Page 1

Senior Pastor and Editor Rev. Dr. Laurinda Hafner Associate Pastor Rev. Megan Smith Associate Pastor Rev. Aaron Lauer Minister Emeritus Rev. Dr. Richard J. Bailar Production Manager Alex Sloan

“Let every heart prepare Him room.” ~ Isaac Watts Do you have mixed feelings about the whole Christmas thing? The shopping, traffic and crowds, the office parties, trips to Santa, and singing chipmunks? If you are experiencing any of this, where in heaven’s name might you go to find a little respite from Christmas? Well, here’s an idea. Try church! Yes, try church as a way to take on Christmas by traveling slowly, deliberately, thoughtfully and prayerfully through the sacred season of Advent. Advent is a holy time of preparation and we invite you to church as we travel the path to Christmas by entering “inn” to the sacred gifts of this season: hope, peace, love, and joy. Yes, I know I spelled the word as “inn.” Because this year, like Mary and Joseph, we are seeking shelter from the world around us. There is so much uncertainty, hurt, struggle, and fear that we want to stretch our hearts wider to bring “inn” these precious gifts.

Church Web Site:

So we are borrowing an idea from our brothers and sisters in countries like Mexico and Guatemala where they celebrate Las Posadas, which is a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for a posada or a place of lodging, accommodation, or in this case, an inn. It has been said that Las Posadas is really a festival of acceptance: Who will receive the child? Who will make room in their heart for Jesus?” Each Sunday, we will ask that question as we invite you to enter “inn” to the Advent gifts of hope, peace, love and joy.

Like Us on Facebook

If you’re longing for something different this holiday season, try Advent. We think it may be just the gift you are looking for… Blessings,

Pastor Laurie Blessings,


Worship.......................................................................4 - 13

Worship Times, Sundays in Advent and Christmas, Sundays in the New Year, Special Services, German Language Church, Angel Tree, Christmas Eve Services, Music Ministry, Candlelight Concert, A Weekend Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Spiritual Formation.................................................14 - 17 Sunday Morning Adult Study, Weekday Adult Study, Advent Sunday School, A Night in Bethlehem

Children and Youth.................................................18 - 19

Kids’ Night In and Pizza Dinner, Fall Youth Retreats, Youth Group Field Trips, Luminary Making, Hunger Vigil Chili Sale







Congregational Life................................................20 - 25

Church Night In, Garden Warriors, Cortadito Corner, Parents of Preschoolers, Back on Track, Miami Gay Men’s Chorus, Prayer Shawl Ministry, Christmas Caroling, Sisters on Sojourn, Centering Support Group, Grief Support Group, Three Kings, WISE Team, Annual Meeting, Young Adults, Called to Care

Justice and Witness.................................................26 - 27

Food for the Soul, Green Christians, Habitat for Humanity, Miami Fair Trade

Covenanted Ministries..........................................28 - 31 Community Arts Program, Early Childhood Center





We are Out-of-the-Box People

WORSHIP WITH US Each Sunday morning, three worship experiences are offered:

9:00 a.m. Worship in the Chapel

A more intimate and meditative worship experience in Moye Chapel. Holy Communion is celebrated weekly and music is presented by one of our talented soloists or our Vocal Ensemble. Following our service, enjoy some conversation with others around the Coffee Bar.

10:00 a.m. Spanish-Language Worship

If you are part of a Spanish-speaking family or would enjoy worshiping in Spanish, come and join us in the Chapel for a service bridging the Latin experience with a progressive theology. There is music, prayers, community building, and refreshments.

11:00 a.m. Worship in the Sanctuary

We gather in the beauty of our historic sanctuary to be engaged in meaningful worship, which feeds our spiritual hunger. It is said that each week is a bit different; there is always something that challenges and calls us to our authentic selves. Join us for beautiful music, challenging and inspiring messages, and liturgy that offers a renewal of mind and spirit.

This service is also streamed live online at

Connect Online With Us Each Sunday Morning Although we would love to see you, if you are not able to join us in person, join us online each Sunday for our 11:00 a.m. worship. Also be sure to invite your family and friends from around the world to experience the spirit-filled and inspiring worship of your church and maybe even catch a glimpse of you. Worship with us online each Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. at You may also visit our worship archives to watch past services by going to Please note that our Christmas Eve Services at 5:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. will also be streamed. Please join us for Christmas Eve Worship wherever you may be around the world.

German Language Church Bevorstehende deutschsprachige Gottesdienste der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinde Miami, in der Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ Wir nehmen Sie gerne auf in unseren E-Mailverteiler: 4


We are Out-of-the-Box People

SUNDAYS IN ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS Las Posadas: Enter INN Advent invites us to be in a season of waiting, wondering, reflection, and preparation. Come, enter INN to the hope, peace, love and joy of this holy season. Communion will be served each week during the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services.

Sunday, December 3 Hope enters INN

Sunday, December 10 Peace enters INN

The Christian life is one of enduring hope, but not idly waiting around for all to be well. We have work to do! So let’s get started! On this day, we begin our beautiful journey through Advent by lighting the first candle in the Advent Wreath, the Candle of Hope.

The theme for the second week of Advent is peace. Too often our understanding of the word “peace” is limited to worldly peace—the absence of war. But the word peace—as proclaimed by the angels to the shepherds at the birth of Jesus—has a much more spiritual significance. We light the Advent Candle of Peace.

Sunday, December 17 Love enters INN

Sunday, December 24 Joy enters INN

We have lit two candles—for hope, and for peace. Today we light the third candle—the candle of love. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair. Following worship, the Women‘s Fellowship will present its annual Holiday Silver Tea.

What a unique and special day! In the morning, it is the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and we light the candle of Joy through a commemoration of Las Posadas for the entire family. It will be a morning filled with much joy that will include piñatas for the children, eggnog and cortadito for the adults, and lots of festivities for all. In the evening it is Christmas Eve and we welcome the newborn Christ into our hearts and world once again. A Sunday morning and evening not to be missed!

Please note: We will only have one morning service on December 24 at 11:00 a.m. Joining us will be our Spanish Language church worshippers and those who worship regularly at 9:00 a.m. 5


We are Out-of-the-Box People

Sunday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve Service On this day we stand on the cusp of a New Year. What a perfect way to prepare for 2018 by worshipping together in prayer, reflection, and song. Our college-age students will help lead worship this morning. If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to eat better, then bring all your sweets, breads, and holiday treats to share with us after worship for our annual Fruitcake Coffee Hour. There will be no 9:00 a.m. service on this Sunday.

SUNDAYS IN THE NEW YEAR Sunday, January 7 Epiphany The term epiphany means “to show,” “to make known,” or even “to reveal.” In Western churches, we remember the coming of the wise outsiders who, following a star, leave their home, their roots, and their perspectives, taking with them their most prized possessions to give as gifts to this child that has been born into the world. Be with us as we recall the importance and meaning of this great story. We will share in the gift of Communion.

Sunday, January 14 MLK Weekend We gather on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Sunday to recommit ourselves to the principals and dreams of this modern-day prophet. Join us for inspiring gospel-style music, meaningful worship, and the opportunity to hear once again the challenging and beautiful words of Dr. King. We will welcome guest preacher the Rev. Bob Chase, author of Beyond the Comma and the Legato Vocal Ensemble.

Sunday, January 28 Annual Meeting Sunday It is Annual Meeting Sunday at Gables UCC, and all members of the church are encouraged to be with us as Pastor Laurie offers a State of the Church address as her morning message. Following worship, all members are invited to stay for a light pizza lunch in the Fellowship Hall where we will hear reports of the past year, vote on a new budget and leadership for 2018, and celebrate the vision and possibilities of the year ahead.



We are Out-of-the-Box People

SPECIAL SERVICES Advent Evening Vespers

Wednesdays, December 6, 13 and 20 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary Vespers or “sunset prayers” will be held through the season of Advent as a way to reflect and prepare for the coming of Christ, the Light of the world. These services, made up of candlelight, music and prayers, offer the perfect quiet break we need from the stress and noise of the season. All are wel­come. We meet in the Sanctuary. Childcare is available.

German Language Advent Service Sunday, December 10 4:30 p.m. the Chapel A potluck will follow the service.

Join us for Advent worship around a Christmas tree which will be given to a family in need. A potluck dinner will follow. Please drop your dish off in the Fellowship Hall Kitchen before worship.

Blue Christmas Service

For Those Who Find Rejoicing Hard Work Thursday, December 21 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel The holiday season is hard for those whose hearts are hurting. You are not alone. Blue Christmas is a gentle, contemplative service for those who are carrying pain or loss during this season of celebration. This quiet, meditative service makes time for remembering and for sharing our hurting places with God, while opening our hearts to the hope and peace of this holy season. The service begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a quiet gathering around a punch bowl and some cookies hosted by the Called to Care Team. The setting will be lovely. The music will be beautiful. The only other things we need are you, your memories, and your prayers.



We are Out-of-the-Box People


German Language Christmas Eve Service Sunday, December 24 3:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary

Join us for a Nativity Play and Christmas Story in German.

German Bible Study

Wednesday, January 10 7:00 p.m. in Pastor Laurie’s Office In the New Year, join us for an inspiring and meaningful Bible Study in German.



We are Out-of-the-Box People

Angel Tree

Sunday, December 24 3:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary Take a paper Angel from the Christmas Tree in Fellowship Hall and purchase a NEW gift for the child or adult written on the back of the angel. Please tape your angel to your gift and return all the gifts - UNWRAPPED - no later than December 17 at NOON. This year our gifts will go to support the Lotus House Homeless Shelter here in Miami. Lotus House was formed to support holistic, innovative solutions to bring an end to child and family homelessness. We do so recognizing the fastest growing segment of homeless in our country are single, female heads of household with young children. With trauma-informed, evidence-based best practices, Lotus House empowers women and children to heal, learn, grow, and blossom into who they are meant to be. For gift suggestions, you may go to on what to donate for adults, youth and children.

Thanksgiving Day Volunteers Made 400 Bagged Lunches for the Homeless

A Martin Luther Moment: Nailing our pledges to the church door.



We are Out-of-the-Box People



We are Out-of-the-Box People

Music Ministry Join one of our many Choirs!

We are always eager to welcome new faces to our singing and ringing. All are welcome – no auditions – just show up for rehearsals! Join us as we begin to prepare music for the upcoming Holiday seasons. All rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings. Cherub Choir (K-2) from 6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in Room 5A Agape Choir (Grades 3 -5) from 6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the Music Room Adult Bell Choir from 6:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. in Moye Chapel Youth Bell Choir from 7:15 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in Moye Chapel Chancel Adult Choir from 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in the Music Room

Cherub and Agape Choirs begin preparations for their annual Christmas Eve Musical Our Cherub and Agape Choirs continue their tradition of singing in the 11:00 worship service on a monthly basis. Additionally, preparations are underway for the Annual Cherub/Agape Choir Musical which is always a much-anticipated part of our 5:30 Family Christmas Eve service. This year’s presentation is entitled The Christmas Present, which is presented as a poem intermixed with new songs as well as familiar carols. The message centers on Jesus as God’s true Christmas Present -- the Gift that gives daily. Now is the perfect time to join the choirs as they prepare for this annual tradition. Cherub and Agape Choir Rehearsal Schedule Through Christmas Eve Wednesday, November 29; December 6, 13, and 20 in the Arts and Education Wing Dress Rehearsal, Saturday, December 23, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary

Candlelight Concert Dr. Greg Taylor, Artistic Director and Performing Artist Friday, December 1, 2017 7:30 p.m. in Moye Chapel Dr. Greg Taylor, piano, with Ross Harbaugh, cello Sonata de Gamba in D Major, BWV 1028 J. S. Bach Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102 Robert Schumann

Sonata in C Major, Op. 119 Sergei Prokofiev Song of the Minstrel

Hold these dates for future concerts: Fridays, February 2, March 2, April 6, and May 4 2018 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary 11

A WEEKEND HONORING DR. The weekend of January 12-14 commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. King who brought hope and healing to America. Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we “will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness.” Life’s most persistent and nagging question, he said, is “what are you doing for others?” Please join us over this weekend for a variety of activities, outreach, and celebrations honoring the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character.

Memorial Concert featuring Shelly Berg Jazz: The Sound of Freedom Friday, January 12 at 7:00 p.m. Be inspired within a one-hour journey through the evolution of jazz and its influences on some of the celebrated songs and artists inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. Taking us on this musical journey is four-time Grammynominated arranger, orchestrator, and producer, Shelly Berg. A celebrated jazz pianist, Shelly is Dean and Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music at the University of Miami’s acclaimed Frost School of Music. From the keyboard, Shelly sounds his deeply-inspired interpretations, the freedom that jazz embodies, and the spring of hope it swells within humankind: “Free at last!” Mark your calendars now for this special Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration and FREE concert. Cans of food and freewill donations will be accepted for Feeding South Florida. Brief, all-embracing words of freedom will be included. You and everyone you know will be welcomed!  


For more information, please go to

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. Hunger Vigil Saturday, January 13 beginning at 9:00 a.m. Once again Pastor Laurie will head up to the church tower to be locked in until we raise five tons of food for Feeding South Florida and our own Food Pantry. According to a recent national mayor’s report, there has been a 36-percent increase in Miami’s homeless population, which means an overwhelming increase in hunger right in our own backyard. And, half of all the homeless/hungry individuals are children. Food donations (and the heavier the better) are most encouraged; however monetary donations will also be gratefully accepted. $1.00 equals one pound of food. Drop off your food/checks/money donations any­time during the day. The young adult group will gladly receive them and Pastor Laurie will appreciate getting down from the tower in time for Sunday morning worship! Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul gener­ated by love.”

Festival of the Flea Saturday, January 13 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. As part of our Hunger Vigil day we are celebrating the Festival of the Flea. It’s a flea market with a twist. For $25 (which goes to Feeding South Florida) you can have a table or a space for your car on the Church Green to sell any items you wish. What a great way to begin the New Year by letting go of your clutter while giving others the opportunity to find treasures. Table/car space can be rented each Sunday after worship beginning in December at the Congregational Life table (be sure to pick up your Three Kings tickets there as well) or by contacting Drew Sandbulte at or 305.448-7421 x 112. Also be sure to support our young people that day as they sell chili, chips, drinks, and other snacks. All proceeds benefit the youth program and hunger.

Sunday Morning Worship Sunday, January 14 at 11:00 a.m. We gather on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Sunday to recommit ourselves to the principals and dreams of Dr. King through inspiring music and words. We will welcome guest preacher the Rev. Bob Chase, author of Beyond the Comma, and the Legato Vocal Ensemble 13

SPIRITUAL FORMATION We are Out-of-the-Box People

Spiritual Formation

Sunday Morning Adult Study Each Sunday Morning 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. in Havighorst Lounge Childcare is always provided in Room 3. Centering Prayer Study and Practice Sundays, December 3 - 17 (3 sessions) Centering Prayer is a method designed to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift. It presents ancient Christian wisdom teachings in an updated form. Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer; rather it casts a new light and depth of meaning on them. It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. This method of prayer is a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with him. Join church member Ray Parker as he leads us through a study of the book, The Heart of Centering Prayer by Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault. Each session will include time for practice as well. (No class on December 24 or December 31)

Human Rights in Turkey: A Woman’s Perspective n Sundays, January 14 and 21 (2 sessions)

Rights in Turkey-A Woman’s

Join Lesley Salas and our Gables UCC friends from Turkey, as we hear testimony about the current regime and together seek strategies to build awareness about this crisis threatening human rights in Turkey.

Adult Education Too

A Book Study: The Way Forward Sundays, January 6 through 27 (4 sessions) 9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. in the Library On Sunday mornings in January, church members Art Trotman and Sandy Leon will be leading a study of the book, One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported. The authors of the book are E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein, and Thomas E. Mann. E.J. Dionne, Jr., is a columnist for The Washington Post, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and professor at Georgetown University. Norman J. Ornstein is Resident Scholar the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic. Thomas E. Mann is a resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. The book is laid out in two parts, the first being an overview of “Trumpism” and all of the factors that led to the result of the 2016 presidential election. This will be the focus of the first class. The second part is 14 titled “The Way Forward,” and it will be the focus of the remaining classes.

SPIRITUAL FORMATION We are Out-of-the-Box People

Sermon Feedback Café Sunday, January 14 12:30 p.m. in Havighorst Lounge Join us after worship for a conversation with the Rev. Bob Chase as we reflect on his morning sermon. Bob served as Founding Director of Intersections International, a global initiative of the Collegiate Church of New York, where he worked globally in the field of cross-cultural dialogue. Prior to Intersections, he served as Executive Director of the United Church of Christ’s Office of Communication. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Bob spent over a decade traveling across rural China, townships of South Africa, favelas in Brazil and the United States interfacing with diverse populations highlighted in his more than 100 documentaries. He has produced and directed such award-winning social justice documentaries as Troubled Waters; Strong Roots, Fragile Farms; LPFM: The People’s Voice; and Call Me Malcolm. He has also been featured on CNN, The New York Times, and Associated Press. His book, Beyond the Comma: Life at the Intersection, explores how we navigate the changes after “comma moments” in our life journeys. Some of these moments are intricately planned and self-created like a sabbatical or the birth of a child; others are imposed by external forces—sometimes violently or without warning—like an act of terror or a devastating illness. Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and Zealot, says, “Chase has written nothing less than a manifesto for how to live a reflective, active life in the modern world.” Books are for sale each Sunday at the Spiritual Formation table for $20.00. They make great Christmas gifts.

Lunch and the Bible

Tuesdays, December 19 and January 16 Noon - 1:30 p.m. in Havighorst Lounge Join one of our pastors for lunch, fellowship and a discussion on one of their favorite Bible passages. Sandwiches, chips, cookies and beverages will be served. Free will donations accepted. Please RSVP to Pastor Megan at 305. 448-7421 ext. 119 or by email at

Sophiology Course

Wednesdays, January 3 - February 28 8 sessions - No Class on Ash Wednesday, February 14 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in Havighorst Lounge There is a great hunger to recover the feminine aspect of the Divinity. In this challenging time of “me too,” join Rev. Dr. Elias Bouboutsis, Phd., a Biblical Scholar and Greek Orthodox Priest, as we study and celebrate Sophia-the Wisdom of God. The course will give us the opportunity to study this fascinating and ‘esoteric’ window into the progressive and even proto-feminist thought of pre-revolutionary Russia. We are pleased and honored to welcome back Dr. Bouboutsis to Gables UCC.


SPIRITUAL FORMATION We are Out-of-the-Box People

Advent and Epiphany Sunday School Sunday School during the 9:00 a.m. Chapel Service: Childcare is available during the 9:00 a.m. Chapel service for infants through Pre-K 2 in Room # 1 of our Arts and Education Wing each Sunday. A multi-aged Sunday School is offered in Room 3 during the 9:00 a.m. Chapel Service for children in Pre-K 3 and older.

11:00 a.m. Sunday School Room Schedule

Infants, Toddlers, & Pre-K 2 meet in Room 1 Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 meet in Room 3 Kindergarten and First Grade meet in Room 4 Second and Third Grades meet in Room 2

Fourth and Fifth Grade meet in Room 5 Middle School meets in Room 5A High School meets in the Church Library

November 26 ends the church season known as Season of Ordinary Time and the season of Advent begins. The liturgical color of Advent is purple. Please point out the color purple to your children on the Sanctuary altar, on the ministers’ stoles, in the Sunday school hallway, bulletin boards and in their classrooms too. Advent purple is a color denoting royalty and foretells the birth of the Prince of Peace. During the first two weeks of December, our children and youth will hear words from the prophet Isaiah found in the Hebrew scriptures. On the third Sunday, we will listen and respond to Psalm 126. On Christmas Eve morning December 24, we will celebrate the day making Christmas crafts and gifts. middle school and high school youth will attend church on Sundays, December 24 and 31. Following the celebration of Three Kings Day, also known as Epiphany, most of our focus scriptures will come from the Gospel According to Mark. Our children will have the opportunity to explore stories of Jesus’ baptism, the call of the disciples, and the beginning of his ministry. The stories of healing and teaching will help our children learn more about who Jesus is and discover ways in which they too can share God’s light and love in the world.

A Night In Bethlehem - A Spectacular Family Event Friday, December 15 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall

Join us Friday, December 15, from 6:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m., for this family journey back in time! Fellowship Hall will be transformed into a street in Bethlehem for this hands-on Holy Land experience. Families will visit a Marketplace, a Bethlehem home, bakery, mosaic artesian, potter’s wheel, perfume shop, tent maker, dye shop, candle maker and much more. You may even catch a glimpse of a Roman soldier or two. Each child will make crafts and learn about life in the First Century. Don’t forget to visit the stable in the Courtyard for a family photo-shoot in authentic Bethlehem garments! *Children must be accompanied by an adult.


The entrance fee is a minimum of “one canned good” per person or $2.00 per Child or Adult. Please be sure that canned goods have flip-top lids. All proceeds provide canned goods for our Food Pantry. We welcome your generosity! Please contact Pastor Megan with any questions at

Mark Your Calendars: Coming in February

Concert on Saturday, February 17 7:00 p.m. Gables UCC Sanctuary Tickets are $50 for patron; $30 for sponsor; $25 for supporter. Uniquely United is a cross cultural interfaith experience. We emphasize a musical message of spiritual healing and hope through love, joy, peace and harmony, where people of all races and generations can unite as one. The theme song, Heal Us Now, lyrically expressed in Hebrew and English, is crafted from long-standing Jewish values and traditions, blended with the power and soulfulness of the gospel experience. This musical production features the voices of Cantorial Soloist Jodi Rozental, Sarah Faith Joseph, and Legato Vocal Ensemble. It is musically produced by two- time Grammy Award winning musician, Jonathan Joseph and Douglas Carter. This unique and outstanding composition is vocally produced and arranged by international composer and recording artist, Antonia Wilson. For tickets go to or visit the Congregational Life table on Sundays after worship.

A Weekend with the Very Rev. Tracey Lind Diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD), a disease that results in progressive damage to the temporal and/or frontal lobes of the brain, Rev. Lind was most recently the Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio for 17 years. She will be with us to share her experiences as one living with FTD which results in a gradual, progressive decline in language, mobility, behavior, and short-term memory. Saturday, February 17 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, Tracey and her spouse Emily will offer an interfaith session for people with early to mid-stage dementia and their caregivers. Sunday, February 18 – Tracey will bring our morning message during the

11:00 a.m. service. From 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., she will offer an interfaith gathering on finding faith in the midst of struggle.


CHILDREN & YOUTH We are Out-of-the-Box People

Children and Youth Bringing the heart of the Gospel to our children and youth, that they may grow hearts of love, compassion, and self-worth.

Kids’ Night In and Pizza Dinner Fridays, December 1 and January 5 Grades Pre-K 3 through 5th Grade 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. in the Arts and Education Wing Drop your children off for a fun night at church (while you go out for some well-deserved fun yourself or do some Christmas shopping!) with our caring and creative Childcare Staff. Activities include a regular cheese pizza dinner and juice, playtime, games, and crafts. Please provide a brown bag meal if your child is unable to eat regular pizza. In addition, please provide diaper bags and a change of clothes (if applicable). $10.00 for church Members/$15.00 for non-members To register your child, please contact Pastor Megan at

Fall Youth Retreats: Made in God’s Image Middle School Retreat Friday, December 1 - Sunday December 3 Riverside Retreat Center, Ft. Denaud, FL High School Retreat Friday, December 8 - Sunday December 10 Riverside Retreat Center, Ft. Denaud, FL Join us for a weekend of faith, fellowship, and outdoor fun, as we explore the theme of being made in God’s image at our Fall Youth Retreats. Canoeing, low ropes, archery, swimming, campfire s’mores, and much more! We will dive deep into discussions about our true identities as children of God, instead of all the labels that the world tries to put on us. With break-out sessions on body positivity, stereotypes, spiritual gifts, this will be a powerful weekend for our youth!



We are Out-of-the-Box People

Youth Group Field Trips: South Beach Scavenger Hunt! Middle School Field Trip Friday, January 19 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. High School Field Trip Friday, January 26 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Get ready for an adventure on South Beach as we spend the evening in a good old fashioned scavenger hunt! We will split up into teams and have one hour to solve all the clues! Can your team make it back to home base first? We will close with dinner at a restaurant on the beach. Meet at the church at 6:00 p.m. to carpool. We’ll be back by 10:00 p.m.

Luminary Making Wednesday, December 20 6:00 p.m. in the Church Courtyard All Middle School and High School youth are invited to spend the evening making luminaries for our Christmas Eve service and enjoy a free Church Night In dinner. We will gather for a meal together and will create more than 250 luminaries to adorn the sidewalk of the church for our most special night of the year!

Hunger Vigil Youth Chili Sale Saturday, January 13 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Church Green Space This year, our youth will participate in the annual Hunger Vigil by making a chili lunch for all Vigil and Flea Market guests. We will be making meat chili and vegetarian chili, and selling chips, drinks, and other snacks. Join us at 9:00 a.m. to make the chili and from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. to sell our chili to guests. All proceeds go to Feeding South Florida and the youth summer mission trip.


CONGREGATIONAL LIFE We are Out-of-the-Box People

Congregational Life

Our life together is marked by our enjoyment and love of one another experienced in small groups of adventure, support, fun, and community building.

Church Night In

Wednesday Evenings Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. $6 for adults; $4 for kids 12 and under Take-Out Available Come see old friends and meet new ones while gathering for a delicious dinner. Is there anything better than having a delicious meal (no cooking or clean-up required), sharing it with interesting and fun people, and then enjoying, if you wish, an after-dinner opportunity to sing, ring, learn, or just hang out over a good cup of coffee? Well this is an evening for you! Chef Jennifer is at your service creating fresh and inspired dinners. NOTE: There will be no Church Night In on December 27 and January 3.

Garden Warriors

Saturdays, December 9 and January 20 9:00 a.m. on the Church Grounds If you like to garden, pull weeds, plant flowers or just help make the exterior landscape of our historic church beautiful, then join us for a Garden Warriors’ workday. All volunteers will be welcomed and appreciated (kids too)! A special holiday edition of Garden Warriors will be on Saturday, December 9 in preparation for the many guests who will visit our church in December. A thank you lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. for all our warriors at the home of Pastor Laurie.

A Morning of Support for Those Living with Cancer Saturday, January 27 10:00 a.m. in the Church Library

Join us for a little breakfast, a lot of caring, and the sharing of insights and support for those living with cancer or who have gone through the journey. This is for men or women, whether you are facing treatment now or have in the past. Refreshments will be provided. 20

CONGREGATIONAL LIFE We are Out-of-the-Box People

Parents of Preschoolers (POP)

Sundays, December 17 and January 21 Noon - 1:30 p.m. in the Preschool playground. Gables UCC is booming with babies, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. If you have children, infants through kindergarten, and want to find a place to meet other families while the kids have fun, then Parents of Preschoolers of Gables UCC is the group for you. Come and meet new parents and catch up with old friends. Friends and grandparents welcome. Join Pastor Megan and other young families for a Potluck lunch with plenty of time for fellowship and play! Please bring a lunch-style dish to share. Drinks and paper goods provided.

Back on Track

The First and Third Tuesdays of the Month 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in Havighorst Lounge Back on Track is a faith-based, career-support organization offering spiritual, motivational, and practical techniques and best practices to individuals in various stages of career challenges and transitions. All are welcome! For more information go to

The Miami Gay Men’s Chorus Presents Joy for the Season Saturday, December 16 8:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary

Tickets: $25 (Age 13+), FREE (12 and under) Join us for what always is a musical delight…a little campy and a lot of fun… as the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus under the direction of our own Anthony Cabrera presents its annual holiday show. Purchase your own tickets at 888.744.8499 or at or at the door.

Save the Date!

Back Bay Mission Trip July 7 - 14, 2018 Mark your calendars for our annual service mission trip to Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi. We will leave Coral Gables on Saturday, July 7 and return on Saturday, July 14. Contact Pastor Aaron ( for more information and to reserve your spot! 21

CONGREGATIONAL LIFE We are Out-of-the-Box People

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Thursdays, December 14 and January 11 and 25 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in the Chapel Annual Holiday Party at Pastor Laurie’s on Thursday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m. We gather to create beautiful prayer shawls to share with members of our church family who are ill. You do not have to know how to knit or crochet – someone will teach you. If you are looking for a ministry of prayer and care for others, this may be it. Come and help wrap someone in God’s love by creating a beautiful prayer shawl. Please note: The Prayer Shawl Ministry Christmas Party will be held at the home of Pastor Laurie on Thursday, December 14. You bring your knitting; Pastor Laurie will bring the treats.

Christmas Caroling Sunday, December 17 Shuttle leaves at 2:00 p.m.

Join us as we bring carols and good cheer to our homebound members and friends. We will meet at the church at 2:00 p.m. and travel by the church shuttle bus. Following caroling, we will return to the church for some hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. All ages are welcome!

Sisters on Sojourn Saturdays, December 16 and January 20 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. in the Church Library All women, regardless of age, are invited to join in this relaxed and easy-going group with no rules, no dues, no officers. We are just women coming together to hear each other’s stories, provide support and encouragement, and to occasionally learn something. On December 16, we will gather at the home of Pastor Laurie for our annual holiday celebration. Come and enjoy a warm breakfast and lots of laughter, sharing and fun! In January, we will meet in the church library as we reflect on New Year’s resolutions and our hopes for 2018! If you need childcare please contact Pastor Megan at 22

CONGREGATIONAL LIFE We are Out-of-the-Box People

Centering Support Group The First Thursday of the Month December 7 and January 4 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel

The Third Tuesday of the Month December 19 and January 16 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in the Chapel Led by Elaine Cottle, MSW and Therapist Stress and anxiety can cause physical, mental and spiritual problems. This group is formed to help members learn skills in reducing anxiety while increasing positive thinking, feeling and behaviors. Based on techniques of mindfulness, cognitive behavioral skills, meditation, relaxation, and guided imagery, members can experience increased physical, mental and spiritual health.

Grief Support Group

Saturday, January 6 2:00 p.m. in the Library Led by Pat Berman, M.S. Family Therapy Grief is a powerful emotion and can stop us in our tracks. It can also break our hearts enough to make us feel that we will never again be whole. Whether you are newly bereaved or still struggling with painful feelings that occurred years ago, join us in a safe place, led by a professional marriage and family therapist with over 40 years of experience, to find mutual support and care.

Three Kings

Saturday, January 6 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall $25 pre-sale (includes dinner, one drink, and dancing) $30 at the door Let’s dance, sing and be merry Latino style … well almost. Join us for the annual Three Kings Party and enjoy good, traditional Latino food, drinks and music. Join us for contagious laughter, rhythmic music, swaying hips and mouthwatering food that can only be washed down with mojitos prepared by the best bartenders around. Cash bar, and if you tip the bartender, just wait and see what happens! Sorry, but this is an adult party. Childcare is not provided. Get your tickets by visiting the Congregational Life table in the Fellowship Hall following worship each Sunday or go online to This is a fundraiser, so come out and support the church!


CONGREGATIONAL LIFE We are Out-of-the-Box People

The Church and Mental Illness For the past year, a team of interested church members has been meeting to help open the door of the church even wider in our commitment to extravagant hospitality by becoming a WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged for Mental Health) Congregation. It is our goal to join other UCC congregations across the country in working to reduce the stigma and to promote the inclusion of people with mental illnesses/ brain disorders and their families in the life, leadership and work of the church. In January, we are presenting a Covenant of Support for becoming a WISE congregation at the Annual Meeting of the church. We hope you will share in some of the many offerings, educational opportunities, and groups provided so you can make an informed decision about this designation.

WISE Team Conversation Wednesday, January 10 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in the Alcove (Next to the Library) Join the WISE Team as we reflect on how to help our kids and families face mental health issues and challenges. For more information, contact Lisa LeSueur at

Caretakers Holiday Tea Saturday, December 9 10:00 a.m. in the Library

For all individuals who tend to or support family and friends who live with mental illnesses and/or brain disorders such as depression, dementia, bi-polar, etc.. Come discover some support and care as well as holiday cheer from folks who can help answer some questions and who will lovingly care for you and for the caretaking you provide. Refreshments will be served.

Annual Meeting Sunday Annual Meeting Sunday is January 28, and all members of the church are encouraged to be with us as Pastor Laurie offers a State of the Church address as her morning message. Following worship, all members of Gables UCC are invited to stay for the annual meeting and pizza luncheon. Come hear the reports of the past year and celebrate the vision and possibilities of the year yet ahead. Are you interested in being part of a church board? Would you like to nominate someone for a leadership role? The Church Leadership Committee is looking for a few good folks to serve the church in a leadership position. For nominations, please contact Raul Hernandez at In preparation for the annual meeting, a Budget Hearing will be held on Sunday, January 21 at 12:30 p.m. in the Church Library with church treasurer Andrew Hutchinson. 24

CONGREGATIONAL LIFE We are Out-of-the-Box People

Young Adults If you are between the ages of 18 - 35ish (or frankly, whatever) join us! Young Adult Potluck Brunch Sunday, December 17 at 12:30 p.m. Home of Celine and Larry (6431 SW 36 Street) Join us for an afternoon of fellowship after worship! Bring a dish to share as we enjoy a meal and each other’s company.

Young Adult Pool Party Luncheon Saturday, January 20 at 12:00 noon Home of Brian and Henry (2806 Segovia Street) Spend the afternoon by Brian and Henry’s heated pool in fellowship with the Young Adult community here at Gables UCC. Bring a snack to share and something to drink. Children are welcome!

Called to Care Team Called to Care is the lay caregiving ministry of our church. If you are energized by the opportunity to offer support and encour­agement to others and to strengthen the life of the church; if you are able to relate to people in many diverse circumstanc­es of life; and if you are compassionate, have integrity, are able to maintain confidences, and are a good listener, won’t you please join our team? Contact Pastor Laurie to sign up. Did you know? Our Called to Care Team gets a weekly update and prays for folks each Monday. If you would like to be on the prayer list or place a loved one or friend on it, please text Pastor Laurie at 305968.6482 to be included.

Church Membership News Become a member and join the fun!

Our next Inquirer’s Gathering for anyone interested in “inquiring” about the church and membership will be Friday, December 8, from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at Pastor Laurie’s Home. Join us for dinner and the opportunity to learn more about the church, what we value, our history and the United Church of Christ. Who should attend an Inquirer’s Gathering? The short answer—you! If you love coming to the church and you are not a member, please come! If you are not sure if you are a member, chances are you are not. Check with one of the pastors and we’ll look up your information. Childcare is available.


JUSTICE & WITNESS We are Out-of-the-Box People

Justice & Witness Put Your Faith into Action

Food for the Soul

The Power of Faith-Based Community Organizing Sunday, January 21 12:30 p.m. in Havighorst Lounge Learn about the power and importance of FaithBased Community Organizing at this presentation and conversation with PACT Executive Director Megan O’Brien and PACT Organizer Ed White. They will lead us through a discussion about the process that PACT goes through to achieve legislative victories for justice in Miami-Dade county. We will learn the basics of community organizing, why it is effective, how faith is a part of this work, and what PACT is working on for the upcoming year. Lunch will be provided with donations welcome.

Almost 80-strong Gable UCC’ers at the PACT (People Acting for Community Together) Nehemiah Action Meeting last Spring.

Green Christians Reminder: We have made arrangements with a local company to collect all of your electronic waste so it can be recycled. Many of the items are considered hazardous waste and should not be simply thrown away. Their e-waste recycling program includes end-of-life and non-working batteries, cameras, cash registers, desktops, external hard drives, facsimile machines, flat TV screens, ink/toner cartridges, keyboards, laptops, monitors, phone chargers, printers, radios, routers, scanning devices, servers, tablets, telephones, small cathode ray tube televisions, video cassette recorder/ players and video game consoles. That about covers anything electronic! We have a large collection bin outside the Fellowship Hall in the Courtyard for your items. 26

JUSTICE & WITNESS We are Out-of-the-Box People

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami’s Blitz Build 2018 Join the Gables UCC Team! Saturday, February 17, 2018 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Perrine/South Miami Heights (Exact location will be given closer to date) Please register by: December 20, 2017 Breakfast and lunch are included.

Tools will be provided. Feel free to bring your favorite hammer, work gloves or tool belt. (No power tools, please!) Wear thick soled sneakers or construction boots--no sandals, flip-flops or crocs--and clothes that you do not mind getting stained. Age Requirement: 16 and over and must be accompanied by a guardian over 21 years of age with Parental Permission Form (Contact Pastor Aaron at Registration Instructions: All Volunteers Must Pre-Register New Volunteers: Step 1-  At the “top” of the page at create a username and password, insert the “join code”  CGCC . Step 2-  Once you create your username and password click on the event Blitz Build 2018 – February 17, 2018. You will receive two emails. Past Volunteers:  At the “top” of the page at sign in with your username and password and click on the event to confirm your attendance. If you have any questions, check in with Pastor Laurie at

Miami Fair Trade Marketplace: Products with a Purpose


Covenanted Ministries We are Out-of-the-Box People

4:00 p.m., Sunday, December 10 within Overtown’s Historic St. Agnes’ Episcopal Church (1750 NW 3rd Avenue), the holiday season will be ushered in with what has become an annual and spirit-filled holiday concert spectacular. Amidst a mix of Neo-Classical- and Mission-style elements, the home of one of Miami’s oldest African-American Congregations houses this year’s 12th celebration, with special guests and sponsors from throughout Miami-Dade County. Join this annual FREE outreach concert presented by our Community Arts Program (CAP), with its Creative Strings I, II, and III, Jazz PREP Band, and ALL-STAR Jazz Ensemble. CAP Conservatory for the Arts faculty and special guests unite for a spirited holiday program of contemporary, jazz, and pop styles that will have toes tapping, spirits soaring, and voices singing! It’s a perfect family event that concludes with a grand seasonal sing-along to usher in the most awesome holiday season of the year.


This CAP holiday event is made possible with the support of the Historic St. Agnes’ Episcopal Church, The Links, Incorporated, Greater Miami Chapter; WLRN Public Radio 91.3 FM; WDNA 88.9 FM; South Florida Times; the Knight Foundation; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Children’s Trust, Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, the Stanley Sterbenz Trust, and the Miami Foundation. For more information on the 4:00 p.m. Sunday, December 10 celebration at the Historic St. Agnes’ Episcopal Church, located at 1750 NW 3rd Avenue in Overtown, call 305.448.7421, ext. 120.

Covenanted Ministries

We are Out-of-the-Box People

Ho-Ho-Hop the Church Shuttle Bus To CAP’s December 10 Overtown Holiday Spectacular! Need transportation to the Community Arts Program (CAP) Overtown Holiday Spectacular! concert on December 10 at 4:00 p.m.? Take the Church shuttle bus! The bus will leave at 3:00 p.m. from the Havighorst entrance side (west side) of the Church. To reserve your shuttle seat, contact Mark Hart at 305.448.7421, ext. 120 or

Thank You for Supporting the Community Arts Program (CAP) Give Miami Day Thank you to all who participated in Give Miami Day, a November 16, 2017 one-day online giving marathon that supported local non-profits. Donations to the Community Arts Program (CAP) had a percentage matched by The Miami Foundation with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Tax-deductible donations empower CAP to provide more children (ages 5-18) with life-changing music learning in the award-winning CAP Conservatory for the Arts: CAP Saturday Music Classes; Creative Strings I, II, and III and CAP Miami Jazz Institute Jazz PREP Band, ALL-STAR Jazz Ensemble, and CAP Records®.

Community Arts Program (CAP) Conservatory for the Arts Faculty Spotlight: Michael Dudley Michael Dudley is a CAP Conservatory for the Arts trumpet instructor from Cincinnati. Beginning at a very early age, Michael developed a passion for music that would shape his life in unique ways. After being introduced to the trumpet at the age of 11, Michael began to acquire an interest in playing jazz music. Michael has participated in many ensembles. These include the Cincinnati Youth Jazz Orchestra, Ohio Music Education Association’s All-State Jazz Ensemble, the nationally-recognized Lakota East High School Eastside Jazz Ensemble—which earned a spot in the May 2012 Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition—and the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra.


Covenanted Ministries We are Out-of-the-Box People

Community Arts Program (CAP) Conservatory for the Arts 2017-2018 Ensembles & Saturday Music Classes In Full Swing!

The Community Arts Program (CAP) Creative Strings I, II, and III and CAP Miami Jazz Institute Jazz PREP Band and ALL-STAR Jazz Ensemble began in August and continue each Monday evening through May in the Coral Gables Congregational UCC Arts and Education Wing. Children and youth from throughout Miami-Dade County, come together to explore and develop the best music-making decisions within the broad spectrum of repertoire presented. This CAP approach fosters solid technique, confidence, a feel for various music styles, and instills the importance of team work for exceptional ensemble and individual growth. The CAP Conservatory for the Arts Saturday Music Classes began in September and takes place each Saturday through April in the Coral Gables Congregational UCC Arts & Education Wing and Early Childhood Center (ECC). Classes include instrument training (violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin, piano, brass, percussion, and voice), song writing, written and aural music theory class, CAP Harmony class, performance practice, and more. Stop by on a Monday evening (between 5:00 and 8:30 p.m.) at Coral Gables Congregational UCC and on a Saturday (between 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). See the work that the Community Arts Program (CAP) provides to over 100 children from throughout Miami-Dade County. If you, or someone you know, are between the ages of 5-18 and interested in joining the CAP Conservatory for the Arts, we’d love to hear about it! Visit; click on the Saturday Music Classes, Jazz Ensembles and/or Creative Strings icon to learn more. Then, complete the online application.


Covenanted Ministries

We are Out-of-the-Box People

Promoting an environment that fosters inclusion, the Early Childhood Center celebrated diversity with a special International Week, complete with flags of all nations. Each classroom tailored the week to reflect the specific traditions and languages of their families, and included special activities for Hispanic Heritage, Chinese New Year, Dia de los Muertos and Italian pride. The week culminated with a schoolwide assembly about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights popular in South Asia. In a space decorated with colorful fabrics and lanterns, an ECC parent read a story about the holiday, demonstrated how a sari is worn and taught the children a traditional Indian dance. “A key piece of our curriculum is to teach the value of differences and help each of our students to build a positive self-identity,” according to Director Brooke Bagnall-Koger. “In fact, our preschool staff recently attended an anti-bias training that examined social and cultural biases, including race, ethnicity and ability. During our international celebration, it was fun to see how excited the children were to share their home cultures.”


The Good Tidings: December 2017 and January 2018  

The Good Tidings is a publication of Coral Gables United Church of Christ.

The Good Tidings: December 2017 and January 2018  

The Good Tidings is a publication of Coral Gables United Church of Christ.