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November is a time of gratitude and remembrance. On Sunday November 5th we celebrate All Saints Sunday. Our tradition is to lift up again all those dear ones we have lost in the previous twelve months. This year we will remember Eugene Tanner, Trenna Styles, Bus Styles, Thomas Sheets, and Ann Shirley Koch. Every time a door lock breaks or a light fixture fails, or a thermostat doesn’t function as it should, I am reminded that Gene was quietly here ahead of us all, checking in, watching it all, for so many years. For s many years Bus did the painting and led others in completing other repairs. He also directed lay speaking for our District, even pastored Memorial Church for awhile. Trenna taught Sunday School and was a fixture in the kitchen for so long. I will never forget Shirley Koch’s smile and wit. They all remind us that Saints are US: we give ourselves to Christ in faithful service. Their deaths leave us grieving, as we continue to grieve others we have lost. But our memories of them also remind us of what the purpose of our lives is: to Love God and Serve Christ and His Church.

Then on the second Sunday in November each year– this year on November 12– we remember our veterans. We recognize those who still are with us. We honor them for their service. We know many of them risked their lives, some in war, for our cherished freedoms. We also recognize that some are serving now. We pray for them each week, listing their names on the back of our worship bulletins: Matthew Aubuchon, Sam Decker, Douglass Hawkins, Timothy Land, Keith Mitchell, Jennifer and Landon Dinkler, Tony Carlson. A couple of them are enlisted but with us still, preparing for their service: Luke Hemmerla, Nelson Voss.

On Thursday, November 23, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Mary and I are excited that both of our daughters and their significant others will be with us for the holiday. It’s been awhile! It will be a challenging day for me. I’ve lost forty pounds in the past six months, and I don’t want to put a fourth of it back on in a single day! So, I plan to enjoy the holiday in other ways: watching Bridget cook the turkey, sharing the parade with Evangeline and Alex, then watching everyone enjoy dessert at Alex’s parents home in the evening. Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what we have, knowing so many in the world do not. Maybe you will use Thanskgiving time to give a little more to the local food pantry.

On Sunday, November 26, we will begin Advent a week early. We’ll again remember loved ones and those we honor and appreciate by placing bells on our Celebration Tree. Christmas Eve falls this year on a Sunday. Your Church Council will decide on November 13 what our worship schedule will be, so let them know what you want. We will at the very least have Sunday worship that morning. It will be a Christmas Eve service, candles and all, acknowledging that many may not want to return in the evening. Can you believe Advent and Christmas are right around the corner? Thanks be to God for Christ, God’s Holy Spirit, and our Church. (Click HERE to view or download the full November 2017 Newsletter)

- Rev. Mark Harvey

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