December 4, 2023

Worship Service Times

9:00 AM - Chapel

10:00 AM - Sunday School

11:00 AM - Sanctuary & Livestream

Baby & Toddler Nursery is available

Podcast September Herald

Session Highlights from Stated Session Meeting on November 27, 2023
Meet the Newest Members of RCPC
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Weekly Devotional

The Serpent

by: Hannah Anderson

Heaven and Nature Sing: 25 Advent Reflections to Bring Joy to the World


“Kill it again, Charles! Kill it again!"

I'd heard the punch line a dozen times, but it never failed to send me into a fit of giggles. That my grandma, the strongest, bravest woman I knew, would be the source of it made it even funnier.

She'd grown up in the mountains during the Great Depression, the middle child of ten. Her people were farmers who understood the goodness of hard work, laughter, and family, so once a year, we'd make our way back to their hills for a reunion where the siblings swapped memories and told tales on one another. I remember passels of cousins by varying degrees, games of softball, an outhouse, a creek, and tables full of food -- potato salad, ham, and butterscotch pie.

But my favorite time for stories was curled up in my grandma's bed on the nights I was allowed to stay over. Our days together were for work -- cleaning, blackberry picking, and gardening -- but the nights were for storytelling. She'd dress me in layers and socks and tuck me in under piles of blankets. Sweating. I'd throw them off, but she'd put them right back on, determined that I wouldn't be cold.

Then in the darkness, I'd whisper, "Grandma, tell me about the time . . ."

Continue Reading...

Be sure to pick up your copy of Heaven and Nature Sing by Hannah Anderson this week. Advent just began yesterday. They are $12 each and available in the Gathering Area.

Fellowship & Community Happenings

Fellowship Dinners

Sopapias for dinner?! Yay! Not sure what that is? Come to our Wednesday night dinner this week and find out. We’ll also have a taco casserole and red rice. Great deal at $8/ person or $25 per family. Please bring your own containers if you need takeout. Sign up by Tuesday at Noon either online at or on the paper form in the Gathering Area.

Menu for December 6: Taco Casserole, Red Rice, Beans, Sopapias, Alt; Mushroom Taco Casserole

Takeout Meals: In our efforts to become an Earth Care Church, the Fellowship Committee asks you to please bring your own container if you would like a takeout meal on Wednesday nights. We thank you for your help with this.

Volunteers are always needed to help with various tasks including set-up, clean-up, serving, check-in,

and transporting leftovers to RAM House. Details and dates at the link below.

Fellowship Dinner Registration
Fellowship Dinner Volunteer

Presbyterian Women

 Presbyterian Women would like to hear from you! We are exploring interest in restarting an evening circle. If you might be interested in hearing more, please contact Paula Mitchell at 540-537-5478 or email

Christmas in the Caribbean

The Presbyterian Women invite you to enjoy Christmas music and desserts featuring the Bahama Mamas Steel Drum Band on Thursday, December 14 at 7:00 PM in the RCPC Fellowship Hall. Please RSVP to Dawn Long at or on the form in the Gathering Area by Sunday, Demceber 10. Please bring a dessert to share!

Wrapped in Love - SAVE THE DATE

Save the Date! Are you interested to learn how to crochet or knit? Do you have a yarn project you'd like to work on surrounded by friends? Come join the Wrapped in Love ministry for coffee and refreshments on Saturday, January 13 at 10:00 AM at the home of Emily Jarrett. RSVP to Rebecca Whaley at for details. All ages and experience levels are welcome!

Wrapped in Love provides homemade quilts or blankets to those being baptized and creates prayer shawls for us to have on hand to be able to deliver to when someone is in need. We are in need of blankets for both baptisms and prayer shawls to be stored at the church so whenever they are needed we're prepared. We have dimensions for the project, and even a fund to reimburse costs of supplies. Please reach out to Rebecca Whaley ( or Anna Sganga ( for details. 

Poinsettias for Advent

If you would like to dedicate a poinsettia in honor or memory of someone special, please complete the form in the This Week @ RCPC with name(s) for dedication or complete the envelope in the pews and place the envelope in the offering plate. Please note on the memo line of the check “Poinsettia” or the notes field if paying online. The deadline to order is December 10. A list will be included in the bulletin on December 17. The cost per dedication is $12. Online ordering available at

Christian Education & Worship

Heaven's Whisper:

A Meditative Service in Advent

Thursday, December 7

7:00 PM

Not everyone is up for a cheery Advent and Christmas season. Dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with cancer or some other disease that puts a question mark over the future, and several other human situations make festive Advent and Christmas celebrations painful for many people in our congregation and community. This time of gathering, worship, and solidarity is for you. Many of us come carrying uncertainty about what comes next for us or for a loved one. Many of us come bearing the weight of grief, old or new. Many of us come feeling isolated, worn down, jaded by the blinking lights and blaring noise of this season. It all just feels a bit much. Our lives are more complex, heavier than we imagined they would be. It is precisely into the complexity and messiness of our lives, that Jesus comes. You are not alone. You are not abandoned. Christ promises to be with you in it all. The Heaven’s Whisper Advent service is one that offers a more contemplative and prayerful time of reflection during the Advent season where there is room for all around the manger.

Advent Sermon Series:

Heaven & Nature Sing

How do we read the story of the Lord’s Incarnation by looking into the relationship of God with the smaller creatures and the land around the story? Hannah Anderson’s award-winning devotional looks at the lesser figures and elements of Christ’s birth to connect our lives with God more deeply with the land and often overlooked elements of life around us. In this narrative we learn about mountains and snakes, donkey and trees, swaddling clothes and labor pains. God becomes human. In our humanity, even the smallest parts of life can be incorporated into divine revelation. Copies of Hannah Anderson’s book are available in the Gathering Area for purchase, cost is $12/book.

December 3     Romans 8:18-24   Listening to the Land

December 10   Isaiah 11:1-10 & Ruth1:22-2:9         Land and Life

December 17   Isaiah 35:1-10 & Luke 1:26-38         Salvation Through Birth

December 24   Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 & Luke 2:1-7    

December 24   Luke 2:8-20                                     Limits of the Senses

Adult Sunday School - November 26-December 17

The Seekers: Light of the World by Amy-Jill Levine (DVD Study)

In Light of the World: A Beginners Guide to Advent, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the story of the birth of Jesus. Join her as she traces the Christmas narrative through the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, the journey to Bethlehem, and the visit from the Magi. These stories open conversations around connections of the Gospel stories to the Old Testament, the role of women in first-century Jewish culture, the importance of Mary's visitation and the revolutionary implications of Mary's Magnificat, the census and the stable, and the star of Bethlehem and the flight to Egypt. Teachers: Nancy Ayling and David Dixon / Room: 201

Advent Creations: An Intergenerational Adventure

Parents, children, and youth come join us for a hands-on exploration of creating some memorable Advent traditions that you can continue year to year. We will design and construct an Advent calendar for our family. We will create a Nativity set for a church member in need. We will make Chrismon ornament tree for Family Promise. We will frost cookies for our neighbors. Teacher: Leigh Sackett / Room: Fellowship Hall

Adult Small Groups

The Small Group lessons are based on the Sunday sermons and scripture. Being part of a Small Group is an experience rich in personal connection and spiritual growth. Small Groups discuss what is shared in worship, therefore the experience of worship is more deeply ingrained in our minds and hearts. As we contemplate it all together the concepts take root and our faith grows! Small Groups begin the week of September 11.

  • Monday 10:30 AM-12:00 PM - "The Pastor's Porch," - Andrew Whaley
  • Tuesday 4:00 PM-5:30 PM - "The Parking Lot Fools," - David Dixon
  • Tuesday 8:00 PM - “Soul Sisters" - Emilie Biddle
  • Wednesday 7:00 PM-8:30 PM - "The After Dinner Crowd," - Leigh Sackett

Music Ministry Updates

"Let Heaven & Nature Sing!"

Christmas Concert - Sunday, December 17 at 7:00 PM

Doors Open at 6:30 PM

Free & Open to the Public

The Raleigh Court Presbyterian Christmas Concert takes on a new format this year to tell the Christmas story through the relationship of God’s incarnate coming in Jesus Christ to the world God created. The theme and title for the concert this year is “Let Heaven and Nature Sing!” The concert begins with seven chimes and the phrase “In the beginning…” unfolds into the familiar story of Genesis 1 and John 1. The nativity story unravels through the words of the Prophet Isaiah about the one who will bring peace to all creation. We explore moments of the nativity story where creatures of heaven and nature sing and rejoice in their creator in response to the glorious news of Christ’s birth. The concert concludes with the “The Dream Isaiah Saw” by Glen Rudolph and “Stay with Us” by Egil Hovland. These selections together charge us with the dream of knowledge, wisdom, worship, and awe as we leave in peace together and ponder what a creation at rest might look like amidst the hustle of the Christmas season.

UPDATE: Voice Recital in Raleigh Court Postponed

Voice recital previously scheduled for December 9 is postponed to Saturday, January 6, 2024, due to illnesses.

Opportunity for Generosity & Mission Updates

Alternative Giving:

November 26 - December 17

When we think of Christmas, beyond the awe and wonder of the Christmas Eve services, we can find ourselves stressed. The thing that makes Christmas stressful is all of the stuff. There’s so much to get done, so much that has to be purchased, so much stuffing to make! There’s a lot of stuff when it comes to Christmas, so much so that sometimes we feel trapped by all the stuff. What if we can’t find the perfect present? What if we burn the marshmallows off the sweet potato casserole? What if we don’t RSVP for the picture with Santa early enough? What if we don’t get the Christmas cards out in time? 

If it feels like there’s so much stuff, perhaps it’s time to give some of that stuff away. We know all too well that there are others who need that stuff. Instead, we can lighten our Christmas while lightening the load a neighbor carries through our gift-giving. Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Let us rest in Christ this Christmas and offer that rest to others by participating in Alternative Giving. 

Alternative Giving encompasses a variety of ways to give to others this Christmas season and allows your whole family, no matter one’s age, to participate. Read below for all the ways you might give up some of the stuff of Christmas and instead rest in the wonder and awe of Christ this season.

  • You can donate a gently used stuffed animal to our Police Department and Fire Department to be given out to kids in need by placing your stuffed animal in the stable in the Gathering Area by Christmas Eve
  • You can participate in the Sudanese Refugee Gift Drive supporting Christmas for refugee families in our area. You can sign up by picking an item off the tree in the Gathering Area or you can sign up using the link found here. You’ll sign up to give a specific gift for a specific young person. Drop off your wrapped gift in the Gathering Area by Sunday, December 10. If you would prefer not to shop, donations toward purchasing a gift can be given to the Financial Secretary, Lori Tosoni. 
  • You can participate in the West End Center collection of socks and underwear aiding in each child at the West End Center receiving a full outfit with the efforts of other local churches. Sign up to give using the link found here. You’ll sign up to provide a specific size of socks and underwear for a specific student. Drop off the Socks and Underwear in the appropriate box in the Gathering Area by Sunday, December 17.
  • You can give a gift by donating to our mission partners in honor of a loved one. Stop by the tree in the Gathering Area, use the Link in the This Week @ RCPC or our Community Christmas Tree on Grandin Road near the prayer line. Whether by physical form or an online sign up, let us know the gift you wish to give to support mission partners (Family Promise, House of Bread, RAM, Hunger Mission Team, Haiti Mission Group, Presbyterian Community Center, and West End Center) in honor of your loved one. Submit your gift online or submit the form and payment via check or cash to the church office to the attention of Julie Satterwhite. Whichever way you donate to our mission partners in honor of a loved one, the Deacons will collect the submitted information to mail a card of thanksgiving to your loved ones. All Forms must be submitted by Sunday, December 17. 

Here’s how a monetary gift to a mission partner can help their ministry:

  • $56 will provide a monthly bus pass for one adult at Family Promise 
  • $20 funds the flour for one bake day at House of Bread 
  • $40 supports one week of services for a client a RAM 
  • $85 covers an average food order at PCC 
  • $100 equals 20 bags packed for a hungry kid through the Hunger Mission Team 
  • $35 pays for a family's tuition for one week at the West End Center
  • $50 covers 10 bags of food packed for a hungry kid by the Hunger Mission Group 
  • $150 pays for 404 meals served in a single day at St. Timothee’s School in Larivoire, Haiti
Alternative Giving Donations Form
Sudanese & South Sudanese Christmas Gift Lists
West End Center Socks & Underwear Drive

Pledge Cards

Please turn in your pledge cards either in the basket in the Gathering Area or mailing it to RCPC if you have not done so already. You can also pledge online at As of November 29, we have received 165 pledges totaling $741,603 for 2024.

Financial Commitment for 2024

Sudanese & South Sudanese Refugee Mission Needs

If you have a spare artificial Christmas Tree and lights that you are willing to part with, please contact Sandra Whitt at

Additional help is needed to assist with completing Green Card and Naturalization forms before the end of 2023. If you can help, please contact Sandra Whitt for more information.

Together in Prayer

Prayer Requests

Dawn Blakeman, Brendan Brown (Kathy and Les Brown's grandson), Jim & Janet Davis, Billy Grove, Susan Lindstrom, Megan Mallare (friend of Kathy Grove), and all caregivers.

(Prayers request as of Friday,December 1. Names in bold indicate an addition to the prayer list this week.)

This Week @ RCPC

Birthdays: December 4-10

12/4 Milee Hoffman, Pikea Reynolds-Saint

12/5 Adria Fox, Thom McMahon

12/6 Jennifer Bryant

12/7 Joe Kennedy

12/8 Matt Arnold

12/10 Jimmy Ward

Monday, December 4

9:00 AM - Preschool

10:00 AM - Centering Prayer at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church

10:00 AM - Monday Morning Prayer Group

10:30 AM - Small Group: Whaley

6:30 PM - Cub Scouts

7:00 PM - BSA Troop 2

Tuesday, December 5

9:00 AM - Preschool

9:00 AM - Staff Meeting

9:30 AM - PW Coordinating Team

10:30 AM - Primary Purpose: AA

4:00 PM - Small Group: Dixon

5:30 PM - Tai Chi

6:45 PM - Eagle Board of Review

7:15 PM - Raleigh Court Ringers

8:00 PM - Small Group: Biddle


Wednesday, December 6

9:00 AM - Preschool

4:00 PM - God Alive - Christmas Pageant Rehearsal

6:15 PM - Fellowship Dinner

7:00 Pm - Christmas Choir/Sanctuary Choir Rehearsal

7:00 PM - Small Group: Sackett

Thursday, December 7

9:00 AM - Preschool

10:30 AM - Primary Purpose: AA

5:30 PM - Tai Chi

6:00 PM - BSA Council Meeting

6:30 PM - Hip Sober Chicks

7:00 PM - Heaven's Whisper Service


Friday, December 8

9:00 AM - Preschool

10:30 AM - Family Service Holiday Luncheon

11:45 AM - Al-Anon

5:00 PM - Girl Scout Troop 170

Saturday, December 9

Sunday, December 10 - ADVENT

9:00 AM - Worship (Chapel)

10:00 AM - Sunday School

11:00 AM - Worship (Sanctuary)

12:15 PM - Earth Care Committee

6:00 PM - Youth Group

6:00 PM - Explore Park: Illuminights

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The Herald - Deadline for Articles: 10th of each month

This Week @ RCPC - Deadline for Articles: Wednesday of each week

Send submissions for The Herald and This Week @ RCPC to Julie Satterwhite 

Video Board in the Gathering Area - Send Information to Carole Banks