Can you believe that Advent is here? In just a few short weeks you are invited to join us for one of our annual Christmas Eve services of celebration. Christmas Eve this year happens on a Sunday, and as such our schedule will be a little different than most years. We will have no regular Sunday morning worship on December 24.
This year we will offer at 11am a time of Traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship. At 3pm and 5pm we will have our Family services led by our AMAZING children’s leaders (designed as a shorter 30-40 minute time of interactive worship). Our Warehouse 839 Band will lead us in worship at 7pm in the Warehouse 839 worship space. Then finally at 11pm, we will host another Traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship as we bring in Christmas morning.
In our Great Story series, we have spent all year exploring the story of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Matthew. The season of Advent and particularly Christmas Eve worship allow us extended time to focus in on the start of that story. God became incarnate, taking on flesh, born as a baby in that little town of Bethlehem. Our journey through Advent started early this year, allowing an extra couple of weeks to move slowly through this season.
This Sunday, December 10, we will devote the entire service to the telling of this story through glorious music. Our choir and handbell choir will lead us at 9am; our music staff will lead us at 10:30am; and our band will lead us at 11:15am.
Special Christmas Offerings
One way we demonstrate the love of Christ in the Christmas season is through our special Christmas offerings. This special time of giving allows us to extend the generosity of HUMC far beyond our walls.
After a time of prayer and discernment on the part of your pastors, we would like to direct our gifts to three specific areas of ministry that will support various missions both here in Hilliard and around the world.
First, we want to extend support locally to our Feeding Hilliard Students ministry. Each week of the school year, HUMC partners with Hilliard Kiwanis to provide food for students experiencing food insecurity across the Hilliard City School District. On average we supply 350 students with a food pack every week, at an approximate cost of $3.50 per bag. Your gifts will help us to get food in the hands of food insecure children right here in our community.
Second, we will direct some support to our Apportioned Giving. As a United Methodist Church, we are called to join with other United Methodist churches around the world to put our resources together for impact well beyond the local church. Also referred to as Connectional Giving, apportionments help Hilliard UMC extend our mission alongside people and congregations around the United Methodist connection. Together we demonstrate our connectedness to God and the Body of Christ. These gifts support missions in Ohio, the Midwest, the nation, and around the world.
Finally, we want to direct support to the many communities that have been devastated by war and violence by giving to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR responds to local communities around the world overwhelmed by war, earthquakes, fires, floods, civil unrest, or any other emergency need. Your giving will go specifically to their international disaster relief fund, which will provide crucial aid to refugees displaced by ongoing fighting and war. Every dollar given to UMCOR goes directly to support the needs and not toward administrative costs.
The practice of our Christmas offering has been to evenly split the gifts between each ministry unless you note otherwise.
The Spirit in which we Give
We encourage you to pray and ask God to guide your heart in this Christmas season. The most important thing is not the amount of the gift but the spirit in which we give. May we give with joyful and generous hearts, as we know that in the name of Jesus, these gifts will make a tangible difference in the lives of others in our community and around the world.
Have a blessed Advent season! We look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus with you this Christmas.