Announcements and Worship Service for December 17, 2023

To livestream the worship service:
On Sunday morning, around 9:20, go to BCMC’s webpage at and click the green button labeled LIVE STREAM on the right side of the screen, which will take you to the worship service. If you get a message in the black box that the video is unavailable, click the gray box below that says “View Live Stream on YouTube”.   Anytime after the service concludes, you can watch a recording of the service at your convenience by clicking the same green LIVE STREAM button.  Again, you will probably have to go to the gray box that says “View Live Stream on YouTube”.  That will transfer you to the BCMC YouTube Channel.  You will have to click on the tab “Videos” to see all of the BCMC videos. Click the red button to see the bulletin/order of service. 
OR – click on this link for this Sunday:

December 17, 2023
Third Sunday of Advent: Love

Prelude—Nocturno, Op. 7  (Franz Strauss);  Allegro moderato from Horn Concerto No. 1 in C Minor (Franz Strauss)— Chris Miertschin, horn; Will Wiebe-Friesen, piano 
*Advent Candle Hymn—Hope Is a Candle, verses 1-3—VT 211
Advent Candle Lighting—Coralee Shenk, Jeanette & Steve Stucky
*Advent Litany—Love—VT 916
Welcome and Prayer—Esther Kreider Eash
*Hymn—O Come, O Come Immanuel—VT 210
Children’s Conversation—Esther Koontz
Anthem—Christmas is Here (Dale Wood)— Chancel Choir; Riley King, director;  Will Wiebe-Friesen, accompanist
Scripture Reading—John 1:1-9
*Hymn—The Light Shines in the Darkness—Bulletin insert
Adah Hodge, Mara Oswald, Lily Schloneger sing verses—Congregation sings chorus
Scripture Reading—I John 4:7-12
Sermon—God’s Love Revealed—Roger Neufeld Smith
*Hymn—Love Came Down at Christmas—VT 255
Prayers of God’s People
(Hymn Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord— VT 219)
*Hymn Love Has Come—VT 258
Postlude—Toccata on Joy to the World (Brenda Portman)—Will Wiebe-Friesen
* You are invited to stand
VT—Voices Together
Keyboard—Will Wiebe-Friesen
Audio visual—Frances Toews

Chris Miertschin, assistant professor of music and director of bands at Bethel College, is our guest musician this Sunday. He lives in Abilene with his husband Jair and plays horn with the Salina Symphony Orchestra and Theatre Salina. 

 Used by permission from MennoMedia and Herald Press

 This Week at BCMC:  December 17—24, 2023
Sun., Dec. 17, 2023—Third Sunday of Advent
9:30 a.m.  Worship     10:45 a.m. Faith Formation
Worship YouTube Link for this Sunday:
The church nursery is staffed during worship and Sunday School
10:45 a.m.  Faith Formation—Intergenerational class (fellowship hall);   High School (Room 24)    Adult Classes:  Agape (nursery); Bible Study (Rm 14); Catacombs (Rm B5);  Fellowship (B7); Fine Arts (Rm 22); Issues and Christianity (Rm 23); Open Circle (Room 21)  Seekers (Rm 28)
Tues., Dec. 19, 2023
11 a.m.      Staff Meeting
7 p.m.        Womens’ Fellowship Program in Fellowship Hall—Prairie Bronze Ensemble Bell Choir will perform Christmas music—All are invited
Wed., Dec. 20, 2023
7:30 p.m.  Chancel Choir rehearsal in the sanctuary
Thurs., Dec. 21, 2023
5:30 p.m.   Pizza followed by the rehearsal at 6 p.m.
5:30 p.m.   Rehearsal for Christmas worship service in sanctuary
Sun., Dec. 24, 2023—Fourth Sunday of Advent
10 a.m.      Christmas Worship Service with the children and youth in the sanctuary followed by refreshments in the gathering place
No Sunday school
11 p.m.       Lessons and Carols and candle-lighting service in the sanctuary

The church office will be closed during the week between Christmas and December 30.

 Roger’s Whereabouts :  Roger will be driving back to Topeka Sunday afternoon (12/17). He will be celebrating Christmas with his Topeka church, then back in Newton on Wed., Dec. 27, to help plan the BCMC worship service for Dec. 31. He will be available for pastoral care concerns that week. Whether he’s in Newton or Topeka, Roger checks his email and phone regularly, so feel free to contact him via email, text or phone call (785-220-1968).

The Prairie Bronze Ensemble will perform Christmas music Tues., Dec. 19, in Fellowship Hall at 7 p.m. The public is invited so please bring friends and family to enjoy the bell choir sponsored by BCMC Women’s Fellowship.


Congregants are welcome to bring Christmas snacks to share for our coffee time in the gathering place after the  worship service Dec. 24.   There will be no Sunday School on Dec. 24.

From the Board:
Thank you for your attendance and participation Sunday, December 10, in the vote indicating support for moving ahead with the solar panel project.  The vote was 68 yes, 5 no; this means that more than 93% of those voting were in favor of further exploring solar panels on our church.  Phase II will now begin.  You can expect a chance to further express interest and make a pledge within the next several weeks.  There will likely be a final vote for a more specific proposal at our next congregational meeting on January 28.  Thank you so much to the solar panel subgroup of the Creation Care Committee, to the Finance Committee, and to several board members (specially Margaret Toews and Jon Zerger) for much hard work on this project and in preparation for the presentation yesterday.  
— Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, BCMC Board Chair/Moderator

Public Witness in Wichita for Gaza Ceasefire, December 19

The BCMC Witness Commission along with the WDC Israel Palestine Task Force invites you, family, friends and allies to join Mennonite Action on Tuesday, December 19, for a public witness at Senator Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall’s offices in Wichita, KS to ask for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel. We will meet at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, 655 S Lorraine ST, at 10:30 am to rehearse the actions which include prayer, singing and sharing bread with congressional staffers and each other. We encourage fasting or bring your own lunch. We will drive and park near the offices of the Senators. There may be a $2-$3 parking fee. There will be a 6-block walk between Senator Moran and Senator Marshall’s offices. This is a somber event, and we encourage participants to wear black.  A script of the event will be provided, and we should be finished by 3 pm. Specific questions may be referred to Kathy Neufeld Dunn at 620-755-4331 or Bob Atchison at 785-313-2292.  Those from BCMC interested in attending are encouraged to gather on Sunday morning after worship in the front of the sanctuary to discuss plans and possible carpooling. 

Sympathy Notice
We offer sympathy to the family of Jim Banman.  Jim died December 9 at Kidron Bethel Village.  Please remember in your prayers Jim’s children, Steven, Susan, Christine, and T.J., and their families.  The funeral will be January 7, 2024, 1:30 p.m. at Kidron Hall, Kidron Bethel Village.

Service of Remembrance
In order to recognize and mourn the loss of our loved ones from 2023, Bethel College Mennonite Church is hosting a Service of Remembrance on January 7, 2024 at 4 pm, in the BCMC sanctuary.

The library’s theme for the month of December is Advent/Christmas. We have quite a number of fiction/nonfiction choices for all ages. You might want to consider checking out books for visiting family members. We have so many good choices. Also, due to the  Advent/Christmas Everybody books in the children’s section of the library, all the puzzles are now located in the library on the west wall. There are some wonderful choices for holiday family time. A suggested donation of $5 for a puzzle helps support the supplies needed to run the library. 
Also on the west wall are a number of new books that were recently purchased through our budget and sale at Faith and LIfe Bookstore. Come check out the new selections in all genres. A brief write up of the new books is available by the library computer.   Happy Holiday reading!
— Library Committee

New BCMC directories are available in the Gathering Place between the mailboxes and in the south entrance on the glass table.

It’s about over, in just two weeks we will know for sure how we did financially this year.  So if you haven’t gotten all your pledges fulfilled or if you want to give some money to the church or perhaps need an additional tax write-off, it’s time to do it.  From the Finance Committee we want to thank you for making this a great year and we urge you to help us finish well so that it can be a really great year.   Looking ahead to 2024, the financial picture is much more cloudy.  There is a big gap between the intents and the proposed budget.  We and the Church Board are looking for creative ways to deal with this problem.  You can help by making sure that you have pledged or that you have pledged your maximum.  Also your suggestions are coveted and your prayers for wisdom are coveted.  With your help 2024 can be a great year also.
— Finance Committee

BCMC Women’s Fellowship Birthday Calendars are available from WF Executive Board members:
Lois Brubacher  620-837-3281;  Lois Preheim     316-804-4713
Brenda Turner  316-283-8131;   Janet Voth        316-283-1922
The suggested donation price is $10. This calendar project is designed to help build community and the donation is used to support WF Ministries.

Registration for the upcoming Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus season is at hand.  Please consider joining.  Some of you are already on the list and we certainly encourage new members.  For further details please contact Joe Peters, BCMC contact.

BCMC Offering for December 10, 2023:  General Fund $20,891.75; Gen Fund 2024 $2,125; Caring Fund $100; Library Reserve Fund $50; Flower Fund $20; Kitchen Fund $17; Women’s Fellowship $110; Solar Fund $3,000; Gladys Niles Memorial $270.

The Deacons Commission is working on a “Thinking of You” campaign for people who are isolated due to health concerns. For the next few Sundays, we will have a table at the back of the sanctuary with pages for your comments to members of our church whom we haven’t been able to see for a while. Please stop by and write a short greeting or sign your name to let them know we are thinking about them. For those of you who are unable to attend worship but can stop by the church during the week, these letters will be in the gathering place during the week for anyone to write a note before we send them out. Thank you!    — Deacon Commission

Creation Care: While you are active in your Christmas shopping please remember to save plastic bags for recycling. We have collected 500 pounds with a goal of 1,000 pounds.  — Vern and Jane Goering

Bethel College/Kauffman Museum Announcements
(Sun., Dec. 17) – Kauffman Museum celebration of the 75th anniversary of the longest running community science project in the world, the Harvey County Christmas Bird Count.
 Come and go at the museum from 1:30-4:30 p.m. to see the progress of the special exhibit “A Day with the Birds,” with brief remarks at 3 p.m.
Kauffman Museum at Bethel College invites you to visit during the holidays. Open hours are Tues.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and weekends 1:30-4:30 p.m. (closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve). The permanent exhibits are “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” and the museum store is also open during those hours, with books, games, art and other gift items for sale (see

Western District Conference invites you to visit our website to read the latest news, stories and announcements.

Greetings from Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp,Below, please find the following announcements for your congregation for upcoming camp programs here at RMMC.RMMC Online Trading Post: Still looking for that perfect Christmas gift? Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp has you covered. Check out the online Trading Post at for t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other RMMC items we can ship to you!  We would also love to work with you to provide the gift of a summer camp experience for a loved one. Contact RMMC to discuss the options and to receive a coupon to represent your gift. Any gift you give is also a gift to camp and we appreciate your support.  RMMC Volunteer Opportunities: The ministry at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp is possible because of the dedication of countless volunteers. Camp is still in need of volunteers for our winter programs, including Jr High Snow camp January 19-21, and Sr High snow camp February 18-20.  Please visit our volunteer page on the website to sign up!

Register now for the Mennonite Central Committee South Texas Learning Tour, February 4-9, 2024! This immigration-focused learning tour presents a unique opportunity to engage directly with organizations making a positive impact on our neighbors. You won’t want to miss this opportunity. Details and online registration can be found at Deadline to sign up is Jan. 20. Please contact Abraham Diaz Alonso with questions,

For Anabaptist Disabilities Network press here

For Mennonite Mission Network “News and Beyond” press here

For Eastern Mennonite Seminary Shalom Collaboratory press here

For Mennonite Education Agency “Looking Ahead to 2024” press here

Mennonite Church USA Announcements
Mennonite Church USA’s Constituency Leaders Council brainstormed strategies for strengthening youth engagement at its first meeting of the 2023-2025 biennium via Zoom on October 27, 2023. Read more here:

Save the date for Hope for the Future 2024, the annual gathering of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) leaders from across the country who are connected to Mennonite Church USA, on February 9-11, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. Learn more here: View the PDF here:

Menno Snapshots

Cyneatha Millsaps, executive director of Mennonite Women USA, reflects on how gun violence has effected the country, her community and her own family in a blog for Mennonite Church USA. Read her reflection here:

Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:  SADRA (Southern African Development and Reconstruction Agency) Conflict Transformation is a Mennonite Mission Network partner that offers a Christian response to injustice in South Africa. Pray for the conflict mediators, who train members of their communities to de-escalate situations that could lead to violence.

Western District Conference Prayer Request:  Pray for generous financial support for WDC congregations, as they seek to meet annual budget goals for mission and ministry.