Dear KCC Members and Friends,
The lovely Sundays just keep continuing! Jim's sermon was inspiring and uplifting, speaking of thanksgiving to those of us with an abundance to be thankful for and to those of us who have an ache in our hearts. Afterwards, we gathered in the Fellowship Hall, always a time of warmth and friendship. We chose ornament tags from the Giving Tree to support the WOW Christmas project of "adopting" a local family in need. By the time we left, there were very few tags left on the tree -- a testimony to the generous hearts at KCC. We also took part in the unveiling of another fundraiser -- the pillow project, in which each household received a beautiful Thai silk Christmas pillow cover and had the opportunity to purchase additional covers. Proceeds from this will help support our Benevolence program. The pillow covers are truly beautiful! You can read further details on the project in this newsletter; we're fortunate to have this opportunity.
This Sunday will mark the beginning of Advent. You can feel the excitement and joy of the season in everything that's going on at church. So much is coming up -- meaningful worship services, special choir music, the Gingerbread Extravaganza, the WOW Christmas party, our Christmas Eve candlelight service. And most all, our fellowship together. This is who we are and what we do. We're a community -- this little place called KCC -- and aren't we glad we're a part of it!
On the calendar--
THIS SUNDAY, November 27, is the first Sunday in Advent and we will celebrate regular worship services at 10:30 a.m. Please bring Christmas cards with postage for Sarah Lee and Henry to distribute to the homeless. See the article further in this newsletter for details.
Wednesday, November 30, the KCC Christmas Choir will have rehearsal from 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
Wednesday, November 30, the Board of Trustees will meet in the Fellowship Hall at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 3, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., our annual Gingerbread Extravaganza will take place in the Fellowship Hall.
Sunday, December 4, is the Second Sunday in Advent and is Communion Sunday. We` will celebrate worship at 10:30 a.m. Choir will rehearse at 9:45 a.m.
Wednesday, December 7, the KCC Christmas Choir will have rehearsal from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
Thursday, December 8, the Board of Deacons will meet at 11 a.m. at Dorothy's home.
Sunday, December 11, is the Third Sunday in Advent and we will celebrate regular worship at 10:30 a.m. This is also Second Sunday Potluck. Along with your potluck dish, please remember to bring canned goods and/or gently used clothing for distribution by Sarah Lee and Henry to F.I.S.H. (Friends in Sonoma Helping).
Wednesday, December 14, the KCC Christmas Choir will have rehearsal from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
Sunday, December 18, is the Fourth Sunday in Advent and we will celebrate regular worship at 10:30 a.m. Choir will rehearse at 9:45 a.m.
Wednesday, December 21, Women of the World (WOW) will have their annual Christmas Party at noon in the Fellowship Hall. Details to follow soon.
Saturday, December 24, is Christmas Eve. We will have a Candlelight Service in the Sanctuary at 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 25, is Christmas Day and we will not have church services. Regular services will resume on Sunday, January 1.
Wednesday, December 28, the church office will be closed. Notes and News will not be published this week, but will resume the week of January 2.
Happy Birthday to our members and friends with birthdays coming up (or just past):
December 6 - Fran
December 10 - Robin
December 26 - Mark
Other news of the church--
Please remember the following church members and friends in your prayers:
Donna and family
A prayer for recovery from sickness:
Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace. Grant to us, your children, an awareness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Happening now (or recently)--
From the Moderator
Acts of Kindness in Times of Divisiveness
Regardless of our political leanings, I think we can agree that our country is in the midst of a challenging, divisive time. The messages are harsh and crude and many of our fellow citizens all along the social and economic spectrum are fearful and insecure. We are offended by what has been said and scared about what could happen. How do each of us move from feeling victimized to feeling empowered? Is there really anything that each of us can do individually to impact our collective well-being and make ourselves feel better? Maybe.
This last week I was traveling through the airport in Los Angeles when I came across a slightly confused and anxious family in front of the security checkpoint. They most definitely were from a foreign country, clothed a bit differently, speaking in a language unfamiliar to me, and judging from their faces, apprehensive about what to do next. I wasn’t sure whether to respond, but decided to approach them with a smile and simply ask if I could help. After checking their tickets, I reassured them that they were in the right place and pointed them in the right direction.
Not a big deal, right? Wrong. About thirty minutes later, I ran into them again at their gate on the other side of security. When the husband and father saw me, he waved enthusiastically and broke into a broad grin. It was the highlight of my day, a small act of kindness that had a profound impact on me, transforming me at least for a few minutes from disheartened to fulfilled.
So maybe we are thinking too big. Maybe we can’t have much of an impact on Washington and the new administration. But maybe we can have an enormous impact on those around us by simply going the extra mile to be kind, to be kind to those family and friends with whom we break bread on Thanksgiving, and to be equally kind to those we don’t know and to those who are different. It sure made me feel great again.
From the Pastor
When I picture Sarah Lee and Henry walking the streets in downtown Santa Rosa, asking homeless people if they would like to send a letter home, I see a sacred sight.
Picture this scene with me. Life on the streets is simply awful: cold, dangerous, hungry -- just trying to stay alive with a broken heart and spirit must take every ounce of strength left. We have learned more in the last many years about the homeless; old stereotypes no longer tell the story. They are us, but with a string of bad luck. They have children who live with them out there.
Then along come these two gentle and loving saints, with a bag full of cards, stamps, and pens. It's a sacred conversation, just like Holy Communion. "Take and write," Henry says. "You are the body of Christ," says Sarah Lee.
There must be great joy on the receiving end when the letter arrives. How long has it been since we've heard from her? Are they safe? Is he sick? Perhaps we know next to nothing about our son/daughter/grandkids. We know nothing and it breaks our hearts.
But then, out of the blue, comes a letter addressed to the folks at home. And it begins: "Hi There. It's me." Someone at home receives this simple gift. They need no other gift this season than this card. It gives them hope for one of their own, down on their luck.
And it gives power to the person sending it; a declaration of endurance; a testimony to the human spirit, and, to the power of the Gospel.
Bless you, Sarah Lee and Henry,
Christmas Cards for the Homeless
Each year, Sarah Lee and Henry distribute Christmas cards to the homeless in downtown Santa Rosa. The cards are pre-stamped and ready to mail. Sarah Lee says the gratitude for this small gift is "really unbelievable." We can all help with this project by bringing Christmas cards (with a stamp on the envelope) to church this Sunday. Pens would be appreciated, too! Thank you, Sarah Lee and Henry, for your generous work and for bringing this project to our attention. This is truly the spirit of Christmas!
A Gift -- and A Fundraiser
Continuing this Sunday... a Christmas gift for every KCC member and friend! Kenwood resident Louis Sclafani has donated his inventory of Thai silk 18”x18” pillow covers in six different Christmas and holiday designs and colors as a gift and fundraiser for our church. Each household in the congregation can have one free pillow cover with the opportunity to purchase others for a donation. The pillow covers will be available for the congregation and the community on November 27th, December 4th, and December 11th. Louis is advertising them in the Kenwood Press and stating they are available at the church from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 PM. Your Benevolence Committee will distribute all donations to local needy causes. Questions? Call Jenny or Linda.
Christmas Benevolence News
In our final appeal of 2016, your Benevolence Committee is once again offering the opportunity for you to contribute to “The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund.” The funds provide direct financial assistance to individual United Church of Christ retired clergy and lay church employees.
Last year we contributed $579 to this cause and hope to match or exceed that amount this year. In 2015, a total of $1,528,481 was contributed by participating churches. Of that amount 64% went to Pension Supplementation, 19% went to Health Premium Supplementation, 9% went to Christmas "Thank You" gift checks, 4% went to Emergency Grants and 4% went to Administrative Costs.
You can read more about this global charity on our Ministries page. Checks can be written to KCC with “Christmas Fund” on the memo line. We will be receiving this Benevolence on Sunday, December 11th, and we thank you in advance for your generosity!
Adopt Christmas Families
Women of the World (WOW) has decided to go out into the community and give some Christmas joy. As our moderator, Tim Dorman, has expressed repeatedly, "We need to go out into the community and make ourselves known." WOW has come up with an uplifting way to do just that.
This year we are adopting one or two families from the Kenwood School, who could use “some Christmas Angels” to make their Christmas special this year. They will be anonymous to us, but we know their story and wishes, thanks to the principal of the school, Bob Bales.
WOW has set up a “Giving Tree” in the Fellowship Hall. On it you will find gingerbread men, stockings, and ornaments with a wish. Please take the one or ones you would like to fulfill, write your name next to that wish on the clipboard next to the tree, wrap it, attach the gingerbread, stocking or ornament on the package and return to the church by Sunday, December 18, 2016 so that it can be delivered to the families. If you choose money or check, please make the check out to KCC Deacon’s Fund and put Christmas Families on the memo line. Cash can be given to Dorothy or Peggy.
Our hope is in some small way to fulfill these words of Jesus: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” —Matthew 25:40 NRSV
KCC Christmas Choir Rehearsals
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Dates: November 30, December 7, and December 14
Gingerbread Extravaganza is almost here!
In the Fellowship Hall from 2pm - 4pm on Saturday, December 3, 2016, there will be holiday activity fun for all ages. It takes a lot of elves to make this happen, so please let Linda know if you can help. Begin the holiday season and plan to join in joyful festivities and take home your very own mini-gingerbread house.
Ensley's Open House
Please mark your calendars now. The Ensleys invite the congregation to their Annual Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 18, 2016 from 2 to 5 p.m. at their home. Yes, there will be homemade egg nog!
Coffee Hour Snacks Welcomed
While the Board of Deacons takes responsibility for making the coffee and setting up for coffee hour each Sunday, there is no one assigned to bring snacks. Any one may do so! This Sunday you can bring your leftover Thanksgiving desserts. In December, how about those fruitcakes you received and really don’t want to eat all by yourself?
The Upper Room is here
The January-February 2017 issue of The Upper Room has arrived and can be picked up in the Narthex.
Have a wonderful week, and we hope to see you in church soon.