Week of November 29

Dear Friends
The Season of Advent (which begins on Sunday!) is all about ‘endings and beginnings’. One of those ‘endings’ for us this year is both exciting and bittersweet. It is time to send off Nile and Doris Gomez with our blessing as they begin the next phase of their life and calling. I copy a ‘letter’ from Nile below:
Beloved Christ the Redeemer Family,

“As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope that you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ”

(1 Thessalonians 1:3, NLT)

Farewells are never easy, and this one is particularly bittersweet.  After nearly six years of life and ministry together and countless precious moments, the time has come for Doris and me to move forward with God’s calling on our lives.
On the one hand, that means saying “farewell for now” to the many we have come to know and love at Christ the Redeemer. This decision has not been an easy one to make and has come after many conversations, much prayer and with the blessing of Brian and our Bishop, Steve Breedlove .
On the other hand, moving forward also means that after some time of prayerful rest and renewal, we will embark on the journey we believe God has called us into: the expansion of God’s kingdom through missional church planting.
We love you dearly and are very grateful for the opportunity to have served and labored together in God’s harvest field together. You have all blessed us in so many different ways and we will never forget your loving kindness toward us. 
We covet your prayers as you think of us and will join you all to say goodbye on December 6th and to be set aside for this new work.
With all our love and blessings,
Nile+ and Doris Gomez
The Gomez’ will be with us on Sunday, December 6 culminating in our Annual General Meeting. We will be able to thank them for their service to us and to pray for them as they head off to found their missional community.
A couple of other things to note this week:
First, the Toy Drive for Park Place School ends on Sunday December 6 (they will be presenting the toys to the children that next week). If you would like to participate please bring in an unwrapped toy (suggested cost of $5) and place it in the bin at the entrance to the sanctuary.
Second, the Coffee time with the Rwandan Author (Eric Irivuzumagabe) takes place on Thursday, December 3 at the church beginning at 7:30 pm. This promises to be a blessed time and a great way of deepening our connection with Rwanda. Eric’s book and Rwandan coffee will be for sale that night (might make great Christmas gifts).
Have a great Thanksgiving. See you all on the First Sunday of Advent!

Week of November 22

Dear Friends,
We are fast approaching the end of our Church Calendar year! The Feast of Christ the King takes place on Sunday, November 22 then we begin our new year- First Sunday of Advent- on Sunday, November 29. As you might expect, there is a lot happening in and around this time.
Advent Inter-Generational Dinner and Event, takes place this Saturday, November 21 from 5-7 pm. Bring your favorite Christmas dish for the Pot Luck, and some ‘tinsel, Old Christmas ornaments, fresh cuttings from your evergreen trees for Advent wreaths’. This promises to be a great way of preparing for our Advent season.
The Men’s Group will meet in the Fellowship Hall this Saturday morning from 8:30-10 AM.
The Leadership Council will meet immediately following Men’s Group this Saturday at 10 AM.
Report on PEARUSA Conference: For those who are interested in hearing what is going on in PEARUSA, please join us in the Ministry room following the service to hear a report on the PEARUSA conference.
Coffee Time with a Rwandan Author, Eric Irivuzumugabe has been set for Thursday evening, December 3 at the church beginning at 7:30 pm. Eric will be sharing his story (and selling his book) about surviving the genocide. John Mulford, from Regent University has spoken highly of Eric and we look forward to meeting him and deepening our connection with Rwanda. We will have some ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ coffee for sale as well – always great Christmas gifts!
Our Annual General Meeting and Celebration takes place after worship on Sunday, December 6. We gather to give thanks for what God has done in and through us in 2015 and look forward to what God has in store for us in 2016. We will share in a Pot Luck Lunch that day and enjoy some good time of fellowship and reflection. All are welcome and encouraged to participate.
Pledge Cards for 2016 will be available this Sunday for your convenience. Financial giving is one aspect of our stewardship of our God given resources, and an important one for all of us. Janie Atwood, our treasurer, and the Leadership Council ask that we take the time to prayerfully decide on our financial commitment and then return the Pledge Card by December 6. This will greatly help us in our budget development for 2016.
Our Christmas Eve Service begins at 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 24. Be sure to come early (4:30 pm) to help decorate the Christmas Tree and prepare for our Children’s Christmas Pageant and Holy Communion. Mark your calendars now and invite a friend to join you that night.
Toy Drive to benefit local children: In coordination with Park Place School, James Monroe Elementary, and other local churches and organizations, we will be collecting toys for the children in our local community.  Park Place School is hosting “A Christmas Extravaganza” for local families where they will be sharing the Good News of Christ’s birth and giving away Holiday food baskets to the families and toy gifts to the children on Saturday, December 12th.  If it is in your heart to give to your local community, please bring an inexpensive toy with a cost of about $5 and leave it in the toy drive box in the Narthex by Wednesday, December 9th.
Looking forward to ending the year with joy with you on Sunday.

Week of November 8

Dear Friends,
Here are a few things going on at Christ the Redeemer this week:
Saturday Men’s Group will meet at Panera on 21st Street in Norfolk this Saturday, November 7th because Brian is out of town.
Christmas Project Benefiting Park Place School:  We are now collecting items to make Christmas gift bags for the students at Park Place School.  If you feel it in your heart to donate or help out, please see the list of needed items located on the table under the “Mission” bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall and sign-up to bring an item (or a few!).  We need the items by November 15 so the Sunday School classes can put together the gift bags the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  If you have any questions, contact Jennifer at brownie7506@yahoo.com.
There will be an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” competition at the upcoming Advent Dinner/Potluck on November 21st and we are in need of old ornaments and tinsel, so if you are cleaning out your Christmas decorations to make room for some new, please donate the old so we can see who can make the best ugliest sweater!
God’s peace be with you all.