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Newsletter January 3, 2017 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 4, ISSUE 4
Giving Thanks

January is the month when we look ahead, make our New Year's resolutions and push on hopefully with a clean slate. It is also a good time to look back at the previous year, particularly if it was a good one. At New Hope, it was just that. The year 2016 brought us new friends, new members and exciting celebrations and praise for the Lord. It was a year when we made significant progress in taking care of our Sanctuary, with a major Windows Repair campaign, complete with a fund raiser.

We focused on a mission project, the JLH Food Bank, and have contributed to the needs of the community each month. We are poised to move forward with this mission in an enthusiatic way.

Our worship calendar once again included fellowship dinners, this year in June, July and October. The July event featured the awesome talents of the Buncombe Street UMC choir. We had to use the Community Center to accomodate our members, guests and visitors. In October, our moving and inspirational singing service was led by Ed Hinshaw and Lynda Gardner from First Baptist in Orangeburg. In June, Rev. Kermit Shrawder, led our singing service. Kermit also filled in for Sandra when she was away with an injury. We were also privileged to have Monty Felix with us during Sandra's absence. We are truly blessed to have such wonderfully talented and special friends who share their gifts with us so generously.

Got has blessed us beyond measure at New Hope. Our cup runneth over. We have much to be thankful for. But there is a subtle difference between being thankful and giving thanks. Paul tells us to "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:1. In the Upper Room, we read this from a person who had experienced grief: "Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians does not command me to feel thankful or to be thankful; I must simply 'give thanks.' In this, I see a difference between being thankful for a circumstance and being thankful to God for remaining with us in the circumstance."The Upper Room, January 2, 2017. Pastor Rick Warren, author of A Purpose Driven Life, puts it this way "You can thank God in every circumstance because God is in control. He can bring good out of evil. He can turn around the stupid mistakes you’ve made. No matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving you. "

May we give thanks to God in every circumstance and express our gratitude to Him by continuing our good works in His name.
From Pastor Sandra

Happy 2017!

The Common Calendar for The Christian Year is in two (2) major seasons:

1. Advent Season – Christmas Season – Epiphany Season
2. Lenten Season – Easter Season – Season After Pentecost

We began the Advent Season on November 27, 2016, with our Hanging of the Greeens Service, the 1st Sunday in Advent. The Christmas Season began on December 25 and ends twelve days after Christmas, on Friday, January 6, which is the "Epiphany of the Lord."

Epiphany is the official end to the festive season of Christmas for many Christians. There are eight (8) Sundays in the Epiphany season this year, which precede Ash Wednesday on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Epiphany is the celebration of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The Sundays after Epiphany are known as the time of manifestation.

Epiphany also marks a visit to the toddler Jesus by The Magi (the Three Kings or the Wise Men). The word “Epiphany” comes from Greek and means ‘manifestation.” It celebrates the revelation of God in His Son as human in Jesus Christ.

We have begun making plans for 2017; some dates you may want to mark on your calendars and others we will let you know in advance of the "event."

• Sunday, Jan 29 – Fifth Sunday singing led by Ed Hinshaw (1st Baptist, Orangeburg), followed by Fellowship Dinner. (need to RSVP by Sun., Jan 22 to Pastor Sandra. Email swhetsell@bowman@aol.com or phone 803-829-3252)
• Sunday, February 12 – Gideon’s Speaker for morning Worship service
• Wednesday, March 1 - Ash Wednesday Service
• April 9 – Palm Sunday Service
• April 13 – Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday Service
• April 16 – Easter Sunday (place flowers on cross in front of sanctuary followed by breakfast).
• April 30 – Fifth Sunday Singing/Fellowship Dinner
Cemetery

We are in the planning stages of some major improvements to our cemetery. Under consideration are the following:

•  An archway entrance probably on the north – south border
•  A wrought iron fence around all or portions of the property
•  Planters for flowers
•  Ornamental and shade trees
•  Water service
•  adding cemetery records to findagrave.com

We will update our progress in this newsletter and on the website. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.
Church Calendar

•  Thursday, January 5. Bible Study, new series on Daniel, 6 p.m.
•  Saturday, January 7. remove Christmas decorations, 9:30 a.m..
•  Sunday, January 29. 5th Sunday singing service and fellowship dinner.