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Dec 16, 2017 - families with the kiddos singing Christmas songs, the telling ... husband, Curtis, and working full-time for a CPA ... leaving 'the bun...

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d/December

2017

Warrenton witness

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF WARRENTON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH WARRENTONUMC.ORG 540-347-1367

[email protected] 540-349-9050

2017 Christmas Shoeboxes

6. Bring your wrapped boxes to Memorial Hall on December 14th and 15th please.

Fauquier County Food Distribution Coalition is partnering with F.I.S.H. to fill Christmas shoeboxes for children of families who come to the December 16, 2017 food giveaway at both locations.

*Gift Suggestions: small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, yo-yos, small etch-asketch, slinky, pens, pencils, sharpeners, crayons, markers, stamps, ink pad sets, coloring books, pads or paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, mittens, hats.

Here’s how YOU can help: 1. Get an empty shoebox (or purchase a plastic shoebox.) 2. Decide if your gift will be for a boy or girl, and which age category: 2 - 5 years, 6 -10 years or 11-14 years. 3. Pick up a Christmas booklet from the basket in the hall outside the office for each box. 4. Fill your shoebox with a variety of gifts*; then wrap the shoebox in Christmas paper. 5. Attach a label to the top of your box identifying boy or girl and age category.

For more information or to help, please contact Susan Dove at [email protected]

Inside •

Pastor’s Pen

2



Children’s Ministries

3



Kingdom’s Kids

3



W.U.M.P.

3



Alice West

4



Announcements

5



Living Christmas Tree 6



Food Distribution

7



Fall Clean-up day

8

Pastor’s Pen Among the many Christmas classics, there are few that have had more of impact for such a length of time, as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Written in 1843, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation after being forced to take account of his life, captures the message of hope that comes at Christmas. It was written at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christian traditions from the past, such as carols, as well as new customs, such as Christmas trees [https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/A_Christmas_Carol ], while also speaking to the appropriate Christian response to the poverty of the 1840's depression in England, especially at Christmas time. Scrooge’s story has been retold in comics, film, animation, and on stage, for it is the time-tested story of a man consumed with money, an obsession which proves greater than the one love of his life, and grows to consume every aspect of his life. His love of money got in the way of everything he did, and the observer sees just how dangerous and lonely such an obsession can become. However, Scrooge’s redemption is realized through dreams...or encounters...with his former business partner, then the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future, each of which reveal the harsh truth that has become his life. The story ends with Scrooge waking up on Christmas morning a changed man who embodies the generosity and spirit of Christmas. This year for Advent we have been working through the book The Redemption of Scrooge, by Matt Rawle, which is a study of the religious implications of the story upon our lives. In a world where greed and money play such a huge role in society, it’s a worthy study, for it invites us to examine just how much money and greed affect our living. At the same time, during this season of reflection and preparation for the coming of the Christ, it is important that we, like Ebenezer, take the time to think about our past, present, and future, naming how

much we need to look outward rather than remain self-focused. If you want to learn more about Advent and this study, come on Sunday, December 3rd at 6:00 p.m. to share in food, fellowship, and learning in our Memorial Hall. This will be a time of sharing together the story behind The Christmas Carol...the story which is the centerpiece of this season, as well as our lives. This month, as you are going through your Advent days, I invite you to reflect upon the story of Scrooge and ask questions such as: What is my attitude toward money and possessions? Am I open to bringing joy and hope to those around me, especially the poor? How has my past shaped me? Where is Christ present in the present? What might God be calling me to do, or become, in the future? And in answering these questions, how am I reflecting Christ’s ways and truth as I prepare for the coming of the child-king? Advent and Christmas are special times, for they remind us of the gift that God gave us, and continues to give us, through the Son, Jesus Christ. That gift is intended to be received and not overlooked or taken for granted. The redemption of Scrooge reminds us of this truth and hopefully helps lead us into this joyous season with the heart and mind of Christ. May God bless us everyone, as we seek to be the Body of Christ in our community, by glorifying God, and guiding people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. In Christ, Tim Tate

Children’s Ministries Sunday School In Sunday School we have traveled through the books of Genesis and Exodus, and explored the Defying Gravity curriculum. We enjoy singing, hearing our Bible story each week, and experiencing the Bible through games and hands-on activities. Even the 2- year-olds

enjoy learning stories from the Bible! A "family connection" activity is posted on the WUMC Children's Ministry Facebook page each week. ̴ Megan MiloserLaChance, Director of Children's Ministries 540-522-2260

Children's Christmas Service Saturday, December 23, 4:30 All children are invited to participate in the service. Come a few minutes early to choose a costume. We will have a celebration of Jesus' birth following the service.

Kingdom’s Kids Chapel Time with Pastor Tim

Kingdom’s Kids Kingdom's Kids, our Mother's Day Out program for infants - 5 years, still has space for children ages 2.5 and older. We had a wonderful time at our Thanksgiving lunch this month and are enjoying chapel time with the pastors, music with Ms.

Megan, and learning about our world and friendships in the classroom. We are blessed to have such a caring and enthusiastic staff! We are looking forward to all of our Christmas activities planned for December.

W.U.M.P. (Warrenton United Methodist Preschool) Where is the time going? We are in the midst of getting ready for the holidays. November brought our annual Thanksgiving Powwow with the children actively learning about the pilgrims, Indians, and the first Thanksgiving. As part of this activity, WUMP families shared cookies, brownies, etc. with our first responders. Boxes full of goodies were delivered to the Warrenton Police Department, Warrenton Fire Department, Fauquier Sheriff’s Department, the State Police and EMS. And right around the corner is Christmas. WUMP tradition is to hold a brunch for our WUMP families with the kiddos singing Christmas songs, the telling of the Christmas story by one of the pastors, and the fellowship of sharing a wonderful brunch. I love our families and look forward to sharing this special time. So, on behalf of my staff, Merry Christmas from WUMP! ̴ Gail Lane

W.U.M.P. Chapel with Pastor Tim

Alice West 23 Years as Church Treasurer Coming to an End Shortly after moving to The Plains, Virginia from Upstate New York with her young family, Alice West became involved in performing with Fauquier Community Theater. In 1992, two of the women she met there invited her to come and sing in their choir at Warrenton United Methodist Church. And that was just the beginning of her deep commitment to WUMC. While raising two young girls with her husband, Curtis, and working full-time for a CPA firm in Middleburg, Alice went back to school, attending Shenandoah University in Winchester. After earning her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1991, Alice went on to earn her CPA in 1992. “When the third year went by without raises for anyone at the CPA firm,” Alice said, “I decided to go out on my own, creating Alice Gorton West, CPA. I work mostly with owners of small businesses who hear about me through word of mouth referrals.” Taking advantage of her financial and organizational skills, the church asked Alice to become the volunteer Treasurer in 1995. “The church had recently begun setting up computerized books and I’ve always liked a challenge!” Alice said. Working at the church on Mondays and other days as needed, she works between 8 and 12 hours a week. She currently enjoys the assistance of Duane Bresson, the Finance volunteer, and our new Financial Manager, Lori Perez. “Alice has invested a lot of time, energy, and love into sharing her gifts through WUMC to help insure that our finances are in order,” Pastor Tim commented. “This devotion has been spurred on by her personality, commitment, faith, and love for this congregation. We have been blessed through her service, but she’s not going anywhere. I look forward to seeing where God will use her to make a difference in other areas of the church.” Maintaining her love of singing and performing, while still doing the occasional play

with FCT, Alice sings in three different church ‘choirs’, including the Chancel Choir, Praise Band, and Living Christmas Tree. She has been the Living Christmas Tree Coordinator for the past 17 years, since its inception in 2001. As the daughter of an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant (dad) and an Army Intelligence Lieutenant (mom), Alice comes by her strong authoritative tendencies naturally. After her father retired due to health reasons, Alice finished high school while working at a nearby Registered Holstein dairy farm. She did everything asked of her, including feeding calves, bedding pens, moving heifers, driving a tractor, and doing dishes. “On the very first day,” Alice recalls, “I saw this cute young man walk out of one of the outbuildings. I thought it might be a hired man leaving ‘the bunk house’!” Turned out Curtis was one of the sons of the owners of the 1000-acre New York Century farm who was attending Cobleskill College at the time. “We started dating that fall and he made the three-and-a-half-hour drive home on weekends to see me. We were married two years later, a year after I graduated from high school.” Opting not to utilize her full scholarship to Cornell University, Alice and Curt settled into life working on the busy dairy farm. Their daughter, Jessica, was born on their second anniversary. Somehow Alice found time to get her AAS degree. Curt and Alice were nominated one of three NY Farm Bureaus Outstanding Young Farmers in 1983, the same year their second daughter, Brianna, was born. Several years later, after a series of family tragedies and severe losses, Curt heard about an opening at Kinloch Farm in The Plains and they traveled down for an interview. The couple decided to make the move to Virginia. “After so many losses, it was such a blessing to be where we could heal!” Alice said. Curt’s mother, Alberta, was one of Alice’s closest friends. “Alberta received the calling to attend seminary very late in life, becoming a United Methodist minister at the age of 57,” Alice said. In 1996, after Alberta died unexpectedly, Alice spent months putting the finishing touches on Alberta’s Doctoral thesis for Wesley Seminary so that she could graduate posthumously. “I got to speak to her every time I worked on her thesis and it made her passing so much easier.” What will Alice do next? Currently she’s on the 200th Anniversary Committee and plans to continue singing where and when they’ll let her! Being a people person, she looks forward to whatever comes next! ̴Lynnette Esse

Welcome!

ANNOUNCEMENTS • Parent’s Night Out Looking for an opportunity for a date night? Need to finish Christmas shopping? Parent’s Night Out will be December 16th from 4-8 p.m. Children will enjoy games, crafts, pizza, and more. Contact Cheyenne Garvey at: [email protected] for more information. • MomsNext Wednesday, December 6th at 9:30 in Memorial Hall - Learning to Love our Actual Christmas - Moms with a child in kindergarten and older are welcome. We are excited to announce that Janice Hutton has agreed to become our mentor. • 17th annual Living Christmas Tree We still need help on several teams, both leading up to the concerts, and during the performances. No experience needed, just a heart of thanksgiving and love. Come be a part of the LCT family! The green signup sheet is in the lobby and in the Welcome Notebooks.



Advent Night of Learning & Fellowship

We will come together at 6 p.m. on December 3rd for a special Advent evening. Our Youth will host a reception while our pastors share the meaning of the Advent season, as well as connecting Advent, Christmas, and the Charles Dickens’ story, “A Christmas Carol.” Plan to join us! • Christmas Day Outreach Be part of the Witness Ministry Team and join us as we go out into the community to share the meaning of Christmas among our local hospital staff, police, sheriff, and fire and rescue. The sign-up sheet is located at the Welcome Center. For more information contact: Barbara Stohlman at [email protected] or Sue Dove at [email protected] • Holiday Worship Schedule Children’s Service - Saturday, December 23rd at 4:30 p.m., followed by a reception. Christmas Eve we will NOT have our normal morning services, but instead have evening services at 5:00, 7:00, and 11:00 p.m. New Year’s Eve: Sunday, December 31st, one service on Sunday morning at 10:12 a.m. Our own Jeremy Vest will be sharing the Message.

UPCOMING EVENTS

All women in the church are invited to celebrate the gift of Christmas with the Women of Warrenton UMC on December 3rd from 2-4 p.m. at the home of Teresa Bennington. Please bring 2 dozen of your favorite homemade cookies for a cookie swap. Meet at the church parking lot at 1:30 p.m. if you want to carpool. RSVP to Teresa at 540-937-6290.

WUMC Living Christmas Tree See it Again for the First Time If you haven’t seen the WUMC Living Christmas Tree performance recently, you haven’t seen it before. Since it was first offered to the community in 2001, the show has continually evolved and improved each year. This year five newly acquired songs have been added to the freshly designed music mix. A new skit, written, directed, and narrated by Josh Vest, well known for his work with Fauquier Community Theater, will be performed between songs. The theme, based on the story of Scrooge, ties in with the Advent sermon series, offering the message of generosity and compassion that we associate with Christmas. Joel Saunders will be playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, Pastor Tim Tate will be playing Bob Cratchit, and Samantha Low will be playing Tiny Tim. Both Joel and Samantha will be singing solos during their performances. Gina Renfro-Smith, WUMC Music Director and LCT Conductor, will also be singing a solo during the offertory. Although the tree holds up to 64 singers, this year the 50 or so singers will have much more elbow room. Ranging in age from 12 to 80-something, the singers come from many different churches. Hand-selected by Gina, fifteen to sixteen accomplished musicians from the community make up the orchestra. Four individuals run the lights and other technical aspects of the show, and four to six support people work under and behind the tree during the performances. A half dozen ushers hand out programs, collect tickets, and help people find seats. Boy Scout Troop 175 manages the parking lot. Several people hand out ‘will call’ tickets, and several others prepare a meal for the volunteers between performances on the weekends. It takes almost 150 volunteers to make it happen. Gina starts planning and selecting music over the summer, with rehearsals beginning in early September. Twice a week for three months the singers gather to learn their parts to new songs and refresh their memories with songs from previous years. The orchestra begins rehearsing weekly in November. “This is our biggest community outreach each year,” said Ms. Renfro-Smith, who is in her tenth year as Director. “When I first got here, it was just the tree. I felt that we needed more movement, more show elements, so we added that. The show makes people happy. Even people who are generally sad and lonely during the holidays can find some joy during this show.” Also added this year is a prayer team, led by church

member, Jeremy Vest, who will be available after the show for those individuals who want to talk and pray. All new LED lights replaced the 800 old C-9 lights in 2015, making the light show infinitely more versatile, creating a more powerful performance. The 2300 new lights, using much less power, create no heat, making the singers more comfortable and keeping the energy costs down. “The old lights,” said lighting guru, Chris Lane, “virtually ‘cooked’ the singers in the tree. The lights were so hot, you could smell the plastic greens heating up. Now, instead of each strand permanently being one color, the color of each individual bulb can be changed throughout the show.” Inspired by recent outdoor home holiday light shows that coordinate with digital music, Chris Lane, assuming this role since the beginning, designs the light show with the sheet music and a computer simulation of the tree lights. He adds ‘flags’ to the sheet music, which he and his assistants have to read during the show and manually step through the light sequences to stay synchronized with the live music. His helpers, who are usually teenagers, must be able to read music, have impeccable timing, and operate a simple computer program. Originally purchased in 2001 at the recommendation of former Music Director, Reverend Richard Ford, the entire cost of the tree was covered by an anonymous donor. The $30,000 price tag included the steel frame, greenery, light strands, a music controller, and rental rights to the music, Many Moods of Christmas. They had to purchase the music books separately. Now new music is purchased and permanently owned. Rev. Ford asked church member, Alice West, to be the Coordinator, giving her a thick manual to study. Seventeen years later she still holds the illustrious title. Recalling the first year they put the tree together, Ms. West said, “Members, Ed Headly and Denny May, were the original construction team leaders. Though the manufacturers sent an instructional video, it was very complicated, because the instructions were for a 9-tiered tree and ours has only 8 tiers. After a few years, Chuck Cromack began helping them and has been in charge ever since. It takes at least seven hours to put it together, including arranging the greens. It weighs almost 3000 pounds and supports almost 11,000 pounds. It is 21 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter.” Ms. West added, “It’s almost like giving birth every year. As soon as you see the look of joy and wonder on the upturned faces in the audience at the end of a song, and realize the power of well-sung words, you forget the amount of work that led up to that moment, making it all worth it.” Free tickets can be acquired by clicking the Living Christmas Tree tab on the church website, WarrentonUMC.org. Tickets are often available at the door, but are not guaranteed. New singers and volunteers are always welcome each year. (You don’t have to be a member or even United Methodist to get involved!) ̴ Lynnette Esse

November Food Distribution

Fauquier High School National Honor Society students delivered food for the November Fauquier County Food Distribution at WUMC.

And they sorted it!

And packaged 170 boxes of food. Job well done! Thank you!

Warrenton UMC 341 Church Street Warrenton, VA 20186

Fall Clean-up Day Saturday, November 18th

UPCOMING EVENTS

Many thanks to all those volunteers who came out to help! And thank you to Dusty Rhodes for coordinating the efforts. The church grounds look beautiful!

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