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St. John's
United Church of Christ

216 North Street
PO Box 418
Brighton, Illinois 62012


Rev. Laurie Crelly, pastor

Sunday Worship:  10:15 am
Sunday School:  9:15 am

The Caller Newsletter 

November/December 2016

A Word From Our Pastor

Advent Series: SACRED!

Here is a sneak peak of our Advent Worship Series beginning November 27th: 

The Christmas season is a time when the juxtaposition of the sacred and secular feel sometimes blatantly opposed, and sometimes quite blurred. The word “sacred” points to something dedicated as “holy” and “set apart.” This year, we invite you on a spiritual journey of seeing all things pregnant with the possibility of the holy. What could your Christmas season experience be like if you lived it looking through the kaleidoscope of the sacred?

We will be exploring: Sacred Time, Sacred People, Sacred Space, Sacred Knowing, Sacred Being and Sacred Doing to prepare our hearts for Christmas. 
Prayers For Our Nation
This past election season was especially harsh and divisive in many ways. Even though the election is over, the hurt, anger, fear and division will linger with us for a long time. Regardless of whether or not you are happy with the outcome, we know we need to seek healing in order to preserve our union.
Christ calls us to be peacemakers in the world and to find ways to offer reconciliation between one another. This can be a tall order to fill and today more than ever it is a sacred calling that the church needs to be involved with. In order to get there, we must first find ways to talk about our differences and our perceptions so we really can hear one another, not just defend our position. Secondly, we need to be willing to look at our own mistakes and ask for forgiveness when we have wronged another. Thirdly, we need to work hard to create a safe space where everyone can be heard in a caring and respectful manner.
Please pray with me for the healing of our nation. Let us lift up together the values of our faith and of our nation as our guiding lights to a better tomorrow.  

Highlights from October

Trunk Or Treat 2016
We had a great turnout, but most of the pictures are too dark to display. We think we saw over 240 kids. Thank you to all who participated, donated and helped out. 


Some Sunday School Pictures 

Thank you to our dedicated teachers that help out teaching kids about God and the Bible. 

The Pack-A-Sack Program

The Sunday school kids helped pack 60 bags as their service project learning about the good Samaritan. We have five churches help donate food and pack. On Nov. 7th we packed 473 bags in 90 minutes. Thank you for everyone who has brought in food or have given a financial donation to help make this a success. Join us for packing the sacks during the Loyal Daughters meeting on the first Monday evening of the month at 6:30 p.m.

Roof and Siding Work
have begun

As you may have noticed, the roofs are done and a crew has been working on replacing the siding. Say hi to Ken, Casey, Mike and Corey if you stop by during the week. We expect the work to be completed before Thanksgiving. 

Upcoming Events In November/December

Sunday School Schedule

Nov. 13 - Lost Sheep Brenda N.
Nov. 20 - Lost Sheep - Erin & Troy
Nov. 27 Lost Sheep - Linda P.
Dec. 4 - Pageant practice - All
Dec. 11 - Pageant Practice - All
Dec. 18 - Pageant service
Dec. 25 - No class
Jan. 1 - No class
Jan. 8 - Ten Men Healed - Brenda N.


International Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20th at 2 p.m. we will hold a prayer service for transgender people who have been killed in the past year. Please see the Patchwork Event for further details. 
Advent Events
Hanging of Greens Nov. 27 - Church
Advent begins on Sunday, November 27th and we will kick off the season with music and a festive preparation of the sanctuary.  

Live Nativity- Dec. 4, 5-7 p.m.
The Ministerial Alliance participates in a Live Nativity at First Presbyterian Church. Join us for cookies and cider, Christmas carols and dressing up as one of the people in the nativity. It's a great event for kids, too. If you have an animal that would like to join us please contact Rev. Laurie - we need barn animals. 

Christmas Cantata - Dec. 11, 7 p.m.
We have grown our community choir to sixteen people and are preparing a great Cantata to celebrate Jesus' birth. Invite friends to join us. A free will offering will be collected for the ministries of the Ministerial Alliance. 

Christmas Pageant - Dec. 18 10:15 a.m.
As always, we love to have our children and youth involved in a Christmas pageant as part of their Sunday School education. All children are invited to participate. 

Christmas Eve Service Dec. 24 7 p.m.
Join us for a special Candlelit Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. as we celebrate the Birth of Jesus and the coming of God's holy light into the to world.

The Patchwork Youth Gatherings


International Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20th at 2 p.m. we will hold a prayer service for transgender people who have been killed in the past year. Rejection, discrimination, violence and even death is a very real danger to transgender people. A database of people killed for being transgender is maintained -, but we know many more go unreported or misidentified The Transgender Day of Remembrance is one way to honor the victims and raise awareness. We will lift up those killed and pray for a safer world. We will also watch a transgender themed movie to learn more. Please join us and grow in your understanding and empathy for transgender people. 
We started a new youth drop in night at St. John's UCC to offer a safe, fun and supportive place to gather and make new friends. We have had eight to ten youth attend from around the area.
This is open to all youth from the Tri-county area - Macoupin, Jersey, and Madison counties. Anyone aged 13-20 are welcome to attend.

Adult sponsors are also needed - contact Pastor Laurie if you are interested.
The next gathering is scheduled for Sunday, November 20th, 2  p.m. See above for details of our upcoming event.

Visit our Facebook page if you want to see the latest updates. Find the Youth Gathering Page at
Monthly Meeting Schedule

Loyal Daughters
First Monday
of the month at 6:30 p.m.

Pack-A-Sack Pack up, too!!

Ad Team 
Third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.


Every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Cantata Rehearsals: 7:30 p.m.

Worship and WOW Team 
First Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

Volunteer Opportunities

Creative Minds Sought:

Our worship development team is seeking a few creative minds to help us craft this special Advent series. If you like to work with visual arts, writing, creative things to engage the congregation or just want to help us brainstorm ideas to use during this series we would love to have you involved. Contact Pastor Laurie for details. 

Adult Youth Sponsors: 
Youth sponsors are needed to help at our monthly Patchwork Gatherings. The commitment is 2-3 hours a month during gatherings or planning sessions with youth leaders. if you enjoy youthful energy and can be a supportive listening ear and affirming presence to our youth, please talk to Pastor Laurie. 

Janitor Needed: 

After several years of being our janitor, Lonnie Gamble is stepping down at the end of this year. We are seeking one or two volunteers willing to step in and take over the weekly duties of keeping the church building clean. This includes trash pick up, sweeping / vacuuming areas, occasional floor mopping or re-arranging tables and other duties as needed.
The work is flexible to your availability. There is occasional additional work when a wedding or funeral is scheduled. This is a volunteer position but an occasional stipend is provided for special events. 

Other Events of Interest

Community Meals at the Municipal Building

Join us every Wednesday at the Municipal building at 11:45 a.m. for a hot meal and conversation. Suggested donation is $3 for seniors and $5 for people under 60 years old, kids under 12 are free.
Please call ahead if you plan on attending - City hall 372-8860 

Nov. 23 - Thanksgiving meal
Nov. 30 - Taco salad and shells
Brighton Bistro
First Presbyterian Church in Brighton offers a free lunch on the third Saturday of the Month at 11:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend. Meals delivered to the home are also available. Please call the church at 618-372-8241 during the week to sign up for delivery. 

Bullying and Cyber-Bullying 

St. John's UCC Midway Church and the Megan Meier Foundation invite you to a free community presentation on Sunday, November 20th at 6 p.m. Tina Meier will reveal the story of her daughter, Megan, and show first-hand the devastating effects of bullying, cyber-bullying,and suicide.
St. John's UCC Midway is located at 7456 Lake St. Moro, IL. For information call 618-377-9288. 
Prayer Requests


Josephine, Micky and Lee H.
Debbie C.
Bill O. 
David and Helen S. 
Lonnie G.
Brenda N.

Relatives and Friends of Members
Pauline B - Jason
Joyce W. - Friend of the congregation
Stacy Gibbs - Ryan's Grandmother
Mary C. & Joyce O - Janet S. 
Randy H - Ruth G 
Pam G. - Marcia and Lonnie
Joe P. - Friend of Pastor Laurie
Amy - Daughter of Pam G.

In Mourning
Don Gray Sr. Family 
Dottie Lou Austin family
Don "Butch" Gray family
Bill Jones family
Mary Busch family (Pastor Laurie's Family)
Jackson Austin family 
Jeanie Bott family
Bernice Meier family 
Marie Nurnberger family 
Harvey Schroeder family 
Have a Prayer Request? Let us know.
Check us out on Facebook or our Website:
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