A few thoughts before and for Christmas

Epiphany Luncheon
All ministers, commissioned ruling elders, pastoral leaders, certified Christian educators, candidates and inquirers are invited to An Epiphany Luncheon on January 6, 2016. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Select. The cost is $25 per person. Send your RSVP with the check (made out to the Presbytery of Denver) by December 31st. Please do not delay getting your reservation with your check to us by the deadline. We want to see you there!
Prayer Requests 
Prayers for Les Avery and his family are asked following the death of Les’ wife Jackie.
Please pray for Carolyn and Bob Hampel.  Carolyn suffered a stroke and is now in rehabilitation.

2016 Youth Triennium
If you have youth that should be thinking about attending the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, please note that the deadline for registering to attend with the Presbytery group and receive scholarship assistance is January 10, 2016. For more information refer to the mailing you received or contact Sandy Safford 303.822.5717, email faithsense@earthlink.net or Cindy Moorman 303.659.2192.
“Courage:  Acting Fearlessly in Fearful Times” is the powerful event, designed for all congregational leaders in the presbytery by the Leadership Work Group. It will be held on February 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Hope Church in Castle Rock.The event will feature inspiring worship and an abundance of suggestions, and small, but significant steps to become the courageous church we are called to be. Registration (including payment for a light breakfast) through the Presbytery website will be available by January 4, 2016.  As we begin a new year of service, we encourage you to invite your leaders to attend.

Stewardship Kaleidoscope
The Presbyterian Church’s premier event for stewardship education, will be held February 29- March 2, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. It offers outstanding plenary speakers and worship. This year the worship leader will be the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY. and former President of McCormick Theological Seminary.  It also includes over 35 workshops covering topics such as annual stewardship, planned giving, current trends in stewardship and capital campaigns. For more information and to register for this event, click here. 
Our next Presbytery Assembly will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at Habitat for Humanity in Denver. We will be hosted by the members of the Carpenter’s Helpers Mission Partnership. The meeting will include the installation of our new moderator, the Rev. Dr. Stan Jewell, and the vice-moderator, Ruling Elder Dr. Jean Demmler.  

Our March Presbytery Assembly will be held one week later than our usual fourth Tuesday schedule. Since the fourth Tuesday falls within Holy Week, we will convene on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at Columbine United Church.  

Next Two Ministers’ Communions. On Wednesday, March 9, 2016 we will gather at the Presbytery Center for a service of communion at 11:30 a.m. Pastor Tu Minh Bui of the Vietnamese Church, Amy Mendez, Cathy Ulrich and I will serve as your hosts.  Following the service of worship, we will re-assemble at a near-by restaurant which just may serve great Vietnamese fare!  I hope you plan to be present for this time together. A slightly longer trip for most of us is planned for a service of communion at the Southpark Community Church in Fairplay on June 9, 2016. We will be arranging transportation so that we can carpool to Fairplay and be hosted by Southpark’s pastor, Kenny Shaw.  More information will be coming about the time together, but put it on your calendar now and plan to journey together on June 9, 2016.  

The Presbytery Center will be closed from December 24, 2015 - January 3, 2016. It will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

A Few Thoughts Before and For Christmas ….

“The God who once deigned to take on mortal flesh can, we should trust, still invade our present-day, fleshly, flashy, earthly Christmas in all its hoopla. There’s much to be said for Christian efforts to ‘put Christ back in Christmas.’ Congregations singing Christmas hymns and pastors preaching Christmas sermons do exactly that. But even as the faithful stubbornly keep Christ in Christmas, we do well to remember that Christ has long done a remarkably good job of keeping Christ in Christmas.”
Michael Lindvall, “Christ and Christmas” in The Presbyterian Outlook, December 7, 2015

“Christmas itself is by grace. It could never have survived our own blindness and depredations otherwise. It could never have happened otherwise. Perhaps it is the very wildness and strangeness of the grace that has led us to try to tame it. We have tried to make it habitable. We have roofed it in and furnished it. We have reduced it to an occasion we feel at home with, at best a touching and beautiful occasion, at worst a trite and cloying one. But if the Christmas even in itself is indeed – as a matter of cold, hard fact – all it’s cracked up to be, then even at best our efforts are misleading.”                          
Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words

“We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst”
In Peace,