Tall Oaks Lodge Special Offering
A special offering will be taken on Sunday, December 11th for the new Tall Oaks Lodge at Camp Quaker Heights. The building will arrive December 14. IAYM has $156,000 on hand, which includes $55,00 in short-term loans. An additional $40,000 is needed by the 14th to pay for cement work, doors and windows, etc, for the basement. Any gifts given after the special offering on the 11th need to be sent to the IAYM Office earmarked for the Tall Oaks Lodge.
Bangor Liberty Friends Church will be out Christmas Caroling in our community on Sunday, December 11th. All ages are encouraged to gather at the church at 4:00 p.m. Carolers will leave the church by 4:30 to go in different directions to bring Christmas music to our friends and neighbors. Soup and fellowship will follow at the church afterwards
Christmas Eve Service
The Children’s Christmas Program and Candle Lighting Service will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Sunday, December 25th
On Christmas Day Bangor Liberty Friends will celebrate our Lord’s birth together in Worship from 10:00-11:00 a.m.
With the month of December upon us we are faced with an onslaught of “Holiday” sales, “Holiday” greetings, and “Holiday” STRESS! What happened to the “Holiday” CHEER? I think it was lost about the same time Jesus was removed as the focal point of the “Holiday” season, and Christmas ceased to be Christmas and became the “Holidays”. All in the name of “Political Correctness”; I say it’s “Political Craziness!”
Since when has Christianity or God ever been “Politically Correct”? The Bible is full of instances where God went against the status-quo; where Jesus and His disciples stood up against the political powers that be and were never in any way ashamed of speaking the truth or living their faith because of the off chance they may offend someone. The Gospel itself is offensive to all those who are not living in accordance to it by the grace of God. It was intended by God that His Word and His people were to help others see their need for His Grace, not tell them, “I’m sorry, God doesn’t want to offend you.”
In a 2002 estimate, the United States religions were broken down as follows: Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, and those claiming none 10%. If we are a nation governed by the majority, then who is the majority being offended by the greeting, “Merry Christmas!”? Or is it a case of the squeaky wheel always getting the oil? As you can see, if the 76% of people who should be celebrating the birth of their Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ just squeak a little in response to the “Political Craziness” the other 22% would be overwhelmed.
I guess I just don’t understand what is more offensive, the concept of “Peace on Earth” or “Good will towards man”? This is only one more step down the slippery slope of immorality and relative truth that our nation has taken over the many years since her conception. I know my article is supposed to encourage and uplift, but I just had to get this off my chest. There has been too much watering down of Christianity in our country and now we’ve neutered Christmas!
As if Xmas wasn’t bad enough, but at least it still had Christ in it for those of us who knew Greek. The word for Christ in Greek is Xristos and during the 16th Century Europeans began using the first initial of Christ's name, "X" in place of the word Christ in Christmas as a shorthand form of the word. Although the early Christians understood that X stood for Christ's name, later Christians who did not understand the Greek language mistook "Xmas" as a sign of disrespect and so the “Political Craziness” begins. Since then, many people in the pursuit of commercializing the “Holidays” used this as an excuse to limit sign cost and space, while in the process the general public began to lose sight of “Christ”.
That’s why we need to get our focus back; we need to take back Christmas. Yes it is a “Holiday” which by definition is a “Holy day”, but it is so much more! It is the anniversary of the birth of the Savior of the World! The anniversary of your Savior and mine! It’s not about gifts; it’s about “THE GIFT”! So the next time you’re out and someone says to you “Happy Holidays!” Turn to them and say, “Thank you, and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!”
We just want to say THANK YOU for supporting the VBS project this year. We got to visit some of you this summer and what fun it was! There is a work team coming over Christmas break to work on the building the will house the tractor and mower.
A new year is already underway and so far things are going well. We have a new head teacher and he is getting used to our students’ specific needs. It takes a lot of one on one for a while! Yesterday, September 21st, was a holiday for us, and the students marched in the parade. It was a good time for them and a lot of exposure for Belize Friends Boys School. From the students and staff of BFBS we want to say thank you for your support, prayers and encouragement.
God bless, Mike and Kay Cain
It is with thanksgiving that I say “thank you” for your contribution to the ministry of Friends United Meeting and Joyce Ajlouny. It is a joy to work together with you in furthering God’s work in the world.
Retha McCutchen, general secretary
Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten. It is a spirit, which should permeate every part of our lives. To believe that the spirit of Christmas does change lives and to labor for the realization of its coming to all people is the essence of our faith in Christ
Christmas Adopt A Family
Our church is sharing a family including a young Mom with a 3 yr old daughter, 20-month old son, and a baby girl due in Dec. Check out the poster in the entryway. You may choose to purchase one or more gifts or food items listed. Take the sticky note, and then sign your name on the line so we know that gift is covered. When you purchase the item attach the note to the gift and return it to the box at church by Dec. 18. Thanks to all who are helping to make it a happier Christmas for this family in need.
Several of the congregation are adopting families on their own or are paired with another family to adopt a family.
You are invited
to our home for a
Christmas Open House
Sunday, December 18th
from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Dean and Amy Lambdin
Emily and Hannah
We will meet on December 11 to prepare goodie plates for carolers to deliver. On the 18th we will review the Christmas story with games and crafts. All children age 4 through grade 5 are welcome to participate.
Liberty USFW will gather at the Union Supper Club for their December 14th meeting at 6:30 p.m. for a time of food and fellowship. Each one attending will be responsible for their own meal. Bring 2 dozen cookies for the cookie plates and exchange.
Tuesday, December 13, Peggy will host our gathering at 1:30 and also provide the program. Betty will bring refreshments. All ladies are welcome to join the fellowship.
November HOC Report
On Friday, November 25 we served 40 guests bacon bit and potato casserole; green beans and bacon; mixed fruit; cranberry sauce; various Hy-Vee cakes; blueberry cobbler; milk and coffee. Our great volunteers included: James and Sharon J., Mark and Darlene B., Royal and Paula Y., Tom and Pat G., Neil and Peggy M., who donated food or funds; Wayne and Fern T., Betty A. and granddaughter Jennifer, who prepared; Jodi S with Ty and Bailey and Vi G. who served; Neil and Peggy with granddaughter Ria who were on cleanup with Jodi and kids. (A full report is on the bulletin board.)
Joe and Kay Feltz reported spending a quiet night with 4 men and 1 woman. Eight pies were donated from our church to the Salvation Army Thanksgiving meal. Fern and Wayne helped serve and reported plenty of food was available.
Our next HOC responsibility is Thursday, December 29. Let Margaret know how you’d like to help.
We welcome the addition of poinsettias to our sanctuary thru the Christmas and New Year season. If the poinsettias are shared in memory of a loved one(s) you may leave the names with the church secretary for publication in the church bulletin. Please mark your plant if you wish to enjoy it at home later.
The gift God gave the world is sometimes lost amid all the tinsel and jingle. Some of us need the admonition of a little girl, when her parents were setting up a Christmas crèche. She said only, “Make sure Jesus shows.”
White Gifts - At the Christmas Eve program we will be taking the "White Gifts" offering. This year the Missions committee has decided to send the offering to the Stork's Nest in Marshalltown. The Stork's Nest is a place in Marshalltown where unwed mothers and other mothers who need help, can go to get baby things. The mothers earn points and can use them to buy things they need for their baby. The White Gift Offering will also help Morgan Martin with her mission trip to Tanzania, where she and 8 fellow followers of Christ will be working for 6 weeks in 2006. They will be working with missionaries who are already living and working in Tanzania. The offering will be divided equally between these two, unless otherwise designated.
News From the Field
Belize - Mike and Kay Cain's main concern is to reach out to the young people in Belize, not just their students, but to the community and those no longer in school. They are looking forward to a work team coming late in December. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Belize, but they do have a "Celebration of Harvest" the third Sunday in October where the church is decorated with flowers and everyone brings fresh fruit and vegetables and canned goods that the children carry and place on the alter. Later there is a blessing and the food is distributed to needy families in the neighborhood. They send their Christmas Blessings. Andy and List Stout are working with Mike and Kay and Andy serves as a social and guidance counselor. They are looking forward to Christmas with their new baby, Spencer.
Palestine - Joyce Ajlouny, director of the Friends school in Ramallah/el-Bireh, has many plans for the school this year. For the first time the ninth grade will have a semester studying Quaker History in the Middle East and Christian faith and practice in the experience of the Religious Society of Friends. They will focus on Special Needs education for children in the community where there is no other source of help. John Hishmeh has served as College Counselor, school counselor and coordinator of student affairs for the past 18 months. They will be having a charity event during the Christmas Holiday where they will be celebrating and also students will find ways to give back to the community. Joshuah Lilande, from Kenya, is teaching History and Ethics at the Ramallah School and is also a witness to the experience of African Friends as part of the global community of faith. He wants to take a pilgrimage to some of the historical and biblical sites in Palestine before returning to his home in Kenya.
As the Christmas Season approaches let us remember our Friends who are serving their God in places far from their homes. Let us support them with our prayers and finances.
Thank you to the congregation for your generous gifts to our annual Thank Offering. $7,996.52 was given for seven different missions!
-BLFC Mission Committee
Reflecting on Christmas
During December you’ll find the library ledge lined with books that reflect on the holiday season. Curl up on the sofa and warm your heart and soul with stories of how Christ is working in and around us. These books will renew your faith, hope and love in this Christmas season. Children’s Christmas books will also be on display so your whole family can be reminded of the “reason for the season.” Check them out!
Friends Disaster Service News
Dan and Nancy Ritchie thank each one for your support and help with IAYM Friends Disaster Service this past year. Trips were made to Kilpeck Friends Church, Clyde, NC, Farmerville, LA, and Wiggins, MS. Over 60 volunteers were involved in the 8 trips made by IAYM FDS teams this year.
Dan and Nancy are looking for volunteers to go to Wiggins, MS, the weeks of January 1st and January 8th. Please let Brent Rogers, BLFC coordinator, know by December 19th if you would be willing to go one of these two weeks.
Following is a list of what volunteers have done in Wiggins and what you might expect to do if you volunteer to go: Tearing off old shingles/roofs of houses; putting on new roofs/tarpaper, shingles; tearing out drywall and insulation damaged by water; putting up new insulation and drywall; texturing and painting new drywall; rebuilding walls damaged by trees; and ministering to people in the gulf area (this is the most important thing we do)
Gifts for the King
We all have gifts that we may bring.
We all have songs that we may sing.
We all have kind words we may say.
We all have prayers that we may pray.
We all have love and joy to give.
And what a joy life is to live
If we just scatter everywhere
The things God’s given us to share.
If you have a gift -- bring it.
If you have a song -- sing it.
If you have a talent -- use it.
If you have love -- diffuse it.
If you have gladness -- share it
It you have happiness -- give it.
If you have religion -- live it.
It you have a prayer -- pray it.
Time for Renewals
It’s time to renew subscriptions to the Iowa Friend newsletter and the Quaker Life magazine. If you want to begin, change your address label and or/cancel a subscription, please contact Diane Teske by December 31st. Costs of our yearly group subscriptions are: $9.50 for the Iowa Friend and $15.00 for Quaker Life.