Dec. 19: Advent IV: Seeking Sanctuary


Dear Church:

This week we enter Advent 4 and move toward Christmas Eve! We have been waiting for home, trusting God to bring light to our darkness, and praying that so many of the messes we see in our world and even participate in unwittingly will be eradicated for good as Christ is born!


We want to invite you to worship with us in many ways this week. While we know this is "crazy week" for anyone trying to get all of the "Christmas" in before Christmas day, we also know that it is extremely important to rest and worship, to remember the reason this season is so important to us in the first place.

On Sunday at 10:30 AM we will worship God lighting the Advent Candle of Love and listening to the story of Elizabeth giving her gift of sanctuary to Mary at a very difficult time in her life. While we still won't sing Christmas carols, we will hint of them in familiar music of the season! We will also receive the gift of Jesus in the Lord's Supper together.


On Sunday at 4 PM we will host a Longest Night service for the community with beautiful music, poetry, and candlelight as together we await the Light that shines in our world's darkness. We invite those who are going through a rough patch, knowing that for some, holidays can be more challenging than expected and we want to offer hope. We also invite those of you who are hope-givers to come and offer the light of Christ to another.


And then on Christmas Eve at 6:30 members of our congregation will bring gifts of music before our Candlelight service begins at 7:00 PM. In this service we will welcome the birth of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, into our lives and we will sing the carols of the season even as we hear the familiar telling of Luke 2. Please invite family and friends for this sacred night of worship and celebration!

I want to thank you all for your gift of God's presence to me this year. When I see your faces and hear your voices and read your text messages, I am filled with such gratitude that God brought us together.


Peace be with you all!

Pastor Katie

Upcoming Events


Sunday, 12/19:

4th Sunday of Advent

Sunday, 12/19:

4 pm: Longest Night Service


Saturday, 12/25 11am —1:30pm:

NOAH Foundation Community Christmas Day Dinner at Camden Falls, 2406 S. SR 231. Call for a reservation at 419-455-4569.


Saturday, 12/25:

Christmas Day

Sunday, 12/26:

First Sunday After Christmas

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Dances for Joy

by Hannah Garrity

Inspired by Luke 1:39-45 (Mary goes to Elizabeth) | Paper lace with watercolor

As I worked through the creative process for this image, I was talking to my mother and showing her my inspiration board: images of babies in the womb, spinning or cuddling. She said that John dancing for joy in his mother’s womb is one of her favorite biblical images. I thought back to my study abroad in Glasgow, Scotland, at the Glasgow School of Art. I spent every day in a studio designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Through windows the height of almost two stories, light poured into the room.


I was interested in childbirth that year. I asked the local hospital if I could view one. They said, no, legitimately citing privacy concerns. Childbirth is rightfully a protected and private time—a time when women, the possessors of the womb, choose to use their bodies for the delivery of the children of God. As a woman in my early twenties, I had no plans of having children anytime soon. Truly, I was intrigued by the way we hide the earthy, natural, bloody parts of the process. All semester I painted fetuses, newborns crowning, mothers birthing alone. They were dancing in the womb. They were emerging from the womb. They were patterns in a collage of orphaned children due to the AIDS epidemic. They were an American flag interwoven with articles of the strain of American military action on children overseas. They were newborns, still bloody, painted on patterned fabric with the stories of Peter Rabbit and the cow jumping over the moon.


I even made a paint by number children’s book explaining the stages of childbirth. The clash of a façade of perfection and the tangible reality was and is ever-present in my every day.


Here the globe is drawn as the background flow of the image. This long view of the world acknowledges the earthy, bloody, tangible, pouring-out reality that Mary and Elizabeth will soon embody to bear their sons. There is so much liquid everywhere. The central story of the text emerges as John dances with joy in his mother’s womb of this world. Around him the patterns of his baptisms flow outward into the miracles of Jesus, woven into the flow of landforms and waters on the map.


Comparison is the thief of joy, my cousin tells me. God’s children need us to dance for joy when we encounter one another. Where in my daily routines can I remove the façade of perfection, or break through it, and embrace the tangible reality of a beautiful and wonderful, earthy joy?



—Hannah Garrity