Merry Christmas Church,
I was considering filing this space with all manner of flowery and poetic language about Christmas time. I considered writing of the holiday traditions like warm cider and Christmas lights. I thought about deriding the secular commercialism that always seems to distract us and cause undo stress and worry. I thought about warning against schedules that are overbooked and gifts that are unnecessary. It seemed like a good idea to remind you of the “reason for the season.”
But you’ve heard it all before. You’ve probably been nudged, reminded, guilted, or encouraged many times by now.
So I’ll keep it real simple. This world is crazy. It’s getting crazier by the day. So hug somebody that you love. Remind them that you care about them. Find some way to connect meaningfully and memorably.
One reason that I love Sunnyside is that we have a connected, diverse community that has at least one thing in common: a love for the Christ child. It means that even if your biological family isn’t nearby, your God-given church family is. Even if there’s nobody to go home to, there are people nearby with whom you can journey.
There’s no time like this season to get to know someone else in our church family. Maybe invite someone home for a holiday meal. Connect with those who may be missing someone this season. In a season that is full of festivity and connection, it’s the perfect time to start a new friendship, a new journey with another follower of Jesus.
But whether you take that opportunity or not, may this season be full of wonder for you and yours. May you be encouraged and enriched, inspired for another year of life.
News & Notes
The lights of the Christmas tree reflected in the eyes of the children as they sang carols with Will Cheng and loved the story about Christmas in Canada where pictures of a baby boy hung in ornaments on the tree. Who was the boy? I’ll give you one hint….his name was Colby. At the very top of that Christmas tree was an ornament with the picture of Jesus!
All this fun was happening in the fellowship hall last Sunday during Christmas Around the World. What a special treat to have Bob Manley’s beautiful wooden train tooting around it’s track! The children received and colored their very own passports which they took with them when the door opened and they were invited into a flag decorated room. The Adventurer leaders, with their families and friends, were dressed in the native dress of the countries of Tanzania, Italy, Romania, Moldovia, Haiti, and the Philipines. Such wonderful delicious food was served! One child was heard to say, “I really don’t even like tomatoes but I loved the tomatoes from Tanzania”! Rumor has it that next year there may be more countries represented! You won’t want to miss that!
Our worship services are at 8:45 and 11:15 am. Pastor Jonathan Russell will present the Bible message for first service titled “Heavenly Pursuit.” Our second service will be presented by our children “A Pocket Fall of Starlight.”
This afternoon at 6:00 pm, Laura Whidden will be in concert with Elise LeBlanc here at Sunnyside. This is a concert you will not want to miss. They will be singing songs from her newly released Christian album, “Love’s Pure Light.” Free admission; reception follows..
Devotional book orders have been extended one week. Order today; delivery will be December 19, just in time for Christmas gifts. Check the table in the Narthex to see available books, and sign up for the books you desire. By ordering through the church, you will receive special pricing. You may hand your payment to Lorrie Wescott, or drop it in the slot in the office door. Click here to view a flyer with descriptions.
Sunnyside Church has partnered with Cherry Park School and the SUN program. (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods). Cherry Park is asking for donations of new toys for some of their families so they will have gifts for their children. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to Sunnyside before December 15 and leave it in the toy drive donation box. The box is located in the children’s wing at Sunnyside. If you have any questions, please contact Jackee Duvall. 503-309-9400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 15 Senior Ministries will be sponsoring a drive-through bus tour through Winter Wonderland, the “largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi.” Call the church office at 503-252-8080 for seat reservations, first-come, first-served. We plan to leave the church around 4:00 pm. Plan to be at the church at 3:45 pm.
Friday, December 18, 7:00 pm, the 34th annual Family Christmas concert will be here at Sunnyside. Invite your friends to enjoy an evening of Christmas music presented by some of Portland’s finest musicians. Bring your “Messiah” score and join in singing the program finale – the “Hallelujah Chorus.” An offering will be received to help feed the hungry homeless Sunday breakfast each week in O’Bryant Square.
The December Gleaner contains a story about Sunnyside’s pastoral transition. To read the full un-edited story titled “Longtime Pastor Passes Baton at Sunnyside” click on the highlight, or go to gleanernow.com.
The Sunnyside Handbell Choir will offer a half-hour program of seasonal music Sunday, December 13, 4:00–4:30 pm in the Terrace Dining Room at the Town Center Village Retirement Center, 8709 SE Causey, north of Clackamas Town Center. The same program will be offered at the Festival of Nativities from 6:30–7:00 pm at the Mormon Church, 8331 Cason Road, Gladstone. Come, enjoy the beauty of the season at one of these programs and support your Sunnyside handbell ringers!
Sunday Breakfast at O’Bryant Square – Every Sunday we serve breakfast to approximately 500 homeless, hungry, and poor. To continue this program, we need your support with the following donations: 8” paper plates (Chinet), 8 oz paper cups, plastic forks (Solo 500 count), Costco napkins, coffee, chocolate and creamer, large size syrup, catsup, oil, and pancake mix; and/or tax deductible $$ donations payable to Sunnyside Adventist Church, memo “Breakfast at O’Bryant Square.” For information, contact
Ardina Wang 503-255-0075. Bring your contributions to the church — there is a table in the Narthex where you may place them. Let’s overwhelm Ardina with gifts in support of the homeless!
Family Resource Network thanks you for your gifts that have made it possible in recent months to help a number of families through difficult times. The holiday season is a challenging time of year for those having difficulty. Please remember them with your contributions to account #9387. Special request: We have a family of four, with two children ages 3 and 4, who need everything for setting up a household. If you can help with anything, please contact Marie Pierre at 503-998-3754.
Sunnyside Youth, ages 15+, will be involved in a mission trip to Los Angeles during Spring Break, March 18-27. The Dream Center was founded twenty years ago with a compelling vision to impact all of Los Angeles by addressing people’s physical, material, and spiritual needs in unique and practical ways, The Dream Center has grown into a phenomenon that now reaches more than thirty thousand people each week through its multiple church services and more than two hundred need-centered ministries. We will be driving a bus to Los Angeles and some of the activities we may be involved in are: adopt-a-block, construction, discipleship, food bank, food truck, kitchen, His hands extended, kid’s ministry, family floor, and foster care intervention. Come prepared to share Jesus in practical ways. For further information and to register, contact Pastor Colby at Colby.Maier@SunnysideAdventist.org or call 503-334-8095.
ETHIOPIA 2016: Important Dates and Deadlines
* Wednesday, Dec. 23: Last day for significant participant discounts.
* Saturday, Jan. 9: Mission team meeting.
* Tuesday, Jan. 12: Last day for team member contributions and passport information.
* Tuesday, Feb. 10: Final day for ticketing.
* Sunday, Mar. 6: Mission team meeting and packing party.
* Wednesday, Mar 16: To Ethiopia!
Portland Adventist Academy
Portland Adventist Elementary
Area Events and Announcements
ABC Holiday Sale: The Adventist Book Center’s Holiday Sale is December 1-31. Loma Linda Gravy Quick is back just in time for the holidays! The details have been sent by email to those who have signed up. You can also get the details by downloading the sale flyer at www.abcflyer.com.”
December 12, 6:00 pm: Christmas Concert.
Come immerse yourself in the spirit of the Christmas season with bluegrass and traditional songs performed by local artists at our “Home and Heart Christmas” concert. Refreshments to follow. Come enjoy a time of down-home Christmas fellowship!
Event Location: Pleasant Valley Church.
December 20, 7:00 pm: Christmas Concert.
Fountainview Academy presents the final concert on their 2015 Christmas tour. Enjoy an evening of meditative and spirited music honoring the King of Kings. Admission is free. Seating is first come, first served.
Event Location: Adventist Community Church of Vancouver.
December 21, 6:00 pm: Missional Gathering (Vespers).
Join us for the “Reservoir,” a missional gathering to connect with each other, to worship God, and to experience His word. Praise music will be provided by Remix. Invite your family and friends to share in this inspirational evening.
Event Location: Mt. Tabor Church.
December 26, 6:00 pm: Christmas Concert.
You are invited to join in listening to beautiful instrumentation and heartfelt voices as they combine to tell the story of the birth of our Lord. You don’t want to miss this one!
Event Location: Stone Tower Church.
March 4-6: Women’s Ministries Leader’s Retreat.
Save the date! For more information email email@example.com.
Event Location: The Village Green Resort and Gardens, Cottage Grove.
July 25-28, 2016: Great Controversy Tours with Dr. Gerard Damsteegt of the Seminary, Andrews University. See the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation come alive. Visit Rome and the Reformation sites in the Waldensian Valleys, Switzerland, and Germany. These tours give you a new vision in how to inspire church members for Jesus’ coming and future challenges. A most exciting experience! Call 269-815-8624, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers Urgently Needed: PACS (Portland Adventist Community Services) has an urgent need for morning truck drivers & riders, and general support volunteers in the food pantry. Apply online at pacsonline.org or call 503.252.8500 and start helping people right away!