Intentional Disciples during the Holidays
Do you love holidays? I am writing this article on Halloween morning. Halloween always takes me back to childhood: our kitchen table covered with newspaper for the annual pumpkin-carving evening with my favorite family friend Andy; special crafts my teachers provided at school; and watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” with my family. On the “big night” my little brother and I would be in costumes, handing out candy for trick-or-treaters at the door. All of these memories involve activities, but more importantly, they all involve people that I loved.
People and love. That is one reason the holidays at this time of year can become a very sad, lonely and even dark time for many. So I ask, LPC disciples of Jesus Christ, how might we be intentional during this season? As citizens of God’s Basileia, (the Kingdom / Reign of God) what shall we take on in these months? As the Body of Christ in the world, what are we creating in our neighborhoods, schools and places of work? Here are a few intentional ideas and plans:
- This November I am inviting you to do “Random Acts of Gratitude.” Consider doing something you’ve never done before to express your gratitude to people in your life. Especially the people who will be surprised by your gesture.
- As a congregation we are offering a “Longest Night” service in early December designed for people who struggle with the holidays.
- During Advent our worship services will focus on peace of mind during difficult circumstances.
Intentional disciples of Christ disciple one another. This is most clearly seen in our small group discussions around the Bible and in our Sunday morning class for youth. What is missing in most mainstream churches is education around how to make new disciples. Thankfully, our Evangelism & Church Growth Team has been addressing such topics. This past year several of us read “Forming Intentional Disciples, by Sherry A. Weddell. What of these four steps from her book will bolster the intentional way you enter this holiday season? Do share.
- Lay the spiritual foundation through organized, sustained intercessory prayer.
- Break the silence: talk openly about your relationship of God; drop the Name; ask others about their living relationship to God.
- Offer multiple, overlapping opportunities for people to personally encounter Jesus Christ in the midst of his church.
- Expect conversion. Plan for it.
You will find other invitations in this month’s Epistle – intentional ways to be about the work of Christ. Read these next pages prayerfully. Consider, ponder, question and explore the possibilities. Let’s see what fruit will come from this intentional holiday season.
“…with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” — Colossians 3:16b-17
In Faith with You,
Random Acts of Gratitude
Celebrating Thanksgiving with our Surrounding Communities
This year, let’s choose one activity to give thanks with the community around us. Consider making cards to give to your bank clerk, grocery store teller, mail deliverer, hairdresser, buddies at work, neighbors. Add your personal note as to why you are grateful for them. Invite them to LPC’s thanksgiving service, or another event listed below.
LPC’s Thanksgiving Sunday
November 24, 10:00 a.m. at LPC. A special Service of Gratitude led by the members of Lincroft Presbyterian Church (LPC). This celebration will be unique, and so we invite LPC folks to bring guests with you – someone who you are particularly grateful for who is not a part of our congregation – a friend, teacher, colleague, workout coach…! Stay tuned for more details.
United We Sing: Music, Word and Dance
Sunday, November 24th, 4:00 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth (Earth Room) The Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET) presents the 19th annual United We Sing program. Join us for this interfaith and intercultural service of music, word and dance. The program will be followed by an international feast. Free admission; donations are welcome and a basket will be available. All are invited! Children are especially welcome to attend and participate.
Interfaith Annual Thanksgiving Service
Tuesday, November 26, 7:30 p.m., Temple Shalom of Aberdeen, 5 Ayrmont Lane, Aberdeen, NJ. For directions call 732-566-2621. The annual interfaith Thanksgiving service sponsored by the Bayshore Interfaith Ministerium (a gathering of clergy who meets monthly) is always a meaningful evening, followed by sweets of the season and interfaith fellowship. Pastor Diane will have a role in the service. Choir Director Pam Momyer invites singers to join the combined choirs! Singers, please arrive by 6 PM with your choir folder and music. See below for the flyer.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving in your home this year, please consider if you would have space for one or two more. Often church members — individuals or couples who live alone are left with no where to celebrate this holiday. If you feel called to share your bounty, please email or call Toby at the church and leave your name with her and how many people you could host for Thanksgiving. With many thanks.
The Bayshore Interfaith Ministerium
Community-Wide Thanksgiving Service
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Temple Shalom of Aberdeen
5 Ayrmont Lane
Aberdeen, New Jersey
(For Directions – call 732-566-2621)
Pastor Nick Connoley
Matawan United Methodist Church
Aberdeen, New Jersey
Pam Momyer – Choir Director
Leading Joint Choirs of Member Congregations
Our offering will go to Rise Against Hunger
“Wave of Light”
Local Congregations Ministering to Monmouth County
Last year LPC offered our first “Longest Night” (also known as “Blue Christmas”) service. This year we will be added to a county-wide calendar for people to see when and where all of these types of services are being held in various faith houses. For those who struggle with the holidays, these gatherings can be a great comfort and assurance. The calendar for these services will extend until the end of January, mainly because the suicide rate, which spikes during the holidays, reaches its peak in January every year. This new calendar came about when a gathering of four clergy met with Pamela Major here at LPC. Pamela is the coordinator of Children’s Inter-Agency Coordinating Council (CIACC) and works for Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) of Monmouth County.
Please see the below for a full description of LPC’S Longest Night service,
which will be on Thursday, December 5, 7:00 p.m.
Two Support Groups for the Holidays
Be with others who understand.
|Grief Support Group at
Old First Church of Middletown
60 Kings Highway, Middletown, NJ 07748
Group size is limited to 12 so please register by contacting Rev. Dr. Joyce Antila Phipps at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sundays, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Nov. 17; Dec. 1, 8 and 29; Jan. 5 and 19
|A Holiday Bereavement Support Group at
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County
1475 West Front Street, Lincroft, NJ 07738
No registration necessary. Questions, call Janet Freed 845-642-0935
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Nov. 4 – Jan. 27, 2020
The holidays can be such a joyous time of year, but when a loved one dies this can be a sad and stressful time. Be with others who understand. These professionally-run, free, and open groups are for those who have lost a loved one within the past year. We will share our stories and focus on ways we can take care of ourselves and celebrate the holidays in new ways, while continuing to honor the old, familiar traditions as well.
“The Longest Night”
A Christmas service for those who struggle with the holidays.
Thursday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Lincroft Presbyterian Church
Christmas can be a painful time for some. It may be the first Christmas without a loved family member who has recently died; it may be a time that has always been difficult.
The constant refrain on the radio and television, in shopping malls and houses of faith, about the happiness of the season, about getting together with family and friends, reminds many people of what they have lost or have never had. The anguish of broken relationships, the insecurity of unemployment, the weariness of ill health, the pain of isolation – all these and more can make us feel very alone in the midst of the celebrating and spending. We need the space and time to acknowledge our sadness and concern; we need to know that we are not alone.
Come out, and join with us in sharing and hearing prayers, scripture, and music that acknowledge that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle – and that God comes to shine light into our darkness. Everyone, regardless of religious background (or lack of it) is welcome. Casual dress.
The short service will be followed by light refreshments.
Lincroft Presbyterian Church
270 Everett Road (at W. Front Street)
Lincroft, NJ 07738
Believe in the Wonder of Giving Christmas for Others
LPC will be collecting checks made out to the church to contribute to Calico Cat for their Christmas gift certificate program. With our donations, their clients (families & seniors) will receive gift cards for food and gifts.
The gift certificate program allows the seniors and parents the dignity to purchase some items for their families at Christmas.
ALL donations must be received by Sunday, December 15th. Calico Cat will be delivering the gift cards soon after. Please don’t wait to Donate.
Calico Cat has asked that each participating church try to contribute $900 – this is a reach for LPC, but we are humbly asking for support from all our members to help provide Christmas to low income members of our community.
LPC’s next hosting week is November 10-17, 2019.