chURch News: Advent Food Drive, Silence, Christmas Eve

By | December 11, 2015

Advent Mission Project: Food Drive w/ the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry

Now through December 20

“If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness and your darkness shall be like the noonday sun.” – Isaiah 58:10
It’s always good to be generous, but Christians have historically used the season of Advent as a season for focused and intensified generosity. We’re putting this into practice at Upper Room during Advent through our partnership with the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry.  Now through Sunday, December 20, you can bring non-perishables to 5828 Forward. The collection box is located at the bottom of the ramp as you enter the sanctuary.  The Pantry is especially in need of:
  • canned tuna
  • canned fruit
  • peanut butter
  • 100% fruit juice
  • cold cereal
  • canned veggies
  • diapers
  • baby wipes
  • laundry detergent
  • toilet paper
  • soaps
  • feminine hygiene products
Next time you’re in the grocery story, be sure to pick up one or more of the items on this list and bring it to worship with you on Sunday!

Meeting God in Silence: Advent Sunday School Series

Sunday mornings @ 9:30am, November 29-December 20

“There is very great virtue in the cultivation of silence, and strength to be found in using it as a door to God.”
- Howard Thurman
Praying and meditating in silence is an ancient Christian practice. It enriches our prayer life by making us more attentive to the voice of God. If silence is a new spiritual practice for you, though, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable. The real spiritual rewards of keeping silence only come with practice.  Because the season of Advent invites us to quiet contemplation, we’re going to explore and practice silence together for our Sunday School time.  Our guide will be Howard Thurman. Thurman was an influential African American theologian and preacher. He served as a spiritual advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., was the first ever black dean at a white university, and cofounded & co-pastored the first ever racially integrated church in the United States.  The multi-ethnic church Thurman co-pastored had a 30 minute time of silence every Sunday before worship. For those quiet times, Thurman wrote short devotional pieces that he called “working papers” that guided his congregation through their time of silence. Those working papers were later compiled into a book called, “Meditations of the Heart.” The book is now considered a spiritual classic.  In each of our four classes, we’ll spend 30 minutes in silence, using one of Thurman’s “working papers” as our guide. We’ll then spend some time debriefing our experience.  Be sure to join us this Sunday at 9:30am!

Longest Night: Advent Service of Wholeness and Healing

Tuesday, December 22 @ 7pm

Though Christmas is a joyous time of year, it also brings an undercurrent of sadness for those of us dealing with grief, loss, loneliness, and other difficult places. Attending to these places of our life is critical, but can be challenging when every message around us says to party and celebrate. Every year, around Christmas, we gather to sit together in authenticity and in seeking hope and peace. This year, we’ll gather on 12/22, the longest night of the year, when darkness feels most prevalent. This special service of prayer will be an opportunity for us to lay our brokenness before God, seeking the healing and wholeness that is promised to us in Christ. Whether you feel a need to come laying your brokenness before God, or feel a calling to pray with and for others, we hope you’ll join us for this holy gathering.

Christmas Eve Worship: Service of 9 Lessons and Carols

Thursday, December 24 @ 6pm

This year on Christmas Eve, we’ll have a special worship service based on the King’s College Nine Lessons and Carols Service. The liturgy of this service includes Scripture and music that moves us from God’s promise in Genesis 3 that the “woman’s seed” will crush the head of the serpent, to the messianic prophecies of Isaiah, to the story of Christmas in Luke and Matthew, and finally the unfolding of the mystery of the incarnation in John 1. Our liturgy will move us on from the mystery of the incarnation to the mystery of the Eucharist, and will include visual engagement with an icon of the Nativity. We know that many of you leave town for Christmas, but if you are here, we hope you’ll join us in praising God for the gift of His Son, and sitting in awe at the mystery of God becoming flesh.