Advent Greetings
Let’s agree that this year we won’t participate in consumption hysteria or excessive gluttony. Put only what is necessary under the tree and in Christmas stockings. Buy children gifts that bring joy to others, for example, donate to our church charity drive to provide farm animals to developing nations. A good gift to yourself and others is the idea of a Christmas fast or self-reflection. Refrain from all negative thoughts and speech and concentrate on being thankful and blessing others. This gift may result in so much good feeling to yourself and others that you may not want to stop this spiritual fast after the holidays.
The most precious gift of the year is Jesus. Without Him there is no Christmas, without Him there is no real faith or belief, no hope of love. We must remember to open this gift every day and give of that radiant light that is Jesus, with open mind and heart. Let us remember that our strength is in our weakness, in our incompleteness, we are loved, and that our worth is not measured by the standards of this world, but instead by the one to whom we belong.
A peaceful and grace-filled Christmas season to everyone!
Pastor Mia
Preschool News
December Preschool News

We just finished learning about Thanksgiving, turkeys and eating pumpkin pie- and now it is time to sing Christmas songs and decorate our tree! Where did this year go? There are only three weeks of school remaining until our Christmas/New Year break!
Our main theme for December is Christmas. We begin with “Star” week. We will learn how to draw stars, make star tree ornaments and learn about the star in the nativity story. We will be very busy rehearsing for our two Christmas “concerts”.
Our students will sing in church on Sunday, December 15 th during the English service. We hope you can come and hear them (they are always very cute!). The service is going to be very special with great music, fellowship and a “skit” performed by our teachers! After the service, a yummy lunch will be served in the Fellowship Hall!

You are also welcome to join us at our annual Christmas party on Friday, December 20 th (3:30pm). The children will sing, dance a little and ring some bells. Refreshments will be served after the performance and if everyone is very good- Santa might make a special appearance!
The school will be closed December 23 rd - January 6 th for Christmas break. During the break the school will be tented for termites. The pesky bugs have been slowly eating our school building. We have repaired some of the damaged areas and more repairs all still needed.
Christmas Blessings and wishes for a Healthy, Happy New Year from our school staff, children and their families to the church staff and volunteers, you and your family. God bless!

Pirjo Campitelli
Music News
The Christmas season is here and there is a lot to be thankful for.

There is a variety of music and praise events to attend at our church. We are also thankful to have many talented musicians in our congregation and are looking forward to hearing from them at our annual Christmas concert, which is Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 6:00p.m. You don’t want to miss it! On December 15 th , there will be a special family service on the English side with more contemporary music, come and see this exciting new service. On December 15 th at 3:00 p.m., is the traditional Finnish Christmas Carols Concert. We will also have English Christmas Carol Sing Along for the first time which is scheduled for December 20 th . These are just a few of the great events we have planned! Every note and tune is played to the Glory of our God!
Christmas is a time to be near family and God. We are one family here at church, and everyone is welcome at all our services and music concerts. If you are a singer and are interested in singing in either our Finnish or English choirs, we would love to have you. Chapel Choir practices on Monday evenings at 5:45, and the Finnish choir at 1:00 on Friday afternoon. Please join us!
Have a Blessed December

President's Corner

We received good news from the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Finland. Their support to us in 2020 is 20 000 Euros, which means a 33% increase compared to 2019. It’s great to see that they remember us and value our work.
The greatest good news we need to remember, is, that very soon we can rejoice and celebrate the birth of our Christ and Savior. We can enjoy the time of advent and Christmas Carols. The new Church Year has already started, and the congregation is full of Christmas activities. We are in full action and the snowbirds are back as well, and enjoying the sunshine.
Church sale process is in the final phase. The closing will be on December 5 th and at the same time we will sign the lease back agreement. This is right before Finland’s Independence Day celebration. This means, we will celebrate the Christmas like earlier, even though no more as the owners.
 We have now agreed new Sunday service coffee hour arrangements and it seems to start smoothly. Many volunteers have signed-up to help in kitchen and many have promised to bring, coffee, cake or something else we can serve. It’s utmost important that from now on the members and visitors donate all products to be served and the congregation buys nothing. If you have not yet volunteered, I encourage you to help as well in kitchen as in other volunteer activities.
Welcome to our many Christmas season events!
Blessed and Peaceful Christmas season to everyone! The Christ is born!
Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.
Pertti Pietarinen
Council President
Visit from Burundi
Lea and Jamie Peters have been called by God to carry out a very important task in Burundi, Africa. They have been serving as missionaries for over thirty years and have established and built churches and schools in places where there are no Christian congregations. Lea and Jamie were special guests at our church on November 10 th , and the occasion was very touching. A well-informed congregation got to hear about the couple’s life work in Africa. As of today, the good news of Jesus is preached at over 20 churches which they have founded. 
Lea and Jamie have given there lives to God’s work, and part of that is feeding the poorest village children. Currently they feed 600 hungry children per week. Pastor Jamie had a very lively sermon, in which he explained that we are all called to do the same work in our social circles and those we interact with. God himself helps us to move forward with His work, we must then have the will to act on it. This is the way Jamie and Lea have lived, and their growing mission in east-Africa is testament to their hard work. There are still, however, a lot of people in Africa who hunger to hear about Jesus. This work is very pleasing to Lea and Jamie, and for now, there is no end in sight. There visit will remain in our hearts, and we look forward to having them at our church again in two years’ time. May our Heavenly Father Bless them and their work!
Merry Christmas to you all!
Anja Laurila
Thoughts From the Volunteer
Greetings from cold, damp, and grey Turku

Upon my arrival in Finland, pretty much straight off the airplane, I was able to help out with the final preparations for “Maata näkyvissä” festival . This festival is the largest youth Christian event organized in northern Europe, almost all of the work being done by volunteers. This year, again, there were hundreds of volunteers participating, and the weekend attendance was around 17,500. Unfortunately, because of the hurried nature of the weekend, very little photos of the event are available. There were performers from around the world, and the featured speaker was Pastor Matt Popovits from St. Marks congregation in Houston, TX.
I have been involved with organizing this event for almost 23 years, first as a volunteer, and now as a director/coordinator for the last 12 years. After all this time, I am still delighted and amazed at what can be accomplished when we put aside our differences and all work together towards one goal, even for one weekend. 
I n addition, the warm feeling of togetherness at the event raised everyone’s spirits. There is a place and calling for everyone, and no one person’s contribution is less important than another, nor irreplaceable. Everyone’s opinion matters, and no-one is left on the outside. Everyone can be the authentic individual they are!
To my delight, I can state that I got the same warm feeling from people in everyday life situations while I was in Florida. This is something that
 I hope will spread to Finland one day.
Hello from the Maaria-congregation festival team
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
(1 Cor. 10:16-17)
A Blessed Christmas season and a happy new year to everyone!

Teppo Honkanen
November Highlights
During the months of October and November we got to hear some spiritually nourishing instruction and reflection, as Sami Ettanen , on three Wednesday evenings spoke at our Elä ja evankelioi (Live and evangelize) lecture series.
Midway through November, despite a heavy rain-shower, the fellowship hall was about half-filled, as about fifty people interested in history and travel came to listen to Timo Vainionpää give a video presentation on the “Apostles of Antioch”. The lecture entailed a lot of historical facts and good pictures. We hope to have Timo back next year for another great production. (2)
Busy and enriching Sundays in November

We celebrated All Saints Day Mass on Nov.3 rd . At the beginning of both masses, the names of those who had passed away during this year were read, and a candle was lit in their memory. After this, congregation members were invited to light a candle in remembrance of their passed loved ones. The candelabra donated by Eila Haapala was brightly filled with candles. The feeling that morning was festive and devout. The magnificent solos sang by Lauri Kanervikkoaho during the service and coffee reception only added to the festive atmosphere. The coffee social was given in honor of Heikki Vettenranta, by his wife Irene. 
During the English service, we remembered the life of Charles Gillece, who passed away in January, and Bertha Penttilä, who passed at the beginning of September. Here are a few pictures from Bertha’s memorial celebration, which was held at FARH on November 16 th .
On the next Sunday we celebrated Finnish Father’s Day with a meatball luncheon. We had a combined service during which we got to hear from Lea and Jamie Peters, who are missionaries in Burundi, one of Africa’s poorest countries. Lea is the daughter of our long-time member, Esko Hulkkonen. Dad and daughter, and their whole wonderful family are all followers of Jesus.
On November 17 th during our Finnish service we were privileged to hear three members of the Florida Male singers perform. Keijo Räikkönen, Erkki Kivelä, and Lauri Kanervikkoaho. During our English service we were once again amazed by our wonderful Chapel Choir.
The last Sunday was also quite festive. We had rock-pastor and evangelist Pontus J. Back as our special guest, who spoke to us from his heart. We are happy and proud to support the important work that Pontus does as he spreads the Word of God at rehabilitation facilities and jails here in Florida and elsewhere. At the end of February, Pontus will perform at the Midnight Sun Festival at Bryant Park, along with some guest musicians from Finland.
Church workdays and volunteer work

A workday was organized at the church office wing on Saturday, 23 rd of November. The list of chores was long. Unfortunately, due to small turnout, much of the work remains undone. We were, however, able to find a few new volunteers to fill the void, and they have been at the office diligently doing this work. Hopefully this will to serve will rub-off on the rest of the congregation. We need your ongoing help doing light office, cleaning, and kitchen duties. We will receive some help in mid-January, as our trusted volunteer Teppo Honkanen is returning to Florida, but this does not mean that we don’t need your help as well. Teppo has not forgotten us during his absence. He Is helping is out in Finland doing communications work, advertising and announcements.
Otto and Inna return to Finland for Christmas
Serving as an intern at the Finnish Honorary Consulate for the past half year, Otto Manninen and his charming wife Inna return to Finland, after spending six months in Lake Worth. During their time in Florida, Otto and Inna have also served as volunteers at our congregation. Otto is quite the guitar virtuoso and they have both been involved musically, as well as, helping in the kitchen and office. A heartfelt thank-you to this couple for everything they have done, they will be missed. 
Worship Workshop
Lindsay Rutledge, who is Glenn Beckman’s granddaughter, made a three-and-a-half-hour drive to our church to speak to us about praise music and how it is used in modern worship services. This evening event was in English, and there was a small group of interested people from both congregations in attendance. We sang some nice music together and shared each other’s company afterwards. It would be nice to have more of these praise and social events on a regular basis.

During this year’s Christmas charity collection drive, you can participate by buying a farm animal for a poor family in a developing country. There are several options to choose from: anywhere from a ($10) chick, to a ($500) milk cow. Every gift given with joy and love is invaluable. We will be selling animal ornaments, which will be placed on our Christmas tree in the church, on four Sundays this month. You can choose your animal in advance by going to this link:

Sari Mustonen
our hard working and very professional Treasurer wants to wish all St. Andrew's members and friends a wonderful
Holiday Season!
We want to thank Sari for another great year with us!
December Program
Have A Blessed December!