Wolcott United Methodist Church

Welcome to the Wolcott, VT, United Methodist Church. We are currently worshpping both live and online every Sunday at 10:00am. You are cordially invited to join us either live or online.

4023 VT Route 15 , Wolcott , VT 05680
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(802) 851-2031

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The United Methodist Church

Service for Hanging of the Greens Service, November 28, 2021 at 10:00am

posted on November 27

Wolcott United Methodist Church
1st Sunday of Advent
Hanging of the Greens

November 28, 2021 - 10:00 a.m.
 
GATHERING AND ANNOUCEMENTS
 
PRELUDE:  Bringing in the Light of Christ
 
WORDS OF WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP:
L:  The prophet Isaiah writes: “Prepare the way of the Lord.”  Today let us prepare our minds for the coming of the Christ Child.  Let us prepare our hearts for the long-awaited Messiah.  Let us prepare God’s house for the birth of God’s Son by reading responsively:
 
L: Today we gather to prepare for the birthday of a King.
C: We make ready our welcome for God’s only Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
L:  As we begin this special and holy season of Advent, let us clear our minds and open our hearts to the coming of the Lord.
C: Let us also honor His birth by adorning our church for the coming of the King.
L:  Let our songs and symbols represent our personal rededication of the glory of God and the manifestation of His love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
 
*OPENING HYMN:   We Gather Together     UMH#131 (vss. 1,3,)
 
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing,
he chastens and hastens his will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to his name, he forgets not his own.
 
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised!  O Lord, make us free!
 
WELCOMING THE LIGHT
 
SCRIPTURE READING:
 
John 1:1-5, 9-14a
John relates to us the coming of the true Light.
1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.The Word was with God in the beginning.  Everything came into being through the Word, and without     the Word nothing came into being.  What came into being  4through the Word was life and the life was light for all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. . . The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world.  10 The light was in the world, and the world came into  being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light.  11 The light came to his own people, and his own people didn’t welcome him.  12 But those who did welcome him, those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God’s children,  13born not from blood nor from human desire or passion, but born from God.  14 The Word became flesh and made his home among us.
 
THE ADVENT SEASON
The advent season is essentially one of light.  Candles are lit throughout the season to remind us that Jesus is “the light of the world.”   Windows in homes and churches alike are decorated with candles that burn each night.  This is a very old custom that sprang from the belief that the lit windows would guide the Christ Child through the darkness to the house.  It has also become the tradition in many Christian churches to light an Advent Wreath during this season. The circle of the wreath, like God, has no beginning and no end, and is a symbol of that which is as eternal as God, as traditional colors of three purple candles represent the color of kings and is also the color of repentant preparation.  The fourth candle, a pink candle, is a symbol of joy, and the white Christ candle in the middle, is lighted on Christmas Eve when the Christ is come.
 
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH
 
Peace Candle
Reader 1:  Our Advent journey begins with rules of the road.  We are on the way to where God would have us be, and we’re not there yet.  But how shall we go? We shall go together, as one body, living and trusting in one another. We shall go as this community of faith, working side by side, and leaning into the grace of God every step of the way. We shall go in peace.  
Reader 2:  Isaiah says that in days to come, the nations shall stream to the mountain of the Lord, and there we will beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks; there, we will learn war no more. God will teach us peace. 
Reader 1:  We light this first candle to burn as sign of peace among all people.  (light the front right candle of the wreath)
Reader 2:  Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that God may teach us the ways of peace.
 
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS
PASTORAL PRAYER
 
OPENING PRAYER (in unison):
O God, we long for the simple beauty of Christmas - for all the old melodies, words, and symbols that remind us of the great miracle when the One who had made all things came one night as a babe, to lie in the crook of a woman’s arm.  But in that longing, let us even more yearn for your renewed presence among us even as we celebrate and expect the coming of your son, Jesus.  May the loving kindness of this Advent Season and the true Spirit of Christmas not only creep into our hearts this season, but there abide, so that not even the return to earthly cares and responsibilities, not all the festivities of our own devising may cause it to creep away weeping.  May the joy and spirit of Christmas remain with us now and forever.  In the name of Jesus, who came to save His people from their sins, we pray the prayer that he taught us to pray together:  The Lord’s Prayer
 
THE OFFERTORY:     “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”    UMH#95
 
Prayer of Dedication (in unison):
May these gifts bring light to those who walk in darkness, hope to those who live in despair, and justice to those who are oppressed.  Grant to each giver a sense of participation in the most important opportunity of all time:  to share your love with the world.  To this end, we dedicate our offerings and ourselves.  Amen.
 
LITANY OF PREPARATION
L:  How shall we prepare our hearts for the coming of the eternal Christ?
P: With garlands of pine and fir, whose leaves are ever living, ever green.
L:  How shall we prepare our hearts for the coming of our Savior?
P: With branches of holly and ivy, telling of his passion, death, and resurrection.
L:  For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, But that the world through him might be saved.
P:  Glory to God in the Highest!
 
SCRIPTURE READING:
 
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
The prophet announces the coming of the Messiah to the Jews in exile.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.  On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.  A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders.  He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be vast authority and endless peace for David’s throne and for his kingdom, establishing and sustaining it with justice and righteousness now and forever.
 
HYMN:  “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”  UMH#196 (vss. 1,3)
 
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
free our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
 
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
 
The Poinsettias (The poinsettias are brought forward and placed on the altar)
Poinsettias add a special glow to the pageantry of the Advent and Christmas season.  This plant blooms at Christmas in Mexico, where it is known by its native name, “flower of the Holy Night.”  The legendary account bears out the appropriateness of the name.  A small boy had no gift to bring to the Christ Child’s manger bed in the village church.  As he trudged toward the church, scuffing his feet in the dust of the road, he decided to pick some weeds beside the way.  Quickly he stripped off some of the branches and made his way to the church, where he reverently placed the green leaves at the manger.  As he knelt there, the other children jeered and mocked his offering.  Rising tearfully, he looked once more at the branches, only to find that where his tears had fallen, bloomed a brilliant red star-shaped flower.  The other children recognized the miracle and knew that a gift of love means more to Jesus than the most expensive gifts money can buy.  Today, Poinsettias come in a variety of red, white and pink hues and are the most popular of Christmas plants, for even without the legend, Christians see in the star of its multi-colored bracts, the star of Bethlehem.                                                                                                                                        
CAROL:    “Deck the Halls”

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la, la, etc.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la, etc....!
don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la...!
Troll the ancient yuletide carol, Fa, la la...!
 
See the blazing yule before us, Fa la la...!
Strike the harp and join the chorus, Fa la la....!
Follow me in merry measure, Fa la la...!
While I tell of yuletide treasure! Fa la la...!
 
PRESENTATION OF THE GREENS
 
The Christmas Tree (ornaments are placed on tree during singing)
Today, the Christmas tree is the center of our festivities.  Glittering with lights and ornaments, it is a part of the beauty and meaning of Christmas.  The first use of the Christmas tree was in the medieval German Paradise Plays, held outdoors and portraying the creation of humankind.  The Tree of Life was a fir tree decorated with apples.  Later other ornaments were hung upon them, such as paper flowers and gilded nuts.  In England branches or whole trees were forced to bloom indoors for Christmas.  From these beginnings the use of a tree at Christmas was established.  The most popular lend holds that Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant Church,  was the first to use a lighted tree.  He cut down a tree and brought it home and decorated it with candles to recapture the moonlight he saw glistening on the branches.  He placed a star on top of the tree to symbolize the star that led the Wise Men to Jesus.
 
CAROL:    “O Christmas Tree”
 
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how faithful are your branches!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how faithful are your branches!
So green when summer breezes blow, still green amid the winter snow.        
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how faithful are your branches.
 
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, with light your leaves are gleaming. 
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, with light your leaves are gleaming. 
You send a ray through darkest night, recalling him whose life was Light. 
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, with light your leaves are gleaming.
 
The Wreaths (The wreaths are placed on the windows.)
 
In many civilizations it was believed that all objects possessed spirits. Since it was believed that most trees possessed kindly spirits, it became customary for people to bring home sprigs and branches of trees in order that their homes might be blessed by their presence.  When Christianity came into existence, the newly converted pagans refused to give up this custom, so it eventually became part of our tradition.  As we decorate our homes and places of worship, the evergreens symbolize God’s eternal and everlasting love for us, even after death. The wreath, round with no beginning and no end, symbolizes the everlasting promise of Christ's love for us.  The wreath also signifies the crown: a sign of the Kingship of Jesus and a symbol of the glory of the fulfillment of scripture in the coming of Christ.  It is a reminder that for His love of us, he wore a crown of thorns.
 
*HYMN:     Crown Him with Many Crowns (vs.1,4)      UMH#327  STL#272
 
Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon this throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
 
Crown him the Lord of love; behold his hands and side,
those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.s
All hail, Redeemer, hail!  For thou hast died for me;
thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.
 
The Holly and the Ivy (During the reading the holly and ivy are brought forward.)
Because the holly and ivy bear their berries in the dark, cold winter months, our ancestors hung them in their homes to symbolize the hope and expectation of spring. Today, we use holly as a reminder of Christ’s passion during the otherwise joyous Christmas celebration.  Legend has it that a shepherd brought a spring of holly to the stable on Christmas night as a gift to the Christ Child.  Its leaves glistened in the moonlight, and its berries were snow white.  As the Child reached to receive the gift, the berries suddenly turned a deep red.  For Christians today, the prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns which Christ wore during his  crucifixion and the berries represent the blood he shed for us. The ivy represents our human weakness clinging to divine strength.
 
THE BLESSING OF THE GREENS AND OTHER SYMBOLS
 
Prayer: (in unison)
Holy God, today we ask your blessing upon our wonderful house of worship which we have been given in order to gather for worship and renewal so that we may prepare to go out into the world and do your ministry.  We also ask your blessing upon the greens and other symbols with which we have your house for the coming of your Son that we may know that hetruly is the Light of the World and the light of our lives.  Amen.
 
*HYMN:     “Joy to the World”   UMH#246
 
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
 
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love, and wonders, wonders of his love.
 
BENEDICTION:
L:  Follow the light of hope’s guiding star.  Seek the child.
P:  Listen to the words of a heavenly host.  Find the child.
L:  Offer as gifts the best that you have.  Serve the child.
P:  Peace be among us.  God be with us.  Amen.
 
Congregational Response:   “Bind Us Together”  TFWS#2226
 
We are led this morning by Michael Thorpe and Rev. Pat Thompson
you may call/text Pastor Mike at 802-355-9574
 
"Prayer is not a substitute for action;
            it is an action for which there is no substitute."
 
Mayerling Anderson   Arthur Hooper   Gary Hazard   Kelly Maxfield
Irene Nicolson   Nancy Eles   Howard Reynolds  
Sabrena and Josh Ducharme, who are each experiencing relationship issues
  Kim (a friend of Linda Martin’s) who needs a kidney transplant  
Duane French and his family, as he recovers from a bad automobile accident
Linda (Pastor Mike’s Mom and Aunt Cathy’s sister)
who is struggling with stomach issues
Friend of Mike's Aunt Cathy, who is suffering from cancer
For the families of those who have lost their lives in mass
shootings during the past weeks and months
That those who are having doubts for whatever reason about receiving
the covid vaccine will come to accept its value not only for
themselves and keeping others safe, as well
Andy Crews from Johnson, who is now home from rehab, and his wife Lisa
Those in the Middle East who are struggling with each other and
not seem to accept that all of them are God’s children
Peggy Kuiee, a friend of Mike’s Aunt Cathy, who has had 4 stents put in but
still has one that is 80% blocked and is waiting for the results of a CT Scan
Mike’s mother, Lou, who is experiencing ongoing health issues
Sherida LaRose, who is at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital for a
last try at a treatment for her Lymphoma
Dreanna Dolan Bolio, newly married, whose husband Jacob has been deployed
by the Vermont National Guard and who is struggling with loneliness
The family of June Carr (good friend of Mike’s mom) who passed recently
Amanda (friend of Aimee’s sister) who has been diagnosed with cancer
Glenn, a friend of Mike’s Mom who has covid and
has been on a respirator but is now doing much better
Family of Becky Backus, Barb’s daughter-in-law’s mother, Ardell, passed this week
Eleanor Ahlers, who was able to return back to Morrisville and
is spending some time with her daughter, Hope, before returning home
Judy Ward’s brother, Wayne, who is not doing well
Jeremy Cochran, who fell from his garage roof this week and crushed his foot
Nathaniel McElroy and his family as his tumors have shrunk and stopped growing
so that he will not need to enter hospice care at the present time
Greg McElroy, who is now home from the hospital and making good progress
 
 

Wolcott United Methodist Church

(802) 851-2031