Dear Church Family, Advent/Christmas Opportunities: This week brings numerous Advent and Christmas opportunities to BUMC. Wednesday night at 6 p.m. our children's choirs will present their "Lessons and Carols" program. Our Harvest Hands Christmas benefit concert featuring Rachel Lampa and Friends will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday evening. On Sunday evening at 7 p.m. the Chancel Choir and orchestra will present their annual Advent/Christmas concert, "A Festival of Carols." And this weekend we'll observe the third week of Advent at all four of our worship services. If you have ever had (or are having) a less than perfect Christmas, you'll want to hear this weekend's message, "Not Quite a White Christmas." Click here for a full list of Advent Opportunities. Thank You: I want to thank our 5th and 6th grade Alleluia Choir (along with their leaders and parents), our orchestra, and all our Awakening musicians (children, youth and adults) and dancers for leading us in worship last weekend. This is the 5th year in a row that we have celebrated the second week of Advent through music during the morning worship services, and I'm grateful to all of you for helping us continue this meaningful tradition. It was a special day with excellent attendance and a sacred spirit of worship. I also want to thank our Chamber Choir for their beautiful presentation of "Gloria" on Sunday evening. As one person said to me, "You can get Bach to rock at BUMC, all on the same day!" That person is right, and that's one of the reasons I love this church so much.
2013 Pledge Update: So far we have received 850 pledges for a total of $3,887,932 with an average pledge of $4,574. I want to thank all of you who have made this important commitment. These are anxious and uncertain economic times so I'm even more grateful for your faithfulness. Historically, we still receive many pledges between now and early January. We hope and expect to receive a total of around 1,100. If you have not yet made your pledge for 2013, please do so soon so we can make appropriate ministry plans for next year. If you would like to make your pledge online, click here. You can also bring your pledge to worship, or call it in to Lisa Gray at 324-8201 or email it to Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thinking about Next Year: Although we are in the middle of the Advent/Christmas season, I'm thinking a lot about 2013. In January we will share our new vision, mission and values statement. During Lent we'll focus on some of the most important events in the life of Christ. After Easter we'll take a deep dive into the Sermon on the Mount. Beginning in January, our lead operations team (senior staff and key lay leaders) will focus on finalizing strategic plans for 2013 and beyond. At the same time, two of our major ministry teams (Missions and Outreach and Hospitality) will begin creating their own specific MAP (Ministry Action Plan). As the year progresses others teams will do the same. Beginning in January, our new Executive Director will pick up some of our senior staff supervision, freeing me to focus more on worship, strategic planning, and relationship building. Much more could be said, but 2013 is going to be an exciting and critically important year at BUMC. Ministry Opportunity: The Student Ministry goes on a retreat every December 28-31 in Springville, AL known as Breakthru with around 200 youth and adults in attendance from BUMC. This year, we are still in need of almost 20 adult volunteers to serve with us as either small group leaders or support staff (in a behind the scenes role). If you have questions or are interested in registering, contact Elizabeth Waynick at email@example.com. We do have a few student spots (7th-12th grade) still open as well. If you are not yet convinced, maybe one of our adult volunteers, Henry Steaban will sway you: "This will be my fourth year attending Breakthru. I say attending rather than being a chaperone because the Music and the lessons are something I can relate to. In addition I have had the opportunity to meet
and get to know some adults that I would otherwise not meet. Additionally, spending time with the BUMC youth and watching them engage in the retreat activities will make you proud to be associated with such a great ministry." Finally, it was good to receive Katherine Bowman; Colton Garrett; Aaron and Meg Grunke; Mary Lawson and Greg Bolen as new members. Welcome to our church family. In Christ's Love and Service,