Sunday, December 1st

Advent has begun!  Pastor Teresa will bring the sermon from Psalm 122 on Living in Peace.  Kids come ready to decorate the Christmas Tree together!  We will have communion and healing prayers.  After service, we will enjoy a robust fellowship hour after the service.  All are invited to stay and be refreshed by good food and conversation.

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CHRISTIAN EDUCATION CORNER (we value your prayers & involvement in this vital ministry)  Contact Carrie Bennett for ES, Julie Rogers for MS, Amy Harbaugh for HS or Pastor Teresa at wtucrev@gmail.com with any questions.

Kids Sunday School during church  Lesson: Daniel in the Lion`s Den, Jonah Disobeys God  Teachers:  Jakob & Ben

Christmas Pageant Practice:  Wednesday, December 4th – During Church school time (location to be announced – most likely my classroom at ASIJ – west wing 206). For all with speaking roles and others who want to practice.

Sunday, December 8th: @ 9:45-10:45 am. This is just before we do it for real for that service. So we will need to get everyone in costume and set to go. Even if your child has not been to the other rehearsals we can still put on wings or sheep ears and have them be a part.  It is lovely if we have some stray sheep or angels.   Any questions: wtucrev@gmail.com

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West Tokyo Union Church women have been a integral part of the 57 year history of the Women’s Conference.  The 2014 conference will be held January 31st – February 2nd at Amagi Sanso – one week later than usual.  Early payments and registrations received in November 2013 are discounted.  Give yourself the wonderful gift of this special fellowship!  The theme is Through the Valley and the keynote speaker is renowned author and educator Sharon M. Draper.  For more information, please see the website at http://wocon.net

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Interested in becoming a member at WTUC? – please talk to Pastor Teresa about the upcoming membership classes.

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Upcoming Preaching Ministry
December 8      Youth Christmas Pageant
December 15    Rev. Jim Sack, Communion
December 22    Rev. Tim McKenzie
December 24    Pastor Teresa, Christmas Eve Service
December 29    Pastor Teresa

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT during our special Thanksgiving offering for Child Fund Japan for their outreach to the Philippines.  Their webpage is accessible in both Japanese and English http://www.childfund.or.jp/

Now our hearts move towards our ANNUAL SOCKS AND CHRISTMAS PRESENT outreach for the children of Nozomi no Ie orphanage.  Please put your socks and presents under the Christmas Tree – Jim will gather them up each week. We will be Christmas Caroling at Nozomi no Ie and Choyo Gakuen in December.

More information from Jim Sack about Socks and Gifts for the children of “Nozomi No Ie,” an orphanage in Mitaka.

The tradition of collecting socks and gifts for the children residing at Nozomi No Ie goes back some 30 years. Members of WTUC are asked to select a child (or children) and buy them both some socks and a present for Christmas. We ask each giver to sign up for a child by writing their name on a master list. The names of the children are also placed on a slip of paper that is given to the gift giver. It lists the name of the child, their sex, their age and sock size. The slips of paper have been color coded in case you forget their sex, with boys being blue and girls being red. If you happen to lose the piece of paper, you can call me to be reminded of who it is you are buying for.

Presents should not cost more than 2,000 yen. We want to get them something that is meaningful but we don’t want this to become a contest between children. Nozomi No Ie has asked that coupons, money and gift cards NOT be given. The orphanage would like each child to be able to open the gift and immediately be able to make use of it. If the socks and the gift are wrapped separately that gives each child the opportunity to open up two things. Please make sure the name of the child is SECURELY attached to each gift. If the name comes apart from the gift it is difficult to know who should receive the gift. The name of the giver may or may not be written on the gifts. That is up to each individual to decide.

We ask that the gifts be brought to church by December 15, 2013. They can be placed under the Christmas tree at the church. I take the gifts home each Sunday and put them in a secure place until they can be delivered to the orphanage before Christmas Eve. Those who bring gifts on the day of the pageant (December 8) may be directed to bring them up front as part of the pageant. If that is the case there will be further notifications from Cathy Berghahn about what to do.

This project continues to be a very wonderful example of sharing the love of Christ during the Christmas season. Thank you to all who support this ministry.

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SNACK SIGNUP Sign up for snacks for fellowship time with Ann or on the list on the white board.  We greatly appreciate your contributions to our community life!

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WTUC  Announcements
*Any questions or concerns?  Feel free to email wtucrev@gmail.com anytime.
*Please enjoy and refer our website and FB page (West Tokyo Union Church) to others.  Please make any suggestions for additions to the Pastor Teresa and/or Steering Committee.  http://wtuc.net/
*If you’d like to be added to the WTUC church email list, please contact Gene Witt ewitt@asij.ac.jp
*If interested in joining the WTUC Prayer Chain, let Pastor Teresa or Prayer Chain Coordinator, Kayo Ozawa, know of your interest. Please submit prayers to wtucrev@gmail.com or Kayo Ozawa.

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EXPECTANT HEARTS: A POEM FOR ADVENT               Peter Millar, Edinburgh, Advent 2013

The shopper’s Christmas

with its myriad deals,

and easy payments,

arrives with early autumn.

Santa in September – a symbol of our age,

robbing us of waiting,

of surprise, even of joy.

Yet with Advent

a different truth arrives

amidst our tinselled lives:

the gift of expectancy –

that silent longing of the soul

which is deep within us all.

It’s not the shopper’s rush,

for on this path we face within ourselves

the baggage of the years,

the memories that haunt the mind,

the fear that lurks behind the mask:

but let us travel on,

expectant, and with hope,

for there is a guiding star

tenderly leading us to outstretched hands of Love.

GREATLY LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN WORSHIP

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