BULLETIN DECEMBER 20, 2020

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Wappinger Falls, New York
December 20, 2020 * Advent 4B

Please silence all electronic devices                                                                             *Please stand if you are able

GATHERING

PRELUDE
At Home:    O Come Divine Messiah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzNiBdW4Le4 

WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS
OPENING PRAYER
Greetings, God’s beloved ones, God is with you this day.  Let us tell of God’s steadfast love mercy.
Favored ones, God calls us to worship and to ponder.
  Let us, with all the heavens and the earth, declare God’s wonders.
Servants of God, the Holy One is present with us, now and always.
  Let us tell of God’s faithfulness to all generations.

*HYMN GtG 82  Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xal35DgmSUs 

At Home:
During this time that we cannot sing, you are invited to focus on
the meaning of the lyrics, perhaps finding a new depth to favorite hymns.

LIGHTING THE ADVENT WREATH                                1 Corinthians 1:2b-3, The Voice

As people who are united with Jesus, the Anointed One, you have been set apart for service.
You are all called into community to live as saints
 with all who invoke the name of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed.

I pray that God our Creator and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, will shower you with grace and peace.
We watch and wait for Christ’s coming!
We light candles of hope, peace, joy, and love, remembering the promises of God with prayer.

We light this candle in hope.              (The first candle is lit.)
We light this candle for peace.              (The second candle is lit.)
We light this candle in joy.                 (The third candle is lit.)
We light this candle with love.           (The fourth candle is lit.)                     Psalm 89:1, The Voice
I will sing of Your unfailing love forever, Eternal One.   I will speak of Your faithfulness to all generations.
God of Hope, God of peace, God of joy, God of love, you are love, and those who abide in love abide in you.
Teach us how to love one another as reflections of your light in the world.
God of promise, God of love, into our darkness, come.  Amen.

Handbell Anthem       O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

CALL TO CONFESSION
We have all sinned, not one of us is clean; but there is mercy for those who call on the name of the Lord.
Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God our Maker, we confess that we are not ready to meet you.
You offer us a place in your house, yet we find no room for you in our lives.
You invite us into your eternal realm, yet we fail to welcome others.
Forgive us, and restore us.
Let your word of life be with us so that we may truly believe that nothing is impossible with you.

SILENT PRAYER

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
Every valley is lifted up; every mountain, made low. 
Now the glory of the Lord is revealed, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!  Thanks be to God. 

*SHARING OF THE PEACE
The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
(Please share with one another a gesture, offering peace from your seat.)

GLORIA PATRI
Glory be to God, creator, redeemer and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.  Amen.

HEARING THE WORD

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Holy God, our hope and strength, by the power of your Spirit,
 prepare the way in our hearts for the coming of your Word,
 so that we may see the glorious signs of your promise fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

FIRST LESSON                     Luke 1:26-38

HYMN  GtG 100                   Canticle of the Turning  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvaOsH0HffY 

SECOND LESSON               Luke 1:46b-55

The Word of the LORD.  Thanks be to God!

SERMON       Let Us Light Candles: A Candle of Love                                with Dalila Ames

SILENT MEDITATION

RESPONDING TO THE WORD

OFFERING OF OUR GIFTS AND OURSELVES             2 Peter 3:8-15, Luke 1:35-38, 1 Corinthians 1:4
All things in heaven and earth belong to God, who is coming in glory to reveal a new creation. 
God Most High, receive the gifts of our lives as an offering of gratitude for your grace.
Overshadow us with your Holy Spirit and let it be with us according to your word,
 for nothing is impossible with you.  Let us offer our lives to the Lord.  Amen.
Doxology        Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Christ, all people here below.
Praise Holy Spirit evermore,
Praise Triune God, whom we adore.  Amen.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
If you would like to share your joys and concerns with the congregation, please call or email the church office.

Almighty God, you have promised to hear when we pray in the name of your Son.
Therefore in confidence and trust we pray:
Enliven the church for its mission that we may be salt of the earth and light to the world.
 Breathe fresh life into your people.  Give us power to reveal Christ in word and action. 
We pray for the world.
Lead us and every people into ways of justice and peace, that we may respect one another in freedom and truth.
  Awaken in us a sense of wonder for the earth and all that is in it.  Teach s to care creatively for its resources. 
We pray for the community.
God of truth, inspire with your wisdom those whose decisions affect the lives of others,
 that all may act with integrity and courage.  Give grace to all whose lives are linked with ours.
May we serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

We pray for those in need.
God of hope, comfort and restore all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.  May they know the power of your
 healing love.  Make us willing agents of your compassion.  Strengthen us as we share in making people whole.
We remember those who have died and those who mourn.
We remember with thanksgiving those who have died in the faith of Christ,
 and those whose faith is known to you alone.
Give comfort to those who mourn.  Fill the emptiness of their loss with your never-ending peace.

We pray for ourselves and our ministries.
Lord, you have called us to serve you.
Grant that we may minister in your name, with your love in our hearts, your truth in our minds, your strength in our wills; until, at the end of our journey, we know the joy of our homecoming
 and the welcome of your embrace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER

*HYMN PH 12  People, Look East  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kqoIf-OzzQ 

*CHARGE AND BENEDICTION              Isaiah 40:3, Mark 1:3
May the God of peace make you holy and the power of the Spirit
 sustain you until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Go.  Prepare the way of the Lord!
*CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE     Amen!

POSTLUDE
At Home:  Hark, the Glad Sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeBRYhG86x0 

Please call the church office with your prayer or pastoral care requests.

Please hold in your prayers:
~ For all those struggling with depression and disconnection during this pandemic.
~ For health issues with Richard
~ For Steve who has some serious medical issues.
~ Nicholas & Jennifer, for strength through their grief.
~ For Debbie and Curtis.
~ Prayers of healing for Dominic, who has covid-19.
~ Prayers of healing for Ingrid after knee surgery.
~ Prayers for compassion and courage for people living on the streets.
~ For the brokenhearted of all ages.
~ In thanksgiving for all who donate and volunteer for the Free Community Dinners.
~ In thanksgiving for all who donate and volunteer for the Food Pantry.
~ For Betsey as she recovers from bypass surgery.
~ For all those visiting our food pantry & Free Community Dinner.
~ For Jay, as she begins chemotherapy this week.
~ For our nation & our region as Covid-19 cases rise; may we be cautious and safe.
~ For all who are infected with and impacted by Covid-19.
~ For Laurie’s mother, Barbara.
~ For peace and joy this Advent as we anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
~ For people in our community to be a support and kind soul to one another.
~ For all of the prayers we have in our minds and in our hearts.
~ For Laurie who hasn’t been feeling well.

Announcements

Advent–Christmas–Epiphany Devotional & Discussion:  As is our custom, we will make available a devotional for members of the congregation who would like to deepen their spiritual lives during these holy seasons. This year, we will use an online resource published by Presbyterians Today, called “Let Us Light Candles.”  The resource can be accessed at this link: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/today/advent2020/  Please contact Pastor Margery with questions or if you would like us to mail you printed copies.

We will also gather weekly, by way of Zoom meeting, to discuss the ideas and suggestions in the text from December 1, 2020 – January 5, 2021. 
Advent-Christmas Devotional Discussion:  this week’s discussion will be held on Wednesday 12/23/20 at 7 PM by way of Zoom.  (This is a change of date due to conflicts.)
The Devotional, “Let Us Light Candles” can be accessed at: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/today/advent2020/

To join the meeting, click here at 7 PM on Wednesday 12/23/20:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87346044321?pwd=aEVFZjN6RG9RVTVDdVFzSTdOcDRaUT09
You may also call in by phone: 1(929)205-6099
Meeting ID: 873 4604 4321
Passcode: 033819

The Food Pantry – As of January 1, 2021, the Food Pantry will suspend operations.
Alternate arrangements will be made for all recipients to transfer to another pantry. 
Please contact Kathy Sorce or Pastor Margery for more information.

The Free Community Dinner provides take-out meals on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of each month.
Our next Free Community Dinner To-Go is on Saturday, January 2nd.  Have a festive meal, on us!

Remember to light a candle with us on Christmas Eve.  We even supplied one for you last week!  Send a photo to the office (fpcwf2800@gmail.com) of your household with your candle, or your Advent wreath, or other candles on Christmas Eve.  We’d love to see you and your light shining in the darkness.  With your permission, we’ll send it on to Presbyterians Today magazine, as they have requested.
Christmas will surely be different this year.  We pray that you have a safe, healthy and blessed Christmas.

On Sunday, December 27, 2020, the staff of Hudson River Presbytery has invited us to worship together with congregations throughout the presbytery.  A bulletin and link will be made available to access a worship service as of 9 AM on 12/27/20.  We will distribute it as soon as it is available.

 Covid-19 Update: Christmas Eve worship will be held virtually ONLY at 7 PM. 

Sunday services will be held virtually ONLY at 10 AM for the foreseeable future, until it is safer to gather.  Contact the office for information to participate.

Prayer Requests:
You may email us at fpcwf2800@gmail.com or leave a voicemail message at (845)297-2800.
We will send out an email list during the week.

Pastoral Care:
If you would like to receive pastoral care, please call the church office at (845)297-2800 or call Pastor Margery directly at (914)539-5323.  Pastor Laurie is available 3-5 PM on weekdays. You can reach her at (845)632-1124 or by calling the church office.
Pastoral care will be offered by appointment only, either outdoors or in the church dining room, fellowship hall or sanctuary, to accommodate for social distancing.
Please let us know how else we can support your spiritual needs.

Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves:
Thank you for continuing to honor your pledges during this time.  Whether you bring it to worship, send a check to the church office by mail or make your contribution using online banking, it is important that we maintain our ability to pay our bills as we continue to navigate this disruptive time as a church community.  Thank you for your generosity!