Pastor's Letter

Services

SUSPENDED UNTIL MAY 1

The latest from Pastor Bill

Letter from the Pastor

by: Keith Howell

12/06/2019

0

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! As always, I pray this note finds you well and in good spirit despite whatever challenges you may presently be facing. Know you are loved and appreciated.

Advent deepens and Christmas is near as I write. So a few quick reminders of the season:

The Christmas Cantata is right around the corner on Saturday, December 14, 4:00 p.m. in our Sanctuary. The Cantata is a masterwork of composer Joseph M. Martin entitled “The Winter Rose.” Sean Mann, our choir and musicians, as well as regional musicians and vocalists have been practicing… read more

Select Image

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! As always, I pray this note finds you well and in good spirit despite whatever challenges you may presently be facing. Know you are loved and appreciated.

Advent deepens and Christmas is near as I write. So a few quick reminders of the season:

The Christmas Cantata is right around the corner on Saturday, December 14, 4:00 p.m. in our Sanctuary. The Cantata is a masterwork of composer Joseph M. Martin entitled “The Winter Rose.” Sean Mann, our choir and musicians, as well as regional musicians and vocalists have been practicing the Cantata since late September. Come and enjoy this fragrant offering for the Advent/Christmas season next Saturday, December 14, 4:00 p.m. Invite a friend!

The SGPC annual Women’s Christmas Luncheon at Georgetown Country Club is Thursday, December 19, 11:30 a.m. Please note that the deadline for registration is December 15. The cost of the meal is $15.00, cash or check. Checks should be made out to SGPC and noted “Women’s Luncheon.” You may register online at www.sgpcvolunteers.org and follow the icon for the Women’s Christmas Luncheon. You can also register in the Narthex at the Kiosk on our new Welcome Table. Or, you may call the church office and register with Linda or Karalyn. Again, the DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION IS DECEMBER 15.

Toni Howell, our Director of Family Ministries, is asking for your help. Our children and Youth are stuffing small Christmas stockings with mini, small-sized candies like candy canes and small chocolate candies like Snickers, etc. The stockings will be given to a local ministry, Helping Hands, who will distribute the stockings to local children and youth who are underserved. If you would like to contribute candy, please bring your contributions to the church by Sunday, December 15, at 9:00 a.m. The children and youth will be stuffing the stockings during Sunday School on December 15.

I want to thank the many who showed up on Wednesday to decorate the Sanctuary and building for the Advent/Christmas season. A fun time was had by all! You will see a big difference when you enter the Sanctuary on Sunday. The Chrismon Tree in the East Wing of the Sanctuary is stunningly beautiful. There is still time to give a poinsettia in honor or memory of someone. The poinsettias will be used to create a Poinsettia Tree in the West Wing of the Sanctuary as Christmas approaches. The deadline for giving poinsettias is next Friday, December 13. You will find forms for poinsettia donations on the table in the Narthex under the bulletin boards. The cost is $15.00. Checks should be made out to SGPC and noted “Poinsettias.”

As is custom at SGPC, we will be receiving the Joy Gift Offering this Advent/Christmas season, beginning Sunday December 15. The Joy Gift is a denominational offering of the PCUSA. The offering is spilt, 50/50, between the Board of Pensions of the PCUSA and financial assistance to Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping students of color. The Board of Pensions uses the monies raised by the Joy Gift to offer assistance to current and retired church workers who are facing financial difficulties. I know two retired ministers whose financial resources are strained and are currently receiving financial grants from the Board of Pensions. These grants have allowed my friends to live in retirement without excessive financial anxiety. I thank you in advance for your generous consideration of this vital offering!

Once again I want to thank you for a very successful Stewardship Campaign. I cannot find better words to express my gratitude than the words of the Apostle Paul that your generous financial giving “not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God” (2 Cor. 9:12). Finance Elder, Ellis Gill, will give a short Minute for Mission in worship on Sunday with more details on the success of the campaign.

As the Lord’s Day, Sunday December 8, the Second Sunday of Advent approaches, a few items between us:

Adult Sunday School begins at 9:15 a.m. in Room #4. There is one, combined Adult Class for the month of December. Dr. Andy Dearman is leading the class. His overall title of the class is “Setting the Stage for Christianity.” Dr. Dearman’s specific topic for this Sunday is “Herod the Great and the Jerusalem Temple.” I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to hear from a careful scholar and wonderful teacher.

The scriptures for this Second Sunday of Advent are Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12. I am focusing on the Isaiah passages for the Sundays of Advent since the early church turned, and still turns, to the prophecies of Isaiah for hope and anticipation of a coming king who will embody and enact completely God’s justice, love, and mercy. This week is Isaiah’s remarkable prophecy of hope that “a shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” For its duration, the church has turned to this passage of Isaiah for its inspiration in Jesus Christ, proclaiming Jesus as the shoot and branch from the stump of King David’s father Jesse.

Please note the ecumenical Georgetown Wholeness Service meets this Sunday, December 8, at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Georgetown. The Wholeness Service is two weeks early due to Christmas schedules. It normally meets the fourth Sunday of each month. Ginger Mann compiles the service each month and directs the musicians and choir. The service is meditative and reflective. I hope you take this opportunity for a unique worship experience in this season of Advent.

Last Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, I failed to mention in the worship announcements that we have Advent Devotionals available for you free of charge in the Narthex. One of the devotionals is “Joy to the World: 10 Christmas Reflections from Our Daily Bread.” The other devotional is from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary staff and students. It is entitled “Hopes.” You will find both devotionals on the table in the Narthex. Feel free to take one per household.

As we look ahead to Christmas Eve, please note that we WILL NOT have a Children’s Christmas Eve Service as we have the past three years. The Children’s Service will be combined with our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service. The combined service begins at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening, December 24. Christmas Eve is an opportune time to invite family, friends, and neighbors to experience the warmth and hospitality of SGPC.

That is all for now. Enjoy this beautiful weather. Be safe. Do good work. See you Sunday if you are able to attend.

Grace and Peace! Bill

cancel save

Letter from the Pastor

by: Keith Howell

11/27/2019

0

I am coming to you a few days early due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I hope for you and your extended family the very best and happy Thanksgiving Day and weekend. Know how grateful I am to be your pastor and that you are loved and appreciated. Know, too, how grateful I am for SGPC. We have had a wonderful year. There is good vitality and energy across the congregation’s life and work. This is due in no small measure to your participation, encouragement, generosity, and prayers. Please note that the Church Office will be closed on… read more

Select Image

I am coming to you a few days early due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I hope for you and your extended family the very best and happy Thanksgiving Day and weekend. Know how grateful I am to be your pastor and that you are loved and appreciated. Know, too, how grateful I am for SGPC. We have had a wonderful year. There is good vitality and energy across the congregation’s life and work. This is due in no small measure to your participation, encouragement, generosity, and prayers. Please note that the Church Office will be closed on Thursday and Friday of this week so church staff can enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. On Wednesday, December 4, at 9:30 a.m. at the church, come be a part of “Deck the Halls” as we gather to decorate the church’s building and grounds for Advent/Christmas. This year’s Christmas Cantata is Saturday, December 14, at 4:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Under the direction of Sean Mann, our Choir, along with area choristers and musicians, will present “The Winter Rose” a masterwork by Joseph M. Martin. The concert is free and open to the public. This is a great opportunity to invite a family member, neighbor, or friend to SGPC! Please note that Presbyterian Women of Mission Presbytery are hosting their Spring Gathering at MO-Ranch on March 27-29. Deadline for registration is fast approaching on December 15. You will find registration forms on the table under the bulletin boards in the church’s Narthex. You may also contact Carolyn Patterson at wcsp@suddenlink.net for more information. If you have not been to Presbyterian MO-Ranch Assembly in Hunt, Texas, you are missing a jewel of our wider Presbyterian family. MO-Ranch is a spectacular venue for beauty, relaxation, and retreat. Please take advantage of this opportunity to experience MO-Ranch for yourself as you join with Presbyterian Women from all over Mission Presbytery for this annual event. As the Lord’s Day, Sunday December 1 approaches, a few items of note between us. This is the first Sunday of Advent, new year’s day on the church’s yearly worship calendar. Advent has been observed by Christians from about the fourth century of our common era. For early Christians, and for us today, Advent is a four-week time of preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that since Jesus has been here before in the baby of Bethlehem, he will surely come again as he has promised to make all things new, and to usher in a new heaven and a new earth. Thus, Advent becomes a time of anticipation of Jesus’s coming in the incarnation at Christmas, and the expectation of his coming again at the end of time. This is a first-Sunday communion service. As is custom for us on first-Sunday communions, you are encouraged to bring food for The Caring Place. As I announced in worship last Sunday, The Caring Place is trying to raise 300,000 pounds of food by December 31 to help offset the increased demand on its pantry during the holidays and winter months. Our Missions Committee is encouraging us to “double up” on the number of items we normally bring each month for first-Sundays in support of The Caring Place. If you have never contributed to our first-Sunday food drives for The Caring Place, this Sunday is a good time to get started. If you would like to donate money to The Caring Place in lieu of food, or with food, you may do so by making your check out to SGPC and in the memo line note “The Caring Place.” The Caring Place will use the cash to buy food at significantly reduced rates from the area food bank. All Sunday School classes begin at 9:15 a.m. The Adult Sunday School classes are combined for the month of December! The Adult class will meet in Room #4. Dr. Andy Dearman is leading the class throughout Sundays in December. Dr. Dearman’s five-week class is entitled “The Historical Context for Jesus and His Earliest Disciples.” This week’s class is entitled “The Kingdom of the Maccabees and Hanukkah.” Please note that if you signed up to buy Christmas presents for a child at the Austin campus of Presbyterian Children’s Home and Service Agency, your presents are due this Sunday December 1. The Scriptures for this week are Matthew 24:36-44 and Isaiah 2:1-5. I will be focusing on the imperative to us from Isaiah “…come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” We will be exploring Isaiah’s concept of “light” as his imperative comes to us at the “darkest” time of the year – the longest nights in our Northern Hemisphere. That is all for now. Again, I hope you have a most blessed and happy and safe Thanksgiving. Do good work.

See you Sunday!

Gratefully, Pastor Bill

cancel save

Letter from the Pastor

by: Keith Howell

11/21/2019

0

Friends,

I am coming to you one day early this week. Both Karalyn and Linda will be out of the office tomorrow, Friday, and yours truly has no idea how to send this blast email letter without their help. Hope this note finds you well and in good spirit in the Lord!

Our church treasurer, Leonard Kropp, continues to report good news on this year’s stewardship campaign. I thank you for your financial generosity and the promptness with which SGPC has received pledges this year. If you have yet to pledge, and intend to do so, I encourage you to… read more

Select Image

Friends,

I am coming to you one day early this week. Both Karalyn and Linda will be out of the office tomorrow, Friday, and yours truly has no idea how to send this blast email letter without their help. Hope this note finds you well and in good spirit in the Lord!

Our church treasurer, Leonard Kropp, continues to report good news on this year’s stewardship campaign. I thank you for your financial generosity and the promptness with which SGPC has received pledges this year. If you have yet to pledge, and intend to do so, I encourage you to make your pledge as soon as possible. The Finance Committee will convene in early December to compile a proposed 2020 church budget for the session to approve. Significant decisions are made, or not made, based upon the church’s pledge base.

We are in the time of the year when The Caring Place sees significant impact on its resources. The Caring Place is engaging the Georgetown community to raise 300,000 pounds of non-perishable food by December 31. As we look ahead a week to Sunday, December 1, I encourage you to “double up” on the quantity of items you might normally bring on first-Sundays for The Caring Place. Cash and check (made out to SGPC and noted “Caring Place”) are also acceptable and we will forward the money immediately to The Caring Place for food purchases from the food bank. Non-perishable food items requested by The Caring Place include cereals, tuna, canned fruit, soups, baking mixes, and healthy non-perishable snacks like granola bars. If you have never participated in our first-Sunday of the month food drives for The Caring Place, please consider doing so on Sunday, December 1.

I want to thank you for your generous response to the Women’s Christmas gift drive to support resident children and youth at the Presbyterian Children’s Home and Service Agency in Austin. Please note that the gifts are due back, unwrapped, by Sunday December 1.

Two things as we look ahead past Thanksgiving next week. First, again this year we are asking for poinsettia donations to the church to be used for decorating our Sanctuary this Christmas. You can give in honor or memory of someone. Cost is $15.00 per plant. Look for signup forms in the Narthex. Orders are due by Friday, December 13. Second, we will gather at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 4, to decorate the building and grounds for Advent/Christmas. All are welcome! Come out and enjoy the fun and fellowship.

The Choir is hard at work on this year’s Christmas Cantata. Sean Mann has assembled another great group of area musicians and vocalists to join with our Choir and musicians. The event is scheduled for Saturday, December 14, at 4:00 p.m. in SGPC’s Sanctuary. The program is a masterwork by composer Joseph M. Martin entitled “The Winter Rose.” The concert is free and open to the public.

As the Lord’s Day, Sunday November 24 approaches, a few notes between us.

Adult Sunday School will meet in Topics and Bible Study classes for one more Sunday before Advent starts on Sunday, December 1, when the Adult Sunday School classes will be combined for the five Sundays of December and taught by Dr. Andy Dearman. For this Sunday, November 24, the Topics class meets in Room #4 and is being taught by the Rev. Dr. Mary Gaines as she helps the class explore language we use to speak about God. The Bible Study class meets in the church’s Library and is led by Jill Haus. Jill is leading a study on the concept of “covenant” that runs throughout Scripture.

This is Christ the King Sunday or Reign of Christ Sunday. Christ the King Sunday is traditionally the last Sunday of the church’s liturgical calendar. The first Sunday of Advent is December 1 this year, when a new church year begins.

The biblical texts for Sunday are Jeremiah 23:1-6 and Luke 23:33-38. We will be exploring what it means that Christ is King.

The Georgetown Ecumenical Wholeness Service is this Sunday, November 24, at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church off University Drive in Georgetown. The theme for the service is “Sharing God.” The Wholeness Service is a contemplative service based on the meditative music of the Taizé community in France. Ginger Mann directs the choir and musicians. I hope you will take this opportunity to worship with others throughout the community in this prayerful service.

That is all for now. Be safe. Do good work.

Grace and Peace, Bill

cancel save