December 7, 2020
Dear Kirk family,
On Sunday, as part of our Those Who Dream Advent series, I told the story of a “teenage Pastor Nate” (scary thought) spinning his AMC Eagle into a snowbank. My friend Jimmy was with me, and nobody was hurt, but we were very stuck.
“But we weren't worried,” I preached.
“Because this was our town, and we knew our town, we knew what kind of town we lived in, we knew what kind of people would be driving by, we knew we didn’t have to call for backup, that it was already on its way. We knew someone would be along soon with a truck and a chain.
Can we say the same for our town?
Can we say that for our community of faith?
What about our families?
Can we dream about a world where, when life gets away from us, when life gets away from anyone, there isn’t a need to worry
Because help is coming?”
Join the sermon “talk back” tonight at 7 p.m.! For links to that conversation and everything we have going on this Advent, visit here.
We continue to live into this kind of dream as a congregation. I am especially proud of how we have spent the past four Novembers encouraging other churches - this year we had nine join the Service Challenge effort - inviting people to be the “backup” that God is sending in our community.
This year, amidst all the challenges of serving in a Covid environment, we offered
Of service to people waiting in “snowbanks” of every kind. Thank you for being an amazing congregation!
One specific story of the “backup” offered this month, comes from Valarie Harris. She is a mother of one our Kirk Tutor students. We have been tutoring one of her six kids continuously for the past 15 years. She wrote a Kirk advent devotional last week and was overwhelmed by the amount of love sent from "people who didn't even know her." She's also extremely grateful for the twenty-five Kirk folks who played a part in moving her into her new home Saturday. Between the furniture contributions, fleece blankets made, household items donated and our Kirk members who actually did the moving, along with Becky and Sam at Building Beds 4 Kids, we wrapped our arms around Valarie, sharing God's love and letting her know we're here for her!
Last night was another good example of offering “backup” to those who are feeling a bit “stuck” and in need of good cheer. The carillon rang with the sounds of Silent Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem. The cars celebrated with the sounds of their horns. The trees lit up to remind us that more light is coming into the world. And gifts for the Angel Tree were presented that they might be sent to people experiencing the “snowbank” of financial hardship.
Saturday night, too, will offer an opportunity to be pulled into the Christmas spirit. At 7 p.m., settle in for a spectacular collaboration between the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings brass ensemble, our Chancel Choir, the Stoney Creek High School Chamber Choir, and our very own, Nicole Joseph. Be sure to register!
I hope that those that are experiencing the snowbank of heartsickness will also experience our church as backup. Our Service of Comfort and Hope will take place on December 16 at 7 p.m. online. It’s a time to come together for prayers and laments, to mourn the losses and griefs of the year, to let the tears flow for the hurting places in our own lives, as well as for our country and our world. We worship trusting in this darkness, even now, seeds are growing, hope is being born, and new dreams are being dreamed. You can find the link to the service by visiting the Kirk’s Advent webpage.
Even now, with only a click (and about two seconds of your time!), you can offer backup to the amazing work being done by Accent Pontiac. The Kirk's own non-profit was selected to participate in the Pontiac Impact Challenge, a voting competition where the 3 organizations with the most votes receive grant funding to support their work in the Pontiac community. Vote for Accent Pontiac here! You can vote every 24 hours through December 15 at midnight.
The full URL for the link to vote is: https://pcf.us.launchpad6.com/PontiacImpactChallenge/entry/13
Finally, on Christmas Eve, we will celebrate how God sent us the truest and most powerful “backup" the world could ever know. Our online service will be broadcast on our website and Facebook throughout the day at noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. In addition, it is our hope and intention to offer five in-person services in the main sanctuary on Christmas Eve. Safety considerations will include:
- Mandatory mask wearing
- Capacity limited to 25%
- Covid-specific cleaning between each service
- Registration system and numbered seating to ensure social distancing.
- Abbreviated services to 35-40 minutes.
Registration for these services will open on the website next Monday, December 14, at noon. Services offered will include a service for young children and their families at 11 a.m. and candlelight services at 2, 5, 8, and 11 p.m.
However you celebrate this season, it is bound to be different than any other year in your lives. So, allow me to end this letter as I ended Sunday’s sermon,
“Many of us have had our lives rearranged, our worlds spun around, our relationships jarred in the year thatʼs coming to a close. Many of us fear what is to come and feel like we are just barely hanging on - that, with this or with that, life could quickly get out of hand.
May we dream of something better - that when we find that our words are echoing Maryʼs, when we find ourselves asking “how can this be?” - may we hear, like Mary did, the message God so longs for us to hear, the message he sent the angel Gabriel to deliver,
backup is on the way.”