Weather Related Announcements at Good Sam
Members and Friends of Good Sam,
Please be safe this weekend! We wanted to give you information on how to learn about weather related decisions at church regarding Worship Services, Sunday School and classes. If at all possible we will remain open and conduct services on Sundays. If you don’t see notification in our sources* then you can assume we will be having an unaltered schedule. If conditions are tenuous we will sometimes communicate that we will be open and what activities will happen.
When we cancel Worship Services it is because conditions in the building, parking lot or the roads present significant challenges to operating practically and safely. You can always check our Facebook Page* for cancellation notices as well as our website*. We will also send Cancellation notices by email to our Wednesday Connections @ Good Sam email list. Cancellation decisions will be made by 8 pm Saturday Night if we are going to cancel Worship Services for the next day.
May the Grace and Peace of God be with you through these days.
I wish to say a special thank you to one of our Good Sam Neighbors. You might have seen Starr around Good Sam. She is a member of St. Mary’s Small Business Partners, that meets at Good Sam on Thursday mornings. Starr has one daughter and is raising two of her nephews.
Starr is the owner of Top Notch Everything and her company does everything from clearing services to sorting and packing personal property and disposing of clutter and unwanted items. I first met Starr over a conversation about how much our Fellowship Hall floors need clearing and waxing not to mention regular attention. Since then, I have learned what a caring and positive minded person she is.
It sure is a blessing to meet and come to know and care about such quality people in our community. On occasion, Starr visits the Prayer, Praise and Promise in Christ Church that worships in the Good Sam Sanctuary on Sunday afternoons.
Recently Starr and I were having that conversation about the Fellowship Hall floors again and the next thing I knew, she had scheduled a cleaning time and is contributing her time and effort to support our ministry in the community. We give thanks for you Starr Gladden and we give thanks for your big heart and for the blessing of having you in our circle of friends and in our community.
Our Grapevine publication is taking a new format and function in our congregational life. Beginning early this month you will see a monthly publication of congregational news that we will call “The Grapevine.” It will be available at church on each Sunday of the month and anytime the office is open. In addition, you can find the The Grapevine published on our website. You can also find The Grapevine each week through a link provided in our Wednesday news email called Community Connections or “Connections” for short.
On Sunday mornings at Good Sam you will also find a Sunday news page that will give information about that particular Sunday. So you can find out what classes are offered that Sunday and what time Sunday School starts. What is the theme for Worship today? All these things and more will fill our Sunday publication called Good Sam Today.
So here is a summary of the varied ways you can get Good Sam News to stay informed and connected to life and activities at Good Sam:
- Good Sam Today – Sunday News for each individual Sunday, handed out as you enter worship.
- The Grapevine – Monthly Good Sam News printed and available at church as well as published on our website and available all month. The last page of the Grapevine will have a calendar of activities including each Good Sam community activity we know about.
- Connections – a Wednesday email publication with news, reminders of upcoming activities and events, links to larger news articles in the Grapevine and sent our as blog posts on our Website and over email.
- Our Website – (GoodSam.Community) Ministry news, blog posts, highlights of Good Sam activities, staff and council pages, program and campaign news and much more. Good Sam News can be found on our website in two forms. You can find a PDF of our monthly newsletter (The Grapevine) as well as blog posts of particular events, activities or human interest stories about life and ministry in the Good Sam Community.
As many of you know, Anita Goehringer (Pannone) has been writing and editing news, Sunday publications and blog articles at Good Sam for many years. Her creative and faithful efforts have been an ongoing blessing throughout her time working in Communications as part-time staff at Good Sam. Anita Stepped down last month to pursue new and additional interests in her life with us at Good Sam as well as outside the congregation. Thank you Anita! We have included the full article about her transition below for your information.
What this means for us in the office is that we will be absorbing as much of her work as we can among our staff and volunteers we currently have. This means that we will need help in writing and developing articles about life and ministry at Good Sam. Can you help? Do you like to write? Would you and others you know like to learn more about our ministry efforts and what some of our individuals and groups at Good Sam are doing that has great impact in our community? We need you to help us identify and write these news articles. Please let Pastor Mitch, Iman Syler or Kelly Thurber know of you interest.
Lessons: Christmas Lessons and Carols
Sermon: “Keeping Christmas”
Prayer: Shine into our hearts the light of your wisdom, O God, and open our minds to the knowledge of your word, that in all things we may think and act according to your good will and may live continually in the light of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The sermon begins after the last carol “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”.
Lessons: Isiah 9:2-7, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-20
Sermon: “And This Shall Be A Sign To You…”
Prayer: Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.
Lessons: Micah 5:2-5a, Psalm 80:1-7, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-55
Sermon: “Faithful Lives Always Give Birth to God’s Activity”
Prayer: Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that binds us, that we may receive you in joy and serve you always, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.
Epiphany is discovery—not just an “a-ha” moment, but also the persistent dawning and awakening of something new in our awareness. On Epiphany, the star guides the magi to the child born King of the Jews, but there they discover the working of God in new and unexpected ways. The light of God is coming to all people. We to are guided to discover the living presence of God working in our lives.
One of the main ways we see God active in our lives is through the gifts that the Spirit of God gives. When these gifts arise in our lives we have a better view of what God is doing. Their light reveals God’s presence and care. These gifts are the fruit of the Spirit that Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22-23. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
On this Epiphany Sunday, we invite you to talk about how the “gifts” of the Spirit (the star you selected last year) played out in your life over this past year or where you saw God’s plan work in your life. We also invite you to select a “spiritual gift” star as an invitation to focus on that gift in the coming year and learn how this gift might impact your life? Perhaps this is God drawing us into his wonderful light and preparing us to carry that light wherever we go.
“Last Epiphany Sunday, I drew ‘Love’ from the basket of stars. For some time now I have been reflecting on the gift of love in my life. Mostly, that has come with Shannon, Sara and Willa. I am learning that love is a choice and that love is day in and day out a work of faithfulness. Yes, love is a feeling but it is so much more. God really is working in our lives through these kinds of gifts that come from God’s activity, from us to others and from others into our lives.”
Good Sam Happenings
*read more in The Grapevine a monthly Publication of Good Sam News
Jan. 6 [Sunday Theme] “We Too Have A Star to Guide Us”
◊ Epiphany Parade, come get an Epiphany Star, Join us for Getting to Know Good Sam at 10:30 am
Jan. 13 [Sunday Theme] “Why Do You Like to Shower (bathe)?”
Jan. 19 ◊ Chili Cook-off is being rescheduled for March 16, 4 pm
Jan. 20 [Sunday Theme] “The Surprising Extravagance of God”
Jan. 27 [Sunday Theme] “Discovering and Rediscovering the Living Word of God”
- WHO can go: Adults & Youth who have completed 9th grade. A team of experienced leaders, including Pastor Mark Parker, of Breath of God Lutheran Church, are working to bring together to help in the rebuilding effort following Hurricane Maria. We will be working with Lutheran Disaster Response, a program of Lutheran Social Services in Puerto Rico.
- WHAT are we doing: The hope is for half of the group to have solid construction experience, while half of the group should be physically capable of construction work and willing to learn from and assist others. There may also be an opportunity for follow-up home visits with people who are in the case management process or who have been already served by Lutheran Disaster Response.
- When – Dates are July 21st – August 3rd. You may choose one week or stay for both. The general timeline is fly in on Sunday morning/afternoon, fly back on Saturday evening. Monday through Friday we worked construction doing rebuilding in the morning and the afternoon, with time in the late afternoon/evening for the beach/pool, relaxing and exploring the area. We may have the opportunity to take a half day to head across the island and visit El Yunque, an amazing tropical rainforest or exploring in Old San Juan.
- Where we are staying: We will be staying in the Lutheran camp in Maguayo, near Dorado. About 45 minutes west of San Juan. The camp has room for up to sixty volunteers at a time. Volunteers sleep in bunkrooms with twin-sized bunkbeds and communal showers–comfortable enough, but nothing fancy. The camp also includes a very nice pool, a chapel, office and storage areas, and a main hall for dining/meeting/organizing/relaxing. It’s a good home for groups like ours.
- Why Puerto Rico– in 2017 a Category 5 Hurricane, Maria, devastated Puerto Rico. Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico, and is also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Jeanne in 2004, and the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide in 2017. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, with total losses from the hurricane estimated at upwards of $91.61 billion (2017 USD), mostly in Puerto Rico, ranking it as the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record. The rebuilding efforts are far from over, and the church
- How do we get there: Registration opens in January with a deadline of April 1. The first deposit will be due at the close of registration, the second payment will be due May 1 and the final payment July 1. The expected cost is anticipated to be less than $600 for one week and less than $900 for two weeks. Airfare is Included. We will be planning fundraising efforts as a group.
Please contact Kelly Thurber if you are interested email@example.com
Registration Deadline April 1st – but spots are limited
It’s Christmas time and undoubtedly many of our minds are focused on our families, holiday preparations, parties and presents. We look forward to the birth of our Savior and celebrate all that He provides. In places around the country and world, especially those affected by disaster, people struggling to have the basic necessities for survival may find it hard to see a reason to celebrate. God has given us generous hearts and at this time of year, thoughts of reaching out with kindness and that generosity strongly come to our hearts and minds.
We work in our communities with and among our neighbors and now we have an opportunity to help in another area–Puerto Rico. Next summer, over the course of two weeks, from July 21 through August 3, a group of mostly adult and some high school-aged volunteers from the state will be working in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of Puerto Rico and serving alongside our Puerto Rican neighbors in their continued process of rebuilding and strengthening communities after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, with total losses estimated at upwards of $91 billion, mostly in Puerto Rico, ranking it as the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record.
A team of experienced leaders, including Pastor Mark Parker, of Breath of God Lutheran Church, Baltimore, MD is working to bring together the group of adult and youth volunteers from the region. The bulk of work efforts will focus on construction, with a mix of skilled and unskilled volunteers. Our volunteers last year ranged from age 21 to age 70. This summer we will also accept some youth who have already completed 9th grade.
Are You Interested in Being a Volunteer?
If you are interested in being a volunteer, here are a few more details. We will be staying in the Lutheran camp in Maguayo, near Dorado–about 45 minutes west of San Juan. The camp has room for up to sixty volunteers at a time. Volunteers sleep in bunk rooms with twin-sized bunk beds and communal showers–comfortable enough, but nothing fancy. The camp also includes a very nice pool, a chapel, office and storage areas, and a main hall for dining/meeting/organizing/relaxing. It’s a good home for groups like ours.
The general timeline is fly out on Sunday morning/afternoon and fly back on Saturday evening. Volunteers will serve over the course of two weeks from July 21 to August 3. Volunteers may sign up for one or both weeks. Monday through Friday we’ll worked construction doing rebuilding in the morning and the afternoon, with time in the late afternoon/evening for the beach/pool, relaxing and exploring the area. We may have the opportunity to take a half day to head across the island and visit El Yunque, an amazing tropical rain forest or explore in Old San Juan.
Registration opens in January with a deadline of April 1. The first deposit will be due at the close of registration, the second payment will be due May 1 and the final payment July 1. The expected cost is anticipated to be less than $600 for one week and less than $900 for two weeks.
If you are interested in volunteering for this unique and rewarding opportunity, please contact Kelly Thurber, our Mission and Outreach Coordinator. More information–including fundraising opportunities–will be forthcoming, but positions are anticipated to fill up quickly, so please let Kelly know if you are interested so she can keep the regional team up-to-date on our interest levels.
As we get together with our family and friends and share the joy and peace of this holiday season, let us keep those who have suffered loss in our hearts and minds. And look forward to the days when we will have the opportunity to give a broader set of neighbors a Merrier Christmas. Feliz Navidad.