Author: Amanda Tufts

Christmas Services 2022

This Year’s Christmas Services

Dear PCM Family,

With Christmas almost upon us, I want to take this opportunity to tell you about this year’s worship schedule. Because December 25 falls on a Sunday, we’re making some changes to our usual worship times:

December 24 | 4:00 pm | The Sanctuary

This family-friendly service will feature our annual Christmas Pageant. All young children are invited to participate – even visiting grandchildren, friends, and neighbors! We have costumes for all: donkeys, sheep, angels, shepherds, and more! RSVPs are appreciated so we have an idea of how many will be coming. Contact Alexandra Mead to sign up. Please arrive by 3:40 pm so we can get everyone into their costumes!

December 24 | 8:00 pm | The Sanctuary

Experience the glorious beauty of our Christmas Eve candlelight service… and invite others to join, as well! Featuring the Chancel Choir and Ringers on the Green, the Nativity story will be shared in story and song as we celebrate the light of Christ coming into the world once again. Want to help provide the warmest welcome possible for all the guests who will visit us for the first time? Contact Betty Darcy to serve as a greeter or usher. We’ll have a welcome team orientation after worship on December 18.

December 25 | 10:00 am | The Parish House

Merry Christmas to one and all as we celebrate a fun and fantastic Christmas Day like you’ve never experienced before… pajamas optional! We’ll sing some favorite carols, tell the story of Jesus’ birth, and enjoy a hot cocoa bar while we feast on a delicious brunch. If you’d like to take part as a reader during the service or as a helper in the kitchen, please contact Daniel Vigilante. The more, the merrier!

One more thing: I hope you take note of all of the ways you can give back through PCM during this holiday season. You can read more details here. Thank you for your donations!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll invite others to join us at one of our upcoming services. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Yours, in Christ,
Daniel

Christmas Joy Offering 2022

Christmas Joy Offering helps Menaul Students to Overcome Walls

Samual Polanco is no stranger to the power of walls.

Samual, a 2022 graduate of the Menaul School — a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related, grades 6–12 college preparatory school in Albuquerque, New Mexico — has known and seen walls, both literal and figurative, that separated him and others throughout his life. Now, he credits his experience at Menaul as being instrumental in breaking down life’s many barriers.

His education at Menaul was made possible, in part, by gifts to the PC(USA)’s Christmas Joy Offering, which helps provide scholarships to students. A Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s, the annual offering distributes gifts equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. Menaul’s student body is currently represented by 21 different countries.

“When I first came to Menaul, I was able to explore the ideas I wanted to explore, learn what I wanted to learn and just be myself. And that’s what Menaul has done for all of us. We can just be ourselves here,” Samual said.

Donate by Choosing the “Give to Christmas Joy” Offering

Home Away from Home

The Third Sunday of Advent – Patrick Allred

Reading: Luke 1:47-55

How many times have your holiday plans been interrupted by unexpected travel delays? Maybe it is a canceled flight due to severe weather, a family member getting sick, or some other unforeseen circumstance. More than likely, we have had to make that phone call because plans have changed. Hannah and I are from Texas and Oklahoma, so we’ve had to make those calls frequently since moving to New Jersey in 2017. These unforeseen circumstances take us away from our “home away from home.” It’s that place so familiar that even though it may not be our place of residence, we feel comfortable just reaching into a cabinet for a coffee mug and have no problem putting our feet up on the ottoman in the living room. That place might be with a family member, a friend, or that place you go to get away.

Mary’s plans have changed dramatically in Luke 1, but it’s not about travel plans. The entire scope of her life has changed with just one visit from the angel Gabriel. “And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.” This visit from the angel of the Lord causes Mary to make travel plans. Mary learns that Elizabeth, her relative, is also expecting a child and immediately visits her “with haste.” Luke tells us that Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit once she greets Mary, her relative and fellow expecting mother. During her visit, Luke tells us that Mary spoke the words that we see as “Mary’s song of praise” in Luke 1:47-55. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary’s visit with Elizabeth fills her with joy and calms her nerves about becoming the mother of the Son of God. Luke then tells us that she stays with Elizabeth for an additional three months. This became her home away from home.

May we all travel “with haste” this Advent to those people and places, our “home away from home,” that fill us with the Spirit of God. Let us always run to those people and places, even beyond Advent, when we’re feeling anxious, nervous, or just need a cup of coffee from a familiar cupboard that isn’t our own.

Activity

Enjoy your “home away from home” this week! If it’s a friend or family member that lives far away, make some time to catch up on Zoom or FaceTime. If you don’t have the time to go to your true “home away from home,” try going to that new restaurant or coffee shop that you’ve wanted to try. In any case, spend time with that person or place that makes your spirit rejoice in God.

Midweek Reading and Prayer

Psalm 146:5-10

Creator God, we pray that our soul magnifies and our spirit rejoices in you this day. Let us always run to the people and places where we see you and feel your presence. God, you are in all and with all. Give us the eyes to see and ears to hear you in our lives. Let us be open and present of the ways that you are using us to share your grace and mercy with others. Amen.

Table of Hope Volunteer Opportunity: Help Feed the Hungry

Table of Hope Volunteer Opportunity: Help Feed the Hungry

Make an Impact This Season!

The Table of Hope Outdoor Food Pantry relies on volunteers like you to help provide food to those facing hunger.

In just one volunteer shift of two hours, you can help with feeding hundreds of people within our community by sorting food, filling bins with groceries and loading groceries into cars.

Join other PCM members for a rewarding experience at the Table of Hope Food Pantry located at Bethel Church in Morristown on December 8 from 12:15 to 2:15 pm. No experience is needed! Just those willing to serve and have some fun!

To sign up, email Karen Griffith at 

Join our team of PCM volunteers to help feed our neighbors in need!

Advent: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Home Is Where the Heart Is

The Second Sunday of Advent – Matthew Webb

Reading: Matthew 3:1-12

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord” is a text that I knew from the Scriptures as a child growing up in the Baptist tradition. My dad always told this joke: “Did you know that Jesus was a Baptist?” Inevitably, someone would ask, “How do you know that?” My dad would quickly reply with the most straightforward of logical arguments: “Well, John the Baptist was a Baptist, clearly, and John baptized Jesus, so obviously Jesus was a Baptist!” As an adult I hear “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” and instantly think of the opening of Stephen Schwartz’s musical Godspell with the awkward trumpet fanfare that is supposed to sound like a shofar.

The opening passage of Matthew 3 describes what many refer to as the official start of Jesus’ earthly ministry. John the Baptist’s zeal for Jesus and the justice that he would bring is in juxtaposition with the first adult appearance of Jesus in the account of his baptism. John called the religious leaders who sought to be baptized a “brood of vipers,” whereas Jesus came onto the scene, a seeming nobody to the religious leaders, humbly asking for baptism from John. At this time, the voice of the Spirit of God, as in the likeness of a dove said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Sometimes when we are passionate about things, like John was, we tend to think that we are so right that we need to call out everyone who doesn’t understand and appreciate our zeal. Jesus showed us, however, the way of humility and peace – knowing that he in fact was God, but seeking to lead by example, asking to be baptized by John, his wild and wooly, outspoken cousin. As we celebrate the second Sunday of Advent and expectantly wait for the coming Christ child, let us remember to prepare the way, not with trumpets and shouting and judgment, but in the still, small places of our hearts, living lives that reflect the justice, truth, and peace that came from the example of our incarnate Christ.

Activity

Choose your favorite Christmas movie and ask a friend or family member to choose their favorite. Make some time to get together to watch them both, enjoy each other’s company, and maybe find a new favorite movie!

Midweek Reading and Prayer

Isaiah 11:1-10

Lord Jesus, who came to model for us a better, more just, more perfect way of living, show us how we can be your hands and feet to those in our congregation and in our community. Let us walk the way of peace, always seeking to create systems of equity and acceptance. May our church be a place where all people can find welcome and belonging. In the name of our Creator, our Savior, and the Spirit who offers us her guidance daily, Amen.

Christmas Remembrances

Christmas Remembrances

Every year, from Advent to New Year’s Day, we decorate the Chancel with poinsettias purchased from memorial donations designated for loved ones. If you wish to make a donation for memorial poinsettias, please fill out the form below no later than December 19.

If you would like to pay by check, please mail to:

Presbyterian Church in Morristown
65 South Street
Morristown, NJ 07960

Make checks payable to: Presbyterian Church in Morristown
Memo: Christmas Remembrances 2022

Advent: Las Posadas: Is There Room in Your Home?

Las Posadas: Is There Room in Your Home?

The First Sunday of Advent – Daniel Vigilante

Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

Growing up in New Jersey, I had never heard of the Mexican Christmas tradition called Las Posadas, which means in Spanish, “The Inns,” and represents the inn from the Nativity story. It wasn’t until my first call out of seminary – to a congregation in Southern California – that I learned about Las Posadas.

Each night, for the nine nights leading up to Christmas Eve (representing the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy), townsfolk in villages across Mexico re-enact the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. A procession of people, led by an “angel” holding a candle and children carrying poinsettias, knocks on the doors of homes, asking if there is room inside for the Christ-child to be born. Each night, there’s music, food, prayers, piñatas, and even fireworks. I’ve come to love this special way of celebrating the days leading up to Christmas – and the way it draws us into that question – is there room in your home for the Christ-child to be born?

Long before the days of Las Posadas (which dates back over 400 years!) and even long before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesied that the Lord’s house would be established on the highest of mountains and that, “all the nations shall stream into it.” Isaiah says that people will go up the mountain of the Lord where God, “will teach us his ways… that we may walk in his paths.” But… two verses later, Isaiah refers to the house of the Lord, not as a mountain or even a place at all, but as a people. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

As we think about our Advent theme, Home for the Holidays, I wonder if the idea of home isn’t so much about a place, but about the people who make it special. And if there is room among us for the Christ-child to be born yet again.

Activity

Why not add some international flair to your Advent? Do a Google search to learn more about the tradition of Las Posadas… or even better, search “Las Posadas” on YouTube and watch a video re-enactment of the journey of Mary and Joseph. Perhaps you could even incorporate a star-shaped piñata into your Christmas Eve celebrations!

Midweek Reading and Prayer

Reading: Psalm 122:1-9

Loving God, we pray for all those who will travel today to school, or work, or play; for those who will journey home to visit families and friends at Christmas; for those who are seeking your will for their lives.

As we all travel through life, unite us as your people – your house – and help us to draw comfort and strength from one another as we grow in grace and love. Through Jesus, the Christ-child, Amen.

Chaplaincy Morris County Correctional Facility Christmas Gift Bag Program

Chaplaincy Morris County Correctional Facility Christmas Gift Bag Program

“I was in prison, and you visited and comforted me.”     Mathew 25:36

The Chaplaincy Program of the Morris County Correctional Facility (MCCF) is a nonprofit organization that has been sponsored by our church for many years.  It supplies the Chaplain for the Morris County Jail and provides services and ecumenical materials for study and spiritual guidance for the inmates and Corrections Officers.  Part of what they do is supply a Christmas Gift Bag for each inmate that includes basic necessities such as underwear and toiletries.

Volunteers who work with the Chaplaincy Program, including members of our congregation, report these Gift Bags are a true highlight of the inmates’ lives in prison.  The holidays are an especially difficult time for inmates and their families.  In so many cases the inmates’ relationship with their families has deteriorated and there’s nobody visiting or talking to them. The Chaplain fulfills part of that role, but these little gifts can really brighten their lives by showing that there are people on the outside who care about them.  And are rooting for them.

The Outreach Committee invites you to offer comfort to those in prison this holiday season by purchasing and donating the below necessary items for Christmas Gift Bags for each of the inmates.  Please donate ONLY items on this list because jail security has approved only these items:

  • Men’s white crew neck t-shirts (mostly large, XL, 2X, 3X) (NO pockets or V-neck style)
  • Men’s white briefs (medium, large, 2X, 3X)
  • Men’s white crew socks (all sizes with NO stripes)
  • Women’s white briefs (all sizes)
  • Women’s white sports bras (all sizes)
  • Women’s white crew socks (all sizes)
  • Toothpaste
  • Conditioner, (neutral scents, no pumps)
  • Lotion (neutral scents, no pumps)
  • Deodorant (unscented or neutral scents)
  • Bars of Soap (neutral scents, individually wrapped)

NO gift wrap – just plain, all-white clothing items in original packages!

The donation drive runs November 20 through December 11. 

Items can be dropped off in marked bins at the Parish House Porch Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, or at Sunday service.  

Would you like to help assemble Christmas Gift Bags?  Gift Bag assembly will take place on Monday, December 12, at 9:00 am at the Calvary Baptist Church, 10 Martin Luther King Ave., Morristown, NJ. 

Please email Dick Kaller at . to sign up.   

Program questions?  Please contact Karen at .

Serve Meals to Those in Need at Table of Hope!

Serve Meals to Those in Need at Table of Hope!

Make an Impact This Season!

Four volunteers are needed on:
Wednesday, December 7 at the Bethel Church in Morristown
59 Spring Street
4:45 to 7:00pm
 
Duties include boxing dinners, greeting and handing dinners to guests. Volunteers also help store leftover food and clean up. No experience is needed, everyone is welcome!

Picture features regular volunteer Maureen Rogers.
Email Karen to sign-up for December 7.

Volunteer Maureen Rogers

Operation Love: Bring Christmas Cheer to Neighbors in Need!

Operation Love

Bring Christmas cheer to neighbors in need!

For 38 years, the Presbyterian Church in Morristown and the Church of God in Christ in Morristown have partnered in this Christmas-time effort to bring “comfort and joy” to those in our community who need both.

Please join in the wonderful, fulfilling outreach effort, Operation Love, to help Morris County families and senior citizens celebrate Christmas with food and gifts. To make sure recipients get exactly what they need, we will only be giving ShopRite, Walmart, and Five Below gift cards. We need donations of gift cards, and volunteers to pack and deliver the cards in gift bags.

How to participate in Operation Love

Donate:

  • Beginning on Sunday, November 20th  to Sunday, December 11th, purchase $10, $15, or $25 ShopRite, Walmart and/or Five Below gift cards and drop them at the Parish House office Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm or at Sunday service. 
  • Give online through Breeze and select “Operation Love” or mail a check to Presbyterian Church in Morristown, 65 South Street, Morristown, NJ  07960 and note “Operation Love” on the memo line.

Wrap Gift Bags:                    

  • Join other volunteers at the Church of God in Christ to pack gift bags Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, December 14, 15, and 16 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.   Masks are required.  

Deliver Gift Bags:

  • Help deliver gift bags on Saturday, December 17, from 8:45 am -12:00 pm.  Meet at the Church of God in Christ.  

Church of God in Christ is located at 3 Rev. G.A. Rogers Way (formerly 3 Rowe St.), Morristown, NJ.    

Please let us know if you can pack or deliver gift bags by completing the form below by December 5 or by contacting Karen Griffith at .

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