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Worship Preview for January 1, 2023 "A Day of New Beginnings"

This Weekend: Sunday at 10:30am “A Day of New Beginnings” Scriptures: 1 John 4:7-12 & Deuteronomy 6:4-9 – an interactive service with Rev. Christopher Eshelman presiding.

Christ is Born! A new beginning. The secular calendar also marks a new beginning – we gather on the first day of 2023. The holidays thus come to an end and the world begins to “get back to business.” Yet the Christmas season, according to the Christian liturgical calendar, only began last Sunday, Dec. 25th. We celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, marking the incarnation, through Epiphany on Jan 6th! We are still in the midst of “holy days” – and we have an opportunity to consider just what our business is, as followers of Christ every day! How do we recognize and respond to God’s love in the midst of ordinary life?

Sunday we will have a special service to help us do so – gathering in our Fellowship Hall, instead of the Sanctuary, and breaking bread together with an “agape feast” – this practice has deep roots in the earliest forms of Christianity as well as in our Wesleyan tradition. John Wesley and his early followers adopted it from the Moravian Lutheran pietists who so influenced Wesley’s faith journey and it became a staple of the Methodist movement in the American colonies.

We will also introduce another ancient practice often tied to Epiphany - “Chalking the door” is a tangible way to honor God in our lives and be intentional about living into God’s blessings in the new year. In Deuteronomy 6, God tells the people of Israel: “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house… You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Sunday we will provide chalk and instruction on doing this ancient ritual of blessing at your home this week as the Christmas season comes to a close with Epiphany and we enter into the new year.

This will be a wonderful day of celebration, rooting ourselves in tradition and history, while looking forward to, and being intentional about, the next steps in our journey of faith as God leads us into a new day! No matter where you are on your own journey, you are invited to join in worship and celebration at 10:30am at 301 S. National, coming just as you are with your questions, doubts and hopes - and to experience the transformative, healing love and grace of Christ - which makes us whole. Visit for more information on what to expect.

Upcoming Events: Wednesday, Jan. 4, 5:30pm Feeding Families in His Name –this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. We are thankful for all the volunteers from other area churches and community groups that make this meal possible each week.

Pastor Christopher’s “community office hours” will return in February. Mark your calendar for our next “Shepherds Center: Adventures in Learning” event coming March 10th!



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