December 18-25, 2022

December 18,2022 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Based on CDC Guidelines Harvey County is back to green status indicating low risk for COVID. You are invited to choose whether you wear a mask or social distance.  Both are optional.

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 belows 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’s worship service:

Fourth Sunday of Advent December 18, 2022
Seek God’s peace
Prelude—Addison Zerger, Brett Gaeddert, Collin Gaeddert, Lucy Burch, Lily Schloneger
Advent Candle Lighting—Coralee Shenk
Hymn—O Come, O Come, Immanuel—VT 210—Congregation sings verses 1 & 4 during processional and lighting
Candle lighting liturgy
Leader: We cry out for restoration; we call upon God to give us life.
People: Do not be afraid, says the Lord. I have promised to be with you.
Leader: As we hold fast to God’s promise, we light these candles as signs of hope, love, joy, and peace.
All: Bring your restoration to your people, we pray.
Welcome—Dianne Epp
Call to Worship
Leader: Behold! Do not be afraid; God is with us.  God is our strength and our salvation!
People: Lord, we stand in your presence in faith, not fear.
Leader: God will send angels to keep watch over you, to comfort you, to keep you.
People: Lord, our strong hope is built on your unfailing love. Our hearts yield to you and trust in your transforming power.
 All: Praise ye the Lord
*Hymn— Joy to the World—VT 240
Children’s Conversation—Jim Robb
Anthem—Chancel Choir; Riley King, director; Verlene Garber, accompanist
Scripture Readings—Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Matthew 1:18-25—
Cynthia & Dave Linscheid
Sermon—Longing and Fulfillment—Nathan Koontz
*Hymn—Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming—VT 216
Prayers of God’s People
*Hymn—My Soul Proclaims with Wonder—VT 222
People with December birthdays come forward for a blessing, please bring a hymnal
*Birthday Blessing & Benediction—Nathan Koontz
Postlude—Verlene Garber
* You are invited to stand
VT = Voices Together
Keyboard—Verlene Garber
Audio visual—Ken Lamp
Pastor—Nathan Koontz

This Week at BCMC:  December 18—December 25, 2022
Sun., Dec. 18—Fourth Sunday of Advent
9:15 am   Prelude by  Addison Zerger,  Brett Gaeddert, Collin Gaeddert,
 Lucy Burch, Lily Schloneger

9:30 am   Sermon by  Nathan Koontz; music by the Chancel Choir
10:15 am Coffee/Tea/Water/Fellowship in the Gathering Place
10:30 am     Faith Formation—Intergenerational class of pre-school through high school meets in Fellowship Hall — Adult Classes:  Agape Class (Nursery); Bible Study (Rm 14); Catacombs (Rm B5); Fellowship (B7); Fine Arts (Rm 22); Issues and Christianity (Rm 23);  Mosaic (Rm 20); Open Circle (Room 21); Seekers (Rm 28);  Sojourners (Chapel)   

Tues., Dec. 20
11 am        Memorial for Paul H. Harder in the sanctuary
6:30 pm    Suzuki Performance in the sanctuary
7 pm          Women’s Fellowship meeting in Fellowship Hall
Wed., Dec. 21
7:30 pm   Chancel Choir practice in the sanctuary
Fri., Dec. 23—Christmas Eve Program Practice
5 pm         Soup in Fellowship Hall for those practicing for the Children’s
Christmas Eve Program followed by practice
5:45 pm (approximately)   Practice for the Christmas Eve Program
Sat., Dec. 24—Christmas Eve
4:30 pm    Children’s Christmas Eve Program in the Sanctuary
11 pm       Lessons and Carols and Candle-Lighting Service in the Sanctuary
Sun., Dec. 25—Merry Christmas!
10 am        Worship Service in the sanctuary—No Sunday school

BCMC Women’s Fellowship meets December 20 at 7 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. The South East door will be open. The meditation, ‘You are not alone’ will be followed with a decorating demonstration by Brenda. Hands on participation will follow. All BCMC women are invited to attend and if you can’t attend please
consider supporting the agreed upon ministries. Contributions may be left in
Lois Goertzen’s mailbox.

For your calendar: 
There will be two services on Christmas Eve, December 24.  
· 4:30 pm   The Children’s Christmas Eve Service in the Sanctuary
· 11 pm       Lessons and Carols and Candle-Lighting Service in the Sanctuary
· There will be a Service of Remembrance at 4 pm on January 8, 2023 to remember  BCMC members and friends who died during 2022.
· The Church office will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s day this year.   The Church office and building will be closed on January 2, 2023.  

The Witness Commission has selected The Salvation Army  as our Advent
project.  We are collecting non perishable food items for the pantry and monetary donations.  A table will be set up in The Gathering Place for food donations. A recent article in Newton Now showed the shelves empty in the food pantry. 

The worship services on Dec. 25, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2023 will begin at 10 a.m.  There will be no Sunday school on these two Sundays.  The congregation is encouraged to bring snacks/Christmas goodies on both Sundays to  share and enjoy after the services.   —Hospitality Commission
BCMC Offering for December 11:  General $12,552.66; Gen Fund 2023 $350;
Caring Fund $500; Living Stones $5; Flower Fund $50; Kitchen Fund $13.

The memorial service for Paul Harder will be Tuesday, December 20, 11 a.m. in the BCMC Sanctuary.  Burial and meal will follow.  It will also be live-streamed.   The YouTube Live-Stream Link is:

Announcements From the Board:
Welcome to Elizabeth Schmidt, Congregational Care Coordinator!
 The BCMC Board is excited to welcome Elizabeth Schmidt as our Congregational Care Coordinator!  In addition to being our recent past church moderator, Elizabeth is a Bethel College graduate, has taken coursework for an MA in Theology at Illiff School of Theology, and has completed one unit of Extended Clinical Pastoral Education at Wesley Medical Center.  She was also Executive Director of Harvey-Marion County Community Developmental Organization from 2007 to 2019.  In this  new half-time position, Elizabeth will develop ways we can support each other, coordinate visitation for those in need of care, and work at welcoming and integrating those new to our congregation and at all stages of life.  Elizabeth will begin work on January 1. 
Preparations Underway for Roger Neufeld Smith, our Interim Pastor
January 1 will mark the beginning of work for Roger Neufeld Smith, our new half-time Interim Pastor.  He comes with 30 years of experience as pastor at Southern Hills Mennonite Church in Topeka and has recently been an interim pastor in Beatrice, Nebraska.  We will welcome him officially during the worship service on January 8 with his first sermon planned for January 15.  In addition to preaching about once per month, he will also work with committees and commissions and be involved with visitation in collaboration with Pastor Nathan and the Congregational Care Coordinator.  We are so pleased to begin our work with him!
Custodial Position:  Thanks to Mike Crawford
We are very grateful to Mike Crawford for his approximate ten years of work as our custodian and his care for our facility as well as help with set-up for numerous events in our church.  His behind-the-scenes work has been so valuable in keeping our building clean and ready for worship and many other activities.  Mike has resigned with his last day of work on December 16.  The Facilities Committee has plans for temporary replacement while a more permanent replacement is sought. 
Credence Report Task Group
The BCMC Board is constituting a small task group to oversee decisions and implementation of recommendations from the Credence and Company consultants.  Their work will begin after the first of the year.  If you would like to be involved with this group or a specific part of the recommendations, please feel free to contact Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, Moderator, or Brad Kohlman, Moderator-Elect.  Your input is always welcome.

The Library Theme for the month of December is Advent and or Christmas.
Adult books are displayed behind the Library desk and Everybody/Junior books are displayed on the cart in the Children’s Library.  Speaking of the cart, all the puzzles are currently located on the west wall of the library. So, come on in and check them out. And, we’ve received a large donation of books recently. Look for new books added to our collection in the next couple of weeks and displayed on the west wall.   Happy Holiday Reading!

I’ve been asked by The Etcetera Shop to ask for some extra volunteers for the next few weeks. Several volunteers have not returned to the shop and they have had one staff member leave and two are on emergency leave. If you could help out even for a few hours in the next few weeks, it would be very much appreciated. If you have not volunteered before, we could arrange orientation.  If you have any questions, please call Elaine Schurr, 402-980-1809

Roots of Justice Anti-Racism training is being held January 13-15, 2023 at the Newton Rec Center.  If you would like to help support this event by bringing snacks, or helping with snack setup and cleanup, please sign up at the following link:
If you want to help but don’t want to use the link, call Margaret Toews at 316-258-8900, or email at

Bethel College Announcements
· Now at Kauffman Museum: “Reeds and Wool: Patterned Screens of Central Asia,” revived from 20 years ago in memory of the late John Sommer, who collected the screens, made by nomadic Kyrgyz women, and organized the original exhibit. Regular Kauffman Museum hours are Tues.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 1:30-4:30 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, so it will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. There is a small admission charge for non-members. The Museum Store is open during exhibit hours and is Harvey County’s only source for Ten Thousand Villages fair-trade gifts, as well as a selection of books, puzzles, cards and many local gift and craft items. See or the Kauffman Museum Facebook page.

Registration is beginning for the 2023 season of Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus (KMMC).  Those who sang last year will find a registration form in your church mail box.  We are working to recover after the pandemic.  Numbers were significantly down last year.  Please consider joining this year.  Please contact Joe Peters for registration forms.  We sing that others may live.

Raylene Hinz-Penner’s book East of Liberal released December 1.  
“Through elements of memoir, history, and philosophy of land use, a lover of her Mennonite farm childhood looks critically at farming’s impact on the land, comparing settler values of land ownership to those of first people who see themselves as owned by the sacred homeland.”  East of Liberal is published by Cascadia Publishing House.  It is available through Amazon and in the Kauffman
Museum  store.

Mennonite Central Committee Christmas Giving! Give gifts of comfort and joy and help meet the basic needs of our global neighbors this Christmas. Choose from unique gifts such as goats, bees, backpacks and more. Give at, call 888.563.4676 or visit the MCC Central States office in North Newton, KS at 121 E. 30th Street. With each gift you can get a card and insert explaining the project. These gifts (from $10-$4,000) make wonderful hostess/teacher gifts, stocking stuffers and are ideal for those on your Christmas list that are hard to shop for!

College scholarships available:   Everence offers college scholarships for Everence members and their children. Eligible students receive scholarships up to $3,000 for the 2023-2024 academic year. Applications are accepted Jan. 1 through Feb. 28.Visit for eligibility guidelines and application.  Information is also available by contacting Jim Robb.

Everence Opportunities:   In this season of joy, find ways to give back and support your favorite charity.  Everence makes it easy. My Neighbor Card:  Everence donates 1.50% of every purchase you make to the charity of your choice.  Donor Advised Funds allows you to grow funds intended for charitable giving at any time. Please consider a charitable gift this holiday season.

Western District Conference invites you to visit our website to read the latest news, stories and announcements and share them with your congregation!

Dear Bethel College Mennonite,

Since February, over 14 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in areas within and outside Ukraine. At the same time, an ongoing humanitarian crisis has resulted in millions of Venezuelans leaving their home in pursuit of a safer future. For the first time in decades, the United States government has opened an avenue to allow private citizens and residents of the U.S. to respond to these crises by offering refuge to Venezuelans and Ukrainians through sponsorship.

Register for the webinar on welcoming Ukrainians and Venezuelans.

On Tuesday, December 20 at 2:00 PM EST, join MCC and Church World Service to learn more from Dr. Katie Randall about these sponsorship programs, how they work, and how you can receive support as you welcome. Dr. Randall oversees the Church World Service Sponsor Group program for Venezuelans and Ukrainians. She provides training and technical assistance to sponsorship groups across the country as they welcome Ukrainian and Venezuelan newcomers.

If you would like to learn more about these programs or are already welcoming Ukrainians and Venezuelans and have questions, we encourage you to join us!

Register for the webinar on welcoming Ukrainians and Venezuelans.


Charity Stowell
Newcomer Connections Coordinator
MCC U.S. National Peace & Justice Ministries

Camp Mennoscah Announcements

Let your face shine on us, Immanuel, and restore us.  Camp Mennoscah sends everyone Christmas greetings on this last week of Advent (Dec. 18).  We have been blessed by your generosity of prayers, visits, volunteering and donations this year. Thank you for being part of the Camp Mennoscah community. 

Other events and happenings: 

  • Help us Plan for the Future!  A seven-question survey will help us know how camp is used and what you would like to see in the future.  Click here to tell us what you think!
  • Year-end donations must be received or postmarked by December 31st to count as 2022 donations. Online donations make it easier for those last minute gifts.  Each gift helps Camp Mennoscah encourage campers and guests to follow Jesus Christ and seek God’s peace.
  • Interviews for Summer Staff Starting Soon!We are seeking stunning summer staff to fill the following leadership positions for the 2023 summer:  crafts, lifeguard, music, nature, office, and grounds.  These positions are typically filled by college-age students, are summer-long and receive a stipend.  Let us know who you think would make a great summer staffer at Camp Mennoscah.  It’s a summer of fun, service and faith formation!
  • Do you have a hankering for a giant bonfire? Camp Mennoscah has several burn piles and tall grass areas that need to be burned.This takes several people, a full day and cooperating weather.  Burning hasn’t been done for a few years and we’d like to have the piles and tall grass done for safety reasons.  Call 620-297-3290 or email to volunteer.
  • Camps that run from Sunday to Saturday will now end on Friday. This is only a change for Junior and Junior High Camps. It will not affect First Camp, PreJunior, or Senior High Camps. Weekend groups will not be affected.  For several weeks, the Programming Committee requested thoughts and comments on ending a full-week camp on Friday instead of Saturday.  While responses were both for and against a switch to a Friday checkout, responses weighed more heavily to the positive.  There are benefits to both campers and staff when staff is better rested.  Groups and families will also have additional opportunities to spend time at camp with the change.  The checkout time on the last day of Junior/Junior High camps will move to 10:30-11:30am (previously 9-10am) to allow for a more relaxed checkout.

For Mennonite World Conference press here

For Mennonite Mission Network press here

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

Merry Christmas from MC USA press here

The Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) Executive Board has nominated Marty Lehman of Goshen, Indiana, as moderator-elect for the Delegate Assembly cycle beginning July 2023. Lehman is a former associate executive director for Churchwide Operations for MC USA and has a deep affiliation with and affection for the denomination. Read more about her here:

Representatives of Mennonite Church USA’s Constituency Leaders Council spoke about the joys they are experiencing, the challenges they are facing and their hopes for the future at their recent meeting on Oct. 21-22, 2022, via Zoom. Read more here:

MennoCon23, Mennonite Church USA’s largest faith formation gathering, will be held July 3-8, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri. There will be programming for all ages, including a one-day Climate Summit for youth and young adults. See the tentative block schedule here:

Menno Snapshots

The new documentary “A Creative God: The Visual Arts in Worship” was of great interest to Katie Graber, chair of the Intercultural Worship committee for the Voices Together project. She had an opportunity to interview Jerry Holsopple, professor of visual and communication arts at Eastern Mennonite University, about his involvement with the documentary project. Read the interview here:

Learn, Pray, Join: Mass Incarceration

Prison and theater do not seem like two words that should go well together, but John McCabe-Juhnke, professor emeritus of communication arts at Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, found a creative way to connect the two ideas. His venture, through Bethel College and Lansing (Kansas) Correctional Facility, provided him with the opportunity to develop a prison theater program. Read more about his experience here:

Mennonite Mission Network Prayer Request:   Matthew and Toni Krabill, who are serving with Mennonite Mission Network, engage in ministries of relationship building and teaching in French-speaking countries around the world, through in-person and online classes, conferences, and seminars, from their base at the Paris (France) Mennonite Center. Pray for them as they encourage communication and understanding between Christians and Muslims.
Western District Conference Prayer Request:   In this Advent season, give thanks for God’s gifts of creativity and joy celebrated in the diverse cultural and ethnic traditions of congregations across WDC.