4 Things to Be Aware Of…
Final Days to Sign Up to Ring the Bell at Tops – There are spaces available to ring the bells for the Salvation Army at Tops, this Saturday afternoon. To sign up just click on this link: https://northgatefmc.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/610181. Please be aware that signups are for one individual only. Unfortunately, families and couples cannot ring together this year… you know why, I’m sure. Yes – COVID.
Mask-Wearing During Worship – We will be adhering to the CDC recommendations on mask guidelines during our service times. We are asking that everyone (except those under 2) wear a mask at all times when in our building. Thank you for working with us to help keep everyone healthy and well.
On-line Christmas Eve Services – And speaking of helping to keep everyone healthy and well I have some important news to share. After considerable prayer and discussion we have decided we are going to not have in-person Christmas Eve services this year. Instead, our Christmas Eve service will be on-line through our Facebook page and our website beginning at 5pm on 12/24. This was not an easy decision, and there were many factors that went into making it which I’d be happy to discuss with anyone who wants to know more (firstname.lastname@example.org) but we believe it is the wisest choice for this year. Believe me, no one is more disappointed than I am. Celebrating Christmas with you in-person is something I look forward to every year. I am praying and hoping that you understand and I also want you to know that we are working hard to make our on-line Christmas Eve service especially wonderful. This year we really need to keep in mind that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, and just as His birth came amid trying and disruptive circumstances so this year’s celebration is as well. Yet God brought to us a beautiful gift in spite of those circumstances and so may He bless our celebrations this year.
Thank you. Pastor Vern
On-line Services Only The First Two Weekends After Christmas – Also be aware that our services will be on-line only 12/26 & 27 and 1/2 & 3. We hope to be back in the building after that, but we will need to determine that based on where things stand in the next few weeks. We’ll do our best to communicate with you on all of that. Please be sure to check our website and Facebook page to stay up to date on the news.
Ten Things To Do…
- Help the Salvation Army With Gift Distribution – Arbor House and Northgate are excited to offer assistance to the Salvation Army of Batavia with their Angel Tree gift distribution this year! We are in need of volunteers to assist with this program by helping to distribute gifts and food or help with the flow of cars in the parking lot. Gift distribution will take place on December 21-23. You can sign up to help by clicking on this link: https://northgatefmc.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/624905
- Help With the Ministry at Crossroads House – The recent newsletter from Crossroads House (a comfort care home in Batavia) contains a list of items they could use. The list includes things like air freshener spray, applesauce & pudding cups, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Windex, copier paper, trash bags and more. To see the whole list and to talk with someone about how you can help with their wish list, go to this webpage: https://www.crossroadshouse.com/wishlist
- Come to Base or Ember! – Middle School students are encouraged to check out Base which is meeting on Monday nights from 6-8pm at our South campus. And if you’ve aged out of high school you’re invited to Ember which meets on Wednesday mornings at 9:15 at Pub Hub Coffee and Monday Nights at 8:30pm at South Campus. This is a gathering of people in their 20s. For more information contact Pastor Daniel at email@example.com.
- Attend a Saturday Night Bible Study – On Saturday night after the 6pm service there’s a small group/Bible study meeting in Room 2/3. Everyone is welcome to attend, whether or not you attend the Saturday evening service It starts at 7:30 and ends at 8:30, and the current study is on the Minor Prophets. I love the Minor Prophets!
- Deal With a Hurt, Habit or Hang-up – Celebrate Recovery meets every Thursday evening at 6:30 (including any and all holidays that fall on a Thursday, unless there is a serious snow storm) at our North Campus. Our CR leaders guide and assist those of us who are gaining joy and freedom in Christ as we apply the 12 Steps of Celebrate Recovery to the hurts, habits and hang-ups we all struggle with. All are welcome! We believe anyone and everyone would benefit by attending this group, where we allow God to transform our lives. We are able to share openly and honestly about our struggles with people we come to trust, who will maintain confidentiality, and who will not judge us. For more info, go to: https://northgatecr.weebly.com/
- Participate in an Online Learning Opportunity – Issues around racial inequity and injustice have become a prominent part of our national conversation this year. The Genesis Justice Network of the Free Methodist Church is inviting pastors and churches to engage in this conversation in a deeper way by joining a Be the Bridge 101 online discussion group, specifically designed for white participants, aimed at increasing racial awareness and creating a conversational space where it’s safe to ask tough questions. Pastor Marsha will be facilitating a BTB group for clergy. For laypeople (non-clergy), groups will meet online Mondays (6:30-8:30pm) and Saturdays (9:30-11:30am) for 5 weeks starting Jan. 4th. Groups are also available for people of color, both clergy and lay (click on the registration link to see all options). Please register here: Genesis Justice Network Be the Bridge Class Registration by December 31st. For more information, email Pastor Marsha firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Share With Someone Who is in Need – No one should go hungry, and if you or someone you know needs a place to get a hot meal at lunchtime, Monday through Friday, please be aware of the soup kitchen operated out of the 1st Baptist Church on East Main St. in Batavia. The kitchen is open from 11am to 1pm and all are welcome.
- Find Out What’s Happening in Budapest, Hungary – From the latest letter from our FM Missionaries in Hungary: “The total lockdown (due to COVID) was lifted in June… but with the recent resurgence of the virus as of November 1 the lockdown has been reinstated. We are thankful for the faithfulness of our leaders during these challenging times. Pray that we would be able to find more ways to connect with people, especially retirees, who have been isolated at home for months and are experiencing loneliness and depression.” Thank you for your prayers for Larry and Katie Winckles in Budapest.
- Find Out What’s Happening in Gyor, Hungary – From a letter sent by FM missionary Gerry McNamara: The ministry highlight of the summer months was being allowed to go into the orphanage in Gyor and hold a vacation Bible school over five days. The kids were super excited to have visitors after the COVID restrictions were lifted. We held our program based around animals. Each day focused on an animals form the Bible and on the final day we brought all the kids to the zoo. It was great to hear about the serpent and then a day or two later see real serpents! Kathy (Gerry’s wife) organized lunch for the kids at the zoo and a kind donor paid for all the tickets! It was a week filled with great worship music, crafts, games and Bible lessons and I look forward to it in 2021.
- I was on a team from Northgate that also held a VBS at that orphanage a few years ago. I can picture it, and some of the kids in my mind. It was a wonderful ministry experience and one we could do again, if we have some people who might like to make it happen! Is God calling you to a mission trip in 2021? If so, let’s talk! And if you’d like to hear more about what Gerry is doing in Gyor, you can read his blog at https://hungaryforchrist.com.
- Look Forward to Next Year’s Donut Delivery – Unfortunately we aren’t going to be able to do our usual “donut delivery” this year on Christmas Eve.But the good news is that it’s just a year until next Christmas Eve and God willing we’ll be back to it then!
You Can Count on This – Acts 2:46b-47 – They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Read Acts 2:42-47)
Just a short reading this week. But so powerful. People wonder how Christianity grew so quickly, starting with just about 100 followers of Jesus in the days after His resurrection and ascension. Part of the answer is found here: the followers of Jesus had “glad and sincere hearts” and lived in praise of God.
This Christmas season is going to look different for us. We are going to be worshiping in our homes on Christmas Eve and at least the following two weekends. We may not be able to join with family and friends for celebrations of Christmas. In some ways, things will be simpler. We may feel disappointed, even angry about some of these things. But when you begin to feel that way, remember those first followers of Jesus. They were a small group of people, often living a very simple, difficult life, without Christmas trees, central heating and Amazon! And yet they “broke bread together… with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.” However we are able to celebrate Christmas this year, let’s do so with the same joy in Christ.
When you’re not sure what you can count on in the world around you, know this: You can count on God keeping his word. So read what God has to say in scripture! And count on it.