all is calm, all is bright

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Recently I was introduced to the Sabbath Manifesto. (
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. 


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


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.