3 Things to Be Aware Of…
On-line Christmas Eve Services – 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. 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
- To hear a message from Pastor John regarding the Christmas Eve services click on this link: http://northgatefmc.com/news/
Christmas Gift Bags To Be Given Out – At this week’s services we will be giving out Christmas gift bags with a variety of items inside, including candles and communion packets, a small devotional, and something for kids. You can pick up your bag after the service, and if you aren’t attending right now due to COVID, you can pick up a bag at the office from Monday through Wednesday of this week. The office is usually open from about 9am to 4pm. This is just a small way for us to say we love you, and Merry Christmas!
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 by helping manage 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 Ember 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.
- 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/
- Look Ahead to Our Next Sermon Series Beginning January 2 and 3 – As we look forward to a better 2021 we are going to start the year with a series titled: “New Year, New You: Pursuing Biblical Wellness.” Pastors John, Marsha, Daniel and Vern will each preach on topics related to taking care of ourselves in all areas of our lives. Let’s focus on letting God help us to be at our best this year!
- 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 Registrationby 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 animal from 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.
- Is God calling you to a mission trip in 2021? A mission trip to Gyor is a wonderful experience. If you’re interested, 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.
- Attend A Group For Women With Food Issues – Joyce Wagner is a counselor who has done trainings for our staff and board here at Northgate. We think Joyce is wonderful and wanted to let you know about a new group she is starting in January. This group is for women who struggle with food issues and body positivity. There is a cost for attending and some optional reading. If you’d like to know more about it you can contact Joyce at 585-733-9465 or go to her website: restorationcor.com.
You Can Count on This – Acts 3:6a – Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you…” (Read Acts 3:1-26)
Peter goes on to tell the crippled man at the temple gate to get up and walk, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Clearly Peter had been prompted by the Holy Spirit to let this man know that God wanted to heal him. Peter didn’t have money to give the man, which the man had asked for. What he did have was a relationship with God that enabled him to hear from God how he was to respond to this man’s needs.
I think there is something here for us to ponder. How is our relationship with God? Are we staying connected with Him so that as we go about our business day-to-day we are ready to hear from God and respond to what we hear God tell us to do? Are we ready to do what we can for God, instead of focusing on what we are unable to do because of what we don’t have? Is it our desire to act out of God’s power enabling us, rather than limit ourselves to what we can do “in the flesh”? When we see people in need, is it our reflexive position to ask, “What might God want me to do for them?” Just some things to ponder, as I say, as we go about our day-to-day business.
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.