase our mini-camp ministry next year! This means we can connect with more kids, youth, and adults throughout the community and offer more opportunities for sharing our gifts and knowledge with others. Start thinking now about how you might be able to serve in this ministry for 2024!

Kids’ and Youth Ministry is GROWING!

In the past year, Kids’ and Youth ministry at Aley has more than doubled!! It is exciting to spend time with the kids and youth each week; to hear their thoughts, enjoy their laughter, and embrace their questions. The kids and youth are not the future of the church, they are indeed the church now; we all are. With the increase in active kids and youth, we need more adults to love and serve in each of these ministry areas. Many adults think that kids and youth don’t want them to hang around or that they aren’t young enough or cool enough to serve in kids or youth ministry anymore; however, that’s not true. Serving in Kids’ and Youth ministry isn’t about being cool or having all the answers or knowing all the latest trends (the kids and youth will help teach you those!) - it’s about getting to know them, loving them, and supporting them…it’s about relationship. There are multiple ways to serve in each ministry, for these ministries to continue growing we need more willing servants. Kids’ ministry serves from birth-5th grade and Youth ministry serves students in grades 6-12; all volunteers will need a brief training on safe sanctuary and a background check.

If you have questions, want more information, or are ready to serve, please contact Susan Grinkemeyer ([email protected])

for Kids’ ministry or Pastor Abby for Youth ministry ([email protected]

Text Link

Special Annual Conference Report

The West Ohio Annual Conference Special Session Convened Saturday, October 28 at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church. Bishop Gregory Palmer presided over the conference with nearly 800 clergy and lay members in attendance. Pastor Laurie, Pastor Abby, Paul Bauer (Lay Member to Annual Conference) and Gail Simpson (Lay Leader) attended.

Conference Business:

96 churches requested disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church. A total of 348 churches have disaffiliated from WOC since January 2022, 36% of WOC churches.

Strategic Plan Focus Areas for the next 3 years:

           Strengthen the ministry pipeline

           Develop an approach to engage younger populations

Revise, prioritize and align conferences resources to focus on helping churches be missional (discipleship, evangelism, meeting the needs of the Community



2024 budget prioritized connections, clergy and church support and discipleship

$10 million reduction in apportionments since 2018

$12.1 million apportioned in 2024, same as 2023 for remaining churches

2024-2026 budgets are transitional: Post disaffiliations, aligning matters before the Annual Conference in the next 3 years include:

Probability of episcopal leadership sharing with East Ohio Conference effective Sept 1

Strategic use of funds from closed churches to support new churches and emerging ministries

2025 budget will be prepared by first quarter of 2024


Disposition of West Ohio Camps and Retreat Ministry Property- AFFIRMED

Camp Widewater and Camp Otterbein will be sold, proceeds from the sale are restricted to current and future camping and retreat ministries for children

Elections of Delegates

           2 Clergy Alternates to Jurisdictional Conference were elected

           7 Lay Delegates Jurisdictional Conference were elected

           2 Laity Alternate Delegates

The 2024 West Ohio Conference will be held May 29- June 1, 2024 at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio with the theme “God is Able” based on Ephesians 3:20-21.


If unable to greet, please switch with someone; if that fails,

contact Fay Young at [email protected]

More servants are needed to greet on Sunday mornings.

8:30 am



10:30 am



Dec 3rd




Dec 3rd



Joanna Warner

Dec 10th




Dec 10th

(Need Greeters)

Joanna Warner

Dec 17th

Jim & Jobie Dunham


Dec 17th



Joanna Warner

Dec 24th

(Need Greeter)


Dec 24th

(Need Greeter)

Joanna Warner

Dec 31st




Dec 31st





Office Closings for the Holiday Season

December 25th - Christmas Day

January 1st - New Year's Day

Ana Balint


Mike Collins


Richard Ennis


Debra Noble


William Moore


Frances Wagner


Tom Donaldson


Dennis Anderson


Wyatt Smith


Cheryl Smith


Donald Seela


John Zimmerman


Zac Ganger


Elizabeth Clinch


Taylor Mannix


Christopher May


Peter Rauch


Janis Yoder


Cyrus Black


Donna Bogard


Parker Shannon


Eilanna Price


Lily Belle Wetmore


Lisa Clinch


Karl Heidrich


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