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Advent

What is Advent? The word advent means “coming” or “arrival”In the Christian tradition, Advent is the first season of the Christian calendar and is marked by hopeful waiting for the coming of the Messiah. During early Christian history, the celebration of the first coming of Jesus was a season joined with preparation, especially for new believers as they were coming into the faith for baptism. On Christmas day, these new converts would receive the sacrament of baptism in accordance with the arrival of Jesus into the world to make all things new. Today, Advent represents the location of the Church within these “last days” as we await the second coming of Jesus into the world. The church, like Israel before her, is in exile, awaiting the coming of the Messiah, who will free us ultimately and finally. In Advent, we look back in celebration upon Christ’s coming while at the same time looking forward in eager expectation of the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. Therefore, during Advent, we practice active, hopeful, and prayerful waiting. Additionally, Christian waiting is not lazy. Because we know God to be faithful, we join him in his work of making all things new and celebrate the victory of our King Jesus.

 

Services and Events

Sunday, December 1 – First Sunday of Advent & Drop-Off for Toy Drive

Sunday, December 8 – Second Sunday of Advent, Church Lunch, & Seeds of Hope Collection

Sunday, December 15 – Third Sunday of Advent & Seeds of Hope Collection

Sunday, December 22 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Tuesday, December 24 Christmas Eve Service (with Liberti Kids Choir)

 

Devotionals

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp

The One True Story: Daily Reading for Advent from Genesis to Jesus by Tim Chester

Join us as we explore the story of Advent using these fantastic daily devotionals. Copies of both are available for purchase on Sunday mornings. (Recommended donations: $15 for Voskamp and $5 for Chester). If cost is prohibitive, please, let us know, and we’ll give you the books!

 

‘For Others’ Christmas Campaign

During the Advent season and through Epiphany Sunday on January 5 at Liberti Church Collingswood, we are encouraging people to give generously toward a pastoral training program in South Sudan—one of the newest, poorest, and most war-torn countries in the world.  In addition to having raised thousands of dollars for South Sudanese fresh water wells and filtration systems through Water Is Basic, the Liberti Network has been the primary external sponsor of a four year, pastoral training course for church leaders throughout this nation.

Over 50 pastors and others, who represent hundreds of square miles, hundreds of churches, and thousands of congregants, have participated in these periodic, two week intensive seminars about Christian mission and theology, which is the only formal Christian instruction that many of these friends have ever received.  We’ve written curricula, purchased reading materials, and sent Liberti staff workers to South Sudan for this program. January is the final practicum of the program.  (You can click here to see a video of these leaders thanking Liberti for donating to them study Bibles, and check out this blog post about a recent trip by Steve Huber, Director of the Liberti Network, and Stephen Wood, Pastoral Resident at Liberti Church River Wards.)  The concluding practicum this January will focus upon reconciliation—a pressing need in light of South Sudan’s recent civil wars—both in terms of leadership and trauma recovery.

Sending one man or woman to this training costs in total about $300, which covers expenses such as transportation, food, and books.  Let’s take up the call to exercise the privilege of providing funds to these pastors. Our fundraising goal is to do so for 25 such brothers and sisters, amounting to a $7,500 gift. In addition to any normal Christmas offerings you may give, would you consider donating to this campaign? You can do so via cash or check during any of our Advent services or online right now!

 

Mercy and Justice Initiatives

Toy Drive for Bethany Christian Services

Giving shouldn’t be confined to the Christmas holiday, but it should certainly include it. As we prepare for the liturgical season of Advent at Liberti Church Collingswood, this we’ll be participating in a toy drive for foster children through Bethany Christian Services! Beginning on Sunday, 11/10, we’ll have a Christmas tree on hand with “tags” that you can take which will have information about items to purchase for specific foster kids in our region. (The price per tag will be $25 or less.) Take a tag or two! Gifts should be brought to the designated area at Holy Trinity, wrapped with tag attached, on or before the first Sunday of Advent, 12/1.

Cold Weather Items for Men at Seeds of Hope Ministries

Seeds of Hope Ministries is a multi-program ministry organization in nearby Camden, NJ.  One of the services that SoH provides is to give cold weather apparel to homeless, semi-homeless, and food scarce men and women in the area.  This year, Seeds of Hope is experiencing a shortage of such items specifically for men.  Therefore, we’ll be pleased on the Sundays, 12/8 and 12/15, to collect men’s socks, handwarmers, gloves, and winter hats, which will be passed on to Seeds of Hope. (Socks and handwarmers should be donated new, but gloves and hats can either be new or gently used.) On either or both of those Sundays, please bring these requisite items to church and deposit them in a bin that will be marked for the occasion.

 

Home Meeting Service Opportunities

Saturday, December 7 – Join the Haddon Township Group and serve meals to our homeless neighbors in Camden through Seeds of Hope Ministries.  Breakfast service begins at 8:30am. Contact Megan Clapper (mnrclapper@gmail.com) for more information and to volunteer.

Sunday, December 8 – Join the Medford Group and collect supplies for Providence House, which provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic abuse and their children. The main items needed are nonperishable food (especially easy to prepare foods like cereal, pancake mix, oatmeal, etc.) and toiletry items. If you have any questions or would like to help out, email Anna Richter (alg418@nyu.edu).