A Message from Pastor Carol
The Christian year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. As the world around us moves toward the coldest and darkest time of the year, we who follow Christ begin preparing to welcome his light into the world. For the past few months, I have felt strangely drawn to the word “joy,” that gift of the Spirit that is ours no matter what the circumstances of our lives. Even in the darkest times, we are meant to be people of joy. This year’s journey through Advent will take us on the “Road to Joy.” As we make our way to the manger, the poets will be our guide. On Sundays we will listen to the poet and prophet Isaiah, as he points us toward the coming day of joy.Throughout the days of Advent, we will also explore the simple and sacred poetry of e.e. cummings, as he invites us to find joy in our everyday lives. I encourage you throughout this season to find ways to practice joy. Maybe keep a “Journal of Joy,” taking note each day of simple delights that bring you joy; or find some way to be playful outside of your normal routines; or take a walk intentionally noticing signs of God’s creativity in the world. May we trust that no matter who we are or what struggles we may have, in the incarnation of Christ in our world, we will find our deepest joy.
E.E. Cummings and The Joyful Poetry of Advent
An Advent Study for Adults
We will ground ourselves in the prophetic joy of the Advent season through embracing poetry as a spiritual practice. EE Cumings will serve as our guide as the Spirit transforms us into becoming a people who see the joyful work of God in all people and all places. You will be able to pick up copies of E.E. Cummings and The Joyful Poetry of Advent at the church or it is available here online: AdventEECummingsDigital.pdf.
A "Less Is More" Advent Devotional
This year we’re providing a new Advent devotion great for families of all ages and sizes. The resource is from Salt Project. Read below about this fun “Less is More” Advent resource.
Christmas has become the biggest holiday in North America, and arguably the biggest in the world - and in many ways, it’s become a holiday of “more”: more presents, more stuff, more events, more expectations, more stress. But as it turns out, if we dial back the more, we get closer to the heart of Advent and Christmas. “A ‘Less is More’ Christmas Poster and Devotional” is a fun-filled, faith-filled way to help you and your family do exactly that! The poster is packed with activity ideas. Put it up on your fridge (or in some other prominent spot), and check off the activities as you do them, in no particular order. And the devotional includes simple weekly Advent services to help the family connect to the deeper meanings of the season, as well as handy instructions for some of the activities on the poster. Together, the poster and devotional will help make this Advent and Christmas the most “less is more” yuletide yet!
Both the poster and devotion booklet will be available for pick up at the church beginning December 3 and are available online here: LessisMoreDevotionalDigital.pdf.
Christmas Gifts for Children in Foster Care
This year we are excited to continue to offer an opportunity to buy Christmas gifts for area kids in foster care. Like in previous years, we need these gifts to be unwrapped and grouped together. Gift bags are fine as long as we can see inside to take inventory. Durable bags or boxes are preferred to make carrying items to the central gift location easiest. Because foster kids may need to take their belongings to a permanent home or another foster home, placing the gifts in a small rolling suitcase or duffel bag may also be appropriate. Please make a tag for each box/bag so that we can make sure the gifts stay together and get to their intended donation. If there are multiple boxes or bags please mark the tags with the name of the child, the code and then 1 of 2, or 2 of 2, etc. Please keep your spending right at $150 so that each kid has an equitable amount of Christmas gifts to other kids in the program. Gifts need to be at the church no later than Tuesday, December 12th. Stacey will have a bin for collection of the items at the missions market in Reed Hall on the 3rd and 10th. If you need to make arrangements to drop off the gifts at the church, please contact Stacey at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can work out most any daytime drop off. Visit westendumc.org/christmasgifts to find out more!
Mercy and Justice Advent Opportunities
Advent Special Offering - Open Table Nashville
This Advent we invite you to give generously to the work of Open Table Nashville. Open Table Nashville is committed to relational outreach which involves journeying with un-housed and precariously housed individuals and families, being a consistent presence in the homeless community, advocating with the marginalized, and creatively networking available resources. We are in partnership with two other entities to provide a salary to a West Side outreach worker that covers the area our church is in. This outreach worker, Claire Hennigan, takes referrals from the church to help walk with folks as they navigate resource needs. Our goal for this offering is $4,500 to complete our $10,000 annual commitment. Anything over will go towards our commitment next year. You can give by check made out to West End marked “Open Table Nashville” in the memo line or online with a designated gift to Open Table Nashville. You can also give with the special offering envelopes with this mailing or in the pew racks of the sanctuary.
Advent Ministry Markets
This year we are excited to welcome back vendors to Reed Hall for an Advent Ministry Market. These vendors either give money to our partner organizations, like the beautiful stained glass from Chimes for Justice, or are themselves social entrepreneurship organizations that do good in our community through their hiring or fairtrade practices. We will also be selling beautiful handmade goods from Guatemala and Creation Care will be selling recycled crayons that make great stocking stuffers. So stop by Reed Hall on December 3, 10, and 17th to pick up gifts that make a difference.
Share The Gift // Alternative Gift Guide
Be sure to take a look at our 2023ShareTheGiftBrochure.pdf for this year. Your purchase make direct differences in the lives of so many people.
Scripture Readings for the Advent Season
See the 2023 Advent Brochure
Upcoming Advent Events
Annual Candlelighting Service
Youth Progressive Dinner: Christmas PJ Theme!
Service of the Longest Night
Child-Led Christmas Eve Service
Traditional Christmas Eve Service