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MINISTERING FROM THE HEART OF THE CITY the

SPIRE Volume 96

December 2010 In This Issue Pastor’s Letter .……….... 2 Announcements ….….... 3 Karen Schneider .……... 4 Outreach ....................... 5 RMMO ……………..…........ 6 Community ……………….. 7

Church Life

Issue 12

Dec. 5, 9:30a.m. worship, Communion Celebration, "When Worlds Collide" How do we justify living in a commercialized Christmas culture while at the same time trying to live our Christian reasons for Christmas? It can and is a struggle for many. Join us. Dec. 12, 9:30a.m. worship, "Surprise!" When one reads the Christmas story, you get the idea that it was a surprise to just about everyone. The resurrection of Jesus also was a surprise to even his disciples. As we approach Epiphany (which means: surprised by God) join us as we talk about how we can be a pleasant surprise to others. Dec. 19 and Dec. 26 the 9:30 a.m. worship will be combined with the 11 a.m. worship.)

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Dec. 19, 11 a.m. combined worship, (Christmas Sunday) "Watch!" Advent is not some story that is lost in history. Because of the coming of Jesus we live with that advent even today. Join us! Dec. 26, 11 a.m. combined worship, "The Effects of Christmas" When we think of the effects of the holidays, we often think of indigestion and returning gifts. We will be talking about some of the more positive effects that Christmas can leave us with that take us into our lives and into the future.

Coffee Time follows the 9:30 a.m. service. The Reception and Talkback follow the 11 a.m. service.

December Birthdays Deneda Ross ……....… Karen Thorpe ……..…. Leigh Lyon ………….…. Roy Johnston ……….…. Tharon Stauffer …..… Marybelle Baker …..…. Mary Clarvoe ….....…. Sheila Burris ……….…. Ron Cooper ………..…… Becky Davis ………….. Kira Cronk …………….. Timothy Malfo ………..

12-03 12-10 12-10 12-12 12-14 12-18 12-22 12-23 12-27 12-28 12-28 12-29

Get the Spire Online or in the Mail! We are now offering two ways to get the monthly Spire. If you would like to help the church cut its postage costs, you can get your Spire online at www.fbcdenver.org. Just click on the Spire link on the home page. If you would like to continue to get your Spire in the mail, please fill out the form below and mail it to the church or put it in the offering plate on Sunday or call the office at 303-861-2501.

I would like to continue to have the Spire mailed to me. Name:


Pastor’s Letter

Consider Again Christmas

Dr. Gary Bowser Senior Minister

When

Pope Julius I authorized December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today. When Professor Charles Follen lit candles on the first Christmas tree in America in 1832, who would have ever thought that the decorations would become as elaborate as they are today. It is a long time since 1832, longer still from 353, even longer from that dark night brightened by a special star in which Jesus the king was born. Yet, as we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause, and in the midst of all the excitement and elaborate decorations and expensive commercialization which sur-

As we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause, and in the midst of all the excitement and elaborate decorations and expensive commercialization which surround Christmas today, to consider again the event of Christmas and the person whose birth we celebrate. round Christmas today, to consider again the event of Christmas and the person whose birth we celebrate.* I watched a documentary last week on the history of Christmas. It talked about how Nortic tribes in Europe celebrated “yule season” and brought trees into their houses as part of the celebration. Christian cele-

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bration eventually combined with the “pagan” celebrations and we have the result today. Personally I think it is kind of interesting to hear about the history of our traditions and holidays. Some are horrified to think that December 25 wasn’t the literal day that Jesus was born. I am just glad he was born. I cherish the biblical stories and celebrate them and even preach about it! I think that no matter what history might tell us, we all have to decide just how we are going to celebrate Christmas. Of course, we all agree on the date and most of the details, but the real challenge is deciding: What is my response to the possibility that God came to earth in the form of Jesus, who lived, died and was resurrected. It really is what matters most of all. Pastor Gary *Brian L. Harbour, James W. Cox, The Minister's Manual: 1994, San Fransico: Harper Collins, 1993, p. 254.

December 2010


Announcements

Annual Business Meeting Annual Business Meeting Sunday, Dec. 12, after the 11 a.m. worship, in Miller Hall Members are asked to please attend. You will be asked to vote on the 2011 budget and will be updated about what is on the horizon as we move into 2011.

Upcoming Holiday Events Save Your Change, Change a Life Once again we’re launching the Christmas Grocery Gift Bag ministry for the holiday season. We're asking that you toss whatever spare change you may have throughout the week in the bag. In December we will collect the bags and use the change you've saved to purchase grocery gift cards to give to those in need throughout the year. If you haven’t gotten your bag yet, please pick up one Sunday at the front of the sanctuary. This program has been extremely successful in past years, thanks to your generosity.

Christmas Worship Sunday, Dec. 19th, has been designated as Christmas Sunday. We will be combining our 9:30 a.m. worship and 11a.m. worship. This special Sunday worship will begin at 11a.m. Join us for this special service with all your favorite Christmas songs, including solos, carols and a Christmas-themed service.

Christmas Eve Service Join us at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 24, for our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service. Ryan Galanaugh, director of community relations at Metro CareRing will be the special speaker. The theme will be remembering those outside our walls. A Reception will follow. Bring a canned good for Metro CareRing.

The Sunday Following Christmas On Dec. 26 the 9:30 a.m. worship and the 11 a.m. service will come together for worship at 11 a.m.

Downtowners Young Adult Group The Downtowners young adult Doorway Worship service will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 16 and 30, and Jan. 13 and 27 in the west classroom. There will be good food, a program, and board games. Anyone between 18-40 is invited. You do not have to be a member to attend. Please join us for an evening of fun and fellowship. The group meets every other Thursday.

Chatbox Chatbox, the young adult discussion group, has moved to 10:30 a.m. on Sundays in the Young Adult Room upstairs. If you are a young adult, join us as we discuss an array of timely topics. December 2010

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Karen Schneider

Can a Christmas Button Make a Difference?

Karen Schneider Associate Pastor

L

ast week I was in a store and talked to a woman who was wearing a button that said “SAY TO ME MERRY CHRISTMAS.” I mentioned her button and she said, “Well, I am standing up for being a Christian, I am not Jewish or Islamic, I am a Christian. So I wear my button.” She added, “I may annoy some people, but I don’t care.” All of us have noticed in the last few years that in order to be politically correct, we are supposed to say “Happy Holidays” or ‘Seasons Greetings.” This sets up a shield so we don’t cause bad feelings or annoy someone. But is this necessary? Most businesses do not allow a Christian button like this to be worn while working. What is wrong with this picture? We are what we are, and that means standing up for being a Christian. So I was happy to encounter this woman in the store and notice the button, which I believe we probably all should wear.

Our Jesus is there, wherever we look. The love, laughter and life of Jesus is truly with us during this wonderful time of year. Christmas is a time of year when we see giving at its height. People seem to open up their hearts to the needs of others and give accordingly. So Christmas can become special not only because of our “baby Jesus” but because giving is so precious. As we look around the city and see the beautiful lighting and as we look around the church and see the gorgeous decorations, we see efforts of love and grace everywhere. Our Jesus is there, wherever we look. The love, laughter and life of Jesus is truly with us during this wonderful time of year. So how do we get away from a secular Page 4

way of expressing an “event” instead of a Christian holiday? How do we move away from the “materialism” of the “event” and get back into the true meaning of Christmas? How do we turn the “event” back into a Christian holiday? Perhaps one way would be to give to causes and to those in true need. This would be a gesture of the true meaning of Christmas. Whatever it may be, we all need to take a stand on the fact that we are Christians above everything else. We see Jesus in the eyes of our children at Christmas. Children are the essence of the season. Children express the joy, happiness, and love of the season through their facial expressions. They don’t need to wear a button. They express their love of Jesus through their eyes, actions and excitement. Children are like angels, as we compare them to Luke 2: 9-12: An Angel of the Lord came to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today is the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. So this Christmas, think about the Lady wearing the button “Say to me Merry Christmas.” Love and Peace, Pastor Karen Schneider

December 2010


Outreach

December 2010

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RMMO

remember with LOVE give with GRATITUDE

Does Your Gift Make a Difference? Since the Great Depression era of the 1930s, American Baptist congregations have contributed to special offerings to provide financial support to retired ministers and missionaries and their widowed spouses. The Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO) was established in 1977 to continue this tradition. Receipts for the 2009 offering totaled $1,286,338. Of that amount, 57% was distributed in the form of “Thank You� checks to 3,341 retired American Baptist ministers and missionaries and their widowed spouses. The average check was $288.51. Thirty-eight percent of the offering was available to people in need of emergency and other financial assistance. Over the years, recipients have used this money to repair a storm-damaged roof, purchase a new boiler in the middle of winter, make a home wheelchair-accessible, buy or replace hearing aids, and pay for medical, dental and prescription expenses.

You will find RMMO offering envelopes in the pew racks during December. YES, your gift DOES make a difference!

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December 2010


Community News

Help the Denver Inner City Parish Each year at Christmas, the Denver Inner City Parish gives gifts to nearly 4,000 lowincome children. With your help, these children will have a joyous Christmas season. Gifts are needed for children through 18. New gifts are given to the parents to give to their children. . If you would like to help, please contact Hilary Englehart at 303-629-0636.

Snow Buddy Program Volunteers of America pairs seniors 60 and older with volunteers in their neighbor who will help them with snow removal. So if you’re a senior living in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas or Jefferson counties and you need help shoveling snow this winter, call the Volunteers of America Hanyman Program at 720-2643379. The program also is looking for volunteers interested in helping their senior neighbors shovel snow this winter. For more information, call the above number or email snowbuddies@voacolorado.org.

Chum Events Capitol Hill Urban Ministries announces the following events. The Star House, Located just outside of Boulder, hosts a variety of programs through out the year. Star House is a transdenominational community of people dedicated to honoring the earth and all beings through ceremony, theatre, music and dance. For more information, visit www.TheStarHouse.org.

itself as our problem; in reality it comes from our mind. In these classes we learn how to respond to difficult situations in a positive and peaceful way. In this way we can turn all our adversities into positive experiences! This is a series of teachings on learning skillful means to turn adversities into positive experiences! Dec. 1 - Stop and Think! Dec. 8 - Making the Most of Life Dec. 15 - Letting Go Dec. 22 - Being Creative Visit http://www.meditationincolorado.org/ buddhist_meditation_classes_denver.htm for more information. Avalokiteshvara Buddhist Center, 1081 Marion St. Dec. 11 – 9 a.m. - noon The New Physics: Science and Spirituality. Speaker: Dr. John L. Hitchcock Church of the Holy Family, in Aurora. More Info: Science and Spirituality. Contact: Carolyn McDowell at ANewHarmony@sdcolo.org, or call 720-870-1497. Dec. 11- 7 p.m. Native Christmas Concert & Art Show. Featuring Native American guest performer/musicianTBA and presenting artwork by Diné/Navajo artist Melanie Yazzie entiltled "Winter Marks." One-night showing. Potluck reception to follow. Dec. 17, 18, 19 – A Boy was Born. St. Martin’s Choir. For more in information, call 303298-1970. or email info@StMartinsChamberChoir.org. Dec. 18 – 8 p.m. - midnight Yule Celebration in Denver. At the Mercury Café. Sara Rain will be leading ritual in between Tuatha's music sets. Great juju! $13 at the door.

Wednesday night Meditation Classes in Denver: The Art of Being Positive When things go wrong in our lives and we meet difficult situations. We often see the situation

Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart. —George Mathhew Adams December 2010

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Sunday Service 9:30 a.m. www.fbcdenver.org

Merry Christmas Sunday Service 11 a.m. www.capitolcitychurch.us

1373 Grant St. Denver, CO 80203 303-861-2501 Senior Minister Gary Bowser Office Hours Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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