Sunday, December 21st

THIS WEEK:

WORSHIP:  11:00 AM

FELLOWSHIP HOUR: after the service –

BON VOYAGE to Kotorinoki – All are welcome!

Sunday, December 21st –

Our fourth Sunday of Advent, we will light our next Advent Candle– with the theme of Birth and Re-Birth, under the Star quilts that lovely WTUC women (Hagi san, Yoki Muro, Masami Sasao, and others) made under the leadership of Nancy Bekedam.

We are looking forward to Rev. Dr. Timothy McKenzie preaching from Philippians 4:2-7 and Luke1:67-79 on “The Lord is near.” Communion will be served and healing prayers will also be available.

Today we will start collecting this year`s Christmas Offering – which will go to Asian Rural Institute, http://www.ari-edu.org/en/home-eng/ The mission of the Asian Rural Institute is to build an environmentally healthy, just and peaceful world, in which each person can live to his or her fullest potential. This mission is rooted in the love of Jesus Christ. To carry out this mission, we nurture and train rural leaders for a life of sharing. Leaders, both women and men, who live and work in grassroots rural communities primarily in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, form a community of learning each year together with staff and other residents. Through community-based learning we study the best ways for rural people to share and enhance resources and abilities for the common good. We present a challenge to ourselves and to the whole world in our approach to food and life. Motto: That We May Live Together.

If you would like to participate in our annual “Socks and gifts for the children of `Nozomi No Ie`” giving opportunity, please pick up your children`s information from Jim Sack. Please place your gifts under the Christmas Tree.

After the worship service will be a robust fellowship time.

After fellowship time, a number of us will be going over to the small cafe across the street, Kotorinoki to say Bon Voyage to the Chef and his wife as they embark on a new journey of back to the earth style of cooking in Wakayama ken. Please sign the shikishi that will be passed around to express your appreciation to their kindness to the WTUC community these last years.

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         58th Annual Women’s Conference (January 30 – February 1, 2015) Inspired by Isaiah 58:11 “You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring,” the 2015 Women’s Conference is entitled Inner Gardening with Hennie Symington as our speaker.  Here is also a link to a promotional video (on YouTube) that you can also share. It is only 1 minute 44 seconds long. http://youtu.be/egrWIelgD9E

         Registration is now open. We have online registration and also a PDF that can be printed out available at our website http://wocon.net A number of women from WTUC attend every year, and we would love to see that number swell = )

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CHRISTIAN EDUCATION CORNER (we value your prayers & involvement in this vital ministry)  Any questions, please contact Pastor Teresa at wtucrev@gmail.com, or Julie Rogers for HS; Amy Harbaugh and Steve Bennett for Upper ES and Lower MS, grades 4-7; and Carrie Bennett for Lower ES, grades K-3.

MULTIGENERATIONAL, LITTLE KIDS, ES, MS & HS YOUTH – a message from Cathy Berghahn – “Thank you all for the wonderful work today and the sharing of your gifts of music and talent and your encouragement of the children throughout the pageant. Thank Multi-generational-worshipyou also for the beautiful flowers they add to the Christmas spirit at my house. Merry Christmas to you all!With Love and Appreciation,Cathy / “Ms B”

All classes will resume in January – everyone is welcome!

Thank you so much Cathy Berghahn for your marvelous direction of this year`s Christmas pageant. Thank you everyone for your joyous participation!

***

Calling all bakers and Christmas treat finders extraordinaire –

please bring your favourite Christmas treat to share after the worships on the 24th. Looking forward to partying with you this precious season.

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Upcoming Preaching Ministry and Community Time

December 21st      Advent 4, Rev. Dr. Timothy McKenzie preaching, Communion

December 24th     Christmas Eve Service from 6:30pm. Christmas cookies and refreshments (please bring your favourite Christmas treat to share). Invite a friend!

December 28th     Pastor Teresa preaching,Year end worship service

January 4th           Epiphany Play, First Communion of 2015

January 11th          Pastor Teresa preaching, Multigenerational and Adult Sunday School begin

January 18th          Rev. Dr. Tom Hastings preaching, Communion

January 25th          Rev. Dr. Jim Sack preaching

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MULTIGENERATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL!! ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL!!

We have Multigenerational Sunday School from 9:30 in the cafeteria the second and fourth Sundays of the month. Who is welcome? All ages. We will be creating, discussing, playing games, acting out bible stories and more. This Sunday School will start up again in January – 1/11 and 1/25.

The Sacks host the Adult Sunday School, also at 9:30 am in their living room. The method used is the, Swedish Bible study method,interacting with the texts for the service through our own life experiences. Their home is right across the Lutheran Campus from our sanctuary. Best coffee in town = ) Come and enjoy! (At times Adult Sunday School is held in the Upper Room, on the 2nd floor above the Sanctuary.) All are welcome. Need more information, contact wtucrev@gmail.com any time = )

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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 well over 20 years. Members of WTUC are asked to select a child (or children) and buy them both some socks and a present for Christmas. This year please feel free to accept more than one child. 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, ( which I am sure will never happen) you can call me at 0422-34-4266 to be reminded of who it is you are buying for.

Presents should not cost more than \2,000. 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.

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 by Christmas Eve.

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

Jim Sack

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WTUC Announcements:

*Questions or concerns? Feel free to email wtucrev@gmail.com anytime.

*Please enjoy and refer our website http://wtuc.net/ and FB page (West Tokyo Union Church) to others. Please make any suggestions for additions to the Pastor Teresa and/or Steering Committee.

*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.

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

*Each week we will be setting up the chairs for worship and preparing the sanctuary, anyone around at 10:30am is invited to be involved in the fun = ) Each week we will also return our sanctuary to it`s classroom style after the fellowship time.

*Interested in baptism or membership, please contact Pastor Teresa.

*Interested in a paid position setting up and/or taking down the chairs of our sanctuary? Contact Pastor Teresa at wtucrev@gmail.com

***

Philippians 4:2-7                            New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Exhortations

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion,[a] help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice[b] in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.[c] 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Luke 1:67-79                                     New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.

69 He has raised up a mighty savior[a] for us

in the house of his servant David,

70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

71     that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.

72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,

and has remembered his holy covenant,

73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,

to grant us

74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,

might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness

before him all our days.

76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people

by the forgiveness of their sins.

78 By the tender mercy of our God,

the dawn from on high will break upon[b] us,

79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

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