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.

Tips for Bethany's Team in the Ugly Sweater 5K December 16

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A team of runners, including Bethany's pastors, will be running in Chicago's Ugly Sweater 5K Saturday,<December 16th at 8 AM. Join us by registering here:  

Join us at Bethany United Church of Christ for a light jog and some stretching/strengthening tips!

November 18 at 9 AM
December 2 at 9 AM

Depending on your fitness level, you may need more or less training.  Here is a general guideline.  Please let me know of you have any questions.

Healthy beginners (first race) should start approximately 6-8 weeks before the event.  Plan to exercises 3-4 times a week.  At least 2-3 days should be running and 2 days of strength training.  Stretching should be daily or every other day with special attention to calf, quadricep, hamstring, gluts and tensor facia latae.

Week 1:  The target distance during training sessions is 1.5 - 2 miles.  If you are tired, slow down to a walk.  Start jogging again when you feel ready.

Week 2:  The target distance during training sessions is 1.75 - 2.25 miles.

Week 3:  The target distance during training sessions is 2.0 – 2. 5 miles

Week 4: The target distance during training sessions is 2.25-2.75 miles

Week 5: The target distance during training sessions is 2.5 miles – 3.0 miles

Week 6:  The target distance during training sessions is 2.75 miles – 3.25 miles (you only need to do 3.1 miles at the race)

Bethany's Stewardship Campaign Begins

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“It’s just down the street from my church.”
“We feed hungry people at my church.”
My church has amazing music!”
“Everyone is welcome at my church.”

Bethany is your church. It’s where you worship. It’s where you serve. It’s where you gather with friends. Some of you were married at Bethany. Others were baptized here. For many of you there are names of beloved friends and family on our memorial wall. Make your commitment to this community clear by pledging your financial support for 2018.

A couple weeks ago, Rebecca challenged our congregation to use the phrase “my church” with friends outside Bethany as a way of moving from being a welcoming church to an inviting one. “My Church” also seemed like an apt theme for our 2018 Pledge Campaign.

“My Church” isn’t about any of us owning Bethany. Bethany doesn’t belong to us, but we belong to it. You are Bethany. Our church wouldn’t exist in the same way without each of you. We depend on your time and energy, your dreams and visions, and your faithful giving to do the work to which God has called us as a congregation.

This year as a congregation we have set a goal of $54,000 in pledges. That’s $6000 more than the pledges we received last year. We believe this goal is possible, but we need your help to get there. Any amount you can give in the coming year is meaningful, and any amount you can raise your pledge from previous years will help us achieve our goal. I pledge, and I’m going to increase my pledge this year, because Bethany is My Church. I hope you will too.

Please fill out the enclosed pledge card and return it to church by mail or on any Sunday in our pledge campaign, October 29-November 19. Let’s meet our goal, and make new and exciting things possible at Our Church.

If you would prefer to submit a digital pledge card, you may fill our the form below. Or, to set up an automatic payment, you can click here to access our online giving site. 

BETHANY UCC ONLINE PLEDGE CARD

Name *
Name
I/We want to contribute to the growing life of faith at Bethany United Church of Christ with my/our financial pledge of:

Bethany: Not a Welcoming Church

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Whoa. What? 

On Sunday, inspired by this article, Rebecca preached about the difference between being a welcoming church and an inviting one. (To welcome folks is passive; to invite them is active.) She preached about the difference between being guests and hosts. (As members of the body of Christ, we're meant to be both!) She preached the bad news that it might be hard or awkward, and the good news that as Church, we have an abundance of the bread of life that so many people are starving for, so it's worth it!

We'll get that sermon posted ASAP, but in the meantime, take a look at that article, and see what you think about it.

Lights, Camera, Action!

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Freelancers Anonymous is a comedy feature film about women who tech! Directed by Sonia Sebastian and written by Amy Dellagiarino and Lisa Cordileone, the movie follows Billie as she finds herself on a quest to start her own business. Frustrated with always being taken advantage of at work, Billie quits in pursuit of doing something more fulfilling, and runs into an eclectic group of women looking for the same. They pool their talents together to start developing an app, but run into more problems than they accounted for.

The cast features an ensemble almost entirely made up of women and stars Lisa Cordileone, Natasha Negovanlis, Alexandra Billings, Jennifer Bartels, Megan Cavanagh, Mouzam Makkar, Amy Sheils, Cassandra Ward, Jenny McNulty, Haviland Stillwell, Grace Rex and Jamison Scala.

Bethany United Church of Christ plays a central role in our movie, being both the home base for the freelancers to begin their business, and the spot where Billie and her fiancée Gayle are planning to have their wedding. Freelancers Anonymous (the movie) is the first piece of a larger trans-media company, Freelance Anonymous LLC, which is geared towards closing the gender gap in STEM industries and focusing specifically on women and those in the LGBTQ community.

Freelancers Anonymous is produced by Full Spectrum Features, in association with Black Apple Media.

Growing Veggies, Growing Community

The raised beds we built and planted with money from the Council Discretionary Fund are popping: pole beans and cucumbers are stretching toward their trellises; tender greens have — so far — evaded the plentiful Ravenswood rabbits; and the tomatoes have all kinds of blossoms.

The gardens don’t yet require much weeding or harvest but there is work to be done.  Can you join Rebecca on Thursday afternoons at 4, or sign up for some weekly maintenance before or after church on Sundays?  Look for the “gardener” slot on the summer Sundays sign-up sheet.

Whether you like to garden or not, you are welcome to the food we are growing.  Take home some basil for pesto, other fresh herbs, or, in a few weeks, arugula.  This year, our garden goal is only to enjoy the project of growing food together, and enjoy eating it!

Feast

You don’t want to miss worship this July! We’re introducing a new worship theme for the summer called, “Feast.” This is the season of picnics and cookouts, the time of year when fresh produce is in abundant supply, and every weekend holds three more neighborhood festivals. Feasting is a Christian tradition, the opposite of fasting; it’s part of our faith to throw parties and eat great food! So we’ll be throwing a party every Sunday morning, July 9-30, complete with special decorations and festive coffee hours. We’ll explore the stories of great meals in the bible and ask what it means to be people of the feast. Mark your calendars! Cancel your vacations! Come party with us at Bethany this July.

Adopt a Feast

Each week during our Feast theme, we’d like to have an extra special spread of food that people can enjoy during the service. We are looking for folks who would be willing to host these feasts on July 23 or 30. You would bring food and help make the tables beautiful. You could work with the ministers to choose something to go with that day’s theme or just bring some of your favorites. If you’re interested, please contact Vince at vince@bethanychicago.com

A Feast For Justice

On the final Sunday of our Feast theme, we want to celebrate by providing a feast for others as well. We’ll be taking a special collection of cans and other non-perishable items to donate to Common Pantry. Items on their wishlist this summer include:
• Cereal
• Soup
• Oatmeal
• Rice
• Canned Fruit
• Easy Prep Meals (such as Rice-A-Roni)
• Vegetable Oil
• Cooking Oil
• Condiments (ketchup, etc)

Faith to Table - Feast Worship at Bethany in July

You don’t want to miss worship this July! We’re introducing a new worship theme for the summer called, “Feast.” This is the season of picnics and cookouts, the time of year when fresh produce is in abundant supply, and every weekend holds three more neighborhood festivals. Feasting is a Christian tradition, the opposite of fasting; it’s part of our faith to throw parties and eat great food! So we’ll be throwing a party every Sunday morning, July 9-30, complete with special decorations and festive coffee hours. We’ll explore the stories of great meals in the bible and ask what it means to be people of the feast. Mark your calendars! Cancel your vacations! Come party with us at Bethany this July.