PUMC to Welcome the Christ in 2017 (December, 2017)

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in EventAnnouncement, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

Christmas Decs 2014 Advent Banner _IMG_1286The season of Advent is a gift from God. It’s a special time of the year when families, friends, and churches across dominations join together to celebrate the incarnation… the wonder that somehow God became human and walked this earth in the Person of Jesus.
 And yet, sometimes we get so bogged down in the parties, shopping and “things we have to do” that we miss the wonder.
And so this year we offer an opportunity to Slow Down. Plug into the activities that will help you connect with God in this season of Wonder.
We’re all busy; even at PUMC we will be busy with a lot of activities this Advent Season. We offer different activities because God speaks to each of us in a way meant just for us. But slowing down doesn’t mean dropping out. Slow down and look for Christ! Our events are places where you might find Christ. Not everything is tuned for everyone. Pray and consider where God may be leading you to spend your precious time this season.
The “Drop Down” boxes below are like gifts. Open the ones which seem to have your name on it. Dig in and enjoy the wonder of seeing Jesus this Christmas season.
What’s your favorite part of the Christmas Season? 
Scroll  down to the end of this article and vote in our poll!

There are Four Weeks in the Advent Season, and then the first Sunday after Christmas begins the Epiphany season.

  1. Week 1: Sunday Dec. 3 through Saturday Dec. 9
  2. Week 2: Sunday Dec. 10 through Saturday Dec. 16
  3. Week 3: Sunday Dec. 17 through Saturday Dec. 23
  4. Week 4: Sunday Dec. 24 through Christmas Day



Get Ready!

Yes, there’s a lot of shopping to do.  Cards are waiting to be written and mailed.  And those lights need to be hung outside.  There’s a lot to do in order to be ready for Christmas.

But these are “things” that you need to do in order to celebrate Christmas.  But, what are you doing to open yourself up to soaking in as much of the spiritual meaning of this season that you can?  In addition to participating in all of the activities, it’s wise to prepare yourself with worship, prayer, and Bible readings. 

One way to do that (other than to attend our Sunday worship services), is to follow an Advent Devotional.  Several local churches have put together a devotional guide to help you keep in touch spiritually.  For more information on the Advent Devotions, Click Here.

You can also access each week’s readings from this post.  Above each week’s schedule is a button which will open a PDF of that week’s devotions.

To learn more about the events scheduled for each of the four weeks in Advent, open the “drop down” gifts below.


===== WEEK 1 =====

(Sunday 12/3 through Saturday 12/9)



During our 9:30 and 11:00 worship services on this first Sunday in Advent, we will light the first candle in our Advent Wreath: The candle of Hope (which reminds us that “Advent is a time to wait upon the Lord with faithful endurance”).   During both services, we will celebrate Holy Communion.


Pastor Jim will use the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” to conduct a Bible Study in the Potter’s Hand room (7:00 PM).  There will be no 9:30 class this week.


The kids from our preschool (Our Father’s House) will present their Christmas Pageant in the sanctuary at 10:00. All are welcome! Come out to enjoy the innocent enthusiasm of our 2-4 year olds.


Our Youth Group will combine with Aldine UMC and Woodstown Baptist for epic all-nighter! It will run from Friday 6PM through Saturday 8AM. The all-nighter will take us to Skyzone in Delaware, Woodlanes Bowling Alley in Woodstown, and then to Gloucester County Young Life’s Barn for a time of worship and the message.


===== WEEK 2 =====

(Sunday 12/10 through Saturday 12/16)



During our 9:30 and 11:00 worship services on this second Sunday in Advent, we will light the 2nd candle in our Advent Wreath: The candle of Love  (which reminds us that “Advent is a time to watch for God’s presence”). Our Preschool will present their pageant “The True Meaning of Christmas” during the 11:00 service.


The United Methodist Women will hold a “cookie walk” in between the two services (10:30 to 11:00).  Purchase a container and fell it up with an assortment of great cookies!


At 4:00 PM the Gloucester County Children’s Choir will present their winter concert in our sanctuary.


Pastor Jim will conduct a Bible Study in the Potter’s Hand room (9:30 AM and 7:00 PM).  The study will use clips from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” to make life applications.


From 2-5 PM our Youth Group (BLAST) will wrap your gifts for you!  Donations will be accepted to benefit their upcoming retreat to Keswick.   If you’re not finished shopping for this afternoon’s wrapping, you’ll get a second chance on Friday 12/22. 

BLAST will go to Keswick to attend the MidWinter Advance (annual youth retreat) on February 16-18, 2018.


At 5:15 The “Not Ready for Prime Time Singers” will meet for dinner and then visit our shut ins. Celebrate the arrival of Christ by sharing with those who are often forgotten.


===== WEEK 3 =====

(Sunday 12/17 through Saturday 12/23)



During our 9:30 and 11:00 worship services on this third Sunday in Advent, we will light the 3rd candle in our Advent Wreath: Joy (which reminds us that “Advent is a time to prepare for the Lord in Heart, Soul, and Mind.”)    


During our 9:30 worship service, we’ll re-create the manger scene in the front of the altar in the Sanctuary.  “Shepherds” will usher our Sunday School classes to the altar to present their “white gift” boxes to the “Christ Child.”  These gifts will support local missions. 


At 4:15 our choirs will will be joined by choirs from the community to present the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah.     More Info


Pastor Jim will conduct a Bible Study in the Potter’s Hand room (9:30 AM and 7:00 PM).


At 7:00 PM a “Longest Night” service will be held in the chapel for those who find Christmas difficult after losing a loved one.


From 4-7 PM our Youth Group (BLAST) will wrap your gifts for you!  Donations will be accepted to benefit their upcoming retreat to Keswick. 



===== WEEK 4 =====

(Sunday 12/24 and  Monday 12/25)


SUNDAY 12/24 (AM): WORSHIP SERVICE (10:15 only)

There will only be one service on this morning of Christmas Eve; it will be at 10:15 AM.  During this service we’ll light the 4th candle in our Advent Wreath: Peace  (which reminds us that the One we’re waiting for is the Messiah, the Prince of Peace).  

During the morning service, Rev. Jim Hughes will present one of his special musical dramatizations!  For more on Jim Hughes, read about his presentation this summer at the Pitman Camp Meeting:  Jim Hughes  

This evening, we will hold two Christmas Eve services (open the below drop down box).


We will hold two worship services on Christmas Eve.

  • 4:00 PM- Geared to families with young children.
  • 7:30 PM – Traditional candlelighting service. (Our “Songs of the Season” music will start at 7:00 PM.  It will feature our brass band, choir, and praise team.  Just something to get you in the spirit before the actual service starts.  Arrive somewhere between 7-7:30).

During both services, we’ll light the center candle of our Advent Wreath:  The Christ Candle (which reminds us that we are to proclaim the message of Christmas).

===== “WEEK 5” =====

(Sunday December 31)

This year, New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday.  Even though New Year’s Eve isn’t technically part of the “Advent Season,” we take it to be part of our Christmas Season. Here’s what’s happening on Sunday December 31:

SUNDAY 12/31 (AM): WORSHIP SERVICE (10:15 only)

In the morning, we will hold only one service- at 10:15 AM.  It will be an informal Carol Sing. 


On the evening of December 31, the sanctuary will be open for a time of silent reflection and prayer.   Stop by the church anytime between 6:00 and 8:00 PM to reflect on the past year and to renew your commitment to God (there’s no service; just a quiet sanctuary with a chance for you to pray and reflect on your own).


If you’re not in the Pitman area or if you can’t make it to church on an Advent Sunday, please note that you can now catch us on Live Stream!  Click the button on the homepage of this website.  This button will take you there too:  Live Stream


Images of Advent

Here are some “Christmas at PUMC” photos from recent years…

Notice that Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve both occur on a Sunday this year. 

On the MORNINGS of Sunday December 24 and Sunday December 31 we will hold only one service.  It will be held at 10:15 AM.

We will hold our traditional Christmas Eve services on the EVENING of Christmas Eve and a time of silent prayer and reflection on the EVENING of New Year’s Eve (see the dropdown boxes above).

On the other Sunday Mornings in December, our usual schedule of 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM will apply.



Opportunities to Give

Advent isn’t only about “watering yourself” with the wonder of Christmas.  It’s also about imitating our gracious God by giving to others.  During this season, we’ll have several opportunities to give back to our community and to help others experience the wonder of God’s love.


The Star Tree

During the Advent season, our sanctuary and Narthex are graced by several Christmas Trees.  But one the trees in our Narthex goes far beyond decoration.  We call it our “Star Tree” and it’s there to help share the Christmas Spirit with kids who might otherwise not be able to receive gifts.  

This Christmas tree is adorned with Yellow stars, and each star bears the name of a child from our town who is in need of our help. 

To participate in this ministry:

  • By Giving
    Remove a star with the child’s name on it and purchase a gift (suggested on the star). Bring in the wrapped gift to the church and place it under the Star Tree no later than December 10. 
  • By Passing the Gift Along
    If  your child is in need of a gift (and if you live in Pitman), contact our Church Office to schedule a gift.  Families may pick up their their children’s gift(s) at the church on Saturday December 16, between 10:00 AM and 12:00 Noon.


The Mitten Tree

In the Hooks ‘n Needles for God group, we are using our talents to create blankets and prayer shawls to help needy children keep warm this winter. 

To help us in that effort, we’ve set up a Mitten Tree in the rear of the sanctuary.  This is a very special Christmas Tree; it’s designed so that you can remove decorations in addition to adding decorations. 

You can participate in the gift of our Mitten Tree in several ways:

  • By Decorating
    If you have knitted a scarf, hat, or mittens and would like to donate them, just hang them on the tree.
  • By Giving
    If you know of a family who could use some warm knitted items, remove an item from the tree and pass it along to the family.
  • By Accepting
    These items are for the taking!  If you or members of your family need something warm this winter season, take any item from the tree.  That’s why it’s there! 


Operation Christmas Child

This collection is actually over, but it’s not too early to plan for Christmas 2018! During November, a total of 112 shoeboxes were filled with toys and toiletries and forwarded to Samaritin’s Purse for distribution to needy kids.


What is Advent? What’s an Advent Wreath?

AdventWreath-IMG_3880-150x150Advent is celebrated during the four Sundays preceding Christmas. This year, Advent occurs entirely in December, with Christmas Eve being the 4th Sunday in Advent. 

One of the ways we mark each Sunday in advent is with the lighting of a candle on our Advent Wreath. Each candle represents a different attribute (or “fruit”) of our relationship with God. The center candle is lit during our Christmas Eve service; it represents that Christ is among us.


Check out the following video from “Chuck Knows Church”…

What Happens After Advent?

Sundays throughout the Christian Calendar have names that follow the season. For example, the four Sundays before Christmas are called “First Sunday in Advent,” “Second Sunday in Advent,” etc. But what happens when you have Christmas Day- usually in the middle of the week- and then you come back to church the next Sunday? That Sunday has its own special name: “First Sunday after Christmas Day” (not really imaginative…).


The next Sunday (the first one in January) is called “Epiphany Sunday.Click Here for more info. For the next month or so our Sundays will be called the “__Sunday after the Epiphany“.


The season of Lent begins a certain number of days before Easter Sunday (we’ll just leave it at that for now…). And so, in 2018 at least, on Sunday Feb. 14  we’ll switch from “__Sunday after the Epiphany” to “__Sunday in Lent“.  April 1 is Easter Sunday, and after that you get into Sundays after Eastertide and Pentecost (Pentecost Sunday is on May 20 in 2018)… but we’ll talk about that later.



What’s your favorite part???

There’s a lot going on this time of the year.  Some of it may seem like a chore, but much of it is a great opportunity to get closer to Christ (and to friends and family).  What’s your favorite part of this season?

Please take a second to vote in the following poll; fully anonymous… just click your response(s)…

What's your favorite part of the Christmas season?
  • Christmas Cantata 31%, 15 votes
    15 votes 31%
    15 votes - 31% of all votes
  • Christmas Eve Service 24%, 12 votes
    12 votes 24%
    12 votes - 24% of all votes
  • The Star Tree (buying or receiving gifts) 10%, 5 votes
    5 votes 10%
    5 votes - 10% of all votes
  • The Our Father's House Christmas Pageant 10%, 5 votes
    5 votes 10%
    5 votes - 10% of all votes
  • Christmas Morning (with family under the tree) 8%, 4 votes
    4 votes 8%
    4 votes - 8% of all votes
  • Advent Services (Anticipation & Preparation) 6%, 3 votes
    3 votes 6%
    3 votes - 6% of all votes
  • Visiting people w/ Not Ready for Prime Time Singers 6%, 3 votes
    3 votes 6%
    3 votes - 6% of all votes
  • New Year's Eve Silent Communion 4%, 2 votes
    2 votes 4%
    2 votes - 4% of all votes
Total Votes: 49
Voters: 22
December 2, 2017 - December 25, 2017
Voting is closed

If you can't decide, you can pick up to 3 items...
Check back later to keep an eye on the standings. The poll closes Christmas Day.


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