December 2017
News and Notes

Jesus is coming and so is Advent!

The Season of Advent is upon us. This traditional season of waiting and expectation begins on Sunday, Dec. 3, and we are offering a variety of worship and other activities that will help us as we prepare of hearts and minds to celebrate Christmas.

Our Advent and Christmas schedule is found below and I encourage you to keep it handy (under a refrigerator magnet on your fridge is a great place for it) and share it with friends and family, particularly with those who aren’t already a part of a church community. These are all wonderful events worthy of your time and attention, but I want to highlight two in particular:

Wednesdays of Advent – On the evenings of Dec. 6, 13, & 20, our topic will be “I Waited for the Lord: Advent Reflections on Revelation.” The book of Revelation in the New Testament has become a source of speculation and consternation for many. And yet it is intended to be a source of hope and assurance that God is ultimately in charge. In our Advent services and in discussion groups afterward, we’ll be using passages from Revelation to reflect on what it means to wait for Jesus to come.

Service of Comfort & Hope – For some of us, it is hard to have any holiday cheer because we grieve the loss of loved ones or because life’s struggles make it hard to celebrate. If so, we encourage you to join us in the Sanctuary on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 11:00 a.m., for a time of music, scripture, reflection, and prayer. Or if you know someone who might benefit from this service, offer to attend with them. After the service, we will serve a holiday luncheon in the Fellowship Hall.

Even as we prepare for Advent and Christmas, it’s hard not to look ahead to some additional activities about which I’m very excited:

Our new Breaking Bread meals actually overlap with Advent and Christmas. COL is offering these monthly meals to our neighbors in need as part of a six-month pilot as we explore ways we can minister to our local community. There is no charge for the meal and anyone in the community is invited to come join us. As anticipated, the turnout is low at first but we think and pray that it will grow. And please note that church members are also welcome to come and eat. What better way to show hospitality than to sit down with our neighbors and share a meal and conversation! This month’s meal is on Dec. 18, and the program is scheduled for the last Monday of the month through March at the least.

We’ll start a 12-week Disciple Fast Track overview on the New Testament on Tuesday evenings beginning Jan. 23. We had a great group that participated in an overview of the Old Testament in the fall, and anyone interested is welcome to join us for the New Testament portion. It is a significant commitment – fall participants learned that keeping up with the daily readings can be a challenge – but it really immerses you in the major themes and stories of our scriptures and how those apply to our lives today.

On Jan. 26-28, I’ll be leading the annual Men’s Retreat at the Lake Chatuge Lodge in Hiawassee, Ga. The theme for the weekend is “What Does It Mean to be Spiritual?” We’ll be exploring this question as well as the different ways through which people feel close to God. We have a good group already signed up but would love to have more COL men of all ages join us. It is a great weekend of fellowship, fun, and reflection.

Pastor David

Meet Our New Music Director — Beth Jordan

Beth brings a wealth of education and experience to our Music Director position, where she will oversee all aspects of our music program. She has served as a church musician for nearly 20 years, conducting choirs, contemporary bands and handbell groups. Raised as an ELCA Lutheran in Texas, Beth is tremendously excited to return to her musical and spiritual roots.

Master of Church Music (2009), Concordia University, Mequon, WI, Choral Conducting Emphasis Bach. of Arts (1988), Texas Lutheran, Seguin, TX, Music (Vocal
Performance), English & Education Majors

Church Music Experience:
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and Haymount United Methodist Church, Fayetteville, NC:  Music Minister and
Organist (part-time)
Grace Lutheran Church and School, Arlington, TX: Director of Music and Worship Arts
First Lutheran Church of Richmond Beach, Shoreline, WA: Director of Music Ministries
Advent Lutheran Church, New York, NY: Music Minister and Youth Minister

In addition to church music, Beth is certified to teach music in North Carolina and Texas, currently teaches on a university level and accompanies numerous choral groups and productions. She is a published composer and once toured with the Broadway show: “The Buddy Holly Story.”  We asked a few questions in a recent phone interview:

What are you most excited about in coming to Cross of Life?
Meeting all of the people and the congregation. Getting to know the children and the youth and then GETTING BUSY! It’s exciting to be stepping into what is already such a vital ministry!

What hopes do you have for the music program?
That it will blossom and grow! I look forward to many great musical and worshipful times together. I especially feel called to develop the children’s and youth music programs – they are so important.

What’s something we don’t know about you from your job interview?
I’m a great cook! I love making Indian food, am famous for some of the cakes I make, and everyone wants my amazing chocolate chip cookies! I love having people over, hosting a Bible study or book club in my home – just gathering people for food, discussion and friendship means the world to me.

What were your initial impressions of Cross of Life?
I particularly loved seeing the mission map on the wall. I found it inspiring, beautiful and informative – you have so many missions around the world!

What do you most love about being a church musician?
I’m just so excited to come back to the ELCA and to the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians – I’m practically jumping up and down. I love programming choral music, finding exciting music for handbells, and developing great music for each group. It’s also fun to learn about each group, getting to know the personalities in each, and learning their musical preferences.

We look forward to welcoming Beth to her new church home on January 1st. Reach out and introduce yourself – often! And all you singers, ringers, and instrumentalists out there –this is a great time to join the music program! You can contact Beth at

Upcoming in Worship

December 3rd
The First Sunday of Advent
Daniel 3:1, 8-30
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

December 10th
The Second Sunday of Advent
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Can Dry Bones Live?

December 17th
The Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 9:1-7
A Great Light

Sunday Morning, December 24th
A journey from Advent to Christmas
Through scripture readings, hymns and decorating the sanctuary, this worship service will transition us from the waiting of Advent to the celebrating of Christmas. We will begin by lighting the 4th candle of our Advent Wreath and end by lighting our Chrismon Tree – a beautiful and interactive worship experience for the whole family!

Christmas Eve Services

December 24 at 5:00 pm
A Children’s Christmas Celebration
(including Holy Communion)
This is an energy-filled, often loud celebration of the birth of Christ,
in which the children help tell the Christmas story.  All children are invited to participate
and costumes will be available on-site!

December 24 at 7:30 and 10:00 pm
Carols, Candlelight and Holy Communion
Prelude concerts begin at 7:10 and 9:40 pm

Sunday, December 31
New Year’s Eve Morning Worship
Regular Sunday worship schedule

Special Seasonal Events

Sunday, December 3 at 4:00 pm
Ludwig Symphony Orchestra Concert
Reception following

Sunday, December 10
COL Children’s “Rehearsal-Free” Christmas Program
Participating families arrive at 3:00 to prepare
Program is at 4:00
Reception following

Sunday, December 17 at 4:00 pm
Church Christmas Caroling
Meet at the church to go to local Senior Living Centers

Tuesday, December 19 at 11:00 am
Service of Comfort and Hope
Luncheon following


New Members at Cross of Life
Preparations are underway to receive new members on February 4th at the 11:15 worship service. If you are considering joining the congregation, please note the following dates. 

December 10 or January 14 @ 10:00 am – Breakfast with Pastor Terri This is an informal time for conversation and to answer any questions you may have about the congregation. Just show up!

January 21, 28 and February 4 @ 10:00 – New Member Orientation In this 3-part series, you meet members of Council, learn about the different ministries at COL and find your fit! You will also be assigned a Shepherd who will help you get acquainted with the congregation and introduce you to the congregation when you join.

February 4 @ 11:15 – Rite of Joining, followed by a luncheon in your honor!

Please speak with Pastor Terri or Mike Mapes if you would like more information!

Cross of Life Book Club
The next Book Club meeting will be on Tuesday, December 19th, at 7:00 pm discussing 
Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past by Sharyn McCrumb. Although they usually meet in the Adult Center, for December they will be meeting in a member’s home.  Please contact the church office for more details. 

The selection for January is: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Christmas Poinsettias
Each Christmas Eve the chancel is adorned with red poinsettias.  Orders can be placed in honor or in memory of someone.  Pricing information and more details are available in the Sunday bulletin announcements.

Step Up for El Salvador!

Sign up for our mission trip June 9 – June 16, 2018 has begun! This is not a firm commitment, but there is planning ongoing as well as fundraising. If you are interested in being a GOER or a SENDER, please indicate your interest by signing up online, on the poster in Fellowship Hall or the COL office.

If you are struggling for the perfect Christmas gift for that impossible person who has everything, peruse the opportunities for giving on our Mission Ladder in Fellowship Hall.  T-shirt and solar light sales will continue in Fellowship Hall during the Pancake Breakfast Sundays. 100% of monies are going into the Mission Fund.

Direct your questions or interest to Susan.