Bethlehem United Methodist Church
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Mission Statement: To give of ourselves so others may know Jesus Christ.

  

                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  
 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                      
 
Dear Bethlehem Friends,
 

Hello again!!! Do you remember me? This is Charity. I used to go by the handle ‘the Bethlehem Church Mouse.’ Now you remember. I really feel I need to apologize to all of you, as I imagine that some of you fine people here at Bethlehem have been worried about me and my family. You see, everything was going along so well, and we were all so happy roaming the halls and walls and ceilings of Bethlehem. But then that awful church expansion happened. It’s so difficult to even think back to all the noise and dust and chaos, let alone describe it to you. Bottom line ---- I needed to keep the safety of my family foremost, so I began to plan our escape. One day I heard Pastor Roger say he was traveling to his son’s house in Myrtle Beach (wherever that is) so an idea started formulating in my tiny brain. It was a miracle that I was able to smuggle the whole family into the back of his truck, and a bigger miracle that we made it to our destination without being discovered.

Myrtle Beach is so much warmer than here, and we were fortunate to find a church in town to set up residence. That was the beginning of our journey. Like Bethlehem, the church provided for all our needs, but the entire family agreed that we liked Bethlehem better. So, we began a search. I think it was about a year and 35 churches later that my husband called a family meeting, and the outcome of that meeting was a unanimous vote to return to Bethlehem Church and hope the construction was completed. I don’t know if you realize this (it completely surprised me), but evidently mice have a homing instinct. I lost track of how many days and modes of transportation it took, but the day that we had all dreamed of finally arrived, as, believe it or not, we got dropped off on Main Street, right here in Dallastown.

Our former home was truly a ‘sight for sore eyes.’ After all the cheering and laughing and crying finished, we just looked down the street, and our eyes nearly bugged out of our heads. For the first time we gazed at what you call the Trinity Life Center. The cheering and laughing and crying started all over again. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back home. Everything is just so perfect, and now we have even more room to roam. Praise the Lord, we were finally home – And just in time for Advent 2018.

It’s pretty easy to see that things haven’t slowed down around here during our absence. Let me think ...

First, we witnessed the Christmas Party for the Make a Wish Foundation of York County. Bethlehem hosted this annual Christmas Party, and our oldest daughter (the brains in the family) stopped counting when she got to two hundred in attendance (we’re so proud of her). Cathy Mentzer, a Board Member of the Foundation coordinated the party with other Board members, and Bethlehem’s Mission Team, along with many volunteers provided the food and the man/woman power. What a great day for a great cause and some great kids. Seeing all of those children and their families coping with illness and disabilities makes it hard to complain about anything. By the way, Santa showed up and passed out some wonderful gifts. That made the day.

Oh, yes, then there was that program a few weeks back. I believe I heard someone say that it was called “The Miracle of Jesus.” I saw the whole thing from above, but didn’t understand everything I saw. It seemed that families would come and walk through what was decorated as a town, like Bethlehem so long ago. It appeared to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus. All I know was that it looked just so perfectly realistic. And I also know that it took a lot of work to prepare. Everyone was saying what a great job Jennifer Garman, Julie Spyker and countless others did in creating this special birthday party. What a great way to kick-off Advent.

It wouldn’t be Christmas at Bethlehem without the annual Christmas Dinner. Usually it is very quiet on Sunday afternoons after everyone goes home following the 10:30 service. So, I was a little concerned when I heard some banging around in the new Fellowship Hall. I scurried to see what was going on. I quickly discovered another meal was going to occur that evening. Best of all, the food was provided by Bethlehem’s Best Cooks, as it was a Pot Luck... my favorite. There was Roast Beef, Turkey, (Steve Gruber even brought some fresh venison) and lots of salads and vegetable dishes. MMMM – mmmmm.

And just when I started to gather my family together, (you see, we usually clean up everything that people drop on the floor at dinner), everyone got up and left. I thought, “What in the world is going on?” So, we fol- lowed upstairs to see the talent show. I heard someone say that it was the first time they saw the new stage in ac- tion. What an array of talent that was on display. I could tell by looking at the faces of the audience that every- one had a great time. As people were leaving I overheard a member of the church mention how great the Trinity Life Worship Center looked. They wondered who had devoted so much time to make it look so beautiful. I was tempted to shout out the answer from my perch in the rafters, but then I wisely decided not to give away my lo- cation. I knew the answer, because I saw Keith Metzel up on the lift earlier, reaching to all the high spots in or- der to turn the worship center into the perfect Christmas setting.

And it also wouldn’t be Christmas at Bethlehem without the free dinner provided on Christmas Day. There is just nothing better than to wake up with the smells of a turkey, and all those other wonderful dishes floating through the hallways. The 8th annual Community Christmas Dinner certainly didn’t disappoint. To see the joy on the faces of those in our community who didn’t have any place to share a Christmas meal was ‘priceless.’

I just know I am leaving out some of the other activities that happened during December, but you know, my memory is just not what it used to be. This church has just too much going on. But I can’t forget to mention the music of the Christmas Season. The Children’s Choir is always such a delight. Thanks to Natalie Smith, every time I hear them my spirit begins to soar. When I hear bells begin to ring on a Sunday morning, I know that Jim Stine has one of his bell choirs sharing another prelude. This time of the year I always look forward to hearing “Carol of the Bells.” I noticed that the youth bell choir finally had a full complement of ringers. And did you hear those choir chimes that were part of Silent Night? How the Praise Team leads the Christmas Eve Contem- porary Service is just magical. Bob Huska knows how to pick out just the right songs to bring the real meaning of Christmas to life. I know because I had the best seat in the house. Did you hear the remarkable cantata pre- sented by the chancel choir? Our family saw it from our perch on top of the angel’s head. Every year our entire family puts on our ‘Christmas best’ and attends the 10:30 service. And every year we are enthralled by the mu- sic and the candle lighting ceremony. It is truly the perfect way to begin the celebration of the ‘most wonderful day of the year.’

Well, I must be going. There’s a lot to keep up with around here, and I don’t want to miss any of it. I’ll share more next month. I’m so glad to be back!!!!
We are glad you had a Merry Christmas and we are looking forward to a wonderful new year together in 2019.

With love,

Charity

Charity, your Church Mouse