Weekly Church Bulletin
It is with some sadness that I communicate to you that St. Paul Church Council met Friday evening (November 20, 2020), at 7:00 p.m. in an emergency Zoom Meeting to discuss “pausing” in-person worship services due to the increasing spread of the Covid-19 virus.
There will be NO live in-person worship beginning this Sunday, November 22nd. Services will be held at 10:15 AM.
Mark Vaughn, Council President
St. Paul UCC, Wapakoneta
Worship Order – 1st Sunday of Advent
November 29, 2020 – Service at 10:15 AM
WELCOME, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND PRAYER REQUESTS
PASSING THE PEACE
One: The Peace of Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
PRELUDE and LIGHTING THE ALTAR CANDLES
CALL TO WORSHIP:
This Advent, we are looking to hear words of comfort, of challenge, and of good news. The prophet Isaiah and the four Gospel authors were writing in a time when people needed desperately to hear all of these as well. This first week, Isaiah, the prophet, and Mark—the Gospel writer who published first—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.” Let us embrace hope that we can do what needs to be done to bring more light into the world.
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD—“I Believe, Even When…”
Holy One, we thank you for the glimpses we catch of your gift of untiring HOPE. Even in the midst of fear, of challenge, of struggle—even when our view is obscured by clouds of doubt, ignite the flame of hope within us, that we might glow with its brilliance from the inside out. Help us face this bleak night of the soul and embrace it as a womb of rebirth. Amen.
LIGHTING THE FIRST CANDLE—Hope
FIRST READING: Isaiah 40:1-11 (CEB)
Voice 1: “Comfort, comfort, my people!” says your God. Speak compassionately to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her compulsory service has ended.
Voice 2: Her penalty has been paid, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins!
Voice 1: A voice is crying out: “Clear the Lord’s way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!
Voice 2: Every valley will be raised up, and every mountain and hill will be flattened. Uneven ground will become level, and rough terrain a valley plain. The Lord’s glory will appear, and all humanity will see it together; the Lord’s mouth has commanded it.”
Voice 1: A voice was saying, “Call out!” And another said, “What should I call out?” All flesh is grass; all its loyalty is like the flowers of the field. The grass dries up and the flower withers when the Lord’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are grass. The grass dries up; the flower withers, but our God’s word will exist forever.
Voice 2: Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion! Raise your voice and shout, messenger Jerusalem! Raise it; don’t be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
Voice 1: Here is the Lord God, coming with strength, with a triumphant arm, bringing his reward with him and his payment before him.
Voice 2: Like a shepherd, God will tend the flock; he will gather lambs in his arms and lift them onto his lap. He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
HYMN #153 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king,
Born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all-sufficient merit raise us to thy glorious throne.
SECOND READING Mark 1:1-15 (CEB)
The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, 2happened just as it was written about in the prophecy of Isaiah: Look, I am sending my messenger before you. He will prepare your way, 3a voice shouting in the wilderness: “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.” 4John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 5Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. 6John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. 11And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” 12At once the Spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him. 14After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, 15saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”
WE GIVE PRAISE TO GOD Doxology
Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host: praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
PASTORAL PRAYER AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
CAROL OF THE DAY I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
I heard the bells on Christmas day their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat of “Peace on earth, good will to all.”
I thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song of “Peace on earth, good will to all.”
And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song of ‘Peace on earth, good will to all.’”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth not sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to all.
Till ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime, of “Peace on earth, good will to all.”
OUR COMMON CALLING
Let us go forth into the world in peace. Be of good courage. Hold fast to that which is good. Render to no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint hearted. Support the weak. Help the afflicted. Honor all people. Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
THE LIGHT GOES FORTH
BENEDICTION RESPONSE Gloria in excelsis Deo! #188—Refrain (sung twice)
**Portions of today’s service are from the worship series “I Believe, Even When…” © Worship Design Studio by Marcia McFee. Used, adapted, and live-streamed with permission. www.worshipdesignstudio.com/believe.
Church News for November 22, 2020
2021 GOD’S CREATION CALENDARS AND NOTEPADS – The God’s Creation Calendars for 2021 and Christian notepads are still available. Each month has a beautiful picture plus scripture. The notepads are 3″ x 6″ with a small picture and scripture. We have 5 calendars to sell for $7.00 each and 1 notepad for $2.00 left. They are available in the church office or contact Cheryl Short at 419/738-7965 and she will get them to you. If writing a check, please make it out to St. Paul UCC and write in the memo line calendar/notepads.
NOVEMBER IS “FAITH PROMISE” MONTH—This season of Thanksgiving is a good time for us to reflect on the blessings from God that we have received and to consider how we might demonstrate that gratitude through our gifts back to God. Throughout the month of November, you are invited to prayerfully reflect on how your gifts to St. Paul UCC in the coming year might reflect your attitude of gratitude. If you have not already done so, please return your Faith Promise pledges as soon as possible. If you would like to pledge gifts but did not receive pledging materials, please contact the church office. THANK YOU ALL for your faithfulness to the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ. Through our continued gifts, “Beloved, let us love one another!
POINSETTIA ORDERS – Please find poinsettia order forms in the back of the santuary. All orders are due by Sunday, November 29th and must be accompanied by a check made out to St. Paul UCC. If you have any questions please call the church office.
ADVENT BOXES – The Faith Formation Team has created “Advent Boxes” for families that have children at home. These are being delivered this week. If you do not receive one or would like to have one, please contact the church office.
ADVENT HYMN AND BIBLE STUDY—Pastor Becky will be leading an online study during the season of Advent based on traditional Advent hymns. We will look at the hymn texts as they relate to scripture and explore the history of some of our most beloved hymns of the Advent season. This study will use the Zoom videoconferencing platform. It will begin on Thursday, December 3 at 7:00pm and will continue for three weeks, concluding on Thursday, December 17. If you would like to participate, please contact Pastor Becky by Monday, November 30. All are welcome!
WAPAK NOTIVITY DRIVE-THROUGH – On December 2 the churches of Wapakoneta will be hosting a drive-through live nativity experience. The event will take place from 6:00PM to 8:00PM, beginning at Wapakoneta Church of the Nazarene and will include scenes at local churches all around town. All are welcome!
We Support Our Church By Our Prayers
Rex & Brenda Lippincott
Alexis (Hoelsher) Stiles
Members and friends serving in the U.S. military:
Amanda Preston Johnston
Haley Jean Kill
Jian Feng Zhao