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VOTE on Saturday, November 10:The U.S. Senate is not complete until Louisiana votes in December.  Other run-offs  throughout the region and state occur on this day when turn-out is expected to be low compared to November 8.

I'll be at the polls.

 Clergy coverage, yes.A minister will be on-call throughout the holiday season for the remainder of the year. Nathan and I look forward to seeing you on Christmas Eve.

I'll be on hand on Christmas Day in my red sweater. Remember there is only one service that morning, 10:30 am, with a potluck brunch following the service.

 Your end-of-year church check list:

PIs your pledge in for 2017? mail, email, or go on-line.

PHave you made arrangements for paying the remainder of your Great Expectations financial gift? We do not want to delay the sanctuary renovation project.

PGreen-for-Green awaits $60K to complete landscaping in several areas designated for greenscape on our parking lot project. What a fine end-of-the-year gift you could make.

PHave you updated your will and included your church?

PConsider prudent tax-planning.  Charitable gifts in year 2016 could be more valuable as a deduction now than in the 2017 tax year. Consider pre-paying pledges.

PTransfer appreciated securities. Be smart. Save the capital gains tax by doing a direct-transfer to our church’s brokerage account, Scottrade. Call church office for details.

P Postmarked or delivered gifts by 12/31/16 count for a 2016 deduction.

 Awesome is the cliché word of the moment.  But there are no precise words to describe the mystery of the season at our church.  Parking lot light fixtures are going up, a tree awaits inside, candles await, and musicians are tuning their instruments and voices.  No one needs to be alone for the holidays. We are open for you and friends. Hospitality awaits. Words do not describe.

 Democracy requires vigilance  Our church, it is said, is needed now more than ever.  I disagree, kind of. The problems facing our community and nation now after the national election were present long before the election.  While on a trip to Chicago for a family reunion recently, I saw a signboard for a Sunday sermon.  Yes, we may need the church more now than before, but the world often require more of us.

  Holiday Reflection

 Not for kids only, this season,

Mystery and OMG touch each one of us.

Is one holy babe the whole reason?

That is not all, no, that is not all.

 Gifts fall on us, all the time, yes, all the time;

If we open up and hold arms outstretched.

Giving and receiving is a dance with refrain,

But that is not all, that is not all.

 Grace may arrive in this season,

And drop in on Cratchit or Scrooge.

It's sentiment, bah humbug, and kid's stuff,

And that is all; until it happens to you.      (s.j. crump)