As we begin a new calendar year, the old is gone and the new has come! Many folks will establish new goals and make every effort to attain them, but will they succeed. “The Bible offers advice and encouragement for beginning a new chapter by providing strength and support in the Word of God.” Let Christ be your goal this year and receive a whole new life, a new purpose, a new beginning. —Susan H Bissette
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold all things are become new.” –2 Corinthians 5:17
It is the dawn of a new year. Where are we, and where are we going?
God cares for us and He loves us. He promised the Israelites that when they sought Him with all their hearts, He would restore their fortunes and return them from exile. He created us in His spiritual image, proof that He loves us. He assures us that He is with us always, proof that He cares for us.
If we have made a wrong turn and strayed from the path He cleared for us. We have only to admit our mistake, acknowledge our regret and ask His forgiveness and He will give us a fresh start, a new year on the right path.
May God bless you with a new beginning in the new year of 2022!
Over the last two months, we have enjoyed multiple ministers on the chancel bringing their own special gifts and talents, including our very own Roger Bennett. It has been an interesting time in our history, and it continues to evolve. December has brought a sparkle to our sanctuary. The worship services have been inspiring, beautiful, and meaningful. I hope you have taken the opportunity to worship with us.
This Sunday Rev. Penny Ziemer will be joining us as guest minister. Chris Watson will assist Rev. Ziemer in the absence of Rev. Roger Bennett. Rev. Ziemer will use these scriptures: Genesis 1:1-2; Isaiah 43:18-19; 2 Corinthians 5:17; and John 1:1-9. Her sermon title is “In Every Beginning.”
It is time to remove all of our lovely Christmas decorations. We will meet at the church on Wednesday at 1:00 pm. Please come if you can. Thankyou everyone for the lovely poinsettias that have graced our sanctuary this advent and Christmas season. They can now be taken home with you. Come by the church anytime this week to get yours. Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Outside, while waiting for the service to begin, the air is warm and still, yet it feels like Christmas. There is an expectation of something really special about to occur. People gather in the darkness, unknown at first, but as the doors are opened, and we approach the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, I see that I know most of those gathering. There are some new faces though. People seeking the golden light that only worship provides. We welcome them as family too. As we enter the sanctuary, beautiful music greets us, moving us in a way that is beyond words. There is a soft beginning to the service. It sneeks up on us, quietly. The Christ candle is finally lit; the advent wreath is now complete, and the flames cast light and shadows in waves. Then we are transported by the lights, the laughter, the music, the beauty. Roger is dynamic tonight, providing the scripture reading by memory, and in a dramatic style that lets you know that this is important. It isn’t a conversation; it is the inspired word of God. We all sit up a little straighter on the pews. The well known and loved scripture, Luke 2:8-14, echoing in our thoughts, but really, more a part of us than a thought. As we near the end of the service, the elders move into place beside the Lord’s Table. These men lead our hearts to the place it needs to be to accept the gravity of what we are about to do. Their prayers and our prayers are uplifted and unite on the table. This service celebrates the birth of our savior, and it mourns the physical death of our Lord. But as Christians, we know that our Lord is the victor over death. He is the Light that abolishes the darkness. After we partake of the Lord’s Table, we stand and weave our way around the exterior walls of the darkened sanctuary, singing Silent Night. Soon our neighbor tips his candle towards us; The Light is passed. We sing and hold up our lit candles, chasing away the darkness. What a wonderful service. May you have a blessed and joyous Christmas. ….Melissa Watson
photos provided by Meredith Beeman
Sunday, December 19, was the fourth Sunday in Advent, and Jennie Adams lit the candles in the advent wreath adding the candle of Love. Rev. Bob Brooks provided the congregation with a message on love and joy. This was Pastor Bob’s first visit to Bethany, and he commented on the beauty of our sanctuary causing me to look around and see it from a fresher perspective. Garlands of greens adorn the edges of our chancel and our beautiful creche graces the center of the chancel. Bright red poinsettias form a cheery backdrop, lovingly provided in honor and memory of our loved ones by our congregation. A giant Christmas tree twinkles in the narthex at the entry of our sanctuary. My heart is warmed. I think back to 2007 when I stood across the street, fighting back tears, and watched smoke and flame consume our previous church building, My husband at my side and our son Parker, very young then, running around us during the sad and stressful time. I thought about the feelings of loss and disappointment and concern that we would never again have a place to worship. It took a long time to rebuild, but we did. Many hours went into the planning of the rebuild and much prayer, but here it is. We will forever be grateful to all the donations that we received from so many.
Parker and I were changing the sign out front Monday to announce the upcoming Christmas Eve Service. It was cold and blustery. We walked arm and arm back to the main building. Parker drew a deep breath and said,, “I love this place.” My heart swelled. Yeah. That is the beauty of this church….the love. The love from others, the love for each other, the love for our church, and the love of and for our God. It is a beautiful place Pastor Bob. Thanks for reminding me.
Chris Watson, Janci Cahoon, and James Hardison are in the holiday spirit during bell choir practice Wednesday! The bell choir, better known as The Jericho Ringers, is very busy during the Christmas Season. In existence since the 1980s, our bell choir has had many
different members and a few different directors, but Roger Bennett has been the director for the longest amount of time. Roger has had the bell choir playing in many different venues, and when Covid had all singing choirs out of commission, the bells were in high demand playing special music for the church most Sundays. Christmas time is our favorite time to ring. We will play December 26. If you are interested in joining our bell choir, please see Roger Bennett.
photo credit: James Hardison
The ladies of the church gathered on December 17th, at 6:30 pm to
celebrate Christmas and enjoy each other’s company. We met in the
Fellowship Hall with nine in attendance. Christmas music filled the air
from a CD player Janci immediately set up. The ladies were all in good
spirits with chatter about the season, and the food we were looking
forward to sharing. Christine welcomed everyone and blessed the food.
We filled our plates with turkey and dressing, sandwiches, fruits,
cheeses, crackers, nuts, cakes, cookies and more. Our conversations
became lively with memories of the old days, which followed with lots
of laughter. Juanita surprised us with a beautiful handmade ornament
to add to our own tree. Thank you, Juanita!
A special thanks to Barbara Benton who was able to be with us. She
expressed her appreciation for supporting her during her time of need.
We missed those that were not with us but look forward to seeing you
next year. Merry Christmas everyone! ……..Susan H Bissette
Rev. Bob Brooks will be in our pulpit Sunday, December 19. Here is a little information about him provided by Christine Beeman.
Rev. Brooks holds a Master’s in Divinity from
Lexington Theological Seminary and is currently working on a PhD in Leadership Studies at Johnson University. He was ordained
in May 1981 and has pastored at churches in
Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, and Washington.
He and his wife, Annie, live in North Chesterfield, Virginia. His hobbies include: camping, canoeing, cooking and travel. —Christine Beeman
Be sure to come out and give Rev. Brooks a warm welcome!
December 24, 2021, 7pm
photo: Melissa Watson
It is the tradition of Bethany Christian Church to hold a beautiful contemplative candle light worship service on Christmas Eve. There have been many different services, songs, musicians, ministers, and times, but always it is a blessing.
It has been a tumultuous couple of years, but Christmas is coming and with it the Hope of a Savior to deliver us from the oppression of sin. This season brings the promise of Peace to quiet our weary souls and assuage our fears and struggles. We anticipate with Joy the birth of one who is our ultimate advocate regardless of our wealth, color, connections, deservedness, and we long for that deep Love that only our Father can provide. Every year we can refocus our worship lives, center ourselves around our Savior, and relax knowing that in His hands we are safe.
We will share communion during our worship service with the wine and bread packets that we have been using on Sundays. The service will end with the forming of the fellowship circle and the passing of the light in a darkened sanctuary.
Come join us again this year, or if you have never been to our Christmas Eve service, let this be the year you do. – Melissa Watson
Sunday was the perfect day to spread some Christmas joy through song. The weather was sunny and bright, and so were the spirits of those gathered! A small group of five, Renee Midyette, John and Christine Beeman, and Roger and Elizabeth Bennett, piled into a couple of cars and left the church around 3:00 in the afternoon to visit some of our congregation (Caroling List 2021) that have not been able to be out and about as much as they once were able to do. Surprised faces greeted our carolers with smiles as the group went from house to house. It was quite the surprise for a sleeping Mr. Oliver, for Christine had donned a flashing headband of reindeer antlers! Mr. Herb was equally amused and greeted everyone with a giant grin. Ms. Gladys videoed the singing quintet, so Mr. Jack could share in the fun! Mr. Kent, Ms. Louise, Ms. Clara and Mr. Tommy, Betsy and Barbara all shared in the fellowship and Christmas spirit! At the end of the trip, our choir, now joined by Jennie Adams and Susan Bissette, sat down together to eat a warming bowl of chili and cornbread followed by selections from a tray full of very tasty cookies provided by an anonymous elf! Thank you to all who participated, and may you have the Merriest of Christmases!…Melissa Watson