“It was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”. A memorable line for sure, but I’ve always wondered, “Whose house is this?”. I’ve never known a house where “something” wasn’t stirring on Christmas Eve. Sometimes, it’s children, or grandchildren, anxious for Santa to come. Sometimes it’s someone peering out the window waiting for a loved one to arrive from a long snowy drive or a delayed flight. Sometimes the one stirring is the one who this year has the flu, the cold, or yes, even COVID. Sometimes, even when the house is quiet, even when we are all alone, what is stirring is our minds on overdrive going over everything from Christmas lists to health concerns, family tensions to warring nations, or even the simple things like is the heat turned down and the cat fed. My prayer for you this week is that when you find yourself “stirring”, you will pause, take a deep breath, and remember that in this infant child Jesus, the Divine comes to us as Emmanuel, God with us; we are never alone. If you are able, please join celebration 7pm on Christmas Eve, in person and on Armstrong Cable and Facebook. We will also be worshipping at 9am on both Christmas and New Years Day. I look forward to our Christmas celebrations and to a blessed New Year. Pastor Sarah
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
A heartfelt thanks to: Christmas decorators: Darlene and Jim Ross, John and Cindy Karns, Janet and Bob Waid, Joyce Minnis and grandchildren McKenna and Luca, Barb Baker, Jim Turnbull, Pastor Sarah and Cyndi Bland…Advent Candle Lighters: The Reeck/Farrelly Jackson Family, The Morley/Friar Family, The Lindsay-Means family and The Basko/Karns Family …The amazing readers and musicians for our “Lights! Camera! Christmas!” Christmas program: Jake and Luke Lipiec; Gideon, Emmaline, Ezra and Annaliese Morely; Sam Venesky, Ashley and Morgan Johnston; Nathan, Carter and Alaina Karns; Adlee and Noah Mulhearn; Cambria and Heinrich Means; Rylee, Myla and Skyler Bland; Izzy Farrelly-Jackson…Ron Snow, Bev Barickman and Jim Turnbull for welcoming all to worship each Sunday…Erin Means for competently coordinating our new Raise Right program…Jeff and Pat Loutzenhiser for the new family-friendly lounge/restroom across from Miller Parlor…Darlene Ross, Sue Wardian and all who work in finances for carefully attending to our end of the year reporting… Poinsettias givers and “Undie” donators…To all who give to, pray for, and work with Stone UMC…
SPRING SEASONAL PLANNING MEETING
Our spring “seasonal planning” meeting is Sunday, January 8th at 10AM in Miller Parlor. This will be a kid-friendly, family-friendly gathering to talk about and plan for Lent, Easter and the months ahead.
MLK JR. COMMUNITY DINNER - THE BELOVED NEIGHBORHOOD
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Dinner is back! The dinner will be held Monday, January 16th from 6-8PM at Allegheny College. Cost for the evening dinner and program is $20. Please call the church office (814-724-6736) or contact Pastor Sarah if you would like to reserve a ticket.
UPCOMING DISTRICT ZOOM EVENTS
Monday, January 23rd 7pm “Seeing in the Shadows: Hate Groups in Our Midst”. Rev. Bob Klingler will share information about the growth of hate groups in Western PA along with information about how we can responsibly and safely respond to them.
Monday, January 30th 7pm “Seeing Our Shadow: Shining a light on Ourselves, Our Churches and Our Communities” Ideas and resources will be shared about how each of us can be more self-aware and just in our relationships to others.
*NEW* FAMILY RESTROOM & LOUNGE
A “new” family restroom and lounge space is now available for use across from Miller Parlor. Equipped with a changing table, rocking chair and other comfort items, this room has been set up to be a quiet space for those with babies and toddlers.
FAIRVIEW/FAIRMONT OUTREACH IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE...
In December of 2021, the Fairview/Fairmont Outreach Program began partnering with the Y to provide and staff the after-school program. This new arrangement was necessary due to the difficulty of finding appropriate staff and providing appropriate salaries based on what the two sponsoring churches, Stone UMC and First Presbyterian, could provide. The Y has been providing staffing and programming for the after-school program since then with good success. However, the residents of the apartment complex missed the other services the Outreach Program provided in the past – the computer lab, support for adults, support for mothers of preschoolers, providing welcome packs for new members, and the ability for the Outreach Program to meet new needs.
There are 2 boards comprised of members from First Presbyterian and Stone Methodist churches which oversee Fairview/Fairmont. The Outreach Board oversees the Outreach Program and the United Housing Board oversees the maintenance of the complex and rent collection and HUD reporting. The United Housing board provided funding for the Outreach Program but this was discontinued when Outreach closed during the pandemic. Responding to the requests of residents, the Housing Board graciously decided to resume some funding for the Outreach Program. Residents hoped that the Outreach Center could be open for more than just the after-school program. The Housing Board was agreeable to having the Y continue providing staffing and programming for the after-school program. Thus, beginning in December of 2022, the Outreach Program hired Rosanne Sommers and Emily Seibel, currently working part-time for the Y at the Outreach Center, for additional hours. In effect, they work half-time for the Y and half-time for the Outreach. Rosanne and Emily are thrilled with the additional hours they now have to provide services for the residents of Fairview/Fairmont. They are busy making plans and have a special ability to zero in on how to best serve those who live at the complex. It's amazing how many people have re-appeared lately to stop in and see Rosanne and to how glad they that Outreach is open more. It's also been very encouraging to realize that people in the community and outside the Fairview/Fairmont complex know and recognize the work that's going on. We're well known and recognized. A major thank-you to both churches for their support for this program since 1977. And another thank-you to the church members on both boards who serve. Chris Lafferty Moderator, Fairview/Fairmont Outreach Board
THANK YOU TO ALL FOR AN AMAZING CHRISTMAS PROGRAM!
A GIANT THANK YOU to the children, youth and families for putting on an amazing Christmas program! Lights, Camera, Christmas told the story of Jesus’ birth and was a hit for all to see. Stone UMC is blessed by all of you! A special thanks to Leda Boal, Leanne Venesky, Gloria Shields, Carrie Morley, Darlene Ross, Jim Ross, Tyson Johnston, and Andra Mulhearn for a wonderful start back to our children’s church and Sunday School programs. This past fall and winter have been fun, and it’s been a blessing to work with all of you! I look forward to the coming winter and spring months! —Cyndi Bland
SIGN UP NOW TO VOLUNTEER WITH CHILDREN/YOUTH MINISTRY
Volunteers are needed for our winter and early spring Children’s Church and Sunday School programs. Please contact Cyndi Bland to sign up or use the sign-up sheet hanging on the wall outside of Cyndi’s office on the first floor in Thoburn Lobby.
A GREAT YEAR OF GIVING!
Wow! What an incredible year of generosity from Stone! Thank you to everyone who participated in 2022's outreach and missions projects which included: 110 Jared Boxes for Meadville Medical Center, $350 raised for our Compassion International Sponsor Child – Sotcho Dio from Bangladesh, 50 geraniums purchased and planted to beautify our church lawn, Over $600 raised for our annual Souper Bowl fundraiser and sent to Center for Family Services, 30 plus baby bottle piggy banks filled and given to the Pregnancy Center of Meadville, Teacher supplies collected and donated to 4 local schools $700 raised at our Pop-Up Bake Sale to support Ellie Basko and her family, 5 complete flood buckets and many supplies for UMCOR December ingathering of "Undies Under the Tree". The list goes on and on! So thank you for your donations and service to all of these different organizations both near and far. Your support in these missions shows that we are the hands and feet of Jesus in our community and around the world! Amen!
2023 FLOWER SIGN UPS
The 2023 Flower Sign Up Sheet is now on the bulletin board in the hallway across from the office. You may also sign up for flowers by contacting Jen in the office at 814-724-6736 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JANUARY WORSHIP CALENDAR
January 1st New Year’s Day/Communion
January 8th Epiphany Sunday
January 15th Human Relations Sunday
January 22nd Blessing of the 2023 Lay Leadership
9am in person at Stone UMC (And LIVE on Armstrong Cable Channels 23/100, Facebook, and our website—stoneumc.org)
10:30 am at Bethany UMC (140 Wadsworth Ave)