Our faith tradition and our congregational traditions provide so many ways to enter the story of the nativity of the Christ Child.
The author Diana Butler Bass wrote this week that many of us first heard the words of Luke 2 from the proclamation of Linus Van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Linus proclaims the words from the Gospel of Luke in the midst of a Christmas Pageant.
I am delighted that this year we get to receive the story anew in a virtual Christmas Pageant from the homes and yards of many of our children, youth and families.
In a worship service this final Sunday of Advent that is filled with many beautiful offerings to draw us closer to the Light of Christ, this virtual pageant is a gem.
On Christmas Eve, our pre-recorded Christmas Eve Worship service will be available on YouTube the morning of Dec. 24, for your enjoyment at whatever time fits your celebration. The worship will be filled with carols and candlelights and lessons from scripture.
Our Nativity on Foothill Boulevard continues to shine the light of the Bethlehem Star over the needs of the world.
May your week be filled with the hope, the love, the joy, the peace you need to continue to prepare your hearts and homes to celebrate anew God with Us -- Emmanuel.
In prayer and care,
Advent 2020 at Claremont UMC
First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2020
“I Believe in the Sun: Hope for Tomorrow”
“Prepare the way…”
“Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news.”
“Raise your voice…raise it; don’t be afraid” ~ (Mark 1:1-15, and Isaiah 40:1-11)
Isaiah and the Gospel of Mark reassure the people that good news is beginning and yet they both say, “make yourself ready!” Raise your voices, change your hearts, get ready to be transformed, because now is the time. Have the hope that we can do what needs to be done to bring more light into the world.
Second Sunday of Advent, December 6, 2020
“I Believe in Love: Daring Right Relationship”
“Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel (‘God with us’).” ~ (Matthew 1:23, and Isaiah 7:14)
In both the Gospel of Matthew and Isaiah, a messenger appears as a sign from God, heralding a new era. In each passage, the words “do not be afraid” appear…offering a clue that the messenger was referencing something that induced fear. A new way of being, of relating, and loving takes courage.
Third Sunday of Advent, December 13, 2020
“I Believe in God: Ode to Joy”
“He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.”
“I live on high, in holiness, and also with the crushed and the lowly, reviving the spirit of the lowly, reviving the heart of those who have been crushed.” ~ (Luke 1:52 and Isaiah 57:15)
The message in both Luke and Isaiah is that the downcast, lowly, and oppressed would rise up. Like the Jewish exiled people of Isaiah’s time and the early Christians, we also sometimes wonder where God is in our suffering. We long to hear the promise that a reason for joyful praise is the good news on the way!
Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20, 2020
“I Believe in the Light: Illuminating Peace”
“What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people.”
“A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." ~ (John1:3-4 and Isaiah 9:6)
The “great light” prophesied by Isaiah in today’s text is echoed in the first strains of John’s Gospel good news: the light that brings peace – that saves the people from all that would extinguish it – has been there from the beginning. The Word is made flesh and dwells among us. This reign is now… will we believe it? Will we continue to put flesh on it, embodying the peace meant for all humanity?
Alternative Christmas 2020
As with many of Claremont UMC's traditions this year, we've had to rethink how we do our Alternative Christmas Celebration. This year, we have the Alternative Christmas brochure available for you to access online by clicking HERE. (Use this link when printing to fill out and return to the church.)
If you are able, you may print out the brochure at home and fill out which alternative gifts you would like to support. Then mail your completed brochure to the church, along with your check made payable to Claremont UMC. If you aren't able to print out the brochure, please mail your check to the church and be sure to include a note about which alternative gifts you are giving.
You have already bought the usual gifts of clothes, toys, jewelry, etc. Now you can give to say, “I love you!” to family, friends, and persons in need across the street and around the world.
Click on either of the above thumbnails to to see each full-size. Use this LINK to print and mail back to the church.
We Are Praying For...
If you have someone you would like Claremont UMC to keep in prayer, and list on our prayer list, please email Jessica, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate whether they are to be listed on the public prayer list, or kept private. Please pray for these dear ones on our prayer list, HERE.
A Musical Meditation from Katie
As a special piece for the "Weekly Window," Katie shares an audio of her playing a well-loved hymn! This week's hymn is "Blessed Be the God of Israel" from The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 209. Click HERE and enjoy!
The Stewardship Committee would like to thank everyone who has already pledged and those who will pledge in the next few weeks. It is apparent that gratitude runs deep in our congregation. To date, with 107 pledges already received, we are at 86% of the amount we need to maintain our budget for 2021. We are still waiting on many pledges to come in and are hopeful that with those pledges we will reach our goal of maintaining current staffing and the same balanced budget as 2020.If you have not already pledged, it is not too late. The Stewardship Committee is making calls this week or you can send in your pledge card or reach out to the church office.
Thank you for your continued generosity.
With gratitude, we wish you a Merry Christmas,
The Stewardship Committee
Bob Dalton, Carlos Delgado, Dan Domonoske, Sara Domonske, Ron Harrington, Susan Hume, Ed Richardson
Friends, the California-Pacific Annual Conference, and those of us on staff at Claremont UMC want to make sure you stay aware of the possibility of scam emails. Email-based scams might become more common, especially during the holidays. We don't want anyone to fall victim to malicious online activity.
The following are good practices to follow:
Consistency of Communications - We aim for CUMC's church-based emails on giving to be consistent in design and language that allows members and other individuals to experience those aspects as references for authenticity.
Language - A malicious email might be written in language inconsistent with that commonly used by the staff and clergy of CUMC.
From - Check the source of the email. Sometimes, the email displays a legitimate email address name (sometimes in quotes). But, closer inspection might reveal that the display is inconsistent with the actual address (sometimes in < >).
Requests - Disregard common phishing messages from email addresses of pastors asking for "a favor," "to be discrete," and, to "not call, email only."
Confirm - If the email looks suspicious at all, it might be helpful to confirm through a means other than replying to that email (ie. phone call to a cell, or text message). You can also always call the church office and leave a message on the voicemail. Jessica retrieves messages daily and can confirm whether a questionable email is legitimate.