Monthly Archives: December 2015

Pastor’s Ponderings

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. —Luke 2:10


We begin our Advent journey on Sunday, November 29th.  Our services will be geared toward helping you to experience the greatest story ever told – the story of “Our Coming Savior.”  You will hear about Elizabeth and Zechariah, Herod, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph as well as the Innkeeper.  They will bring to life the time when God chose to come to the world as flesh!

We hope that you can come along on this journey with us, and bring your friends! Now is the time to invite folks who may not have a church home and those who, for whatever reason, have drifted away.  During this season, so many reach out to establish or re-establish church connections.  Be willing to lead them to our church and be willing to welcome them into our church home.

Besides our regular church services we will be doing a few special services.  ONe is the Blue Christmas Service which will be held at Claybanks UMC on Tuesday, December 16th at 7 pm.  This is a service especially for those people who have lost a loved one in the past year or in recent years.  They could have lost them to death or perhaps they had a divorce, or maybe everyone just seems to have moved far away.  For whatever reason, they are not much in a mood for the “JOY” in our season.  This is a service where they can remember and worship Christ, but can also remember their loved ones and acknowledge their loss.

There will, again, be two opportunities for you to worship on Christmas Eve.  We will have one Service at 7 pm at Shelby UMC and then there will be another Service at 11 pm at Claybanks UMC.  Hopefully, one (or both) of them will work into your family’s schedule of events.

We also will be taking up a special offering during Advent.  This offering is not part of your regular tithe commitment to the church.  This will be a special gift opportunity during Christmas and Advent.  The Claybanks UC board will let you know at a later date where they have decided to put this extra collection.  If you wish to donate toward this gift, please use the special envelope enclosed with this newsletter.

I have enclosed a chart of events for Advent/Christmas 2015 that you can put on your refrigerator so you don’t miss a thing!  Hope you can come and celebrate the season with us!



Upcoming Scripture and Sermon Topics

Advent Season!!! Come and Join Us

November 29 (1st Sunday of Advent) 
Malachi 3:1 – Our Coming SAVIOR – “Meet Elizabeth & Zechariah” – We Light Prophecy Candle

December 6th (2nd Sunday of Advent)
Isaiah 9:6-7 – Our Coming SAVIOR – “Meet Herod” – We light the Preparation Candle

December 13th (3rd Sunday of Advent)
Luke 2:8-20 – Our Coming SAVIOR – “Meet the Shepherds” – We light the Joy Candle

December 16th (Blue Christmas Service)
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS WHO ARE GRIEVING! – If you know someone who is grieving over a loss, whether by death, divorce, or distance, invite them to come as we remember that even though they may not feel joyful during this season, the gift is STILL for them!

December 20th (4th Sunday of Advent)
Luke 1:26-38 – Our Coming SAVIOR – “Meet Mary and Joseph” – We light the Love Candle

December 24th (Christmas Eve)
Luke 2:1-20 – Our Coming SAVIOR – “Meet the Innkeeper” – 7 pm Service will be held at Shelby UMC, 11 pm Service will be held at Claybanks UMC

December 27th
Luke 2:41-52 – “And Then……” – Christmas is over………..NOW what!


Announcements and Stuff

Name Tags

During the month of December we will be wearing NAME TAGS!  There are many visitors who come during this month and this is a way that we can make them all feel more welcome.  I know that YOU know everyone, but THEY don’t!  Please be welcoming and wear one.

Advent Study!

“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them….”   ~John 17:18

This Advent season, we will learning about delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas by studying the book Sent . Dynamic pastor Jorge Acevedo who pastors a multi-site United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida, leads us on a 5-week Advent journey to discover how, where, and why we are sent. Joining him on the journey are four young clergy who challenge us through story, art, and Bible study.  Pastor Jorge says, “Jesus’ birth was not a one-time occurrence.  Every Christmas has the possibility of Jesus being born again in our lives and in our world.”   

Our Advent Study, “SENT” began on Monday, November 23rd at 6:30 at Claybanks UMC.  This study is open to both churches and there is still time to join us.  If you have any questions, see Pastor Terri.

Blue Christmas Service
A Service of Remembrance & Hope
Wednesday, December 16th, 7 pm at Claybanks UMC

The loss of a loved one can make Christmas a hard time.  Our Blue Christmas Service is especially for those who may be struggling with the ‘joyfulness’ of Christmas.  At this service we will remember those who are no longer in our daily lives as we also remember their continued importance to us.  We will remember the birth of Christ, who came into this world to bring Hope to all.  But we will also acknowledge that some of us have broken hearts and wounds that go deep into our soul.  Because of our grief, it is sometimes hard to see the goodness and joy of Christmas because we are so overwhelmed with the painful events in our lives. If you, or someone you know, is struggling this year……this is a service that may help.  Join us as we come together before God and ask Him to bind up our hearts and aid our healing with the peace of Jesus Christ.  We pray that the flame of God’s Holy Spirit will be a flare in the darkness that envelopes you in your grief. Come, and feel some Christmas peace!

For Those Who Find Rejoicing Hard Work

Christmas Eve Services

There will be two services happening on Christmas Eve.  The first one, at 7pm, will be held at Shelby UMC and will be a joyful celebration!  Please bring your friends and family for the service and for the ‘Cheese Ball’ reception that will take place in the fellowship hall before the service at 6pm.  

Then, we will have a Candlelight/Communion service at Claybanks UMC at 11 pm.  Claybanks will have a time of fellowship also beginning at 10 pm.  Both services will be a little different so you can come and be filled at both if you choose. Please bring your family and friends and come and celebrate the birth of Christ!

Watch Night Service

We are going to try something NEW this year!  We plan to have a Watch Night Potluck and Service on New Year’s Eve.  The potluck will begin at 6 pm with a short service at 7 pm.  Our service will be a time to give thanks for all that we were blessed with in 2015 and a time for prayer for the coming year.  Communion will be served.  Please come and celebrate with us!  

SUM Club

LAST CALL – We are really trying to be able to get SUM Club started up after the first of the year.  But we cannot do it if we don’t have teachers.  There are several classes that are open.  Plus we could use some men to help in the gym.  Claybanks UMC folks, you can help here too as both churches are invited to SUM Club.  We will be having an organizational meeting about this on Tuesday, December 8th.  If you are interested in being a part of this discussion, please join us at Shelby UMC at 7 pm.  Please prayerfully consider this ministry.  If you want to know more, see Pastor Terri.  We cannot continue this vital ministry without your help.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

We have lots of yarn that has been donated for Prayer Shawls.  If you can knit or crochet and would like to make a Prayer Shawl that will be given to someone going through a hard time, see Pastor Terri for some yarn and some instructions. Also, if you know of someone who needs a prayer shawl, let Pastor Terri know. The shawls are not just for those who are suffering a health crisis but anyone who is struggling and needs to be enveloped in the warmth of prayer.

Wanted, Candy & Gifts for Children

We will be giving a small gift bag to our children for Christmas again this year. Between the two churches, we are preparing for 30 bags.  If you can donate a bag of Christmas candy, or a small trinket that we can include, it would be much appreciated.  Please see Pastor Terri if you have questions.


Who: All Claybanks Church members and visitors interested in supporting our kids to go to camp in 2016. Please invite a friend!

What: Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for Church Camp (freewill offering accepted)

When: Sunday, December 13, 2015, following the 11:30 morning worship service

Where: Fellowship hall @ CUMC

Why: Because our support is integral to the spiritual growth of our families

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You…

Thank You all who participated in the soup/dessert benefit which truly was such a huge blessing to me!!

I feel about my Claybanks Church Family and friends as Paul felt towards the church of the Thessalonians which he admonished as an EXEMPLARY church stating in II Thessalonians 1:3-4  “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure”

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for your loving kindness, generosity, and support. It has been quite a year that has brought about an incredible array of events. We all face challenges every day of varying degrees and levels of difficulty. Having such loving support has helped keep my faith strong, especially in the darkest moments. I can never express deeply enough how vital your love and prayers are to my recovery. When the days of doubt come, and overwhelming situations arise, I am reminded that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. God is so good, and I thank you for letting his light shine through you.  

In Love & Peace, Kelly White

A favorite song of mine is by Jason Gray that speaks of each and every one of you:

God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you

We bring the kingdom come
With every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom come
Jason Gray – With Every Act Of Love

Missions/Outreach Committee Hard at Work

As a way of reaching out to others at Christmastime, the Missions/Outreach committee will be putting a Christmas tree in the fellowship hall.  We invite everyone to decorate it with hats, mittens, scarves, gloves of all sizes which will be donated to the Children’s Division of the Rescue Mission.  Let’s do our best to see that every child is warm this winter.

Another project the Mission/Outreach committee is working on is making fruit baskets which will be delivered on Saturday, December 12th to some local families.  We invite anyone who wishes to participate either in helping to put baskets together or delivering baskets.  Please contact June Freeman for more details.

Nursery Schedule

Dec. 6 – Kathy Ohman
Dec. 13 – Joyce Twiss
Dec. 20 – Doris Graham
Dec. 27 – Karen Anderson

Cookbooks Available

Claybanks U.M.C. Cookbooks are available for purchase if you’d like to give a little Christmas gift to a special friend or loved one.  The cost is $6.  Please see Edie Bogart or Mitzi Parsons.

Hanging of the Greens

The UMW will be having their annual Christmas Pizza Party and Hanging of the Greens on Dec. 3 at 12:00 PM.  ALL women of the church are welcome to come and participate in this and all UMW events and meetings.

Christmas Poinsettia Sale

UMW will again be selling red and white poinsettias.  They may be purchased in “memory of” or “in honor of” someone close to your heart.  They will be used to decorate the altar for Christmas and then may be taken home by those who purchase them.  The cost will be $9 and the deadline to order will be November 29.  Please see the insert in your bulletin or talk to Patsy Schneider.

CUMC Website

Don’t forget to check out our website at Luanne is updating it weekly.







To be remembered at Christmas:

Dear Loved Ones,

As every year, there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time many people shop for gifts and in every part of the world people talk about my birthday getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know that at least once a year some people think of me.

As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful for all that I did for them. But in these times no one seems to remember the reason for the celebration.

Last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many beautifully wrapped gifts. But I wasn’t invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn’t send me an invitation. I was left outside. I wanted to be with them and share their feast.

Since I wasn’t invited, I entered the party quietly. I stood in a corner. They were having a grand time. To top it all, a large man dressed in red, with a long white beard, entered the room crying “Ho-Ho-Ho!” All the children ran to him, as if the party were in his honor!

At midnight the people all hugged each other. I extended my arms waiting … and no one hugged me.

Suddenly they all brought out the gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all were opened, I looked to see if there was one for me.

How would you feel on your birthday if everyone shared gifts but you did not get one? Then I understood that I was not wanted at that party.

Every year it gets worse.

This Christmas, I ask you to allow me to enter  your life. I would like you to recognize that two thousand years ago I came to this world to save you.  I want you to believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. Although I wasn’t invited to your parties, I am planning my own party, one that no one has every imagined. I’m still making the arrangements. Today I am sending out invitations, and there is one for you. I want to know if you wish to attend, and I will write your name in my guest book. Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party!

See you soon.


         ~Author Unknown