Announcements and Worship Service for December 24, 2023

December 24, 2023

To livestream the worship service:
On Sunday morning, around 9:45, 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 24, 2023
Fourth Sunday of Advent: Joy
Children’s Christmas Service

Prelude—The First Noel (Tufenkjian)—Abby Koontz
                  What Child is This—Brett and Collin Gaeddert
                  Silent Night—Caleb Koontz
                  French Lullaby—Lincoln Kohlman
                  Away in A Manger—Lucy Burch and Kenna Graber
                  O Holy Night—Naomi Koontz
*Advent Candle Hymn—Hope Is a Candle—verses 1-4—VT 211
Advent Candle Lighting—Lawrence, Lincoln, Megan & Brad Kohlman
*Advent Litany—Joy—VT 916
Welcome and Prayer—Nathan Koontz
*Hymn—He Came Down—VT 239—5 verses:  Joy, Hope, Peace, Love, Joy
Children’s Christmas Service—Sing and Tell the Story
*Hymn—With Mary Sing Magnificat—VT 208
Prayers of God’s People
*Hymn—Angels We Have Heard on High—VT 249
Postlude—Hark, the Herald Angels Sing—Lucy Burch and Kenna Graber
* You are invited to stand
VT—Voices Together
Keyboard—Will Wiebe-Friesen
Audio visual—Ben Lichti

Scene 1—Mary’s Home in Nazareth
Scene 2—Elizabeth’s Home in Judean Hill Country
                    Song—And My Spirit Sings
Scene 3—Joseph’s Carpenter Shop in Nazareth
Scene 4—On the Road from Nazareth to Bethlehem
                      Song—From Nazareth to Bethlehem
Scene 5—Shepherd’s Campsite near Bethlehem
Scene 6—Bethlehem
Scene 7—Everywhere!
                        Song—Go Tell It On the Mountain—VT  252
Faith Burch
Lucy Burch
Payne Claassen
Collin Gaeddert
Brett Gaeddert
Emma Gering
Emerson Gering
Adah Hodge
Lawrence Kohlman
Lincoln Kohlman
Abby Koontz
Ani Koontz
Naomi Koontz
Mara Oswald
Gabby Robb
Jake Robb
Lily Schloneger
Abram Wall
Mabel Wall
Addie Zerger
Justin Zerger
Leaders:  Judy Harder, Mary Ellen Hodge, Tim Hodge, Jill Robb
Musicians:  Will Wiebe-Friesen, Suzy Burch, Tim Hodge, Susie Swartley
Back Drop Design and Builders:  Lauren Friesen, Ron Peters, Keith Harder
Props:  Judy Harder, Glen Ediger, David Kreider, Rose Haury
Intergenerational Sunday School Activities:  Deb Gering, Janet Friesen, Doug Miller, Maisie and Miles Brubacher
Others:  Ben Lichti, Audio-Visual and Monica Lichti

YouTube Link for December 24, 11 p.m. Lessons and Carols Service

For the bulletin for the Lessons Carols Service press here

The church office will be closed during the week between Christmas and December 30. 
There will be no Wednesday email on December 27.

Sunday, December 31, the worship service will begin at 10 a.m.  We will sing a lot of Christmas hymns so come prepared to sing and rejoice!

Roger’s Whereabouts :  Though the church office will be closed next week, Roger will be back in Newton on Wednesday (12/27) to complete planning for the December 31 worship service and to respond to unexpected circumstances. Feel free to call him at 785-220-1968. He will be celebrating with family in Newton on Friday afternoon and Saturday, but will lead worship on Sunday. Roger will drive back to Newton Sunday afternoon 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).

BCMC Offering for December 17, 2023:  General Fund $8,940.33; Plant Fund $108.33; Caring Fund $40; Living Stones $20; Flower Fund $25; Kitchen Fund $5.

From the Board:
Congregational Meeting:
Our next congregational meeting will be held at 12:45 p.m. on January 28, 2024.  The following two items will be on the agenda:

Welcome Statement:
The BCMC board has approved a recommendation from the Inclusion Task Group to revise our congregation’s welcome statement which is in the church’s constitution.  This announcement constitutes the required 30 day notice for a vote on a constitutional change.  The revised version follows: 
Bethel College Mennonite Church is an open and affirming congregation centered in the life and teachings of Jesus. Embracing the divine within each person, we warmly welcome any and all  into fellowship without regard to race, ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, economic status, marital status and age.

Change in Moderator Model:
The Board has proposed a bylaws change to shift church officer positions from Moderator Elect and Moderator, each serving two-year terms with a total commitment of four years, to Moderator Elect, Moderator, and Past Moderator.  In the new model, each position would be held for one year with the Moderator Elect moving on to Moderator and Past Moderator in the following years, thus serving a three-year commitment.  In summary, the new model shortens the term of commitment by one year and establishes a three-person leadership team. 
The proposal and rationale can be accessed here. 

Pastoral News:
The Board has renewed Roger Neufeld Smith’s half-time contract for an additional year (or less if a new regular pastor is found).  We are so grateful for his willingness to continue offering his fine work, administrative and communication skills, and wisdom to our congregation in this transitional time. 
The Board has also renewed Elizabeth Schmidt’s half-time contract for an additional year.  Since she is now credentialed, her title has been changed to Pastor of Congregational Care.  Her job description, although revised, remains fundamentally the same.  Feedback from those working most closely with her was overwhelmingly positive and confirmed her pastoral gifts, organizational skills, and caring concern for congregants.  Thank you, Elizabeth!

BCMC Programs 

Christmas Eve Sunday, December 24, 2023 – 10 a.m.  Christmas Worship Service
 with the children and youth in the sanctuary followed by refreshments in the gathering place :  NOTE the change of time – worship starting at 10 a.m.
No Sunday school
Congregants are welcome to bring Christmas snacks to share for our coffee time in the gathering place after the  worship service Dec. 24.  

December 24, 2023, 11 p.m.       Lessons and Carols and candle-lighting service in the sanctuary

Sunday, December 31, 2023 – 10 a.m.  First Sunday after Christmas

Christmas Hymn Sing in the sanctuary — NOTE the later time for worship
No Sunday school

Service of Remembrance
As we are in the holiday season that brings joy with the promise of new life and love birthed into our world, there is also grief as we miss those who have passed from this world in 2023.  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 p.m., in the BCMC sanctuary.

We offer sympathy to the family of Don Kaufman.  Don died December 18 at Kidron Bethel Village.  Please pray for Don’s children, Kendra Kaufman, Galen Kaufman, and Nathan (and Jill)  Kaufman, and their families.

Memorial Service for Jim Banman and Judy Coover
 Please remember in your prayers Jim’s children, Steven, Susan, Christine, and T.J., and their families as they mourn the death of Jim on December 9.  A joint memorial service for Jim and his wife, Judith Coover, who died in 2020, will be held on January 7, 2024, 1:30 p.m. at Kidron Hall, Kidron Bethel Village.

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

The bulletin covers for Advent are used by permission from Salt Project,

Changes for your church directories:
· Note that Doug Penner’s email address is:
· Andrew Thiesen’s new address:  309 Davis Street,  Garden City, KS 67846

Changes for the Beginning of Worship
As we begin 2024, the Worship Commission will be experimenting with a new format to begin our time of worship. There will be no prelude, but instead worship will begin with the sound of a bell or chime and lighting of the Christ candle at 9:30 a.m., then will move into a time of gathering/centering music, and will then move to the welcome and opening prayer. As you enter the worship space, we ask that once the chime sounds and the candle is lit, you refrain from conversation so that all can prepare for our time of worship together. The Worship Commission appreciates your flexibility and openness to trying new things in the new year!

Questionnaire for the Solar Project

At the December 10, 2023 congregational meeting, BCMC approved initiating Phase I of the Solar Panel project.  As part of Phase I, BCMC is using this Questionnaire.

For the questionnaire and more information click here

Paper copies of the questionnaire are available on the ledge in the BCMC Gathering Place.  Place these completed forms in the basket on the ledge.  Envelopes have been provided.  
Contact Margaret Toews with any questions.

.Bethel College Announcements
· 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
· Sun., Jan. 7 – Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum, “The Western Meadowlark: The State Bird, but Not the Only Exceptional Bird in Kansas,” with local birding expert Gregg Friesen, 3 p.m., Kauffman Museum at Bethel College.

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

The WDC Office and Resource Library will be closed for Christmas and New Years from Dec 23 through Jan 1. We will open again on Tuesday, Jan 2. Be sure to stop by the WDC Resource Library prior to this to pick up books for your kids, your grandkids or yourself to enjoy during the holiday break!
Register now for the MCC 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 Mennonite Church USA  Christmas Greetings press here
Mennonite Church USA’s The Corinthian Plan is open for enrollment on Nov.1 through Dec. 31, 2023, for a Jan. 1, 2024 start date. The Corinthian Plan is a self-funded, health care plan for pastors and church workers, sponsored and owned by Mennonite Church USA. Read more here:

Mennonite Church USA has relaunched Equipping, a quarterly, resource e-newsletter for pastors and leaders across MC USA. Read the Fall 2023 issue here: View the PDF here:

Menno Snapshots

Jon Carlson, moderator for Mennonite Church USA, reflects on how Mennonite Church USA is better together and how our collective participation in the church shapes us and reflects who we are as a body. Read his reflections here:

For Mennonite Disaster Service press here
For Mennonite Disaster Service “On The Level” press here
For Christmas Greetings from Mennonite Mission Network press here
For Mennonite World Conference “Info” press here
For Mennonite Mission Network “News and Beyond” press here


Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:  Mennonite Mission Network requests prayer for peace in the land where Jesus was born more than 2000 years ago. Pray, especially, for partners — Bethlehem Bible College, Nazareth Hospital and Nazareth Village — who faithfully work to peel away the layers of fear and hate that distort Jesus’ message of peace, in a time of escalating violence in Israel-Palestine.

Western District Conference Prayer Request:  Rejoice in the gift of Emmanuel, God-with-us! Give thanks for the many ways that WDC congregations embody Jesus’ presence in the world today.