December 2, 2011 eNote

Dear Tonganoxie UMC Family,

I hope that your December is off to a great start and that in the midst of the craziness you’re finding some time to enjoy the simple pleasures and joys of this season.  I spent a large portion of time earlier in the week finalizing worship plans through the rest of our Advent and Christmas celebrating.  I am very excited about all that lies ahead for our congregation through the rest of this month!  I have also kicked my listening to Christmas music into high gear this week.  I absolutely love this time of year!

Staff Retirement and Position Opening

For more than 5 years Norma Hunter has served as Tonganoxie UMC’s treasurer.  She recently announced to Staff Parish that she would be retiring at the end of January.  I am grateful for Norma’s service as treasurer and all of the assistance that she provided to me as I began my ministry at TUMC this summer.  We will make plans to celebrate Norma’s ministry with us in January and will make sure to let you know about those as they are finalized.

Norma’s retirement means that we will soon be hiring someone to administer the finances of the congregation, hopefully someone who could start as early as 1/1/12 to allow for a month of training with Norma.  Staff Parish will be finalizing a position description next week and begin accepting applications and interviewing shortly after that.  The job is an hourly position at roughly 10 hours per week.  Please feel free to email me at if you or someone you know is interested in the position.

Charge Conference – You’re Invited!

Next Sunday, December 11th, we will be holding our annual charge conference following the 10:30 service.  We will gather in Hughes hall for a potluck meal and the meeting.  There are several things on which we will vote: the clergy compensation package for 2012, the report of church leadership for 2012 from our Lay Leadership Team, the adoption of a congregational purpose statement and our 2012 budget.  The bulk of the meeting, however, will be a time of conversation and reflection led by Rev. Mike Chamberlain, our District Superintendent.  The meeting is open to all members and friends of Tonganoxie UMC and I trust it will be an important and meaningful time as we celebrate all we have done in this last year and plan and dream for 2012 and beyond.

Adopt-a-Family for Christmas

This year our congregation has adopted five families through the Good Shepherd Thrift Shop.  This program allows local families who might not be able to otherwise to have Christmas gifts and meals.  We have angel tags available for pick-up at the church with descriptions of the child’s age, clothing size, and any other wishes for Christmas.  Instructions for bringing the gifts to the church (no later than December 11th) are also included with the tags.  These tags are hanging from the fireplace mantle in the gathering area.  If all of the tags are claimed you are also invited to make donations to help buy groceries for the families.  Donations can be made to the church and marked “adopt-a-family.”

In addition to the increased consumption of Christmas music I have also been doing some Advent Reading this week and I wanted to close today by recommending a couple of resources that I have been enjoying.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday I read “Christmas Isn’t Your Birthday” by Rev. Mike Slaughter.  I am using “The Journey: A Season of Reflections” by Rev. Adam Hamilton as my daily devotional guide through Advent.  Mike and Adam are both pastors of wonderful United Methodist congregations and people for whom I have a great deal of respect.  If you’re looking for something that might help you focus on the true reason for Advent and Christmas I believe you would be blessed by either or both of these resources.

Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you on Sunday as we continue our sermon series “Preparing The Way” through Advent.

Grace and Peace,

Jeff

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