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Advent 2020

Welcome to Advent 2020!

As we can all probably imagine, the Advent season this year is going to look very different from any of our era’s Christmases past.

And still, it will be Christmas.

This past year has brought new things into our current reality we may never have imagined. Shutdown, facemasks, shortages of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, supply chain stalls, business closure, curbside pickup, online grocery shopping, working from home, virtual learning.

And still, it will be Christmas.

Add to that the stresses of social unrest, political polarity, financial setback and uncertainty. Yes, friends, there’s no denying that 2020 has been a year of challenges like no other.

And still, it will be Christmas

Following the traditional four themes of the Advent season, Peace, Hope, Love, and Joy, this year’s First Church Advent season will begin on Sunday, November 29, and end on Thursday on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24. And just as surely as it always does, Christmas Day will follow on Friday, December 25, when we celebrate the unabashed joy of Jesus Christ coming into our world in human form to show us by example how we should order our lives.

Throughout the 2020 Season of Advent, your First Church Family will still celebrate each Sunday with worship, prayer, and observances of the season, with a couple of special offerings developed to make your season brighter this year, including:

Still Christmas with Peggy & Friends

This special hour of Christmas music and songs recorded in the sanctuary by Organist and Associate Director of music and Worship Arts Peggy Graff and friends will make the perfect backdrop for your home-based Advent celebrations, special moments, and quiet evenings with your family. Cue it up on your smart TV, phone, computer or tablet starting Thanksgiving Day and enjoy through midnight on January 6.

Family Advent Worship Kit

Starting November 8, and as long as supplies last, we invite First Church members, friends and guests to pick up a specially created Advent activity box for families or anyone who wants to create a home worship space during Advent this year with an Advent wreath identical to the one we’ll be lighting in the Sanctuary each Sunday of Advent. The box also contains a weekly worship guide and several carols to sing at home as you enjoy this unique experience of Advent we’re calling Still ChristmasPick up your Advent wreath kit Sundays in the West Parking Lot  Sundays, November 22, & 29 10:30 – 11:00 am and noon – 1:00 pm, or contact Lisa Helm (lhelm@myfumc.org).

Polar Express Adventure

Mister Mark and his helpers, Ms. Janice, and Ms. Mary, and Ms. Donna have been hard at work creating Polar Express Adventure Kits for First Church families that will contain all the essential ingredients for your safe-at-home Polar Express party. The pick-up day for this ticket to family fun is going to be Sunday, December 6th from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm.

Still Christmas Concert: Snow Lay On the Ground

Please be sure to join us for the the special presentation by members of our FUMCFW Choral Union of Julian Wachner’s “Snow Lay On The Ground,” nine festive carol settings of 19th century Anglo-Irish hymns. Performed virtually, pre-recorded in sections, (then assembled digitally) in our beautiful Sanctuary, this is a must-see First Church musical event you will want to revisit time and again throughout the holidays. Enjoy this exquisite Gift of Music from your FUMCFW Music and Worship Arts ministry!

Youth Ministries Drive-In Advent

Every Sunday in Advent (November 29 – December 20) FUMCFW Youth Ministries we will be hosting drive-in Sunday School for our youth and their families in the Justin parking lot! We will have games that can be played together on phones or inside your car, a short message, conversation topics for your car, beloved Christmas music, and a chance to worship, learn, pray, and be together during this sacred season. We’ll add in some outdoor Christmas decorations, ugly sweaters, advent wreaths, and weird surprises to bring the joyful chaos of Christmas in the Justin out into the parking lot!

GROW Bible Study

In December, GROW invites you to join us for our Advent series. We’ll meet virtually via Zoom and dive into well-known Old Testament stories that we often hear during Advent and Christmas. Together we fill this season of Advent with hope, joy, and peace as we study the words of Isaiah “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (9:6). Whether you join us on Zoom regularly or just once, at GROW you always experience a warm welcome, a deep dive into Scripture and a meaningful conversation.

This year, just like every Advent past, each Sunday of Advent will bring thematic worship experiences designed to heighten our awareness and celebration of the sacred themes of the season:

First Sunday of Advent | November 29

“Hope”

Special Music:
Sanctuary | Fifth Street Bells
The Gathering | Clint Church and The Gathering Band
eleven:eleven | Brad Thompson and the 11:11 revolution band

Second Sunday of Advent | December 6

“Peace”

Special Music:
Sanctuary | Choral Union Section Leaders and Cornerstone Youth Choir
The Gathering | Clint Church and The Gathering Band
eleven:eleven | Brad Thompson and the 11:11 revolution band

Third Sunday of Advent | December 13

“Joy”

Special Music:
Sanctuary | Choral Union Section Leaders
Gathering | Clint Church and The Gathering Band
eleven:eleven | Brad Thompson and the 11:11 revolution band

Fourth Sunday of Advent | December 20

“Love”

Special Music:
Sanctuary | Choral Union Section Leaders, Organ and Harp
Gathering | Clint Church and The Gathering Band
eleven:eleven | Brad Thompson and the 11:11 revolution band

 

Christmas Eve | December 24

Special Music:

Choral Union, DFW Brass 

Our Christmas Eve Candlelight service will be pre-recorded with all the great music, message, and prayer you’d see live in our beautifully decorated sanctuary. The Sanctuary Christmas Eve worship service will premiere at noon on Christmas Eve at fumcfw.org/live and will be available on-demand through midnight at fumcfw.org/christmaseve20, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live.

Send us your candlelight! We invite all First Church members to send in a 10-second video of themselves and/or their family holding burning candles to incorporate into our “Silent Night” moment at the end of our pre-recorded  Christmas Eve service. Click here to submit videos by December 10. if you need help, please call FUMCFW Communications at (260) 338-6239.

Yes, we, like most churches, are busily making our plans now for how we intend to carry out our Advent 2020 plans — and we all know that there may be adjustments or changes we have to make along the way based on the COVID-19 realities we see in December . . .

Still, it will be Christmas.

And no, we may not be able to sing at the tops of our lungs in a packed sanctuary, no we may not be able to stand shoulder to shoulder lighting a candle to sing Silent Night, and no, we may not be able to gather in Wesley Hall to hug our friends and First Church family to wish them Merry Christmas,

Still, it will be Christmas.

A quieter, more reflective, more contemplative Advent experience than we’re used to — a still Christmas in many respects.

Still, it will be Christmas — and First Church will bring this unique celebration to you to help make it meaningful, engaging, and uplifting, to help us all remember that even in these uncertain times, no matter what,

It’s Still Christmas.

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