Bell Tower

Dec 6, 2018 - Please … don't go to judgment and .... Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ's first coming to Earth as a baby, but.

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.


Bell Tower Table of Contents


Pastoral Article Leadership Special Worship Feature Evangelism Fellowship & Hospitality Youth & Family Stewardship Birthdays/ Anniversaries

1 3 4 5

Growing Connections with God

6 6 7-8

9 10

Sunday School/ Scouting


Important Dates Dec. 6 Fruit Delivered Dec. 7 HS Christmas Party Dec. 8 Decorate for Christmas Dec. 15 MOPS

I began my November article asking: “How are the connections in your life?” I asked because our theme for this year is “Growing Connections.” And, really, what is life but a series of connections. Our families, education, work life, social life, the errands we run, and even commuting … FILLED with connections. Can you think of one single thing that you do that doesn’t involve a connection of some sort? Connections are so important that God said: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18) and God created a partner for Adam. Periodically, I do a quick evaluation of my own connections. I ask myself: “How am I doing as a husband, daddy, friend, as a pastor, in my relationship with God, personal improvement, and my overall health?” I usually have some things to celebrate, but I also find areas for improvement. It’s important to do both: celebrate and improve. Over the next several months, I will focus on a different connection. Since we’re entering the season of Advent, which is the church’s new year, let’s start with our connection with God. So, how is it? How is your connection – your relationship – with God?

Dec. 16 Christmas Play Dec. 19 Preschool Christmas Program Dec. 24 Christmas Eve Services Dec. 25 Christmas Dec. 30 One Service at 10am Page 1

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. ~ Mark 12:30


Preschool Good to Know

Volume 18 Issue 12

I highlight Mark 12:30, which is part of the Great Commandment. Wow … loving God above all things? Loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength? What a simple command, but, when you actually try to apply it and live it, how expansive it really is – loving God with all that we have and all that we are and all that we do. Without overthinking it, if you were to tell someone you trust about your connection with God, what would you say? Please … don’t go to judgment and shoulds and shouldn’ts and oughtas. Instead, I’d like you to consider what you can celebrate. What in your relationship with God gives you joy? (Continued on page 2)

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

DEFINING MISSION Bethel makes disciples of Jesus Christ in our community using our God-given gifts. PASTOR’S MESSAGE, cont’d from p. 1

Phil Burnside, Vice-President Rod DeSmet, Treasurer Tish DeVere

Greg Hickey Cindy Long Kirk Lowe

Where do you feel the presence of God? When do you feel that you are living in a way that strengthens your relationship with God? Then consider where there might be opportunities for improvement. Do you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you? Do you sometimes even feel uncomfortable? That feeling could be the stirring of the Holy Spirit helping you to see differently. While we are giving thanks and preparing for Christ’s birth, take time to celebrate and give thanks for the relationship you have with God. Give thanks that God loves you – always has … always will … no matter what. Then pick one or two of the things where you would like to improve or grow your connection with God and simply begin taking some steps toward doing it. God will bless the desire of your heart. In Christ,

Warren Lundblad Heather Lutz Bob Schilpp, President Ken Siekman

Christmas Eve Services 

Family service at 5:00pm.

Service of Lessons & Carols at 7:00pm.

Traditional candlelight services with Holy Communion at 9:00p and 11:00pm.

B ET HEL E V ANG ELIC AL L UT HER AN C HUR CH 8712 Plantation Lane Manassas, VA 20110 E -mail: [email protected] 703-368-3943

REV. DOC. JEFFREY WILSON, Senior Pastor ELIZABETH BURNSIDE, Director of Youth & Family Ministries DEBBIE MULLINAX, Administrative Assistant DEBBIE DONAHUE, Financial & Membership Assistant ROD HARBIN, Choir Director, Organist BETSY HERMANN, Organist CINDY MARTIN, Handbell Director DEB JACOBS, Handbell Director

BOB SCHILPP, Council President* CHARLENE SHEPARD, Preschool Director JEANNE ENDRIKAT, Newsletter Editor** SARA JENS, Newsletter Layout** SHIRLEY SAYLOR, Newsletter Mailing** BERT KRIEBEL, Webmaster** * elected **volunteer

The Bethel Bell Tower is a monthly publication of this congregation. Please submit all articles to the church office or email to: [email protected] Page Page 22

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018 Bell Tower

LEADERSHIP Dear Friends in Christ; As 2018 draws to a close, and thoughts turn to the holidays ahead, I think it’s fair to say this has been an eventful year for Bethel. Thanks to the Bethel Facility Condition Assessment Team (BFCAT) we now have a security door between the narthex and Sun Room (recommended by the Manassas City Police); an HVAC system to replace our 48-year-old boiler; and sufficient funds on hand to replace many of our existing lights with LEDs and repair a portion of our roof that’s been leaking for some time. The lights and roof repair could still be done by the end of the year. On behalf of the council, I would like to thank the BFCAT for showing us the way and all of you for contributing to this effort and making it possible for the work to be done. This year also saw another season for the Community Garden and the subsequent contribution of fresh produce to SERVE as well as a successful Building Bethel Fall Festival, which was not only a great deal of fun for all who attended, but also provided funds to support future projects. In January, we began Ministry Team Meeting Days on the second Sunday of the month. This is something council had been discussing last year and decided to implement. It allows all teams to meet simultaneously and thus consult with each other, as needed, on programs of mutual interest. Whenever we talk about things happening at Bethel, we must include our support to the various groups and organizations that meet in our building. We provide a safe, friendly environment for them to gather. This is an outreach ministry for which we are known throughout the community. Someone from one of the groups recently told Pastor Jeff that Bethel is “a church that helps people.” As Christians we’re not supposed to be prideful, but that’s something that should at least make us smile. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and, in closing, I would encourage you to consider how you might help our church in the year to come. None of the things that were accomplished in 2018 would have happened without those who stepped up and volunteered to help – God’s work, our hands. Respectfully,

Bob Schilpp President

Building Renovation: We continue to receive money toward BFCAT projects, and we’re thrilled to announce that the HVAC project is officially complete! The lighting project is under way and roof repairs are scheduled. Thank you, Bethel! Annual Congregational Meeting Results The congregation met on Sunday, November 18, and approved a budget of $415,023 for 2019 and re-elected Rod DeSmet as our treasurer. We also elected Rod Burr, Paula Jackson, and Jeff Snyder to serve the Council terms 2019 - 2021. Concerns were raised regarding benevolence, attendance, member participation, and Bethel’s current financial position; all of which need our attention. Page 3

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

WORSHIP Advent, A New Beginning Advent is fast approaching. On Sunday December 2nd we at Bethel along with other Christian denominations will mark the first Sunday in Advent with the lighting of the first candle in the Advent wreath. Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy. Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ's first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of time. Celebrating Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. In Western Christianity, the season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. For denominations that celebrate Advent, it marks the beginning of the church year. For Eastern Orthodox churches which use the Julian calendar, Advent begins earlier, on November 15, and lasts 40 days rather than four weeks. Advent is also known as the Nativity Fast in Orthodox Christianity. Advent is primarily observed in Christian churches that follow an ecclesiastical calendar of liturgical seasons to determine feasts, memorials, fasts and holy days: Catholic

Anglican / Episcopalian





Today, however, more and more Protestant and Evangelical Christians are recognizing the spiritual significance of Advent, and have begun to revive the spirit of the season through serious reflection, joyful expectation, and even through the observance of some of the traditional Advent customs. Many different variations and interpretations of Advent customs exist today, depending upon the denomination and the type of service being observed. The following symbols and customs provide a general overview only, and do not represent an exhaustive resource for all Christian traditions. Some Christians choose to incorporate Advent activities into their family holiday traditions, even when their church does not formally recognize a season of Advent. They do this as a way of keeping Christ at the center of their Christmas celebrations. As Christians, we use symbols to express visually the basic tenets of our faith and as reminders of the pilgrimage of our life in Christ. Symbols can have heightened meaning for us when associated with particular seasons of that journey. One such symbol is the Advent wreath. The Advent wreath has its roots in the pre-Christian practices of northern Europe. People sought the return of the sun in the dark time of the year (at the winter solstice) by lighting candles and fires. As early as the middle Ages, Christians used fire and light to represent Christ's coming into the world. Using this same symbolism, the Advent wreath developed a few centuries ago in Germany as a sign of the waiting and hopeful expectation of the return in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wreath, a circle, came to represent the eternal victory over death through Jesus Christ. The evergreens were a sign of the faithfulness of God to God’s people, even in death, and the lighted candles were a reminder of the light of Christ brought into the world. The Advent wreath is also appropriate for daily use in home devotions. The making of the wreath can be a family activity, using materials gathered from the yard or garden. Resources for use of the Advent wreath in the home, including suggestions for assembling a wreath, are among those listed below. Adapted from ELCA, Worship Formation and Liturgical Resources FAQs Page 4

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

OUTREACH/EVANGELISM Your Evangelism & Outreach Team has been doing a few things to help welcome people who are visiting with us. Have you seen the Welcome Center in the narthex? First time visitors are welcome to receive a gift bag and this is a great opportunity to get to know them. We recently had hot cholcotate packets to give away at the Manassas Christmas Parade. The work of evangelism is for all of us! So, we welcome you to join the team to help plan creative ways we can welcome people to Bethel and greet them warmly when they arrive. Here are a few other things you could do to help Grow Connections: 1. If you notice that there are people/families you haven't seen in a while, contact them and let them know you miss them. Everyone likes to know they were missed. 2. Each Sunday, look around you in the Sanctuary and find somebody you don't know or don’t know very well, and go say hi, tell them your name and chat a bit. Visitor or long-time member, you'll get to know somebody you didn't and so will they. 3. If you do happen to come across a first-time visitor, remember that it can be very difficult going to a new place. We want to welcome, but not overwhelm. Help make sure they have a worship bulletin, show them the Welcome Center, walk them to Coffee Hour and introduce them to some of your friends. That way, when they leave, they feel welcomed. Bethel is a warm and welcoming congregation where we are spiritually nourished so we can do God’s work with our hands. We look forward to hearing the stories of welcome, sharing ways we can continue to reach out, and continue to get better at welcoming visitors as they become friends. For more information or if you have suggestions, talk with Sandy Story or email her at [email protected]

CONGREGATIONAL CARE Pastoral Acts for October Baptisms 10/6/2018 Abigail Riley Houtz, daughter of Lindsey & Sean Houtz, little brother of Quinton and Elias, and great-granddaughter of Connie & John Houtz Funerals 10/19/2018 Ruth Susan Gruen – died 10/10/2018

Altar Flower Delivery Can you help occasionally with delivery of altar flowers to shut-ins and other members or friends of the congregation? Please contact Dawn Hunt at 703-368-4652 or use the Connection Card.

Page 5

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

MOPS Join us on Friday, December 15, 9:45-11:15am. Bring a light breakfast snack to share, and join us for fellowship, Bible study and conversation. Childcare is provided. MOPS is membership based, and we encourage you to register by visiting use the code: VEK0

WOMEN’S MINISTRY Women’s Ornament Exchange Women of all ages are invited to participate in the annual ornament exchange on Sunday, December 16. We will start with a potluck lunch at 12:15pm. Please bring a wrapped ornament to exchange. We 2019 Retreat | Growing Connections Mark your calendars for April 26 – 28, 2019. We’re headed to Lake Anna for the weekend! We have space for 20 overnights, though more are welcome for Saturday only, as our regular retreat centers already being booked for the spring of 2019. Contact Megan Pomfret, Jen Moats or Elizabeth Burnside with any questions.

Fruit Sale Pick-Up If you ordered fruit in November, it will be delivered December 6. Please make plans to pick up before Sunday so the fruit is delivered to you at its freshest. Contact Rod DeSmet or Elizabeth Burnside with any questions. HS Christmas Party | Friday, December 7, 7:00-10:00PM Join us at Pastor’s home for dinner and Christmas-themed games. Please bring a dessert or side-dish for the meal. RSVP required by Sunday, December 4. Christmas Luminaries | Sunday, December 9 Join us in the youth room to decorate jars and assemble luminaries for Christmas Eve. We will also need volunteers to place the luminaries along the sidewalks (3:45pm) at church on Christmas Eve, and collect them at the close of the evening (midnight). Christmas Play | Sunday, December 16 5:00PM Bethel’s Christmas Play is seeking students interested in acting/speaking roles. Children and youth are welcome to be a part of our Christmas Play on December 16 at 5:00pm. If you would like to participate as a student performer or part of our Sunday School choir, or an adult that can help with costumes and be staging assistants, please talk to Rod Harbin, Amy Snyder, or Elizabeth Burnside. This will be a play that is surrounding by audience participation with Advent and Christmas carols, and include opportunities for our youngest. Contact Mr. Harbin, Director. Page 6

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

STEWARDSHIP SERVE As we end 2018, I would like to thank all who have so faithfully supported SERVE this year. Each Sunday, non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, personal care items, etc., etc., are collected in the grocery cart in the narthex. The items are delivered to the SERVE Hunger Resource Center in Manassas for distribution. More than 800 families in the Greater Prince William area turn to SERVE for assistance every month. Volunteer drivers make regular runs to certain local restaurants and grocery stores to pick up fresh fruits, veggies and other perishables to supplement selections for the food bank. Clients receive a week’s worth of groceries based on the number of residents in their household. For some families, this food frees up enough of their budget to pay bills or buy gas. Beyond just eliminating hunger in our community, the Food Distribution Center also is helping families keep their jobs and prevent homelessness. Every single canned good or item is appreciated by someone.

Thanksgiving Food Drive A special note of thanks goes to all who participated in the food drive for Thanksgiving. A hefty 224 lbs. of food was delivered to the food bank the week of Thanksgiving to meet the needs and wants of many families for their holiday. The bounty was overwhelming and met the needs and wants of many families!! This was in addition to two more deliveries previously made. If you traveled during the holidays, and stayed at a hotel or motel, please share those soaps, lotions, shampoo, etc. throughout the year with residents at the SERVE 92-bed Shelter. These items may also be placed in the basket in the narthex. With deep appreciation,

Grace Shultz Stewardship Matters Advent is “counter-cultural.” Even though it is filled with tradition, it challenges the frenzy of the season with its shopping, celebrations, and decorating. Advent encourages us to simply take time to just stop, to be still, to behold the wonder of God’s grace, and to see the joy and peace of God among us. Consider incorporating the following practices into your Advent preparations:  Place an advent wreath on your dinner table and light the appropriate candle for the week with a brief reading and prayer  Use devotional readings from Augsburg Fortress ( ss=Advent+devotionals) or Suggestions include:  Come Lord, Jesus: Devotions for the Home: Advent/Christmas/Epiphany  Jesse Tree Devotions: A Family Activity for Advent  In the Bleak Midwinter: 40 Meditations for Advent and Christmas  Use the Luther Seminary Advent Devotional Booklet online at  Sign up for Advent Unwrapped at These devotions can help us reflect on our faith, relationships with others, and our whole lives. Use these four weeks of Advent both to prepare for all of the celebrations and, most importantly, to prepare for the coming of Christ. Jesus comes to us each and every day, and will eventually come in glory at the end of time. Which ever ways to use to observe Advent and welcome Christ daily, may God bless you and fill you with joy and love.

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Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

August Celebrations


Birthdays 12/01 Beth Hampton, Vicki Wilson 12/02 Jaye Martinez 12/04 Tim Hearld, Jowell Martinez 12/05 Dan Radtke, Charlotte Scholl

12/06 Max Kiefer, Caroline Richardson, Ginny Thaemert 12/08 Rich Improta, Joe Weschler 12/09 Frank Costanza, Kat Lutz 12/10 Wesley Blue, Margaret Dyer,

12/10 David and Stephanie Aspinwall 12/22 Wayne and Ginny Thaemert 12/29 Christopher and Michelle McNealkidd 12/30 Tony and Donna Testa

Susan League-Mullins, Ashly Tracey 12/12 Josh Irvin, Deby Wine 12/13 Conner Cantwell, Margaret Prater 12/14 Brian Gates, Erin McDonald, Melissa McManus, Pam Ogden 12/15 Dillon Flebbe 12/16 Stein, Judy 12/17 David Burnside 12/18 Mackenzie Cooper, Carolyn Kriebel, Tony Testa 12/19 Karise Eggerling-Cappello, Shay Karls 12/20 Eddie Miller Special Birthdays:

12/21 John Houtz 12/25 Bert Kriebel

Margaret Dyer turns 83 on December 10.

12/28 Alex Fish 12/29 Madeleine Fish 12/30 Cindy Long, Tiffany (Mullinax) Rounds 12/31 Danielle Justice, Ethan Kistler, Karen Russ Page 8

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

STEWARDSHIP For just a few dollars: $10 provides nutritious food; $50 provides a micro-business grant; $50 will pack a backpack for children; $100 will help repair churches in Slovakia; $150 helps with rent assistance; $300 sends a kid to camp. Gifts of Hope helps others one gift at a time, locally and globally. Our congregation supports the work of Gifts of Hope during the Advent Season. The 2018 Catalog of Gifts has 42 unique gifts which support the work of ten social service agencies, two church camps, four ministries, and three companion synods. Honor your loved ones and help others by choosing gifts. You will get Christmas cards to share. We also accept cash donations, any dollar amount, that will be matched. Our Gifts of Hope volunteer, Debra Clark, is ready to help you help others. Debra will have a table on Sunday mornings between services starting November 25th through December 16th. More info at Working together we make a difference.

Untrim-A-Tree is an opportunity to support children in Prince William County with Christmas gifts. Volunteer Prince William provides us with the names, ages, and desired gifts. Each child we sponsor will receive 2 gifts valued up to $35 each. Look for the Christmas tree display beginning November 25 for specific instructions. All gifts are due by Sunday, December 16. If you have questions or would like to help, contact Mara Schuettler 571-264-7887 or [email protected]

BETHEL PRESCHOOL Dec. 5: Chapel with Pastor Jeff Dec.19: Christmas Program and Parties Dec. 20 - Jan. 1: Christmas Break Jan. 2: Classes Resume

December is a magical time at the preschool. The smell of cinnamon and the sounds of Christmas songs linger in the hall. The children are busy making gifts for their parents and learning songs for their annual Christmas Program. They will also be decorating gingerbread houses during the class parties. Registration for the 2019/2020 school year will begin in February. More information will be in the January Bell Tower.

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Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018


You shop. Amazon gives. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.  You can select a different charitable organization after signing in.  AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.  Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at 

FINAL CONTRIBUTIONS FOR 2018 Any contributions to be credited as 2018 must be received at Bethel by the end of 2018. Please have any contributions intended for 2018 to Bethel by Sunday, December 31st. All contributions received on Monday, January 1, 2019, or later will be considered 2019 contributions even if they are in a 2018 envelope and/or are dated in 2018 (unless they arrive in the mail and have been postmarked on or before December 31). The Flower Chart fo 2019 will be up the first Sunday in December. Please consider signing up to donate an arrangement (or more) to help defray the cost to the church. People give them in celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms; in memory of loved ones; or to honor someone special. Please sign your name for one of the slots—or both, if you like—for the Sunday you want and complete a flower donation form. Drop the form in the slot in the office door. The cost is $23 for each arrangement. ~ Thank you! Page 10



Christmas Ushering is one way you can serve your Bethel community. Contact Barb Borrelli using the Connection Card or by contacting here at [email protected] or (703) 474-6782 to learn what is involved and how to get on the schedule. Immediate needs are for Christmas Eve.

If you would like to purchase a poinsettia for our Christmas Eve worship services, please use the form included with your worship bulletin or contact the church office. The cost is $12 per plant.

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

You’re Invited! Christmas Play & Potluck Dinner This year, come listen to Bethlehem Lullaby, performed by children and youth of Bethel. This will be performed on Sunday, December 16, 5:00pm followed by a family potluck dinner. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the story and music with us! This worship experience is both Advent music and play. Proceeds benefit the Sunday School mission work which supports SERVE through direct monetary donations and purchases supplies to assemble meals, clothes or handmade items for the shelter. Contact Rod Harbin, Jen Jones or Elizabeth Burnside with any questions. Potluck Dinner Please sign up to help with the potluck. Help is needed with dishes to share, set up, clean up, and making the treat bags for student participants. If you have questions about the potluck, please email Megan Pomfret ([email protected]).

COMMUNITY CONNECTION Scouts Troop 1185 - Interested in scouting? Visitors always welcome Tuesdays, 7-830 pm, meetings in the Fellowship Hall. Questions? Contact Scoutmaster Inocencio Orta at 571723-6715 or [email protected] Pack 1185 Come check out our Pack for all elementary age levels! Meetings are generally Tuesdays, 7-830 pm, in the Great Hall/gym. Questions? Contact Cubmaster Dan Harter at [email protected]

CALENDAR ITEMS All Ministry Team Meeting is next Sunday, December 9, 12:30-1:45pm. Ministry teams meet for lunch and host their meetings during this time. If you have any questions about joining teams, or want to know more about what we do, talk to a council member. Decorating for Christmas at Bethel on Saturday, December 8, starting at 10:00am, you are invited to help decorate the Christmas trees and hang wreaths and greens. Contact Win Lightner or use the Connection Card to indicate your interest. Page 11

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

THE BETHEL BELL TOWER DECEMBER 2018 Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church 8712 Plantation Lane Manassas, VA 20110 (703) 368-3943 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED

Advent & Christmas at Bethel Saturday, December 8 10:00am - Decorating for Christmas Christmas Eve Services on December 24

Page 12

5:00 pm

Family service

7:00 pm

Service of Lessons & Carols

9:00 pm

Traditional candlelight service with Holy Communion

11:00 pm

Traditional candlelight service with Holy Communion

Faith in Christ gives us grace to love and serve in gratitude.

December 2018

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