News And Updates

12-14-20 Update Letter #42 from Pastor Nate Phillips

by Pastor Nate Phillips on December 14, 2020

December 14, 2020
Dear Kirk family,
The third Sunday in Advent is the Sunday that we light the “pink” Advent candle. In many liturgical circles it is known as Gaudete (latin for “rejoice”) Sunday and this year’s scripture passage was Mary’s song, known as the “Magnificat” (latin for “my soul magnifies the Lord”). So, the third Sunday of Advent is the Sunday for joy!
Even with all that 2020 continues to bring, we did not postpone Gaudete Sunday! Let’s face it, this has been a year of postponement. Weddings, memorials, anniversaries, the list goes on and on. But, in my “Dare to Dream” sermon on Sunday, I offered, 
“I know a lot of people leaving things for later these days … 
Visits to relatives.
Holiday parties.
Major expenses.
But, somedays I worry, we are leaving a lot of joy, leaving too much joy, for later too.”
(By the way, some of you were playfully asking about my use of the word “dooryard” in the sermon, so I promise - again, playfully! - to offer a detailed explanation of the word using my “bona fide” Maine accent at the sermon talk back tonight! Come for that, or to discuss any of the deeper aspects of the sermon!) Join here.
Note: If you are prompted to enter a passcode, it’s “Kirk” with capital K.
“We are,” as I continued, “called to be companions in grief ….” And we will live into that call on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. with our Service of Comfort and Hope. Listen to Pastor Marjorie’s announcement for more details!
“But,” I went on, “when Mary offers her song, she sings out, ‘let us not forget to also be co-conspirators in joy.’"
That joy will continue through this Sunday when our worship service will feature a very special Christmas pageant created and produced by the children and youth of our church. Special “shout out” to Pastor Kelsey for all of her wonderful effort in making this happen amidst all of the challenges. I know you will enjoy it!
And, of course, there will be joy to share on Christmas Eve! We have created a special menu of options for the community to share that joy this year. You can visit the website for more details on all of the services.
  • The pre-recorded online broadcast is sure to be a blessing! It will have the traditional processional with mistletoe bough, special prayers, carols from the Kirk chancel choir, sharing of the candlelight, and my Christmas message, all to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home at Noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and midnight! The service will also be streamed to Kirk West (Fox Run), Cedarbrook Senior Living, local radio, and Bloomfield Cable TV.
  • At 11 a.m., we will have a special “outside” service in front of the Kirk with a full live nativity (yes, live animals!) and a special message for young children from Pastor Angela. Everyone is welcome! 
  • At 2 p.m., we will have an “in-person” service inside the Kirk sanctuary for a classic Kirk Christmas. In order to keep everyone safe, masks will be worn, social distancing will be in place, a 25% capacity cap observed, and the service will be abbreviated to 35-40 minutes. Still, there will be carols, candlelight, classic readings, and my Christmas message.
  • At 5 p.m., we are back outside, in front of the Kirk, for a candlelight service. Bundle up and come early for complimentary hot beverages and pre-service music. The 35 minute service begins at 5 and will include carols, candles, classic readings, a brief message for youth from Pastor Kelsey, as well as my Christmas message.
  • The 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. services will be “in-person” services in the Kirk sanctuary, identical to the 2 p.m. service.
All “in-person” services (including the outside services) will require registration and that registration opens at noon today (December 14). Since we have strict capacity limits, I hope you will register as soon as possible so that you can attend the service of your choice.  Register HERE or call the church office. We beg for your patience as we attempt to make everything work.
Joy is being delivered from the Kirk from all of our collections! Deliveries included gifts to Judson Center, one of many organizations receiving gifts purchased through our Deacons Adopt-A-Family program backs packs with essential supplies to Children's Village in Pontiac, winter coats purchased with Kirk Outreach and Mission funding for at risk and homeless youth served by Covenant House in Detroit, blankets, clothes, food and supplies to Pontiac Families met through the Pontiac Foundation-My COVID Response and, school supplies to Kennedy School for a Special Needs Adult Program for ages 15-26, along with the delivery of fleece blankets made for Building Beds 4 Kids! If you missed out on giving gifts for the Angel Tree ministry (pictures from that next week!), you can still bring gifts to the Kirk for kids who live in the Micah 6 neighborhood because they are having a Toy Drive too!
Accent Pontiac invites you to join in their joy this season too! Remember to vote for Accent Pontiac, the Kirk's nonprofit, in the Pontiac Impact Challenge! The challenge ends TOMORROW, December 15 at midnight and you can vote every 24 hours. Accent Pontiac is in a close race for third place and every vote helps ensure they receive funding to support their social change through music programming in the Pontiac community! Vote at”
Finally, if you still need to find some joy to share under the tree or in a stocking, remember that you can order a Kirk pullover or order an item in the Kirk tartan from Claymore Imports! You can find it here simply choose an item (like a pocket square here and then find “Kirk in the Hills” in the tartan options. Not every item allows for the Kirk in the Hills tartan, but many do! While the pullover or tartan products likely wont arrive in time for Christmas, you can always print a picture of what is coming and share in a card!
We hope that Sunday’s worship service confirmed that we are refusing to postpone joy at Kirk in the Hills! The “Zoom” rendition of Carol of the Bells by the Kirk chancel choir was a great example of that! As was the Holiday Brass Concert presented by Detroit Chamber Winds and the Kirk Chancel Choir (available for viewing on Youtube here).
And the musical sharing of Christmas joy continues this Sunday night. Take time for a quiet, meditative respite from the rigors of the season with instrumental and vocal music to mark the closing days of Advent. Featuring music by Detroit Symphony Orchestra principal harpist, Patti Masri-Fletcher and organist, Glenn Miller.
Stay warm … and share joy!
Pastor Nate

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