Saturday, December 31, 2011

Remembering Our Sister Mildred L. Kimmel

MILDRED L. KIMMEL, 88 of Weirton, WV passed away Friday December 30, 2011 at Weirton Medical Center. She was born June 18, 1923 in Holidays Cove, WV. She was the daughter of the late John Jack Braymaker & Jeanetta Belle Campbell Braymaker. Mildred was also preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, the late Richard "Dick" Myers Kimmel on September 29, 2008 & daughter-in-law Kathryn M. Kimmel. She was a member of Cove Presbyterian Church where she served on the church session and was also a member of the women's association, and a Sunday school teacher. Mildred was previously employed as a telephone operator at Weirton Steel.

Surviving are her daughters Karen L. Kimmel & her husband Martin Rosensweig of Arlington, VA, & Patricia K. Patsch & her friend Kevin L. Marker of Weirton, WV, son Richard L. Kimmel of Weirton, WV, grandchildren James R. Kimmel (Suzanne), Jeffrey M. Kimmel(Dana), & Elizabeth P. Patsch, great grandson Colson M. Kimmel, step-grandchildren Jason L. Rosensweig (Dana) & Lori R. Engler(Thomas), step-great grandchildren Joshua D. Rosensweig, Andrew T. Engler, Collin Engler, & Emery D. Rosensweig.

Visitation will be at the Steel & Wolfe Funeral Home, Inc., 3721 Main Street, Weirton, WV on Sunday from 1-3 & 6-8. Additional visitation will be held at the church followed by the funeral service at Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, WV on Monday at 10:00 a.m. with Dr. J.E. Rudiger officiating. Burial will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Memorial contributions may be made to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV.

Our Christmas Sermon - More Than a Baby

Hebrews 1:1-12

1Bit by bit and in many ways in the past, God spoke to the fathers by the prophets 2but in these last days, he spoke to us by a son, the one appointed heir to all things, through whom he also made the ages, 3who was the radiance of glory and the impressions of his being and who carries all things by his powerful word, who, when he made purification for sins, was made to sit at the right in majesty on high, 4who was better than the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than their’s. 5For at any time, did he say to the angels, my son you are; I myself today have begotten you, and again, I myself will be to him a father, and he will be to me a son? 6But again when he might bring the first born into the inhabited world, he said, And let all God’s angels worship him. 7And of the angels he says, He makes his angels winds, and his ministers flames of fire, 8but of the son, Your throne, God, is for ever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore, God, your God, anointed you with oil of exhilaration above your fellows, 10and, You, from the beginning, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands; 11they themselves will perish, but you yourself remain, and everything as clothing will grow old, 12and like a cloak you will roll them up, as clothing they will also be changed.


More than a Baby

For the last month, every morning, I’ve driven by the nativity that’s in front of the community center and then I’ve walked by another one that we’ve set up at the back of the church. And before I leave home, I pass a nativity on our mantle, and a couple of weeks ago, Debbie bought Maggie a little set based on A Charlie Brown Christmas, which she arranged on the sofa table in the family room. And I haven’t mentioned some of the creche-related ornaments on our Christmas tree and a couple of others we didn’t even take out of the box this year, including one in which all the figures are resin Teddy Bears. Let’s just say, there’s no shortage of nativities in my life right now.

And you know, although they’re all somewhat different, I mean, even though they’re made of different materials and they’re of different sizes and they certainly look different, they all have one thing in common. Regardless of the theme, they all have Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. And of course that’s the way it should be. My goodness, that’s what Christmas is all about, the birth of Jesus. And even though I’ve had a few people online tell me that Jesus was probably born in late September, early October, the historical time really doesn’t matter, at least it doesn’t for me.

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Today we remember Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and angels, and of course the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. I mean, today is Christmas for crying out loud, so of course we’re going to focus on baby Jesus. Dah. And I’ll tell you, I think that’s wonderful. And to have a service on Christmas morning, well, to me that’s even better, although I kind of think my daughter might disagree.

Unfortunately, though, I think there’s a potential problem with our celebration. I think for an awful lot of folks, even a lot of Christians, Jesus really never out grows the manger; he just never seems to grow up. In other words, he stays a baby: innocent of life in the fast lane, naive to real world pressure, and a little unrealistic when it comes to stuff like serving God and loving neighbors. To them, Jesus stays kind of cute and cuddly, warm and fuzzy, meek and mild. And above everything else, he’s uncontroversial, right? He’s just not the kind to stir up trouble, certainly not with people as nice as we are. No sir, remember “[his] yoke is easy, and [his] burden is light,” or is it a light yoke and an easy burden. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is this: Jesus came to make folks feel good, good about themselves and good about their world, just like a little baby that puts a smile on the faces of the people who hold him. That what a lot of people seem to believe.

And to tell you truth, there are days when I kind of wish that was true too. Of course, there’s just one problem, wishing doesn’t make it so. And like it or not, this is really not the Jesus we encounter in scripture, not after he leaves Bethlehem. You see, instead of being this innocent, cute and uncontroversial man-child, the one who ultimately went to the cross is so much more than an infant. And although it may not always be comfortable, I’ll tell you, for that fact and that fact alone, I think we should all give a big “Amen,” because if he was never more than a babe in a manger, we really have nothing that can offer peace as we consider the past and hope as we look toward the future and joy as we live in the present.

And you know, I think that was the point the writer to the Hebrews made in the passage we just read. Now evidently the church to which he was writing had come to the conclusion that Jesus was either an angel or that he was somewhere on their level, and that’s why he spent a fair amount of space trying to show that angels just weren’t anywhere near Christ’s pay scale. And to make this point, he spent a lot of time focusing on Jesus’s identity and on his position and authority and certainly on his work. And I’ll tell you, by doing this, I think he shows us pretty clearly that Christ was more than a baby.

I mean, just think about what he wrote about his identity, and I’m talking about the identity of Jesus Christ, son of God. Remember, after dealing with what God had done in the past, he wrote, “he[, namely God,] spoke to us by a son, the one appointed heir to all things, through whom he also made the ages, who was the radiance of glory and the impression of his being and who carries all things by his powerful word, who, when he made purification for sins, was made to sit at the right in majesty on high, who was better than the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than their’s.” Now, that’s the identity of the one who’s birth we remember today.

And I don’t know about y’all, but to me, that makes him a pretty important person. I mean, just think about what this means. Since Jesus is both the reflection of God’s glory and literally the stamp of God’s very being, we can understand the nature of God by looking at the life and death of the son. In other words, God reveals his love and his freedom through Jesus Christ, and he does it in a way that we can understand, in a way that we can see and hear and touch. Put another way, we meet God himself when we come close to Jesus, and that’s exactly why Jesus called himself the new Temple, the place where people can gather before their Lord. This is who the Son is. But that’s not all. He’s also the one who “made purification for sins.” Of course, here the writer was using an image that was really important to people back in the day, you know, when folks believed that sins could be covered up by the blood of sacrificed animals, offered to God by a priest. Later, in this same letter, the writer will call the Son both the perfect priest and the ultimate sacrifice. Of course, this kind of stuff meant more to them than it does to us. But that doesn’t make it unimportant. You see, however you want to describe it, Jesus was the one who cleared away our sin and our shame so that could both approach and serve God with peace. And trust me, no baby could do that.

But the writer didn’t stop here. He also wrote about the son’s position and his authority. Quoting the Old Testament, he wrote that “your throne, God, is for ever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore, God, your God, anointed you with oil of exhilaration above your fellows.” And just like I said about his identity, this is important to us, too. You see, when you get right down to it, the son really is the king. His kingdom stretches over the entire universe and his throne is in the heavens and before his life-giving scepter all creation bows in worship. In other words, Jesus is the boss; he’s the one who calls the shots, which means that no matter what’s going on right now, he is still in control. And friends that’s good, because we all know that sometimes things happen, and we get scared and become discouraged. But I’ll tell you, at those times, we might want to relax and remember that God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are still in control; therefore, we really have nothing to fear. And as this passage reminds us, our king loves order and hates chaos. And so, when life seems to be coming apart at the seams, we can actually be confident that God is still leading us forward, that he won’t be distracted and neither should we, and that in the end, we’re going to be exactly where he wants us. That’s the kind of position and authority our savior has, and no baby has that.

And finally, just think about his work. Again, listen to the writer of this letter: “You, from the beginning, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands; they themselves will perish, but you yourself remain, and everything as clothing will grow old, and like a cloak you will roll them up, as clothing they will also be changed.” Now, I think this is really interesting, because the writer didn’t mention the stuff we usually associate with Christ, and I’m talking about the crucifixion and resurrection. Instead, he focused on how he’s the eternal creator of the universe. In other words, the one who’s birth we remember made everything, like John wrote, “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.”

And he was before the beginning and will be after the end. As a matter of fact, when all everything has broken down and all energy has been expended, our savior will still be active. As he was in the beginning, we can be sure he’ll be there at the end, bringing creation to its conclusion and causing something new to come, a time Paul described when he wrote, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is our future, assured not by a baby but a savior.

It won’t be long before the nativities will be put away for another year, which means that along with the shepherds and kings and Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus will be boxed up until next December. Now, that’s just what we do, and you know it’s probably a good thing, because if that infant in the manger were always in front of us, we might never realize who he was and is. And we might never see his position and his authority. And we might never appreciate what he did, what he does, and what he’ll do in the future. In other words, until we’re able to get past the cute and cuddly infant of Christmas, we might never understand that Jesus was more than a baby.

Christmas Eve's Sermon - He Wasn't Alone

Titus 3:4-7

4But when the kindness and the friendliness of our savior God was shown, 5not from works of righteousness which we did but according to his mercy he saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6which he poured out on you richly through Jesus Christ, our savior, 7so that when we were made righteous by his grace, we might become heirs to the hope of life eternal.


He Wasn’t Alone

Y’all may not know it, but my wife collects Precious Moments figurines. Now this is something I think she’s done forever, long before I entered the picture. Of course, when I found that out, I thought this could really be a good thing for me; I mean, I always had an automatic, “no-brainer” gift idea, right? My goodness, if I got stuck or was running a little late, I could always buy her something for her birthday or Christmas at the last minute.

Man, I thought I was in Fat City, that is until I discovered three things about this Precious Moments stuff. First, those things are really expensive. I mean, who’d have thought that a little girl with an oversized head talking to a bunny could cost so much. And that’s a big deal to me because with money, I’m a little bit...conservative. That’s one problem. And second, Debbie doesn’t want just any figurine; it has to be one that she’d picked out, you know, one that goes with the theme of one particular part of her collection. In other words, the clearance table is rarely a possibility. And third, remember I said that one of my issue is that I tend to put buying gifts off until the last minute, well, it didn’t take me long to find out that they don’t sell Precious Moments at Wal Mart, much less the gas station down the street. And when I’m down to the wire, which happens all the time, that’s not good news. What do they say about the best laid plans.

Anyway, like I said, Debbie collects those little figurines. And when we got married, she brought into the relationship a nearly complete Precious Moments nativity, and I’m talking about almost the whole enchilada: Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals, even this angel with kind of a flash light that you can perch on top of the inn. The only thing we don’t have are wise men, but they’re certainly available, for the right price. And in this set, there’s a little manger that’s completely empty and a tiny little baby Jesus that’s separate. Of course, every year, when we’re packing things away, it’s a big deal to make sure that Jesus doesn’t get lost. I mean, that would not only theologically change the whole meaning of Christmas but would cost me about $40 to replace.

But you know, this last week, I was thinking about that little baby, laying all by himself there in the manger, and it kind of hit me that that’s sort of what we do with Christ this time of year. I mean, often we sort of leave Jesus alone in the manger. And although he’s always surrounded by a fair number of people and animals, depending on whether you got the deluxe set or not, Jesus is still usually front and center, isn’t he? That’s where he is in the half dozen nativities we have at home. Jesus is right there, usually with his arms stretched out. And why shouldn’t he be? Good night, he’s the reason for the season for crying out loud, at least that’s what we say.

But right there may be a problem. Because when we limit our focus to our creches, it’s really easy to forget that in reality, Jesus wasn’t alone in the manger at all. As a matter of fact, the coming of Jesus Christ was the act of God, and I’m talking about the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. You see, in a real way, they were all part of the Bethlehem story.

And you know, I think that’s something we can see in the passage I read a little while ago from Titus.
And although shepherds and wise men weren’t mentioned at all, this is also a story of Christmas, one in which we see all the truly the major players. I mean, we certainly have the Father, don’t we; because it was in Bethlehem “when the kindness and the friendliness of our savior God was shown, not from works of righteousness which we did but according to his mercy he saved us...” You see, and this is really cool, the eternal God “...chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.”Now this is what Paul wrote to the Ephesians. Before we were born, man, the world was made, “he destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” You see, God loved us so much, he desired a relationship with us so badly, he so wanted to understand us and for us to understand him, that he did what we can’t do. He pierced the barrier that separates the secular and the sacred. At Christmas, that’s what the father did.

And the son, oh my goodness, he was the one who moved from one side to the other and then back again. Through him, “we were made righteous by his grace, we might become heirs to the hope of life eternal.”Now that’s what I call a double-header. You see, it’s through him, or maybe better it’s in him that we can have a relationship with God right here and now. That’s what grace is really all about. And that relationship is made complete when we simply trust that the heavy lifting has already been done by Christ. And later, well, because of him we’ve become heirs; we receive the hope of salvation and eternal life. And I’ll tell you, this hope is as real and as concrete as an empty tomb. You see, because he was raised, what Paul calls “the first fruits of those who’ve died,” we can be sure that we will be too. At Christmas, this is what the Son came to do.

And I’ll tell you what, all this would just be “nice to know” information, if it weren’t for the Holy Spirit that brings the love of the Father and the work of the Son into our lives. “...he saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, which he poured out on you richly through Jesus Christ, our savior...” You see, even with everything the Father and Son did, we’d still would be wandering around in dark if it wasn’t for the Spirit opening eyes so that we can see and our minds so that we can understand. And no matter how glorious our Christmas celebration, we’d ultimately be unmoved, if the Spirit hadn’t shaped our will, breaking down those barriers we erected between ourselves and God and empowering us to say that I trust in both the love and the work. In other words, we’re reborn by the movement and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You see, at Christmas that’s exactly what the Spirit does.

Of course the Precious Moments nativity is up on our mantle, with shepherds, animals, Joseph, Mary and, I hope, the tiny baby still in his manger. And although this is the way it’s suppose to be, that is until I spring for some kings, there was really more going on then the figurines show. You see, there in Bethlehem we not only have God, the Son, beginning his work with humanity, we also have the love of God, the Father, standing behind it all and the continuing presence of God, the Holy Spirit, giving it all meaning. I’ll tell you, the coming of Christ was the act of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, when he was in the manger, Jesus was certainly not alone.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Eternal Love

1 John 4:7-16

7-10My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

11-12My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!

13-16This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.


A Devotion by Rohan P. Diarsa (Gujarat, India)

As part of a family trip to New Delhi during the Christmas season, we visited the Taj Mahal. We spent four hours inside this architectural marvel. A Moghul king constructed it in remembrance of his beloved wife. Centuries later, their love is symbolized in the beauty and atmosphere of the monument.

This building honoring mortal love reminded me of the much greater, immortal love that the King of kings showed for us over 2000 years ago. Jesus came to the earth and gave his life for us. More than the love of a human king for his queen, we can experience God’s eternal, unconditional, unfailing love today and forever.

The love of God shown in Jesus Christ has the power to wipe out our guilt and sins. God in love also promises us eternal life. But we don’t have to travel to a special place to find and feel this amazing love. All we have to do to experience the life God offers us is to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. And then we become monuments to that love by the way we live each day.

Announcements - Sunday, January 1, 2012

The announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin are below.

DON'T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to choose from to fit your needs.

IN OBSERVANCE OF THE NEW YEAR!S HOLIDAY...
the church and office will be closed on Monday, January 2. Happy New Years

THE DECEMBER MEETING OF THE BOARD OF SESSION...
has been rescheduled to Tuesday, January 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

THE ADULT HANDBELL CHOIR WILL PRACTICE...
on Wednesday, January 4 at 5:30 p.m. under the direction of Becky Korosec. New members are always welcome and you do not have to read music to play. For more information contact Becky at 304-748-8449.

THE CHANCEL CHOIR WILL PRACTICE...
at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4. If you would lik~ to uft your voice in song to praise our God, consider becoming a member of the Chancel Choir. For more information contact Janice Torrance at 304-797-1908.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY...
will next meet on Thursday, January 5 at 12:30 p.m. in Fellowship

MONTHLY DEACONS MEETING...
Monday, January 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the boardroom.

OUR SYMPATHY IS EXTENDED TO...
the family of Anna Rae Benzo Knotts, a member of our Cove Family, who died on Sunday, December 1 8~, 2011.

MAILBOXES...
board members please check your mailboxes, new boxes will be set-up in the coming week.

ANNUAL REPORTS...
committee chairpersons or treasurers, remember that there will be a Congregational Meeting the end of January and reports must be turned into the church office a week prior to the meeting.

CHURCH USE...
please remember to contact the church office if you have a meeting change of any type - time, date or if you schedule some thing different on your meeting night. There are multiple meeting edch night, and to accommodate everyone we need to be aware of any and all changes either e-mail or telephone us. Also remember we follow Hancock County School’s schedule in the winter, if school is canceled due to bad weather evening activities are canceled as well.

STOP IN THE CHURCH LIBRARY...
to view a picture of Holliday’s Cove from 1905 showing a view of Cove Church. The picture is compliments of the Weirton Museum.

2012 OFFERING ENVELOPES...
are available in the church library. Please take your own and any neighbors or friends that you can deliver, saving us postage.

IF WE MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY OR ANNIVERSARY...
in the bulletin, we apologize but we do not have the information on our calendar. Please contact the church office with your infor mation. Also, consider adding your dates to our Cove Community Calendar next year as a listing.

REMINDER, PLEASE COVER
the top of the church’s tables before they are used for any activity. They will stain and are hard to clean, this can be avoided with a little cooperation.

ONLY ONE...
a Peg Game designed by Bruce Trushel, is available in the church library. The learning game is a unique way to learn and remember the Ten Commandments. The game can be ordered from:
Only One God Foundation
PO Box 2459
Weirton WV 26062

GREETERS NEEDED...
if you would like to serve as a greeter before a Sunday morning worship service, p~ease contact Bonnie Nichols at 304-723-5134.

WE ARE BLOGGINGI
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They’re listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com)
- This is for the whole church. I’ll post sermons and announcements. I also invite yall to send in material that youd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I’ll post announcements. You’re also invited to send in any v~riting~, photographs and art work you’d like to post. And they don’t have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue,blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be post ed.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletaik.blogspot.com) - We’ve estab lished this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance t.~ discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we’re posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you’ve done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we’ll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the, Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don’t want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you’d like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We’ll add a new item to discuss every three
weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blpgspot .com) - Each day, we’ll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS...
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT CHURCH...
for someone or for a specific function, please take a moment to write the information on the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?...
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin maiIin~s con tact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING...
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING...
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Nart hex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS...
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS...
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE...
about four times a week, If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS...
• Used Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantowri, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels can be dropped off in the container located in the main ha!lway downstairs.

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday's worship service

On Sunday, the Cove Presbyterian congregation will lift the follow needs to God:

Adults
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Bill Churchman
Bob Saffle
Charles Saffle
Cheryl Hargest
Christy Cybulski
Chum Robert
Concepta Wekesa
Connie Francis
Dave Adler
Dave Bever
Domenick Notarantanio
Doug Friends
Dryer family - Meyer, Welch & Hawkins
Ed Roach
Erin Marosi
Faith Bonyak
Jan Moncrief
Jennifer Dahlem
Jim Hanna
Jim Szymanek
Joan Gallagher
John Brothers
Judy Dobbins
Judy Mason
Juliet Paul
Karen & her son Daniel
Ken Robinson
Lindsey Ward
Loretta Hess
Lynn Schupbach
Mark Watson
Mary & Jack Games
Mr. &; Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Neal Watson
Nick Palavis
Norma Coleman
Patty Neely
Paul Buck
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Susan Ponville
T.J. Croft
Trina Lewis
Virginia & Paul Welch

Children
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Christian Truax
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Kya Schwertfeger
Kylee Leathers
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader
Randy Phillips

In the Hospital
Eric Minor - Weirton Medical Center
Paul Maine - Weirton Medical Center
Jim Hanna - Trinity (hospice)

Bereaved Families
The Family of Mildred Kimmel - Mildred Kimmel

Church Families
Gail & Roger Van Horn
Tina, Terry, Allison & Mitch Viakley
Karen Mason family

Local Church
Shiloh Apostalic Church

Special Friend
Tee Gryskevich - 656 Cable Road, Weirton, WV 26062-6188

Presbyterian Churches
First Presbyterian Church, Scio, Ohio - Rev. John Visser
First Presbyterian Church, Shadyside, Ohio - Vacant Pulpit

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice Orr - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Bob Morgan - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Father of Mary Ann Ianni - Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton, WV 26062
Ila Mauk - 1235 Swearingen Rd, Weirton, WV 26062-4332
Marge Black - Weirton Geriatric Center, Room 223, 2528 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mary Kay DePaolo - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2529 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mike Valiga - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2530 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Russell Meadows - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Ruth Gilmore - Grace Cottage Room, 40194 Eden Dr, Weirton, WV 26062
Thelma Longacre - Chambrel at Montrose, Unit 210, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron, OH 44333-3091

THE WORK OF CHRISTMAS

When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins.
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To teach the nations,
To bring Christ to all,
To make music in the heart.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bulletin Announcements - December 25, 2011

The announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin are below.

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service. We still need some volunteer help. We thank those of you in advance who help to care for the future members of our Cove Family.

DON’T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to choose from to fit your needs.

IN OBSERVANCE OF CHRISTMAS . . .
The church and office will be closed on Monday, December 26. Merry Christmas!!

IN OBSERVANCE OF THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY . . .
the church and office will be closed on Monday, January 2. Happy New Year!

THE DECEMBER MEETING OF THE BOARD OF SESSION . . .
has been rescheduled to Tuesday, January 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

THE ADULT HANDBELL CHOIR WILL NOT PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday, December 28. Practice will resume on Wednesday, January 4 at 5:30 p.m. under the direction of Becky Korosec. New members are always welcome and you do not have to read music to play. For more information contact Becky at 304-748-8449.

THE CHANCEL CHOIR WILL NOT PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday, December 28. Practice will resume at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4. If you would like to lift your voice in song to praise our God, consider becoming a member of the Chancel Choir. For more information contact Janice Torrance at 304-797-1908.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . .
will next meet on Thursday, January 5.

MONTHLY DEACONS MEETING . . .
Monday, January 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the board room.

CHURCH USE . . .
please remember to contact the church office in 2012 if you have a meeting change of any type - time, date or if you schedule something different on your meeting night. There are multiple meeting each night, and to accommodate everyone we need to be aware of any and all changes either e-mail or telephone us.

GREAT JOB ELLA!!! . . .
Ella Dietz, an elementary school student, had a lemonade stand and earned $ 50.03 which she donated to the Deacons’ Outreach Program. Thank You Ella!

$160.21 is the amount . . .
that was received from The Kroger Company as Cove church’s share of their Community Rewards Program. Thank you everyone who has registered. If you have not registered, please consider doing so, IT COSTS YOU NOTHING!!, just use your Kroger card to register and we receive quarterly payments based on what you spend!

STOP IN THE CHURCH LIBRARY . . .
to view a picture of Holliday’s Cove from 1905 showing a view of Cove Church. The picture is compliments of the Weirton Museum.

2012 OFFERING ENVELOPES . . .
are available in the church library. Please take your own and any neighbors or friends that you can deliver, saving us postage.

CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING . . .
envelopes are included in your bulletin today. This is a Presbyterian offering originating in the 1930's. The funds are split between the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian racial ethnic schools & colleges. Fifty per cent goes to supplement retirement income and medical insurance for former ministers, church workers and their families; and fifty per cent is used for the Presbyterian racial ethnic schools and colleges. Six schools supported by the offering are: Barber-Scotia College, Cook Native American Ministries, Knoxville College, Menaul School, Presbyterian Pan American School and Stillman College. We thank you in advance for your generosity.

IF WE MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY OR ANNIVERSARY . . .
in the bulletin, we apologize but we do not have the information on our calendar. Please contact the church office with your information. Also, consider adding your dates to our Cove Community Calendar next year as a listing.

REMINDER, PLEASE COVER . . .
the top of the church’s tables before they are used for any activity. They will stain and are hard to clean, this can be avoided with a little cooperation.

ONLY ONE. . .
a Peg Game designed by Bruce Trushel, is available in the church library. The learning game is a unique way to learn and remember the Ten Commandments. The game can be ordered from:
Only One God Foundation
PO Box 2459
Weirton WV 26062

GREETERS NEEDED . . .
if you would like to serve as a greeter before a Sunday morning worship service, please contact Bonnie Nichols at 304-723-5134.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific function, please take a moment to write the information on the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.

The Little Match Seller, by Hans Christian Anderson

It was terribly cold and nearly dark on the last evening of the old year, and the snow was falling fast. In the cold and the darkness, a poor little girl, with bare head and naked feet, roamed through the streets. It is true she had on a pair of slippers when she left home, but they were not of much use. They were very large, so large, indeed, that they had belonged to her mother, and the poor little creature had lost them in running across the street to avoid two carriages that were rolling along at a terrible rate. One of the slippers she could not find, and a boy seized upon the other and ran away with it, saying that he could use it as a cradle, when he had children of his own. So the little girl went on with her little naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold. In an old apron she carried a number of matches, and had a bundle of them in her hands. No one had bought anything of her the whole day, nor had anyone given her even a penny. Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along; poor little child, she looked the picture of misery. The snowflakes fell on her long, fair hair, which hung in curls on her shoulders, but she regarded them not.

Lights were shining from every window, and there was a savoury smell of roast goose, for it was New-year's eve—yes, she remembered that. In a corner, between two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sank down and huddled herself together. She had drawn her little feet under her, but she could not keep off the cold; and she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not take home even a penny of money. Her father would certainly beat her; besides, it was almost as cold at home as here, for they had only the roof to cover them, through which the wind howled, although the largest holes had been stopped up with straw and rags. Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold. Ah! perhaps a burning match might be some good, if she could draw it from the bundle and strike it against the wall, just to warm her fingers. She drew one out—“scratch!” how it sputtered as it burnt! It gave a warm, bright light, like a little candle, as she held her hand over it. It was really a wonderful light. It seemed to the little girl that she was sitting by a large iron stove, with polished brass feet and a brass ornament. How the fire burned! and seemed so beautifully warm that the child stretched out her feet as if to warm them, when, lo! the flame of the match went out, the stove vanished, and she had only the remains of the half-burnt match in her hand.

She rubbed another match on the wall. It burst into a flame, and where its light fell upon the wall it became as transparent as a veil, and she could see into the room. The table was covered with a snowy white table-cloth, on which stood a splendid dinner service, and a steaming roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried plums. And what was still more wonderful, the goose jumped down from the dish and waddled across the floor, with a knife and fork in its breast, to the little girl. Then the match went out, and there remained nothing but the thick, damp, cold wall before her.

She lighted another match, and then she found herself sitting under a beautiful Christmas-tree. It was larger and more beautifully decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door at the rich merchant's. Thousands of tapers were burning upon the green branches, and coloured pictures, like those she had seen in the show-windows, looked down upon it all. The little one stretched out her hand towards them, and the match went out.

The Christmas lights rose higher and higher, till they looked to her like the stars in the sky. Then she saw a star fall, leaving behind it a bright streak of fire. “Someone is dying,” thought the little girl, for her old grandmother, the only one who had ever loved her, and who was now dead, had told her that when a star falls, a soul was going up to God.

She again rubbed a match on the wall, and the light shone round her; in the brightness stood her old grandmother, clear and shining, yet mild and loving in her appearance. “Grandmother,” cried the little one, “O take me with you; I know you will go away when the match burns out; you will vanish like the warm stove, the roast goose, and the large, glorious Christmas-tree.” And she made haste to light the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to keep her grandmother there. And the matches glowed with a light that was brighter than the noon-day, and her grandmother had never appeared so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.

In the dawn of morning there lay the poor little one, with pale cheeks and smiling mouth, leaning against the wall; she had been frozen to death on the last evening of the year; and the New-year's sun rose and shone upon a little corpse! The child still sat, in the stiffness of death, holding the matches in her hand, one bundle of which was burnt. “She tried to warm herself,” said some. No one imagined what beautiful things she had seen, nor into what glory she had entered with her grandmother, on New-year's day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday's worship service

On Sunday, the Cove Presbyterian congregatin will lift the follow needs to God.

Adults
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Bill Churchman
Bob Saffle
Brian Felber
Charles Saffle
Cheryl Hargest
Christy Cybulski
Chum Robert
Concepta Wekesa
Connie Francis
Dave Adler
Dave Bever
David Matthews
Domenick Notarantanio
Doug Friends
Dr. Bill Roberts
Dryer family - Meyer, Welch & Hawkins
Ed Roach
Erin Marosi
Faith Bonyak
Jan Moncrief
Jennifer Dahlem
Jesse Griffith
Jim Hanna
Jim Szymanek
Joan Gallagher
John Brothers
Judy Dobbins
Judy Mason
Juliet Paul
Karen & her son Daniel
Ken Robinson
Linda Alexander
Lindsey Ward
Loretta Hess
Lynn Schupbach
Marie Luckhardt
Mark Watson
Mary & Jack Games
Mezic Pino Roem
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Neal Watson
Nick Palavis
Patty Neely
Paul Buck
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Rick Swain
Ron Baker
Susan Ponville
T.J. Croft
Trina Lewis
Virginia & Paul Welch

Children
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Christian Truax
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Kya Schwertfeger
Kylee Leathers
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader
Randy Phillips

Church Families
John & Norma Tunanidas
Mike & Ruthanne Valiga
Jenny Van Gilder

Local Church
St. Peter’s AME Church

Special Friend
Ila Mauk - 1234 Swearingen Rd, Weirton, WV 26062-4331

Presbyterian Churches
Bethel Presbyterian Church, Salineville, Ohio - Rev. Ted Ludwig
They ask for prayer that Bethel will be an amazing tool in the hands of Jesus; for guidance as they start a new ministry with folks going through divorce; for their incoming officers and those who plan on entering into the lay preacher program; and for their ministry with the kids in their area and their involvement with Young Life of Columbiana county as it reaches out to teens in their area with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Calvary Presbyterian Church, Salineville, Ohio - Vacant Pulpit

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice Orr - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Bob Morgan - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Father of Mary Ann Ianni - Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton, WV 26062
Ila Mauk - 1235 Swearingen Rd, Weirton, WV 26062-4332
Marge Black - Weirton Geriatric Center, Room 223, 2528 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mary Kay DePaolo - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2529 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mike Valiga - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2530 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Russell Meadows - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Ruth Gilmore - Grace Cottage Room, 40194 Eden Dr, Weirton, WV 26062
Thelma Longacre - Chambrel at Montrose, Unit 210, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron, OH 44333-3091

Presbyterian Church News & Announcements Weekly Digest - December 19-23, 2011

December 19

Ringing in a record
Presbyterian leader breaks record for ringing Salvation Army bell, hopes effort will foster partnerships


December 20

Church throws party for neighborhood
Becomes an agent of reconciliation for those who previously wanted nothing to do with church

The dance of life and death
Matanzas seminary partners with community to combat HIV/AIDS


December 21

School daze
Food, chapel are main concerns, says Cuban seminary student body leader

A world apart
Reconciliation is better foreign policy than punishment, Cuban, U.S. theologians agree


December 22

Physician, heal thyself
Cuba’s economic reforms ‘like healing surgery,’ economist tells U.S. religious leaders

PNS to take holiday break
Office closed except for emergencies from Dec. 23-Jan 3

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Christmas Meeting

Ephesians 1:3-12

3Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! 4Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. 5God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children. 6God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God. 7-8Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, 9and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways. 10Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth.

11God always does what he plans, and that’s why he appointed Christ to choose us. 12He did this so that we Jews would bring honor to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him.


A Devotion by Galina Galaktionova (Pskov, Russia)

I reluctantly agreed to go to the Christmas service in one of the Orthodox churches in our city. When we entered the church I saw a woman talking to the priest. The woman’s face was not immediately familiar, but I felt sure that I knew her.

During the service, I listened to the wonderful singing and the prayers. I looked at the faces of the icons and the flickering candles. But I could not stop thinking about the woman. Where do I know her from?

Suddenly I remembered: she had been my first music teacher. I hadn’t seen her for 25 years. She had done much more than open up the world of music to me. This woman was the first one to talk to me about God — during a period when it was practically forbidden in my country to mention God’s name.

I went up to her. When I asked if she recognized me, she said yes and added, “You have the same eyes.” I told her, “You know, you were the very first person who told me about God.” A smile lit up her face. I felt overwhelmed by emotion. Meeting her this way reminded me that when I searched for God, the people I needed to guide me appeared.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Minute for Mission - Nativity of Jesus Christ/Christmas Day

"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths" (Micah 4:2).

Ministering with a thousand senior adults was my final job, professionally, before I retired in 2007. Who would ever think that I would wind up in a church, after starting out in a medical career? God truly led me to the church. What a blessing to be in a place where I could learn so much from the living history of those older adults. Certainly after sixty-five Christmases, most people have learned about the nature of giving.

I likened my job to those in youth ministry. Everyone thought that was a crazy notion. But when in your life do you have so many changes to contend with as you do in your youth and in your old age? When else in your life are you free to drop in to give or receive advice?

While we are growing "Christ's Church Deep and Wide,'' what better time to start than the end of Advent and the new beginning of Christmas, when we celebrate Christ's birth? We can start now by making our place of worship a wonderful "mountain'' where everyone is welcome from birth to death.

— Beth Ann Force, secretary, Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network (POAMN)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - Behind the Christmas Story

Romans 16:25-27

25And to him who has the power to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been preserved in silence from eternity 26and which was now revealed and through certain writings of prophets according to the command of the eternal God to bring about obedience that comes from faith is made known to all the Gentiles, 27to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory into eternity, amen.


Behind the Christmas Story

As you probably can tell from the cover of the bulletin, A Christmas Story is one of my favorite movies. It has what I call rewatchabitity, and speaking for myself, I bet I’ve seen it more than It’s a Wonderful Life, another film I watch over and over again. As a matter of fact, watching it at lease twice on Christmas Day has become almost a holiday tradition. And as I imagine most of y’all know, that’s really easy to do, since TBS shows it for, I think, twenty-four straight hours.

And the movie itself, man, how can you not love Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock, and “this thing which tells time” and the old man’s obsession with his “major award,” or his mother’s effort to get Randy to eat. And with Jean Shepherd’s narration, well, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without hearing someone say, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

But you know, when we got the DVD, because let’s face it twenty-four hours just isn’t enough, it had a short documentary on how they made the film. It was kind of the story behind A Christmas Story. I mean, they interviewed some of the actors, and they went to the house, which is in Cleveland by the way. And of course, they talked to a whole bunch of people who are even more focused on this movie than me, although I do have several Christmas Story-related ornaments hanging on our tree, including one with Ralphie wearing Aunt Clara’s present and another with him about to slide away from Santa.

And even though all the behind the scenes stuff isn’t nearly as great as the movie itself, it’s still pretty good, because it’s interesting to know something about what lies behind a story I love. And you know, as we pass through this time of year, I’m not sure there’s a story we love more than what we find in the Gospel of Luke. “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”

Of course, that’s the Christmas story we all know and love. And after the service this morning, it’ll be the center of the children’s play, and next Saturday evening, we’ll hear it again at our Christmas Eve service. And although the story itself is wonderful, I think it becomes even better when we spend just a little while thinking about what was going on behind the scene, you know, the story that’s really behind the Christmas story. And I’ll tell you, at least for me, that story, well, it all focuses on God. In other words, I believe behind the story of Christmas lies his power and his love of God.

And you know, I think Paul did a great job of explaining this in this passage we read from the very end of his letter to the Romans. You see, although he didn’t mention Christmas at all, in these verse, I think Paul did an outstanding job of identifying who God is, and I’m talking about the one who entered our time and space in the person of Jesus, and I also think he was right on the mark when he described what this same God did through Christ. And for that reason, I really believe this short, little passage points us to what lies behind the Christmas story. Good night, just look at the passage there in your bulletin, and notice how Paul described God. I mean, he wrote about how God has wisdom and glory. Of course, when he talked about God being wise, Paul certainly didn’t have earthly wisdom in mind. In fact, you could say that it’s the exact opposite. And that’s why he wrote to the Corinthians that “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” and a little later in the same letter, “Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”

You see, God turns our wisdom and strength on it’s head, because he and he alone is the source of all truth. The best we can do is to understand the world which God created, but he’s the creator. Now, who is truly wise? And the glory, the splendor of the immortal God, that state to which we may aspire but always fall short when we sinners are trying to do it on our own, that power which caused Jesus Christ to rise from the dead, well, God is it’s source. From him, glory comes and that glory can change us. Paul wrote, “Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” You see, God is the one who possesses both wisdom and glory.

And he’s the one who meets us in Jesus Christ. You know, of all the major religions in the world, I think Christianity is unique. You see, we seem to be the only ones who worship a God who came to us, like I said a little while ago, who entered our time and space, experiencing both our joys and pain,
so that we could not only understand him but so that he could also understand us and do it on both our best and worst days. As the evangelist John wrote, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” Now that’s what God did, and for this reason that wonderful hymns fits us so well: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” That’s the one we remember at Christmas.

And through that revelation, God strengthens us, he offers us hope in the present and resurrection in the future. As Paul wrote, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.” You see, this is the one who stands behind Christmas.

And just think about what God did. You see, right now he communicates to us through the good news, and I’m talking about the proclamation about Jesus Christ himself. And that’s why Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” And just listen to this, also from Paul: “for since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.”

You see, it’s through that gospel, that good news, that we can begin to understand what God is doing, and it’s through that Christ-centered proclamation that we can begin to trust in the one who brought that it all up-close and personal. Put another way, God offers us something we’re not going to find anywhere else, and now I’m talking about “the revelation of the mystery which has been preserved in silence from eternity and which was now revealed and through certain writings of prophets.”

Now, understand, this is what “the creation [awaits] with eager longing, ...the revealing of the children of God....” It’s something that has been “...secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” And it was made real and visible in the writing of the prophets and through the person of Jesus Christ. And brothers and sisters, this is what it is. This is what the mystery is all about. As Paul wrote, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

You see, through this revelation, we can see a God we can actually trust. Not something that drifts up there, out there, that we have to find, but the one who found us, the one who became like us, and the one who loves us so much that he makes himself known in a way that we can understand. Now that’s what the one who stands behind the Christmas story did. And if that wasn’t big enough, just think about this: he did it for everyone, for all nations, not just those on the inside, but for everybody.

Now, I have no question that after worship next Sunday I’m going to settle in and watch a couple of hours of A Christmas Story. And you know, it doesn’t matter whether I catch it when it starts or not. Man, I’ve seen it so many times, I can enter at any point. But before I hear those waiters sing, “Deck the hars with bawrs of horry,” I hope I spend a little time thinking about who God is and what he did through Jesus Christ. Because he’s really the one who’s behind the Christmas story.

Friday, December 16, 2011

PC(USA) News & Announcements Weekly Digest - December 12-16, 2011

December 12

Join us for worship in Bethlehem this Saturday
Annual simulcast will join Christians in Bethlehem and Washington

Campus as mission field
Collegiate ministry can help students understand, grow in faith


December 13


Haitians rebuilding Haiti
Your donations at work for recovery

Notes about people

New titles released from Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding; popular studies now available in Spanish and Korean languages


December 14

Rebirth and new life
Church of All Nations seeks to live into its name

Overtime
Normalization will benefit both countries, Cuban foreign minister tells U.S. religious leaders


December 15

PC(USA) New Church Development leader to attempt world record for continuous bell ringing
One of 24 Salvation Army bell ringers vying for 36-hour record to support people in need

Parsons and Valentine join NCC in speaking against Islamophobia
Interfaith Commission dismayed by Lowe’s action on “All-American Muslim”

Cuban, U.S. Councils of Churches issue joint statement
Visit ending declaration focuses on embargo, Cuban Five and Allen Gross

WikiPresbyterians?
Whitsitt says online encyclopedia offers hints for ‘open source church’

Six new mission program grants totaling $200,000 awarded
New church development and presbytery transformation grants support evangelism and discipleship efforts to expand Presbyterian mission and ministry


December 16

As the year closes, the call to observe the “Decade of Hearing and Singing New Songs to God” is renewed

Announcements for Sunday, December 18, 2011

The announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin are below.

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service. We still need some volunteer help. We thank those of you in advance who help to care for the future members of our Cove Family.

DON’T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to choose from to fit your needs.

IF YOU’VE EVER WORRIED OR FELT STRESS . . .
plan to join our new women’s discussion group. Led by Debbie Rudiger, we’ll be talking about how we can rise above worry and stress. They meet on Sundays, beginning at 9:45 a.m. Come and feel free to invite your friends.

OUR ANNUAL CHRISTMAS DINNER . . .
and children’s play, A Charlie Brown Christmas, is scheduled for today, Sunday, December 18, beginning at 12:30 p.m. You are asked to bring your favorite covered dish and your table settings. The deacons will provide the meat and rolls. The day will end with a “Special Visitor” for the children.

TRUSTEES MEETING . . .
Monday, December 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room. All members are asked to attend.

SESSION MEETING . . .
Tuesday, December 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

THE ADULT HANDBELL CHOIR WILL PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday, December 21 at 5:30 p.m. under the direction of Becky Korosec. New members are always welcome and you do not have to read music to play. The Handbell Choir plays once a month for Sunday worship and for holidays. For more information contact Becky at 304-748-8449.

THE CHANCEL CHOIR WILL PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday, December 21 at 6:45 p.m. We are working on anthems for each service and music for the Christmas Season. If you would like to lift your voice in song to praise our God, consider becoming a member of the Chancel Choir. For more information contact Janice Torrance at 304-797-1908.

IN OBSERVANCE OF CHRISTMAS . . .
the church and office will be closed on Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26.

YOU’RE INVITED TO OUR CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLELIGHT SERVICE . . .
December 24, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY. . .
Communion will be observed during the morning worship.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . .
will next meet on Thursday, January 5.

THANK YOU . . .
I would like to thank all my friends at Cove Church for all the Prayers and beautiful cards they sent me.
Happy Holidays!
Ruth Ann Oesterling

GREAT JOB ELLA!!! . . .
Ella Dietz, an elementary school student, had a lemonade stand and earned $ 50.03 which she donated to the Deacons’ Outreach Program. Thank You Ella!

$160.21 is the amount . . .
that was received from The Kroger Company as Cove church’s share of their Community Rewards Program. Thank you everyone who has registered. If you have not registered, please consider doing so, IT COSTS YOU NOTHING!!, just use your Kroger card to register and we receive quarterly payments based on what you spend!

STOP IN THE CHURCH LIBRARY . . .
to view a picture of Holliday’s Cove from 1905 showing a view of Cove Church. The picture is compliments of the Weirton Museum.

2012 OFFERING ENVELOPES . . .
are available in the church library. Please take your own and any neighbors or friends that you can deliver, saving us postage.

CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING . . .
the last insert for this year is in your bulletin, please take a moment to read about past usages for the monies. This is a Presbyterian offering originating in the 1930's. The funds are split between the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian racial ethnic schools & colleges. Fifty per cent goes to supplement retirement income and medical insurance for former ministers, church workers and their families; and fifty per cent is used for the Presbyterian racial ethnic schools and colleges. Six schools supported by the offering are: Barber-Scotia College, Cook Native American Ministries, Knoxville College, Menaul School, Presbyterian Pan American School and Stillman College. You can use the envelope that will be included in your bulletin on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for you donation. We thank you in advance for your generosity.

IF WE MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY OR ANNIVERSARY . . .
in the bulletin, we apologize but we do not have the date on our calendar. Please contact the church office with your information. Also, consider adding your dates to our Cove Community Calendar next year as a listing.

REMINDER, PLEASE COVER . . .
the top of the church’s tables before they are used for any activity. They will stain and are hard to clean, this can be avoided with a little cooperation.

ONLY ONE. . .
a Peg Game designed by Bruce Trushel, is available in the church library. The learning game is a unique way to learn and remember the Ten Commandments. The game can be ordered from:
Only One God Foundation
PO Box 2459
Weirton WV 26062

GREETERS NEEDED . . .
if you would like to serve as a greeter before a Sunday morning worship service, please contact Bonnie Nichols at 304-723-5134.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific function, please take a moment to write the information on the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Its Meaning and Its Cost


Since we're getting so close to Christmas, I thought I'd reprint two articles based on that Christmas classic, The Twelve Days of Christmas: the first deals with its meaning and the second, its cost.


THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

There may be one Christmas Carol that has always baffled you. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly, someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. it has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church.

Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

1. The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
2. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
3. Three French hens stood for Faith, Hope and Love.
4. The four calling birds were the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
5. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, The First Five Books of the Old Testament.
6. The six geese a laying stood for the Six Days of Creation.
7. Seven swans a swimming represented the Sevenfold Gifts of the Holy Spirit - - Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leader ship, and Mercy.
8. The eight maids a milking were the Eight Beatitudes.
9. Nine ladies dancing were the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.
10. The ten lords a leaping were the Ten Commandments.
11. The eleven pipers piping stood for the Eleven Faithful Disciples.
12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the Twelve Points of Belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

We hope you find this knowledge both interesting and enlightening. Now you know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.


IF PURCHASED, “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS” ITEMS WOULD TOP $100K

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The price of partridges, pear trees and turtle doves has spiked, pushing the cost of every item men’tioned in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” above
$100,000 for the first time.

Holding mostly steady this year: maids-a- milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping alid gold rings. The 364 items repeated across all the song’s verses would cost $101,119, an increase of 4.4 percent over last year, according to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management. The broader government Consumer Price Index increased by 3.9 percent over the same period.

Those with the money to spend would end up with 12 drummers drumming, 22 pipers piping, 30 lords- a-leaping, 36 ladies dancing, 40 maids-a-milking, 42 swans-a-swimming, 42 geese-a-laying, 40 gold rings, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves, and 12 partridges in pear trees. (The price does not include bird maintenance.)

But buying just one set of each verse in the song will cost $24,263 this year — a moderate 3.5 percent rise. Eleven pipers piping will set you back $2,427, but that’s a relative bar gain compared to seven swans-a-swimming, which cost $6,300. That’s a 12.5 percent rise over last year.

Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investment for PNC Wealth Management, said the care rate of increase is less than half the 9.2 percent jump last year.

“The story in general is wages are still a very sluggish part of this economy,” said Dunigan, who noted that the price of eight maids-a-milking at minimum wage was $58 — the same as in 2009. Five gold rings even declined a bit, Dunigan said, to $645, from $650 last year.

But last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet may be in for some surprises. The core list that costs about $24,000 in stores will come to $39,860 online — a whopping 16.1 percent increase over Internet prices last year. Dunigan said the high cost of ship ping live birds explains some of the difference.

Six items didn’t go up in cost this year: French hens, calling birds, gold rings, maids-a-milking, ladies dancing and lords a-leaping. Pipers piping and drummers drumming rose 3 percent. The partridge is still the cheapest item, at $15, and swans the most expensive.

PNC Financial Servic es Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. Some of its sources this year include the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday's worship service

On Sunday, the Cove Presbyterian congregatin will lift the follow needs to God.

Adults
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Bill Churchman
Bob Saffle
Brian Felber
Charles Saffle
Cheryl Hargest
Christy Cybulski
Chum Robert
Concepta Wekesa
Connie Francis
Dave Adler
Dave Bever
David Matthews
Domenick Notarantanio
Doug Friends
Dr. Bill Roberts
Erin Marosi
Jeff Palmer
Jennifer Dahlem
Jesse Griffith
Jim Szymanek
Joan Gallagher
John Brothers
John F. Roberts
Judy Dobbins
Judy Mason
Juliet Paul
Karen & her son Daniel
Ken Robinson
Linda Alexander
Loretta Hess
Lynn Schupbach
Marie Luckhardt
Mark Watson
Mary & Jack Games
Mezic Pino Roem
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Neal Watson
Nick Palavis
Patty Neely
Paul Buck
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Rick Swain
Ron Baker
Susan Ponville
T.J. Croft
Trina Lewis
Virginia & Paul Welch

Children
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Daisy Emmerick
Georgie Platt
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Kya Schwertfeger
Kylee Leathers
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader
Randy Phillips

Church Families
Craig Trushel family
Kim Trushel & Taelor Costello
Mark Trushel family

Local Church
Salvation Army

Special Friend
Rev. Robert Marsh - Apt. 1221, 22680 Cedar Lane Ct., Leonardstown, MD 20650-3903

Presbyterian Churches
First Presbyterian Church, St. Clairsville, Ohio - Rev. Homer Harden (They ask for prayer for their partnership with the Ferry Church in Malawi and for their coat closet ministry)
Uniontown Presbyterian Church, St. Clairsville, Ohio - Vacant Pulpit

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice Orr - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Bob Morgan - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Father of Mary Ann Ianni - Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton, WV 26062
Ila Mauk - 1235 Swearingen Rd, Weirton, WV 26062-4332
Marge Black - Weirton Geriatric Center, Room 223, 2528 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mary Kay DePaolo - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2529 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mike Valiga - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2530 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Russell Meadows - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Ruth Gilmore - Grace Cottage Room, 40194 Eden Dr, Weirton, WV 26062
Thelma Longacre - Chambrel at Montrose, Unit 210, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron, OH 44333-3091