This week at Mt. Carmel...
View this email in your browser
Link to the Mt. Carmel Summit Newsletter for December 2020
We are here!!
We'd love to hear from you. Please call or email with your questions or comments. 

Phone: 805-544-2133
or on Facebook at

Prayer requests may be sent to the church office by email or phone

Celebrating God’s grace through worship, learning and service.
Due to issues with GMail on Tuesday, December 15, you may have missed the Midweek edition of the Vistas e-newsletter. Please enjoy this enhanced Friday edition which includes all the content from Tuesday.
Give Online
Online giving is now available from the comfort of you home or when you're on the road. Click the Give Online button above, or download the Give Plus Mobile App on you phone or tablet, to make a one-time offering or to set up a recurring donation. You decide how much to give and when.
We are never alone
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The room was spare and dimly lit. We sat on folding chairs in a circle—young Honduran women and some of us from the ELCA. We had come to Honduras to observe the work of AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities). This is the ELCA’s strategy to help youth who have been forced to flee their home countries because of violence, abuse, extortion by gangs and extreme poverty. Amparo is the Spanish word for shelter or refuge.

In this case, AMMPARO partnered with the Lutheran World Federation and the Mennonites to resettle returned migrants—those who had tried to seek asylum in the United States but had failed or had been denied and deported back to Honduras.

One by one they told us their stories of fear and desperation. Not a one undertook the long and dangerous trek north on a whim. They told us about the abuse they had suffered, about family members who had been killed by gangs, about the inability to make a living because of the extortion by organized crime. They talked about the bitter sadness of leaving home and family, and the uncertainty of the future.

I remember one young woman in particular. She was pregnant when she tried to migrate to the United States. She had the baby somewhere along the way. She was far from home, mostly alone and desperately wanted her mother to be with her. None of this is what she had hoped for when she was growing up. Circumstances beyond her control had forced her into this new and strange existence. She and her baby were now back in Honduras—but not at home. Home was too dangerous.

Remember last Christmas? Remember all of the preparations, the travel to be with family? Remember the holy beauty of the Christmas Eve liturgy and receiving Christ’s grace and forgiveness at his table? The shopping and Christmas caroling? The in-person gatherings? All that has changed.

The pandemic hasn’t forced us from our homes but into our homes, sheltering in place, isolated. Not together, but physically distanced. Not gathered with family and friends, but forced apart because of the threat of infection. Forced by circumstances beyond our control into this strange existence. Oh, there will be Christmas carols piped into grocery stores and other essential services, but they will be painful reminders of how life used to be.

We are reminded of the experience of the exiles in Babylon: “By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our captives asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’ How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land” (Psalm 137)?

I told the young Honduran woman about another young woman who was forced to leave home because of a government decree. She, too, was pregnant and made a long and difficult journey. She, too, was far from home and without her mother when the baby came. She had to find shelter wherever she could. This wasn’t what she had hoped for when she was growing up. Circumstances beyond her control had forced her into this new existence.

That young woman was Mary and the child was Jesus. Precisely in our distress, in our dislocation, the Lord shows up. Emmanuel—God with us—makes his home in the very places we find foreign or isolating. The young Honduran woman, and all of us, can find hope because of the birth of Mary’s child. There is no God-forsaken place and we are never alone—not in hospital rooms, or sheltering in place, or Zoom calls or on dangerous roads.

Many of us will not be physically home for Christmas, but we are truly home in Christ.

As seen in the December 2020 issue of Living Lutheran.
Worship at Mt. Carmel
Join us at 6:30pm for a quiet celebration with recorded music.

Our Christmas Eve worship will be a service of Holy Communion at 7:00pm on Zoom. You are invited to have bread and wine (or juice and crackers) on hand for the service along with a candle.

After the service, grab your favorite beverage and share in a social gathering of friends.

Link to Christmas Eve Music and Worship
Meeting ID: 889 6564 4174
Passcode: 415196
Please use the links listed here to join any of our worship services and Bible studies. We look forward to seeing you!
- Link to SUNDAY morning Zoom worship 
Sundays at 9:30 AM
For telephone: +1 669 900 9128
Meeting ID: 849 4786 1947
Passcode: 591300

Link to WEDNESDAY Evening Zoom Service 
Wednesdays at 7:00 PM
For telephone: +1 669 900 9128
Meeting ID: 867 5095 6162

Passcode: 695333
RSVP here to attend in person

- Link to FRIDAY morning Bible study,
Fridays at 10:30 AM
For telephone:  +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 552 129 433
- Link to SATURDAY morning Bible study,
Saturdays at 8:30 AM
For telephone:  +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 831 5325 2589
Passcode: 690622

- Mt. Carmel YouTube channel, in case you missed a service.
Sunday Morning Schedule
In order to enhance our time together and our worship experience online we will follow a schedule for Sunday morning that includes an extended time before and after worship for conversation with microphones unmuted. During worship microphones will be muted (except for the Sharing the Peace and Lord's Prayer).

9:00-9:25:Fellowship with microphones unmuted
9:25: Announcements & Prelude (microphones muted)
9:30: Worship
10:30: Post service fellowship with microphones unmuted
10:45: Adult Forum
12:00: In-person worship on the Mt. Carmel patio (weather permitting)
Click the picture above for a full version of the Order of Worship
Words of Welcome
Advent Preface -
My Soul In Stillness Waits


Apostolic Greeting
Prayer of the Day

Children’s Time / Lighting of the Advent Wreath
First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Instead of David building a house (temple) for God, God promises to establish David’s house (dynasty) forever. Centuries later, after the Babylonian exile, no king sat on the throne. Even then, however, the people of Israel remembered this promise and continued to hope for a king, the messiah, God’s anointed.

Psalmody: Luke 1:46-55

Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
Paul closes his letter to the Romans by praising God because, in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God has revealed the promised, divine plan of salvation for all humanity. Paul proclaims this gospel of Christ in order to bring about the obedience of faith among all nations.

Gospel Verse
Holy Gospel: Luke 1:26-38 

Sermon - Pastor Richard Rollefson
Song of the Day - Canticle of the Turning - ELW 723

Affirmation of Faith
   We believe in God, 
   Creator of all that is.

   We believe in Jesus the Christ, God's child.
   His coming is the advent of God's reign of justice and peace.
   Through his life comes healing, 
   Through his death comes hope, 
   And through his rising, life eternal.

   We believe in the Spirit,
   Who speaks through the prophets,
   inspires the witness of the Church,
   and through our baptism into Christ,
   dwells within our hearts.

Prayers of the People:
Prayer requests: Sid & Beryl Bennett; Jeannie Ledford and family; Elsa Brody; Iglesia Santa Cruz
Prayers for our church family: Karen Petersen; Marshall, Marge, Riley & Sarah Pihl; Glen & Nancy Priddy

The Peace
Thanksgiving for the Word
The Lord’s Prayer
Sending Song
 - Joy to the World

Thanks to:

Lector: Chuck Kilstrom
Children’s Time: Ingrid Frokjer
Musicians, Singers: Paul Woodring / Dave Becker / Joan Pedersen / Sue Haas-Clark / Patti Frey / Richard Rollefson
Adult Forum
Sunday, following worship

December Forum Series
Prose and Prophesies for Advent & Christmas
Join in for a series of scripture readings and beloved stories for the Advent and Christmas season. The series will include prophesies from the Old Testament, seasonal readings from the Gospels and a featured story. This Sunday, December 20, we will read from Isaiah, Joel, Micah, the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and hear a short story by Leo Tolstoy, “Where Love Is There God Is” read by Pastor Richard.
Outdoor In-Person Worship Service
Sundays at 12 Noon

In case of rain, the outdoor service will be canceled. Those who RSVP will be notified by phone and email

Sign-up here to RSVP

We are holding in person worship and communion while observing guidelines and best practices to maximize the safety of those attending. We will continue with the existing Sunday morning schedule of Zoom worship at 9:30am followed by the Adult Forum at 10:45.

The in person service is outdoors, under the shade canopy in front of the santuary. Please click the RSVP link above to help us prepare the space for socially distanced clusters of same household members. You are asked to bring your own chair, if possible, although metal church chairs are also available. Attendees should be masked when arriving, will receive a temperature check and be signed in. The worship is an abbreviated communion service using prepackaged communion bread and cup kits. Entrance and departure routes are marked and attendees are requested to mask following the service. There is not a coffee time following worship. While we are aware that we are holding this in-person worship at a time when the weather is turning cooler and we hope for needed rain, we hope that this will be an alternative worship for those wanting to meet in person.
In the midst of the busyness of the season around us you are invited to join for a time of quiet with “Waiting and the Word,” series of midweek meditative evening prayer services. Each week will focus on an Advent theme in a contemplative setting. The Dec. 23 worship will be a “Longest Night/Blue Christmas” worship that acknowledges the challenges of this season of celebration in the midst of sadness and loss.
Church News and Notes
Sunday, December 20

It's time to get out your favorite Christmas sweater and wear it for church on Sunday morning! Whether you join us on Zoom, or attend our outdoor worship, you're encouraged to wear your favorite holiday sweater. 
Social Ministry Survey
The Social Ministry Team has identified a few possible projects to implement once the pandemic is over. Current outreach projects (Iglesia Santa Cruz, Get on the Bus, SLO Food Bank, etc.) will remain in place.

Please complete and return your responses by December 30.
Thank you for your response! The results will be reported to the congregation.

Link to Social Ministry Survey
An Advent Devotional

Please click on the picture above, or the link below, to download a copy of 'Readings 'Round the Advent Wreath' by Pastor Richard. This is a devotional filled with scriptures, reflections, and prayers for Advent.

Link to Advent Devotional
Virtual Cookie Exchange
It's time to share your holiday treats - virtually, of course! Use the link below to send in your favorite recipe and/or photo of your goodies. We'll post a link to your responses here so that everyone can enjoy with you. The form allows you to upload a copy of your recipe, or type it in. Please contact MaryAnn in the church office if you need assistance.

Virtual Cookie Exchange Link

Check out these contributions:
Potato Chip Cookies - from Kathy Meyer
MET Team Value Voting Survey
Coming January 10, 2021
During September and October, many members were interviewed by the MET Team and asked about God’s presence in their lives, what they treasure most at Mt. Carmel and where they feel the Holy Spirit is leading our congregation.  The MET Team has now processed all responses to the interviews and will conduct a survey and ask members to vote on the responses that are most meaningful to them.  The survey will be completed online starting January 10th through January 24th.  Paper surveys will be available on request.
An Adult Forum will be held following the worship service on January 10th to present and explain the survey. 
Your participation in the survey is encouraged.  Please mark your calendars with the above dates.
Community Outreach

Matching Gifts Challenge Benefitting the SLO County Food Bank


Use this link to donate to the Mount Carmel matching funds challenge

If you prefer to donate to the matching funds challenge by check, make your check out to the SLO County Food Bank. Write Mt. Carmel Matching Funds Drive on the memo line so that your donation will be properly credited.  Mail to:

Food Bank Coalition of SLO County
1180 Kendall Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Please do not route your food bank donations through Mount Carmel.  Doing so will delay your donation and make tracking the matching funds challenge donations difficult for the food bank.

Thank you to Mount Carmel for your always generous spirit!

Thank you Mt. Carmel!
Approximately 1,000 pounds of goods (900+ pounds was food!) plus $300 in gift cards were delivered to Iglesia Luterana Santa Cruz on Sunday, December 13. We received donations from Thrivent and another donor that allowed us to shop for addtional food and personal items before making our delivery. Several people were on hand in Santa Maria to unload the car, including the youngest volunteer who was overjoyed to find his own special prize - a box of cereal.

The volunteers at IL Santa Cruz begin sorting the food as soon as it arrives. It's soon organized and distributed to various families. All of your donations are greatly appreciated!
Copyright © 2016 MT. CARMEL, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church · 1701 Fredericks St. · San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp