The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit," begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. This year, the first Sunday of Advent is December 2nd.
Advent is also the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical -- from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.] This date coincides with the first Sunday of the new Revised Common Lectionary year. The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year cycle of weekly scriptures used to varying degrees by the vast majority of mainline Protestant churches in the United States.
FYI-I usually only preach from the Revised Common Lectionary during Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.
Okay, now that I have you totally confused, let me put it more simply. The first Sunday of Advent is also New Year’s Day on the Christian calendar.
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.
So, as we prepare for and anticipate the second coming of Christ, I think it is important for us to deepen our relationship with Christ and the Church. Do you remember your first Sunday in church or in Sunday school? Do you remember when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you remember when you joined the church, if you did?
I think many of us would shake our heads or verbally say “ I don’t know.” The answers to those questions aren’t important, but our reasons for being in church on Sunday morning and serving within the church and the community are very significant. That is why I am going to be leading a class using the resource titled A Disciple’s Path—Deepening Your Relationship With Christ and the Church. This is a six-week study that will combine a uniquely Wesleyan understanding of our growth in God’s love and grace with spiritual disciplines we profess when we commit ourselves to participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness.

This class will meet at LeValley church on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm beginning on November 14th. The final class will be on December 19th. On Wednesday, November 7th, also at 6:30pm, I will have a class just for those who are considering joining LeValley or Berlin Center Churches.

I met a colleague at a retreat recently who said she doesn’t ask people to join the church or become a member of the church. She has found it more palatable to her congregations to ask if they would like to partner with the church. So, I ask you, are you ready to partner with, or to consider partnering with, Berlin Center or LeValley Churches? If so, I invite you to meet with me for dessert and coffee (or tea) on November 7th at 6:30pm in the Upper Room at LeValley Church.

I hope many of you will want to prepare for Christmas by participating in this six-week class. I believe it will be a benefit both spiritually and physically for all of us as we remember why we are United Methodists, why we believe in Wesleyan theology.
A Disciple’s Path is grounded in a Wesleyan understanding of prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace as the way in which we are formed into the likeness of Christ.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the
cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4:11-16(NIV)
Pastor Nancy
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