Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Packing Shoeboxes

We had a great time packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pictures from Christmas Extravaganza

We had a great time at our Christmas Prep Extravaganza last Sunday (Dec. 6), when we did Christmas shopping for some local families (with Walmart selfies), decorated the (huge!) Chrismon tree at church, wrapped presents, and ate cookies!  Enjoy!

Bringing in the tree...

Walmart Selfie Challenge:
Wearing something

Wrapping Party with Christmas Cookies & Ornament Making!

All decked out!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent Beginnings

Advent Cross+Gen Sunday School

We had a good turnout for our first Advent Cross+Generational Sunday School!
And here's a picture of one of the fruits of our labor: home advent wreaths!

Join us in future weeks at 9:45am, beginning with breakfast!

Bring your Bibles!

Dec. 6 we will be focusing on the meaning of blessing,  giving God praise in the midst of the busyness of the season, and what Advent is really for.  Join us!

Also be sure to join us on Wednesday evenings for:
Prayer at the Close of the Day 
This is a short, nighttime prayer service - 20 minutes tops.
Just time set aside to focus on the Word!

Don't forget to check out this blog page to take a listen to the music so you can be familiar with it! 

This Sunday, Dec. 6
Christmas Prep Extravaganza!!!
We need your help and participation for this event focused on service, fun, fellowship, and praise - all the things of the season!

     When:  after worship on Dec. 6
     Who:  Everyone!!!
     What: ??? 
  • Soup & Sandwich Lunch after church
  • Divide & Conquer
    • Big Group goes shopping for presents for needy families
    • Smaller Group stays and decorates Chrismon Tree 
  • Reunited for a party! 
    • Wrap presents for needy families!
    • Eat Christmas Cookies! (bring your favorite Christmas cookies to share) 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Advent Kick-Off, Nov. 29

When:  Sunday, November 29 at 9:45am
Where:  Basement Fellowship Hall
What: Cross+Generational Sunday School with breakfast & Advent wreath- making

 This Sunday kicks off our Advent preparations.
Advent is the 4 weeks of preparation before Christmas Day (which kicks off the 12 days of the Christmas Season - yes, they come after Christmas!)

What to bring this Sunday:
  • a joyful heart and a willing spirit!
  • your Bible from home (but of course we have some if you forget)
  • an Advent wreath form if you have one (if you don't, we'll have some for you!)
  • evergreen clippings (if you don't have any, we'll have plenty extra!)
  • floral wire if you have it (DON'T go buy any, there will be enough to share!)
In case you didn't get that - the 1st thing on the list is the only essential thing!

What you'll leave with:
  • an Advent wreath to use at home with your family!
  • a home devotional, geared towards the age of people in your home!
  • confidence that you can do an Advent devotional at home!
See you Sunday!

Then, join us on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7pm for our 1st Wednesday evening prayer service.  Click over to this blogpage to find out more about that and to listen to the music for the liturgy ahead of time.

The 1st Christmas Pageant rehearsal will be immediately after that service, 
around 7:20pm on Wed., Dec. 2.

Don't forget to look ahead to Sun., Dec. 6
after worship: lunch
after lunch: going shopping for needy families & decorating Chrismon tree
after that: wrapping presents, eating Christmas cookies!

Homecoming & Chili Cook-Off Re-cap

 We had a wonderful Homecoming Celebration on Oct. 25, celebrating 60 years of ministry at Bethany Lutheran Church!

Former Bethany Pastor Mark Fitzsimmons was our preacher.
120 people came to worship with us that day, and stayed afterwards for a marvelous covered dish lunch & presentation with pictures, history, a movie with interviews, stories, laughs, and tears.

A few weeks later we had our Chili Cook-Off and Bake-Off!

Always a great time, this is a fundraiser for shopping for needy families at Christmastime.
 And two of our teenagers won two of the awards 
- People's Choice Chili & Judge's Dessert Choice!
Congratulations to our rising star cooks!

 On Sunday, Dec. 6 we will put that money to use.  Stay tuned to a future blog post to find out how you can participate!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Advent Wednesday Prayer Service

Every Wednesday in Advent, at 7pm
We will be having a short prayer service
It's called Prayer at the Close of the Day, or Compline, on p. 154 in LBW

Pastor Jonathan will lead us in this simple nighttime prayer service.
There will be no sermon.
Just Scripture, prayer, and singing.
About 20 minutes, tops.
Just time - time set aside in all the busyness for worship.

Since this may be a new liturgy for some of you, Pastors Jonathan & Laura recorded the music for you to listen to ahead of time.  Go ahead and make it part of your nightly routine!

Click on this link to hear the music:

Prayer at the Close of the Day*

* Sorry, the permission for posting the recorded music expired!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Coming up in November

Things Coming up in November:

  • Jonathan's Ordination: Sun., Nov. 8 at 3pm.  Reception to follow
  •  Chili Cook-Off & Bake-Off: Sun., Nov. 15 after worship
    • This is a fundraiser for purchasing presents for needy families at Christmas
  • Cemetery Policy Q&A: Sun., Nov. 22 after worship
    • Review the Policy beforehand and come with your questions
  •  Community Thanksgiving Service: Sun., Nov. 22 at 6pm
    • at Proffit's Grove Baptist Church
    • this year's service will be in remembrance of Earl Moretz, who got this whole tradition started and kept it going for so long
    • Pantry item donations will go to Green Valley School
    • Monetary donations will go to Health & Hunger Coalition and Hospitality House (make checks out to these organizations)
    • You can bring donations to Bethany in the coming weeks if you can't go to the service
  • Cross+Generational Advent Sunday School: Nov. 29
    • 9:45am - beginning with breakfast
    • At this Nov. 29 session, we will be making Advent wreaths.  Bring greenery from around your home

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

60th Homecoming - Oct. 25, 2015

Join us
next Sunday
October 25, 2015
as we celebrate
Bethany's 60th Homecoming

Our guest preacher will be former Bethany pastor
Mark Fitzsimmons

A covered dish lunch will follow.
At the lunch there will be a special presentation with a movie about the church.
Y'all come!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 ELCA Youth Gathering

Youth from Bethany and Grace had a great trip to the Youth Gathering in Detroit, where, with 30,000 other Lutherans they got to fellowship, engage in worship, Bible Study, and play, got to hear from speakers (such as Marian Wright Edelman), hear some music from talented Christian artists (such as Lost and Found, Agape, Blanca, and Skillet), sing and dance with 30k other people as some of the original Temptations gave us a musical tour of Motown, engaged in service on the streets of Detroit, and got to see our Presiding Bishop preach and celebrate the Eucharist for a crowd of 30,000.

Here are pictures from our trip!

On the road:


Opening Worship, Wednesday evening:
We worshiped in Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play football
The youth got to hear our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton address them as she welcomed the assembled group of 30,000 Lutherans to Detroit
Throughout the Gathering, people used the hashtag #RiseUpELCA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and it trended on all three over the week.

trending on Facebook
 Our Proclaim Community Day, where we got to spend the whole day in the COBO Center, where there were lots of games, stations, and informational activities, all designed to promote community through the cross with our individual groups and the world at large.
* COBO Center is where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. first gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.
The boys standing outside COBO Center, with Canada behind them.
At the "indoor playground" in COBO Center - these benches will be placed around Detroit with messages of God's love written all over them.
In a station called disABILIcity, where participants experienced a brief glimpse of what it is like to have a disability.
Ultimate Frisbee team with some new friends from Wisconsin
Ultimate Frisbee strategy
Ultimate Frisbee
making bookmarks for their new Bibles
picking out costumes for a photo booth session
We found our new Bishop and former Grace pastor, Tim Smith!
Walking on the streets of Detroit
With the "Spirit of Detroit" statue, who holds in each hand the symbols of God and family
The theme of the Gathering was "Rise Up Together"
Reunited with a former vicar - now a pastor in Minnesota: Michael Beery
See all the colored T-shirts?  The look of so many colors together became known on Twitter as a "Skittles Explosion"

Our Proclaim Justice Day, where we got to go out in our orange T-shirts on the streets of Detroit in service to the community.  Our group worked on boarding up and cleaning up abandoned houses.  In the economic downturn, around 1 million people left Detroit, leaving only 700,000 residents, and lots of empty houses, which invite wildlife and criminal activity.  We helped to make the neighborhoods a little safer, led by some local community action groups in Detroit. 

It rained that morning while we were waiting to ship off in our buses, and we thought we were in for a wet day of service.

Luckily it soon let up, and we had great weather for working outside - mild and overcast.

Preparing to board up houses
Nearly all the houses on the right side of the street were abandoned

Clearing out a massive grapevine


Clearing trash and debris

Our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton - she didn't work in our group, but she was out there on the streets too

 On Friday night we got a treat - two of the original Temptations joined by two other original Motown artists SURPRISED the gathering with their appearance.  They gave us a musical tour of Motown, including Temptations, Supremes, and Jackson 5.  They truly brought the house down, and had all 30,000 people on their feet singing and dancing!

Click here to see the performance by the Motorcity Allstars, made up of a Capital, a Miracle, and two Temptations.

Our Proclaim Story Day.  In the morning we had some free time for more group bonding.  Then, in the afternoon, we met up with the 700 other people from the NC Synod and had a massive group Bible Study, followed by worship. 

Our youth donated generously to the ELCA Walk for Water, which was being matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000.  With what was raised at the Gathering, plus the matching dollars, over $625,000 was raised in 4 days.

making hats for citizens of Detroit for the next winter season

lots of murals were created to go on abandoned buildings to help beautify the city

floor hockey fun

Bible Study with 700 Lutherans from NC Synod
At the end of worship, we all huddled around and extended a hand of blessing on both our Retiring Bishop Bolick, and our Bishop-elect Tim Smith.

We got to sit on "the floor" Saturday night
Sitting on "the floor" means you get to join in the conga lines
Keynote speaker Marian Wright Edelman - an activist from the Civil Rights Movement, and President and Founder of the Children's Defense Fund

Concert by Skillet - a Christian Heavy Metal band

Closing Worship with Holy Communion for 30,000 people 
Presiding Bishop Eaton preached and presided at the Eucharist
Singing the theme song "Rise Up, O God" for the last time.

A behind-the-scenes look at what preparing Communion for 30,000 people looks like

A special thanks to the City of Detroit for hosting, and for all the people who planned this event!

The Gathering was covered by several news outlets.  You can find examples by clicking here, here, and here.  And this one entitled "Why Downtown Detroit Looks like a Skittles Factory Exploded."

You can also find official videos and pictures of the Gathering on the ELCA site here.