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The ALC Messenger

Volume 57 Issue 10

December 2013

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free: From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee. Charles Wesley

The mission of the American Lutheran Congregation is to bring people of different nations and denominations together, and in the English language, empower them into becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. 1


The ALC Messenger Monthly Newsletter for the American Lutheran Congregation

INDEX ALC INFORMATION INDEX

PAGE 2

CALENDAR

PAGES 8-9

ANNOTATED ADVENT CALENDAR

PAGE 10-11

PASTOR’S CORNER,

PAGES 3-4

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

PAGE 5

ALC & FRIENDS CHRISTMAS PAGES 12-13 CONCERT, BIRTHDAYS

YOUTH CONFERENCE IN LUXEMBOURG

PAGES 6-7

POEMS BY ARNE DAG, SUNDAY SCHOOL CHRISTMAS PROPAGES 14-16 GRAM

American Lutheran Congregation Pastor: Timothy Stewart Office Secretary: Rie Melhoos Council President: Robert Sebro Messenger Editors and Helpers : Mel Engebretsen, Eric Mandeville, Bob Sebro, Rie Melhoos, Visiting address: Fritzners gate 15, 0264 Oslo, Norway Mailing Address: PO Box 3012 Elisenberg, 0207 Oslo, Norway Phone: + 47 22 44 35 84 Fax: +47 22 44 30 15 Email: office@alcoslo.org Webpage: www.alcoslo.org

Bank account number for offerings :5081.07.47827 2


Pastor’s Corner Dear Friends, ON DECEMBER 1st we enter into a new church year with the short four week season of Advent. Then comes the Christmas celebration which many of us are already preparing for and expecting. It is interesting to me how our hopes and expectations for Christmas may change over the years, and even our traditions may change with the passage of time, but whatever our individual practices, Christmas’ place in our life continues. I think it is because of the sense of hope Christmas brings to our lives and our world. Below I’ve included to of my favorite pieces I included in an old journal about Advent and Christmas. I apologize that I don’t remember where they originally came from, but I hope they give you something to think about as they have for me. ADVENT: "Life is a constant Advent season: we are continually waiting to become, to discover, to complete, to fulfill. Hope, struggle, fear, expectation and fulfillment are all part of our Advent experience. The world is not as just, not as loving, not as whole as we know it can and should be. But the coming of Christ and his presence among us—as one of us—give us reason to live in hope: that light will shatter the darkness, that we can be liberated from our fears and prejudices, that we are never alone or abandoned. May this Advent season be a time for bringing hope, transformation and fulfillment into the Advent of our lives." CHRISTMAS: “Perhaps the hardest thing to remember about Christmas is this. "It celebrates the incarnation, not just the nativity. The incarnation is an on-going process of salvation, while the nativity is the once-for-all-historical event of Bethlehem. More than celebrating Christ’s ‘birthday,’ remembering something that happened long ago. We celebrate the stupendous fact of the incarnation, God entering our world so thoroughly that nothing has been the same since. And God continues to take flesh in our midst, in the men and women and children who form his body today. And the birth we celebrate is not just the past historical event but Christ’s continuing birth in his members, accomplished by the power of the Spirit through the waters of baptism...what we celebrate is our redemption in Christ and the transformation of all creation by the presence of the Holy in our midst." (Continued on following page)

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Pastor’s Corner (continued) FINALLY, I want to remind you of our Christmas Eve shared meal which takes place in Hanson Hall following the 16:00 Christmas Eve Worship. This meal is open to everyone who is looking for a good meal and some wonderful company to spend Christmas eve with. If you are going to attend, we ask that you let us know by using the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the ALC entrance. Those who are coming are asked to bring a dish to share (and which does not require preparing at the church). We are also asking that folks from the congregation who would like to support this meal, but who cannot attend them selves, to consider donating a turkey or ham or maybe a gift of money toward the costs of the evening. Please speak with Pastor Stewart for details, etc. Many blessings for an expectant Advent and a joyous Christmas. In Christ, Pastor Tim Stewart

Prayers If you have prayer concerns, please contact our Prayer Chain administrator, Gillian Holby, at jillholby@gmail.com or the church office.

Would you like to give your offering using your debit or credit card? This is now possible at the ALC. We have a payment terminal and it is located at the back of Sanctuary during the worship service. Thank you for your support! 4


President’s Corner Rejoice Christ is coming! We have reached the start of a new church year. The Advent season, and preparing for Christmas is a special time of anticipation and joy for all Christians. Many activities are planned at the ALC; starting off with our Sunday School Christmas Pageant Sunday, December 9th. This is our chance to see our great Sunday school kids in action. The following Sunday evening, December 15th we will have our now annual sing-along Christmas concert lead by our music leader Brad Staubes. The church will be decorated to complement all our wonderful Christmas worship services. So check out the calendar; bring your family and friends, and join in the celebration! All these activities are made possible through your involvement. It’s amazing how much so many of you contribute to all of our programs here at the ALC. Last month’s Christmas bazar and flea market was a great success, and our annual Wednesday evening Thanksgiving Service with pie fellowship the same. Through your willingness to share your time and talents, - you make the difference; Thank you! I want to up-date you on “THE MASTER KEY PROJECT” the 50th anniversary of our church building. The church council is in favor of starting an annual “ALC REMEMBERANCE SUNDAY” celebration to be held in October each year. There is a committee forming to properly prepare for this. Let Pastor or I know if you have suggestions, ideas or want to take part in “THE MASTER KEY PROJECT”. Now it’s time to enjoy the Christmas season, light the candles on your Advent wreath in preparation to celebrate the birth of Christ! Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Soli Deo Gloria Bob Sebro ALC Council president

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Report from the Youth Conference in Luxembourg

Thanks to the hospitality of All Nations Church, this year’s Youth Conference was held in Luxembourg from 31 October – 3 November 2013. All high school youth (age 14-19) were invited to join for a weekend of fellowship and worship led by a fantastic team of AICEME youth pastors. Thanks to ALC and parents, from Oslo four of our youth could take part at this conference. This year’s theme was “Thrive.” Over our weekend together we explored what it looks like to grow, to thrive, in the life of faith. We looked at ancient practices of the church and then we thought about how spiritual practices look like in today’s quickly changing and increasingly noisy world. But of course, we also had plenty of good food, music, games, free time, and the annual city scavenger hunt. More about how one of our youth has experiences his first youth conference follows …………... My first time Youth conference in Luxembourg was fantastic. It was beyond my expectations. I had a chance to meet and be friends with children of God from different nations, also to hear the message of God that he wanted me to receive. On Thursday, on our way to the hostels form the airport, I forgot my bag that had my laptop, camera, USB with all my assignments in the bus. When we got to the hostel, that’s when I found out that my bag was lost, my head is spinning around and I just felt like I am in another lonely world. The only thing I could do at that time was to pray, while I was praying I was told that my bag has been found and that I need to fetch it. When I got to the station and saw the couple that had my bag, I was so relieved, happy and on my way back to the hostels I was praying and thanking God for what he had done for me and the hospitality that I got from people who went an extra mile to help me. Later on that day, we went for a walk around the city then went back to the hostel and had dinner. For me it was hard to socialize and interact with the other people the first time. Then we had a blessing praise and worship in the evening and met our roommates from Zurich. 6


Report from the Youth Conference in Luxembourg (Continued) The following day during the breakfast it was still the same story, hard to socialize and interact with the other people. To get to church from the hostel for the sessions we had to walk. Walking was good for us and it actually made time to get to know others. Through walking I got to know someone from Netherland but born in South Africa because he once lived there and a guy from Zurich who has South African friends that can speak my language and many others. At church we had activities to go around the hall dancing and singing a Ghanaian song- Timbea, and then had to a task. First task was to introduce yourself to people you don’t know and tell them something embarrassing about yourself. Second one was to find someone from the same home country as you; unfortunately I was the only one from South Africa. Third was to make a triangle pyramid and last but not least was to find someone you share a birthday month with. Our daily sessions talked about choosing our friends wisely by asking ourselves if they are adding to our lives of subtraction. Praying is when we talk and connect to Jesus which we need to do on daily basis. Fasting is when we give up food to ask something from God or either to just thank him. Meditating is when believe that our thoughts and dreams about Jesus are happening. Silence can be used to make peace or sometimes to connect to God. To make the world a better place is in our hands as a youth. We were put into groups and had to do activities such as City Hunt, where we had to take fun pictures of our group being creative. On Saturday we took part in serve the city organisation and our task was to make strangers in the city write something nice about Luxembourg in a chart and posters on a wall in the middle of the city. I got an award for best nice thing writer. In the evening everything had changed. During the dinner, I was interacting and socializing as much as I could. Even afterwards that we played games and cards; also got to know many other people. I couldn’t even believe myself. By the time I went to bed, I had got to know eighty percent of the youth. Then the last day was sad as it was time for goodbyes and going back home to reality. I really had a good time at Luxembourg and the group that I got to know well was from Zurich. I can’t wait for next year.

Thanks Wandile for writing about your experience at the conference!! 7


Decemb Sun

Mon

Tue

1

2

9:30 Text Sunday 10:30 Choir 11:00 Worship Holy Communion

10:30 Bible Study 12:00 Staff Meeting 16:30 tNET 17:15 Al-Anon

8

9

9:30 Text Sunday 10:30 Choir 11:00 Sunday School Christmas Pageant 13:00 Jr. Youth

12:00 Staff Meeting 16:30 tNET 17:15 Al-Anon

18:15 AWC meeting

16

17

3

We 4

19:00 AWC Bo 19:00 Prayer 19:00 AA

10

11

18:00 Trustee 19:00 Prayer 19:00 Council 19:00 AA

16:00 Oslo Kirken 15

9:30 Text Sunday 10:30 Choir 11:00 Worship,

17:00 Christmas Concert 22

9:30 Text Sunday 10:30 Choir 11:00 Worship

12:00 Staff

18

19:00 Book D Group at Pars 19:00 Prayer 19:00 AA

Meeting 16:30 tNET 17:15 Al-Anon

23

24

Christmas Eve

16:30 tNET 17:15 Al-Anon

16:00 Christmas Eve Service Dinnner following the service in Hansen Hall

16:00 Oslo Kirken 29

30

31

9:30 Text Sunday 10:30 Choir 11:00 Worship Svc 16:00 Oslo Kirken

16:30 tNET 17:15 Al-Anon

New Years Eve

8

25 Christmas Da Service 11:0


ber 2013

ed

oard Mtg Group

es meeting Group l meeting

Thu 5

Fri 6

7

19:00 Christmas Concert Practice in Hanson Hall Women’s Group

12 19:00 Christmas Concert Practice in Hanson Hall

13

19

20

Sunday School Christmas Pageant Practice 14:30 AA

14 14:30 AA

21

Discussion sonage Group,

ay 00 AM

Sat

14:30 AA

26 2nd Day of Christmas

27

28

Church Office closed

14:30 AA

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The season of festivals is here, and it is never to early to get them on your calendar. Here is an annotated calendar for the coming Advent season:

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December 1, 8, 15 and 22 - The Sundays of Advent Worship begins at 11:00 each Sunday as we move through the season of Advent. Advent is marked by themes of preparation and expectation. We prepare not only for the celebration of Christmas, but also more profoundly we focus on our preparation and expectation for Christ’s triumphant return to bring in God’s Kingdom. The lighting of the Advent wreath in each week’s worship service helps us mark our movement through the season.

December 8 - Sunday School Christmas Pageant + Christmas Decorating Our worship service this Sunday is built around our Sunday School children’s presentation of their annual Christmas pageant. It is a wonderful opportunity to receive their witness to God’s love shown in the birth of Christ, and to support their growth in the faith. (Rehearsals are on Saturdays November 30 and December 7) After worship we invite the congregation to help decorate the Sanctuary for Christmas including the large Christmas Tree as well as the small tree which will stand in Hanson Hall. Some of the children will join us after their Sunday School party but adults are encouraged to grab some refreshment at the Fellowship hour in Hanson Hall and come back to the Sanctuary to help prepare the space for Christmas. This is a big job and we can really use your help. Plan to be with us on December 8 for all of these great events.

December 16 - The ALC and Friends Christmas Concert Everyone is invited to a fun evening of Christmas music on Sunday, December 15 at 17:00. We are inviting the neighbors as well, and anyone who would enjoy a nice evening of singing Christmas favorites and we are pleased to announce that some of the children from FIP will be joining us as well. It will be an evening with opportunities to sing and listen to both sacred music and some famous popular Christmas music. If you think you might like to offer some music as well, please speak with our Musical Leader, Brad Staubes. You can find him in the choir loft every Sunday.You can also email him at bradstaubes@gmail.com.

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December 24 - Christmas Eve Service and Pot-luck Join us for our Christmas Evening Worship Service on 24 December beginning at 16:00 (and sure to end by 17:00). For many this service is a highlight of the year, when we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord. We will hear the story of God’s love come as a babe born in a manger as told through word and song. For those who may not have family here in Oslo to celebrate with or anyone looking for a place to share a meal and some wonderful Christmas cheer Christmas Eve, we invite you to join us in Hanson Hall after worship for our annual Christmas Eve Potluck Dinner. If you will be joining us, watch for a sign up sheet in the entryway bulletin boards or email us in the church office and be sure to tell us how many will be coming to the Potluck. We also ask that everyone please bring some food to share - enough for yourself and a bit extra for others. Together, we will make an evening of fun, food and Christmas fellowship.

December 25 - Christmas Day Service We gather at 11:00 on 25 December, Christmas Day for a special worship service with Holy Communion. In the midst of the many traditions (and demands) of Christmas, this is a sure way to be certain that Christ is remembered at the center of our celebrations. We normally are done by noon on Christmas Day in time to get you home for Christmas Day dinner.

Weekly Email News and Messenger and ALC Website The ALC sends out a weekly email news, as well as the monthly newsleter Messenger. If you would like to receive our news by email, please send an email to office@alcoslo.org In addition please take a look at our ALC website which has been updated . www.alcoslo.org

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ALC & Friends Christmas Concert Sunday, December 16, 2013 The American Lutheran Church in Oslo is hosting their annual Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 15, at 5pm, Everyone is invited to a fun evening of Christmas music. We are inviting the neighbors as well, and anyone who would enjoy a nice evening of singing Christmas favorites. We are pleased to announce that some of the children from FIP will be joining us as well. It will be an evening with opportunities to sing and listen to both sacred music and some famous popular Christmas music. If you have any questions, please speak with our Musical Leader, Brad Staubes. You can find him in the choir loft every Sunday.You can also email him at bradstaubes@gmail.com.

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God Bless You on Your Special Day! December Birthdays 1- Daniel Peter Mohr,

16 - Elisabeth Swedberg 17 - Maria Johansen 17 - Christian Mohr 18 - Christine Østrem 18 - Nematollah Malekshahian 19 - Alessandra Braathen 20 - Kyrre Magnus Kjesbu 20 - Abigael Balfour 21 - Helge Dahl 21 - Shelley A. Dahl 21 - Tumelo Ngwenya 22 - Jason Ekeli 22 - Katrina Balfour 22 - Sharon Hermanson 25 - Ruby Thune- Larsen 26 - Cecilie Waldo, 26 - Mattias C. Bekkmo 27 - Karin Henriksen 28 - Kristoffer Johnsen 28 - Tamara Wombley 29 - Liv Buli 29 - Heidi Schmidt, 29 - Wahidallah Hayat 29 - Dak-Henry John Garang Stewart 30 - Jeremy Jemuel Alcoriza 30 - Flavia Mellilo 30 - Tom Baker 31 - Gustav Trygve Siqueland, 31 - Daniel Stephens

1 - Rebecca Kurubai 2 - Jacob George 2 - Alexander Tøtdal 3 - Sten Anders Berge 4 - Nichole Van Sheers, 4 - Sarah Kaldestad 4 - Gerd-Charlotte R. M. Goonetilleke 6- Sunita Kumar 7 - Kristin Johansen 7 - Abigail Smefjell 8 - Timea Bakay Holby 8 - Joy Røysland 8 - Concepcion Manuyag 9 - Dillon Fiksdalstrand 10 - Charles Grove, 10 - Mojtaba Bakhshi 10 – Mia Kristina Thorsen 11 - Pamela Granerud 11 - Karen J. Sather 11 - Madelyn Grace Plato 12 - Marianne Evju, 13 Kristin Kjølseth 13 - Anuj Kajal 13 - Roselle Maghanoy 16 - Ingvild Aas Grove, 16 - Mary George 16 - Cedric Amlo 16 - Sofie Swedberg

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Arne Dag Johnsen wrote many poems during his life. Jackie chose a poem to include in the Messenger last month. We are repeating that poem again as the last line was inadvertently left out. Jackie has kindly chosen one additional poem that Arne Dag wrote to include in this month’s Messenger

The Church is Home Arne Dag Johnsen,, by God's Grace and to His Glory The congregation is a place where we can meet God's love and grace, where it is wonderful to be: we can get God's gifts for free, and give Him thanks and worship back. Then we shall never ever lack the guidance and the faith and peace that are able to release joy and strength and mighty power to spread God's blessing like a shower. The congregation fellowships are like homes where God equips for works, united to a team, bound by love and shining stream of light in our environment down to Earth from Heaven sent. When we as team the Lord obey the victory has come to stay. The teams must have some leaders/pastors. They are a shield against disasters. And they are a guarantee that in God's plan the church shall be. Surround them with your fervent prayer, and you'll be blessed with love and care.

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By God's Grace and to His Glory Norway, little, poor nation, outskirt of civilization. If harvest was not good, winter came with lack of food. But revival breakthrough came. Norway never was the same. Missionaries out were sent. Over all the globe they went. Investments made in Heaven's Bank. Praise to Father God, and thanks for blessings back to our land. From here your Kingdom should expand. Thank you, God, for freedom, wealth, for love and peace and joy and health! Today ungodly Government denies that God the blessings sent. Respect and fear of God they lack. Our basis they attack. In spite of sin and bad election we still have former times protection. And many prophecies have come, telling in a glorious sum of revival from abroad. For fulfillment give applaud to Jesus, our mighty Lord. Let's open up to full extent for all the people God has sent to us from every continent, ambassadors from God above. Together we shall spread His love. We also thank for those abroad who fight with us with shining sword. In unity and purity we shall inherit victory. Arne Dag Johansen [From his tNET Info, March 27, 2010]

SUNDAY MORNING TEXT STUDY You are invited to join Pastor Stewart each Sunday at 9:30 AM to take a look at the texts which will be read in worship that day. This is a great way to deepen one’s understanding of the texts which will be a center point of the following worship service. We will finish around 10:15, so to make the most of our time together, please be sure to be at the ALC library at 9:30.

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Please don’t forget the‌ Sunday School Christmas Pageant 2013 Sunday, December 8, 2013 11:00 am American Lutheran Church (Please bring Christmas cookies & cakes for the party in Hanson Hall following the service!)

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The Messenger December 2013