Going Caroling…

 

Join us on Wednesday, December 12 at 5:30 PM to go out caroling!

The act of singing and traveling to different homes comes from an ancient tradition. In England, the word wassail — derived from the Old Norse ves heill meaning “be well, and in good health” — came to mean the wishing of good fortune on your neighbors. No one is quite sure when the custom began, but it did give us the song, “Here We Come-A-Wassailing” — sung as carolers wished good cheer to their neighbors in hopes of getting a gift in return. (“A Wassailing” also evolved into the popular “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” — its last verse, “Bring us some figgy pudding” stems from the wassailers’ original intent.)

The two traditions of singing and visiting first merged in Victorian England, as church carols began to merge with Christian folk music. Many of today’s most popular carols date to this period. Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern published in London by British lawyer William B. Sandys in 1833, was the first to print “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “The First Noel” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” “Joy to the World” first appeared in the Anglican Church hymnal Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861.

Saint Francis Assisi plays a major role in the history of Christmas Caroling, as he is the person who made Christmas Carols an important part of the church services. It is said that Saint Francis Assassi introdced the carols in the church during a Christmas Midnight Mass in a Church in Greccio, in the province of Umbria in 1223 and the songs sung that night were more similar to carols rather than hymns.

Most of the carols tell us a story, it may be about the birth of Jesus Christ or about the tradition of gifts or any other story associated with Christmas. But the common factor among them is that either their themes are related to the festivity of Christmas or they have a religious side to it. Christmas carols provide the opportunity to express the feeling of joy and happiness. So the carols are primarily of a joyful nature.

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Thanksgiving Eve

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Join us for a special Thanksgiving Eve worship service on Wednesday evening November 21 at 6:30 PM.  Hosted by Rock of Salvation Church & Faith Community Church

Harvest of Thanks

For thousands of years, people all over the world have celebrated harvest time. You’d celebrate too if you had to raise all your own food—it’s a LOT harder than it sounds!

Here’s what you’d have to do:

  • Figure out how much food you’ll need for a whole year
  • Plant your crops
  • Weed and water the plants as they grow
  • Raise (and slaughter) animals for meat
  • Harvest the crops (by hand—machines haven’t been invented yet)
  • Store the food properly so it won’t spoil (no refrigerators!)
  • Eat carefully all winter so you won’t run out of food
  • Save seeds from this year’s crop to plant next year

Even if you worked very hard to raise your food, things could still go wrong. Hail can destroy a crop in minutes. Plants and animals can get diseases. If you get too much rain (or not enough), the crops won’t grow well. If your family gets sick right before harvesttime, your crops might rot in the fields unless you have neighbors to help you.

Do you see why people all over the world give thanks at harvesttime? A good harvest means that so many things have gone well. And it means that people will be able to stay alive until the next harvest. That’s something to be thankful for!

Read All About It
Check out the picture book Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Festival by Kate Waters. In this book a Wampanoag boy named Dancing Moccasins and an English boy named Resolved White tell about the preparations leading up to the harvest celebration that we now think of as the first Thanksgiving. As Dancing Moccasins hunts deer and Resolved does his chores, they both wonder what the day will hold for them. Will they be safe? Will they like each other? Find out!

Name That Pilgrim
How would you like it if your parents named you “Wrestling” or “Humility”? Some Pilgrim parents gave their children first names that would remind them of important things. At the first Thanksgiving there were kids named Remember, Love, Wrestling,
Humility, Resolved, and Peregrine. The baby who was born on the Mayflower was named Oceanus.

Fun Facts
The Pilgrims sailed for 66 days from England to America on a ship called the Mayflower. Only two people died on the stormy journey, and one baby was born, but half of the 100-some Mayflower passengers died of sickness during their first winter in America.

During a terrible storm a Mayflower passenger named John Howland was washed off the ship’s deck. But before he went into the ocean, he caught hold of something and was saved. If he had drowned that day, U.S. President George W. Bush would never have existed, because he is a descendent of John Howland.

The area called “Plymouth Colony”wasn’t empty when the Pilgrims arrived. A Native American tribe called the Wampanoag had been living there for thousands of years. Though the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag were friends for many years, they later fought each other and most of the Wampanoag were killed.

The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving only once that we know of. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a U.S. holiday.

Make a “ Thankful Calendar”
At the beginning of the month, hang a blank calendar page on your refrigerator with magnets. (Make your own calendar page and decorate it with things that remind you of harvesttime.) Every day, write down something big or little that you’re thankful to God for. Get your whole family to do this, and take turns reading the calendar to each other on Thanksgiving Day. Talk about what it was like to give thanks every day for a whole month.

The Very First Thanksgiving
Did you know that the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America actually happened in Canada?

More than 400 years ago Martin Frobisher, an English explorer and part-time pirate, had a dream. He wanted to find a direct sea route from Europe to Asia. Because Europeans hadn’t traveled west across the Atlantic Ocean much, he didn’t know that his dream was impossible. So off he sailed, but when he found land it wasn’t Asia—it was Canada.

In 1578, Frobisher started a settlement in what’s now called Newfoundland. He was so glad he had survived the long journey that he held a ceremony to give thanks to God.

Many Canadians continued celebrating Thanksgiving off and on through the years, but Thanksgiving didn’t become an official holiday in Canada until 1879.

The First U.S. Thanksgiving

On December 11, 1621, an Englishman named Edward Winslow wrote a letter from his new home in Plymouth Colony to his family back in England. He described the celebration Americans now think of as the first Thanksgiving. The letter went something like this:

My dear family,

We had a very good corn harvest this year, praise God! (Our barley was all right, but we did a really bad job with the peas–we planted them too late, and the summer sun burned them to a crisp.)

After we harvested our crops, we wanted to celebrate. We had enough food to get us through the winter!

Our governor sent out four men to hunt for ducks, geese, or turkey. The hunters brought back so many birds that we had food for a whole week.

We celebrated our harvest for three whole days. Many of our Indian neighbors came to join us, including their greatest chief, whose name was Massasoit. Our friends the Indians killed five deer and gave them to our leaders.

By the goodness of God, we have plenty of food this year, and for that we are very thankful.

With much love,

Edward

Aadapted from Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of
the Pilgrims at Plymouth, first published in 1622.

https://www.thebanner.org/departments/2011/01/harvest-of-thanks

JANUARY 18, 2011 COLUMNS, DISCOVER

We are there to help!

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Compelled by God’s deep passion for justice & mercy, we join communities around the world to renew hope, reconcile lives, and restore creation.

When disasters strike, World Renew responds to the urgent needs that arise. In North America, this often includes clearing debris, assessing needs, training local leaders, and repairing and rebuilding damaged homes. Internationally, it includes providing and distributing emergency food, water, shelter, and other supplies. It also often involves reconstruction of homes and livelihoods. World Renew’s ability to respond to disaster is enhanced and greatly supported by a number of strategic partnerships and alliances.

World Renew does not receive denominational ministry shares and depends on the regular financial support of God’s people.

World Renew is accepting donations to begin to plan a response to help those most affected by Hurricane Florence in the days ahead. You can donate online  https://worldrenew.net/florence 

World Renew’s Disaster Response Services volunteers give of their time and talents to help clear debris, assess needs, and rebuild homes after disasters strike. Click the link for current volunteer opportunities.  https://worldrenew.net/volunteer

Join us for a Hymn Sing!

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Join our next Potluck & Hymn Sing on

Sunday September 23 at 5:00 PM. 

Bring a dish to pass and be prepared to make a joyful noise!

Scientists are currently exploring the physiological and psychological benefits of singing with promising results. Most recently, a November 2017 study of self-reported data from 1,779 choir members around the world provided “confirmatory evidence to support choral singing as a means of improving well being,” the authors wrote in Perspectives in Public Health. Participants claimed making music fostered social connection, cognitive stimulation, mental health, enjoyment, and transcendence.  Singing can enhance your mood and create a sense of group identity, Stephen Clift writes in Music, Health, and Wellbeing.  https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/news/a47211/singing-health-benefits/

Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits. Study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to quality of life. It turns out you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards. Group singing is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and certainly more fun than working out. It is the one thing in life where feeling better is pretty much guaranteed. http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/

SO JOIN US… and be Transformed!