Bethel Mennonite Church Newsletter – November, 2020
To Our Bethel Church Family,
We are coming up to a very unique Christmas season. Our gatherings and traditions will look significantly different from previous years and it will likely be quieter for most of us. This isn’t what we had hoped for, but it is a good opportunity to remember that the journey Mary and Joseph took from Nazareth to Bethlehem was long, hard and full of unknowns. It was not family, friends or feasts that brought Joy to the world, but the presence of Jesus. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” This is the foundation of our hope, our joy and our peace.
We want to keep our church family connected and informed as much as possible and to that end we offer the following highlights from the past month as well as some of the events we are planning.
In person Services: As part of the new restrictions given by the BC Government on November 19, we have suspended all In-Person services until January 4th at which time, we will re-evaluate.
Online Services: We invite everyone who is able, to join us for our online services, which are available on our website at bethelmc.ca.
Sermon Series: Our Advent series keeps us in the book of Isaiah where we will look at Jesus’ coming in four different ways:
November 29 - Isaiah 7:11-14 Jesus as Sign
December 6 - Isaiah 9:1-7 Jesus as Light
December 13 - Isaiah 11:1-9 Jesus as Hope
December 20 - Isaiah 11:10-12:6 Jesus as Salvation
December 24 – Christmas Eve Service The Coming of Jesus
Christmas Eve Service The Christmas Eve service is a highlight of the year for many people: the carols, the candles, and the candies are all a part of a beautiful tradition celebrating the birth of Christ. Given everything that is going on with COVID, a lot of discussion went into what the Christmas Eve service could look like this year. We came to the difficult decision that in light of the COVID restrictions currently in place, we will have an online only Christmas Eve service this year and will not gather together as a church family. This is not the Christmas Eve any of us had imagined. It is hard to let go of our plans, expectations, and traditions and there is a process of grieving that comes with that loss.
In the midst of this grief and loss, we have something in common with the first Christmas: Immanuel, God with Us. God stepping into our lives, even when they’re much, much different than we had imagined. Jesus’ birth reminds us that he is present in the middle of changed plans, that he joins us in the humble stable of our lives, and that there is still “peace on earth to those on whom His favour rests.” With that hope in mind, let us consider as a community how we can encourage one another in the coming months, even if we can’t all be together for a service.
North Otter Elementary -We have connected with North Otter School regarding Christmas Hampers and we will be providing Christmas Hampers for 2 families from our community who are struggling financially. Due to health and safety concerns we will not be able to provide the food for the hampers and instead we will be providing a grocery gift card to each of the families from the Deacons’ Fund. If you would like to contribute to either of these hampers, please contact the church office to see what help may be needed.
Gift Bags -Another way we want to reach out to our community is through Christmas gift bags for children. We will have a table set up outside the office door during the week before Christmas with bags of treats and bags of ready-to-assemble crafts for the children from our community to pick up. It’s a small way we can let the children of this community know that they are loved.
Formation of a Society -Leadership wish to thank all of you who took the time to provide input and vote on the formation of a society and adoption of a new Constitution, Bylaws and Guidelines. This has been an important project. To attain quorum, we needed 1/3 of active members, we received 65% participation. Under our current guidelines, we needed 2/3’s majority to change our Constitution and Guidelines, we received 88% Here are the ballot counts:
Motion 1, to form a society – 95% approval received
Motion 2, to adopt a new Constitution, Bylaws and Guidelines – 88% approval received
Motion 3, to approve the transition process – 90% approval received
We will commence work on the transition process. We go forward!
Disbursement of Freedom Mobile Funds -A motion has also been attached with a proposal regarding the disbursement of some of the money earned in 2020 from Freedom Mobile. You can see more information in the proposal itself but we would like to support the Sergio Rocete in Mexico, Pat & Rad Houmphan in Thailand, and also our local Langley Food Bank with these funds. We would also invite you to consider participating in this ministry of giving so that we can help feed the hungry, clothe those who need it, and see the Gospel preached all over the world. If you would like to give to one or more of these places, you can:
-Mail a cheque to the church office
-Give securely online bethelmc.ca/give
-Send an e-transfer to email@example.com
"Adopting" A Youth
Interested in trying something new? (OK, maybe it's not new but you could still try it...) We are inviting some of our seniors to "adopt" some of the youth in your church for this Christmas. You aren't literally adopting them, but it would involve praying for them regularly, reaching out once in a while, and perhaps even sending a Christmas card. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Aleah (firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-655-6155) and she can give you more information.
Elsie Redekop has been in the hospital for the past 3 weeks and is very weak and in a lot of pain due to multiple health issues. John and Elsie are hoping that she can come home, but before that happens John needs to arrange professional in-home care for Elsie. John and Elsie are grateful for our prayers.
As you may have been aware, Anne has been struggling with her health for some time and it looks like she may be in her final days. She is resting peacefully at home with Pat close by her side. Please pray for grace and peace for Anne in the coming days, and also for Pat as he continues to provide loving care. Pastor Jon was able to visit and pray with them in a COVID safe way Wednesday afternoon. Pat sends his love to our church family. Please pray for Pat and Anne, but Pat has asked for no phone calls at this time so that he can stay by Anne's side in these final days.
Luiza Marten’s sister, Anelore, was diagnosed with breast cancer this week. Please pray for her.
Wolly Neustaedter's brother, Cornelius Neustaedter, recently passed away after a lengthy illness. Cornelius had been residing in a care home in Chilliwack and will be missed by his family and friends.
Edna Janzen (Goertz) passed away on October 25. Edna grew up in the North Otter area and was married to Eddie Janzen in 1950 at Bethel Church. She has not attended Bethel for many years but was known by several people in our congregation and will be missed.