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First Baptist Church                     December 2012


Dear Children of God,


The Christmas Season is upon us. I face it with a strange mixture of, “I can't believe its here already.” And, “Why does it take so long to get here?” With Thanksgiving just past it seems there's little time to catch our breath for more festivities.


But, I'd like to take another opportunity to say “Thank You!”


First, I give thanks to God for his unfailing, overcoming, overflowing love. This has been expressed in forgiving my many sins through Jesus stepping down from his throne in heaven, taking on humanity and sacrificing himself on the cross. This alone would have been enough to warrant my undying love for him but he continues to love and to give gifts and to bear with my continued failings.


I think sometimes that, if I were God, I'd do things differently. But at the end of the day, I have to admit that I would not pass my own test for right living. That endears him to me even more.


Secondly, I am thankful for my parents for providing a good and stable home for me to grow up in.


Thirdly, I am thankful for my wife, who has stood by me through thick and thin. (Though you wouldn't know it to look at me, there has been some thin!)


Fourthly, I am thankful for all of you. You have been warm and gracious and welcoming from my first contact with you. Karen also has this wonderful sense of your love and acceptance. (That's no small thing!)


Lastly, two through four are all gifts from God as well. So my thanks to God is multiplied again and again.


As we ponder the love of God in his Son, Jesus the Christ, let us recognize the magnitude of that love and renew our love and faith to him.


Pastor Steve

December Events


Wish These Friends a Happy December Birthday

1 – Marge Moulton                           17 – Paul MacDougall

4 – Kyle Miller                                   31 – Daryl Johnson

15 – Joyce Slocum                             31 – Virginia DeLooza


Community Chorus Christmas Concert

“And On Earth, Peace” - Sunday, December 2nd at 3 pm, in our sanctuary.


Annual Reports – Annual meeting

Board members, your annual reports are due to the church office by January 2, 2013.

The annual meeting will be held on Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 11:00 am followed by a pot-luck luncheon.


Starshine – December 7th.“What Can I Do To Help?”

Once again this year First Baptist Church has the opportunity to be a main part of Starshine (Dec. 7th) as events will be held in and around the church. What a way to let people know about our church!

As a fundraiser we are assembling theme baskets and will be selling  hot cocoa, bottled water, and baked goods. Cindy Ovens is in charge of the baskets, call her at 536-2485 if you can help. Cathy MacDougall is in charge of the baked goods, call her at 531-8390 between 9 am to 8 pm if you would like to help out with that. Just call and say, “What Can I Do To Help?”


Ralph Wilkes Memorial Service

There will be a memorial service for Ralph Wilkes on Saturday, December 8th at 2:00 pm at the Norton Chapel at Keuka College.


Mary & Martha luncheon

The annual Mary & Martha luncheon will take place on Tuesday, December 11th. This year we will be going to La Trattoria. Call the church office  at 536-9821 by December 6th, if you plan to attend.


Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - 7:00 pm

Our traditional Christmas Eve service. Come experience the wonder of the evening as the lights are dimmed, the candles are lit and we join our voices in the singing of “Silent Night, Holy Night”. Pastor Steve will deliver a special message of hope and the choir will lift their voices in a joyful sound. Come, join us on Christmas Evening.

Opportunities to Serve


Handicap Bus

We need “riders” for the Sunday Council of Churches Handicap Bus for the month of January. Please call the church office at  536-9821 if you can help out.


Steering Committee

We are searching for a person to step forward to serve as a FBC Representative on the Food for the Needy Steering Committee to help maintain this important mission of our church. Speak with a member of the Bd of Trustees to obtain more information on this or to let them know if you'd like to participate.


For those wishing to help Hurricane Sandy Victims:

To date $15,000 of OGHS funds have been allocated to our Mission Partners in the Carribean. OGHS funds will be going to USA areas as soon as all data is in. We have heard that 70-90 ABC/USA churches have suffered damage.

If you wish to help through the OGHS give your check to FBC Penn Yan marking the tag OGHS Carribean Hurricane of OGHS Hurricane Sandy for the USA. Another way to help is to donate through the Dundee Youth Center. They are collecting TP, shampoo, baby clothes, diapers, coats and blankets. The center is open daily till 6 pm

Mission Reports


Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

Dear Friends: Each year we take the RMMO. Part of the RMMO gives each retired minister, retired missionary and their widowed spouses a financial gift as a way of saying THANK YOU for their commitment, service and spiritual guidance. “THANK YOU” checks went out to over 3,300 recipients last year. The remainder of the RMMO is put into an endowment fund from which emergency funds are given for unexpected needs. Large hospital and doctor bills, new furnaces, new roofs, eyeglasses and dental needs are just a few of the types of situations that strain some retiree's finances. This year, we are asking you to meet a goal of $700 for the RMMO. If you can, please give generously.

Your Bd of Missions


Bd of Missions Report

HALLELUIA!!   HALLELUIAH!!   HALLELUIAH!! You are to be commended for your generosity! We set a goal of $1000 for the WMO. You surpassed it by giving $1032 to the WMO.

You have also been very faithful with your pledges. As of 10/31/12 we have a balance of $1006.

Our last special offering of the year will take place on 12/16/12 when we receive the RMMO. The Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering provides special funds for those who have served us so well in the past. We challenge you to raise $700 this year. Please read the special RMMO letter elsewhere in this newsletter.

Your Board of Mission


Vick & Pathfinder Camp and Conferences

In 2012, our CAMPING PROGRAM served over 1,610 people in New York State. Our CAMPING PROGRAM gave $30,217 in non-reimbursed scholarships and waived fees. At the same time our CAMPING PROGRAM  became an American Baptist Mission Organization. In four years our CAMPING PROGRAM must become SELF-SUPPORTING. Help form ABC/NYS is being phased out. $75,000 in 2012, $50,000 in 2013, $25,000 in 2014. In 2015, our CAMPING PROGRAM is on its own. Your Bd of Mission needs your ideas and support in determining how we help in this endeavor. Please let us know how you can help and tell us what you want us to do.

Your Bd of Mission

Other Reports


Highlights from the November Bd of Trustees Meeting

~ Effective December 1, 2012, Sandy Howard from the ARC will be joining our staff as a part time custodian. Be sure to give her a warm welcome when you see her.

~ Stewardship Drive: Our stewardship campaign is well under way. Please be sure to fill out your pledge card if you haven't already and return it ASAP.

The proposed budgets are enclosed in this newsletter to help you while you consider your pledge


Thank You

Thank you for hosting Roberta Stephens during her week that she was here in the Finger Lakes Association.

I was pleased at the response to her visit. As members of an association we have a common experience and connection to unite us around her ministry and support. If you would like to be a part of her Missionary Partnership Network to receive her newsletters and offer prayer support, and have not already signed up, please send me your name, address, email and phone number, and I will see that Roberta receives them.

Please remember that Roberta continues to rely on our prayer support and also our financial support for her next two years in Japan. Financial contributions can be considered part of the World Mission Offering if you wish – just mark the gift “designated for Roberta Stephens”. Our prayers and financial support make her efforts less stressful and more productive.

Again, many thanks, and God bless you!        ~ Ruth Spencer


Thank You

We wish to extend a special thank you for your participation in the first annual Can Hunger event held at First Baptist Church. Over 2,000 food items were donated as well as $138. Events of this type are a great addition to our community and help support emergency food for our struggling community members. In October we provided emergency food to over 300 families. We so appreciate the kindness extended by your willingness to Can Hunger. Many, many thanks again.

George Schaeffer - Food for the Needy: Serving the needs of Yates County


Book Report

Notice to all of you that are concerned with or interested in MONEY! Our library has a new book “MONEY ON PURPOSE” - Finding a Faith-Filled Balance by Shayna Lear. Shayna is a successful Certified Financial Advisor who approaches finances from a Biblical view point. She presently is pursuing a Master of Divinity at Palmer Seminary and a Master of Economic Development at Eastern University.

Shayna is an African-American writing for an African-American audience. However, her thoughts, insights and suggestions on the topics of

SPENDING, SAVING, GIVING and INVESTING  are applicable to readers of any race, gender or age. This book is written in plain English so that her concepts are crystal clear. Even if you do not have any money problems, this book will give you plenty of ideas to think about.


Give  A Memorial



It's that time of year again when we decorate the sanctuary with poinsettias. To place a plant in honor or in memory of your loved one, we ask that you purchase your own flower and bring it to the sanctuary by Sunday, December 16th. Please remember to label your plant for easy retrieval after the Christmas Eve Service when you may take it home with you. Fill out the form below and turn it into the church office or place it in the offering plate. All forms need to be in by Wednesday, December 19, in order for your information to be included in the Christmas Eve bulletin.

Given by: ___________________________________

In Memory of: ________________________________

In Honor of: _________________________________


Memorial Bulletins

Now is the time to indicate your preference for Memorial Bulletins for next year.

This is a special way for you to honor your loved ones. The cost is $10, and monies raised will go to help defray some of the church's operating costs.  Printed in the bulletin will be the information you provide below. Send this form to the church office along with your payment or you may leave it in the offering plate.

I would like to recognize my loved one on the date of: _________________________

In memory of: _______________________________________

In honor of: ________________________________________

From: ___________________________________________



Meaning of the Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a circular piece representing eternity. On that wreath, five candles are arranged; 3 purple, one pink and one white. During the season of Advent one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services. Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming the the Lord, Jesus Christ. As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world.

~On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the Prophecy Candle in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents hope of expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

~The second candle represents love. Some traditions call this the “Bethlehem Candle”, symbolizing Christ's manger.

~The third candle is oftentimes called the “Angels Candle,” it represents peace.

~The pink candle is called the “Shepherds Candle” and it represents joy.

On Christmas Eve, the white center candle is lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow. Celebrating with an Advent wreath during the weeks prior to Christmas is a great way for Christians to keep Christ at the center of Christmas.


Three Wise Women would have...

Asked directions,

Arrived on time,

Helped deliver the baby,

Cleaned the stable,

Made a casserole,

Brought practical gifts and

There would be Peace on Earth.


Santa's Prayer

On Christmas Eve I heard a sound I'd never heard before.

A voice was softly speaking and I wanted to hear more.


So very quietly I arose from the bed where I was laying

I tiptoed to the living room where I heard Santa praying.


“Dear Jesus, It's your birthday and I just want to say,

Thanks for letting me be a part of your very special day.


I always have believed in you I know that you are real.

But there are some who don't believe and how sad that makes me feel.


Some houses have no Bible they have no manger scene.

Some people speak of Christmas but forget what it really means.


I pray someday they will know what Your love's worth and then

I know that they will understand the importance of your birth. Amen”


I always knew Santa brought toys like my truck and my sister's doll

But on this night I understood why Santa is the jolliest of all.


It is because he helps to spread good will and Christmas cheer.

And he helps Jesus celebrate His birthday every year.


Then I quietly returned to my room and snuggled back in my bed.

Knowing I'd always remember the words that Santa had said.


In the morning I remembered what I had heard and seen.

But I wasn't sure if it was real or just a wonderful dream?