December 19, 2016
A Christmas Message from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
“…I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10b-11 NRSV)
As you can imagine, Christmas for the Malone household is very different this year. We moved to a new state, we are now living in a new house, we have connected with new church family and friends, we are establishing new traditions and are creating new memories. We have been so blessed by the welcome and hospitality extended to us since our arrival.
Everything about Christmas feels so different this year – and yet, in the midst of this differentness we are still able to experience the joy and miracle of Christmas. Friends, when we find ourselves reminiscing of Christmas seasons past and not feeling so Christmassy, let us be reminded that Christmas is not a feeling it is a fact. Christmas is more than a celebration it is an existential reality of hope. We have this promise that “to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)
The miracle of Christmas is that Jesus is both the evidence and the witness of God’s saving work in the world. The message of hope given to the shepherds over some 2,000 years ago was, and still is, a message for you, for me, for the world. Because the Lord has come, there was and there will always be a place, day and time – yes, even now – where God’s love, justice and joy enter our lives and reign on earth.
This is the good news of great joy that we have in Christ Jesus. That’s why we can lift our voices and sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” because our faith tells us that God is with us! Not just in the remote heavens or in the church on Sunday mornings or when we are most aware of His presence. God is the very air we breathe. God is with us at the center of our lives – in our sleeping and our waking; the giving and the receiving; our trying and our crying, our faith and our fearing; our laughing and loving and our hoping and despairing.
As we live into Christmas once again, let us remember that the Christmas story is a living story that invites us to enter into it again and again to receive the ongoing gift of love, joy, hope and peace.
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.”
“Joy to the World”
Words: Public Domain
Music: Public Domain
Used by permission
Please note: The next publish date for the E-news will be January 9 due to the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
At this time, the deadline has passed to accept any new January 1 payroll clients. The next open enrollment will be for the start of second quarter 2017 or April 1. Materials will need to be submitted in early March. If you have questions regarding the payroll service, please contact Cynthia McDowell. Thank you.
2017 Mileage Rates
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
- 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (same as 2016)
For a complete listing of East Ohio Conference available loans and scholarships please click here.
United Methodist leaders, lay and clergy, are invited to participate in a Wesley Pilgrimage in England. Immerse yourself in the Christ-centered leadership of John & Charles Wesley, learn, pray, and explore places where the Wesley brothers lived and served and make connections between the Wesleyan heritage and missional leadership for today.
Scholarships are available. Registration/scholarship information
Youth Mission Roundtable
Roundtable discussions include: organizing a youth team, recruiting adults, finding a location and discussing what works and what doesn’t work. Hear from experienced youth mission leaders and alumni of youth missions about how the mission journey impacts the lives of youth and the people they serve. Find ways to encourage encountering Christ in the midst of the organized chaos of youth mission.
Cost is free. Registration is required for planning purposes. Informational flyer.
Connecting Neighbors encourages churches to explore their capacity for various disaster response ministries and to consider ways to engage community partners. The course provides information and material to help local churches, their members, and members of the community to prepare for local disasters. It is offered on behalf of the United Methodist Church in conjunction with its “Disaster Ready Congregations” curriculum and its Disaster Ministry programs.
Lunch will be provided. There will be no charge for the program. Informational flyer.
Pastoral Care and Counseling
December 19, 2016 Resources
In this edition we feature:
- The Legacy of the African-American Spiritual
- Communication in the Church: Creating Healthier Relationships
- What We Are Looking For IS Doing the Looking
- Advent Reflections from Henri Nouwen
- 7 Self-Care Tips During the Holidays
- 5 Mindful Tips for Navigating Holiday Stress
- Listings of Spiritual Formation Groups and our Spiritual Directors
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address, or would like to get email alerts when new resources have been posted, please contact Howard Humphress at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our quick contact form.
UM Financial Credit Union
May you and your loved ones be blessed with joy, love, peace, and happiness. The Board and staff of United Methodist Financial Credit Union wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Friday, December 23
Monday, December 26
Monday, January 2
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 – closing at noon
Monday, December 26
Monday, January 2
Denominational Credit Card Accounts
The New Year is a good time to consider UMFCU Denominational credit cards for your pastor and church staff. UMFCU Denominational Visa accounts have the low fixed rate of only 7.9% APR and there is no annual fee. An application may be found at www.umethodist.com.
UMFCU has a variety of loan products available to members. Please contact a loan officer to find out the best product to suite your borrowing needs. North Canton: 800-831-3972 Option 6; Cincinnati: 800-373-1059 Ext. 12
The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:
- How’s Your Soul? Why Everything That Matters Starts With The Inside You explores the nature of the soul and how we can care for it. Joshua Smith reveals how our souls all have an innate longing that only God can fulfill and how we find our identity in Christ.
- Listen, Love, Repeat; Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World helps women look at scriptural examples of those who lived alert and also Jesus – the one who noticed those who least expected to be noticed. In order to find joy in life, we must cultivate a lifestyle that sees and meets the needs of others.
- The Real Heaven; What the Bible Actually Says digs into scripture to reveal what our heavenly home will be like, what we’ll do there, what we’ll experience, and how we’re to prepare for eternity today. It will radically change your view of your future and of heaven.
- The God Questions; Exploring Life’s Great Questions About God will help members find the courage to present their tough questions to God, and the confidence to believe He is big enough to answer them.
Message in the Movies
Moana “Moana’s quest also demonstrates how God can use a human being to restore order out of chaos. All it takes is perseverance, an act of forgiveness, and the desire to restore the heart of nature to its rightful place. There are times it seems as if we are a world of self-centered fools who abuse the earth and its resources and resist every opportunity to repent of our sins. Moana is bold and optimistic about the possibilities of choosing another way. We all need to embrace its point of view and then follow God’s call to become heroic in our faith. We have a savior, after all. After we are saved, let’s get busy saving this planet and one another..” For full review.
- Administrative Assistant, Ridgewood UMC
- Worship Leader, St. Paul UMC
- Administrative and Communications Director, Family of Faith UMC
- Chaplain, OhioGuidestone
To submit job postings and items available please email mailto:email@example.com
Dates to Remember
Confirmation Retreat, Camp Wanake
Please pray for the families of:
- Mildred Hostetler, surviving spouse of Rev. David Hostetler, who died November 12, 2016 and
- Bettie J. Barss, surviving spouse of Rev. Donald Barss, who died December 6, 2016.
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The next scheduled edition of the E-News will be January 9, 2017. Deadline to submit an article is January 4.