December Newsletter

Pastor’s musings this Advent…


As I was preparing to share my musings with you this Advent, I thought “gee, I wonder if people will read this. Maybe they’re so used to hearing from me, they anticipate what I’ll already say: hope, peace, joy, and love are coming again. And they’ll just skim, or even skip to the calendar happenings.” It’s not unusual to get to know a Pastor so well that you can anticipate what she’ll say.

So my job (blessed that it is) is to say things in new venues and with a bit of a new twist. So how do I get your attention THIS YEAR regarding my musings about Advent?

How about this: this year what I write here will be very short (that will surely get your attention). The bulk of what I have to share around Advent will be in my weekly newsletters that I send out every Sunday afternoon and put on Facebook, and an occasional midweek pondering. For those not on email or Facebook, I’ll make copies and put them in the narthex.

For now, be of good courage! Jesus IS coming—again—yes, have deep hope, look around for peace, notice joy right in front of you, take in love that is freely yours.

I remain your servant in anticipation of the coming again of hope, peace, joy, and love,


December worship 2018

December 2                                                    Signs of Hope in the midst

Psalm 25:1-10; Luke 21:25-36

December 9                                                  Peace comes in the ordinary

Baruch 5:1-9; Luke 1:68-79

December 16                               Musings from a first century prophet: Joy in sorrow

Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 1:39-55 

December 23                                                    Love is right here!

                                                                          Christmas Pageant  

December 24                                              Christmas Eve Worship 7pm

A Service of Lessons, Carols, and Candle lighting 

December 30                                       Does Christmas Matter after the glitz?

Psalm 148; Colossians 3:12-17




Events, gatherings, and meetings in December 

Bible Study                           10 am every Wednesday in the Fireplace Room

Staff/Parish                          6pm Tuesday December 4 in the Conference Room

Spiritual Life and Worship  6:30pm Thursday December 6 in the Dining Room

Trustees                                6pm Thursday December 13 in the Conference Room

Executive Council                6pm Thursday December 20 in the Conference Room

Women’s Fellowship            6pm Tuesday December 18 in the dining room


Cookie Walk!

Friday, December 7

10am to 5pm

Sign up to bake cookies and to take a 2-hour slot to work!

Choral Christmas Cantata

“Ceremony of Candles: A Cantata for Advent and Christmas”

Sunday afternoon December 16 at 2pm

If you love to hear our choir, come to this beautiful telling of the coming of Jesus.

We will be joined by choir members at Wolcott UMC, Hyde Park Congregational, and Holy Name of Jesus Pageant. 

Choral Director: Shaun Booher

Pianist: Marisa Laviol


News about our children and youth

Sunday School

Is thriving!! Thank you to Carol Olsen and Cynthia Yerrick for teaching,

Deidre Tascarella for leading our children in singing,

and the many child care workers!

Christmas pageant rehearsal begins December 2!


Middle School Youth Group

Youth Group will meet one time this month.

Look for anemail soon!


Senior High Youth Group


New Name: “Youth time with the Pastor” (Carol Calenberg co-facilitates)

New Place: Parsonage

Date in December: December 14 at 7pm.

 Missions Committee

We will be giving Christmas gifts to PINS (foster children)) and to the Laraway Youth this year.  Giving tags will be hung from a Christmas tree in the Dining Room.  If you wish to buy a gift for a child please take a tag and have fun purchasing the gift.  Once the gift has been bought, please wrap the gift and tape the giving tag on top of the gift.  It is important to place the giving tag from the tree on top of the gift because the case workers will need to have that information to ensure that the gift goes to the child who has requested the gift. Please have the gifts at church by Sunday, December 17th.  Please see Dot Reeve or Dot Bliss if you have any questions.

  Thank you and Merry Christmas!  The Mission Committee




Breakfast On Us 

As of 11/23/18 we have served 6,368 breakfasts.  Last year we served 6491 breakfasts for the whole year.

This past week or two the numbers have been lower than we've become used to but we are probably going to exceed the number for 2017.  "Hunger is Hard/Baking is Easy" again gave us baked goods just before Thanksgiving, which we gave out to our guests and eggs, milk, & butter which we have been using for breakfasts.  We've been receiving lovely bread and English muffins from Shaw's in Stowe which we greatly appreciate.  We have a wonderful, hardworking group of volunteers who keep our program going.  Please take a look at this month's Shout Outs for a list of their names.  As always, we could not keep going if it wasn't for the very generous donations from you, our church family, and our community at large. THANK YOU!!!



“Open hands, open hearts” (Benevolence)

As of this writing (11/27) we have helped 85 people this year.  This breaks down to $1650.00 in food cards ($25.00 each), $1600.00 in gas cards ($25.00 each) and $750.00 in $50.00 checks to help out with overdue electric light bills, help with heating fuel, new glasses, etc.  I have had to turn away a great many people looking for help since we just did not have enough money to accommodate buying food/gas cards or helping with bills.  As I look out of the office window today and see all the snow coming down, I think of all the people who need help, who have to go to or at least call numerous churches and agencies looking for help. 

Last I knew there were people still living outside or in campers.  I can't imagine what that is like for them, especially for the children. 



Things are going well at the Youth Center. At Christmas time each year, we put on a Secret Santa game. I put together small items I think the kids might like or need such as hand crème, card games, small flashlights, a journal with pens, puzzles like Rubik Cubes, nail polish, ear buds, and phone chargers. You get the idea. If you have any items unused at your house that kids 11-17 may like and want to donate toward our Secret Santa, please send them down to the Youth Center or contact Bonnie at 249-8635. We need 25 gifts to accommodate all the kids we may serve. Thank you and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 Bonnie McDermott 


News from our Council and Committees

Can be found on our bulletin board in the dining room!

Come and read! Questions?

Speak with any member of the committees or council or Pastor Marisa


Summary of our Conversations on Envisioning during October


During conversations on Sunday October 21 and Tuesday October 23, a total of 50 of us gathered to contemplate, discuss, envision the future of our faith community. Below is a summary of what we said. May these conversations be just the beginning of many….


Question: if this church ceased to be, what would it mean? what would it mean for the greater community?


No Sunday School or youth groups

Architecture lost

No church family for fellowship

Find another church home

Church is just a building—community will continue

Big hole in the community

Loss of example of how community cares for one another

No Breakfast on us, benevolence, place for youth, community dinners

No place for groups to meet: Rocking Horse, Scouts, Family Center

No organ concerts

No funerals for those who have no church

No main line denomination in Morrisville

News on street: United Community Church is place of care and concern


Question: where do you see church in next 5 to 10 years?

Will always be a struggle—may not be able to support large building; may have to worship in folks’ homes

Activities for kids: Sunday school, children’s choir, plays, bells, streaming worship

We are an incredible faith community. Time and talent are not lacking. The church community will stay; the building may not.


Question: what do we have to do to get there?

Financial stability

Shift economic support from individuals to rental income


Question: how will we know we arrived?

Haven’t we already arrived?

It’s up to God

One day at a time

Sharing the church space as rental space

Do it like the Nazarene’s: music and praise time

Make sure Pastor is funded

Invite folks to try us out: invite through word of mouth and advertising mission

Have youth on boards and committees


The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Pastor and Teacher

A Financial Snapshot

We continue to have a shortfall in 2018 income of about $30,000.

Please fulfil your pledge for this year.


Pledges for 2019

Pledges thus far total: $72,460.00

If you haven’t yet pledged, it is not too late!

Please pledge so we can anticipate our income as we look at our expenses for 2019.


December Shout Outs! 

Every month we will thank folks who have gone the extra mile!

This month we give shout outs and woo-hoos to:

All of our volunteers from our church and our greater community who serve breakfast every weekday morning: Ginny, Sandy, Claudia, Charlie, Ramona, Bob, Ron, Deb, Doreen, Laurie, Cynthia, Larry, David S., Sherry, Jane, Ray T., Linda, Becky, Matt,  Dot, Wade, Wally.  Subs:  Suzanne, Gary, David B., Mike, Nina, Louise A., Louise C., Paul, Ray N.

Suzanne Sanborn for coordinating the November community dinner

All of our lay leaders who serve us faithfully all year long (for their names, see the minutes posted on the bulletin board)

Deidre Tascarella for leading the children’s singing and for coordinating the Christmas Pageant


Do you know of folks for whom we can give “shout outs”?

Let our Pastor know and see their names in next month’s newsletter.



December Birthdays  


Sara Haskins












Charles Yerrick








JohnChristian Allen








Peyton Allen








Sheila Jones








Elisabeth Wilhjelm












Kaleigh Newton








Malia Haskins








Martha Wiltshire








James Tomlinson








Laurie Carpenter








Paula Campbell








Kathlynn Nichols








Elizabeth Bousquet








Jeremy Cole








Larry Bliss








Channing Bickford