A few reminders for this week Nov. 23 – Nov. 29, 2020

FROM THE MINISTER’S DESK
The new church year begins on Sunday—the first Sunday of Advent; it is the Sunday when our church is adorned for Christmas. For many of us, Christmas celebrations will be muted by current gathering limitations; perhaps your excitement for putting up Christmas decorations is diminished too because people won’t be able to come to enjoy them. I want to say how grateful I am to our worship and decorating team who have decided that the sanctuary will be fully decorated as you have known it from other years. This effort is an expression that the joy of our Saviour coming to us in the Babe of Bethlehem is not diminished. Further, a note of thanks to Randy Holmes who has built a new stable for our outdoor Nativity display; this bears witness to the same joy. So, when you join the live-stream during Advent and Christmas may the decorations be a witness to you that the good news of Christmas has not changed. And if you want an additional treat, stop by the church someday and take a picture of the outdoor Nativity display.
REGISTRATION TO ATTEND
IN-PERSON WORSHIP AT CENTRAL
This past week York Region Council announced additional pandemic measures which limits gatherings for religious services not to exceed a maximum of 50 persons. Central United is, therefore, asking members of the congregation who wish to join in-person worship to register for Sunday services throughout the month of December. Registration will be open each week from Monday to Friday (noon) for the following Sunday. You can register through the church website or by calling the church office. Thank you for registering and helping Central maintain these health measures.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
FINANCIAL UPDATE
As you likely remember, this is normally the time of year when the congregation is updated with our year-to-date financial results “in person” during the Sunday morning announcements.
Well, 2020 is certainly not a normal year, and thus this announcement will be this year’s update on the Church’s financial position.
 
We are thrilled (and surprised) to report that our year to date results to the end of October are in line with the original 2020 Budget – with both total revenues and total expenses down by approximately $20,000. We should note that without $10,000 in federal government wage subsidies, we would be in a deficit position of that same $10,000.
These results are amazing. Thank you for your tremendous support!
That being said, we continue to need your support in November and December, when traditionally, 25% of our giving are received
With attendance limits and on-going lockdown uncertainty, it is difficult to predict how this essential season of giving will be impacted. To see us through, we will apply for additional wage subsidies, and will need to ask our members and Christmas season guests to continue their strong annual support of Central United Church.
 
If Sunday Service attendance in person is not possible, please “tune-in” and encourage your friends and families to participate via the Live Stream broadcasts. Donations can still be made online from the website, or by pre-authorized remittance (contact the church office), by mail, or by dropping cheques off at the Church.
Bottom-line, thank you again for your past, present and future generosity in supporting the Church. Stay Healthy and God bless.
The Finance Committee
ANNUAL COMFORT SERVICE
December 6th at 7:00 pm
Our 17th Annual Comfort Service will be held here at the church on Sunday evening, December 6th at 7:00 pm and you, your immediate and extended family and friends would be most welcome. However, due to current COVID-19 restrictions, seating capacity is limited and subject to social distancing and health guidelines. Given these parameters, those who wish to attend the service will need to register in advance. You can register either by calling the church office (905-474-0183), online through the church website (www.centralunitedchurch.com) or by clicking here. This service will not be livestreamed.
This service offers an opportunity to reflect and meditate while at the same time allowing us to remember and honour those dear to our heart. Know that Christ knows our pain and walks with us in all our moments of grief. We gather together to share in the comfort and strength of the presence of Christ and experience his word of peace to our hearts.
2021 OFFERING ENVELOPES
2021 Offering Envelopes are now available and can be picked up in the narthex this Sunday or you can drop by the church Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday mornings to pick them up. If you are unable to come in and pick them up please let Sharlene know in the church office and she will make arrangements to have them hand delivered to you. These new envelopes are to be used as of January 1st. (At that time, it is imperative that you discard any unused envelopes from previous years so that your givings are credited correctly.) Please note that this year your envelope number may have changed. If we have missed your name and you would like a set of envelopes, please speak to Sharlene and she will be pleased to look after that for you.
WHITE GIFT SUNDAY
Sunday, Dec. 6th we will celebrate White Gift Sunday during the morning worship service. Your donations of unwrapped non perishable food are appreciated. Cash gifts will also be received – special “White Gift” offering envelopes will be made available. Your gifts of food/money will also be used to assist the Markham Food Bank.
CHRISTMAS GIFT BAGS
Christmas Gift Bags will be offered for sale again this year. Perhaps you’ve bought one or a few in the last 8 years or are looking for a meaningful charitable gift for someone. Each gift bag contains a tree ornament made by an artisan in a developing country along with a message that the ornament symbolizes a donation was made to the Markham Food Bank. Suggested donation is $20 minimum with 100% of the proceeds going to the Markham Food Bank, with a tax receipt provided. If you are interested to buy 1 or a few, or just make a monetary donation to the Markham Food Bank, please contact Ruth Duffield regduffield@gmail.com to coordinate a porch pick up/delivery or to meet me at Church on December 6th in the hour following the Church service.
MITTEN TREE
With the Christmas season upon us, the Mitten Tree is once again up in the Friendship Room. Should you wish to donate, please drop off hats, toques, scarves and gloves by Dec. 13th so that we can deliver them to the Salvation Army before Christmas. They can be dropped off at the church on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 9:00 and 1:00 or if you’re attending in person worship on Sunday morning and prefer to drop them off then, that would be fine as well.
WEEKLY PRAYER MEETING & TIME OF FELLOWSHIP
November 26th, 2020 at 7:00 pm
A reminder that you are invited to join in the Thursday Prayer Meeting followed by a Time of Fellowship at 7:00 PM. After the prayer time we have some time for fellowship to allow us to catch up with each other a little. The meeting is held using the Zoom technology. Please join 10 minutes before the 7:00 PM start time.
 
Here are the details for those that wish to participate:
Access to Join Zoom Meeting from your PC, Tablet or Smartphone
  1. Copy this address into your web browser https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8925458525 or click here
  2. If you are joining with the Zoom App the Meeting ID is: 892 545 8525 (Note that you can also download the Zoom Application and use the Meeting ID to join)
 
Quick access by phone:
  1. Call: 647 374-4685
  2. When prompted press: 892 545 8525 #
  3. Then when prompted again press: # to enter the call
CENTRAL UNITED IN-PERSON WORSHIP
November 29th, 2020
Central United Church has resumed it’s in person Worship Services. In this first phase of reopening we are able to welcome people in the church building limited to a maximum of 50 persons and subject to social distancing and health guidelines. To view the guidelines at Central United please click here.
 
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we endeavor to work together to make our worship both safe and meaningful during this unusual time.
ONLINE SUNDAY WORSHIP, November 29th
This Sunday’s service will be available to watch via live streaming at 10:00 am and is recorded for later viewing, through the Church website. To watch live or view a recording later, go to the Church website, scroll down and click on Central United’s Live Stream Page or click here. A copy of the bulletin for this Sunday’s Service is attached here. We suggest, for joining the live stream, that you tune in early. You are encouraged to have your bible handy and please note that the text of this Sunday’s Sermon will be available on our Church website prior to Service time. This Sunday’s Scripture readings are Isaiah 64:1-9, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 and Mark 13:24-37. You can also find a daily scripture message at the top of our website.
Please join us each week and spread this good word. Share our streaming information with family and friends, and via your extended social network, hopefully, more and more people will hear about our live stream services and join in each week.
CHURCH DIRECTORY – UPDATES,
CORRECTIONS & ADDITIONS
Since the Church Directory of Members and Friends was distributed late last year to facilitate us to stay in touch with each other, has any of your information changed – email address, phone number (cell/home/work), home address?   Perhaps you are new to our Church and want to be included?  Or declined to be included last year and now want to share your contact information with others? Is there a typo in your information in the Directory?   If you answered yes to any of these questions, please email admin@centralunitedchurch.com with your updated information. The list of updates, changes and additions will be forwarded to those who have received a Directory for changes to be made in their personal copy.  If you didn’t pick up a copy of the Directory and would like to obtain one, please contact Sharlene in the Church office.  Deadline for changes to be submitted is Friday, December 4th.
ONLINE DONATIONS
Donations for the work of Central United Church can be made online.
  • You can donate to Central United by clicking here:
  • You can continue to specify how you want your donation to be allocated by either selecting the appropriate category on the website or by typing in your choice in the MESSAGE box.
  • Donation receipts will be issued directly by Canada Helps, so there is no need to include your envelope number.
  • If you have any questions, email finance@centralunitedchurch.com.
In addition to the online donation option, your church offerings can also be mailed to the church.
THE UPPER ROOM
Copies of the large print Upper Room edition are now available for November/December 2020. If you would like to receive a copy please let Sharlene Wilson-Bennett (admin@centralunitedchurch.com) know via email and she will be happy to get them to you. Please be sure to include your address. Alternatively, use the link below to get your copy online. https://upperroombooks.com/home-2/?cn-reloaded=1

PASTORAL CARE
Should you become aware of any illness, bereavement, hospitalization, etc., among people of our church, please notify the church office as soon as possible.
During this time of limitations on in-person visits, Rev. Dr. James Clubine is available for a telephone or video conference pastoral ‘visit’ and prayer. If you would like to book a visit, please contact Rev. Clubine at the church office 905.474.0183×228 or mobile office 416.358.4924 or by email jclubine@centralunitedchurch.com.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
If you are interested in reading ahead a little, below are the readings for next week.

Dec. 6th 2020
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8