Today is American Thanksgiving—a day that has a long history of thankfulness. It was in 1789 that President George Washington declared, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” There is a lot of richness in this statement.
Scripture reminds us of the importance of being grateful.
The Psalmist wrote, “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2
The Apostle Paul stated, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Although today is a special day set aside for being thankful it is important that we take time regularly to be "grateful for His benefits." It is important that as individuals and as a community of faith we develop an "attitude of gratitude." God is a generous and loving God, and He has blessed each of us so richly—we are blessed in love, favour, new life and community. May we in turn use all that He has given to us—our time, talents and treasures for His glory and purposes.
We are wrapping up our Stewardship season. If you are interested in serving in a particular ministry or have not submitted your pledge form, we would love to hear from you.
Thankful, Pastor Michele
CHURCH FAMILY NEWS
This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent! We have an Advent devotional to help you reflect on Immanuel—God is with us. The daily devotions have been written by our congregants and staff. Please pick up your gift bag before your worship service this Sunday, 29 November or drop by the church office on Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 6:00pm to receive your gift.
As part of our Wednesday evening ReCharge during Advent, we will gather online for Advent Prayer on 2 and 9 December from 8:00pm to 8:30pm.
Our Christmas love offering on 24 December will be for Flourishing Future Mongolia who have an urgent need due to extreme winter conditions and the pandemic. If you are able to give now, kindly send your cheque payable to "Union Church" with Flourishing Future on the back of the cheque. Please read more in the Missions section below.
Look for all of our Advent and Christmas services and events here.
We're grateful for our Committee of Management testimonies on Stewardship. In the last of the series, we hear from Koon Wee.
Trust God Like a Child
In a recent Sunday School lesson for the 8- to 10-year-olds, we were confronted with some tough theological questions about whether God still appears to us today in the miraculous way he appeared and spoke to his people in the Bible. How do we have the assurance that we can trust God even if we don’t see or hear from him? Our study brought us to Psalm 19:1-2, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” By the end of the lesson, we encouraged the children to jot down daily observations in their own “nature notes” like David did. Perhaps we need to open our “adult” eyes to see God’s magnificent creation more clearly, and find ways to remind ourselves of the presence of God. Perhaps we can build up our faith by learning from the children—marvelling at the beauty of the small things around us more readily. In the same child-like manner, God wants us to be entirely dependent on him for our daily needs. (Matthew 18:3)
~ Koon Wee
In-Person and Online Worship: We plan to worship in-person and online this Sunday with all of the normal precautions! Don’t forget we have a NEW 12:45pm contemporary service that concludes at 1:30pm, in addition to our live services at 8:45am (with communion), 9:45am and 11:15am (at 18/F and U-Café). We will also stream live the 9:45am and 11:15am services, via our website, mobile app or Facebook page.
Young Adults Hike + Dinner: We would love to have all our young adults join us for a fun hike followed by dinner at Dan and Geeta Tupps' home in Discovery Bay on Saturday, 28 November. To RSVP please contact Dan Tupps.
Union Church Missions Fair: This Sunday, 29 November—check out the wonderful holiday gifts at our Missions partners’ tables in the Fellowship Hall and, most importantly, hear their stories, help raise funds and pray for these key ministries in the field. The fair is open from 8:00am – 2:00pm. Don’t forget your chequebook or cash!
A NEW small group for women! Melody Meyers will lead this group through a study of The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp, on Thursday nights, starting 3 December, 7:00pm. Books are available at church. Contact for more information.
“ReCreate!” Open Arts Studio, 12noon-2pm, 5 Thursdays, with the 3rd session on 3 December in the church sanctuary. Creating art is a great way to relax, de-stress and rejuvenate your mind, soul and spirit. Art supplies will be provided and it's free of charge! Click here to sign up and for further information contact Crystal Lo.
Youth: Christmas Banquet – 4 December. This year’s Christmas Banquet is happening at homes all across Hong Kong—from Lantau to Sai Kung, Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. Join smaller groups of “Home Banquets” and invite friends and neighbours to join. Entertainment and a fun auction will be zoomed in! If you are interested in hosting or just being involved, please email Hunter Purvis.
Creche & Sunday School Arrangements for Sunday, 29 November 2020: the Creche Centre will be open with restricted capacity from 8:45am to 12:30pm. Children ages 3-10 years are invited to attend Children’s Church in Rooms 2&3. We love welcoming your children and will continue to follow strict hygiene measures.
Giving: Thank you for your giving to 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. For US taxpayers wishing 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.
Blue Christmas: A Service of Reflection for Difficult Days - Christmas is often a season that brings up difficult memories and emotions, and with all the losses and changes of 2020, many may find Christmas a challenging time. Our "Blue Christmas" service is meant to offer an opportunity to acknowledge the grief and pain we bring to the manger this year, and find some comfort in the birth of Immanuel, God with us. Join us as we worship with music, silence, and prayers, and let God minister to our deepest needs. Wednesday, 16 December at 7:30pm.
Ladies Retreat: We are organising the Union Church Ladies Retreat 2021! Please save the date, 28 – 29 January 2021. More details to follow.
Advent Prayer: On Wednesday, 2 and 9 December, we will gather online for Advent prayer. We will meet from 8:00pm - 8:30pm, for praise and thanksgiving, silent confession, hearing and meditating on God's Word, and lifting our concerns before the Lord. A peaceful, calming way to end the day and prepare for the birth of our Saviour. Email Monte Peterson for the Zoom link.
Young Adults ReCharge: Please join us for a time of study, fellowship and prayer on Wednesdays at 8:00pm, in-person or on Zoom. Contact Dan Tupps for more information.
Meet some of our Missions partners at the Union Church Missions Fair on Sunday, 29 November! We are delighted to welcome Flourishing Future Mongolia, HK Christian Kun Sun Association, International Care Ministries (ICM), International China Concern (ICC), The Hong Kong Church Network for the Poor (HKCNP), Sons & Daughters, Crossroads, and YWAM. Union Church Ladies will have a table too!
Flourishing Future: We have news of dire needs from our missions partner in Mongolia. Pandemic lockdown has come to Ulaanbaatar, severely impacting daily wage earners. Flourishing Future has 300 hungry and cold families in -22C weather without enough heat, basic foods and meat due to Covid-related hardship. HK$2700 will give each family food, provision and HOPE for a bleak winter. Will you help bring immediate relief to one family? Please learn more at the Union Church Missions Fair and visit www.flourishingfuture.com. Flourishing Future will be Union Church's love offering on Christmas Eve and if you can give now, kindly send your cheque made out to "Union Church" with Flourishing Future on the reverse side.
Kindness Walks: We continue to serve the homeless and poor in Wan Chai. Over 15 people joined a Kindness Walk last Sunday! Please join us for another Kindness Walk on 13 December following the 9:45am service (c. 10:45am) and on 27 December following the 11:15am service (c. 12:15pm). Email for more info or to sign up.
Sons & Daughters: The mission of Sons & Daughters is to help those caught in sexual exploitation to reclaim a life of love, family, and freedom in Christ. A Friday Alpha group is underway and members and commitment levels are increasing. Please pray for all involved in Alpha. Sons & Daughters is also in need of everyday items for their drop-in centre and safe house. Please see the link to donate: https://forms.gle/6pUQ7LqAte5DdY1bA. Also consider shopping at ReStore, their social enterprise that supports people coming out of exploitation.
Please continue to pray for our Missions partners at Light of the World Church and Preschool in Yangon, Myanmar where most church members are out of a job, have no income and need assistance to meet their basic needs. Please pray for Pastor Vum and his family has they shepherd the flock. Pray for strong faith in God and Christ Jesus, safety and health for each family during the pandemic, and for churches, places of work and schools to re-open safely.
Children’s Christmas Musical Group Choir Recording: Saturday, 28 November - Children aged 3 to 10 years old are invited to join us in-person at Union Church for our Children’s Christmas Musical Choir recording on 28 November. Here are the times. 3-6 years old: Please arrive at church at 8:45am for your recording time of 9:00am - 10:15am. 7 years old and above: please arrive at church at 10:30am for your recording time of 10:30am - 12:00pm. Costumes will be provided at church on the day of the recording.
Online Sunday School: For the next several Sundays, our children will be learning from Isaiah 9:6-7. We will learn about Jesus as the Wonderful Counsellor, Jesus the Mighty God, Jesus the Everlasting Father and Jesus the Prince of Peace on Zoom from 10:45am – 11:30am.
Sunday School 2020/2021 Registration is now open: Please complete and sign the registration form for the Creche and Sunday School here. For safety reasons, only children officially registered in our Sunday School program will receive the Zoom link to our online Sunday School. For more information, please visit Union Church's website or contact us by or ring us on 2101-0414.
Friday Youth Group – Small Group Night – 27 November: Youth are invited to join us at Union Church! This week you can come and decompress from the week, meet in small groups, read scripture and discuss together! See you at Scripture & Small Group Night on the 27th at 18/F Sunlight Tower. Juniors (ages 11 – 13) from 6:00pm – 7:30pm and Seniors (ages 14 – 18) from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. As per government restrictions, we cannot serve dinner. Youth are asked to sign a health declaration form on entry.
Sunday Youth – 29 November: We will also be having in-person Sunday Youth this week at both 9:45am and 11:15am services. Youth are invited to join us at 29/F Hotel Indigo as we read scripture, discuss the sermon and pray together.
Wednesday Church History Study – 2 December: On Wednesdays, we’re enjoying a series based around the History of the Church – diving into how the church started, and how it has evolved and grown over the centuries. Join us on Wednesday, 6:30pm – 8:00pm. Here’s your Zoom link!
Meeting as a small group in 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. There are groups for women, men, couples, day-time, night-time, etc. Interested? Contact Monte Peterson.
The Friday mornings ladies group is continuing the 6-week study, Goliath Must Fall. We are discovering key giants in our life: fear, rejection, comfort, anger and addiction. We gather at 10:00am to catch up and then work through the study from 10:30am-12:00 noon. We hope you will join us either in-person or via zoom. Please contact Pastor Michele or Ellen Ahn to sign up or for more information.
The Marriage Course is open to all couples, offering practical ideas and tools to keep your relationship strong. Please contact Joanna Yau for more details.
Pastoral Care: For prayer, please contact Ministry leaders directly or or call 6225 5042.
If you have been attending Union Church for a while and have never gone through the official process to become a member, now is your chance! Please collect a green form and make it official! If you have never been baptised and are interested, please 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. Thank you, Sonia Lee, for faithfully serving in this capacity.
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".
“By Faith: Stepping Out” – Rev. Steve Gaultney