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First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix –
November 12, 2020
Important Worship Update from Toby and Bill Trubilowicz …
If you have been listening to the local news lately, you know that the pandemic is spiking throughout Michigan. This morning there was a Zoom call with the Northwest Michigan Public Health Department to discuss the latest data from Northern Michigan.
The latest numbers show that we are experiencing a significant spike in COVID-19 positive tests. The positivity rate is now five times higher than the numbers we saw during even the worst of the summer and fall seasons.
Due to the size of this spike and our overriding concern for the safety of our Congregation, we have decided to close the church building to all meetings and to move back to a virtual only Sunday Service starting this Sunday. We will remain in this remote mode of operation through the month of November and reevaluate the situation as we move into the Advent Season. This necessity to go virtual extends to all church gatherings – not simply worship. So Bible Studies, committee meetings, and all church related gatherings will need to be Zoomed until further notice.
We know how hard and how disappointing this is for everyone. Being together these last couple months for worship has been such a gift. Being in quarantine and isolated is extremely difficult, and none of us wants to go back into that mode. But let’s be patient and prayerful as we ride out this second wave, trusting that God has good things in store for us down the road.
In order to execute our on-line, streamed worship services, all participants involved in the service are to report to the sanctuary by 9:45 Sunday morning and then conduct the service beginning at 10:30 am. The only difference will be that no one else will attend the service.
All of us will be able to watch the service on our website on Sunday mornings starting at 10:30 am – www.chxucc.org and on tape delay the rest of the week. Please remember to share the link to our amazing services with friends and family, no matter how far away they might live. Our goal is to be a blessing to as many people as possible and to share the great things our congregation is managing to do even during this pandemic. Thank you all for your understanding, your flexibility, your support, and your prayers during this trying and unprecedented time.
You can access this Sunday’s Worship bulletin HERE
Toby Jones – Pastor
Bill Trubilowicz – Moderator
From Your Pastor…
This Sunday, as we continue our 5-week march through the Book of James, we will be blessed to hear the message from a different voice. Hugh Hansen will be our preacher, as Toby will be away. Hugh’s message will grow out of the 3rd chapter of James, where the brother of Jesus urges us to “tame our tongues.” Ellen Kendall will provide much of the music for the day, along with a special appearance from Dave Bowen. You won’t want to miss it!
As Thanksgiving and Advent approach, it is very easy to get swept up in the rat-race that is the holiday season. To provide you with an alternative way of moving through this holy season more slowly, more thoughtfully, and more intentionally, plans are in the works for a 4-session Advent study entitled, “The Sabbath: The Gift We Keep Forgetting to Open.” If you would like to participate in the planning or execution of this fantastic course, please contact Toby (email@example.com) or Julia Heddle (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you!
The Noisy Offering is coming back! Since Covid-19 descended upon us and shut down our in-person worship back in March, we have not been able to celebrate this wonderful giving tradition in our church family. As we began to meet again, we started to explore ways we can safely resurrect this tradition without exposing each other to Covid and other germs. When we do resume this tradition – probably on Sunday, Nov 22 – instead of passing around the metal bucket, we will place the bucket opposite the regular offering baskets in both the sanctuary and Ransom Hall. We’ll ask that each person come up one at a time, in a socially distance fashion, and drop your coins (and bills!) in the bucket. The money – along with the bucket – will have to be cleaned and sanitized by people with gloves on before we are able to deposit the offering and generate the check for the receiving organization. Stay tuned for more details as we prepare to make some noise again. Thank you for your patience and for saving your coins for this Charlevoix UCC tradition.
A Message from the Trustees…
A shout out THANK YOU to everyone for your generous pledges to financially support our church in 2020. If you haven’t yet completed your 2020 pledge you are encouraged to do so. The final months of the year are always a challenge to cover all the myriad of regular and unexpected expenses that are received weekly when income is slowing down.
Our stewardship campaign is well underway for 2021 when our church life returns to “normal”. Your participation is welcomed.
Last year (2019) the Community Christmas Project served more than 250 families by providing food, gifts, and clothing for Christmas. We anticipate that we will have at least that many individuals/families this year. Possibly many more. This project is supported by churches, businesses, and individuals in Charlevoix.
The team that puts the project together has been meeting to figure out how to meet the needs of Charlevoix families in the midst of the pandemic. It will look a little different this year, as there will not be an opportunity for families to ‘shop’ at the church for gifts and clothing. We will ask families to be specific (ages and sizes of children, etc.) when they sign up so that we can meet as many of their needs as possible.
Our church, once again, is responsible for collecting jars of JAM/JELLY and SOCKS of different sizes and colors. The socks most requested are the short variety that young people wear inside their sneakers.
This week we will label collection boxes and put them in the fellowship hall for socks and jars of jam/jelly. We will deliver them to the Lutheran Church on Dec. 13. The distribution will be Dec. 17-18
Yes, there will be a MITTEN TREE set up in Fellowship Hall sponsored by the Outreach Committee this year. We welcome all types and sizes, handmade or store purchased. The main thing is to keep hands warm in the cold weather. The collected mittens will be donated to the Community Christmas Project. The final day for donating is December 13.
If you are hungry for a little live entertainment as the temperatures drop and the darkness lengthens, consider attending the virtual “Festival of Shorts” at Crooked Tree Center for the Arts on Nov 20 and 21 at 7:30 pm. A “short” is an 8-12 minute, one-act play, and this festival features 4 or 5 of them back to back. One of these shows features Toby Jones in the leading role. His short is entitled “You Haven’t Changed a Bit” and is a light-hearted, touching piece about a 70th high school reunion. This festival, due to increased covid cases, will now be recorded and streamed so you will be able to watch it safely from home.
For more details visit www.LTCT.org.