Prepare the way!
Ministry Headlines

First Congregational Church in Winchester, UCC
Advent & Christmas 2018 Vol. 65, No. 6
In This Issue
Spiritual Reflections
Waiting in Advent
Birthing God: An Advent Reflection

Special Worship Services
Festival of Lessons and Carols
Service of Light
Christmas Eve

Ministry Updates
Leadership Team
Health Ministry
Adult Faith Exploration
Flower Committee
Financial Resources
Ruth Group
Men's Group

Community Advent Events
Bean Soup Supper
Ensemble Noel Concert

Opportunities to Serve

Advent & Christmas Events at a Glance
Spiritual Reflections
Waiting in Advent
Waiting tends not to be an experience many of us relish. "Patience is a virtue” is maybe the last thing we want to hear with the many demands upon our lives. In the church, however, we have a whole season given over to waiting and patience.   Read more...
Birthing God: An Advent Reflection
Advent is with us! This season beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas is to be a time of “pregnant” waiting, anticipating the unknown coming into our life in yet another new way of being. What experience are you being invited into as you prepare for the coming of this child?  Read more...
Special Worship Services
Festival of Lessons and Carols
December 16, 10 AM
As a part of this year’s Lessons and Carols, the church’s music program will present Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria in D Major, RV 589, with chamber orchestra, organ, harpsichord, chorus and soloists.  Read more...
Service of Light
December 20, 7 PM
For many people, the approaching Christmas holiday does not bring with it the joy and happiness that is advertised on television or in greeting cards. The Service of Light is one way our church family remembers those who experience a loss of joy this holiday season. Read more...
Christmas Eve
December 24
5 PM - Family Candle Lighting & Pageant
10 PM - Candlelight Worship
Join us for the festive Christmas pageant at 5:00, where our children and youth will present the story of Christ’s birth. At 10:00 we'll sing carols and light candles of peace and hope to brighten the darkness and welcome Christmas.
Ministry Updates
Leadership Team Update: December
Wonder what the Leadership Team (LT) is up to? Here’s a quick summary! Now in its fourth year, the LT is building on critical foundational work that has recently been accomplished.  Read more...
Women's Advent Gathering
December 3, 7 PM
All women of the church are invited to our annual gathering that will keep you grounded as the pace of the season accelerates.This year's theme is "Considering Hospitality and the Radical Notion of Welcoming The Stranger." Read more...
Advent Visitation
December 9
We are planning in-home visits with several of our elders and congregation members who aren’t able to make Sunday worship routinely. Many of you have expressed interest in participating in these visits as part of your own faith journey. Read more...
Embodied Prayer
December 11, 6:30 PM
Join us for an hour in the Tucker Room where we will celebrate the Holy through movement, breath and song. The night will offer some yoga, centering prayer, and chanting with live music.  Read more...
Outdoor Church Ingredients Needed
Sept 30
Four times a year, the First Congregational Church makes and brings sandwiches and other items to the Outdoor Church congregation in Cambridge. We make the sandwiches in the kitchen after worship on “our” Sunday using ingredients donated by the Congregation. Read more...
New Members Welcome!
Thinking about joining a ministry? Maybe the Adult Faith Exploration Ministry is the one for you! We seek to provide meaningful opportunities to increase understanding and foster dialogue around faith, religion, spiritual development, culture, community, and self-awareness. Read more...
Christmas Poinsettias
Orders due Dec 12
If you would like to donate a chancel Christmas poinsettia as a memorial, or in honor of someone, please download and fill out this form . You can place it in the offering plate with cash or a check attached. (Please indicate "Christmas plants" on the memo or envelope). The plants are $20 each. If your family can help deliver the flowers and Christmas cheer after the service on Sunday, December 16, that would be wonderful. Just meet Kathleen in the Family Room. Thank you!
An Advent Note From Your Treasurer
With advent and Christmas services upon us, I’d like to remind folks to be clear when making donations to indicate on your checks whether they are for 2018 pledge payments, 2019 pledge payments, Christmas offering (use the envelopes if possible), or some other purpose. This is the time when volume of donation ramps up and it keeps your treasurer’s team busy making sure everything is recorded correctly. Thanks for your help with this, and especially for your continuing generosity. —Bruce Lauterwasser
Financial Peace University
FCC is hosting Financial Peace University (FPU) for church members and the broader community beginning in January 2019. FPU is a 9-week personal finance class that shows you how to take control of your money, get out of debt, and create a wealth-building plan for your future. Read more...
Poetry Reading
December 9, 3-5 PM
Please bring poetry of your choice to share with the group. Natalie Roche will host us, and all women are invited to attend. On January 13 we will discuss When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times  by Pema Chodron. If in need of a ride, please contact Maryann McCall-Taylor or Kaye Nash. Learn more...
Men's Group
December 2, 7-9 PM, 4 Heritage Drive, Woburn
All FCC men and their guests are welcome to join us at the Rahmeier home. We discuss matters that are personal and spiritual. Pot-luck beverages or snacks are welcome but not expected. Questions to .
Benjamin Michael Brown , son of Jenna & David Brown, was baptized on July 15.
Will Ackil , son of Anthony Sharbel Ackil & Jennifer Logan Ackil on August 12.
Russell James Trakimas , son of Christine & Michael Trakimas, was baptized on September 2.
Claire Charles Penna , daughter of Heather & Scott Penna, was baptized on November 18.
Archie Charles Penna , son of Shelley and Lahn Penna, was baptized on November 18.
In Memoriam
Ann Bannister died on July 8.
Paul Mahoney , father of Tom Mahoney, died on September 30.
Alvina M. Johnston , mother of Mary Turner, died on October 5.
George F. Swartz , stepfather of Jodie Mullane, died on October 7.
Althea Hersey Shirley died on November 5.
Anna LaViolette , mother of Debra Ludwig and Susan LaViolette, died on November 6.
Community Advent Events
Bean Soup Supper
December 6, 5-7 PM
Join us for the Bean Soup Supper! It's healthy, simple, and a completely free gift from us to the wider community. We welcome folks into Chidley Hall on the town Tree Lighting Night, and offer three delicious soups (meat, vegan, gluten-free), bread, cider and cookies. Bring your families and friends! Read more...
Ensemble Noel Concert
December 9, 7 PM
Please join us for an intimate and unique program of seasonal music, featuring Ensemble Noel, a quartet comprised of some of Vermont’s most cherished musicians. Read more...
Opportunities to Serve
Advent & Christmas Events at a Glance
What's Your Team Up To?

The Spire is published seasonally, six times per year: Fall (Sept-Nov), Advent/Christmas (Dec), Winter (Jan-Feb), Lent/Easter (Mar-Apr), Spring (May-June) and Summer (July-Aug).  Due dates for submissions can be found here.

The Spire features ministries updates and seasonal spiritual content. Please send your team updates to  Nancy Kneiss . Please note that content may be gently edited for length and clarity, and will appear on our website. Upcoming events and weekly email blast requests should be sent to  Sarah Marino , our Office Manager, at by Thursday at 9:00 AM. Thank you!

-Nancy Kneiss, Editor