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December 17, 2006

A Publication of The Union Church of Hinsdale, U.C.C.

A Christmas Message

Each day I have been reading as an Advent devotion the poem “Amazing Peace,” a Christmas poem written by Maya Angelou. She read it last year at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House on December 1, 2005. I share it with you now, in hopes that it brings you the peace and joy it has brought to me in this most holy of seasons. “Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses. Floodwaters await in our avenues. “Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche Over unprotected villages. The sky slips low and gray and threatening. “We question ourselves. What have we done to so affront nature? We interrogate and worry God. Are you there? Are you there, really? Does the covenant you made with us still hold? “Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters, Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air. The world is encouraged to come away from rancor, Come the way of friendship. “It is the Glad Season. Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner. Floodwaters recede into memory. Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us As we make our way to higher ground. “Hope is born again in the faces of children. It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.

Volume 38, Issue 25

Hope spreads around the earth, brightening all things, Even hate, which crouches breeding in dark corridors. “In our joy, we think we hear a whisper. At first it is too soft. Then only half heard. We listen carefully as it gathers strength. We hear a sweetness. The word is Peace. It is loud now. Louder than the explosion of bombs. “We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence. It is what we have hungered for. Not just the absence of war. But true Peace. A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies. Security for our beloved and their beloveds. “We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas. We beckon this good season to wait awhile with us. We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come. Peace. Come and fill us and our world with your majesty. We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian, Implore you to stay awhile with us So we may learn by your shimmering light How to look beyond complexion and see community. “It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time. “On this platform of peace, we can create a language To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other. “At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ Into the great religions of the world. We jubilate the precious advent of trust. We shout with glorious tongues the coming of hope. All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices To celebrate the promise of Peace. “We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, Look heavenward and speak the word aloud. Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud. Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves, And we without shyness or apology or hesitation: Peace, My Brother. Peace, My Sister. Peace, My Soul.” Merry Christmas to you and your beloveds wherever they may be. - Verlee A. Copeland


OUR STAFF

Invitation to Faith: Transformative Worship

You are invited to the

Senior Minister: Rev. Verlee A. Copeland

SEASON OF CHRISTMAS

Minister for Christian Formation and Mission: Rev. Dr. Thom Parrott-Sheffer

at Union Church

Minister for Membership and Discipleship: Rev. Dr. Julie Ruth Harley Director of Youth Ministries: David Knecht Director of Music Ministries: Michael Surratt Director of Choirs: Gary Wilhelm Director of Early Childhood Programs: Jennifer Keldahl Director of Children’s Christian Education: Penny Johnson Executive Manager: Merrilee Hall Financial Manager: Chris Biank Project Manager: Joel Gratcyk Systems Manager: Mary Bock

WORSHIP SERVICES Journey Worship Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. Sunday Worship 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. Jesus And Me (JAM) 2nd Sundays at 11:15 a.m. Prayer and Healing Service 3rd Sundays at 7:00 p.m.

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Worship Christmas Week-End Journey Worship Youth Room, 5:00 p.m. Saturday, December 23

Intergenerational Worship for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 10:00 a.m. Sunday, December 24 (No 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. Worship or Sunday School on December 24)

Christmas Eve Worship with Children’s Program 4 p.m. Sunday, December 24 Christmas Eve Worship Lessons, Carols, Choir and Candlelight at 8:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Worship Lessons and Carols, Bells and Brass, Candlelight and Communion at 11:00 p.m.

PRAYER

AND

Journey Worship Youth Room, 5:00 p.m. Saturday, December 30 New Year’s Worship Sunday, December 31 at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. (No 9:00 a.m. worship on December 31)

Epiphany Celebration Please join us for an Epiphany Celebration at the Copeland Home: 805 West 7th Street in Hinsdale 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Open House January 6, 2007

HEALING SERVICE DEC. 19

Take a break from the busyness of this season by joining us at the Prayer and Healing Service from 7:00 to 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19, in the Chapel. Enjoy beautiful Christmas music, be inspired by the story of the incarnation, celebrate the Lord’s Supper and pray for our community and our world. Rev. Harley will lead the service with Susan Young and Helen Mehler.

Sundays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Hear the Allegro Handbell Ensemble play at Brookfield Zoo. Tuesday, Dec 26, 7:00 – 7:45 p.m. at the Holly Jolly Theater located on the East Mall.

THE UNION CHURCH OF HINSDALE 137 South Garfield Avenue Hinsdale, IL 60521-4298 www.uchinsdale.org 630.323.4303 (Telephone) 630.323.4407 (Fax)

Worship New Year’s Week-End

•2•


Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Children

During the season of Advent, the Sunday School classes will be collecting mittens and hats for the children of our mission partners. Please bring a new pair of mittens, scarves and hats to decorate the children's Mitten Tree in the Dining Room. We are trying to collect over 200 pairs for the children this winter.

The Children of Union Church   

featuring

Tinsel Day Pageant Christmas Hymn Sing Gifts of the Magi Welcoming of Christmas

Cordially Invite You to Join Them for Worship •3•


Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Youth Spring Work Tour 2007: Goin’ “Appalachian” to the Coal Region of Kentucky

Did Someone Say WORK TOUR 2007? Spring 2007 Work Tour has been announced so that can mean only one thing…spaces are going to get filled up FAST. Registration is underway right now. Sign up TODAY so you can be a part of this amazing adventure!

Trip Cost: $495.00

This includes everything from our Leadership Retreat, to food, team building lodging, Can you see yourself as a part of transportation, this amazing group? Take a step out in faith and be the and more fun hands and feet of Christ this than you’ll know spring! what to do about!

30 Spots ONLY!

Harlan, KY

It’s official…COAP (Christian Outreach with Appalachian People) will be our host for this spring’s Work Tour. Located in Harlan, Kentucky (population 2,100), COAP is an organization that is dedicated to helping lower income families get affordable housing. While the average annual income for a family in Kentucky is around $27,000 (and housing averaging $68,000), the clients that COAP works with average a yearly salary of only $10,000. COAP is committed serving those who have housing needs. COAP explains that their clients make at least a small payment based on very low interest rates. We believe that all of our clients deserve the dignity of telling their friends and neighbors, "I'm paying for this." Because Harlan is nestled in the Appalachian region, the gorgeous scenery is accented by the hospitality of those who live in the area. We will be working on building houses or rehabbing houses that are in need. Something new this year too…we’ll be responsible for preparation of a lot of our meals. Wow! Won’t that be interesting!?!? Regardless of what type of work we do for the families of Harlan, or for each other in our own Work Tour community, this is an opportunity to for us to live out our faith in Christ by helping our neighbors in Appalachia.

Join Us at the NIGHT MINISTRY on Saturday Dec. 16th 4 - 9PM?

Check out our web site at www.uchinsdale.org\youth or Contact me at 630323-4303 or dknecht@uchinsdale.org for more information and to get your registration.

Making and Serving Soup (on the street) to Homeless Families in downtown Chicago.

No TNT or Discovery Dec. 24th or Dec. 31st

Be a Gift for someone else. Limited spots.

See you again on Sunday Jan. 7, 2007!

Call David at 630-323-4303 to sign up.

Youth Christmas Parties…”

You’d better watch out!”

●TNT Middle School (All 6th – 8th grd)

● Discovery High School (9th – 12th grd)

“CChristmas Grab Bag” Party

“Christmas Grab Bag” Party

5 – 6:30 pm

at David & Pam’s House-233 Meadowbrook Lane Hinsdale- 630-789-9611 (Directions: 3 Blks south of 55th St,-Meadowbrook is a RIGHT turn off of Elm St.)

Food, Fun, Santa ???

Bring a GIFT ($10 or less) and get a GIFT! BIG SANTA FUN, FOOD, MUSIC & STORIES (Bring a friend…but they need to bring a gift too!)

7 – 8:30 pm

at David & Pam’s House-233 Meadowbrook Lane Hinsdale- 630-789-9611 (Directions: 3 Blks south of 55th St,-Meadowbrook is a RIGHT turn off of Elm St.)

Food, Fun, Santa ???

Bring a GIFT ($10 or less) and get a GIFT! BIG SANTA FUN, FOOD, MUSIC & STORIES (Bring a friend…but they need to bring a gift too!)

Sunday December 17th


Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Adults NEW SMALL GROUPS HELP BUILD COMMUNITY

Bonnie Deke learned to knit from her mother, Dorothy, and now uses her skill to provide care and comfort to others by leading our new Prayer Shawl Ministry. Bonnie and eight other church members knit or crochet warm shawls that are given to people in the congregation who are experiencing illness or grieving the loss of a loved one. So far, they have delivered three, and more are being created. You will see the basket of shawls in the Gathering Place from time to time, and the congregation is invited to touch and bless the gifts before they are delivered to people in need. Each handmade shawl has a card attached with a prayer and blessing from Union Church. This small group meets twice a month, and members work on their own to make the shawls. Bonnie knew that Verlee Copeland and Julie Ruth Harley had had prayer shawl ministries in their former churches, and as a nurse at King-Bruweart House she saw one of the residents receive one. The group prays when they meet together, referring to a book titled Knitting into the Mystery by UCC writers Susan Jorgensen and Susan Izard. Bonnie is discovering the knitters and crocheters in the congregation, and if you would like to learn more, call Bonnie at 630.325.8782. Imagine being in prison for 15 years and then going back to the “real world.” Would you need the spiritual and emotional support of a community, guidance in finding a job, and help in starting a new life? That is just what the Prisoner Advocacy Small Group at Union Church is providing for Edward Moore, who will be paroled in early 2008 from Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg. Connie Black, who has ministered to 17 prisoners over the last 16 years, leads this small group of 12 people who are supporting Edward in the transition that lies ahead. The group aims to increase awareness of the Illinois prison system, believing that the church is called to be the front line resource to help parolees find employment. Connie states it is vital to offer the church as a community of healing and sustaining fellowship and that in ministering to former prisoners we receive more than we give. “Hopefully, this will be a model for other churches. We can’t assume it’s always business’ job. Edward is a perfect candidate. His faith and spiritual maturity are incredible. We are the right community at the right time for him. He’s going to be a blessing to us. I’m bringing the fruits home. The congregation can see the fruits of what a genuine prison ministry can do.” For more information about joining a small group, or to start a new small group, contact Rev. Julie Ruth Harley at 630.323.4303 ext. 14 or jrharley@ uchinsdale.org.

CHOCOLATE BOUTIQUE RETREAT:

Where Women Taste and See that the Lord is Good! Indulge yourself in this retreat from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10, in the Union Church Youth Room. You’ll grow closer to friends, deepen your relationship with Jesus, and be lavished with love! We will sing, pray, worship, reflect, study John 2, and sample lots of chocolate. Rev. Julie Ruth Harley will be our (sweet) retreat leader. The cost is $10 per person; lunch and childcare is provided. To register, contact Kim Notaro at 630/3255092 by Jan. 2. This retreat, sponsored by Women’s Association Unit 7, is open to the community---bring a friend!

December Adult Forums Sundays at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 17: Christmas Carol Sing-along in the Chapel, led by the Occasional Singers and Rev. Dr. Julie Ruth Harley. Join us as we sing and listen to some of our favorite carols and hear the stories behind their original composition. Connie Riemer will provide music, and the Occasional Singers will perform “Mary Did You Know?,” “Star Carol,” and “Away in a Manger.” Dec. 24: Christmas Eve – No Adult Forum Dec. 31: Spiritual Alliances with John of God in Brazil, led by Nancy Ging, L.C.S.W., holistic psychotherapist, columnist and researcher of spiritual healers. Nancy journeyed to Brazil to witness and experience the remarkable spiritual healing and psychic surgery of the man called John of God for two weeks last August. As many as 5,000 people a day from all over the world visit the Spiritist medium who has been serving God with his gifts, free of charge, for the past 48 years (www.johnofgod.com). Nancy will share her amazing stories of this adventure and describe the co-creative aspect of divine healing in the interfaith community in Abadiania, Brazil.

Save the Date!

WOMEN'S ANNUAL RETREAT Saturday, February 17, 2007 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Plymouth Place in LaGrange Park. Details to follow.

DROP-IN BOOK GROUP RETURNS!

After a holiday hiatus, the Women’s Association drop-in book group returns on Tuesday, January 23rd. Come to the home of Sue Becker, 203 Ravine Road in Hinsdale at 1:00 pm for a discussion of The Hidden Messages of Water by Masaru Emoto. Cygnus Books says:

“Using high-speed photography Dr Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed towards them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex and colourful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colours.” This is an easy read at fewer than 200 pages, but everyone is welcome to join in the conversation, even if you haven’t read the book. •5•


Invitation to Faith: Expanding Mission For All People We have received, from Faith Inc., a list of Chicago families who need our help to fill thier plate and stockings this Christmas. Won't you please volunteer to supply a meal and gift card to a needy family. Simply email Barri Maake at b.maaske@ comcast.net and state that you will be supporting a family this year. She will email you back the name and number of family members. Then: 1. Buy the food for their Christmas Dinner: ham or turkey, baking potatoes, sweet potatoes, canned or fresh vegetable, canned or fresh fruit, bread or rolls, and dessert. Feel free to add anything else you think they may enjoy. Do not include any frozen vegetables or desserts. Frozen turkeys or hams are fine. 2. Buy a gift certificate from K-Mart or Wal-Mart. As a guide, $25-$30 per family is recommended, but it can be as much as desired. 3. Put all the food and the gift certificate in a box that can be closed and stacked (Large Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers with lids are great) with your family's name on it, and bring it to 832 South Elm, Hinsdale, by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 22. Food baskets will be delivered on Saturday, December 23. THANK YOU for helping make Christmas special for a needy family! Questions? Call Mary MacKenzie, 323.7537, or Barri Maaske, 790.3226

LEARN

SPIRIT GIFTS

Continues through Dec. 24

Give someone the gift of hope, faith and love. These gifts are still available for you to purchase in the name of those on your gift lists. Look for a member of the Mission Ministry in the Gathering Place on Sunday mornings, through Dec. 24.

GIVE

THE

GIFT

OF

TRANSPORTATION

Bridge Communities is looking for individuals or businesses to donate used cars. The cars are used by homeless families who are in transition to self-sufficiency and all donations are tax deductible. To donate your used car or to find out how to support Bridge in another way, please visit bridgecommunities.org or call Mark Milligan at (630) 545.0610, ext. 10.

PASTOR’S FUND SUPPORTS LOCAL NEEDS

If you would like to make a year end donation to the pastor’s fund in support of local urgent care needs, you may do so by writing a check to Union Church, pastor’s fund in the memo line at the lower left. Through the Pastor’s Fund, Union Church supports various needs of individuals and expands referral partnership through Community Services of Hinsdale, serving Hinsdale and surrounding areas.

MORE ABOUT OUR MISSION PARTNERS

Come to the Women’s Association Annual Mission Panel presentation on Thursday, January 18th at 9:30 am and hear from two of our mission partners how what seems like a small amount of money to us can be huge for others who are in need. The Swahili word, harambee means “pull together” and Project Harambee gives an opportunity to “pull together” to support HIV-positive women in the African country of Kenya, www.projectharambee.org. St. Thomas Hospice provides compassionate, supportive, and holistic care for individuals at the end of life. A representative of this group will share more about the comfort they can provide to patients and their families. Coffee and conversation will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Rowell Hall followed by our presentation, and then, for those who wish to stay, bring a sandwich and we’ll pack bags of Oreo cookies for The Night Ministry. (Bring a package of Oreos, too, if you can!) ART AUCTION AND

Town Mill by Esther Triffler

We will now begin receiving donations of fine art, drawings, paintings, prints and sculpture, to be auctioned at the March 2 mission fundraiser. You may pick up a tax donation receipt in the church office when you drop off your donation. If you wish to make a donation of art in December, you may credit the donation to your 2006 income taxes.

FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY MISSION PARTNERS

Please Save the Date for the Art Auction to Support Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Art Auction And Wine Reception At the New Home of

Ellis and Verlee Copeland 6240 South Grant, Burr Ridge The Evening of Friday, March 2 •6•


Invitation to Faith: Community Care JANUARY DATES

TO NOTE All Ministry Members: Reflection on the Faith Initiative Team Proposals of the Executive Council Tuesday, January 9, from 7-8 p.m. in the Dining Room of Union Church

Union Church Congregation, Without knowing it, you truly are an answer to a prayer. I recall the first time my partner of 21 years and I, along with our 8 year old son, attended our first service here at Union Church. Choking back tears, I felt God’s remarkable presence and love as I set eyes on the waves of members, of varying ages, who without hesitation displayed rainbow flags upon their chest, a sign of tolerance for those who God created differently. I’m grateful to each of you for your compassion, your courage, as well as your continued expression of God’s limitless love. It has enabled my family and me to not only continue our deep spiritual beliefs, but join with your families to expand and celebrate our commitment as a part of a faith community. Beyond thanking you, I’d like to hug each and everyone one of you who bear the mark of acceptance for All of God’s children. Without knowing it, you have been a messenger of God’s love and peace for my family. In Christ,

Called to Lead, Sent to Serve: Leadership Retreat for returning and new Ministry and Committee Members Saturday, January 27, 2007 9-2 p.m. in the Youth Room of Union Church Annual Meeting: Sunday, January 28, 2007 for all members of the Union Church 11:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary following Morning Worship

Birth Announcements

Sarah & Matt Eigel are proud parents of Carter Pierce Eigel born Nov. 28th. Proud grandparents are Jay & Bonnie Eigel & Charlie & Joan Wentling. Elisha Orion born to Karin & John Jones on November 18th in Missoula, MT. Proud grandparents are Ruth & Don Finlay, great grandparents are Petie & Art Borch.

Laura Nash & Family If you would like a rainbow sticker for your nametag, they are available in the Gathering Place and on various bulletin boards throughout the church.

Congratulations to all!

Invitation to Faith: Community Life DEDUCTIBILITY

OF

Art Show at Union Church

PLEDGES

Believe it or not, the federal government has recently given us one more tax reason to be generous with our church pledging opportunity. In an obscure provision incorporated into last summer’s Pension Protection Act, the deduction of cash gifts (i.e. plate collections) made without accompanying receipts will no longer be permitted on your annual tax return. In order for the gift to be deductible, the donor must either maintain a written record like a bank check or receive a statement from the organization noting the gift. The Church does maintain written records of receipts for all pledging activity for your use to support any deduction you might entitled to claim and will provide you with quarterly statements showing your pledging activity. So, for 2007 it makes sense to support the Church’s mission and programs with a written pledge rather than relying on the hit-or-miss system of plate collections. You will be a service to the Church and yourself a favor at tax time!

STEWARDSHIP MOMENT Thank you to all who pledged generously the first fruits of your labors for 2007 in grateful response to God’s generosity in your life. When those of you who are still planning to pledge have done so, we will be able to plan our ministries to children and youth, prepare worship, and decide the extent to which we will be able to engage in mission as a community of faith for 2007. Thank you for your generous and prayerful support. •7•

The Executive Council of Union Church and the Women’s Association are pleased to announce that we will host, in the new year, an art show about themes from the Old Testament. The artist, Esther Triffler, is a friend of Union Church. Her paintings depict major stories from scripture including the Creation, the Tower of Babel, Noah’s Arc, the Sacrifice of Isaac, Rebekah at the Well. Cain and Abel, and others. We look forward to hearing her tell her stories from the perspective of the Hebrew tradition, and are grateful for her generosity in bringing the story of faith alive through art.

A Note from the Kitchen:

To all who use the refrigerator and freezer in the church kitchen – please don’t leave food in the coolers unless there is a future purpose for it. If there is a plan for the food left there, please mark on the packages when it will be used and by whom. That way any abandoned food can be discarded. Thanks for keeping our kitchen clean and safe!!


INSIDE THIS ISSUE... 2 3 4 5 6 7

TRANSFORMATIVE WORSHIP CHRISTIAN FORMATION FOR CHILDREN CHRISTIAN FORMATION FOR YOUTH CHRISTIAN FORMATION FOR ADULTS EXPANDING MISSION FOR ALL PEOPLE COMMUNITY CARE

GIVING THE POOR A WORKING CHANCE — that’s what Opportunity International is all about. Small loans, sometimes as little as $50, in the hands of a poor entrepreneur can transform the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities. Motivated by Jesus Christ’s call to serve the poor, Opportunity International is a Christian ecumenical organization serving women and men of all beliefs. Together, we can impact the future of millions of poor families. OUR MISSION is to provide opportunities for people in chronic poverty to transform their lives. Our strategy is to create jobs, stimulate small businesses, and strengthen communities among the poor. Our method is to work through indigenous partner organizations that provide small business loans, training, and counsel. Our commitment is motivated by Jesus Christ's call to serve the poor. Our core values are respect, commitment to the poor, integrity, and stewardship. YOU CAN HELP by making a gift to Opportunity International, you can provide a loan or supplies for a woman to start or expand her business. By doing this, you help her break the cycle of poverty. Here are some ways your gift can be used to give working mothers around the world a chance to build a successful future. • In the first year, every $10 gift improves the life of one person living in extreme poverty, and $76 finances an entrepreneur to begin her business • Over 10-years, every $2 improves the life of one person, and $14 finances an Opportunity entrepreneur (due to leverage and compound annual growth).

• $1-$25 Provides cloth for producing rugs in the Philippines • $50-$100 Buys a wooden cart used to bring vegetables to the market in Ghana


the Good News - Issue 25.indd