From the Pastor’s Desk, 11/29/21




December 5, 2021

Animals, as well as symbols, can inspire our anticipation of the Christmas miracle.

   Have you ever imagined what the animals experienced that first Christmas?

      Some of our familiar Christmas songs mention our furry and wooly friends. Surely this inclusion of animals is important.

During the worship service, anticipate…

·       …imaginatively learning the insights of animals.

·       …adding more Christmas attire to the sanctuary, whetting our appetite for the experience of Christmas moments.

From the Pastor’s desk—

   Disappointment is experienced in several ways. Recently, I was scheduled to preach at the ordination service of a colleague and friend. I spent time in preparation and developed a sermon that offered encouragement, support, and inspiration. As time approached to share in this special event, unforeseen circumstances arose which disabled me from participating. To say the least, I was extremely disappointed. Fortunately, my colleague and friend graciously understood and asked a nearby friend to step in as the preacher at nearly the 11th hour. I was able to watch the entire ordination service via YouTube, all that time wallowing in my disappointment.

   In trying to hold on to the integrity of the commitment I had made to my friend to preach at his ordination service, I produced a video recording of the sermon I had prepared. I suggested that the video could be shared during the service as a way for me to still be present. However, the video projection equipment was not working at the time of the ordination service. I graciously understood yet was still disappointed.

   My friend acknowledged during the ordination service the attempt I had made to follow through on my commitment. But it was not until the following day in a Facebook Message to me that my disappointment was turned into joy. My friend, after listening to the recorded sermon, wrote, “Your sermon will stay with me all the time even though we couldn’t show it.”

   I was reminded of what the angel said to the shepherds watching their flocks on the Judean hillsides many centuries ago. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Just as disappointment comes in many forms so does good news. During the Christmas/holiday season, opportunities for disappointment abound. We may be unable to have a family gathering due to an illness. Perhaps we were hoping for a few moments of quiet that are interrupted by unexpected guests. Results from a medical test may be causing fear about the future. Somewhere, somehow in the midst of our anxiety is good news of great joy. Joy emerges in being able to connect with family via technology, engaging in catching up with old friends who were in town and decided to stop by for a few minutes, and learning that people care about us as we struggle with unknowns in our future.

   Grasp the goodness that comes into your life this holiday season and always.  


   All worship services continuing through December 19 will be held in-person in the church sanctuary, masks required. For those with internet access and who may be unable to attend in-person, the services will be broadcast in real-time using both Zoom and Facebook Live. The Facebook Live option allows viewers to view the service without the capability of interacting. The Zoom option will provide viewing and interactive capabilities.

   Using Zoom is a new option for in-person services. It has been tested and seems to work well. However, because it is a new platform used in this setting, some unanticipated glitches may occur. Efforts will be ongoing to minimize these problems to provide for a satisfactory worship experience.

   Since Zoom is interactive and all who are connected are participating “live,” here are a few tips for maintaining a good experience for everyone.

1.     Please “mute” your microphone when not speaking or engaging in the experience. Doing so cuts down on background sounds. To mute, simply click on the microphone icon usually found at the lower left-hand corner of the Zoom screen. When muted, a red line will run diagonally through the icon. To unmute, click the icon which removes the red line. The box of your picture will also indicate if you are or are not muted.

2.     To see as many participants as possible during the Zoom session, use the “gallery” view option. In the upper right-hand corner of the Zoom screen, click on view, then click “gallery”.

3.     When “screen sharing” occurs, the number of picture frames you are able to see will be reduced. Placing the cursor at the bottom of the frames shown will make visible a small arrow. Clicking on the arrow will bring into view a new set of frames. To go back, move cursor to top of frames and click on the arrow.

4.     You may also stop your video which will keep your frame in place but keep your picture from being projected in it. To stop video, find the icon that looks like a camera near the bottom left-hand corner of the Zoom screen and click on it. To resume video, click on the icon again. This feature if used if you need to step away from the session for a brief moment, or you’re having a bad hair day, or the cat keeps parading back and forth across your camera’s line of vision, or whatever other funny thing might occur.

5.     If using a phone to connect to the Zoom session, you will not have video capability but certainly audio options. To mute your phone, press *6 on the phone’s keypad. To unmute, press *6 again.

6.     The person hosting the Zoom session has the capability to mute participants but cannot unmute. The host can send a message asking the participant to unmute but only the participant can unmute. If the host mutes your microphone, you will be responsible for unmuting if you wish to interact audibly.

7.     A “chat” option is available during a Zoom session. If you wish to send a message using chat, click on the “chat” icon at the bottom of the Zoom screen. You then have the option of chatting with a particular participant or with everyone.

8.     If during a Zoom session you encounter technical issues, we will try to have tech assistance available that can be reached by texting. This piece is still being worked on and information will be published and provided when it is determined who should be contacted.

Sunday, November 28 recap  

   The Nov. 28 worship service brought us into the season of Advent leading us toward Christmas. Usually, the halls of the Canton Church of the Brethren are decorated for the season following Thanksgiving and in full splendor the first Sunday of Advent. This year, in keeping with the Advent theme of anticipation and expectation, decorations and symbols will be added each week culminating Dec. 19. During worship this first week of Advent, the congregation added Chrismons to the Christmas tree, the stable of the nativity scene was placed on the altar, and only two candles were lighted. The theme of worship was Symbols of Christmas, focusing on the Christmas tree, colors of silver and gold, and the creche. Added was the story about the Christmas spider, a less common story in our culture, nonetheless an inspirational one. Links to videos shared during the service are included here:

GLEE, Do They Know It’s Christmas –

Hope –

Legend of the Christmas Spider –

The Best Christmas Song –

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