December 3, 2017, First Sunday of Advent, Worship Bulletin, Prayer Concerns, Announcements

Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union

First Sunday of Advent

December 3, 2017   10:30 am 


“In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”

—Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

From there to Here

Hymn Sing Choose Your Favorites!

Welcome & Announcements

Welcome to this service of worship!  During the service, you are invited to rise in body or in spirit, standing or sitting, at points in the service marked “ ”.”

Please sign in using the pew folder, passing it back down the row so all can greet one another by name, and place the sheet in an offering plate. We’re glad you’re here!

Reading from the Prophets Isaiah 64:1-9

Handbell Introit

The incarnation of Christ is the mingling of the divine, with all that the world brings and bears. The single “singing” handbell, like the in-breaking light of Christ, shines with but also through the music that surrounds it, an auditory meditation for our Advent season.

¨ Advent Wreath Lighting

One: In the beginning was a dark and formless void, chaos and emptiness.

All: And the first thing was Light.

One: God spoke Light, and it was good. But not all that we have done has been good. And God sent Light to bring order to our troubled souls.

All: God shapes us into vessels for light.

One: Called to account, called to life, called to light:

All: In the midst of doom and destruction, the advent of Christ lights a candle of Hope.

One: Let us pray…

All:   Light from our beginnings, Light from creation, shine in our universe, shine in our world, shine in us. May we find light in the darkest of times, knowing that the light can never be extinguished. As we await the birth of the Christ-child, so we await your light dawning in a new way. Amen.

¨  Opening Hymn #103   Watcher, Tell Us of the Night Abersystwyth

¨  Prayer of Approach and Confession 

¨ Words of Assurance

¨  Passing the Peace of Christ

All who come to this sanctuary are welcome companions on this day! You are invited to turn to those nearest you and greet them with words of peace and joy. 

The Living Word among us

Anthem Unexpected and Mysterious Robert Buckley Farlee

Union Church Choir

Unexpected and mysterious is the gentle Word of grace. Everloving and sustaining is the peace of God’s embrace. If we falter in our courage and we doubt what we have known, God is faithful to console us as a mother tends her own.

In a momentary meeting of eternity and time, Mary learned that she would carry both the mortal and divine. Then she learned of God’s compassion, of Elizabeth’s great joy, and she ran to greet the woman who could recognize her boy.

We are called to ponder mystery and await the coming Christ, to embody God’s compassion for each fragile human life. God with us in our longing to bring healing to earth, while we watch with joy and wonder for the promised Savior’s birth.

Children’s Moment                                as the children return to their seats we sing:

May God’s presence guard, protect and guide you.  God bless you, God bless you. Our savior’s loving arms be ever ’round you. God bless you, God bless you.

Following the Children’s Moment, children kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to Children’s Church in Cowan Chapel. They are also welcome to stay in the service if they prefer. The Children’s Worship Center in the back of the sanctuary has toys, books, and drawing materials for children (or parents) who would like help staying present in the service. For children preschool age & under, care is available in the Nursery, downstairs in Room 104 off the playground.

Gospel Lesson               Mark 13:24-37

Sermon     At First Light        Rev. Kent Gilbert

GIfts Given for Love to Flow

Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastors and staff, and all the materials that make our ministry of healing, justice, and teaching available to all in need. In addition, a good portion of our contributions flows out to aid to those in need via many external agencies.

This can now be done online or by text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering” to contribute to the ongoing ministries, or add “youth,” or “missions” or designation of your choice to benefit one in particular.

Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!

Offertory                    Noel en Musette Louis Claude Daquin

¨  Doxology  We give thee but thine own, what e’re the gift may be,  Schumann

        All that we have is thine alone, a trust, O God, from thee!

Commissioning of the First Class of Union Church Stephen Ministers

Today we commission our Stephen Ministers: Donna Abner, Delores Carpenter, Carla Gilbert, Paul Jacobs, Jennifer Melton, Ellen Mink, Alison Szewczyk, and Lisa Vaughn. Please see the enclosed booklet for their statements.

Scripture Sentence Romans 12:12-13

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Introduction of Stephen Leaders Mary Lou Wiese, Jeff From, Betty Hibler

Presentation of Stephen Ministers: Donna Abner, Delores Carpenter, Carla Gilbert, Paul Jacobs, Jennifer Melton, Ellen Mink, Alison Szewczyk, Lisa Vaughn

Covenant and Blessings

When asked and if willing please respond, “We will, with the help of God.”


¨  Hymn #495 Called as Partners in Christ’s Service Beecher

Being and Becoming One

¨  Invitation to Communion

One: God be with you.

All: And also with you.

One: Lift up your hearts.

All: We lift our hearts in prayer.

One: Let us give thanks to God.

All: It is good to give God thanks and praise.

Ringing of the Peace Bell

The Union Church Peace Bell was created by Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998).  A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations.

Silent Prayer

Communion Prayer

One: You keep us waiting. You, the God of all time, want us to wait for the right time in which to discover who we are, where we must go, who will be with us, and what we must do.

All: We thank you . . . for the waiting time.

You keep us looking. You, the God of all space, want us to look in all the right and wrong places for signs of hope, for people who are hopeless, for visions of a better world which will appear among the disappointments of the world we know.

All: We thank you . . . for the looking time.

You keep us loving. You, the God whose name is love, want us to be like you— to love the loveless and the unlovely and the unloveable; to love without jealousy or design or threat; and, most difficult of all, to love ourselves.

All: We thank you . . . for the loving time.

And in all this, you keep us. Through hard questions with no easy answers; through failing where we hoped to succeed and making an impact when we felt we were useless; through the patience and the dreams and the love of others; and through Jesus Christ and his spirit, you keep us.

All: We thank you . . . for the keeping time, and for now, and for ever. Amen.

Sanctus (spoken in unison)

Holy, holy, holy God Power of life and love! Heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna through the ages!

Blessed is the One who comes to bring your justice to earth!

Communion Prayer

One:     And in all the waiting, and looking, and loving, you keep us. Through hard questions with no easy answers; through failing where we hoped to succeed and making an impact when we felt we were useless; through the patience and the dreams and the love of others; and through Jesus Christ and his spirit, you keep us.

All: We thank you . . . for the keeping time, and for now, and for ever. Amen.

Words of Institution

One: As we remember light in the darkness of another night, we do what Jesus did the night before he died. He took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it to his friends, and said:

All: “Take, eat; remember me.”

One: Then he took a cup, and said,

All: “Take, drink; remember.”

One: Send, O God, Your Holy Spirit upon the gifts of this table and upon the gifts of our Stephen Ministers, that we may know Christ in the breaking of bread together, and be channels of your hope, peace, joy, and love, living chalices of Christ’s light, poured for all.

Serving One Another

Today our newly consecrated Stephen Ministers begin their ministry by serving our communion. Like the disciple Stephen millenia ago, we entrust to them the compassion and caring of Christ that they may light the dark in Jesus’ name. All who seek the love of God are welcome at this meal and are invited to freely receive from it.  We will share the elements today by intinction, dipping the bread in the cup. When invited please come to one of the stations by exiting your pew to the left and returning by the right. If it is not convenient to come forward, the elements can be brought to your seat by signaling to the usher. All the bread is gluten-free, and the chalices are filled with non-alcoholic grape juice. 

Blessing for Those Who Will Receive at Home

Members who have been designated to carry communion to those who could not be with us this morning are invited forward at this time. The elements from our meal will go with our blessing and prayers for our continued unity in the Spirit. If you would like serve by taking communion to others, you are very welcome to do so and are invited to volunteer.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

One: As it was in the beginning so it is today, and so it will be at the end:

All: From east and west, north and south God you gather the people and speak the unshakeable truth of love to the uncertain and ephemeral powers of care and wear.

One: Though afflicted by brokenness, here we have awoken to your call to be a people of healing community. By this meal we have been fed for love, and guided by light.

All: We thank you… for the awakening time, for the hand to hold, the heart to serve, the light to follow. Amen.

From Here to There

¨  Closing Hymn # 112 Keep Awake, Be Always Ready Wachet Auf

¨  Benediction & Sending Forth

¨  Benediction Response Hope Is a  Candle Richard Leach

 Postlude Postlude on  “Hyfrydol” Jason D. Payne

Especially in our prayers

Each week we join millions of Christians who pray for one another through the ecumenical prayer cycle and, locally, the Berea Ministerial Association’s prayer cycle.  Let us hold the people of Myanmar and Thailand and our brothers and sisters at Kirksville Christian Church in our hearts, and pray for them.

Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week. Prayer requests to be printed may be sent to the office anytime before 10:00 am Fridays.

¨ Our church family members in nursing homes, or who are homebound:  Ruth Butwell, Edith Hansen, Nancy Hindman, Mary Miller, Alva Peloquin, Gloria VanWinkle.

¨ Jackie Perman, mother of Kelly Madden and grandmother to Colin and Cadence Perman, critically ill.

¨ Neighbors and friends in fear of ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) raids in our area, and for DACA students and their families. May we all strive for a safe and respectful path forward to be good neighbors.

¨ Rev. Rachel’s cousin, Jeff Small, father of two small kids, who had a heart transplant and whose recovery is still very tenuous.

¨ Dan Rohrer, who is suffering from a severe liver disorder.

¨ Teri VanPelt, recovering from knee replacement surgery

¨ Doug and Nancy Hindman’s daughter, Heather, recovering well after a stroke

¨ Happy birthday to Alva Peloquin!

¨ Betty Hibler, now a grandmother, and the parents of Noelle Francine Hibler, born November 26!


You Matter! Please Sign the Register, Check in on Facebook/Twitter and try a nametag! It’s hard to get to know people elsewhere, but we don’t want it that way at church.  Let’s all try to get to know each other better.

Join the church next week! Union Church is a vital and growing family of faith, a home to those committed to the way of Christ’s sacrificial love and service. All who feel led to join will be received in joy! New members are received every second Sunday of a month. YOU are welcome here!

Next Sunday, Dec. 10 — budget meeting after worship and lunch. Why Come to a Budget Meeting? The budget of Union Church is the very core of our ministry. It’s often not thrilling, but it is a theological document that tells you where our values are and how we’ve decided to act those out.  As the gospel of Matthew reminds us, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Please attend this meeting to help decide where our hearts will be for 2018. Copies available in the vestibule, and were also in December’s Consider.

A Light in the Darkness through Music: For many of us, the holidays seem like a stressful time. We have the shopping, the gift wrapping, the baking, the visiting, etc. It all seems pretty chaotic, right?  The holidays feel like this endless journey that is tedious for us to get through, but the end result is a joyous time.

Throughout this Advent season, the music program will help guide you through this journey.  The Union Church Choir and Handbell Ensemble have carefully crafted music and sounds that will help create this journey.  Each Sunday in Advent, members of the Handbell Ensemble will begin the service with one singular singing bell surrounded by random ringing.  When the technique is done, the singing bell creates this continuous, gorgeous sound that sings out a singular note with the warm, rich overtones that the bell creates.  This sound represents the light.  Random ringing is a technique that is easily described as what it’s named; random ringing of bells.  This randomness is going to try and cover up the singing bell, but you will still hear the singing bell under the chaos. Each week, the number of random bells will decrease, and more of the light will shine through. Finally, ending on Christmas Eve, we will hear how the light shines through singing bells.  Listen as we go through this journey of music and light in the darkness.

Today we commission our Stephen Ministers. These very gifted people will strengthen our caring ministry to those in our congregation who are grieving or other-wise in need. They have answered a special call to use their gifts to follow in Jesus’ caring footsteps. As we commission these new Stephen Ministers, let us celebrate the completion of their training for this ministry and thank God for their generous response to this call, keeping the success of their ministry always in our prayers.

All Y’all Advent Project – Today, the first Sunday of Advent, Rev. Rachel will make available a packet of simple but meaningful devotions for everyone to do throughout Advent, an Advent Wreath activity, and an Advent Calendar. We hope you’ll find it an opportunity to slow down, ask questions, have fun, be intentional about how you spend your time, and try new things. There are also coloring pages for kids and adults! If you can’t make it to church, we’ll be happy to mail you a packet, or you can pick one up in the office.

Tonight—Danish American Christmas celebration, 5:30-8:00 pm, Acton Folk Center. Santa’s Workshop, Christmas carols, storytelling, music, Santa Lucia processional, refreshments! No charge, but donations & snacks cheerfully accepted.

WNL supper is a POTLUCK this week!

Christmas Caroling for All December 13. At a special Wednesday Night Live, we will gather a little early at 5:30 to eat, then fill up the town trolley and cars to carol to some of our church friends around town. We will gather back at the church afterwards for cookies and hot drinks. Please bring a plate of cookies to share.

Dancers of all abilities and skills are enthusiastically invited to help us dance in the light on Christmas Eve. Dancers begin the service with slow and lovely music as we light the worship candles for the service. If you would like to join (no experience necessary), contact Carla Gilbert (859-985-1144 or 859-358-2962) or Maggie Park. (330-277-7738). The service will begin at 5:30 pm (gathering sounds-of-the-season music at 5) December 24. Rehearsals will be scheduled as soon as the group is assembled. 

Final week — Friends of the Madison County Public Library “Little Library Quilt Show and Silent Auction” is now showing in both branches of the public library. This fundraiser supports the staff and programming throughout the year.  You can view all 43 book inspired textile creations on line and make a bid at that time.  Bidding is online this year. The show closes at 5PM on December 9th.  Go to to place your bid.

Sustainable Berea Holiday Open House Friday Dec. 8! (and “hang the lights” party) 3 – 4 pm: Hanging strings of lights on the farm, 4 – 6 pm: Refreshments Celebrate with us on the Berea Urban Farm, 201 Adams Street, Berea, KY. For information:; 859-893-4590;

Save these Dates!

Dec.10—Share-Your-Music Sunday

Dec.10 — Meeting to consider the proposed 2018 budget, Community Room. After worship and lunch, meeting at approx. 12:15 pm. Pick up a copy of the budget today

Dec.13—Christmas Caroling at WNL! 5:30—8 pm

Dec. 17—Christmas Pageant at worship!

Dec.17—Classic Chorale Concert,  2:30 pm

Dec.20—Longnight Service, 7 pm

Dec. 24—Christmas Eve Services 10:30 am, 5:00 pm, 11:00 pm




Categories News, Weekly Bulletin | Tags: | Posted on December 1, 2017

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