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December   2018
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On Stewardship Sunday, these words rang out through the sanctuary:
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Pilgrim through this barren land...
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
The words and music of this cherished hymn find a place of deep connection in my soul and perhaps yours as well.
First singing these words from the context of my Mennonite youth, I would have thought these words were referring to the journey of another person - not me. If I even dared to imagine myself as the pilgrim in this hymn, it was only in the spiritual sense. Mennonites aren't known for being globetrotters and my family was no exception. Yet by the time I turned 23, I had quite literally circled the globe and the impact of those journeys changed the course of my life.
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Now that we have given thanks for our many blessings and as we move toward the celebration of the manger, take a moment to complete your pledges for the current year. Your continuing support of OPC is essential and appreciated!
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Please join us December 2nd for our annual Advent Workshop in the newly renovated Seminary building after worship service. All children, youth and adults are invited to this wonderful intergenerational event! Come enjoy some delicious chili served by our youth, create a keepsake at the workshop and pick up your Advent calendar and devotional. 
Our children and youth have started rehearsing for the 5th annual Celebration at the Manger program that will be performed on December 16 during the worship service. Be sure to mark your calendars and bring your friends - you won't want to miss this heartwarming event!
As 2018 comes to a close, CE is busy making plans for 2019. Be on the lookout for some new opportunities to dig deeper in your faith. Details coming soon!
Teachers in December:
Nursery - Rori Lykins
Preschool - Rhonda Krehbiel 
K-2nd- Sarah Miller
3rd-5th- Jenn Walter
Middle School - Prue Dana
Thank you Carla Rice for teaching 3rd-5thgraders during October and part of November!
Great job acolyting in November, Abbie Curry! (and thanks for filling in, Eric)

Come support our Youth at our annual Chili Supper on December 2nd at 11:30 a.m. in the Seminary Building. Our Advent Workshop is happening during the same time, so this should be tons of fun! Tickets are $5.00 per person or $20.00 per family. Why are we raising money? To fund our summer mission trip. 

This year our Youth will be going to Triennium at Purdue University on July 16th through July 20th, and it's going to be tons of fun. We are so excited that our Youth will have this opportunity to strengthen their faith and learn about God with other Presbyterian Youth from around the country. 

Looking ahead at the next few months, there are some fun events happening with our Youth Program, besides our intense games of Ga Ga Ball and Sardines. 
On Friday, December 21st we are having our annual lock in! This is for youth who are in grade 6-12. 
The following month, Friday, January 18th through Sunday, January 20th, we are going on a weekend retreat for a ski trip at Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield, Ohio. This is for youth who are in grade 9-12. 
To RSVP or acquire further information on either of these events, contact the Youth Director, Jake Smithers at  youth@oxfordpresbychurch.org

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Keep these friends in your prayers:
Betty Barnhart, John Curry, Tracy DeGood, Bob Douglass, Nancy Gates, Genee Hesse, Breanna Kinneman, Ruth Miller, Jan Reinhart, Becky Rudolph, Sarah Soika, Joan Teckman, Dave Wilson, Stacey Winn,  John and Jean Woodruff 
Lord in Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayers
We take great joy in welcoming our newest members!  Watch the January newsletter for more secrets revealed about these new friends. 
(From l to r)  Bill Scott, Carol Schaber, Jake Smithers (affiliate) and Nancy Cleaver
We are delighted to welcome the new and returning Elders, Deacons and Trustees, the class of 2021!
Elders: Lisa Brunkhorst, Carol Klumb, Gene Krebs, Ginny Layton, Katie Payne 
Deacons: Arly Allen, Lee Fisher, Ginny Scott, Karen Shearer, Mickey Simonds, Robert Smith (1 year term)
Trustees: Nick Fears, Joy Russell
Thanks For Your Pledges! We Are On Our Way To Supporting A Church Which Is Real, Relevant And Reformed But We Haven't Completed The Puzzle Yet.......
You have probably noticed that we have been talking a lot about "giving" recently as we focused on Stewardship and what it means for OPC.  In this season of Thanksgiving, we are even more aware of "giving thanks" for our many blessings. We especially want to "thank" everyone who has already made a pledge to support OPC and our mission in the coming year. 

We greatly appreciate the generosity of the 106 church members who have already turned in their pledge cards. We received 125 pledges last year by the end of December, so we are well on our way to gaining more support this year. But we still need your commitment  to meet the challenge of being a financially viable congregation that can support an assistant pastor and continue our real, relevant and reformed ministry. 

Our goal was to increase our giving by 12% over last year's total. We cannot make that goal unless more of you will MAKE THAT MOVE to turn in your pledge. You may do so by using a card in the pews on 


SESSION session
November Session Meeting

Plans for welcoming Pastor Marc van Bulck were presented.  Members of the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee have been working to help with a smooth transition.  Nametags will be provided, on Sunday mornings, to help Marc learn who we are.
January 2019 leadership retreat is set for January 19, with the annual congregational meeting to be held on January 20.

Trustees are working on building use plans for the Seminary.  It is expected that the building will be in demand for both church activities and community events.

A revised Personnel Policy was approved.

Rise Against Hunger was a big success.  Mission and Outreach Committee is looking at other food sourcing organizations for possible additional events in the future.
Judy Fisher, Clerk 
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Worship and Music
Lynn Cronk was warmly welcomed as a new W&M committee member. 
December 16, 2018 Celebration at the Manger
Jens Bartel and Lynn Jacobs will play a piano/organ duet,either December 23 or Christmas Eve.
Kent reported on the fine job the four choir student interns are doing and how much joy and enthusiasm they bring to their work.

The Personnel Policy has been extensively reviewed and updated.  If you would like more details, check with the church office
Mission and Outreach
Funding decisions made for: 
Family Promise $500 
Community Day Care $300
Mercy Ships $750 
Living waters $1000
Clubhouse $500
Presbyterian Disaster Relief $1000
Forman College $300
Safe Haven Farms $500
YAV $500
Membership, Evangelism and Fellowship
Nametags will be brought back after Thanksgiving. Perfect timing with Marc van Bulck starting his new Associate Pastor position. Peel off tags and sharpies will be in the pews for everyone to use. A brief word at the beginning of the service will inform the congregation of their intent. 

The Trustees welcomed Joy Russell who will join us for the coming term.
The Trustees discussed issues that will need to be factored in as the 2019 budget is developed, including operational cost increases, especially utilities, due to expanded use of the Seminary space. 

In late October, the zoning board met to consider our request for a variance, required to allow construction of the ramp. The issue is a 16.5-foot setback from the property line. The expanded landing and the ramp itself are well within the 16.5-foot setback limit.
The zoning board voted unanimously to grant the variance because we made reasonable efforts to provide an alternate entrance; we have a demonstrated need to protect members; and the ramp is low enough to be within the spirit of the setback. The Historic and Architectural Planning Commission approved our design, contingent on acceptable hand railing.

The next step is permitting. Our architect will soon provide documents for this purpose. When permitting is complete, the trustees can solicit bids.

Regretfully, this means that the ramp will likely not be built until spring.
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DEACONS deacon
Do you know someone who needs a Prayer Shawl? Shawls are given for comfort in times of illness or grief, as well as for celebration in times of joy.  If you have a friend or relative to whom you would like to give a Prayer Shawl, please contact Cornelia Browne, 523-1680

Do not meet in December
The Oxford Presbyterian Women's CHRISTMAS TEA will be on Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. Come join in at the Molyneaux Lounge for Cookies and Tea. Jean Derickson will lead us in the Carol Sing. Karen Simpson will read a Christmas Story. The Coordinating Team members are your hostesses. Everyone is welcomed to attend. Contact Karen Simpson, 523-8363  k.simpson2007@yahoo.comif you have any questions. 
Our heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to the 2018 Cookie Walk! When this newsletter went to press, 40 people had volunteered. We will thank each volunteer by name in the January newsletter. (We know that more people will bring goodies on December 1st).
Seeking God, Serving Others, Sharing Christ's Love With All

Are you looking for someway to get more involved, to be part of this real, relevant and reformed ministry?  Well, you have come to the right place and you are reading the right column!  Come on, read on, join in!

The Crop Hunger Walk.  
Ending hunger ... one step at a time.  These are annual, community-wide events that are sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations and groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world.  Miami Greeks do most of the work, but OPC needs to be involved.  This is mainly a contact person responsibility.

Bread for the World
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Each year, Bread invites churches across the country to take up an Offering of Letters to Congress on legislation that impacts hungry and poor people. We organize advocacy campaigns to pass or block federal legislation that will help end hunger and poverty.
OPC's Peacemaking Committee needs your help to make this happen each year. Publicity is critical.
SERRV Fund Raiser
SERRV is a non-profit fair trade organization.  Our local OPC fundraiser takes place with the annual cookie walk.  Folks shop through the SERRV catalog by ordering what they want, or choose items from those on display.  OPC raises about $1000 for mission funds from this event.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat has been so successful in the recent years.  The current expectation is that there should be about 8 more houses built in Oxford, finishing out the Hester Road neighborhood.  Then there may be a long time before the next builds. We need to keep OPC involved. This role would mainly be a keep your ear to the ground role, serving as contact person for Habitat.  We don't want to be left out of this important work.
Prue Dana has been the contact person, the mover, the publicist, the doer, the planner, the order taker, and the you-name-it for ALL THESE EVENTS, YES, ALL THESE EVENTS and she needs to share!  
Please call Prue for more details on any one of these great ways to serve and share and to get involved!

As we are nearing the end of 2018, we reflect on the blessings we have received throughout the past year. We have been fortunate that our generous and caring congregation has stepped up to meet several special needs of the Oxford Presbyterian Church. This year to date, donations of approximately $92,000 were extended to fund 19 projects.  A heartfelt Thanks! goes to all those who asked, "How can I help?". 

With the tax deadline quickly approaching, others may be considering the opportunity for giving to the OPC special needs program. You are encouraged to pick up a copy of the current Wish List, which is available just outside the church office or contact Bill King directly to discuss our OPC needs.

Bill King, Special Gifts Coordinator
(513) 523-2546 (h)
(513) 720-7345 (c)
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ments                                   ANNOUNCEMENTES
Thursday, December 6, 2018: Service of Comfort, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 3:00 p.m. 
The Reverend Sara Palmer will be presenting the liturgy and Pastor Lawrence will deliver the homily. Last years' service at OPC was very meaningful.

For December, I will be showing the church services on DVD at 10:00  The dates are: Tuesday Dec. 11 and notice this changeThursday Dec. 27 (because Christmas falls on the 4th Tuesday) Becky Quay
December 2
Middle School Sunday School Class and Prue Dana
December 9
The Sisters: Rachel Mehl , Mary Niehoff, and Ruth Keebler
December 16 
Celebration of the Manger
Joe and Paula Foltz, Carol Schaber
December 23
Mike, Lindsay and Anthony Sunderhaus
December 24- Christmas Eve
The Deahl / Chaney Families

Deadline for the January 2019 Newsletter is December 20, 2018

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017: Educating Children in Colombia:  In the morning we were picked up and transported to the Nazareth School.  This is the private Christian school attached to our sister church, the Seventh Church. The children were lined up to greet us as we entered the courtyard.  We were given celebrity status and escorted to front row seats for a cultural heritage presentation.  Just as we have different States in our country, there are different Regions within Colombia.  

 The children presented the costumes, music, and dance from each of the country's regions. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the pageantry and loved hearing the music and seeing the children of different ages dancing and displaying their costumes.  Afterwards we were invited to view the displays of the culturally diverse regions and sample the food that was typical of that area.  The children were eager to interact with us and try their English, which is taught at every grade level in the school. 
We had a meeting in the computer lab and viewed a promotional film about the Nazareth School. Gina Zabala is the Head Administrator of the School and Johana Nuñez teaches English to the lower grade levels. Anna Maria was our translator for this session.  She teaches English to the upper grade levels.  The Nazareth School has a good academic reputation and most of the grads go on to college.  They teach Christian values throughout the school grades.  Lawrence asked if they teach peace making.  This is incorporated throughout the curriculum.  The society is violent and skills in peace making and conflict resolution are needed to improve the conditions.
We were taken to the Bethesda Christian Community Center for the dedication ceremony for the new building.  This was the event that we had been invited to come and witness and there was an air of excitement and anticipation as we entered the beautiful new building.  
There were many leaders from the Presbytery attending the ceremony.  The attending dignitaries gave speeches dedicating the building.  And we enjoyed the rousing praise music.  
Our group gave gifts of a banner and a statute of a mother & child.  
A gift from the Oxford Presbyterian Church to the Bethesda Christian Community Center.
A banner created by Karen Shearer was presented to The Bethesda Center as a dedication gift.

Lawrence gave a prayer.  Pastor Luis took me aside and emphasized how important the impact of this mission has had on the people in El Por Fin. 
 This turned out to be another very happy day for us as we learned about the school and witnessed the dedication of the new building!  On our way back to the hotel the police stopped our car on a routine checkpoint.  We sat silent in our seats during the inspection.  Germán told us that this happens all the time and they are looking for drug runners. That night we went out to dinner with Gina and Omar, Johanna and Daniel to the restaurant next to the hotel and we all had pizza!

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Oxford Presbyterian Church Staff
Office Hours: 8:30-4:30, M-F
Telephone: 513-523-6364
Fax: 513-523-8215
Seminary Building: 513-523-7411
Pastor: Lawrence Bartel
Music Director: Kent Peterson
Organist: Lynn Jacobs
Pastor Emeritus: Dr. Joseph R. Hookey
Parish Associate:   Rev. Diane Ziegler
Clerk : Julia R. Fisher
Administrative Assistant:
            Bridgite Dickerson: office@oxfordpresbychurch.org
Financial Secretary:
            Mary Martin:   finance@oxfordpresbychurch.org
Director/Teacher C.C.N.S.:
            Sarah Mapel: ccnsoxfordpreschool@gmail.com
Newsletter Editor:
            Nancy Moeckel, moeckenj@miamioh.edu
Custodian: Priscilla Parks
Sexton: Robert Simpson
Class of 2018
Carol Klumb, Amy McGoldrick, Katie Payne, Deb Sayers, Leanne Staley
Class of 2019 :
Jenny Bailer, , F. Harrison Green , Greg Hughes, Nancy Moeckel,
Johanna Reinhart
Class of 2020
Candace Crist, Danny Cross, Pat Gifford, Richard Munson, Jennifer Walter
Class of 2018 :
Karen Shearer, Lee Fisher, Virginia Layton, Joni Marcum, Mickey Simonds
Class of 2019:
Debbie Davidson, Janet Holmes, Pat Roberts Diane Young
Class of 2020
Cornelia Browne, Jill Grajewski, Stephanie Hartman, Matt Lykins, Becky Quay
Class of 2018:   Tom Holmes, Nick Fears
Class of 2019 :  Keith Payne, Joe Simpson
Class of 2020 Rick Bailey, Scott Parkinson
December Birthdays
 2        Joe Foltz
 2        Nancy Parkinson
 2        Ned Stephenson
 2        Virginia Swanson
 4        Prue Dana
 4        Ghosts visit Scrooge*
 5        Carol Flee
 6        Margaret Smith 
 8        Randy Trostel
 9        Ezekiel Groom
 9        Evan James
 9        Mark Hare (Missionary) 
10        Carol Bowers
10        Louise Griffing
10        Sue Skillings
 11      Laura Harvey
 12      Ann Bader
 13      Linda Boardman
 15      Robin Vealey
 15      Sue Wilson
 17      Jan Reinhart
 17       Lynn Jacobs 
 18      Nick Fears
 18      Paula Green
 18      Jonathan Hunter (Missionary)             
 18       Ellen Smith (Missionary) 
 20      Steve Brown
 20      Dick Munson
 23      John Curry, Jr.
 25      Holly Gage
 27      Ann Bailey
 28      Tom Poetter
 29      Jean O'Connell
 30      Megumi Satkowski
 30      Nancy Sturgeon
 31      Whitney Hartman
Don't forget Marley

December Do-Dads
Winter solstice 2018 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 5:23 PM on
Friday, December 21
The Old Farmers Almanac predicts winter will be warmer than normal, with above-normal precipitation and below-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will be in mid- and late December, late January, and early February.  Let's see how that pans out.
Late on the night of December 13th (or early on the 14th) the Geminids meteor shower will peak, reaching its expected maximum rate of 100 meteors per hour. 
Question of the Month
How many ghosts visit Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?  Find the answer hidden in the newsletter, somewhere.
Chionophobia is the persistent fear of snow, especially becoming trapped by snow. The term is derived from the Greek words chion and phobos, meaning "snow" and "fear."
One inch of snow will produce just less than 1/10 of an inch of water when melted. Ten inches of snow will melt down to only 1 inch of water.
Around 12% of Earth's land surface is covered in snow and ice.
Some animals possess the amazing ability to turn white during the winter: the arctic fox, arctic hare, ptarmigan, barren-ground caribou, and ermine all change colors. (some of us possess the amazing ability to turn white with age!!)
The first time I got a universal remote control I thought to myself, "This changes everything".
I recently decided to sell my vacuum cleaner as all it was doing was gathering dust.
As I watched the dog chasing his tail I thought, "Dogs are easily amused", then I realized I was watching the dog chasing his tail.
Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect. 
I like to hold hands at the movies... which always seems to startle strangers.
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In a sermon this fall, I shared several stages of my call story.  I described two of the most pivotal chapters as the journey inward during my college studies in Scotland and the journey outward during travels in India.  Both of those journeys changed me and continue to change me. They formed me as a pastor and continue to inform my vocation.  It's simply not possible for me to stress how much journeys, on my own and with others, both in this country and abroad, continue to shape my faith, my vocational journey, and global perspective.
The body of Christ that is Oxford Presbyterian Church is a school of pilgrims on a journey.  Through "The World Around Us" series of Christian Education events this fall, we welcomed the opportunity to learn about this world that God so loves.  Through our sister church partnerships with congregations in Russia and Colombia, we embrace journeys throughout this world and discovering that Christ is ready to welcome us in those places.
From Christian Education to Mission and Outreach, 2018 has been a year of exploration in our congregational vision to 
 1) invigorate the congregation's spiritual journey inward and 
 2) fuel the congregation's missional journey outward. 
With the arrival of 2019, we invite you to serve inand pray for this vision as it expands internationally. 
First serve in this vision.  Under the guidance of the Mission and Outreach Committee, plans are well underway for a Mission in Russia taking place 
during July 2019.  Over 7 days near the Ural Mountains in Russia, this mission team will renew our twinning relationship with the First Church of Zlatoust.  We'll visit the growing sister church and find out how Baptist Union congregations serve their communities while living in a Russian Orthodox country. During this journey we look forward to the accompaniment by one of our two PC(USA) mission co-workers to Russia, Ellen and Al Smith.
Everyone interested in serving in the congregation's missional journey outward through Mission in Russia 2019 should join us for a brief informational meeting in the sanctuary of the Seminary Church at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 16.  If you're not able to be a part of this meeting, please see Bill Fisher of the Mission and Outreach Committee for information and registration. 
2020 will then bring The Spirit of Scotland as well an intentional focus on the congregation's spiritual journey inward.  The Spirit of Scotland will be a guided tour exploring the sacred heritage of Scotland.  If you ever dreamed of walking the streets of Edinburgh and into a Church of Scotland, sauntering across the holy isle of Iona, driving through the mountains and lochs of the Scottish Highlands or ambling the humble streets of St. Andrew's between Scotland's oldest university and the world's oldest golf course - then the Spirit of Scotland is for you. 
Ecumenical and welcoming in nature, please invite your interested friends and neighbors to consider this tour for a church group.  There will be time for a service of welcome, morning prayer and evening prayer, Sunday worship with a Church of Scotland congregation and a closing service of worship.  This 8-day journey will take place from late May to mid-June in 2020 with specific dates to be announced soon.
All those wishing to learn more about the congregation's spiritual journey inward through the Spirit of Scotland 2020 should gather for a brief informational meeting in the sanctuary of the Seminary Church at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 13 or in the same location at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 24.
The second way you may participate is to pray for this vision. From the founders of Monmouth College in IL to the founders of the United Presbyterian Mission in Egypt, the witness of our congregation is a faithful ministry of sending out dozens and dozens of pastors and lay leaders who have changed this country and this world. Yet behind all the stories were dedicated men and women who conscientiously prayed for those sent out into ministry from OPC.
Through these journeys, let us pray.  Let us pray that lives would be touched and transformed among us, our friends in Oxford, and our neighbors around this world that God so loves.
We welcome your feedback on the newsletter. We CRAVE your feedback like Rudolph craves to play reindeer games.  What is missing from the newsletter that you would like to see? Let me know. Thanks, nancy.  moeckenj@miamioh.edu (and here is your bonus for reading this section: So what if I can't spell Armageddon? It's not the end of the world)