ALSACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/alsacelutheran
2201 Kutztown Road, Reading, PA 19605
Morning Worship: 8:15 & 10:45 a.m.
8:15 Service Broadcast live over 1340AM
Streamed on the Internet at www.iheart.com
Sunday School for all ages – 9:30 a.m.
“Church on the Hill, Standing on the Word”
December, 2017/January, 2018
WHAT IS CHRISTMAS
-Helen Steiner Rice
Is it just a day at the end of the year?
A gay holiday filled with merry good cheer?
A season for presents – both taking and giving?
A time to indulge in the pleasures of living?
Are we lost in a meaningless, much-muddled haze?
Have we closed our eyes to God and His love?
And turned our eyes from “The Bright Star Above?”
Oh, Father in Heaven, renew and restore
The real, true meaning of Christmas once more.
So we can feel in our hearts again that
“Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men”
Is still a promise that man can claim if he but
seeks it in Thy name.
Rev. Richard A. Nelson, Pastor
Rev. Charles E. Fair, Pastor Emeritus
Rev. Mark E. Brophy, Pastor Emeritus
Mr. David Rutt, Music Director
Mrs. Nina Rowley, Organist
Miss Cynthia Speicher, Secretary
Mr. William Reber, Jr., Sexton
Mrs. Sherri Mengel, Sunday School Superintendent
Mrs. Barbara Coller, Council Secretary
Ms. Carol Kunsman, Envelope Secretary
Mr. D. Richard Wieder, Treasurer
Council Members/Term Expires
Richard Bailey, Jr. End of 2017
John Funk End of 2017
Kimberly Grinage – President End of 2019
Peggy Harter End of 2017
Jeffrey Klinger – Vice President End of 2019
Donald Moll End of 2018
Mary Pachuilo End of 2019
Evelyn Sheetz End of 2018
Gerald Speicher End of 2018
Lee Strause End of 2017
THE LEGEND OF ST. NICHOLAS
During the last years of the Roman Empire, in the city of Myra, the regional bishop died. A local man, Nicholas, who was known by all to be a very holy person and a devoted follower of Christ, was elected as the new bishop with little or no opposition. Nicholas’ first act as bishop was to give away all his wealth, for he was a very rich man. He started giving all of his possessions and money away, but an angel appeared to him in a dream one night and said, “Nicholas, you must not give all of your wealth away. Save three bags of gold until I tell you what to do with it.” Nicholas did what the angel commanded and hid three bags of gold under his bed. Every night he waited for a message as to what to do with the money.
When the angel finally returned in a dream, the angel said, “Nicholas, tonight you must take one of your bags of gold and go to the pawnbroker who has three daughters. He is very poor and his daughters will not be able to marry without a dowry. Otherwise they will be sold into slavery.” Nicholas woke from his dream, got dressed and took one bag of gold, went to the pawnbroker’s home, dropped the bag of gold inside an open window, and quickly fled; he didn’t want to disturb the family. In the bag was sufficient gold for a dowry for the eldest daughter, allowing her to wed. She and her father were full of joy.
The next evening the angel returned to Nicholas in a dream and said, “Nicholas, take another bag of gold and go to the pawnbroker’s home for his younger two daughters are in jeopardy of being sold into slavery.” Nicholas immediately woke and went to the home. He went to the window, but it was locked. He went to another window, slowly and quietly opened it, dropped the bag of gold inside, and again quickly fled. Now two sisters were happy, but not the youngest.
The next evening Nicholas had another dream, as he knew he would, for all good things come in threes. The angel came and repeated the story from the previous two evenings. Nicholas got up and went to the pawnbroker’s home. Meanwhile the pawnbroker was very curious who was leaving these bags of gold. Like Nicholas, he knew good things come in threes and thus he locked the door and all the windows, forcing, he hoped, the generous benefactor to go to the back of the house where he could be discovered. Bishop Nicholas arrived and tried a window, then another, and another, but all were locked. But instead of going to the back of the house, he climbed up the side and reached the roof. From there he dropped the gold down the chimney. Again, there was sufficient money for a dowry for his youngest daughter. The pawnbroker never knew of the bishop’s kindness, but others did and later told the story of Nicholas. Over time, the story of Nicholas’ goodness reached central Europe. To this day, people remember the man who became known in legend as Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus), as a man who gave gifts imitating God’s gift of himself to the world.
This legend of Bishop Nicholas, and the birth of Jesus recorded in Luke, are integrally related. In each case, a promise was made and a gift given. This is what certainly lies at the heart of, not only the Christmas message, but the Christian faith!
Wishing All a Blessed Christmas and Joyous New Year!
The Rev. Richard A. Nelson
PLEASE NOTE: Pastor Nelson will be away December 26 through January 2. Please call the church office with any pastoral needs. Pastor David Reinwald of Kissingers Church will be providing pastoral care while Pastor Nelson is away.
Owen Michael Weller
Parents: Ernest & Melissa Weller, III
New Volunteers are needed to work the sound system and radio transmission during our Sunday morning worship services. Anyone interested please speak to Lee Strause. Training will be provided.
Every Sunday at 8:15 & 10:45 a.m.
(The liturgical color for each Sunday is listed in parenthesis)
December 3 (blue) – 1st Sunday of Advent; Sacrament of Holy Communion
December 10 (blue) – 2nd Sunday of Advent;
Recognition of Social Ministry Committee and Soup Kitchen
Sunday School Christmas Program (snow date, Dec. 17)
December 17 (blue) – 3rd Sunday of Advent;
December 24 (blue) – 4th Sunday of Advent; 8:15 Worship Only;
No Sunday School and No 10:45 worship
December 24 (white) – Christmas Eve – 5:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 31(white):
8:15 a.m. Worship, featuring Christmas carols and Lessons (led by Ryan Breisch)
9:30 a.m. Sunday School Christmas Movie with refreshments
No 10:45 a.m. worship
January 7 (white) – Epiphany Worship; Sacrament of Holy Communion
January 14 (green) – 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
January 21 (green) – Youth-Led Praise & Worship
January 28 (green) – 4th Sunday after Epiphany (Souper Bowl Sunday)
February 4 (green) – 5th Sunday after Epiphany
Sharing the Ministry of Alsace
Be sure to tell others about the ministry of Alsace:
It is a welcoming and friendly congregation. There is always inspiration and hope, not to mention good food! The people of Alsace have a sense of purpose and mission of serving others. Alsace centers its congregational life on the grace of God, which is for all people. Start spreading the news; that is, the “Good News” of God’s love and the ministry and mission of Alsace.
2017 Advent Theme
The 2017 Advent Theme is “New Beginnings.” The theme hymn is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” which will be sung each Sunday as a candle is lit on the Advent wreathe.
December 3 – “Don’t Fear the Wait”
December 10 – “Blazing a Path to Christ”
December 17 – “A New Day is Coming”
December 24 – “Perceiving the Presence of God”
Parents – need to do some Christmas shopping but can never find the time? When was the last time you had a nice “Dinner for Two?” The Youth Group is here to help! On Friday, December 8 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., they are offering FREE babysitting for children from infant to age 11. There will be games, crafts and snacks for them to do while they are here. Forms can be picked up on a Sunday morning or you can call the church office to sign-up. The deadline is Sunday, December 3 so we can make sure we have enough supplies for all who are attending.
The youth are selling Scrip Gift Cards: Forms can be picked up on a Sunday morning or you can call the church office during the week. Deadline to order and make payment is Sunday, December 3.
Christmas Eve 5:00 p.m. Children and Family Worship
A special gift and blessing for all children present
“Candle-lighting” with glow sticks
Christmas Eve 11:00 p.m.
Traditional Candlelight Worship
Special Prelude Music begins around 10:30
This service is broadcast live on 92.3 FM and 1340 AM and at iheart.com
The Fellowship Committee is continuing the Supper Club in 2018. We would like your assistance in selecting the restaurants for each month, beginning in April through December. The list of restaurants is included in this Messenger. The deadline to return the list is Sunday, January 28. Same rules apply, ONE CHECK and NO COUPONS.
Wireless hearing devices are available to those who need or desire them for our worship services. They may be obtained by seeing Lee Strause on a Sunday morning.
Please inform the church office when a member is hospitalized or admitted to a health care facility, including room numbers. Due to the HIPPA laws, information about hospital and health care facility admissions is limited and often restricted. Without your help, we cannot track and follow up with visits and prayers.
How to Become a Member of Alsace Lutheran Church
Speak to Pastor Nelson if you are interested in membership, or know someone who might be!
If you are already a member of a Lutheran Church –
Simply call the church office (610-929-8727), give the secretary the name of your previous church, and we will request a Letter of Transfer.
If you are a member of another Christian Church –
Simply contact the Pastor, and you will be invited to a New Member class, after which you will join Alsace by Affirmation of Faith.
In the Event of Bad Weather
In the event that Sunday morning worship would need to be cancelled due to severe weather, you can now check WFMZ-TV. Check your local TV station, or you can see all the closings posted at wfmz.com. Also, if you are ever in doubt, you can call Kim Grinage (610-376-1962), Jeffrey Klinger (610-775-5787) or Pastor Nelson (610-944-6131).
Muhlenberg Churches Food Pantry
The MCFP continues to serve the needs of those in our community. Donations of the following items are most needed, as these items are not readily available from the Food Bank: toilet paper; paper towels; bath soap; laundry detergent; fabric softener; Kleenex; shampoo; toothpaste. Bring any donations to church and place them in the box marked “Muhlenberg Churches Food Pantry.” Thank you for your continued support of the MCFP!
2018 Sacrament of Holy Communion Schedule
The Sacrament of Holy Communion will be offered on the following Sundays and Holidays:
January 7; February 14 (Ash Wednesday-12 Noon and 7:00 p.m.); March 4; March 28 (Holy Wednesday); March 29 (Maundy Thursday); March 30 (Good Friday, 1:00 p.m.); April 1 (Easter); May 6; May 20 (Day of Pentecost); June 3; August 5; September 2; October 7; November 4;
2:00 p.m. Holy Communion in the chapel will be held May 6 and October 7.
Gerald Speicher will be in the Library on Sunday morning, before and after Sunday School, to collect your $3 membership dues for 2018. You may also mail your dues (checks only) to him at:
3311 Marion Avenue, Laureldale, PA 19605.
Our Christmas Luncheon will take place at The Inn at Reading on Tuesday, December 12 at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased from Mary Jane Hoffman.
Gerald Speicher will have your 2018 membership cards and you will receive the 2018 Brochures.
Our final trip for 2017 will take place on Wednesday, December 20, when we travel to the American Music Theatre for their Christmas Show, “Home for the Holidays.”
Trip sign-up will take place on Thursday, January 4. Doors open at 8:00 a.m., sign-up begins at 8:30.
The first Luncheon will take place on Tuesday, January 16. Meeting begins at 11:30, lunch is served at Noon and the entertainment, “Musical Cousins Plus One,” will begin at 1:00. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased from Pat Berger.
Gift certificates can be purchased throughout the year from Irene Stoudt. You may call her at 610-929-8275.
Souper Bowl Sunday
January 28, 2018
This annual event raises money for local food pantries and soup kitchens. Please bring an extra dollar or two with you and drop it off in the soup kettles as you leave worship. All donations will be given to Alsace Soup Kitchen and the Muhlenberg Churches Food Pantry.
2017 Christmas Program
Sunday, December 10, 9:30 a.m.
(snow date, December 17)
Bertha Weber Room
Presented by the children and youth of the Sunday School
Invite your friends and family members!
Volunteers Needed at Muhlenberg Churches Food Pantry
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Alsace Church is the host church for the January distribution at the Muhlenberg Churches Food Pantry on January 18. If you are able to lift heavy boxes, please arrive by 2:15 p.m. To help only with the distribution, please arrive by 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday Bible Study
The Wednesday Bible study will resume on January 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. with a 5-week study on the Letters of John. Here is the schedule:
January 10: Introduction; 1 John 1 – 2:27
January 17: 1 John 2:28 – 3:24
January 24: 1 John 4 and 5
January 31: 2 John
February 7: 3 John
1) Chick-fil-A Calendars – $10 each
Each month has a special item or items. There are even some “mystery” ones that you find out at the beginning of those months.
2) Sherry Hodge Podge Dips, Jellies and Soup Mixes for Super Bowl Sunday, February 4. Cost is $3 for Dips, $5.50 for Jellies and $6.50 for Soup Mixes. We are only taking orders! The deadline to place your order is Sunday, January 14. You can see someone in the Bertha Weber room on a Sunday morning or call the church office during the week to place your order. Payment needs to be made by January 14. Checks should be made payable to Alsace Youth Group.
Reading Civic Theatre presents “Fiddler on the Roof” on December 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and December 17 at 2:00 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts (2nd & Penn Streets, Reading). Alsace member, Samantha Grinage, will be playing Hodel. For tickets call 610-607-6270 or go on-line to www.readingcivic.org or www.racc.edu/millercenter.
We will continue collecting the following items for the Reading High School and the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (ECYEH). Their goal is to provide a resource room that will be available to students. This room will offer provisions to fulfill their basic needs such as food, hygiene products and school supplies. If you are able to donate any of the following items, please place them in the Chapel foyer. Thank you!
Hygiene Products: shampoo/conditioner; deodorant; toothbrush and toothpaste; liquid bath soap;
feminine hygiene products; hairbrushes; make-up
School Supplies: binders and folders; pens and pencils; spiral ring notebooks; backpacks
Baby Supplies: baby food; formula; diapers; wipes; baby clothes
Food: granola bars; Nutra grain bars; non-perishables; bottled water; ready to eat food; holiday meals
Miscellaneous: towels; clothing detergent; camping mats; pillows; Gift Cards for grocery stores, clothing stores and fast food; BARTA bus passes; barber shop; Goodwill gift cards for interview clothing; monetary donations made payable to RHS Knight Closet.
Long ago a Child came down
To a little sleepy town,
And upon that Christmas morn,
Christ the heavenly King was born.
The Church Staff
Alsace Lutheran Church
Happy, Healthy New Year!
Dates for Your Calendar:
Sunday, December 3 – Holy Communion, 8:15 & 10:45 a.m.
Sunday, December 3 – Peach Festival Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 5 – Senior Club Board Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
Wednesday, December 6 – Supper Club at Mimmo’s, 6:00 p.m.
Friday, December 8 – FREE Babysitting, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday, December 8 – Advent Sleepover, 8:30 p.m. to Saturday, 8:00 a.m.
Saturday, December 9 – GREC Christmas Concert, 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 10 – Sunday School Christmas Program, 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, December 12 – Senior Club Christmas Luncheon, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 12 – Church Council Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 13 – Soup Kitchen, 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 16 – Journey to Bethlehem at Woodcrest Retreat, 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 20 – Senior Club to American Music Theatre, 9:00 a.m.
Friday, December 22 – Shady Maple Midnight Gladness, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 24 – Worship, 8:15 ONLY
Sunday, December 24 – Christmas Eve Family Service, 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 24 – Christmas Eve Traditional Candlelight Service, 11:00 p.m.
Monday, December 25 – Office Closed
Monday, January 1 – Office Closed
Tuesday, January 2 – Senior Club Board Meeting
Thursday, January 4 – Senior Club Trip Sign-ups, 8:30 a.m.
Thursday, January 4 – Youth take down Christmas decorations, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday. January 7 – Holy Communion, 8:15 & 10:45 a.m.
Tuesday, January 9 – Church Council Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 13 – Youth to Sky Zone, 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 14 – Youth Service rehearsal, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 16 – Senior Club Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, January 17 – Soup Kitchen, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, January 19 – Messenger Article Deadline
Sunday, January 21 – Youth Praise & Worship, 8:15 & 10:45 a.m.
Friday, January 26 – Youth to Harrisburg Quake
Sunday, January 28 – Winterfest, 3:00 p.m.
12/2 – Logan Rea 12/3 – Hunter Fake 12/7 – Aiden Gehret
12/8 – Kyle Seiz 12/11- Chelsea Lewis 12/17-Felicia Phillips
12/20 – Gabrielle Ferling 12/21 – Brandon Rothermel 12/23 – Jayda Garwood
12/24 – Evan Dobson 12/26 – Hunter Moyer 12/26 – MaKenna Moyer
1/1 – Gabriel Sharp 1/8 – Sydney Hartman 1/8 – Zachary Reinhard
1/2 – Kyla Bailey 1/15 – Daegn Gehris 1/15 – Tyrus Kauffman
1/17 – Jaden Kelly 1/17 – Austin Swartley 1/21 – Mason Stricker
1/23 – Julian Sharp 1/24 – Angelina Garwood 1/25 – Malachi Kauffman
Remember to sign up for all events on the sheets posted on the bulletin board outside the church office, or by responding to the Facebook Page.
Thursday, November 30 – Decorate the church for Christmas, 6:30 p.m.
Please help us decorate the church for Christmas!
Parents and siblings are welcome to come and help!
Friday, December 8-Saturday, December 9 – Advent Sleepover with Babysitting
Meet at the church by 5:15 p.m.
We will provide babysitting service from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
At 9:00 p.m. we will go “Glow” Bowling, then return to the church for snacks and devotions.
Cost is $5 per person.
Friday, December 22 – Midnight Gladness at Shady Maple
Leaving the church parking lot at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $13, paid by Dec. 17.
Family members and friends are welcome!
Thursday, January 4 – Remove Christmas Decorations
Meet at the church at 6:30 to take down and put away all the Christmas decorations.
The more help we have, the less time it will take.
Saturday, January 13 – Trip to Sky-Zone & Practice for Youth-Led Worship
Meet at the church by 1:00 p.m. We will have a 90-minute session at Sky-Zone.
We will return to the church for pizza party, and then rehearse for the Worship.
Cost for Sky-Zone is $18.
Sunday, January 14 – Youth Meeting & Practice for Youth-Led Worship
Meet at the church at 7:00 p.m.
If you want to participate in the worship, please speak to Pastor Nelson
Continued on next page…
Sunday, January 21 – Souper Bowl Sunday & Youth-Led Worship
February 2-4 – Winter Retreat at Camp Swatara – “You’ve God a Friend”
See the registration form and register by January 21!
Upcoming Dates for your Calendar:
February 18 – Stuff Eggs; Reading Royals game
March 4 – Laser Quest
March 24 – Egg Hunt; “The Works”
April 20-21 – 24-Hour Famine (note: a minimum of 15 must participate)
April 22 – Youth-Led Praise & Worship
May 5 – Mystery Trip!?!
May 26 – Yard Sale
June 2 – Breakfast at Shady Maple and Quilt Shopping for Peach Festival
June 21-24 – Shore Trip to Ocean City, NJ
July 13, 14 & 15 – Peach Festival Prep