What’s on your Christmas list this year? How about the greatest gift of all — God’s gift to us of a Savior? Sometimes we concentrate so much on the gifts we want to give and to receive that we forget about the special gifts of Christmas. The truth is we need the miracle of God’s grace to see them, feel them, hear them, wrap our arms around them, and celebrate them.
The Gift of Good News
♦ We celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
All are invited to the table to partake of the bread and juice by intinction.
The Gift of New Understanding
The Gift of Giving
Christmas program at 10:00; no 8:00 service
The Gift of a New Way of Living
candlelight service at 6 p.m.
in the sanctuary
MARK YOUR JANUARY CALENDAR
Jan. 1 — We will gather for New Year’s morning worship at 9:00 with celebration of first communion for the new year. A light breakfast will follow.
MASON JAR ADVENT CALENDAR
Imagine a lovely Advent calendar in the form of beautifully illustrated gift tags, each with an Advent prayer, activity, conversation starter, or social media prompt. The tags come in a simple mason jar. As each day unfolds, simply draw a card. Day by day, week by week, prayer by prayer, action by action, we count down to that holy night when God slips into the world.
These Mason Jar Advent calendars are available, one per family, in the back of the church, as a gift to you from the worship committee.
MARK YOUR JANUARY CALENDAR
Jan. 1 — We will gather for New Year’s morning worship at 9:00 in our 1907 chapel with celebration of first communion for the new year. A light breakfast will follow in the fellowship hall.
Jan. 13 — Officer ordination and installation at both services.
MUSIC NOTES Lisa Cardwell, music director
We are introducing the congregation to a new song on Dec. 9. We will be singing “Canticle of the Turning,” which is a paraphrase of Mary’s Song at her meeting with her relative Elizabeth sung to the tune of an Irish folk song. Don’t miss this!
The music department is busy working on music for our church Christmas celebration, which is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 16, during the 10:00 service. Our groups that will be part of this celebration are as follows: chancel choir, adult handbell choir, beginner handbell choir, Joyful Tones chime choir. Thank you to all who are participating for your dedication and commitment.
We also invite vocal or instrumental soloists or small ensembles to participate. We look forward to hearing the three solos/duets who have already committed to singing. Please contact Lisa if you are interested @251.767.0777 or email email@example.com.
And don’t forget about our Christmas Eve service at 6 p.m. Our chancel choir and handbell choir will be leading us in worship. It is such a joyful and beautiful time to be part of the worship services at Swift Church.
WORSHIP REPORT Kim Whitchard and Greg McNair, elders
On the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2, we will distribute Mason jars to each family to use as a means to deepen your worship experience during this Christmas season.
We will celebrate Christmas Eve with a worship service on Monday, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m. Merry Christmas to everyone on Tuesday, Dec. 25, when we all celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. Then, looking toward the New Year, we will celebrate New Year’s Day with a service in the chapel at 9 a.m. and a light breakfast in the fellowship hall to welcome in the New Year with our church family.
November was a wonderful month full of thanksgiving and celebration as we awaited the Advent season. On Nov. 1 we celebrated All Saints’ Day where we tolled the bell for each one of our church saints who passed on to be with Our Heavenly Father in 2018. Sunday, Nov. 25, was Christ the King Sunday, which celebrates the full authority of Christ as King and Lord of the universe. Officially called “The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King,” it is celebrated on the final Sunday before Advent.
May this Advent season be a time of reflection and renewal for each of us. Greg and I have been blessed to be your worship elders. As always, if you feel you are being called to serve in any capacity in the church, there are many places/roles that your gifts can be utilized. Please let Greg or Kim know and we will find a fit for you. May God bless you and your family during this Advent season.
SANCTUARY FLOWER SCHEDULING
Susie Alexander schedules our Sunday flower donations.
Please call her to reserve your date in 2018 or 2019.
You can reach Susie at 251-943-4145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘TWO OR MORE’ FELLOWSHIP LUNCH Thursday, Dec. 6 • 11:30 a.m. O’Charley’s — 3060 S. McKenzie St., Foley (Note new location.)
Couples, singles, men, women, first-timers, old-timers — everyone is invited and welcome.
Delicious food, reasonable prices and great conversation. Come and meet new friends.
FOURTH DAY LUNCH Thursday, Dec. 13 • noon
Come one, come all to Fourth Day lunch in the fellowship hall. Don’t forget to bring a sack lunch.
This is monthly on the second Thursday.
BUTTERFLY GIRLS • GUYS’ NIGHT OUT Thursday, Dec. 20 • 6:30 p.m. Sunliner Diner
102 E. Second Ave. at Alabama Highway 59, Gulf Shores
Here’s a link to the diner’s website.
Please call or text Mary at 251-295-5267 by 4 p.m. that day if you know you’re coming so adequate table space can be reserved. (A few extra chairs will be reserved for any last-minute deciders.) We hear that there is a fun atmosphere reminiscent of the 1950s and ’60s, so wear your poodle skirts, your rolled-up jeans, and don’t forget your saddle shoes!
Our group is growing ever since the girls and guys meet at the same place, although we sit and visit together separately.
Come join us this month. Couples or singles are welcome.
Join us and suggest new places for us to try.
Intentional faith development
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION REPORT Teresa Thomas, elder, children • Tara Morrow, elder, youth
■ SWAG (formerly Kids’ Club) is for children in grades K–4.
■ GΦG is our youth group for ages fifth grade through high school. We meet at the church and have a lesson, games and a small meal.
■ Refuel, our Wednesday night youth group meeting, is from 6 to 8 p.m. The next gathering will be in January; watch for the date. You are encouraged to invite your school friends, neighbors, etc.
■ If anyone would like to prepare a meal, please let Teresa Thomas or Tara Morrow know.
■ The following are the dates for both SWAG and GΦG:
Jan. 20 — 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 17 — 4 to 6 p.m. March 17 — 4 to 6 p.m. April and May — to be determined
SNACKS WITH SUSAN AND DARYL Susan and Daryl Pichoff, leaders
The class meets in the fellowship hall on Sundays from at 9:45 a.m. and is led by Daryl and Susan Pichoff. Join us in December for some fun Christmas-related topics and conversation. And we always have a little something to eat, too.
■ Dec. 2 — We will look into the Christian messages in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” using some information from “The Thoughtful Christian.” It’s the classic movie from 1946 and will let us discuss the power of prayer and the role of community in our lives.
■ Dec. 9 — “Miracle on 34th Street”…you’ve seen it a million times, right? We will explore questions of faith and doubt and consider the challenges we Christians sometimes encounter when we talk about our faith and profess what we believe, in addition to commenting on the commercialization and secularization of Christmas.
■ Dec. 16 and 23 — We will carry on talking about Advent, including what it must have been like for Mary — a young girl in an unusual situation at a miraculous time.
The class is studying Acts: the incredible beginnings of the early church, the first Christians and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There was so much unity in these early disciples and apostles. We would love to have you join our class. Each week there is a lot to learn. Come and be a part of “growing in Christ” as we study His word. We meet at 9:00 on Sunday mornings in the room 2 in the annex.
WEEKLY BIBLE STUDIES ON BOOK OF GENESIS Sunday evenings, Thursday mornings
Sunday evening and Thursday morning Bible study groups are continuing a weekly study on the book of Genesis. “Invitation to Genesis,” a disciple Bible study, includes a DVD, a leader’s guide, and participant books. The study books are $15 and as always, scholarships are available. Please let facilitators Pastor Jody Beth and Philip Melton know if you will be able to be a part of this group; 251-213-6625 and 251-213-6505.
Times are: Sundays, 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.; and Thursdays, 10 to 11:30 a.m. (11:15 on the first Thursday of each month so that participants may attend the “Two or More” fellowship lunch).
BIBLE STUDY AND FELLOWSHIP GROUPS
FOR ADULTS AT A GLANCE
We are blessed to have so many people who would like to be part of Bible study and fellowship at Swift Church. Here is a listing of the groups currently meeting. All of them are open to people visiting and/or joining the group, whether you are a member of Swift Church or not. For more information, contact the leaders or the church office.
•Sundays, 9 to 9:45 a.m., adult Sunday school class, room 2 in the annex, studying the book of Acts, led by Cheryl Jensen
•Sundays, 9 to 9:45 a.m., Snacks with Susan and Daryl, fellowship hall, led by Susan and Daryl Pichoff; topic varies. The class usually watches a DVD and discusses informative topics.
•Sunday evening (5:30 to 6:15) and Thursday morning (10 to 11:30),Bible study groups meet weekly. They are studying the book of Genesis. Contacts are Pastor Jody Beth and Philip Melton, 251-213-6625.
•Thursdays (first Thursday of month), 11:30 a.m., “Two or More” fellowship lunch at O’Charley’s in Foley on South McKenzie Street. Contact is Lee Mansell.
•Thursdays (second Thursday of month), noon, Fourth Day fellowship lunch in the fellowship hall. Bring your own sack lunch and enjoy Christian conversation. This is a new group, started by six people who attended Cursillo #36, and is open to everyone.
•Thursdays (third Thursday of month), 6:30 p.m., Butterfly Girls and Guys’ Night Out fellowship dinner at area restaurants, different place each month. Sometimes men and women eat at same restaurant at separate tables, sometimes two restaurants near one another. Contacts are Mary McNair and Susan Pichoff.
Mission and service
SWIFT OFFICER RETREAT
The current and newly elected elders and deacons spent Saturday, Nov. 17, in conversation regarding the mission, vision and strategy for Swift Church’s future. It was a lively beginning conversation with lots of thoughts, concerns, and ideas batted around.
This was the first of many gatherings and conversations. Nothing that’s anywhere close to a final thinking came from the day.
The energy, intelligence, imagination and love from all participants is a great sign of the health and vitality of our community of faith.
Be prayerful for our leadership team and for our church as we seek a clear understanding of the why, what and how of Swift’s ministry to the surrounding community.
MISSION REPORT Al Sprouse and Cathy Rogers, elders
The food pantry supplied 29 families with Thanksgiving baskets on Nov. 14. We are very happy that we were able to make those families’ Thanksgiving a celebration.
The special mission for Advent is to give to the Presbyterian Home for Children and to honor the 150 years that they have been helping children and families. This year we have set a goal of $2,000 for PHFC. We will use the HOPE board that Phil Melton created a few years ago. For every $30 donation, a bulb will be lit on the board. Please be in prayer for this mission.
When someone is grieving, the holidays can be especially hard. To help those who have lost someone cope, GriefShare will hold “Surviving the Holidays” on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Swift Church. A light dinner will follow in the fellowship hall.
On Dec. 21, “The Longest Night” memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the chapel. Please contact Paula Brewer at 251-284-4225 for more information.
■ Click here to see a page about “Surviving the Holidays.”
■ Click here for a PDF you can download and print out to help spread the word.
WE APPRECIATE OUR DECEMBER VOLUNTEERS
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:10
Dec. 2 — Susie Alexander, Elinor Gartman, Sue Ann Lay, Lynda Walden
Dec. 9 — Lynn and Mike Barnwell, Willard Penfold, Eunice Ray
Dec. 16 — Judy Walker, Kim Whitchard and Jane King
Dec. 23 — Danny and Paula Brewer, Lee Mansell, Greg McNair
Dec. 30 — Janelle Armbruster, Norm and Debbie Schmidt, Kim Whitchard
TIME WITH THE CHILDREN
Dec. 2 — Cathy Rogers
Dec. 9 — Pastor Keith
Dec. 16 — Christmas program
Dec. 23 — Judy Walker
Dec. 30 — Debbie Schmidt
Dec. 2 — None due to communion being served
Dec. 9 — Debbie Schmidt and Megan Curry
Dec. 16 — Christmas program
Dec. 23 — Tracy and Olivia Akins
Dec. 30 — Jane King and Carlie Sims
Dec. 2 — Bridgit Gosa
Dec. 9 — Ginny Kleinschmidt and Tara Morrow
Dec. 16 — Christmas program
Dec. 23 — Brett and Pate Cardwell
Dec. 30 — Tracy Akins and Lisa Turner
ACOLYTES We have a need for several more helpers.
Dec. 2 — Jon Devery and Lainey Thomas
Dec. 9 — ZoeyLynn and Zadie Grace Barnwell
Dec. 16 — To be determined
Dec. 23 — To be determined
Dec. 30 — Sully Curry
ABOUT ONLINE GIVING . . .
You may have noticed this box in your bulletin. Using your “smart phone” and this box you can connect to the church’s online giving page. You can set up for automatic donations of your tithes or one-time gifts to a number of funds benefiting ministries of Swift Church. Use this by either entering your credit/debit card information or your checking account information. Of course, this is a secure website.
You can also do the same thing by clicking the donation link on the church’s website, www.swiftchurch.org.
Please welcome our new affiliate members
Chuck Radake and Dee Williams are our new affiliate members. ■ Click here to see their photos and read more about them.