In case you haven’t made the connection, our theme for Advent this year is taken from the Gospel of Luke -
"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” Luke 2:10-14
Fear not, good news, great joy and peace on earth - all fitting themes for us as we end 2020.
This Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Advent - peace on earth.
Ultimate peace is reconciliation with God and reconciliation with others. But there are so many factors and circumstances that can rob us of peace. The list is endless.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus - the Prince of Peace. What a gift! Jesus gives us a peace that will last. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27
May we know His peace this holiday season - Pastor Michele
Worship is ONLINE this Sunday, 20 December at 9:45am and 11:15am, as is our Sunday School Christmas Party as noted below. Then join us on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - our programme is here. Share the link with your friends and colleagues looking for some Christmas cheer.
Outreach at 22A Kennedy Road: We’re reaching out to 120 construction workers at 22A to let them know we pray for them regularly and to extend the good news of the Christmas season! Thank you to the BUFF team who will deliver small gifts on 18 December. Please pray that the on-site workers will read the Alpha booklet “Why Christmas?” and follow up with our Alpha leaders to learn more about Jesus Christ.
Blue Christmas: A Service of Reflection for Difficult Days aired on 16 December. During this year of loss and change, the service helped acknowledge our grief and pain, and brought hope during this season. You can view the service at any time. Please share the link with friends and family who might find comfort in the messages, music and scripture.
Zoom Coffee Hour: Between Sunday services, grab a cup of tea or coffee and connect with friends and church leaders 10:45am - 11:15am. Contact us at any time to get the Zoom link.
Giving: Thank you for supporting God’s ministries at Union Church. You may give online or use the QR code below. You can also send us a cheque made payable to "Union Church" to: 18F, Sunlight Tower, 248 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
Giving by US taxpayers: If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation, kindly date and send your cheques made payable to “Friends of Hong Kong Charities, Inc.” to the Union Church Accounts department no later than 31 December 2020. If it is late, your donation cannot be recognised in the 2020 tax year.
CHURCH FAMILY NEWS
We had 85 youth, children and adults zooming in for an entertaining, inspiring and often hilarious Youth Christmas Banquet on 4 December. Union Youth raised over $31,000 for two charities: Kids International Ministries (KIM) in the Philippines and ImpactHK! Thank you Hunter, Justin and all involved for keeping us connected and for letting us give to a great cause.
If you have not sent your Stewardship pledge for 2021, we would still welcome it. Your pledge (and the Holy Spirit!) helps inform our budget for 2021.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Oh come all ye faithful! Enjoy your favourite Christmas carols and more during our online Christmas Eve service on 24 December at 5:00pm - don't forget to have your candle nearby. And tune in for our Christmas Day celebration on 25 December at 10am. The online programme can be found here.
Book Group: If you have some extra time on your hands during the holidays, why not get started on one of our next book group reads? All are welcome to join! Contact Monte Peterson with questions.
25 January: The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker; a novel that explores the difficult questions of life.
22 February: The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri; a novel about an ordinary Syrian couple seeking refuge from the war that engulfs their homeland.
ReCharge will reconvene early in the new year!
Online Sunday School, Sunday 20 December: This Sunday, children are invited to join our Christmas Party online via Zoom from 10:45am - 11:30am!
Sunday School arrangement for Sunday, 27 December 2020 and 3 January 2021: We will be on break for both Sundays. Online Sunday School and/or in-person Children’s Church will resume on Sunday, 10 January 2021.
Sunday School 2020/2021 Registration is open: All babies and children need to be registered for the Creche and Sunday School which also allows you to get the Zoom link for our online events. You may complete the registration form here. For more information, please visit the Union Church website or contact us by email or ring us on 2101 0414.
Did you miss Union Church’s Zoom into Christmas Children’s Musical? It was an amazing, creative online production that combines the awesome talent of our children and technology teams to tell the story of the Nativity. You can still watch it here!
Friday Youth Group – 18 December: This Friday is our Online Christmas Party! There will be voting for the winner of our cooking competition - we’re asking Youth to submit videos of their chef skills to Justin @ . We’ll also have time to share about Christmas, some games and activities and then we will read the Christmas story from the Bible together. The Christmas Party will go from 6:00pm - 8:00pm. Youth can join the Zoom via this link.
Sunday Youth – 20 December: This Sunday will be the last Sunday Youth for the year! We’ll be reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. Youth can join from 11:15am - 12:15pm with this link.
Wednesday Church History Study: Yesterday we concluded our series on the History of the Church – who would have thought it would be so fascinating?! See you in the new year when our next Wednesday study begins.
ICC has been one of Union Church’s Missions partners for many years. The organisation provides love, hope and opportunity to children with disabilities in China. Over the past 2-3 years, God has led ICC through a significant transformation, moving the Chinese government to invite ICC to reach out to thousands of desperate families raising children with disabilities. A new Cross Care Team #3 has just started operations last month to care for more of these struggling families. ICC will need additional resources in order to set up more teams to reach more families in 2021. Let’s continue to pray that God will provide so that ICC can expand its reach and impact.
Flourishing Future: Our UC Missions partner, Flourishing Future, is serving 300+ hungry and cold families in -28C weather who are without money for coal and food. HK$900 will sustain one family for one month. Proceeds from Union Church's love offering this Advent and Christmas season will go to Flourishing Future. You may send your cheque to the Church office any time. Please make it payable to "Union Church" with Flourishing Future on the reverse side. Watch our latest video and visit www.flourishingfuture.com.
SAT-7, another Union Church Missions partner, delivers Christian satellite television for the Middle East and Africa. SAT-7 supports Christians in their witness and lives and shares the good news with the unreached. Please pray for their audiences whose family life, livelihoods, education and mental health have been affected by COVID-19. Pray that SAT-7's Christ-centred programming helps viewers find freedom in God this Christmas season.
Read more about all of our Missions partners here. Who would you like to be involved with?
Meeting as a small group at this time is challenging, but the support from each other is more important than ever. There are online options - please reach out if you need help figuring this out! If you aren't currently in a group, we encourage you to try it out in the new year. There are groups for women, men, couples, day-time, night-time, etc. Interested? Contact Monte Peterson.
Stephen Ministers are members of our congregation who listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support to people going through a crisis or a difficult time. Please contact Pastor Michele or if we can help.
Fertility & Pregnancy/Infant Loss Support Group - Struggling and could use some fellowship, friendship and support? Please contact Tess Lyons.
Families in Need (FIN)
Our Families in Need ministry helps people with their basic monthly needs. If you can help, we are grateful for your generosity. Please mark your envelope "FIN".
“Great Joy! Joy for the Journey” Rev. Dr. Michele Bland