ORUCC: Advent and Christmas Invitation

Advent Theme: The Stars,

Christ Child, & Cosmos in Conversation

Image Description: Five galaxies known as Stephan’s Quintet. Two of the galaxies appear close together at the center of the image. One appears directly above, and another slightly to our left near the bottom of the image. Each of these four galaxies presents as an irregular dot of brilliant white light surrounded by glowing haze. A fifth galaxy hides at our center left in an oval shape marbled with a tangle of golden orange lines. Similar golden orange tangles appear around the two galaxies at the center of the image, and the galaxy above them. Above the two galaxies at the center is a bright, light blue cloud.

For Advent this year you are invited to contemplate the mystery of the cosmos with us at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ. God’s love was with the world from the first moments of the big bang, at every stage of its unfolding and evolution, and in the cry of every new born child. This year our collective consciousness became filled with awesome photos from deep space, thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope. Images of the cosmos caring for and birthing stars and galaxies in nurseries and the breathtaking beauty of the last dance of a star dying. How do these new images enhance our faith, especially during Advent? How can a conversation between the mystery of God’s vast multiverse and the tenderness of the birth of Jesus enhance our faith? I am so excited for this Advent theme and for the wonderful offerings we have this year as we move toward Christmas. Each Sunday of Advent we will meditate on images from the James Webb Space Telescope as we light our Advent candles. Here is a preview of some of what you can look forward to to get us in the Advent and Christmas spirit!

Advent 1- November 27: Julia Burkey & Ken Pennings & Tru Function lead worship as Ken Pennings preaches on “The Birthing of a Universe” and we light the candle of hope.

9am hour: Children and youth of all ages are invited with their families for a special Sunday School activity: you are invited to Join Pastor Julia at 9am for fresh cut greens Advent Wreath Making Workshop! All supplies are provided for one wreath per family. If you have your wreath mold from last year, bring it back! There should be enough for extra wreaths if adults would like to join.

Advent 2- December 4: Julia Burkey & Ken Pennings and the ORUCC Choir lead worship as we welcome new member and newly retired UCC pastor Rev. Ted Drewsen to preach on “A Child’s Gaze” as we light the candle of peace.

9am hour: Join pastor Julia for an appreciative inquiry visioning session, “When you wish upon a star…” Together we will ask, what are your wishes for the ORUCC of the future? If everything you dreamed of and imagined for us living into our best came true, and you woke up in 5 or 10 years and came into our doors, what would it feel like, what would it smell like, how would people be meeting, what would you see, what would you hear? What is the first step you can make today towards making that vision come true?

Advent 3- December 11: Julia Burkey & Ken Pennings lead worship with the Bell Choir and Julia Burkey will preach on the bold words of the Magnificat, the friendship between Mary and Elizabeth in a sermon called “Becoming Friends with the Singing Stars,” as we light the candle of joy.

9am hour we will be joined by UW student Isaac Laseter who will share with us about the implications of the new discoveries of the The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which has has propelled astrophysics into a new era. From observing the formation of the first galaxies, measuring the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres, to uncovering hidden stars, JWST is simultaneously pushing and scrutinizing our understanding of the universe.

Advent 4- December 18: Julia Burkey and Ken Pennings lead worship with the ORUCC Choir as Julia Burkey preaches on Joseph’s dream in a sermon titled “From Stardust You Came,” as we light the candle of love. The children will play Christmas Music during the postlude!

Candle Light Christmas Eve Services December 24th: from the birth of the cosmos to the birth of the Christ child, our Advent will come full and wondrous circle as we mark our Christmas Eve gatherings on this holy night.

4pm Children’s Service: A Celebration of Peace

7pm Christmas Eve Service with Madison Mennonite Church and the ORUCC Choir

Sunday Christmas Day December 25: Julia Burkey leads service with David Anderman playing Christmas hymns on the piano. This will be a special opportunity to spend some fun and sacred time together on Christmas Day! Our 10am service will not be live-streamed, so our wonderful tech folks can enjoy being with their families.

Sunday New Years Day January 1: Ken Pennings leads worship with John Leonard providing special music.

Epiphany Sunday January 8: Julia Burkey & Ken Pennings lead worship with ORUCC Bell Choir and John Leonard providing Epiphany breads and cakes after worship!

“Epiphany” by Janet Mackenzie

NASA’s Webb Captures Dying Star’s Final ‘Performance’ in Fine Detail