One of the Christmas songs that I love is not one that is generally heard in the stores or even sung repeatedly in worship services leading up to Christmas. It is one that we sing each year, either on Christmas Eve or near to it in Advent and is entitled, “In the Bleak Midwinter”, words by Christina Rossetti and the tune, Cranham, is by Gustav Theodore Holst. The 4th and final verse is, “What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part, yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.”
This season, this holy, holiday season, that is enveloping us even as I write this, is the traditional time of gift-giving. We often are bomb-barded with commercial come-ons to buy something for everyone “on our list”, meaning everyone who is a part of your life in any way, shape or form. Certainly we want to celebrate the lives of our loved ones and how richly they bless our lives. But I would hope, too, that we want to remember those who touch and shape our lives, yet remain largely invisible and unknown to us.
There are so many in our communities, on Long Island and in our country and world, who are hungry, homeless, suffering from abuse, suffering from lack of healthcare, education, a decent job or wage. There are so many who have suffered injury or lost loved ones through violence and warfare, that during our holiday season we have opportunities to comfort and recognize and lift up. We, none of us, have unlimited resources to do something for everyone in need, but we all have something we can do to share our joy, the blessing of our lives with others. As we approach the babe in the manger, we, too, can bring our heart.
From the Annual Community Interfaith Thanksgiving service to Christmas Eve, there will be times when we will be collecting food and money to share with folks in need. And when you do ‘shop ‘til you drop’, remember that there are those who really would rather have something donated to a worthy cause in their name – to save endangered wildlife, to preserve the natural world, to help research a cure for a disease, to ease the pain of veterans and their families, to build schools and medical clinics in poor areas, etc. This is a wonderful way to teach children about how they can help, too.
“What can I bring Him, ….. give my heart.”
The Gregarians have made a comeback. This social church group that was so active years ago has been reinstated under the capable leadership of Eleanor Rapelje. The group now sponsors English Country Dancing and Covered Dish Dinners. See the Gregarians tab at left for information on their next event. So far these events have generated much enthusiasm and newcomers, as well as longtime members and friends are finding their way here. All are welcome and there is instruction for everyone, all ages, at the beginning of the dancing. In addition, this group is sponsoring films, walks and other events on the 2nd Sunday of each month, following worship. Holocaust Museum Showcase
Presbyterian Women Gather
There will be an island-wide gathering of Presbyterian Women at the Presbyterian Church of Garden City. These gatherings always include a great speaker, a lovely lunch and the opportunity to develop great friendships. You are guaranteed to learn more than you can imagine about the wonderful ways Presbyterian Women are reaching out to the world for Christ and helping others locally, nationally and internationally. If you would like to attend with Pastor Betsy, please let her know.
OutNAbout Glen Cove
New this years is a group called OutNAbout. Headed up by Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews, this group initiated Gender Free Contra Dances in our community as a way to reach out to folks who might not otherwise feel welcomed in a church, and also to introduce us all to the fun and fellowship of Contra dancing. So far we have hosted 5 of these dances and have enjoyed great success. Please see the OutNAbout tab at left for information on the next dance. For those unfamiliar with Contra dancing, it is somewhat similar to square dancing. There is a small band – piano, fiddle and sometimes clarinet – and a caller. The moves are taught both before the dancing begins and then along the way.
In addition the OutNAbout group has begun offering films on the last Sunday of the month following worship. There have been two films shown so far with more to come. Coordinator of the film series is Dean Yoder and you can learn more about the series by visiting the OutNAbout page.