This Week

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Unabashed Joy: Make the Blessings Known

We continue our worship series inspired 300th anniversary of the hymn, “Joy to the World.” Sometimes it is difficult to see joy when so much in the world feels out of sync with joyful expression. As we have been proclaiming, and will continue to come into focus today, joy does not depend on everything being right with the world. Indeed, Mary’s world felt completely upside down having found out she was pregnant before her marriage. It was dangerous, even. But this does not stop her from unabashedly singing out, with all of heaven and nature, that the child about to be born would turn the world “right side out.”

Due to the cancellation of the December 1 service, we will be celebrating communion this Sunday.

Please check to make sure you use Pastor Leslie’s current email address: The old email address is no longer accessible and you won’t receive an error message if you send an email to it.
Pastor Leslie wants to get your messages!
Pastor Leslie’s sermons are posted online so you can read and share them! Click Here:
Liturgist Schedule

Sunday, December 15
Joe Stattine
Sunday, December 22
Ellie Burkett

If you are interested in bring a liturgist, please contact Barb Stokke or sign up online here.

Annual Budget Meeting THIS SUNDAY December 15
After worship on Sunday December 15, the church council will present its recommendation for the 2020 budget.
All voting members are encouraged to attend.
This Week
Friday, December 13
10:30 – Book Group
Sunday, December 15
10:00 am – Worship
11:00 am – Annual Budget Meeting
11:15 am – Sunday School Christmas Make and Take
Wednesday, December 18
9:30 am – Prayer Circle
12:00 pm – Men’s Group @ Sawmill Inn
7:00 pm – Council Meeting
Thursday, December 19
3:00 pm – Meal prep with Youth from the Shop
Friday, December 20
10:30 am – Book Group
6:00 pm – Blue Christmas Service
Sunday, December 15
Hosts: Claire Steen & Barb Stokke
Ushers: Marina Grabowski & Deb Griffith
Greeters: Kathy Ogden & Cheri Maxwell
Counters: Mabel Schultz & Tracy Lyons

Sunday, December 22
Hosts: Sharon Carlson & Karen Ogdahl
Ushers: Ellie Burkett & Karen Ogdahl
Greeters: Joey Halvorson & Ann Turnbull
Counters: Gale Landem & Cynthia Janes

Last Day to Sponsor Christmas Flowers – December 15
Each year we have an opportunity to sponsor to purchase of flowers for Christmas in honor or in memory of loved ones. The names are listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin and the flowers can be taken home after the Christmas Eve service if you wish.
To sponsor a flower, please send an email or call the church office at 218-829-2528. The amount of the donation is up to you. Checks should be made out to First Congregational with the words “Christmas Flowers” in the memo line.

Our Administrative Assistant of 4-1/2 years, Bobbie Gorron accepted a full time job (a wonderful opportunity for her!) and is transitioning out of her responsibilities with the church. That means we need a new Administrative Assistant. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!

The position is part time (20-25 hours per week) and the schedule and be tailored somewhat to accommodate the employee’s availability.. The full job description is available here. Interested applicants should submit a resume to the church email address:

Sometimes Christmas is not so merry. If this is true for you this year, or if you are feeling a mixture of merry and blue, please join Pastor Leslie for a “Blue Christmas” service on Friday December 20 at 6:00pm. This will be a peace-filled, gentle, and safe time of prayer, ritual, music, and reflection. While the service will acknowledge the pain and grief of those gathered, we will ultimately depart in hope. Not the shiny, fake hope of wrapping paper and ribbon, but the sustaining hope of our ever-present, ever-faithful God whose incarnation we await in birth of Christ.
All are welcome!
Celebrate Christmas Eve with us!

Join us at 4:00 PM on December 24 for a festive and joy-filled service including candlelight and singing some of our favoriite Christmas hymns.

A message from your Stewardship Committee:
Thank you to everyone who made a financial commitment to the church by turning in your pledge forms! Your commitment to give provided important guidance to the church council in creating the budget for 2020.
It’s not too late to make your commitment! If you have not turned in a pledge form and would like to, extra forms are available in the narthex and can be turned in to the church office or placed in with the offering basket during worship.
Young Adult Winter Retreat
Friday, January 3 at 4:30 p.m.  – Sunday January 5 at 11:00 a.m.
Camp Onomia in Onamia, MN
$75 – registration & lodging (scholarships are available)

The Young Adult Winter Retreat (post high school to age 25) is the start of a new initiative of the Outdoor Ministry- MN Conference UCC, which seeks to offer spiritual and personal growth and leadership opportunities. This retreat will include community building, spiritual reflection, and discussion involving future opportunities for young adult leadership development and spiritual exploration. Join us at Camp Onomia, January 3-5,  for a chance to help lead the MN Conference into new possibilities as a part of the UCC.

Cost is $75. Generous scholarship funding is available from the Ashley Endowment of the Minnesota Conference UCC.  You will be able to select a full or partial scholarship on the registration page.  Please contact Abigail via email if you need more information.

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415 Juniper Street
Brainerd, MN 56401