Sunday, December 24 Fourth Sunday of Advent
- 9:30am CCMC Hybrid Worship (contact Anne for details on how to join Zoom)
- 5:00pm Christmas Eve Service, at Linda’s home, 1214 Prairie Orchid Rd, Grayslake, IL.
- This service will celebrate the birth of Jesus and will be followed by a potluck meal together for those who can stay! All are welcome.
Thursday, December 28
- 7:00pm NO Bible Study
- Bible Study resumes on January 4
Sunday, December 31
- 9:30am Please note the change: NSMC Hybrid Worship at the Civic Center (contact Anne for details on how to join Zoom)
Last Tuesday, a cold and windy Chicago day, 60 Mennonites from the greater Chicago area gathered in the Federal Building to act for peace in support of a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Karen Nolte and I took the train from Mundelein, Paul and Suzanne Ford took the train in from Roselle, and Shelly and Kenton joined us downtown. We began in a small nearby park where the leaders went through the plan to sing, hear testimony, pray and sing again while holding our banners and signs. We planned to visit the offices of our Illinois senators, Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durban and submit letters to their staff while we witnessed to our commitments to peace with statements, litanies and our ceasefire Christmas carols. While we warmed up in the foyer of the building–a public space–we learned that security would allow only those with appointments to visit the offices. So, we sang, prayed and heard statements in that foyer–the acoustics were wonderful–and moved outside to go through our whole program.
Passers-by stopped to read, listen, or take photos of all the banners. Cars honked–either in support or challenge–and folks gathered in the windows of the downtown courthouse building across the street. Unexpectedly, one person who stopped identified herself as a staffer for Tammy Duckworth and shared that she and the other staffers are urging Senator Duckworth to sign Cory Bush’s resolution that supports a permanent ceasefire.
Groups like ours all over the country came together through a well-organized Mennonite Action initiative in both the US and Canada. Below is a link to a video of the many groups singing across North America. Most are Mennonite but in some locations, other faith groups joined with enthusiasm. “Pray for Peace; Act for Peace” was lived out by almost 2000 people around the country.
The next two actions in the works are to gather 5,000 signatures on a petition for a permanent ceasefire and dialogue for a lasting peace AND an in-person action on January 16, 2024 in Washington, D.C. Ahead of that day will be a full day training for those who wish to participate in the action as well as a day of prayer and peace advocacy for those in D.C. and those at home around the country.
The following was written by Susan Mark Landis, former peace minister of MC USA and longtime peace activist, to the Mennonite Action leaders:
“You many well-prepared, tech savvy and thoughtful young people have brought tears to my eyes as you have created and led a movement for Ceasefire in Gaza. You’ve been professional and amazingly thoughtful. You’ve written easy to use, comprehensive resources and supported us as has never been possible before. I think some of the materials have stated that we do this work not because we expect to change the course of events, but because our faith leaves us no other choice. We don’t base our hope on the numbers of people who come to our events, on changing a legislator’s mind, on “success.” No matter what happens over the next weeks and months, consider spending time seeking your center, your place of hope, your inner grit that will keep you willing to continue the witness to your faith, your conviction that peace and justice will better serve the world’s people even if you don’t see the results.
Blessings from one who also witnessed and continues the journey.”
Mennonite Church USA’s The Corinthian Plan is open for enrollment on Nov.1 through Dec. 31, 2023, for a Jan. 1, 2024 start date. The Corinthian Plan is a self-funded, health care plan for pastors and church workers, sponsored and owned by Mennonite Church USA. Read more here: mennoniteusa.org/news/open-tcp24
Mennonite Church USA has relaunched Equipping, a quarterly, resource e-newsletter for pastors and leaders across MC USA. Read the Fall 2023 issue here: mennoniteusa.org/equipping-archive-11-2024 View the PDF here: mennoniteusa.org/pdf/equipping-subscribe
Jon Carlson, moderator for Mennonite Church USA, reflects on how Mennonite Church USA is better together and how our collective participation in the church shapes us and reflects who we are as a body. Read his reflections here: mennoniteusa.org/where-mc-usa-going
–from Creation Justice Ministries 52 Ways to Care for Creation
Write a Prayer for Creation
Write a prayer of gratitude, protection, or lament for creation. This could be a prayer about environmental injustice or climate change. It could be a gratitude prayer for a specific tree. It may help to write in an outdoor setting. Be creative.
–from Creation Justice Tips | United Methodist Church
Read the Labels
Buying clothes for Christmas gifts, read the labels. Avoid fossil-fuel-based synthetics (polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex, lycra). When washed, the synthetics release microplastics that enter the water systems and then the food chain, harming marine life and ultimately humans. Choose items made of natural fibers (organic cotton, linen, wool, silk, hemp, bamboo), recycled fibers, or sustainable plant-based Tencel.
A Gift of Investment
If giving money is your default, consider purchasing stock on the recipients’ behalf in renewable energy, for example (possibly solar or wind). Add a note that you are investing with hope for their future that they live securely in a sustainable world. Throughout the year, as the stock reports come, the two of you will have opportunity to talk about what you value both in terms of money management and care for the Earth.
–from the Sierra Club
100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet
- Dispose of unused prescription drugs properly – Don’t flush them down the toilet or toss them out with food waste.