Star Words to start the new year

On the first Sunday (and first day) of the year, we will celebrate Epiphany Sunday, which commemorates the visitation of Christ by the Magi from the East. The Magi, guided by a star, brought gifts to the newborn King, and thwarted King Herod’s plan for violence.

The Star Words will be given out to those in worship on Epiphany Sunday. Star Words is a contemporary tradition of passing out intention words on Epiphany—a tradition growing in popularity amongst many Protestant churches. Inspired by the Magi following the star to Jesus, selecting a star word to meditate on throughout the new year can deepen your self-reflection and prayer practices.

The use of star words is a prayer practice connected to Epiphany and the new year that has been growing in popularity in Protestant churches for nearly a decade now. The idea is that a list of intention words, or guiding words, are written or printed on paper stars. These paper stars are then arranged, most commonly face down, on the Communion Table or in a large basket. Individuals are often encouraged to place their star word somewhere they
will see it regularly throughout the year to allow consistent reflection on how God has moved through, around, or in connection to that word.

Blue Christmas

On the longest night of the year, we will gather for a special “Blue Christmas” service. On Wednesday, December 22, at 7:00 p.m., we create space for grief and healing in this annual tradition of Blue Christmas. On the night when the darkness is the greatest, we will enter it and find beauty.

People of faith too often feel pressure to find only joy in Christmas. but the messiness and reality of life reminds us that there is often pain this time of year. In fact, there are things about the Christmas season that sharpen the pain of loss, grief, anxiety, and depression. This service is a chance to speak to this truth.

The service will last about 30 minutes. There will be a time for quiet prayer, music, reflection, and a ritual for healing that will create something beautiful. The piece that we create will be a part of the Christmas Eve atmosphere on Friday at 4:00 p.m., when we celebrate the coming of Christ in worship.

Advent Vespers Service

     On every Wednesday night during Advent, Pastor Robb will share a short vespers service. Vespers is the ancient tradition of evening prayer. The service will take place in the sanctuary after bell choir rehearsal, which usually ends at 7:00. The Vespers will include a time of prayer and reflection, a Psalm song, a reading from our daily All the Good Devotional, and Communion. The service should take between 30-40 minutes, and be over well before 8:00. The theme for each week will follow along with our Advent themes of Prepare with Hope, Praying for Peace, Care with Joy, and Do in Love.

Jazz Sunday

The Edgar Crockett Trio will lead our music in worship on Sunday, September 5. Edgar is one of the premier jazz performers in the Quad Cities. The trumpet, piano, bass trio will share classic hymns with a jazz style. They will be sure to get your toes tapping and lead a lively, joyful celebration of God’s love. Pastor Robb will finish his two-part series called “Kindness Matters” and examine the second half of the Book of Ruth.