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December 2023 Newsletter

Hamburg United Methodist Church 116 Union St Hamburg, New York, 14075 (716) 649-8080 Sundays at 10 am

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Dear Saints,

This year, Advent runs from December 3 to the morning of December 24. Christians set aside this time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ (Christmas, originally “Christ-Mass”). Our lectionaries have a double focus, calling us to remember Jesus’ birth (the first Advent), and the Day of the Lord, often focused on Jesus’ promised return (the second Advent) when God has promised death, pain, suffering, and the brokenness of creation will be overcome. The two pieces are theologically linked, even if they seem very different.

Christians see the incarnation, God sharing human life in Jesus, as pivotal to God's mission of redeeming and restoring humanity and the whole creation. While all Christians share some version of this hope, in Eastern Orthodox Christian circles it is particularly emphasized. I would suggest that Advent is when we most clearly put the two pieces together in our practice. We hear the Prophets promising God’s restoration and judgment; in that, we hear a promise that God wants what is good for the world.

Judgment is a challenging concept for us, particularly in the modern West. We have divided the Executive and Judicial functions of governing in a way foreign to the Biblical mind. Before the Kings, the Judges “ruled” or “judged” God’s people—the Torah or “law” was their guide to the way of life God called them to live, and judgment meant ordering and guiding God’s people in this way. When the Bible talks about God’s judgment, it is this holistic image—not a judge in a black robe handing down verdicts, but a benevolent and loving One who offers grace and truth.

John’s Gospel is challenging, but I believe it helps connect Advent and Christmas theologically more clearly than Luke or Matthew. Matthew tells us the story of Jesus’ birth, the Magi, and the flight to Egypt. Luke gives us the usual account of Mary’s pregnancy, the Angels and Shepherds, but John gives us a cosmic vision of why God chose to share life with us. John 1:1-14 is the assigned reading for Christmas Day in all modern Western lectionaries and speaks of God’s self-revelation in Jesus who “became flesh and lived among us…full of grace and truth.” A few chapters later, John 3:17-21 talks about God’s judgment, beginning with the promise, “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him.”

Christmas begins God’s saving mission in Christ. We aren’t just preparing to remember the birth of a baby, but a moment in history where the Creator has entered the story to transform and restore Creation. Advent calls us to live in expectation that the work is finished, even though the story isn’t over—God in Christ has redeemed Creation; our task as Christians is to tell the story so others might see what God has done.

Today, as I write, there is war and violence in Ukraine, Gaza, Israel, and countless other parts of the world. We are called to pray for Peace, the Peace Jesus has promised us, so that the world might be more and more like his Kingdom that is coming, where he will judge the living and the dead with grace and truth. Biblical Peace (Shalom) is about more than the end of all war; it is about a holistic ordering of life and creation where God’s presence manifests holiness, justice, mercy, and love. May your Advent preparations be blessed and filled with prayers for Christ’s Peace to fill the world, and may those prayers inspire you to tell the story of Christ’s Peace as you have encountered it.

In Christ’s Service, with You,

Pastor David Nicol



Announcements from the Office

The office will be putting together an announcement slideshow for the gathering space. Content is accepted weekly and due on Wednesday Morning to the church office.

**Please note for repeating slides, the last Sunday it should be run.

Office hours

Monday- Thursday: 9am-2pm

Friday: 9 am-Noon

Email us!!

Jeannine Vanwey:

Patrick Fitzgerald:

Cristina Glover:


CHRISTMAS PLANTS Poinsettia plants for Christmas will be available for purchase after the worship services on Sundays, November 26, and December 3 and 10. A variety of plants – red, pink, white, marble and glitter – is available for $15 per plant. When purchasing your plant, you may designate the plant “in memory of” or “in honor of” someone special. The poinsettia plants will be on the altar for Christmas Eve.


God’s Special Time

Join the Kairos Cookie Ministry!

NYS Correctional Facility sets the guidelines for acceptable donations; please follow them so donations are all used as purposed.


Store-bought cookies, filled with prayer and love, become tangible examples of the love of God poured out by His family.  Cookies cannot contain powdered sugar, liquored flavoring, or raisins.

Chocolate chip, fig newton, peanut butter, and sandwich-type cookies are inmate favorites.  Cookies need to be individually wrapped in single-serve packages in the box.  Untampered.

We will collect them and need them by Sat, December 2nd @ Hamburg UMC. There is a plastic container in the gathering area designated as Kairos Cookies.  If the box is full that is a good thing.  If it is overflowing, that’s ok.  We have more containers downstairs.

We have to have a list of all things that are brought in, and Saturday the 2nd is our last teaming before the weekend.



The 2023 Event Was An All-Around Success 

The 2023 Homespun Holiday Bazaar was a success from start to finish! There are many thanks to go around -- first; appreciation goes to the many members of United Women in Faith/Sarah Circle who work so hard every year to make the two-day event happen! Our members head up every section and make sure every detail is covered. 

Thank you to those, who are not members (all women are invited to join!) but still answered the call to help in so many ways on various days! Baking, creating crafts, hauling, setting up tables, cooking soups and chili, sorting and selling books, bazaar, and takeout meal helpers, and purchasing items – thank you!  We could not have done it without everyone’s help and support.

Special appreciation to Rev. Dick Caldwell, who conducts and manages the extensive book sale, and to our three "famous" soup/chili chefs for the soup and dessert takeout meal: Ed Evenden, Paul Gagne, and Rick Park for providing all of the soups and chili and packaging it for us.

Wendy Spaulding, who coordinated the 16 vendors, expresses her appreciation for all who brought tables from their homes for the bazaar.  This eliminated the need to rent tables and enhanced our profit. 

"Several vendors expressed how nice and organized the bazaar was and want to come next year," said Wendy. "I knòw it was due to everyone's help and kindness during the weekend, so a big 'thank you' goes out to all. Thanks also to the men who helped me move and set up tables. I  couldn't have done it without you."

We are grateful to report that the Bazaar netted a profit of 6,600! This exceeded our 2022 profit by $500. We will soon designate with our United Women in Faith (UWF) and Sarah Circle members which specific local organizations will receive much of the proceeds and will report back to you.

Because of the time and talent given to this event, the funds will help fulfill the UWF mission to “connect and nurture women so that they can inspire, influence and impact local and global communities.”

Thank you, UWF and all of HUMC!

Sharon Tiballi and Rose Caldwell



Thanks to all of you who donated baked goods and candy for the bazaar. We had a good amount and a wonderful variety. You’re truly a blessing in enabling our “Women of Faith” (the new name for the United Methodist  Women) to support our church and missions that help women and children.



A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who donated books for the Book Sale held November 3 and 4 as part of the Homespun Holiday Bazaar.   $328 was earned from the sale of the books.  A special thank you to those who helped sort, pack, move and organize the books and those who worked during the sale.

Dick Caldwell


Adult Sunday School

John Meader’s Adult Sunday School class meets each Sunday at 9 a.m. in the

Parlor. Presently, we are using Max Lucado’s book, Help is Here, and the

accompanying DVD to learn more about the Holy Spirit. All are welcome!


FUN FUNDRAISER FOR LITTLE LAMB PRESCHOOL Returning your cans and bottles can be an easy way to donate $$ to Little Lamb Pre-School. Just take them to Can & Bottle Return, 4255 Clark Street in Hamburg (next to the former Vara Cleaners) and designate your refund to Little Lamb. They keep the money on record and periodically send Little Lamb a check. Easy for you…easy for them…and much appreciated by Little Lamb Pre-School.


Book Club will meet on December 18, 2024 at 10:30 am in the Library

We will be discussing "Slammed" by Colleen Hoover

Here are the future selections:

January: "Lessons in Chemistry" by Bonnie Garmus

February: "Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver

Zoom is available for those who wish to attend virtually. Don't hesitate to get in touch with the church office to receive a link

Questions to Karen Klimecko


Hello everyone,

We're thrilled to share some important details about our upcoming Lenten FishFry Dinners. Ash Wednesday is approaching, falling on February 14 next year. That means our beloved Friday night FishFry Lenten Dinners will kick off on Friday, February 16, and continue for seven consecutive Fridays until we reach Good Friday.

This event is more than just a meal; it's an opportunity for our entire Church Congregation to come together and actively participate in its success. From planning and ordering to cooking, baking, preparation, set-up, clean-up, and greeting our cherished customers, there's a role for everyone. The excitement is already building in Hamburg and HUMC, with people eager to know if we'll host these dinners next Spring.

The Lenten FishFry Dinners play a vital role in our budget as a significant fundraiser, but they hold even more significance as a chance for our community to come together. It's an opportunity to connect, build camaraderie, and share fun moments with new and familiar faces.

We're fortunate to have Rick Park leading the coordination efforts, but he can't do it alone. The success of these dinners depends on a dedicated working committee. We're calling on you to get involved and make this event a reality. Please contact Rick or me to let us know how you'd like to contribute. We'll soon arrange a meeting to get everything set up, but Rick requires some volunteers to step forward soon.

Your participation is crucial in ensuring the success of this cherished tradition. Let's unite as a congregation and make the upcoming Lenten FishFry Dinners an incredible experience for all.

Dave Engberg

Finance Committee




WEDDING: Sarah Weixlmann and Kristian Gentzke – November 18, 2023

Prayers and best wishes to this couple now and for the years ahead.

IN REMEMBRANCE: A. Roger Klimecko (father of Chris Klimecko) – born into this life October 28, 1936, passed on to his heavenly resting place November 8, 2023

Gayle Barr Syposs (stepsister of Caroline Schneggenburger) – age 80, passed on to her heavenly resting place on November 11, 2023

Thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends for comfort and peace.


SS. Peter and Paul Social Ministry are having their Christmas Bazaar once again this year! It includes an amazing Bake Sale, a beautiful Quilt Raffle, and Basket Raffle! We are also having a terrific 50/50 Squares table this year!! There will be treasures beyond belief in our Kid's Corner; Holiday decorations, Jewelry, Books, Household items, collectibles, and a smattering of just about everything!

Saturday, December 2nd, 9 AM to 5:30 PM

Sunday, December 3rd, 8 AM to 2 PM

The Parish Social Center, 68 E. Main / Pine Streets in Hamburg, NY.

Delicious breakfast sandwiches, chili, and beverages will be available.

Bring your shopping bags-lots to be had!

All proceeds go to local charities.



Medical Equipment Lending Closet

Hamburg UMC has a medical equipment lending closet. It is located in Room 18 in the basement. Please check the closet before purchasing wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, crutches, canes, etc. The equipment available constantly changes. If you have medical equipment you are no longer using, you may donate them. We cannot take soft items such as gauze pads, diabetic supplies, incontinence, bandages, etc. For questions, please call Caroline Schneggenburger at 716-289-0541.




The Retired Men’s Fellowship of Hamburg UMC will celebrate the Thanksgiving season at their monthly lunch gathering on Tuesday, December 19 at 12 Noon at ZJ’s Restaurant in the Hamburg Village Plaza. All retired men are invited. Come and bring a friend for food and fellowship.

Dick Caldwell, facilitator

  1. Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins.  The birth of Christ was filled with beauty and wonder.   Some may feel that its meaning has been lost amid our customs and cultural mores.  This book will help to reclaim the sparkle and spirit of our holiday traditions and the truth that lies behind them.  It will be fascinating to read the stories of how our cherished Christmas traditions took root and grew, filling the reader with holy awe, spiritual joy, and family warmth.

  2. A Treasury of Christmas Miracles by Karen Kingsbury. A chance encounter changes everything…help appears from out of nowhere…kindness when it’s least expected.  As we search for truth and joy during the Christmas season, events happen that we can’t explain, allowing us to see the hand of God working in the world.  Karen Kingsbury shares over a dozen real-life stories about people whose lives were changed by something mysterious and wonderful during this special time of year.  She reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas – that the greatest miracle of all is opening our hearts to love.

  3. A Cup of Comfort Book of Christmas Prayer edited by Susan B. Townsend.  As you make your way through this holiday season, allow the stories, devotionals, prayers, and Scripture in this book to help you escape some of the commercialism and create a more Christ-centered Christmas.  You will be inspired and encouraged to view Christmas as more than just one day when we open gifts, eat a sumptuous feast, and worship the Lord.  You can celebrate Christ’s birth in a profound way and enjoy a more blessed and bountiful Noel this year – and every year.

During this busy Christmas season, take some time to read one of these books or one of the many other Christmas books in our church library.  You may find new insights, hope joy, and the blessings of Christmas for your heart.


Join us for a virtual fellowship! This group is a place to share prayer requests, devotions, concerns, joys, and even some humor with your church family. Join the Hamburg UMC Fellowship group on Facebook.


PRAYER CONCERNS? If you would like someone added to our church prayer list, call Barb Meader (648-1273) or email her at, or contact anyone who is a Prayer, Care, and Share member. Daily we lift the concerns that have been shared with us.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 4-7)

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