Blue Christmas

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The varied and randomly placed collection of candles offers an image of our varied and un-pigeon-holed lives—all of which bear the light of Christ within.

For those unable or who chose not to join us, here’s a link to the complete service. You are in our thoughts and prayers:

blue christmas 2017

Blue Christmas – Longest Night Service

Thursday December 21st 7:00P.M.

Not able to feel the “Holly-jolly Christmas” mood?
The Blue Christmas service recognizes that for many the holidays are a particularly hard time—perhaps because of a death or other loss, because of family tensions, or just the weight of expectation to be joyful when for whatever reason life is sad. 
In this service, together, we can recognize this truth, support one another, and begin to taste God’s care in all the reality of our lives.

All are Welcome.

Advent

Advent is the season of anticipation, waiting, preparation. Interim ministry resonates strongly with this time. Part of preparing for new possibilities is both claiming and releasing present realities. There’s a tension here (isn’t there almost always?) This congregation is in an in-between, both-and place of deeply engaging with our shared ministry right now while also looking ahead toward a possible search and call process and settled, sustainable leadership. Yup, this is Advent stuff—the time in the church year when we particularly recall that God’s reign is both already present and not yet fully realized.
One of the Advent traditions is assigning themes—hope, peace, joy, love—to these four Sundays leading up to Christmas. One way we can try to dwell faithfully in in-between, both-and times is to back off a bit from struggling to figure things out, trying to nail down a meaning for these themes. Instead, we can rest a bit with non-verbal modes of presence. To that end, I’d like to offer to your imagination some images for Advent. I’m giving you words to call up images, because the best pictures are often in your own memory and imagination. So, as part of your Advent preparation, I invite you to take a few moments with these now, and dwell with each further on these Sundays and throughout the season.
Hope—a bit of green sprouting out of a dung ball.
Peace—a baby fallen asleep at its mother’s breast.
Love—the whole chocolate chip cookie, of which we are the bits.
Joy—a spring-snowmelt-rushing stream dappled in sunlight.
Blessings!
Pastor David

Hanging of the Greens Sunday

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 3.37.20 PMFriends,

The Advent season, a time of preparing for the coming Christ child, begins Sunday, November 29. As has become our custom in recent years, we will have a Hanging of the Greens service on this first Sunday of Advent.

As we sing Christmas hymns and read scripture the sanctuary will come to its seasonal trim all around us. We will also have special music provided by my father Al Graves who is visiting from St. Louis.

Join us for this special service and begin the Advent focused on the stories of our faith.

The Stories of Christmas: Advent 2015

The Stories of Christmas: Advent 2015

Advent Flyer.pages

“…What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.” ― Rabih Alameddine, The Hakawati

Advent, the church season leading to Christmas, will focus on “The Stories of Christmas” at the Condon United Church of Christ. Advent begins Sunday, Nov. 29 with a Hanging of the Greens service at 10:30 a.m.

“We all have stories,” says Rev. Tim Graves, pastor of the Condon United Church of Christ. “Stories are a way of making sense of the unpredictability of human existence. The Christmas stories found in the gospels helped people to understand who this man Jesus was, according to Rev. Graves.

“We will explore the various stories and why the gospel writers contradict one another. Why, for example, does Luke tell us about shepherds and Matthew talks about the magi?” he says.

The Hanging of the Greens service this Sunday, Nov. 29 will feature Christmas hymns, scripture readings, and special music by Al Graves, Rev. Graves’ father visiting from St. Louis. By the end of the service the sanctuary will be fully decorated for the season.

Local musician Dan Robinson will provide special music for the Dec. 13 Sunday morning service. “Dan’s guitar playing is always a joy to us,” says Graves.

In addition to 10:30 a.m. Sunday services throughout December, a Longest Night Service will be held on Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m. Sometimes called Blue Christmas, the contemplative service recognizes that this time of year is difficult for many people. The pressure to be joyful, memories of lost loved ones, or current struggles make this a difficult time of year for many, according to Graves.

A candlelight Christmas Eve service at 6:30 p.m. The stories of Christmas will come together in what the church is calling “The Miracle Mashup” celebrating the birth of Jesus.

For more information call 541-384-3681, email condonucc@gmail.com, visit condonucc.org or facebook.com/condonucc.

Click here for a downloadable flyer of events of the season including scripture references.

Christmas Eve Service at 8 p.m.

Christmas Eve Service at 8 p.m.

We’ve searched during the Advent season for hope, for peace, for joy, and for love only to have cropped-searching-advent-201411.pngthe Extravagant One come to us in the most unlikely of places. The Divine has become incarnate in our midst. The Divine has been born of human flesh among us and within us.

Into the silent night, the Divine comes to us as a poor infant living on the margins of society!

Join us for worship at 8 p.m. on December 24th!

Searching Is Theme for Advent at Condon UCC

The Condon United Church of Christ announced special music, weekly worship, Bible Study, and special services for Advent, the start of the Christian calendar and the season of preparation leading to Christmas. The focus of services and studies will be “Searching”, according to Rev. Tim Graves, pastor of the United Church of Christ.Advent 2014 at Condon UCC flyer

“All of us are on our own spiritual journeys with the Divine One,” explained Rev. Graves. “Our theme of Searching reflects this truth about human existence during this season of preparation for Christmas.”

Advent at the UCC begins Sunday, November 30 with a Hanging of the Greens worship service featuring special music by local artist and musician Dan Robinson. Scripture readings, Advent and Christmas hymns, prayer, and multimedia are interspersed with decorating the sanctuary.

“At the start of a Hanging of the Greens service, the sanctuary is bare. By the end of the service it is decked out in seasonal decorations and liturgical colors,” said Rev. Graves.

Each Sunday morning, as is the practice at the local UCC, begins with Bible study at 9:15 and worship at 10:30. The traditional themes of hope, peace, joy, and love will be incorporated into the searching theme on each of the four Sundays leading to Christmas.

The second Sunday of Advent, December 6, will feature special music by Russell Thompson, grandson of Patti and Dale Thompson.

A Longest Night service will be Sunday evening December 21 at 5:00 p.m. Sometimes called Blue Christmas, many Christian churches now recognize the sadness inherent in the Christmas season for many people.

“The service affirms that not everyone is as happy as our culture tells us we should be at this time of the year,” says Rev. Graves. “The holidays, especially Christmas, are often times when people feel the loss of loved ones, hopes, and dreams. Those searching for work or living in poverty often feel the pressures of spending money they do not have. Even those who appear to have it all, often struggle with depression or blue feelings as the long nights of winter press on.”

The traditional candlelight Christmas Eve service will be at 8:00 p.m. on December 24.