St. John's Christmas Eve Service

On Monday, December 24 at 9pm, you are invited to gather at St. John’s United Church of Christ for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. If you would like to attend but do not want to drive at night, we will have a member come pick you up and drive you home after the service. If you are willing and able to pick up a member or two in your car for the round trip journey, please drop a note into the collection plate during the offering, or email the church at office@stjohnsuccgr.org and let Sally know if you are a driver or passenger. We will compile a list and let you know who will be picking you up the week of December 16. Invite your friends and family to Christmas Eve Service at St. John’s UCC! StJohnsUCCgr.org.

Hanging of the Greens

Reminder: Sunday, Nov. 25 is Hanging of the Greens! Join us for this wonderful annual tradition after the 10am service. We’ll gather to deck the halls and sanctuary with trees, garland, wreaths, centerpieces, lights and more before we enjoy a wonderful lunch together in fellowship hall. All ages are welcome!

Families with last names beginning with A-K are asked to bring a crock pot of soup or crackers to share. Families with last names L-Z, please bring a salad or bread to share. Help us decorate for Advent and Christmas. Let’s make the season bright together!

Help with Thanksgiving Baskets

We are blessed to provide Thanksgiving Baskets for several local families in need this season. How can you help? We have two Sundays left! (1) Please bring in non-perishable food donations to church on Sunday, November 11 and Sunday, November 18. (2) Donate cash for a turkey and other needed items. (3) Volunteer to deliver one of our assembled dinner baskets to a local West side family on Sunday, November 18 after church. (4) Contact Theresa Bileth at mission@stjohnsuccgr.org for more information.

Grand Rapids Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

The Annual Grand Rapids Area Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be held on Monday, November 19, 7pm - 8:30pm at this year’s host location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 2780 Leonard Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525.

Let’s gather and experience a variety of prayers, music, sacred writings, reflections and meditations woven together with the common theme of gratitude from many traditions. The keynote speaker is Dr. Aly Mageed, reflecting on “Living and Serving Together.”

A light reception featuring foods from various traditions follows the event. A free-will offering will be accepted for the refugee resettlement work of Samaritas and Bethany Christian Services.

Tree of Warmth

St. John’s hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, socks donation tree is up! Store bought and hand-knitted items for all ages and sizes are welcomed and appreciated. Come hang them on the tree or place them in the box beside the tree so the children can come hang them on the branches.

We will be donating items to Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Cook Library Community Center, and upcoming mission outreach locations.

Let’s wrap our community with love and warmth this Winter! StJohnsUCCgr.org.

FATE Toy Drive

We are collecting new and gently used toys for Fun Again Toys for Everyone (FATE). This program allows families in need to set appointments to come let their children pick free toys! Opportunities: Encourage your children to donate like-new toys and place them in the boxes in Fellowship Hall. Remember gifts for teens are also needed. Books, electronics, headphones, earbuds, games, etc, in addition to items for younger children. Volunteer dates at the FATE Warehouse will be made available in December. StJohnsUCCgr.org.

Thanksgiving Food Drive

Please bring non-perishable food donations to church the next four weeks (Sunday, October 28, November 4, November 11, November 18) with the intention of sharing God’s bounty with our community. St. John’s United Church of Christ is receiving a list of families from Access of West Michigan’s Holiday Giving Network and the Northwest Pantry. We will be assembling Thanksgiving Baskets filled with your donated non-perishable food items for local families in need and delivering them to homes on the West side of Grand Rapids on Sunday, November 18.

How can you help? (1) Bring in non-perishable food each week. (2) Donate cash for a turkey and other needed dinner items. (3) Volunteer to deliver one or more of our assembled dinner baskets to a local family on Sunday, November 18. (4) Start a non-perishable food collection in your office or school. (5) Contact Theresa Bileth at mission@stjohnsuccgr.org.

NON-PERISHABLE DONATION Ideas: CANS: Veggies, fruits, tuna, chicken, salmon, and other canned meats, spam, pastas, beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, soups, broths, ravioli, single serving canned meals. BOXES: Rice, stuffing mix, any pasta, macaroni and cheese, variety of styles of dried potatoes, juice boxes, chicken & turkey broth, helper meal starters, cereals, granola bars, cookies, crackers, pudding mix, cake mix, lunchbox style individually wrapped items, rice krispie treats. JARS: Applesauce, spaghetti sauce, fruits, juices, jam/jelly, peanut butter, baby food. PACKAGES: Portioned commercially sealed packs of trail mix, dried fruit snacks, beef jerky, pudding cups, fruit cups, jello cups, bagged rice or beans, peanut butter crackers, pretzels, goldfish, cookies, crackers, chips, oatmeal packets, nuts, gravy and other packets, ramen noodles, variety of packaged Lipton or Knorr rice or pasta one-skillet meal packets, capri sun drinks, drink mix packets.

Soup, Sustenance, and Stewardship

Gather with us Wednesday, Oct 24 at 7pm for a five week stewardship series where we’ll share soup suppers and meaningful discussions!

What do you think of when you hear the word “stewardship?” It often brings to mind giving money to pay the church’s bills, but stewardship is about much more than money.

Stewardship refers to how we handle all of the resources God has given us. It’s about our priorities for use of our time, our talents, and our treasure. It’s about our trust in God’s provision and our gratitude to God. It’s about our vision for the church through which God works to supply people’s spiritual, social, and physical needs. Giving money generously and joyfully, along with our time and talents, is our natural response to God’s generosity with us.

St. John’s UCC will offer a 5-week study of Christian stewardship beginning Wednesday, October 24 from 7pm to 8:30pm at the church (1934 Bridge Street NW). Volunteers will be asked to provide soup so we can enjoy a light supper along with our discussion.

Bill Newsom will lead the discussion along with Pastor Wes Jamison and other members of our Stewardship Team. Free study materials will be distributed by email. If you would like to participate, or if you have questions, please contact Bill Newsom at bill.newsom@comcast.net or 616-260-4321

Pumpkin Carving Contest

On Sunday, October 28, after our 10am Totenfest service, we will be carving pumpkins together in Fellowship Hall! Please bring your pumpkins, your carving tools, and your kid-friendly carving kits. There will be prizes! On a day where we celebrate the memory of loved ones in such a meaningful Totenfest service with tributes and photos of those who are with us in spirit, let’s also share time and laughter together as we carve pumpkins with our church family. All are welcome!