O, the Mystery of God's Dwelling
is the theme for Advent through Epiphany worship this year. We hope the icon and the prelude will help you to enter the mystery and awe of Christ's coming into our world. We hope you have found it meaningful to reflect on The Nativity of Christ. If it would enhance your reflection to know what the artist, Michele L. Hofer, had in mind in creating this icon, the Advent resources include an explanation of the artwork. Learn more
Sunday School Notes
With our relatively new starting time of 9:30 a.m. rather than 9:00 a.m., there has been some confusion about when Sunday School is to begin and end. Typically our worship lasts until 10:45 which allows for Sunday School classes to begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at noon. However, if worship ends earlier than 10:45 a.m., a verbal announcement will be made by someone from the Christian Education Commission clarifying start time for Sunday School. Music will play indicating start time and ending time each Sunday.
Handmade Jewelry and Goods For Sale
Last Sunday Elijah and Priscillah Metekai shared about their long struggle to get a green card and about the approximately $8,000 legal bill they've received in connection with that effort. If you want to contribute to their legal expenses, you can write a check to Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship and in the memo line "Agape Fund." You must then let someone on The Agape Committee know that it is for The Metekais. Please note that if the Metekai name is on the check it is not tax deductible. On a related note, as was mentioned in last week's newsletter, this coming Sunday, December 15, Elijah and Priscillah will be offering jewelry and other handmade crafts for sale from their home community in Kenya to raise funds as well.
My Name is Rachel Corrie
Rachel Schrock will perform the one-woman play My Name is Rachel Corrie
this Sunday, December 15, at 4:00 p.m. at Bethany Christian School. No ticket is needed to attend the performance. The play will last about an hour and there will be a time of discussion following the performance.
Thank You from the Derstines
We have been so blessed by your generosity surrounding Abram's arrival. Thank you for your gifts, prayers, and words of encouragement. It is wonderful to know that Abram already has such a strong and caring community. Thank you! ~ Elise, Adam and Abram
Adam and Elise Derstine are looking for a nanny/baby-sitter for Abram when Elise begins working again in January. They anticipate needing someone 3 days per week, 5 hours at a time (15 hours total). Please let them know
if you are interested or know of other childcare resources.
Appreciative Inquiry Congregational Evaluation
In early November, the Spiritual Leadership Team met with generational focus groups to evaluate and assess its vision, articulated in 2010, A Recalibrated Vision
, and to evaluate and assess its goal "to engage each person intergenerationally in the ministry of Christ." There were 5 focus groups: the SLT/elders, representatives from the commissions/Sunday School teachers/MYF/JYF sponsors, and 3 generational groups: 20s and 30s, 40s and 50s, and 60+. Each group responded to these questions:
- Tell us a story of a time when you were most aware of God's presence and purpose or most excited about your involvement at Berkey Avenue.
- What are the things you value deeply about yourself in settings outside of the congregation, about being a member/regular attender at Berkey; and what do you value about Berkey?
- What do you think is the core value of Berkey?
- If you had a wish for our congregation, what would that be?
Here is the summary
of the findings from the Appreciative Inquiry process. At the bottom of the summary are the questions that we asked groups to discuss at the November Congregational meeting. If you would like to add your response to these questions please do that by emailing Marilyn Rudy-Froese
or Jan Bender Shetler
Mark your Calendars for a Night of Singing!
The Mission Commission has scheduled a night of Christmas caroling on Thursday, December 19, to spread the Christmas spirit to shut-ins and others within our congregation. Plans are to meet promptly at the church at 6:30 p.m. to arrange for carpooling and directions to homes. Persons young and old are invited for an enjoyable night of singing and fellowship. Following caroling, all are invited back to the church for refreshments.
Animate: Faith Sunday School Class
Come ponder, reflect on, and discuss topics of faith in the Animate:Faith
class. Each week we will watch a DVD portion with one of these leading voices, spend time in personal reflection and journaling (the journal will be provided: a donation of $15 is suggested), and engage in conversation. Marilyn Rudy-Froese will facilitate this class. This week, Shane Hipps explores the topic of Salvation: Abundant Life Now. Learn more and hear excerpts
Head on over to our Facebook page
for a photographic collection of our early history -- complete with difficult to recognize building features, incredible hairstyles and clothing, and who knows what else we will dig up! Play along and see if you can spot anybody you know, and don't forget to like our page if you haven't already!
Bethany Christian Schools
Bethany Christian High School will hold its annual Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December. 13, in Goshen College’s Sauder Concert Hall. Come hear choral and instrumental groups as they celebrate the birth of Christ in music and join them on stage for their concluding song “The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.
Bethany Christian Schools Alumni Day
Bethany alumni (and their families) will receive free admission to the Saturday, December 14, boys and girls basketball games and are eligible for prizes. The girls varsity-only contest vs. Canterbury begins at 2:30 p.m.; the boys games vs. Lakeland begins with JV at 6:00 p.m. followed by the varsity.
John McCutcheon Concert
Internationally-renowned folksinger John McCutcheon will be in concert at Bethany Christian Schools on March 29, 2014. Reserved-seat tickets are now available to purchase online for Christmas gifting—or for those just wanting to reserve prime seating early. Learn more
Goshen College has received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish stronger career counseling, foster student entrepreneurship and promote internships and other experiential learning opportunities at the college. Learn more
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
AMBS recently joined the Seminary Stewardship Alliance, by invitation, and found affirmation for how much we are already doing in sustainable construction and habitat restoration. We also are taking new steps, such as supporting the local food pantry by expanding our garden and planning a conference on Christian faith and land for next fall.
LaCasa Open House
On Sunday, December 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., LaCasa will hold an Open House at the new Westplains Apartments. These units are meant for chronically homeless individuals who receive services from Oaklawn. All of LaCasa programs will have displays and personnel who will be able to tell you about what we do, from the Aging in Place grant, Financial Capabilities Classes, the MoneyPro Club to the future of the Hawks Building, they want to answer your questions. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please call (574) 533-4450.
All You Need Is Love Women's Conference
Register, donate toward scholarships and check out the tentative schedule. "All You Need is Love," taking place February 20-22 in Leesburg, VA, will wrestle with theology, diversity, and the complexities of Christian love. The theme was chosen to both playfully acknowledge the way love is brought to the forefront by Valentine’s Day in February, and also wrestle with the complexity of love as an element of Christian faith. February is also Black History Month, and one of the primary commitments of the conference is to work at undoing racism and advancing intercultural transformation. Learn more
Mental Health Conference
Conference on Faith Communities and Mental Illness"Creating Hope: The Power of Faith Communities in Mental Health Recovery" is a one-day conference that will take place January 15, 2014, in Chicago, IL. Hosted by Pathways to Promise and others, this conference will present ways that faith communities and people engaged in mental health recovery can work together to educate their communities about mental illness and equip them to develop supportive, caring responses. The cost of this conference is $25. Learn more
Goshen Community Chorale Presents Handel's Messiah
Goshen Community Chorale is pleased to present Handel's Messiah on Sunday, December 15 at 3:00 p.m. at College Mennonite Church in Goshen. Admission is free, though a free-will offering will be taken.
Have something to sell, rent or lend? Want to buy or borrow something? Looking for a job or wanting to volunteer? This is the place to have it be known!
Are you looking to live out your faith by using your gifts in another country? Serving and Learning Together (SALT) is a unique year-long cross cultural immersion experience with MCC for Christian young adults (18 to 27 years old) from the United States and Canada. Participants live with local host families, serving in a variety of assignments with partners in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and Central America and the Middle East. Learn more about the program or apply online by February 15 at www.salt.mcc.org
. You can also contact Darlene Dintaman at the MCC Great Lakes Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (574) 534-4133 for more information.
Bethany Christian Schools invites applications for the full-time term position of media center coordinator. The position will begin when it is filled and is expected to be available for most or all of the current school year, which ends June 2, 2014. For details and application procedures, see www.bethanycs.net/jobs.
Do you have skills in the building trades and maintenance and a desire to put your talents and gifts into a ministry committed to helping people connect with God, with creation and with each other? Amigo Centre seeks a Maintenance Director to assume responsibility for the maintenance and care of Amigo's grounds and facilities. This full-time year-around position gives opportunity to utilize building and maintenance skills while working with a committed and caring staff and connecting with guests and campers of all ages. More information is available at www.amigocentre.org
or by calling Cliff Brubaker at (269) 651-2811. Amigo Centre, located near Sturgis, MI, is a 400 acre year-around camp and retreat facility which belongs to the Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference.