The Newsletter of First Presbyterian Church
216 West Third Street, Wayne, Nebraska 68787
(402) 375-2669 + www.fpcwayne.org
“Our chief end is to glorify and enjoy God forever.
From the Pastor ……
In the book, “It’s a Wonderful Life” author David McLaughlan writes a series of devotions based on Christmas classic songs and movies.[*] I learned a lot about the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” from McLaughlan’s book. The carol is based on the 1863 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow entitled “Christmas Bells.” The poem which contained seven stanzas was written at the height of the American Civil War when death and despair were prevelant. When Longfellow penned the words to his poem the country was still months away from Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th, 1865.
Longfellow knew about despair; his wife had died and he had been injured in a fire in their home. Then, one of Longfellow’s two sons enlisted in the Union Army against his father’s wishes. As December 1863 moved toward Christmas, Longfellow found himself nursing his war-wounded son. Not many of us would have sung God’s praises at that moment.
Longfellow turned to poetry, he wrote “Christmas Bells” on Christmas day of 1863.[†] A few stanzas of his poem “Christmas Bells” seem surprisingly upbeat, he wrote of an “unbroken song” centuries of church bells proclaiming a message of peace on earth and goodwill to all.
Then the cannons of the war exploded into his verse, and all that hope seemed to have been for nothing. Hate, it seemed, was the dominate force on earth and not knowing if his son would recover (he did recover), not knowing if the war would ever end (it did) at that time however hate’s dominion must have seemed a real possibility. Longfellow’s faith was stronger than his fear, he wrote:
God is not dead; nor doeth He sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
with peace on earth, good will to men.
Longfellow’s poem reflected the prior years of the war’s despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace. In 1872 John Baptiste Calkin omitted the two stanzas which contained references to the war and slightly rearranged the remaining five stanzas giving us the carol in its present form. John Baptiste Calkin also gave us the memorable tune.[‡]
There have been very few years where a war hasn’t raged somewhere in the world. But there has been no year where peace and goodwill have not also been in the world. There are still battles to be fought in the world and in our lives, each one is another step closer to the ultimate victory. As Christians we look forward to the day of Christ’s return and the peace he will bring.
We live in different days than Longfellow, but we still face many of the same challenges and troubles. Hate seems so prevalent and good will in short supply. Yet we can sing, even when the struggles around seem too much, when you feel surrounded by despair, sing “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep! The wrong shall fail, the right prevail…” When we hear the bells of Christmas may we be encouraged to continue to work as God’s agents until there is peace on earth for all!
(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE: December 24th, 5:30pm
Worship Christ, the newborn King! Wednesday, December 24, at 5:30pm. Bring your loved ones for a special candle-lit service celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on December 5th with Mark Hammer as the communion elder. Communion in January will be on the 9th.
ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING 2021
Thank you to the following who will be assisting with Advent Candlelighting:
November 28th Candle of Hope: Ken & Karen Marra
December 5th Candle of Peace: Brian & Amy Bowers
December 12th Candle of Joy: Austin & Michelle Galles and family
December 19th Candle of Love: Larry & Tiffanny Heese
December 24th Love – Christ Candle: Mark, Jenny & Nina Hammer
FPC GAME DAY!
Come one, come all…our game night has become a game day, and will be Sunday, December 12th at 2:00pm. Bring games and snacks to share.
Poinsettias may be displayed in the sanctuary in honor or memory of the loved ones in your life. We will acknowledge the arrangements in the Christmas Eve program. Please inform someone Jenny in the church office of the details. You can bring them anytime. We would ask that you take them home after the December 24th worship service.
ADVENT DEVOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Annually Presbyterians Today offer an Advent devotional. This year the Advent and Christmas devotional is entitled “Come to Bethlehem and Be Nourished.” The devotional is interactive, it can be read online or downloaded and printed. Each Sunday includes a video devotional. In addition the devotional invites you to experience bread making as a spiritual practice. This year’s devotional invites you to be part of building a tighter-knit community right where you are. Share the devotional with friends and family. Read and reflect together as a small group meeting over Zoom or in person. You are also encouraged to bake bread and share the loaves as gifts with others. Each Friday in Advent, a bread recipe will be offered. You are invited to make more than one loaf, so that you can share one and keep the other to be part of your Sunday Advent practice of having a simple meal. Enjoy the bread as you light the Advent candle as part of your breakfast or later in the day for supper. For either meal, keep it simple: bread, butter and jam for breakfast or bread and soup for dinner. Advent was originally viewed as a winter Lent. So, a focus on simple meals during a season of holiday feasting is a wonderful spiritual practice. And for those whose baking skills are not the best or if time for bread making is not possible, seek out artisan bread in your neighborhood at bakeries or specialty shops. The local bakers will appreciate the extra business. You can find the devotional link here – https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/today/advent2021/
In addition other on line Advent devotionals include Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts which hosts an Advent devotional which features music and art at https://ccca.biola.edu/advent/2021/
Another Advent and Christmas series can be found on d365.org This year’s devotional is entitled – “Following the Star,” the music with these devotions is always wonderful.
You are encouraged to look at these options for your Advent devotions.
The Deacons request your help in decorating our virtual mitten tree this holiday season with gloves, hats, scarves and mittens. The tree will be in Fellowship Hall in December.
WAYNE FOOD PANTRY
We are expecting a very busy holiday season at the Food Pantry. With gifts from the community we were able to provide 12 baskets to Wayne Community School families and 15 Head-Start families at Thanksgiving, and we hope to provide about the same number this Christmastime. We will also be distributing nearly 125 bags with peanut butter, jelly & a loaf of bread to the children on the Wayne Schools Backpack Program. Please consider donating to the Food Pantry. There is a great need in our community, please be generous. Please contact Jenny at the church office firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
ALTERNATIVE GIFT GIVING IDEAS TO SPREAD CHRISTMAS CHEER
- Local Gifts for Kids: Help area children have a Merry Christmas through the Gifts for Kids program. Select a tag from the Gifts for Kids tree at Bomgaars. There are a variety of ages of children and requests. Once you’ve selected a tag(s), leave the bottom of the tag with a cashier. Shop for the items and return the unwrapped gifts with the tag to Bomgaars.
- Here are some Web sites that will inspire you to give gifts that will make a real difference in people’s lives:
The Wayne Coat Closet
The Wayne Food Pantry
CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING
The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. The Offering distributes gifts equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years. We will receive the Christmas Joy offering on Sunday, December 19th, however you may make your gift any time before December 19th. Please note on your check or offering envelope that the gift is for the Christmas Joy offering.
COMMUNITY CAROLING ON WHEELS: Sunday, December 12th
Last year, as you might recall, First UMC helped coordinate a Community Caroling Event that was open to the entire city. An hour of air-time was donated by the radio station, and they played a selection of Christmas songs that community members could sing along to at home, in their cars while looking at Christmas lights, or even parked at Kinship Pointe, Countryview, the hospital, and other locations across the city.
Because of the response we received after last year’s event, we are doing it again! This year’s Community Caroling Event will be Sunday, December 12, from 7pm-8pm. Songs are pending, but we will have “song books” that can be printed off our website. I will also share the song book document with each of our churches to provide to your members.
More to come on details, but please don’t hesitate to let me know if there are any questions.
Pastor Nick Baker
First United Methodist Church – Wayne
PASTOR’S VACATION & STUDY LEAVE
- Pastor will be on bereavement leave Wednesday, December 8 – Wednesday, December 15. Pastor Kathleen Splitt will fill the pulpit on Sunday, December 12, 2021.
- Pastor will be on vacation December 26th, 2021 – January 7th, 2022.
- No service will be held on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (Communion will be held on January 9th.)
- Rev. Norman Pavey will be leading worship service on Sunday, January 2, 2022. There will be no ZOOM component.
- If you have a pastoral need while Pastor Teresa is away, please contact the office at (402)375-2669 or email@example.com
HOLIDAY OFFICE HOURS
- Monday, 12/20/2021 through Thursday, 12/23/2021, open 9am – 1pm
- Monday, 12/27/2021 through Friday, December 31, 2021, closed
- Pastor Teresa will also be on leave Sunday, December 26– Saturday, January 8, 2022. Please, do not hesitate to leave a message if you have a need at either (402)375-2669 or firstname.lastname@example.org
All donations for the 2021 calendar year need to be to Anita Fuelberth no later than Thursday, December 30, 2021 for tax purposes.
- The Session will not meet in December. They will gather for a retreat January 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Snow date for the retreat is January 29th.
- 2021 Session members & Deacons are reminded to compile a summary report for your area which will need to be sent to the office by Friday, January 14th. Thank you!
FPC ANNUAL MEETING
Our annual congregational meeting will be after worship on Sunday, January 30th. If you are responsible for a particular ministry (e.g., music, nominating, church school, property), please submit a brief report to the church office (email@example.com) by Friday, January 14th.
PMC ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING REMEMBRANCE SERVICE
The PMC Annual Tree Lighting Remembrance Service will be held Sunday, December 5th at 2:00pm in the Providence Medical Center Auditorium.
Joann P. has moved to Countryview Please contact the church office for her new info. Calls and visits are encouraged!
Our thanks to our session members and to our congregation for decorating the sanctuary this Christmas season.
5 Tiffanny H.
7 Candyce P.
14 Randy D.
18 Beau B.
22 Nina H.
(Would you like to see your birthday listed here?
Just contact the church office 402-375-2669 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
December 2021 – First Presbyterian Church
|Each Sunday Morning: Handbell Choir 9:00Worship 10:00Fellowship 11:00||5:40am KTCH 104.9 Moment for Living||5:40am KTCH 104.9 Moment for Living||1 5:40am KTCH 104.9 Moment for Living||2 5:40am KTCH 104.9 Moment for Living||3 5:40am KTCH 104.9 Moment for Living||4|
|5 *Communion *FPC Christmas Surprise! 4pm Cub Scouts||6||7||8 Pastor on bereavement leave||9 Pastor on leave||10 Pastor on leave||11 10am – 12noon Salvation Army Bell Ringing (Pastor on leave)|
|12 2pm FPC Game Day Pastor on leave||13 Pastor on leave||14 Pastor on leave||15 Pastor on leave||16||17||18|
|19 *Christmas Joy Offering *Christmas Program||20 Church Office open||21 Church Office open||22 Church Office open||23 Church Office open||24 Church Office closed 5:30pm Christmas Eve Service||25 Merry Christmas Jesus is born!|
|26 No Service||27 Church Office closed||28 Church Office closed||29 Church Office closed||330 Church Office closed||31 Church Office closed||1|
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2021
- Worship with Communion will be held Sunday, January 9, 2022.
- The Session will gather for a retreat on Saturday, January 22nd from 9am-noon.
- The FPC Annual Meeting will be held after worship January 30, 2022.
First Presbyterian Church
216 W. Third Street
Wayne NE 68787
FPC Office & Wayne Food Pantry:
Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 12 noon
Wayne Food Pantry: https://fpcwayne.com/food-pantry/
Wayne Coat Closet: https://fpcwayne.com/wayne-coat-closet/
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
First Presbyterian Church – Wayne, Nebraska
Wayne Food Pantry – Wayne, Nebraska
Wayne Coat Closet – First Presbyterian Church
Pastor Teresa Bartlett
[*] McLaughlan, David. “It’s A Wonderful Life” A 31-Day Devotional based on Favorite Christmas Classics. Barbour Uhrichsville, Ohio. 2013 pg.61-64. Accessed 11/21/2021.
[†] The Story Behind “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (whatsaiththescripture.com) Accessed 12/1/2021
[‡] The Story Behind “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (whatsaiththescripture.com) Accessed 12/1/2021