Advent outreach supports Food Shelf
Advent calendars count down the days before Christmas, and as we have in past years, we’re using that format to gather food for the Allamakee County Food Shelf.
But instead of receiving something every day from a typical Advent calendar, you are invited to give something using a “reverse” calendar.
Here’s your shopping list — a grocery item for each Advent day in December.
Place your gifts daily in a bag or box in your home. As you do, consider saying a short prayer for the person or family who will be fed with your gift.
Then, at the end of the week, bring your bag or box of food to church on Sunday and place it on the collection table near the stage in the Fellowship Hall.
Dec. 1 Canned fruit
Dec. 2 Canned spaghetti sauce
Dec. 3 Canned juice
(Bring your gifts to church)
Dec. 4 Sugar (4-5 pound bag)
Dec. 5 Cake mix
Dec. 6 Frosting
Dec. 7 Muffin mix
Dec. 8 Canned soup
Dec. 9 Flour (4-5 pound bag)
Dec. 10 Canned tuna
(Bring your gifts to church)
Dec. 11 Brownie mix
Dec. 12 Canned corn
Dec. 13 Canned pears
Dec. 14 Hamburger helper
Dec. 15 Canned chicken
Dec. 16 Canned peaches
Dec. 17 Canned green beans
(Bring your gifts to church)
Dec. 18 Tuna helper
Dec. 19 Cooking oil
Dec. 20 Cereal/oatmeal
Dec. 21 Canned peas
Dec. 22 Granola bars
Dec. 23 Canned mandarin oranges
Dec. 24 Canned mixed vegetables
(Bring your gifts to church)
The Allamakee County Food Shelf is open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1125 W. Main St. in Waukon. It provides four to five days’ worth of food to each of its clients, who are permitted one visit per month. Proof of county residency and a valid Social Security number are required. For more information, call (563) 568-3994.
Advent worship services seek ‘a thrill of hope’
Advent is underway, and “How does a weary world rejoice?” is this year’s theme. We are holding space for both our weariness and our joy while seeking a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world. We are welcoming joy — even and especially if, like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out for comfort (Isaiah 40:1).
From the pulpit, Pastor Grant is preaching from Luke 1, which details the miraculous events that lead up to Jesus’s birth. His messages available online in audio and text formats at FirstPresWaukon.com/sermons/.
Advent started earlier than usual this year — at least for us, anyway — on Sunday, Nov. 19. Just as the somber days of Lent make proclamation of Christ’s resurrection on Easter all the more joyful, so too does a robust Advent lead us to a fuller appreciation of the 12 sparkling days of Christmas that begin December 25.
In the early Church, Advent, like Lent, lasted 40 days. Known as the “Nativity Fast” or “Winter Lent,” those 40 days began in early November. Drawing on that tradition, our Advent will last five weeks instead of the usual four.
To support those who are feeling sad during the holidays, worship on the Fifth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 17, will be a “blue Christmas service.” The service will engage Scripture, prayer, carols and reflection that are honest and true to people’s inner struggles and yearnings. The service will be particularly meaningful to those for whom the approaching Christmas holiday does not bring the joy and happiness that’s advertised on television or in greeting cards.
Stewardship campaign exceeds goal
Our “Double Your Blessing” stewardship challenge exceeded its goal. Offerings totaled $14,775, and an anonymous donor offered to match those gifts up to $12,500.
So, because of everyone’s generosity, the stewardship challenge received a grand total of $27,275. Those funds erased the shortfall in our operating budget and ensure that our daily mission and ministry remain strong.
In the weeks and months ahead, please continue investing your time, talent, and energy in our church and the work God calls us to do. You are appreciated.
Faith formation activities tie in with holidays
December’s Wednesday Church Night activities for all God’s children announce the arrival of the holidays. Note that some of these activities are not taking place on Wednesdays (wouldn’t want you to miss out or be late):
Wed., Dec. 6 — Supper at 5:30 p.m. Christmas caroling to church members and friends at 6 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 8 — Be at church at 7 p.m. to help build our float for the Waukon Holiday Parade.
Sat., Dec. 9 — Meet at fairgrounds at 5:30 p.m. to participate in the Waukon Holiday Parade, which begins at 6 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 17 — MovieTime. (Children are dismissed from worship to the Theater Room.)
Many hands make light work at Harvest Dinner
“Team Presbyterian” served 390 ham meals during our annual Fall Harvest Dinner on Sept. 27. The meal committee sends out a BIG thank you to everyone who donated food or money, those who helped prepare and serve, and those who helped with promotion. Special thanks to Jess Welsh for sharing her marketing expertise.
It takes the whole church membership to make this a successful event! We could never do it without you! It is a blessing to have younger members help out, even if it is for only an hour after school when others are running out of steam! It warms the heart to see all the church members, young and old, working together, smiling, laughing and working as a team! This is God’s work! Proceeds of roughly $5,000 will go to the church’s air conditioning project.
It has always been said the Presbyterians have “good cookers”! Thank you to committee members Michelle Donahue, Cindy Leikvold, Bev Krambeer, Gloria Krambeer, Sue Schlitter, Jan Ellingson, Suzanne Hahn, Rev Lonning, Betty Christianson, Kay Snitker, Sheila Simmonds, and Fern Rissman for their many, many hours of planning and food preparation.
Thanks to everyone who’s been stopping by for “Wednesday Soul Searching” with Pastor Grant. Some weeks it’s been just one person. Other weeks have included impromptu small group conversations about faith and life. Using an open house format that allows you to come and go as your schedule allows, Pastor Grant is available from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Aztec Parlor, 15 W. Main St. in Waukon. Refreshments are available.
The children and youth will go Christmas caroling Wednesday, Dec. 6, and invite all God’s people to join them for this fun evening of spreading the light and love of Christ. We’ll gather at 5:30 p.m. for a supper in the Fellowship Hall and a brief rehearsal of the songs. The carpool caravan of singers will leave the church at 6. Feel free to wear seasonal clothing.
The Waukon Holiday Parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, and we again are helping organize the parade in conversation with the Waukon Chamber of Commerce. We will be working on our church float starting at 7 p.m. Friday if you’d like to help. Youth and adults interested in walking with our float should meet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the fairgrounds. If you are interested in being part of this special event in our community in another way, please contact Elder Linda Mahr at (563) 794-1663 or email@example.com.
Several groups of Waukon student musicians are providing special music during December. On Sunday, Dec. 3, the Waukon High School Choir will stop on its annual Christmas Church Tour. On Sunday, Dec. 10, brass and saxophone quartets will provide special music during worship. Lena Rausch and Connor Buhl also plan to share a duet during the Advent season.
Poinsettias in memory of family, friends and loved ones are available for $15 each. Please sign the sheet on the Fellowship Hall counter and place your payment in the envelope next to the sheet. You also can order by calling the church office, (563) 568-2981, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Plants will be placed in the Sanctuary for Christmas Eve worship. You may take your plant(s) home after the Christmas Eve worship or leave them in Sanctuary for everyone to enjoy.
Each Christmas, we take a special monetary collection as a gift for Pastor Grant and his family. To contribute, please see Elder Bill Withers or Elder Gloria Krambeer. Contributions also may be dropped off in the church office or mailed to P.O. Box 422, Waukon, IA 52172-0422.
Please help decorate the “Mitten Tree” in the Fellowship Hall with winter hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves. All items are given to Waukon elementary students in need.
The Presbyterian Women have two holiday events scheduled. The PW’s annual Christmas party will be held at 5:30 p.m. this Tuesday, Dec. 5, in the Fellowship Hall. An optional $5 gift exchange will be part of the potluck meal. Guests are welcome, and if you need a ride, contact the church office at (563) 568-2981 or email@example.com. At 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8, the PW will gather in the church kitchen to bake and frost Christmas cookies for the congregation. Sign-up sheets for donations of ingredients are posted on the bulletin board outside the church kitchen.
Reprinted copies of the Presbyterian Women’s popular cookbook from 2005 are available for $25 each. They make great gifts for the beloved cooks and bakers in your life. Place your order with Fern Rissman at (563) 568-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postal notecards featuring vintage images of our church are available for sale in the Fellowship Hall. Two sizes are available: Packs of four 6×4-inch cards cost $4; packs of five 7×5-inch cards cost $5. The images come from postcards in the collection of member Terri Krueger, and Elder Kris Rausch designed the cards. JaDeccs of Waukon did the printing.
The elders of Session have called a special congregational meeting after worship on Sunday, Dec. 17, in the Sanctuary. The sole purposes of the meeting are twofold: 1) to review the adequacy of Pastor Grant’s terms of call and act on Session’s recommendation regarding his 2024 salary; 2) to act on the report of the Nominating Committee regarding the election of deacons and elders to begin serving three-year terms in 2024.
Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, and our only worship service that weekend is the 6 p.m. Christmas Eve service. No morning service will be held Sunday, Dec. 24.
The 47th annual Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 8 Fifth St. SW in Waukon. Local clergy, including Pastor Grant, will read the lessons, and carols will be sung by the congregation with organ accompaniment. Choral music also is part of the program, which is under the direction of James Bieber and assisted by his daughter, Sarah Bieber. The public is invited to attend this joyous community celebration of Christmas! For your home viewing and listening pleasure, the service will be live-streamed on Facebook and can be heard on KNEI 103.5 FM. Tune in to KNEI on Christmas Eve at noon for a replay of the concert.