December 2014 CrossCurrents Volume XLIX, No. 12 Lutheran Church of the Cross (LCMS) • Rockville, Maryland W The Church Year e Christians are ahead of the world because our new church year will begin with Advent on November 30, 2014, rather than January 1, 2015. Advent is followed by Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. We are ahead of the world because our church year celebrates the life of our Lord and His family, the church, a life of anticipation and expectation (Advent), grace and gift (Christmas), light and revelation (Epiphany), service and sacrifice (Lent), freedom and hope (Easter), and power and change (Pentecost). Each of these gifts us in a unique way for a life of meaning, purpose, and value. There’s a saying out there that goes something like “You only go round once in life, so...,” and might conclude, “grab all you can, do the best you can, or survive as long as you can.” That is not true in the faith that gives us the opportunity, and calls us forward, to be a part of our Lord’s life and work and grace each year with an opportunity to experience His power and presence among us and through us in new ways. God is still speaking to us, acting through us, and working for us in new ways, for we are a part of His new, ever new, creation. A few years ago, we visited the Grand Canyon. Soon after I arrived and while waiting for the tour bus, I learned that the Canyon was one of the few places in the world that one might get a glimpse of the American Condor, now almost extinct. I was ready. With camera in hand and quick steps, I eagerly hustled up each path from the parking area where the bus dropped us off, moved around the edge of each viewing area, eyes peeled and camera ready, for its appearance. However, after four stops, four hustlings, four movings around, and four eye peelings, I got tired and my enthusiasm waned. So at the 5th stop, I decided to remain in the bus and continue my pursuit at the 6th of the 7 stops. You can imagine my disappointment, when soon after the bus pulled away toward the 6th stop, a passenger commented on how beautiful and triumphant it was to see the American Condor. To say the least, I was not happy, very frustrated, and even considered doing the whole loop again, including the 5th stop. It might be tempting for us to just “go through the motions” of the Church continued on page 2 Lutheran Church of the Cross is a community of committed Christian believers: Loved by God who gave His Only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom alone we have our salvation. Nurtured by God’s Word and Sacraments, we are eager to use our God-given gifts for sharing the Gospel in a ministry of love and service that reaches out to and for each other and all people. from pastor dave (cont.) year or to skip one or more of the stops, because we know how it works or we are busy or distracted, or we are afraid to get too close because we might get caught up in it and our life might take a new direction. Harry Wendt, author of the Crossways and Divine Drama study materials, says, “Being a Christian is not sitting in the audience and watching a drama on a stage, but being in a drama or part of the drama of salvation.” It’s about relationship: Him and us, us and Him, Him and others, others and Him. That’s incarnation—relationship in the flesh. Throughout the year, He meets and greets, lifts and laughs, shares and saves, forgives and forgets, frees and binds, lightens and leads, comforts and changes us as we meet Him in Word and Sacrament, on the mountain and in the valley, in friend and neighbor, sick or well, happy or sad, struggling or flying. Him, us, and them. A friend put it this way when he said, “I wonder whether we do ministry to learn how to live or we live to learn how to do ministry.” I would say, “We need to live the drama of the church—Christ’s life, death, and resurrection intersecting with ours—in order to know how to be a part of that drama with our neighbors in the world.” So come close to him at the beginning of this new year, as he comes close to you: look for Him as He looks for you (Advent); decorate the Kingdom as He decorates your life (Christmas); light His way as He lights yours (Epiphany); strip away excess baggage as He strips away your sins (Lent); scatter branches as He scatters his grace (Palm); live free as He has made you free (Easter); and share His power and spirit as He empowers you and energizes your life (Pentecost) during one more year of anticipated and promised grace. Traverse all the paths life takes you with Him, “Christ” camera ready. I know and believe He will show us Himself once again in snapshots of the life and salvation He reveals to us every day. Peace, Page 2 • December 2014 elder’s view Holiday Wishes D ecember is nearly upon us. And with December comes the Holidays, a time when Christians celebrate and rejoice in the birth of Christ. But Christmas is not just a Christian Holiday. It is a national holiday in America, a country that prides itself on not giving special treatment to any one religion. I have never heard an adequate explanation for this. I like to think the secular aspect of Christmas is to wish peace and joy to everyone, and to show love for those close to you by giving gifts. In fact, I have many Jewish friends who do just that. They put up a Christmas tree and exchange cards and gifts with friends and family. Of course, there are some Jewish people who complain and object to any symbols of Christmas, including Christmas trees and Santa. To these folks I extend a sincere “Bah Humbug.” Even if you do not accept Christ as your Savior, can you not wish peace and joy to others, and express your love for your friends and family? For non-Jews, can you not praise God’s miracles during Chanukah? For non-Muslims, can you not give to the poor during Ramadan, or any other time for that matter? I think we can. So my wishes for you this Holiday season are to celebrate the birth of Christ, to look for the good in the hearts and beliefs of others, and to have a very Merry Christmas with those you love. —Nick Sbrockey, Elder congregation business Vote on 2015 Budget • December 7 Plan now to attend the Disciples’ Forum December 7 at 11:45 a.m. Hear ministry updates, consider and vote on the budget, and hear more about the Pastoral call, and more. CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross christian education “Are You Ready?” December 14 at 10:15 a.m. T he children and youth of our Sunday School will present their program during the worship service. Join us as we explore ways to “get ready” to welcome our promised Savior. Our presentation will include musical selections sung by the children and adult choir, spoken parts, and some customary visitors! Taco Bar Luncheon Following the worship service, all are invited for lunch in the undercroft. A taco bar will be our featured entrée! Please sign up for the various fixings and sides needed for our festive meal. The high school group will meet on December 7 for their monthly Bible Study. On December 28, there will be no classes or sessions for children, youth, or adults. WORSHIP & PRAISE December Worship Advent Worship: Preparation First Sunday of Advent, November 30 10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion. Second Sunday of Advent, December 7 10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion. (11:45 Disciples’ Forum, see note on p. 2.) Third Sunday of Advent, December 14 10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion and special Christian Education program. (11:45 Taco Bar Luncheon, see article at left.) Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 21 10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion. Christmas Worship: Celebration! Christmas Eve, December 24 7:30 p.m. Candlelight Service with Communion. Christmas Day, December 25 Events Decorate Church December 6, 1–4 pm T is the Season to be Jolly! Come help decorate the church Saturday, December 6, 1–4 p.m. Many hands make the work go quickly, and it’s a great way to get in the holiday spirit. Please donate an hour or whatever time you have available. Refreshments will be provided. Thank you. —Sherry Owens Page 3 • December 2014 10:15 a.m. Service of Lessons and Carols of Christmas. Sunday after Christmas, December 28 10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion. Note: There will be no Sunday School or Adult Bible Class this day. children of the cross A ministry of LCC Join us for “Angel, Angel” Wednesday December 17 6:15 p.m. CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross children of the cross A ministry of LCC “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” W e truly believe that here in preschool, as we spent a week in November creating our annual thanksgiving feast of corn bread, butter, and friendship soup. In December the fun doesn’t stop, as we create our Advent count-down, decorate the classroom, start making presents for parents, and present our annual program. Everyone is invited to join us on Wednesday, December 17 at 6:15 p.m. for “Angel, Angel!” Student of the Month Our student of the month in December is Chloe. Chloe is in our 3s class and loves to play with her friends as well as have someone read her a story. Chloe is also very well-versed in many preschool songs and enjoys singing them for us when we toss out a request! Chloe and her parents are new to our school, and we are happy that they chose Children of the Cross! Preschool Progress We have been moving quickly it seems through the alphabet, and we try and prepare a “letter treat” each week. Homemade vanilla ice cream was enjoyed by everyone during “I” week. “J” week was tough, but everyone loved the blue jello with juju fish! We made healthy kabobs for “K” week before our feast later that day. Lend a Helping Hand! December Needs n PRAYERS nGlue Sticks nEmpty orange juice or milk cartons (school lunch size) nGraham crackers n Candy (no nuts) nLink your Harris Teeter card to school 8501. nTry holiday shopping using smile. amazon.com. Once you register under LCC, bookmark the site, and all purchases you make will benefit Children of the Cross! Preschool Needs Preschool needs this month include glue sticks (we go through those pretty quickly), and to help us make “preschool gingerbread houses” we need empty orange juice/milk cartons (school lunch size) and graham crackers and candy (no nuts). Thanks to all those who have already donated items and purchased food through our fall Claire’s fundraiser! When You Shop When you are doing your Christmas shopping this year and choose Amazon, don’t forget to link your account to Lutheran Church of the Cross. Once you are linked, Amazon will remind you to support the preschool with eligible purchases. Go to www. smile.amazon.com. Many thanks! A blessed Christmas from the Staff of Children of the Cross! Brenda Bertrand, Preschool Director Music notes Sounds of the Season T here is a chill in the air. That either means that the holidays are coming or I forgot to button my Doctor Dentons! Either way, Thanksgiving, the Advent season, and Christmastide are such beautiful times of the year. I hope you will join us each Sunday during Advent as we present special music. We will also incorporate an Advent Lessons and Carols service and special music by our youngest children to our mature singers. Christmas Eve and Christmas day are beautiful times to be at LCC, and we hope to see all of you as we celebrate our Lord’s birth. May the peace of Christ be with you during this holiday season. —John Marlowe, Minister of Music Page 4 • December 2014 CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross Pastoral call Update | Calling a Permanent Pastor O n October 29, the Coordinators’ Assembly and Elders met with Stephen Heeman, Executive Director for Stewardship and Finance, and Sally Hiller, Executive Director for Congregational Outreach and District Operations, of the Southeastern District–Missouri Synod (SED). We received some very interesting data relating to LCC: 1. Our membership: According to data at the SED, we reported 468 baptized members with 309 communicant members in 2013. This would classify us as a large congregation (28th largest of 210) in the SED. Theoretically, we could support 2, maybe 3 full-time staff members. Obviously, these figures are very inaccurate. 2. Significant data about our area (3 mile radius) ages, income, children, marital status, ethnicity. 3. Categories of potential pastoral options, e.g., full-time, seminarian, dual parish, retired military chaplain, etc. 4. Mission targets: where can we best direct our efforts. | SED Meeting These and other areas are important for us to consider as God guides us to and through our future. Probably our most immediate action needs to be to correct our membership data. Our inflated figures need to be corrected ASAP to reflect the actual number of participating disciples for a number of reasons. For example, the Synod assesses each congregation for the national convention according to their membership, and our inaccurate data would also give a future called pastor a false picture of who we are. At this writing, I plan to, with the CA’s approval, delegate the Elders the lead in the task of going through our membership list so it will accurately reflect our participating members. We can create an “associate” type of membership category so inactive former members can maintain their connection to LCC. More later. Jerry Williamson, Congregation President community I Help Sell Christmas Trees to Our Neighbors! t’s that time of the year. We are selling Christmas Trees again. They have been ordered, and Chris Williamson has agreed to take charge of the project again. To give some history of the project, when a contractor rented our lot, LCC was given $800 and several trees for the church. This will be our third year of doing it ourselves. Over the past 2 years, LCC has received about $3,500 to $4,000 net proceeds from the sales. Volunteers Needed! The largest variable is volunteer labor (that’s you). The more help we have from disciples of LCC, the less we have to pay for help. Some of the work is heavy, but some, like sales, anyone can do. Look for the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board on the lower level to sign up for times you can help. Invite a friend to serve with you! And remember, most of the sales are local, so this is an opportunity to meet our neighbors! Jerry Williamson Page 5 • December 2014 CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross 7 14 Advent 3 21 No Preschool 9am-2pm Preschool No Preschool 22 Book Group @ Stano’s 6:30pm WOC = Women of the Cross Christmas 1 31 4 25 18 11 10:15am Service of Christmas Lessons & Carols 24 17 10 3 Christmas Tree Sales Friday 26 19 12 6 27 20 13 7:30-9:30am World for Jesus Ministry Gingerbread Houses 10am-12noon Church Decorating 1-4pm 5 Christmas Tree Sales 8:00am-1:00pm — New Heaven & Earth Assembly (NHEA) Saturday Pastor David Betzner, Intentional Interim Pastor – Home: 301-694-8761; Cell: 301-514-1781 Mrs. Brenda L. Bertrand, Commissioned Minister / Preschool Director – Phone: 301-762-7566 Mr. John A. Marlowe, Minister of Music – Phone: 301-681-5197 Church Phone: 301-762-7565 Fax: 301-762-7551 Email: [email protected] No Preschool No Preschool 7:30pm Christmas Eve Service Christmas Tree Sales A C T I V I T I E S Preschool Christmas Program 6:15 p.m. 30 23 16 9 2 S P E C I A L Christmas Tree Sales 7:30-9pm LCC Choir Rehearsal 9am-2pm Preschool Wednesday Thursday A C T I V I T I E S 9am-2pm Preschool 10:30am LCC Staff Meeting 11:30am Preschool Chapel Tuesday W E E K L Y Christmas Tree Sales 8 1 15 WOC Christmas Party 6:30pm Place TBD Christmas Tree Sales 9am-2pm Preschool Monday 29 28 No Preschool No Preschool NO CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Christmas Tree Sales Advent 4 CrossCurrents Deadline Taco Bar Luncheon 12-2pm 9am LCC High School Youth Disciples’ Forum 12-2pm Advent 2 Christmas Tree Sales 9am LCC Christian Education 10:15am – LCC Worship Service 10:30-4pm–Mustard Seed Chinese 11:30am LCC Fellowship/Coffee Sunday DECEMBER 2014 MARTHA & SAM LAYN MELONEE NOLL & RICK NOLL SPENCER FAMILY BERTRAND RICK NOLL & TBD ELAINE REYNOLDS & VONNIE WALEWSKI SHERYL SNESKO & MARIE WILLIAMSON J. WILLIAMSON FAMILY NOLL ANDY CARIS & BOB MICHAELS MARIE WILLIAMSON SHERRY OWENS & NORMA SPANCER RANDY SPENCER & BOB MICHAELS REYNOLDS FAMILY WILLIAMSON/PAR BRYCE KOOBA & PAT SCHETTINO A/B BERTRAND COFFEE COUNTERS GREETER ACOLYTE USHERS LECTORS TBD TBD KOOBA TBD MARK LIVELY & JOHN FRANSON - MARTHA MOORE DECEMBER 24 TBD TBD BANBARA MARIE WILLIAMSON BOB OWENS & LARRY REYNOLDS MICHAELS LAYN FAMILY RANDY SPENCER & BOB MICHAELS VONNIE WALEWSKI & PAT SCHETTINO TBD ARNELL CARIS & LEAH MICHAELS SHERYL SNESKO & VONNIE WALEWSKI DECEMBER 28 - MARTHA MOORE DECEMBER 25 CANTOR: RANDY SPENCER THANK YOU FOR SERVING! IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO SERVE ON YOUR ASSIGNED DAY, PLEASE MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH SOMEONE ELSE AND CONTACT THE CHURCH OFFICE AT 301-762-7565 OR [email protected] WITH ANY CHANGES. THANK YOU! PAT SCHETTINO LEAH MICHEALS & CHERYL SBROCKEY MARTHA LAYN & SHERRY OWENS ARNELL CARIS & CAROL STRAUCH DECEMBER 14 DECEMBER 21 ALTAR DECEMBER 7 KIDS – TALK PRAYER: THAI LILY WILLIAMSON HOSPITALITY: MARIE WILLIAMSON RECYCLING: RICK NOLL FOR THE MONTH: ELDER: NICK SBROCKEY THOSE WHO SERVE US – DECEMBER 2014 fellowship Congratulations! Make Gingerbread Houses December 6 J oin us in the lower level of the church, as we celebrate the season by decorating gingerbread houses. Look for sign-up sheets in the November 23 worship folder. Cost is $15 for one house or $25 for two, to cover the cost of baking, frosting, and extra decorating supplies. Please make checks payable to “Women of the Cross,” and place them in the offering plate or my church mailbox by November 30. Or, send an e-mail to me at [email protected] If you would like to assist with baking or putting houses together (the evening of December 5), please contact me. Help continue the tradition! —Melonee Noll LCC Celebrates December Birthdays Jess Beattie Carol Borchelt Andy Caris Carol Currey Bayley Kooba Lisa Noll Sherry Owens Walt Stewart Susan Sverha December Wedding Anniversaries Laura & Ryan Jennings Laurie & Phil Snyder Grandpa, Again! Grandfather Charles Hintze announces the birth on November 13 of Wyatt David Smith, son of Krista (Hintze) and Brett Smith of Princess Anne, MD. At birth Wyatt weighed 6 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20 in. long. We ask God to bless this young family! Baptized! On November 9 we welcomed into the body of Christ through Holy Baptism Christopher Gary Konisiewicz, son of Sarah and Bryan Konisiewicz. All thanks and praise be to God! HELPING OTHERS Donate Dinner for Families in Need T hanks to all who donated and purchased turkeys and hams in November. This month, the Dudes of the Cross continue the partnership with HoneyBaked Ham to support the Manna Food Bank of Gaithersburg and the Interfaith Women’s Shelter of Rockville. To donate, go online to https://MyHoneyBakedStore.com/Gaithersburg/2205/EPP/Index.asp. Enter code KKFWMA, and you can donate hams, turkeys, and sides until December 21, 2014. HoneyBaked Ham will, in turn, donate 15% of their proceeds from purchases to support LCC’s ministries. We encourage everybody to openly support this program and to please reach out to family members and friends to do the same. Page 8 • December 2014 The Dudes have worked many hours cultivating relationships with corporate sponsors like HoneyBaked Ham. Your participation will ensure LCC’s ability to recruit other corporate sponsors so that we can keep these ministries viable and productive in the future. Thanks for your support! Bob Owens and Bob Michaels Thanks for Helping to Restock the Lord’s Table Soup Kitchen Pantry! Thank you to the many LCC disciples who brought fruit, vegetables, soup, and cereal in November to support the food pantry at Lord’s Table Soup Kitchen in Gaithersburg! Marie Williamson, Outreach CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross women’s ministry Book Group Meets December 16 Women of the Cross I t is almost time for the annual WOC Christmas party, on Monday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m. Join us for our annual get-together of fellowship, fun, and games! As of the CrossCurrents deadline, we still need a location, so watch the announcement page of the weekly bulletin, and look for a sign-up sheet and mailbox invitations for details. Our gift exchange this year is a “sock exchange.” Fill a pair of fun Christmas socks with some small goodies, tie them with a bow, and bring the bundle to the party along with yourself and your favorite appetizer, snack, or beverage. See you then! Treats Many thanks to all those who participated and were “boo’d” and “gobbled” these past two months! Keep checking the small, low table inside the kitchen door for some elfish fun in December! January 24th Gathering Remember to mark your calendar for our Saturday January get-together: a soup luncheon at church with a devotion and “helpful hints” exchange. Think of your best trick, secret, or “cheat” and prepare to share it with the group! Brenda Bertrand Next Gathering: Tuesday, December 16, 6:30 p.m. Host: Carol Stano 436 Winter Walk Drive, Gaithersburg, MD, 301-527-0106 Note the time (6:30 pm) for this book group gathering! It is the traditional Christmas Dinner with the traditional Christmas book gift exchange, yet no group book review. It’s an example of a book-related activity that can occur in addition to the traditional monthly book discussion. Next Book Discussion: Tuesday, January 20, 7:30 p.m. Host: Brenda Patterson, 34 Waddington Ct., Rockville, MD, 301-610-7575 Book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Books are usually selected a couple of months in advance; suggestions/recommendations are welcome! Selections for early to mid-2015 months will be chosen at the January gathering. You are always welcome, whenever your interest in a particular book and/or schedule allows! Come, learn, enjoy!! Questions? Contact me at 301-424-0541. Susan Sverha Page 9 • December 2014 CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross Special event Food for thought Reconsider the Rush T he Christmas rush leads to stress for many people. But author Burton Hills viewed the madness from another perspective: “Eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now, perhaps, that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks, but of centuries — [more than] twenty of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.” Page 10 • December 2014 Lutheran Church of the Cross (LCMS) CrossCurrents is published monthly. Lutheran Church of the Cross, 12801 Falls Road Rockville, MD 20854-6199 • Telephone: (301) 762-7565 • Fax: (301) 762-7551 Intentional Interim Pastor: The Rev. David Betzner Commissioned Minister &Preschool Director: Brenda Bertrand Minister of Music: John Marlowe Pastor Emeritus: The Rev. Lester P. Stano • Email: [email protected] Congregation President: Jerry Williamson • Web site: www.lccrockville.org Newsletter Editor: Carol Strauch • To receive CrossCurrents automatically in your e-mail box each month, send an e-mail to [email protected] • To receive a paper copy, please send an e-mail request to [email protected] lccrockville.org or call our church office at 301-762-7565. “Food for Thought” items reprinted with permission from NewsletterNewsletter.com CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES See the last page for the solution to this puzzle. Copyright © 2014 by Communication Resources. All rights reserved. Published monthly by Communication Resources, Inc. http://www.NewsletterNewsletter.com Lutheran Church of the Cross 12801 Falls Road Rockville, MD 20854-6199 Change service requested Dated material—Do not hold. Welcome our Savior! Join us for worship this Advent and Christmas! See page 3. The deadline for the January 2015 issue of CrossCurrents is Sun., December 14. FOOD FOR THOUGHT Upside Down? E ven amid increased secularization, God makes the core Christmas message known. Take, for example, the story of a “winter pageant” a mother attended at her son’s grade school. Songs of reindeer, snow and Santa included one titled “Christmas Love,” in which the youngest performers held up letters as the song progressed: “C,” “H,” etc. When a little girl unknowingly held her “M” upside down, the older kids snickered and the adult audience smiled acceptingly. But as the song drew to a close and all the letters were revealed, surprised recognition struck the Christians in the room. “CHRISTWAS LOVE,” read the string of student-borne letters. God’s truth had penetrated the human clutter and confusion around Christmas — as it has power to do throughout our lives: “Christ was love.” And of course, he still is.
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