December 21, 2020
Dear Kirk family,
We asked Ann Manning, who organizes our Angel Tree ministry, for a couple of sentences for this weekly letter, she shared,
“Since 2004, the Kirk has supported CARE House of Oakland County through our Angel Tree ministry. CARE House provided many services to children and teens who are victims of abuse, primarily sexual. We are blessed to provide them a little holiday joy through the gift of toys. Last year, the Kirk gave them nearly 700 toys. This year, despite the fact that we are not walking through the Kirk halls and pulling tags from the Angel trees, our generous congregation collected nearly 500 new toys, books, and games.”
I join Ann in applauding this effort … and yet … I would like to see us get to that 700 toy mark. Surprise, surprise! This year, perhaps more than ever, children need to know someone is out there thinking about them. So, I have confirmed with Julie Walker that every toy collected from now until Christmas Eve will reach the children of Pontiac through the Micah 6 ministry. As you do your last minute shopping, maybe you could shop a bit extra and drop your toys off in the church Welcome Center this week or bring them to church, if you plan to come, on Christmas Eve. What to get? Legos, board games, action figures, and balls.
200 toys in four days.
I know we can do this.
I know we can do this because our deacon-led Adopt-a-Family effort was over the top! Last year we raised a generous $18,892 and this year we have raised $29,105. That is a tremendous increase - in line with the energy of donating we saw this year with the Crop Walk and Medical Debt Relief. Truly incredible.
These “extra efforts” of goodwill are an expression of what God is doing inside of us. In Sunday’s sermon, Sweet Dreams, I invited us to consider how God might be working on us - quietly decorating us from the inside. When Joseph goes to sleep on the night of the angel’s visit, he cannot know it, but
“God goes to work on him.
Decorating him from the inside.
Doing it quietly.
In the quietest way possible.
From inside his sweet dream.
And when he wakes up, he does the right thing.
Do you think maybe God has been up to something like that in you?”
How is God working on you, decorating you from the inside with hope, peace, joy, and love? Can you sense God’s quiet work? How might we let God’s decorating be shown?
Our young people displayed God’s decoration through the energy of our online Christmas pageant that debuted in worship yesterday. I am so proud of their work - as well as the leadership of Pastor Kelsey and the effort of Cole Pachuki in putting it together. Take the 20 minutes to watch it - you will be blessed.
Pastor Kelsey also organized and outdoor scavenger hunt in Rochester for the youth on Sunday night. She continues to find ways to bring them together in these challenging times. Be looking for a newsletter from Kelsey in my January mailing!
Our Outreach and Mission efforts continue to demonstrate what God is doing inside of us too. Kirk members celebrated a milestone with one of our ministry partners this week, Hope Against Trafficking. The first graduate of the residential program moved into her own apartment with the love and support of donated furniture and household items from Kirk members. Thank you for your continued prayers for Hope Against Trafficking to continue this ministry of love, healing and restoration!
Our Kirk Foster Care committee delivered more care package items and fleece blankets to the Washtenaw Community College Pantry for foster care youth who are students there. Kathy Stewart, pictured here, is the WCC Campus Coach and happily delivered them to all her students!
Ministry With Pontiac and Kirk Tutors teamed up to bring Christmas cheer to our Kirk Tutor families delivering presents, blankets and food to help make their Christmas merry and bright! Your generosity with the Covid Relief Fund helped to make this happen! Many thanks to Heather Lorincz, Jeanne Weaver, and Shannon Phillips for administering that fund.
Pastor Marjorie, Pastor Angela, and our Stephen Ministers joined God in doing the work of internal decorating when they led the Service of Comfort and Hope last week. I am so glad for the space that these caring souls offered to people in times of heartache. We are so blessed to have one another for when the darkness tries to keep us from seeing God’s light.
Our Christmas Eve celebration will be a visible sign of God’s decoration. Our online services will be held at noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and midnight on Christmas Eve. We will be in person at 11 a.m. (outside with live nativity), 2 p.m. (sanctuary), 5 p.m. (outside with candlelight), 8 p.m. (sanctuary), and 11 p.m. (sanctuary). All services are by registration only and the in-person sanctuary services are filling up - you can reserve seating in the refectory and also catch the livestream of the in-person sanctuary services on the website. But, if you come in person at any time on Christmas Eve, bring some toys! Legos, board games, action figures, and balls.
This Sunday, December 27, we will join in worship with the Presbyterian Church (USA)! A special service is being offered by our denomination with a sermon from our Stated Clerk, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson. I think you will enjoy hearing voices from all over the country leading in prayer and song. You can access this service just like you do our services every week, beginning at 9 a.m. on our church website and on Facebook.
Then, on Sunday evening at 7 p.m., we do hope you will join the carol sing led by Glenn Miller. It will be a Zoom event and feature some of familiar Kirk voices. Click here to join! The Christmas “decorating” continues even after Christmas day!
If prompted, the passcode is: kirk (all lower case)
And God will continue to decorate us - and our church - in the new year. Some days that decorating will be done with great gusto and other days it will be in the still and quiet. Ours will be an endeavor to let the decorating done by God’s transforming love - be shown!