Tuesday, December 15, 2020

NOTE: We are watching the weather forecast for tomorrow, and at this point we are planning to continue with this service.

But it’s possible that the projected winter storm will require us to postpone the service, to ensure the safety of our staff who have to be onsite. Any changes to the service will be posted on the church website and Facebook page, and shared on the church phone message (610-867-5865) so be sure to check there on Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Longest Night Service
6:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to join in this special service to acknowledge and reflect on the losses they've experienced - whether death, employment, health, relationships, dreams, or other losses. The service will include special messages and Communion (to participate, prepare your elements of a bread or bread-like item, plus grape juice, wine or water).
We'll also enjoy special music by soprano soloist Rebecca Erhardt (left), and
Dr. Aaron Patterson, saxophonist.

*To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 
834 9521 3745 followed by the # key.
You will be asked for the participant ID – press the # key again.

This past weekend exemplified our congregation's embracing of the challenge to experiment in how we connect with each other, and the larger community. The commitment to worship, learn, engage and give was exemplified in numerous ways.
Behind the Scenes
Our superb tech team, led by Musical Director David Macbeth, ran a 12-hour 'marathon' recording session on Saturday.

With a "well-orchestrated" schedule, they safely brought in the readers, candlelighters, and musicians to record their pieces for our coming services.
With many thanks to Kyle Steele, Aaron Kapes and Rebecca Ripley, who tirelessly share their technical skills with us!
A Night of Lights

This year we participated in the 23rd Annual Luminaria Night in Bethlehem, with the placement of special candlelit luminaria on our Center Street frontage. The night brought a blanket of fog, but the comfortable temperatures encouraged many folks to walk and drive around to enjoy the lights.

In addition to bringing light to the world, this event is a fund raiser for our neighbors at New Bethany Ministries.
Many thanks to the volunteers who assembled and set up our luminarias:

Gail and Dan Watts and grandsons, Don Robertson and grandsons, Donna Knepp, Bob and Jeanne Hunsicker, Ginny Shunk, and Jack and Phyllis Walker.

Also: Melody Engel, Jennifer Cole, Lisa Clauser, Sally Ross, Mark Swank, Jane Masters, and our facilities team.
Worshipping in Word and Music

FPCB's worship services are always alive with thoughtful, inspiring words and meaningful musical selections - that was never more apparent than this past Sunday.

The Contemporary service was highlighted with pieces by soloist Rebecca Ripley, accompanied by guitarist Kellen Pasini and keyboardist David Macbeth. Rebecca Erhardt, soprano, presented several selections during the Traditional service; David Macbeth shared his talents on our beautiful organ.

We enjoyed another musical highlight when Rev. J.C. Austin picked up his acoustic guitar to sing "City of Ruins" by Bruce Springsteen, to highlight his sermon, "Rising in the Ruins":
You can read or listen to the sermon, or view the videos of both services here.
Christmas Carol Sing

We had a wonderful group join us between the services to participate in our first-ever, online Christmas Carol Sing! Despite some minor technical glitches, we had a fine time singing some favorites like "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem", "Once in Royal David's City", and "The First Nowell". Rebecca Erhardt led us with her beautiful soprano voice.
Gratitude Drive-Through

On Sunday afternoon we offered an opportunity to drive through the church campus to drop off our stewardship pledges - and to receive a bag of candles for use on Christmas Eve, and a special 'treat' from our baker-in-chief, Rev. Austin.

Drawing on his Southern roots, he baked traditional Cheddar Cheese Straws in the shape of wafers. Here's the recipe if you're so inclined!

NOTE: Some folks also dropped off their donations to our Community Giving Tree - you can find all the details here; drop off through this coming Sunday, December 20.
Bags of candles and the cheese wafers for distribution
About 100 people drove through
to drop off their pledges
Spiral Advent Walk
Over 30 people participated in week number three of our Spiral Advent Walk, which initiated a focus on "Joy". They enjoyed a meditation on Joy, and quiet reflection while visiting the candlelit Memorial Garden. You can download and print the meditation here:
If you need the devotionals for the previous weeks, you can print them here:
PEACE and HOPE. You may also want to check out these podcasts for the Hearts N Minds adult ed class' series, "Advent of the Spirit".

Many thanks to the Discipleship Committee for bringing this opportunity to our church community. They will offer one last session next Sunday, December 20 - drop by the Memorial Garden anytime between 4-6 p.m. for the final week focusing on "Love".
And to close...

Let's revisit the very special lighting of the candle for our third Sunday of Advent, by the children and teachers of our "Zoom" Sunday School!