One of the things I love about Advent and Christmas is the lights! I love Christmas lights! I find myself smiling as I drive around after dark and see the lights. I feel joy inside. Unfortunately, Christmas lights are temporary and eventually disappear. Of course, they would not be as effective in July!
I recently heard someone say that “Love brings light to darkness” - which has me pondering beyond the Christmas lights. Love is something deeper, longer-lasting, and with a broader impact than our artificial lights. “Love brings light to darkness.” It is love that illumines the world around us. When we see individuals through love, they are seen as children of God, each one precious to God. When we see creation through the perspective of love, we are motivated to care for this amazing gift that God has entrusted to us.
Love does not ignore the pain and suffering of people but brings hope. Love does not back away with fear but moves forward with courage. Love does not ignore or turn away from situations of injustice but makes injustice visible so others see it and changes are more feasible. The more that love is the basis of our passions and commitments the more that we can see the possibilities, the clarity of focus, and can change the world. Love opens our eyes, our ears, our minds, and our hearts, bringing light to the darkness around us.
I suppose that is why Jesus the Christ is described as the light of the world! When we experience Christ within our lives, like love, our lives and our world are experienced differently. We respond differently and even become a light to those around us.
May the Advent and Christmas season provide opportunities for you to see and experience the love which brings light to the darkness you experience in your life and the darkness you see around you. And may that light and that love bring you great joy!
Blessings, Char Burch
From the Generosity Coordinator
As we approach the last few Sundays in the last month of this decade, We Sing Praises to the King!! And he will reign..FOREVER!! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!! In this season of Advent, we are all anticipating 2020 and all of the magnificent blessings that GOD has in store for us.
We thank you ALL for all the ways you have supported, continue to support this conference and for all the ways you serve. We are so grateful and blessed. Thank you for inviting me to your churches and into your homes. I am looking for more visits in 2020.
Friendly reminder: the books will close on January 9, 2019. Please make sure that your year-end OCWM contributions reach the conference office before that date in order to receive credit for your 2019 contributions.
May God continue to bless you all, richly. Min. Carrole Moss
Climate Justice Event
Congratulations to the Southeast Conference for receiving a special grant from the UCC Brown Continuing Education Fund to sponsor a Special Event on Climate Justice. Rev. Michael Malcolm, our Conference Environmental Justice Representative, is seeking a few folks (clergy or lay) who will serve as a planning committee for the Event. We have the resources, knowledge, and motivation. We just need a few other interested folks to make the event a reality. Interested or questions? Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need names by January 15, 2020.
Youth at Annual Meeting
As plans proceed for Annual Meeting (June 19-20 at Community Congregational UCC, Montgomery, AL), be sure to notice that there will be children and youth programs for all ages! The Planning Committee is busy creating special worship experiences, workshops, optional excursions and information for those who want to spend extra time in Montgomery. Mark your calendars and look for more details!
Registration is Open for PATHWAYS 2020 Winter Courses
January 8 - February 18, 2020
L1.8 Pluralism & Religion in North America (6-weeks) $295L2.1 Intro to Spiritual Health (Pastoral Care) (6-weeks) $295L3.4 Contemporary Homiletics (6-weeks) $295January 8 - February 4, 2020ESC5 Singing the Bible (4-weeks) $99Jan. 8 - March 312.6/2.7 UCC History and Polity (12-weeks) $595March 4 - April 14 L1.9 Ethics & A Life of Meaning (6-weeks) $295L2.3 Small Church Administration (6-weeks) $295L3.6 Professional Boundaries and Ministerial Self-Care (6-weeks) $295L3.7 Contextual Theology (6-weeks) $295March 4 - March 31ESC1 What About the Bible? (4-weeks) $99April 8 - May 5ESC13 An Overview of Homosexuality and the Bible (4-weeks) $99