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Newsletter December 1, 2016 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 4, ISSUE 3
Christian Symbols

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? In our social media world, we have icons, avatars and logos to give us instant recognition where that serves a purpose. In Christianty, symbols serve as reminders of the tenets of our faith. Last Sunday, we marked the beginning of the Advent season with a Hanging of the Greens service. This service has become a mainstay in our Christian calendar each year. Members of the congregation share in the experiences by recalling the rituals and symbols, decorating the tree , and bringing gifts to lay before the King. Each aspect of the long tradition of the tree and its adornments are celebrated as to what it holds for our Christian faith.

The tree is evergreen, symbolizing the undying life of Christ and the lights work together as do Christians. The adornments, known as Chrismons, are white and gold. These include some of the many types of crosses used throughout the Christian world. Gifts are placed under the tree reminiscent of the wise men bearing gifts.

The four Sundays of Advent are represented by different colored candles. Advent celebrates the coming of Christ as we anticipate the birth of the Messiah.
From the Pastor

Each year during the months of November and December we receive letters asking for donations to various charities. That is a good thing for those organizations.

This year, please consider New Hope UMC for an end-of-year donation, whether for tax purposes or just out of the goodness of your heart. We continue to have maintenance concerns, which our small congregation is trying to fund. With generous donations from Friends of New Hope UMC, last year the stained glass windows in our beautiful sanctuary were repaired.

Some of the concerns are the doors in the Fellowship Hall which need to be replaced; the windows in the Fellowship Hall need to be replaced; the sanctuary walls have water-type stains which need to be corrected and then painted; shutters for the windows once replaced in the Fellowship Hall; cushions for the pews in the sanctuary; making restrooms in fellowship more handicap accessible; paint the outside of sanctuary, to name a few.

And do please remember that our average attendance on Sunday Worship is about 15 – those 15 individual people provide large boxes of non-perishable food items to ten (10) needy elderly families in Rowesville each month. At Thanksgiving, we will supplement the food boxes with a turkey & the "fixins" and at Christmas will provide "a ham & fixins"; we also will provide useful Christmas gifts for these senior folks , such as warm gloves, caps, socks, blankets, etc. – necessary items for the elderly.

We thank you in advance for remembering New Hope UMC with end of year donations. Other organizations may have administrative overhead - we–have none – it is all volunteer, so each dollar that is donated goes directly to either maintenance of the facilities or to the Food Pantry.

May God Continue to Bless You!
Sandra E. Whetsell, Pastor.

P.S. If you wish to donate via credit card, you may go to the website and do so. We accept all major credit cards or you may use your Pay Pal account. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 54, Rowesville, SC 29133.

We begin a new Bible Study this week, Christmas Incarnation: A Study of Jesus' Birth. It is a 4-week course which covers the roles of Mary, Joseph, the Angels and the Wise Men in the birth of Jesus. The idea of the Virgin Birth, though essential to Christians, is not easily understood. Following is an excerpt from theologian C. S. Lewis, that explains the concept and why it is so important.

"To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set – or he may make something more like himself than a wireless set: say, a statue. If he is clever enough carver he may make a statue which is very like man indeed. But, of course, it is not a real man; it only looks like one. It cannot breathe or think. It is not alive.

Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God."

God created us as human beings. He begot Jesus as the son of God. Jesus and the Father are the same. Perhaps this explanation by Lewis will aid in our understanding of this fundamental Christian belief and why the Virgin Birth was necessary.
Church Calendar

•  Thursday, December 1. Bible Study resumes, 6 p.m.
•  Sunday, December 11. Christmas / Birthday Breakfast. Everyone is invited. But we must have an accurate count by Tuesday, Dec. 6th. Contact Pastor Sandra at: email swhetsellbowman@aol.com or 829-3252 or 664-3624.
•  Saturday, December 24. Christmas Eve service.
•  Sunday, December 25. Christmas service.
•  December birthdays. Barbara Paul (11th), Vance Boone (12th), Miles McCorison (14th), Sandra Whetsell (14th), Louie Boone (15th), Sue Whetstone (27th).