First Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2021

This Sunday:

This Sunday, in indoor worship at COS, Rev. Andrew Mead will preach from Jeremiah 33:14-16 ad Luke 21:25-36 in the standard English service. Rev. Karen Campbell will preach from John 10:14-16,27-29 in the Basic English Service in Room 5.

We invite you to sign up to attend the morning service. Please note on the sign up that masking is now required for those over 2 years old. The 10 am service will also be live via Zoom. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.

We have added a new update to the COVID Team’s response page on the COS website. Read it for more details regarding COS’s Covid updates and reminders.

Children’s Ministry News:

Advent Devotions for All Ages. If you’d like to order an advent devotion, please check out the display in the café today. We’ll have copies available this Sunday, Nov. 28th!

New Gathering Place for Snacks before Clubs and Sunday School: Outside Door M Near the Children’s Wing. Rather than try to remember if it’s a club or Sunday school week, and where your kid’s class might be, we’re making it easier with ONE LOCATION for kids to gather to get their snack before being escorted by leaders to their Club or Sunday school location! Starting this Sunday, please dress your kids for the weather and send them out for snacks after the service when programming is offered (usually the first 4 Sundays of the month, but not this week due Thanksgiving). At 11:45am club leaders will meet kids outside door M to take them to their club locations. Boys and Girls Clubs will be playing games outside this week, so please encourage your kids to bundle up!

Collecting Outgrown Coats, Snow Pants, Boots, Hats, and Gloves for Kids and Teens to Use During Clubs! Please considering washing and donating the winter gear your kids have outgrown! These items will be used for outdoor activities or outings during club ministries and washed between uses, or sent home with kids who need them. Drop your used winter gear in the black bin at the entrance to the children’s wing. *Please note there is also a new glove, hat, and scarf drive happening for our neighbors at Ridge Park Elementary. That collection basket is at the entrance of church. If possible, please donate to both!

Church News:

Last week’s offering and online giving:  $17,511

Current Giving for the month of November: $73,461

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $118,873

Fiscal Year Report

The Thursday Bible Study continues to meet. We meet Thursdays in the COS cafe area, 9:30 – 11:00 am. This fall, we will be exploring Ecclesiastes. Our focus this week, December 2 is Ecclesiastes 9:13 – 10:20 “How do we Live Sensibly?”You may pick up a study guide when you come on Thursday. If you need childcare, please contact Mary Loeks. Please wear a mask. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

November Council Summary. Council spent a brief time looking forward to the Stewardship campaign launching, the special Thanksgiving offering for Coit Church and the planning for celebrations of COS’s 50th Anniversary.

Council spent most of their hybrid (in person and Zoom) meeting in November praying, preparing, discussing and trying to listen to each other well as we seek discernment in our individual and collective response to the CRC Human Sexuality Report of 2020. We sought to understand each other, the report and a draft overture better. A desire to show God’s love to each person impacted in any way by the report was strongly expressed.

Council covets the prayers of COS members as a final overture to Synod is written and listening circles begin.

Gathering to Love, Gathering to Give: This month, we are beginning a reflection on our financial giving this year and next. The Stewardship Team invites you all to think and pray as we each consider our responses to God’s generosity towards us. As God loves us, so we must show love and support to one another. In December we will ask each individual or household to make a promise, a pledge, about giving to COS in 2022. Literature will be available to guide you, and pledge forms will be available in the building and online in the Giving section of the COS website.

Next Sunday, December 5, we will have a carol sing around our newly constructed bonfire pit at the north side of the building. This replaces our annual Christmas brunch. Bring a lawn chair and join us at 11:45 for rousing Christmas songs! There will be several tables inside set up with crafts for the kids. And grab a cookie while out there.

Listening Circle Signups Closed for Now. Because of your strong support and interest, we have closed signups for now for the listening circles responding to Synod’s Human Sexuality Report. There are enough participants for over 12 circles, and we are grateful. Finding enough spaces in the church will take some creativity. We will be contacting participants soon with more details. We may have to place some people who signed up on wait lists but are doing what we can to avoid that. We may offer more circles, including Zoom options, later depending on interest and availability of facilitators.

Earlier this month, the countries of the world met in Glasgow to address the Climate Crisis. Was the COP 26 meeting a “success”?  What was accomplished?  What’s next?   Join us next Tuesday (11/30) at 7:00PM for a virtual conversation with Rich Killmer and Nate Rauh-Bieri who were there representing the Climate Witness Project:  Rich and Nate will share their perspectives, discuss how people of faith might respond, and field your questions.

Advent Art returns to the Artery with two shows. One is Advent Art by our own Virginia Wieringa. You must spend some time enjoying the beautiful colors and patterns she uses to tell the Christmas story. Contact Virginia if you are interested in purchasing any of her work. Second is a unique Advent Calendar created by Carole Kane from Northern Ireland She is a friend of Pastor Karen Campbell. Artwork for 25 days of Advent are shown along with a QR code which will take you to a video created by Carole to enhance the art. At the end of Advent, the calendars will be for sale for $25. Contact Betsy Ratzsch for information. Make a trip through the Artery part of your Advent celebration!

The Refugee Support Team invites you to help us in co-sponsoring Shahad Al Douri, a recent refugee from Iraq.  She is single, 28, and has an aunt here in GR.  While we do not expect that she will need the same level of support as a large family, we would like to offer more COS members an opportunity to serve in this ministry.  Nita VanderBerg is taking the lead.  If you would like to help with extending friendship, setting up Shahad with household items, etc., please contact Nita Vanderberg or Jon Bruss 

Meijer Simply Give Campaign for COS. COS has been awarded another campaign to support our In-House Food pantry. The double day will be on Saturday, December 11. This where your $10.00 purchase of the Simply Give gift card will give COS $30.00 in Meijer gift cards to be used to purchase food items from Meijer for our pantry. For those who want Ellen Westrate, Food Coordinator, to purchase the Simply Give cards at the Cascade Meijer only on December 11, please give your money or a check to COS in an envelope to Ellen Westrate labeled Simply Give.