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On Pastor Katie's Mind...

We are now in the season of Christmastime in America, which Richard Horsley calls “the all-important festival of consumption.” I don’t need to remind us that this season is bizarre in our country. Stories get mixed up. Suddenly Santa and Jesus are friends, sipping cocoa together in a warm barn with a space heater. (Or isn’t that how the story goes?) Thanksgiving, a day that is supposed to be about practicing gratitude, turns quite quickly into a “No-time-for-thanks-let-me-get-more” holiday.

In a sermon I gave at Tab the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I talked about this materialistic and anxiety-producing season that is actually quite difficult for many of us. I thought it might be helpful, here in this newsletter, to offer an excerpt from the sermon I gave, and remind us of some guiding points for resisting the materialism and greed of this season and finding our true belonging and calling within the Reign of God. 

Below is an excerpt from the sermon, “Three Points to Counter the American Empire” preached on November 24: 

This is not an easy season for most people. But the American Empire with its capitalistic goals thrives on our anxiety and stress. The Empire sends messages to us. Messages like: (1) Join the immensity of it all. Just give in to the stress and busy-ness of the season and don’t think too much about it. Stress is the adrenaline that will get you through, along with the denial of your pain and your loneliness. (2) Get greedy. Be a good consumer. Buy more regardless of what harm your consumption does to you, your neighbor or the earth. Buying more will soothe your pain. (3) When things get weird and hard with your family, just pretend to be happy and get along. Pretense is the balm for difficult relationships.  

These three points are the gospel of our American Empire. Even if you don’t buy into this gospel or believe in it, it’s a sermon that is “on repeat” in our culture. 

I believe we must get clear about the message of the gospel of our mainstream culture, especially if we are to see and receive the alternative gospel of Jesus Christ, which is a very different gospel. And if you’re like me, especially around this time of year, I feel more and more desperate to hear again the good news of Jesus Christ in my life. 

So what I want to offer are 3 counterpoints to the American Empire sermon. We can practice these three counterpoints. They are about resistance. They are about going through this season differently, as followers of Jesus Christ. I am drawing these points from our Scripture reading this morning (take a look at Philippians 4:4-9). You can write these points down if you’d like. You may even want to memorize them for this season, like a mantra. Here they are:

Number 1: Counter the Immensity with Immanuel

Number 2: Counter Greed with Gratitude

Number 3: Counter Pretense with the Presence of God’s Peace


Read More...


I am praying now for God’s peace to surround you and throughout this season,

Pastor Katie
A Note from Pax Ressler, Tab's Minister of Music

I'm excited to tell you that there are lots of ways that you can be involved with music at Tab! Consider singing with the TAB Songleaders, a group that rehearses before select Sunday services to add beauty and leadership to music and worship. This group helps the congregation learn new songs and enhance our music. If interested, there is absolutely no obligation to sing every Songleader Sunday—only when it works for you! Reach out to me with your interest and I'll make sure you are included in the email invitations. 

If you're an instrumentalist or vocal soloist, your gifts are very welcome in Sunday morning worship. Do you have an interest in playing prelude and offertory? Playing or singing with me on songs or special music? I'm grateful for your gifts and would love to find ways for you to share them with the Tab community. 

To contact me about these opportunities or to ask questions, don't hesitate to reach out to Pax (they/them) at paxressler@gmail.com. Thank you!

What's Happening at Tab...

HELP US WRITE HOLIDAY CARDS FOR OUR FRIENDS IN PRISON. On Sunday, following our worship service, we will have cards available for each of the people we write to as part of Tab's Prison Ministry. We would love for you to add an encouraging note or quote to send along. Stop by the designated table in the Community Room after the worship service to participate. 

PRAYER STARS DURING ADVENT. Throughout the season of Advent, you are invited to write out a prayer on a star and place it on the Christmas tree. Stars are provided at the end of the pews and on the table near the entry of the sanctuary. During the offertory every week, you may come forward and place your prayer star on the tree. And we will lift up our common prayers this season. 

OFFERING FOR THE CLOTHING CLOSET. Help us provide basic winter necessities for folks who come to our clothing closet. Please bring items as you are able and place them in the baskets or manger at the front of the sanctuary during the offering. We are in need of:

    •    Hats and gloves (no wool)
    •    Undergarments (t-shirts and underwear) size L, XL, and XXL
    •    Hoodies and sweatshirts size L, XL, and XXL
    •    New socks
    •    Coats (no wool)


ADVENT BIBLE STUDY. On Wednesdays in December we will be reflecting on the gospel readings from Matthew and from the prophet Isaiah, as assigned in the lectionary calendar. We will also be hearing Walter Brueggemann's reflections on those passages from his book "Celebrating Abundance: Devotions for Advent". Join us for meaningful study, conversation and prayer in this season! We meet in the Community Room from 5:30-7pm. The readings for each Wednesday are:

    •   December 11: Matthew 11:2-11 & Isaiah 35:1-10

    •   December 18: Matthew 1:18-25 & Isaiah 7:10-16. 

SANCTUARY DINNER. Those of you who were here this past Sunday may have had a chance to meet Oneita, Clive, and their son Timothy and daughter Christine. This family is currently in Sanctuary at FUMCOG (First United Methodist Church of Germantown) and came to visit us in worship. We were blessed by their presence with us. Oneita asked specifically that Tab be invited to their monthly fundraising dinner at the West Philadelphia Seventh-Day Adventist Church (4527 Haverford Ave). Details are below. Please feel very welcome to attend and support this family and their work to keep their home, and keep their family together. The next dinner will be Thursday, December 12th.


CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE AT PASTOR KATIE & HEATHER’S HOUSE (126 E. Cliveden Street in East Mount Airy) on Saturday, December 14th, 3-6pm. Stop over for a hot beverage and cookies and enjoy some time together. We may even sing some carols if the mood strikes! You're invited to bring a favorite holiday treat to share if you'd like. You also don't need to bring anything but yourself. Kids are welcome. Hope you can stop in for a bit. —Pastor Katie, Heather, and Oscar.

COMMUNITY MEAL. Tabernacle Church is holding a community meal on Saturday, December 21 from 1 to 3 pm. We want this meal to nourish everyone: our neighbors, who might be hungry and lonely, and ourselves, who might be hungry for connection with others and lonely in the midst of a crowded world.  We want the difference between “neighbors” and “ourselves” to vanish as we share soup and bread. 

Please join us on Saturday, December 21st from 1pm-3pm.


If you can help set-up, clean up or make soup for the event please sign up at bit.ly/communitymealvolunteer or on the bulletin board outside the community room.


Sunday at Tab

Second Sunday of Advent
Texts: Isaiah 2:1-5 & Matthew 24:36-44

Sermon Title: “Faith in the Impossible”
Speaker: Pastor Katie Aikins

Important Dates
  • Dec 7 - Final EAT Drawdown Session
  • Dec 11 - Advent Bible Study, 5:30-7pm in Tab Community Room
  • Dec 12 - Sanctuary Fundraiser Dinner, West Philly Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 6pm
  • Dec 14 - Christmas Open House at Pastor Katie & Heather's, 3-6pm
  • Dec 18 - Advent Bible Study, 5:30-7pm in Tab Community Room
  • Dec 21- Tab Community Meal, 1-3pm
  • Dec 24- Christmas Eve Service of Lessons & Carols, 6pm

 

Tabernacle Church  Staff

Ministers ……………......................................................................................................TAB congregation
Pastor ………...…..............................................…..……….......................................Katie Aikins (she/her)
Minister of Music ….......................................................……..….........…........Pax Ressler (they/them)
Sunday School Teacher...............................................................................Nathalie Cerin (she/her) 

Nursery Caregiver …….............................................................…………………….Lisa Jacobs (she/her)
Office Manager .....................................................................…..........….............. Chelle Bruhn (she/her)
Sexton …………………….........................................................................……….. Patrick O’Brien (he/him)

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