Week of December 24, 2023 - Christmas Eve and Christmas

The people walking in darkness
  have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
  a light has dawned...
For to us a child is born,
  to us a son is given,
  and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
  there will be no end. 
Isaiah 9:2,6-7a (NIV)
Christmas Services:  We will offer two services on Christmas Eve (December 24) this year:  our regular worship service at 10 am and the Christmas Eve candlelight service at 7 pm.  Both services will be held at the Etna church.  Please join us at one or both services as we celebrate the coming of Light into the world in the form of God's gift  to us, in flesh, of His son Jesus, our Lord, Savior, and friend.

Please note that even if you cannot attend in person on Christmas Eve, both the 10 am and the 7 pm candlelight service will be livestreamed as well.  Simply click here to join our church service online.
Special Service Offering:  Our Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve services are both very special times.  Our church family's tradition is for offerings received at those two services to be donated to one or more deserving local/regional organizations to support their work and ministry in the region.  Again this year, the offerings from the Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve services will be pooled, divided equally, and given to the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council for their Meals on Wheels program and to West Central Behavioral Health for mental health and suicide prevention.  We thank you all for your generosity in support of the Church's ministry and also these other worthy organizations' work in the Upper Valley.  
Zumba kickoff (dance-off?) for 2024:  Rhonda Fenton will be offering a free Zumba class, open to all, on Monday January 1, 2024. Rhonda's hoping people will bring their family and friends and come to dance and have fun for an hour!  Trumbull Hall at the Etna church, as usual, 10 AM.  Don't miss this opportunity to give Zumba a try!
From the Etna Missions Committee:
"This time of year, we naturally reflect on the manifold blessings we have been granted. Among these has been the blessing of having had Florence Pang as a fellow member and, much more importantly, a friend. Florence joined the committee and immediately introduced us to Showers of Grace, which set us on a course of energy, enthusiasm and a more profound appreciation of the impact of missions "on the ground." Her role in arranging the visit of Mrs. Tam, Morgan, and Julia was crucial in cementing a relationship with our church that has increased and matured. Her actions led to our actively seeking strong and enduring relations with all our supported ministries. Her counsel invariably has been wise and selfless to the core. Most recently she shared the story of the way missionaries in China sustained her family at a very difficult time and resulted in three generations accepting and following Christ. Her story was also shared with the whole congregation, then especially with the Children's Sunday class. During all her service, she has demurred when commended, responding that the glory is God's alone. That is undoubtedly true, but in Florence He chose a mighty instrument. She serves as she lives—with love in her heart."
Bible Study Schedule: Our Sunday morning Bible study is on hiatus for Dec. 24 and 31, but resumes on January 7, 2024.  Our 10 am Wednesday morning Bible study won't meet on Dec. 27 but will resume on January 3, 2024.
Late-Breaking Update - a Chistmas miracle from Ukraine:  Marjorie Rose reports that Sophia Sushailo ("Stand with Ukraine") just provided an update from Ukraine. The cards and blankets (thanks to Ralph Plunkett!) we donated finally made it to Ukraine — to two cities very hard hit. The cards were especially appreciated (thanks to Victoria Levin for her translations!).  
We thank God and all of His helping hands here on earth for making this happen!
Here is Sophia's note:
Dear Marjorie - this is Sophia from Claremont, NH. I hope you are well - I know you shared there were things that you need to help with with your family .I just got news from Ukraine that I am so excited to share .  
We have been so patiently waiting for the first batch of boxes that we shipped to Ukraine with stuffed socks, emergency silver blankets, and notes . We also sent cards in bulk  for Ukrainians to distribute  
The shipment was delayed as boxes were stuck at the border with Poland for over a month - as there are several delays - you might [have] seen it in the news.
 

But miraculously, 2 boxes made it before Christmas to Dnipro and Zaporizhzhya in vulnerable cities in east of Ukraine !
 
What's amazing is how powerful are those handwritten care notes. I received 9! Photos of the notes only ! It means how people are moved with the power of words. I will send a note to Victoria to thank her again for translations - because it really made a difference to have translation too..
Merry Merry Christmas and big thank you to you, and caring people in your church from halfway across the globe in east of Ukraine! 

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