First Presbyterian Church
Rev. Tim Snart
P.O. Box126, 2431 First St.
Coal Valley, IL 61240
We just finished our annual harvest dinner where we tried to focus on the wonder of God’s blessing among us and how important it is for us to be thankful to God. Now we are preparing to turn the corner toward the busy season of Christmas. That word “busy” is the word that often clouds the way we journey faithfully through this meaningful time of the year. The challenge for us in the next six weeks or so is to be very intentional about the reasons why we do what we do in recognition of Advent and Christmas. Often when we participate in all of the activities and traditions of Christmas, we do the things we do because that is what we always do. And the thing is, many of the traditions of Christmas have very deep roots in the Biblical story of Christmas. But, because they are passed down through the years, and the generations, and because of changes in our society and culture, the meaning of many of our traditions gets changed. Our traditions become commercialized, and a little misunderstood, and pretty soon our celebrations lose their true meaning. The Biblical good tidings of great joy for all people, and the peace on earth and goodwill toward men that was intended for all people turn into a busy regiment of people pleasing and frustrating demands on our time. This year, I want to challenge every one of us to live every day of the Advent season doing our very best to keep the Biblical basis for all of our traditions at the center of what we do. If we buy a Christmas gift, let us make sure that that gift is intended to be an expression of God’s love celebrating the birth of our Savior. When we put up lights and decorations we must make an intentional effort to think about why we put them up; to remind us of the good tidings of great joy which is for all people.
It is very important to set time aside to share the good tidings of great joy with our family and our church family. It is so important that we pack shoe boxes with love and prayers, allowing God’s love to shine through our hearts and into the lives of another child of God perhaps half way around the world. In a very similar way, all of the steps of our Christmas basket ministry must be a corporate act of giving inspired by the gift of love given by God when he gave his only son in the form of a baby in manger in little Bethlehem.
It is also important to set priorities in the allotment of our time and resources to make sure that the Biblical narrative of the Christmas season is what informs our faith journeys through this season. Let us embrace this season excited with wild anticipation of “Good Tidings of Great Joy. “ For unto us is born this day in the city of David a savior who is Christ the Lord”. This is the biblical basis for our Christmas celebration and our life. So let us not allow “busy” to take away from us the meaning of the angel’s message of good tidings and peace for all people.
Pastor Tim Snart
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
November - December 2016
November 6: Larry Manecke, Michele Kahley, Scott McWhinney, Dale Baraks, Mariann McWhinney
December 4. Carole Bridgford, Carol Jean Duytschaever, Kay Janecek, Connie Moore, Lisa DeBaillie.
November 6: Tim and Stacey DeVooght
November 13: Kerry Tucker
November 20: Rick and Shelly Liedtke
November 27: Dale and Kelly Harmon
December 4: Randy and Heather Crouch
December 11: Mike and Sharon Evans
December 18: Jerry and Barb Miller
December 25: Carol McCall
November 27: Heather & Josh Harris and Donna & Dave Jenkins
December 18: Roy & Jan Gustafson, Kay & Larry Manecke, Clare & Scott Manecke, Sarah & Brian Manecke
Hope Circle will meet on Tuesday December 13th atMiss Mamies at 11:15 a.m. for their Christmas lunch.
Afternoon circlewill meet on Tuesday December 13th at 1:00 p.m. at the home of Sharon Evans and Carole Bridgford will give the lesson.
There will be no Presbyterian Lunch in either November or December.
Younkers Coupon Books
A very special thank you to all of those who helped with the sale of Younkers coupon books. We want to especially thank Trish and Frank Dudek for putting in many hours to help make this project be so successful. Thanks to all of your help $2,176.00 was raised to further God’s mission work within our Church.. Thanks again to Trish and Frank Dudek and all the others who sold and bought coupon books.
Again we have collected a great wall of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. There are children who receive the shoebox and that is the only gift they receive for Christmas. If we allow God to flow through our hearts in prayer as we pack and send off these shoeboxes, then these children will know that we care about them and that God cares about them. We have filled them with love and are praying for each and every one. God will wrap His loving arms around these children and will change their lives through this simple act of kindness. Thank you for all who participated in this caring mission.
We are filling our Mission Christmas Stockings again this year. When you have spare change during the Christmas season, please put it in the stocking (you can pick up your stocking at the back of the sanctuary). When the stocking is full, please bring it back to church and put it in the big red boot that will be at the back of the church. The Mission Committee uses these funds throughout the year to provide help for families in need. Thank you for helping share God’s love this way! Thank you Carrol Rugh for making all the beautiful hand-made stockings.
On Sunday, December 11th, we will meet at the church at 2:00 for an afternoon of caroling for those in our congregation who are shut in. Come one, come all! This is an opportunity for all to sing Christmas Carols! Please come as we will make a joyful noise to the Lord together!
During the Advent Season there will be a mitten tree in the coat rack area for your adornment of mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves. Please bring any of these and place them on the Mitten tree. These items will be distributed to Coal Valley kids to help keep them a little warmer this winter. Won’t you consider wrapping God’s love around them with mittens and hats!
Starting on November 27th, the youth and children of our church will be busy preparing for this year’s Christmas Program.
We will have our traditional Christmas program during the regular worship service on December 18th, and there will be a fellowship to follow. I hope that you will all plan on being present to support the children and to hear the Christmas Story in a unique and interesting way.
If you have children or grandchildren who you would like to be involved in the Christmas program, please have them at church to practice during the Sunday school hour starting on November 27th.
I hope that your Christmas brings a warm and blessed encounter with the love of our Savior.
Christmas Eve Service
We will celebrate this holy season with our evening Christmas Eve worship service on December 24th at 8:00 p.m. where we will have our special candlelight service. Please take time out of your festivities to come and worship our Lord.
The Coal Valley Food Pantry and the Coal Valley Lions Club are teaming up to prepare Christmas baskets for those in our community who are not as fortunate as many of us. Here are some ways you can help make someone’s Christmas a little brighter:
*You can contribute toward the cost of items needed for the Christmas baskets.
*You can bring canned goods or other non perishable food items to the church by December 4th.
*You can help wrap presents on December 14th at 1:00 p.m.
*You can help pack the food baskets on December 16th at 9:00 a.m.
*You can help hand out baskets on December 17th starting at 7:00 a.m.
*You can put the ministry of the Christmas baskets on your prayer list.
On Sunday, November 13th we had our traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was a wonderful blessing to come together in fellowship to thank God for his many blessings. The fellowship of preparation and clean-up is always such a wonderful time to share together. The food was just delicious! Thank you to all who brought and shared your desserts and dishes. Thank you to the many helping hands that made our dinner so special.
Take a look, our Church is beautiful again! The siding project is complete thanks to Dave Jenkins and his crew (and family). Due to the generosity of our members, there were plenty of funds available to finish the job and that even includes, as an extra bonus, the new railings leading into the office entry of the church. There is also enough siding left over to side our storage shed so that everything matches
perfectly. Thank you to all who gave so generously to this important maintenance project.
The men in our congregation have been gathering once a month for a lunch fellowship at Joe’s Place in Coal Valley. All of the men in the congregation are invited to attend. This will be an opportunity for all of us to get to know each other a little better and share in fellowship. The plan is to meet on the second Wednesday of every month. We hope you will feel free to join in this time of fellowship.
Trunk or Treat
On October 25th, thanks to Blackhawk Bank, the community gathered for the first annual Trunk or Treat. There were about 25 businesses and churches that participated in this effort to provide a safe and fun activity for all of the children in our community. There were about 500 children who filed through the park and they were dressed up in all kinds of fun and crazy costumes. Many of the youth and children of our Church joined in the fun and helped pass out candy. Thanks to all who helped with this fun event. See you all next Halloween.
Agnes’s Awesome Pretzel Salad
2 1/2 cups crushed pretzels (reserve a few for the top)
¾ cup melted butter or margarine
3 Tbsp. sugar
Mix and press into 9 X 13 greased pan
Bake @350 degrees for 10 minutes
8oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
9 oz. cool whip
Mix cream cheese & sugar
Fold in cool whip and spread on cooled crust.
6 oz. pkg. of strawberry Jello
2 ½ cups boiling water
2 – 10 oz. pkgs. frozen strawberries
Combine Jello & water. Add frozen strawberries, when mixture starts to gel, pour on top of cream cheese mixture and chill. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture over top.