Ministry Headlines 
First Congregational Church in Winchester, UCC  |  Advent & Christmas 2017
In This Issue

Spiritual Reflections
For Unto Us a Child is Born
Welcome to the season of Advent!  We are entering into a sacred four weeks together that prepare us for the deeper mystery of Christmas, when the Great Creator of the universe was manifested in the form of a human child. But isn't every child a manifestation of the Great Creator, one might ask? Read more...
Are You "Entirely Ready" This Advent?
December brings us the season of Advent, when we are invited for the four weeks before Christmas to live into a pregnant waiting, an anticipation of the unknown, and a joyful preparation for the coming of the One who offers us a new way of being. Read more... 
Lessons and Carols: J.S. Bach's Magnificat
Sunday, December 17, 2017, 10:00 AM

As a part of this year's Lessons and Carols (and as a final nod to the 500th  Anniversary of the Reformation!), the Senior Choir will present Johann Sebastian's Bach's Magnificat  in D-Major, BWV 243. The extraordinary impact of Bach's great choral works derives from his remarkable ability to balance, and yet at the same time to exploit the spiritual and dramatic elements of each text. Read more...
Natalie Beltz, daughter of Becca (Crabtree) and Andrew Beltz was born on October 23
Mabel Charles Penna, child of Heather & Scott Penna, was baptized on October 22.
Callum James McGuigan and Connor Lee McGuigan, children of Penny O'Kelley & Paul McGuigan, were baptized on October 22.
June Eleanore O'Neill, child of Shannon and Brian O'Neill, was baptized on November 26.
Evelyn Obbard died September 22.
Dr. Robert White died on September 30.
John J. Keeley, Sr., father of John Keeley, Jr. died on October 20.
Chris Lill, brother of Suzy Ramsey died on October 24.
Leroy "Red" Hunter, second father of Carol Weir, died on November 4.
Joyce Mills died on November 19.
Dr. Robert Shirley died on November 27.
Ministries Updates
Christmas/Advent Ripley Chapel Update

The Ripley Chapel Working Group has been working steadily since October to carefully study the choices for the renovation of our Chapel and the costs associated with each.  Learn more about how we're moving forward...
Advent Visitation Sunday
December 10, 11:30 AM
Would you like to reconnect with elders and other congregation members who can't routinely make it to Sunday worship? Consider joining us for Advent Visitation Sunday. Many of you have expressed interest in participating in these visits as part of your own faith journey. Learn how you can help...
svceoflightService of Light
December 21, 7 PM
Join us for a time of prayer, candle lighting & music on in the Sanctuary. Designed to move from darkness to hope, the service opens us to God's quiet presence. Come during the rush of the holidays. Come in the face of life's challenges, anxieties, and fears. Come when grief or loss disrupts life. Come to remember those whom we hold dear.  Invite a friend or loved one facing difficulties. Read more...
Advent Books for Children and Adults
As we enter the season of Advent, the church library has many wonderful books to further your spiritual growth and deepen your faith and appreciation of the meaning of Christmas. Some of these books, a selection for children and adults, are on display in the lobby, but there are too many to put out on display. The remainder of our library's Advent and Christmas books are on a book cart which will be moved around to various conspicuous spots in the church, like Chidley Hall. Please take some time to browse with your family. There is something for everyone this month!
City Mission Society Christmas Shop
From Sunday, December 3, through Tuesday, December 19, we will once again host the City Mission Society's Christmas Shop in Chidley Hall. During this time, we witness the spirit of Christmas working its wonder. Learn how you can help!
Please lend a hand this holiday season with the Outdoor Church. There are many ways you can make a difference! On December 31, we will receive donated ingredients, make sandwiches and send them with a few church members to Cambridge. Another way we are supporting the Outdoor Church is through the Advent Worlds of change boxes. Read more on how you can help...
Adult Faith: Bible 101
Mondays, Jan 22- Feb 26, 2018 7-8:30 PM

Are you hard pressed to name more than one or two Biblical stories or people? Have you been attending church but never really spent much time with the Bible, other than hearing it read at weekly worship? Are you intimidated by the Bible, or unsure of where to start or how to tackle it? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this small group study series is just right for you. Read more...

signagethanksTHANK YOU
A Well Directed Thank You to the Signage Ministry!
According to Buckaroo Banzai, "Wherever you go, there you are." That may be, but it is now a whole lot easier to know where that is in our church, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Signage Ministry. Learn more about the signage superheros!
Opportunities to Serve
How Can You Help?
EventsatGlanceAdvent & Christmas Events at a Glance

Worship: Hanging of the Greens Dec 3, 10 AM
Men's Group Dec 3,  7 PM
Advent Women's Gathering Dec 4, 7 PM
Cookie Walk Dec 10, 11 AM
Advent Visitation Dec 10, 11:30 AM
Ruth Group: Poetry Night Dec 10, 7-9 PM
Worship: Lessons & Carols
Featuring Bach's  Magnificat
Dec 17, 10 AM
Youth Progressive Supper Dec 17, 7 PM
Service of Light Dec 21, 7 PM
Worship: 4th Sunday of Advent Dec 24, 10 AM
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service & Pageant Dec 24, 5 PM
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service Dec 24, 10 PM
College Kids Home for the Holidays Dec 27, 6 PM
Mission Opportunity: The Outdoor Church Dec 31, 12 PM
Coming This Winter
Epiphany Dinner Jan 6, 5:30 PM
Adult Faith: Bible 101 Monday evenings, Jan. 22- Feb. 26, 7 PM
Lenten Weekend Retreat Mar 9-11
Register by Dec. 1

Times and dates are subject to change. For a complete listing of upcoming events, check out the Church Calendar.
Something to Share?

New!  The Spire will now be 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). It recently changed to focus primarily on  ministries updates and seasonal spiritual content . Please send your articles to  Nancy Kneiss . The due dates for submissions can be found here . 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