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eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin-December 20, 2012

Dear Floris Family,

Thanks to all of the musicians, choir members and volunteers who brought such a beautiful cantata to us this past Sunday morning. The music was such a blessing to all of us and reminded us to hold onto the hope of Christ and the love of God expressed in Jesus’ birth. And thanks to everyone who brought food items to benefit Grace Ministries. We received 1,000 items, which will bless the many families who depend on this ministry for food each month. This is especially important at this time due to recent shortages at local food banks.

Have you ever noticed that time seems to move faster as you get a bit older? I recall the 12 months between Christmas celebrations feeling eternal when I was a child. Now it feels like no time at all. I look forward to seeing you all on Christmas Eve. If you are traveling and will not be at Floris, I hope that you will be able to celebrate the birth of Christ and light a candle of hope at worship on Christmas Eve. Let me share our plans with you:

Christmas Eve at Floris
Floris offers many Christmas Eve services, beginning Sunday night, December 23 at 7 PM with our Christmas Eve Eve service and continuing December 24. The 5 PM and 9 PM services are the most highly attended services. The 3 PM Preschool service is geared towards preschoolers and is about 30 minutes in length.

Take time to invite your friends and neighbors. Our sanctuary was able to accommodate everyone last year. We will again send a special invitation email to you shortly after you receive this eNote. Please forward it to those you’d like to invite who may not have a church home.

As has been our tradition, be sure to look for a special email message from me on Christmas Day in which I will announce the amount of the Christmas Eve offering. It will also be posted on our website.

Newtown Tragedy
I have been working with a friend at another UMC to contact Newtown UMC earlier this week. The church secretary there shared that the church has received an overwhelming show of support from around the nation and at this time they have no financial or material needs but are very appreciative of prayers. This is pertinent especially in light of the fact that two of the children who were killed attended the Newtown congregation. They referred me to a community fund set up to provide help with funeral expenses, counseling and other services. This fund will be administered by a local bank and the United Way. Floris UMC has made a $1,000 donation to this fund, which has received $1,350,000 to date. Governor Bob McDonnell has joined Governor Malloy of Connecticut in declaring tomorrow, Friday, December 21, a day of mourning in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He asks us to join him tomorrow at 9:30 AM in a moment of silence to commemorate the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary. If you would like to respond in other ways, consider praying for church leaders in this community who are now performing funeral services and will next move into Christmas Eve services. You can also send messages of condolence to a special postal box that has been created for this purpose.

Financial Question
If you are going to be out of town you may want to be sure you bring your offering up-to-date before you leave. There are four ways to complete your 2012 giving to our building or general fund or contribute to the Christmas Eve offering:

  • Mail your offering to FUMC, 13600 Frying Pan Rd, Herndon, VA 20171, attn: Beverly Fife. Your mailed-in contribution must be postmarked by December 31.
  • Give on Christmas Eve. Please be sure to designate your check for the Building Fund and/or General Fund if that is your intention. Envelopes will be provided in the pews for the Christmas Eve offering. Any undesignated checks will go towards the Christmas Eve offering.
  • Bring in your offering to the church December 26-28 and 31. Office hours are 9 AM-5 PM.

Thanks for your generous stewardship in 2012 which enabled us to make disciples, transform the world, pay down principal on our Phase 2 building debt and continue to live as responsible stewards.

This Week in Worship
Join us Sunday as we continue our sermon series, Come Home for Christmas, and consider how Christ brings hope that casts out fear. The joy of Christmas is knowing that God’s presence and power are able to overcome the world. Through Christ, we are given a joy that transcends a season and a celebration. Come join us for the sermon “Embrace Joy.” Scripture: 1 John 5:1-5.

In Christ,
– Tom

About Tom Berlin

Rev. Tom Berlin is the lead pastor of Floris UMC. Tom was raised in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and has lived in Virginia most of his life. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and his Master of Divinity is from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He has co-authored three books and is the author of his own book and several small group studies. Tom and his wife, Karen, have four daughters.

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