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Rick's Ramblings
Greetings from Rev. Rick 

Rick's Ramblings...
If you're like me, you are probably wondering, "Where did the year go? How can it be that we are already rushing headlong into another year-end holiday frenzy?"
But ready or not, here we are!
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of these December days, the church's Advent season encourages us to practice some restraint, to deliberately make our way to the manger one week at a time, one Advent candle at a time. We limit the amount of Christmas music we sing so as to honor Advent as a season of preparation, of watching, waiting, praying, hoping.  
We hear scriptures that remind us that the story at the heart of the Christmas season is a story of embodied love, hope, joy and peace in the birth of the Christ-child. It's a story that puts front and center that enduring promise of divine presence represented by the name Emmanuel - God with us. It's a story proclaiming the good news that no Herods, Caesars, or 21st century tyrants, are able to prevent the march of God's loving purposes for humanity. It's a story reminding us God's plan is for all peoples and all nations. None is privileged. And God is often present in the most unexpected places and unexpected people - like the displaced immigrants the Holy Family were forced to become when they fled Israel for Egypt to save their lives. Like those rather disheveled shepherds watching their flocks by night. Like an unassuming teenage girl chosen to be bearer of the Christ-child.
Our beloved Christmas story continues the biblical pattern of revealing the wild and crazy ways of God, present and active in all the wrong places. And the Christ-child will follow the same pattern during his adult ministry.
Perhaps this Advent God will give us eyes to see where God is present in all the wrong places.
Let's follow my favorite Presbyterian poet, the late Ann Weems, into Advent with eyes and ears attuned to the mysteries of this holy season:
"...This Advent let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing the Lord has made known to us. In the midst of shopping sprees, Lets ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts. Through the tinsel, let's look for the gold of the Christmas Star. In the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos, let's listen for the brush of angels' wings. This Advent, let's go to Bethlehem and find our kneeling places".
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
Rev. Rick

A Heartfelt Note of Gratitude
from the Coogen Family
Dear Friends,
Before we leave for North Carolina and a new chapter in our lives, we want to express our deep appreciation to the church family we have loved for over 40 years.
We have been receiving notes and cards and gifts from individual members, which have touched us deeply.
We felt the out pouring of love from the congregation at the reception held earlier this month, with special thanks to the Deacons for hosting the event. It is a day we will long remember and treasure.
The flowers by Karen were beautiful. Karen, you have a very special talent!
The picture given by the congregation hung in our family room the past couple weeks, just too special to pack away. Now securely wrapped, it will hang in the office of our new home where we will see it on a daily basis and think of the loving congregation that means so much to us. The gift card to Home Goods will come in handy as we begin to shop for new items for our new home! And the prayer shawl is especially meaningful knowing how many cherished friends have blessed it with their prayers.
So many treasured gifts that are expressions of the love our family feels from everyone. We are truly blessed!
As of November 29th our new address will be 1140 Woodhall Drive, Huntersville, NC 28078 -- our door will always be open to friends who want to visit! And, we will be back to UPC, Flanders for visits! Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!
With love,
Allen, Kathy, and Dianne


Staff Gifts

It has been our custom for many years to offer the congregation the opportunity to participate in giving a Christmas gift to each of our staff employees.   
Presently our staff consists of  Rev Rick; Administrative Assistant Danielle Friedman, Receptionist/Book Keeper Beverly Brouhard, Music Director/Organist Argaille DiMatteo, and Custodian Jackie Thompson.  
Their commitment, dedication, and service, often above and beyond, are deserving of our thanks and appreciation.   
If you would like to contribute towards their gift, please give cash or a check made out to CASH to any one of the following people:  Lois Steward, Suzan Preston or Kyle Ropp.  We will be collecting through Sunday, Dec. 16th.  
Thank you for your support!                     
-UPC Personnel Committee

Order your Christmas Poinsettias
Orders are due by  
Dec. 9th 

to download the order form 
Christmas Pageant

"St. Rigobert's Christmas Pageant" will be presented by Sunday School Children/Young People on Sunday December 16, 2018 at 10 a.m. Worship service.

Mitten Tree

UPC MittenTree is back!
We are now collecting new hats, gloves and mittens which will be donated to Mount Olive Social Services.  Look for the mitten tree in the Narthex and place your donations on or under it. Donations are due by Sunday Dec. 9th

Holiday Bake Sale
Lisa Ciccia is hosting a Bake Sale on Sunday Dec. 16th.  
Proceeds will purchase Shoprite Gift Cards for local families in need. Please sign up to bake. See Lisa with any questions.
7th Annual Christmas Wish List

Every year the response to this program is overwhelming
and this year is no different. 
There are still items left to be purchased
if you would like to participate.

Advent Afternoon 
"Hear ye!  Hear ye!  Our 40th "Advent Afternoon Celebration of the Arts" will take place in UPC Sanctuary, Sunday, December 9th, 2018 4 p.m.
Please add your own special talents for singing, playing instruments, dramatic readings, skits, dancing, artwork, and other ways you "make a joyful noise unto the Lord"!  Sign up on Bulletin Board in UPC Hallway, beginning 11/4/18.     
Contact Argaille at  or cell:  862-242-9304 should you have any questions! 
Also, dust off your favorite Christmas Goodie recipe and bake it up then to share with 4-6 people for our Reception afterwards in Christian Ed Wing.  This UPC time-honored tradition is a wonderful way to  celebrate our Advent Season.






gn up on the bulletin board in church hallway  





Hot off the "Poetry Press"
The Christmas Pageant
(Argaille A. Di Matteo 12/1/18)
It started like all Pageants-"How do we tell the Story
"A bit differently, creatively about Bethlehem's Glory?
We need some Shepherds, a Mary, Joseph, the Babe and Three Wise Men.
Throw in a Herod and Angel Choirs, some animals and a Manger Scene.
Then wrap the Story in beloved carols, like "First Noel" and "Silent Night".
Set up rehearsals with parents and kids. It should turn out alright!
Add costumes and some scenery. Hope on Pageant Day it snows!
T'would add a special spice to how the kids are starting to "glow".
There's something more than Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, video games.
These new Pageant Cast Members will never be the same.
"What was it like to be Mary, Joseph, or even the Christ Child"?
Some Pageant kids come up and ask when they aren't running wild.
"What was it like to be a Shepherd or Angels way back then?"
"Were the Three Kings who brought those weird, odd gifts, really, really Good Wise Men?"
A Christmas Pageant, before it starts, brings memories back to some,
Of when we too were hustling to get our script lines done!
And when the special costumes, and the crowns of the Three Kings
Were hung up on the hangers, our Childhood hearts did sing.
No matter sheep or angels, or Joseph and Mary Mild,
Our glittering production was all about a Child.
A Child, so very like us, Who grew to be a Man,
God's Son a'walking through this World, Who taught us that we can
Be all the best we can be and spread God's Love around.
For now, the Church is silent. Nobody makes a sound
As this year's Christmas Pageant in candlelight unfolds
And a whole new crop of children tell the Greatest Story Ever told.
Then all of us surround them as "former Pageant Stars"
In the Story of Baby Jesus born beneath the Bethlehem Star.
Then one, by one, as candles light in hushed and prayerful space,
The Story comes to Life again, with God's Love on each face.


United Presbyterian Church, Flanders | (973) 584-8195 ||
58 Drakesdale Road
Flanders, NJ 07836