Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!


Here are a couple of pictures from our children’s Christmas program. You can click on photo to enlarge.



Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Memories Continued

In April 1963, I went into the Air Force.  In November of 63 I was stationed at Chanute AFB, Rantoul, Illinois, for 32 weeks of training.  My wife and I lived in a  fourplex with 3 other couples.  We attended a Bible Baptist church.  Our total income was $150.00 a month.  We were as poor as church mice.

The Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving there was a knock at our door.  We opened the door and standing there was a couple from our church.  They were carrying a large box of food including a turkey and a ham with all the fixings.  The box of food fed four couples for a week.  We were greatly blessed by that congregations generosity.  I am thankful everyday for the gifts that God continues to provide.  Mel Hurst

There are 100’s of things I am thankful for and it is hard to put them into any kind of order or down on paper.  The first would have to be our God and his patience with us.  Next would probably be having been born into such a great family, and then of course the wonderful family we have.  They are all so loving and kind to us as we grow older.  But when I think of such things the first thing that comes to my mind is my brother David.  He is gone now but few days go by that I don’t think about him and the impact he made on my life.  He was 22 months older than I but he never did lord it over me and for the most part just took care of me and got me out of a lot of jams as we grew up.   A few things I remember were getting me down from the pine tree when I was too scared to come back down after climbing up to follow him.  He helped me pull my boots out of the mud when they pulled off my feet on the way to the corner to catch the bus on rainy and snowy days.  As we got older he was always there for me and I think I learned to be patient with everyone from him.  This is not very well written but the sentiment is clear I loved him so much and miss him every time I think of him.  Lots of tears are shed but still I’m glad to have had him as long as I did.  JoAnn Birkby


Thank you to all who have shared their special Memories with us!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More Memory Sharing

I remember a Christmas party my family went to when I was very young and people encouraged me to speak to Santa.  I refused to do so, and had a fit in order to impress upon them my feelings.  Not wanting to have anything to do with the strange man.  Later I was encouraged to give a hug and kiss to my father, which was not a problem.  Years later, looking back, I realized my father was playing Santa.  Also one year my parents canceled Christmas because of their children’s bad behavior.  Fortunately at the last minute Santa came through for us with nary a cinder in our stocking.  Marcia Little

I have very fond childhood memories of Christmas.  We had definite family traditions that we followed every year.  The Sunday School program was always on the 23rd, we went to my maternal grandparents’ home on Christmas Eve, and to my paternal grandparents’ home on Christmas Day.  We always had special Norwegian and English food.  My favorite was lefsa.  It is made from mashed potatoes, flour and lard.  It is rolled out like pie crust and cooked on a dry grill.  After it cools, it is buttered, sprinkled with sugar, and rolled up.  Yum! Yum!  This will be my first Christmas without Mom, but I will do my best to carry on the lefsa tradition.  Christmas was all about family traditions, not presents.  Thanks Mom and Dad for all the wonderful memories!  Mary Zach

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sharing Memories

As a child my parents and I spent Christmases in Quebec, Canada with my dad’s family.  It was always a very white Christmas and after a wonderful meal, we all walked to midnight mass.  We’d open presents when we got back to my aunt’s house after church.  I loved the tradition and the pageantry of the service which was all in french.  Nancy Hurst

Memory 1:  When watching WOWTV news and listening to Christmas music during the Christmas season, memories flood back to when Grace was in NICU in Methodist Hospital in Omaha.  When I was there with her coming off the elevator into the sitting room, Channel 6 was always on TV’s and while driving to the hospital I always listened to the Christmas station.

Memory 2:  Christmas Eve, we always went to Grandma and Grandpa Zach’s house after church service when I was a kid.  We had chili and cinnamon rolls.  To this day we still continue that tradition.  Sara Zach

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Secretary Snippets

The first cold snap has come and gone, introducing the holiday season in the usual manner of the Great Plains.  Down under in Australia the population greets Christmas time in shorts and swimsuits.  In Jerusalem the climate is also temperate.  It is nice that the baby Jesus did not need a down comforter to keep him warm, so many years ago.  But to me it seems natural to have a frosty snowman somewhere nearby to help usher in the season.  The Percival Community Church welcomed my out-of-town family the other day so nicely that a non-church going clan is considering more visits to our house of worship.  It proves that evangelism does not need to be fancy proselytizing, but good old fashioned warm words of common sense and encouragement, peppered with some funny personal stories from the pastor and a bit of clamoring from the congregation.  The invitation from Barb Handy to join the delicious Thanksgiving feast was also a big draw.  Thank you all for doing so easily what has been a stumble block for so long.  At a recent board meeting the financial report reflects the healthy standing of our congregation.  Therefore we will be investing in a new sound system, carefully researched by and recommended by Jan and Aaron Zach.  Thank you to both of you.

Our holiday schedule has been confirmed.  Caroling will take place on Saturday the 14th gathering at the church around noontime and concluding at Washington Park Plaza community room for song and snacks.  The Childrens program is the next day, the 15th.  Christmas Eve service will commence at 4:00 p.m. allowing everyone to get home before dark.  Finally don’t forget New Year’s Eve fellowship at Marcia’s home on the bluff road.  Bring an appetizer to share and be ready for fun and games.

Marcia Little, Board Secretary

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pastor’s Thoughts

Decorating of our homes, yards, Sanctuaries, shopping malls, store fronts, main streets, city parks and of course the Christmas tree has begun in earnest.  All of it is done to create a sense of awe, joy, happiness and splendor that is often short lived.  Decorations are a facade they cover up or hide the reality of what is seen.  You can have a ‘Charlie Brown’ tree and cover it with enough lights, ornaments and tinsel to make it look beautiful.  Shopping malls and store fronts construct elaborate displays to entice us to spend money or to a least walk through the doors.

But does it create a sense of well- being?  For many people Christmas is a time of despair, hopelessness and loneliness.  A husband taking care of his wife who no longer knows her name, visiting a spouse in a nursing home, a loved one battling cancer, a father in need of a job, a single mother trying to feed and care for her children, a broken marriage, the death of a loved one, hunger, finances and the list is endless.  We mask our hurts and smile; we decorate our lives believing no one will see the hopelessness we feel.

Into this Christmas story breaks the voices and the message of the angels. “Fear Not, for behold I bring you  good tidings of great joy.”  A savior is to be born that brings the promise of HOPE.

May the love of Christ “Surround” you.  The joy of the Lord “Strengthen” you.  The peace of the Savior “Comfort” you, the “Light” of God’s glory fill and radiate in your life anew.

Pastor Blaine