O God, by the leading of a star your revealed your Word, Jesus Christ, to the gentiles;
grant that your church may be a light to the nations,
so that the whole world may come to see the splendor of your glory;
in your many holy names we pray. Amen.
We still find ourselves in the Twelve Days of Christmas, the period between Christmas and Epiphany in which we mark not only the birth of Christ but the awareness that this singular event would impact history in life-altering and history-making ways. We marked Christmas Eve by lighting candles together on Zoom. We gathered in the light of Christmas morning with Pastor Liz from the Congregational Church of Belmont. We kindled the Kwanzaa candles on Sunday led by Dr. Cindy Acker. We are invited to join with City of Refuge UCC via Facebook Live on New Year’s Eve for Watch Night. And this Sunday Rev. Elisabeth will unlayer the final event of our Christmas cycle: the Epiphany or manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as it is called in Eastern Christianity as recorded in Matthew 2.
Christmas is still unfolding all around us as I said in my sermon last Sunday (https://youtu.be/Ws7IaZWk97c). And neither is 2020 finished, although we are almost there. I want to thank you for your faithful attendance, participation, prayer, and financial support for Island United Church during this unusual year. It is a tribute to the members and to the leaders that we finish this calendar year in as strong a financial position as we are able to do. Because of the thoughtful stewardship exercised by the Church Council/Board of Directors in an unprecedented situation, we were able to re-open our down-sized All Are Friends Montessori preschool in ways that preserved the health and safety of children and staff. We were fortunate to have the guidance of a school consultant with certification in contagious disease management in addition to school management, as well as a staff that were willing to re-invent in some challenging ways.
Thank you to everyone who have been willing to take the long view as we navigate these uncharted waters for both church and school. A recent grant from San Mateo County offset the tuition loss caused by reduced enrollment for the fall term. The church passed a budget that maintained our investment in this project for at least this year even prior to this award because we recognize the value of the education and because we are committed to long-term strategizing and not short-term reaction. All of which is to say Thank You for hanging in. We have also been generous to others – to our UCC Benevolence funds, to LIfeMoves (lifemoves.org), and to several charities or causes that we have supported through Love Offerings. At Christmas time alone we gave almost $500 in gift cards to them!
And – this is a request for a year-end gift if you are able to help us end in an even stronger position. You can make an online gift in the next few days that is clearly marked Year End, and you will receive the tax benefit, or mail a check dated no later than December 31, and mail it or drop it off within the next week to receive the same benefit. Please invest in the church now so that that is a period that when we look back on it will be one in which we can say we did more than tread water. We moved forward to become something even greater than we had been before. 2021 is going to be a great year together, rich in Spirit.
Rev. Jim Mitulski
Are you a Member of Island United Church? Have you been baptized or would like to renew your baptism? Contact Rev. Jim at [email protected] because we are doing this on Sunday, January 10.