Have you started yet?
Christmas planning has already begun for some.
As soon as Halloween is over, we will be on to Thanksgiving before we know it.
As you seek a deeper way of following Christ, it’s important to keep clear what we are doing when we celebrate the holidays. (really…. The Holy Days!!!)
Thanksgiving begins the Christmas season with a family feast. The Christmas season is filled with music, parties and the often extravagant exchanging of gifts.
The world has it’s own agenda for the holidays (Here’s a hint: it’s about money…)
We want to be clear about all we do. To the above we add worship, candle-lighting, familiar hymns and encountering the mystery of Jesus once again.
With that in mind, over the next few weeks on Sunday mornings we will be talking about “Celebrating the Holy Days”:
#1: How we seek to keep our focus on God in the midst of “the rush.”
#2: How we seek to help our families understand the greater, unconditional love that changes lives so much.
#3: How we can be ready to explain what the Holidays mean to any and all we may come in contact with.
As you plan your family celebrations, we hope and pray that you include: the traditions of
The Angel Tree and it’s gifts for those less fortunate than we are;
The Alternative Gifts Catalogue to reach around the world,
The Church Family Christmas Party on Dec. 6,
The Choir Concert Sunday Afternoon, Dec. 7,
“Messy Christmas” (NEW!) on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 18
and our Christmas Eve Candlelight Services (6 pm, 8 pm & 11 pm).
All of these will be wonderful events that will keep your heart and mind focused on the “reason for the season.”
(And watch for the special 24 day game of “Hiding the Manger” for the children in your life. It’s a great addition to your traditions.)
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Our Sister Church: Christ Our Savior UMC - Quartz Hill, has recently welcomed a new pastor.
After a time of uncertainty and search, the Rev. Ken Gardner has been appointed by our Bishop, Minerva Carcaño. Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth, District Superintendent, introduced him to the congregation this month, on October 5.
Rev. Gardner is well known in our valley, as he was the senior pastor at the Palmdale Presbyterian Church from Sept. 2001 to March 2011. (That church became the Horizon Community Church.)
Since then he has been the interim pastor at Panorama Presbyterian Church (9/2011-4/2014). He has been a clergy member of the Presbyterian Church for 19 years.
Pastor Ken is a graduate of Azuza Pacific University and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. He grew up in Santa Barbara, is married to Sandy, and has two children, both married with one grandchild.
We welcome Pastor Ken to our Antelope Valley / Desert Valleys (AV/DV) UMC Mission Area and we look forward to working with him and the Christ Our Savior congregation in every closer ways.
A common question about this appointment is: “How can the UMC appoint a Presbyterian Pastor?”
While rare, it is not uncommon to appoint a pastor of another denomination to lead one of our churches. They can also officially transfer into our UMC if they so choose and become a full UMC clergy.
The United Methodist Church makes a strong point of recognizing all the churches that are in the broad stream of following Jesus as joint partners in the body of Christ.
The main touchstone of this is if they are “Trinitarian” churches: i.e. affirming the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a prime point of doctrine. The Presbyterian Church has long been a close cousin and part of this great tradition of Christian churches.
Pastors of Other Denominations are appointed after they have been interviewed and examined regarding their support of the United Methodist Church, it’s beliefs and their willingness to teach and lead in the Wesleyan tradition. This is the case with Pastor Ken.
In addition, we here at Lancaster UMC are especially close to the Christ Our Savior congregation in that it was begun with our blessings, as it’s “mother church.”
In 1986, The Rev. Bill Cutter, an associate here at Lancaster UMC, began Christ Our Savoir with a group of pioneers from LUMC. We nurtured and supported them over the years, prayed for them when they purchased the property at 50th and M, and have kept them in our hearts all along the way.
Please continue to lift them up and pray for them as we discover new ways to reach out to the Antelope Valley together.
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What scripture has stayed with you this week?
What have others learned about Jesus Christ because of you?
How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace,
*Be sure to check out all the activities listed in our Newsletter and on our website: www.LancasterUnited.org that are especially designed to strengthen families in a difficult world.