Announcements for December 3–10, 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 3, 2023
First Sunday of Advent: Hope
Prelude—Cynthia Neufeld Smith
(As the prelude music plays, you are encouraged to keep conversation to a minimum)
*Advent Candle Hymn—Hope Is a Candle— VT 211— Congregation sing verse 1 only; Susie Swartley, flute
Advent Candle Lighting—Judy Harder
*Advent Litany—Hope VT 916
Welcome—(Land Acknowledgement) and Prayer—Adam Robb
*Hymn—Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus—VT 218
Children’s Conversation—Christmas Tree Ornaments—Jill Robb
Anthem—Chancel Choir
Scripture Reading—1 Corinthians 1:3-9—Judy Harder
Sermon—The Gift of Hope—Nathan Koontz
*Hymn—Oh How Shall I Receive Thee—VT 215
Communion—Come to the Table of Grace—VT 461
Prayers of God’s People
*Hymn—Hark! the Glad Sound!—VT 217
Postlude—Cynthia Neufeld Smith
* You are invited to stand
VT—Voices Together
Keyboard—Will Wiebe-Friesen
Audio visual—Ken Lamp

 This Week at BCMC:  December 3—10, 2023
Sun., Dec. 3, 2023—First 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)
Mon., Dec. 4, 2023
6:30 p.m.      Gifts Discernment Committee meeting in the chapel
7:30-9 p.m.  “Messiah” Sing Through Rehearsal in the sanctuary
Wed., Dec. 6, 2023
11 a.m.      Singalong to Christmas portions of Handel’s Messiah with chamber orchestra and soloists, in the sanctuary.  Scores will be provided.   
6 p.m.         Anointing Service for Elizabeth Raid in the sanctuary
7:30 p.m.  Chancel Choir rehearsal in the sanctuary
Thurs., Dec. 7, 2023
6:30 p.m.  Chancel Bell rehearsal in Room B7
7 p.m.        Church Board meeting in Room 14
7:30 p.m.   Hospitality Commission meeting in fellowship hall
Sun., Dec. 10, 2023—Second Sunday of Advent
9:30 a.m.   Worship with sermon by Nathan Koontz; music by Chancel Bells;
Brief congregational meeting after worship
10:45 a.m. Faith Formation

Preparing for Worship
As we gather for worship each Sunday in the sanctuary, the Worship Commission invites and encourages us to become quiet as the prelude centers us for worship. Conversation is welcome and encouraged in the Gathering Place outside of the sanctuary during the prelude.  We invite all who are present in the sanctuary to find their seats and quietly participate in preparing for worship.

Birthday calendars – with photos of BCMC by Weldon Schloneger – are available in the back of the sanctuary for a suggested donation of $10. Checks may be written to BCMC with Women’s Fellowship written in the memo line. These birthday calendars are perfect stocking stuffers and work well for keeping track of birthdays of family and friends.

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 library during the week for anyone to write a note before we send them out. Thank you! 
— Deacon Commission 

Caring Fund Contribution Opportunity Sunday December 3. The Caring Fund is an above budget benevolent fund administered by the Deacon Commission for the purpose of assisting our congregation’s members and community persons in need. The fund is generated by above budget offerings made payable to Bethel College Mennonite Church and designated “caring fund.” Everence also provides some matching funds each year. Besides the financial help that can and has been provided to our own members, in the past year contributions from the Caring Fund have been made to our local Salvation Army, New Hope Shelter, Safe Hope, Harvest of Love, the Community Playschool, Peace Connections Circle of Hope, Newton Community Foundation Slate Creek Elementary inclusive playground, USD 373 student meals for low income, and several individuals to help with housing rent and utilities. Thank you for your continued support and contributions during this holiday season. 
– BCMC Deacon Commission

Anointing Service for Elizabeth Raid
You are welcome to join in an anointing service for Elizabeth Raid and her husband, Gary Franz, in the Bethel College Mennonite Church sanctuary on Wednesday, December 6 at 6 p.m.  Elizabeth has been living with pancreatic cancer for a number of years and seeks God’s healing through word, touch, prayer, and the presence of loved ones.  As God’s beloved community, may we find support and healing together.  If there are others that are connected to Elizabeth and Gary who may not receive this announcement, please pass the invitation on to them.  Everyone is welcome. 

The church board is calling a brief special congregational meeting following worship in the sanctuary December 10, 2023 to act on the following board recommendation:
Does BCMC approve the initiation of a pledge drive for the purpose of soliciting funds and support for the solar project? The details of a pledge drive will be worked out if an initial vote indicates significant support.
The purpose of this vote is to determine the level of support from the congregation for a roof-top solar installation on our church.  A review of the solar project as presented at the September congregational meeting and in two subsequent Sunday School hour meetings was distributed to mailboxes the week of November 27.

Welcoming Statement Draft
The Inclusion Task Group along with the Church Board has been working on an updated welcoming statement for BCMC that includes more open and affirming language.  If you have questions or comments regarding the updated welcoming statement, please contact Nathan Koontz by December 8.  We hope to vote on an updated statement at our congregational meeting on January 28, 2024.  Below is the updated version.   

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 without regard to race, ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, economic status, marital status, and age, any and all who enter into fellowship with us. 

Nathan Koontz (he, him)
Pastor for Community and Worship
Bethel College Mennonite Church

Creation Care: While you are active in your Christmas shopping please remember to save plastic bags for recycling. We have collected 345 pounds with a goal of 1,000 pounds.  — Vern Goering

BCMC Offering for November 26, 2023:  General Fund $3,150; Plant Fund $50; Sr Hi Youth $100; Gen Fund 2024 $1,300; Caring Fund $300; Flower Fund $110; Women’s Fellowship $286.

Roger’s Whereabouts
Roger, and his wife Cynthia, will be traveling to Newton on Friday night (12/1). Cynthia will play an Advent organ prelude for worship (12/3) beginning at 9:15. Roger will be staying in Newton until Thursday evening.  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).
Save the date, January 28, 2024 for Congregational Meeting and Soup Luncheon prior to the congregational meeting and the next fun-filled congregation and youth activity!

You are invited to the Annual Christmas Brass Choir Concert at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Sunday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., 1304 K-15 Hwy, Goessel for some Good Old Fashioned Christmas Festive Music and Cheer!

 Mennonite Central Committee Material Resources Center in North Newton is critically low on inventory: An MCC kit cannot be distributed until each item for the kit is assembled, but some supplies in the Material Resources Center are so low that kits cannot be processed for shipping. You can help by filling the following needs: new infant onesies and sleepers (6-12 month sizes); new bath towels (dark colored, light to medium weight); new hand towels (dark colored). Locally, MCC distributes prisoner care and returning citizen care kits, for those kits we currently need: men’s shirts (sizes XL, 2XL, 3XL — any color) and men’s underwear (sizes 2XL, 3XL — any color). Buy online and ship it to MCC or bring items to MCC in North Newton (121 E. 30th St, North Newton). Questions: contact or 316.283.2720. A full list of MCC kit contents can be found at

Bethel College Announcements
· Weds., Dec. 6 – Singalong to Christmas portions of Handel’s Messiah, 11 a.m., with chamber orchestra and soloists, Bethel College Mennonite Church. Scores provided. 
· Thurs., Dec. 7 – Visit Senior Art Exhibit 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Regier Art Gallery and the Drama Lab in the Fine Arts Center at Bethel College. Artists will be present: “Crowded Table,” pottery by Edel Miller (gallery), and “Solace in the Story,” book art and theater art by Rachel Geyer (lab).   Hours of Regier Gallery and Drama Lab are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 2-4 p.m.
· Thurs., Dec. 7 – Gala Jazz, directed by Joel Boettger, 7:30 p.m., Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center
·  Sun., Dec. 10 – 38th annual Lighting of the Green , 8 p.m. on the Bethel College campus 

Announcements from Hesston College

December 1 to 3 – Prairie Lights at Dyck Arboretum

Experience the quiet beauty of Kansas in winter: dormant native grasses shifting in the wind, lights reflecting in the pond and leafless trees lit from below like living sculptures. Observing tens of thousands of twinkle lights adorning the arboretum path and illuminating our grounds is a great way to kick off the holiday season and find renewed appreciation for the prairie landscape around us. Learn more at

December 2 – “A Christmas Carol” Performance

Hesston College Performing Arts will ring in the holiday season with a performance of “A Christmas Carol” on Saturday, December 2. The performance will be held in the Hesston Mennonite Church at 7 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served after the performance with a special photo opportunity with Scrooge and Tiny Tim. You can watch the livestream of the production at

For Mennonite Mission Network “News and Beyond” press here 

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

For Anabaptist Disabilities Network press here

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

Mennonite Church USA issued a statement on the Israel-Hamas War on Nov. 15. The statement laments the loss of life and stands on our shared Anabaptist faith values in a call for a ceasefire. Read it here:

The Center for Community Justice in Elkhart, Indiana, honored Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Mennonite Church USA’s denominational minister for Peace & Justice, for her work in restorative justice at an event celebrating the 45th anniversary of its Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP). Read more here:
Menno Snapshots

This fall, several Mennonite Church USA congregations from Northwest Ohio worked with RAWtools and Mennonite Central Committee to host a community event about gun safety. Read more here:

Amy Yoder McGloughlin, pastor at Frazer Mennonite Church, shares how gun violence and the death of a young neighbor in a drive-by shooting created lasting trauma for her and her family. Read about how leaning into that pain helps her cope:

Harvey County Advent Calendar
A team of folks in Harvey County recently designed an Advent calendar themed around our community, and we are sharing it with others for free. 

You can read about the effort in the Harvey County Now (“County Advent calendar hopes to spread more than information.”) Community Creative Services in Newton headed up the design.
The daily activities include reflective exercises to foster gratitude, encouragement to practice generosity, and opportunities to connect to others. It’s designed to be inclusive, so almost every activity is free, and each day includes at least one free activity. Examples include attending the Lighting of the Green at Bethel College, participating in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, or watching the earliest sunset of the year. Other events invite reflection on the themes of hope, joy, love and peace; listening to Christmas hymns or poems; and making small donations to local charities. Rebecca Barrett-Fox, Newton, did the writing and area churches and organizations sponsored the publication. 

Here is the announcement from the team who created the Advent calendar:
A group of community volunteers has created a local Advent calendar for area churches to enjoy. Each day, you’ll be invited to join in an activity that promotes kindness, gratitude, or connection to others. Pick up a copy at one of the sponsors listed on the calendar, or download to use digitally or print. You can find it here: 

— Pastor Roger Neufeld Smith

Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:  Pray for the participants in Mennonite Mission Network’s Tucson, Arizona, Mennonite Voluntary Service unit — Nely Cotuc, Hannah Nuest, Ally Weaver, Magdalena Wenger and Deborah Yoder — as they help extend the ministries of their host congregation, Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, through welcoming immigrants, promoting literacy and working to protect the environment.

Western District Conference Prayer Request:  Give thanks for the WDC Resource Library’s creative resources and ideas for Advent and Christmas, and pray for congregational leaders who plan worship and special activities during this season.