Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will begin our Advent preaching series: Christmas Gifts That Won't Break. Pastor Loida will be preaching this weekend with a focus upon "The Gift of HOPE" from Matthew 1:18-21. Know someone who needs HOPE this season? Invite them to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. 

2. Stewardship Update

We're so thankful for everyone who responded by turning in their pledge cards so far as well as their time and talent surveys from our Stewardship Campaign this year. 

If you have not yet turned your financial pledge or volunteer survey into the church, it's not too late. You can bring them to worship with you this Sunday and put them in the offering plates or drop them by the church office during regular office hours.

Your financial pledges in particular help us determine our budget for the coming year - we'll have our first task force meeting next week to begin working on the budget cap. 

3. Upwards Sports Returns!!!! 

Upwards Basketball and Cheerleading returns for another season at Community in 2019. We have another signup this coming Monday night, from 6-8pm in the Family Life Center. Both basketball and cheerleading are open to students in grades K-8. Cost is $75 per student for the season, including the uniform. First practice is December 18th and the season runs in January-February. 

4. Looking Ahead to Advent - Be sure to mark these dates on your calendar for things coming up this season of Advent -

* Holiday Grief Seminar - Saturday December 8th from 10:30am to noon in the Fellowship Hall (no charge; call church office to RSVP) 
* Many Moods of Christmas concerts by our very own Chancel Choir - Sunday December 9th at 3:30pm and 6pm
* Blue Christmas Worship Service - Sunday December 16th at 3:30pm
* Christmas Eve Worship - contemporary service at 5pm in the Family Life Center; traditional services at 7pm and 9pm in the sanctuary

5. GROW Night Dinner and Classes

We have just two weeks of GROW NIGHT classes left: December 5th and December 12th.

GROW Night classes will take a break from December 19 through January 9th. Dinner will resume on Wednesday January 9th and a new slate of classes will resume on Wednesday January 16th, 2019.

6. Christmas Eve Offering for Missions - Our Christmas Eve offering at all our evening services will once again ALL be going to missions. You raised over $10,000 last year for Water is Basic, to provide clean drinking water in Africa. This year, we will be raising money for Hurricane Michael Relief in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. One of the congregations in our conference is still matching gifts for Hurricane Michael Relief through the end up the year, so that means every dollar you give on Christmas Eve will actually be doubled! 

If you won't be here for Christmas Eve and would like to donate ahead of time, you can put your check in the offering plate or offering boxes (9Thirty and Seven02) and mark it "Christmas Eve offering" on the memo line. We'll make sure it all gets where it needs to go! 

Have a wonderful week and we will see you on Sunday! 


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Midweek Moment

One of the marks of a vital church is the impact that church makes in the lives of the people around them – both in those that call the church home and those that do not. One of the aspects of this church that I love is the continued work and drive to impact all of those lives.

At the end of 2017, we had an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of the children that live in and near Fruitland Park. Debbie and I were speaking with the Recreation Director for Fruitland Park about the work that she does, and she shared with us that she was searching for people and organizations to sponsor new youth sports leagues. She had an idea to start these leagues and while volunteers were being recruited, finding adequate funding was a problem. We shared this conversation with the leadership of the church and this church saw that problem as an opportunity. And the church responded.

The church gave the city a donation that enabled us to be a sponsor. I personally feel it is important to help create places that give children a safe, positive environment in which they can thrive, both on our campus and in the community. Sports leagues are one of those places. They give children structure, a place to play and be a kid, and a place to practice cooperation and teamwork. The benefits of these leagues in the lives of these families, now and in the future, is vast.

As a way of saying thank you, The Recreation Director gifted the church with the framed picture above. Pictured is every team that played in the City of Fruitland Park Fall Soccer League, and our donation allowed us to sponsor every one of them. Each team had our church name on their jersey and a banner with our church name hung on the fence around the fields. But more than that, this donation allowed these children to experience the joy of playing soccer. And it happened, because of each of you and your support of Community.

I want to thank you for being the kind of church that supports its community. I want to thank you for being the kind of church that sees the importance of investing in the lives of those around us. I want to thank you for being the kind of the church that helps make youth sports leagues possible.

This picture is hung in the hallway of our Education Building as a reminder of the bridges we are trying to build to the city of Fruitland Park. We are more than just a building, we are more than just a steeple, we are a group of people seeking the share the love of Christ with all people, in all places.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us this opportunity and the resources to respond. May your presence be felt in these families that are pictured and may your name be spread throughout the land! Amen.