all is calm, all is bright

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Recently I was introduced to the Sabbath Manifesto. (www.sabbathmanifesto.org)
It’s an organization trying to revitalize the practice of sabbath-keeping. They have a handy list of ten principles for keeping a modern sabbath:

1. Avoid technology.
2. Connect with loved ones.
3. Nurture your health.
4. Get outside.
5. Avoid commerce.
6. Light candles.
7. Drink wine.
8. Eat bread.
9. Find silence.
10. Give back.

To my eyes, this reads like a wishlist of all the things I hope this season will be. But I know that left to my own devices, I’ll probably only check off bread and wine. Together we can do better.
We’re making plans for Advent at Bethany that will allow us all to celebrate and prepare for the birth of Jesus in a way that brings us true rest and joy. We hope that you’ll join us as we give back through the Night Ministry and Crib this month; as we find silence and share communion in worship; as we sing Silent Night by candlelight on Christmas Eve; as we get outside and nurture our health at the Ugly Sweater 5K; as we connect with loved ones while decorating our sanctuary for the season.

Advent is a season of preparation for a world of hope, peace, joy, and love. So unplug. Rest. Laugh. Sing. Tell stories. Get cozy. Get Ready. - Vince

Our Church!

A month ago we set ourselves a challenge as a congregation, to raise $54,000 in pledges for 2018. I'll admit I had my doubts about getting to that number (oh, me of little faith). But as we ended our pledge campaign yesterday, we exceeded our goal by almost $9000, having received total pledges of $62,970!

There are still a few folks we think will pledge for next year, so I expect that number may go up even further. Even more exciting, this number represents the gifts of six new pledgers in 2018! Thank you to all of you who gave, to those who raised their pledges from previous years, and to our new pledgers. We appreciate your investment in this community and in what God is doing and will do here at Bethany.

Talking about money for a month, can get tiring. It's a gift to all of us, I imagine, to turn back to all the other aspects of our faith. But I hope we can take forward with us the theme of this year's campaign, “My Church.” Bethany is the church that we make together. Bring your ideas, your gifts, your excitement, your time, your family, and your prayers, and let's do something amazing. Let's be a church of invitation, proud to share a life of service, justice, and kindness with our friends and neighbors. Bethany is my church, and I am so proud of it and looking forward to what we will do in the coming year. Thank you for your generosity of money and spirit.