Good morning! This page is intended to both serve as a continuing worship option for those participating in our worship service from home, and to serve in place of print resources during our in-person worship. Following the worship service on Sunday, one or more video recordings from the service will be placed on this page, including the sermon. This may take several hours, due to the time needed to process the videos. We will email the congregation when the recordings have been posted. If you would like to be added to our congregational email list, please contact email@example.com.
Sunday School will meet at 9:50AM.
If you are not vaccinated, our Church Board asks that you please wear a mask in the building. Given the current prevalence of Covid-19 infection in our area, I personally request that we all wear masks when we are in groups indoors. Thank you for your cooperation and care.
- The Church office will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday and Friday of next week (November 25 and 26). There will be no Pastoral Letter published next week, but any announcements that need to be sent out can be submitted to the Church office by Wednesday morning.
- We will be celebrating a “Hanging of the Greens” on November 28, the first Sunday of Advent. We will have Sunday school at 9:50AM, worship at 11:00AM, then a soup and sandwich potluck lunch, and we will decorate the church together afterwards.
- On December 5, we will resume two worship services! The Praise Team will lead music for the first service, at 8:45 AM, and we will use the hymnals in the 11:00 AM worship service. Sunday School will continue to meet at 9:50 AM.
- Backpack Pals are accepting donations of Pudding Cups and Ramen Noodles! Pudding cups are especially needed. Please leave any donations in the blue bin located in the Narthex. Thank you!
- We are hosting our annual Christmas Concerts with Jimmy Fortune at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, on December 1st and 2nd at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available through the Rockingham County Fairgrounds office. www.rockinghamcountyfair.com or (540) 434-0005
- We are planning on a more “normal” Christmas Eve Service this year! We will not be serving refreshments after the service, but we will be gathering in the sanctuary for a service of music and scripture at 7:00 PM on December 24. The choir has been practicing, and we are all looking forward to celebrating Christ’s birth together!
- Please be praying for the refugees being resettled in our area by Church World Service, and also for those working to help them. More information will be available about how we can be involved soon.
This Sunday we are celebrating Christ the King Sunday. Christ the King Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent of each year, and serves as a preparation for the new church year. As we enter into a season of Angels and Wisemen, stars and holiday sales, Christmas trees and light displays, we do so saying that the glitz and glam of the world does not rule our lives. Christ is our King, come as a child, leading us in the ways of peace, serving in sacrificial love, and risen in the power of God, enthroned on God’s grace. So let us join now, in an affirmation of faith, as we join together in worship.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end,
who is and who was and who is to be.
Jesus is our King,
not of this world, but of the realm of God,
which breaks in on this world in
surprising and life-changing ways.
So, who is Jesus?
Jesus is the one whose voice we hear
when we are quiet enough …
and receptive enough …
and humble enough …
Let us worship God together.
-Scripture Echo, adapted
Jesus, our Lord and King, you call us to listen to your voice and to belong to your truth…
But sometimes, for many reasons, we don’t hear you clearly…
But we want to follow you and live in your kingdom.
Forgive us and quiet the noise inside…
Stretch our hearts and minds to understand and to respond.
Speak to us in ways that we cannot avoid or dismiss…
Here, in worship, surrounded by others who claim you as their king, help us to listen to your voice.
Help us to hear, and respond, and follow in your path.
Here on earth, as it is in heaven.
Judges 9:7-15 NRSV
When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and cried aloud and said to them, ‘Listen to me, you lords of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. The trees once went out to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, “Reign over us.”
The olive tree answered them, “Shall I stop producing my rich oil by which gods and mortals are honoured, and go to sway over the trees?” Then the trees said to the fig tree, “You come and reign over us.” But the fig tree answered them, “Shall I stop producing my sweetness and my delicious fruit, and go to sway over the trees?” Then the trees said to the vine, “You come and reign over us.” But the vine said to them, “Shall I stop producing my wine that cheers gods and mortals, and go to sway over the trees?” So all the trees said to the bramble, “You come and reign over us.” And the bramble said to the trees, “If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.”
John 18:33-37 NRSV
Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign for ever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
In the book of Acts, 12 deacons were called to watch over the needs of the congregation, especially taking care of those who were alone, and without help otherwise. We continue that tradition here at Pleasant Valley, calling deacons to help provide care for the membership of the congregation, and assisting with the “ministry of the table”, communion and love feast, and aiding at baptisms.
Our Congregational By-Laws describes deacons in the following way:
“Members of the church qualified for the office of Deacon include men and women, single or married, and those of all ethnic origins or races, with a deep understanding of service and commitment to serving their brothers and sisters. Persons called are those whose commitment and faithfulness have been evident in their relationship to the local church. They are persons of a spiritual mind, open and responsive to Scripture and to the Holy Spirit, careful to exercise wisdom and sound judgment, faithful and loyal to Christ and the Church. …”
We call deacons through a process of group discernment, that begins with you. I invite you today, to prayerfully ask God to reveal who is being prepared and equipped for this ministry. Then, please write those names down on the ballot sheets that were mailed or emailed to you this week, or use the sheets that are on the table in the narthex. Those sheets will be reviewed by our Church Board Chair and myself, and we will then extend the calls that the church has discerned.
I invite you to prayer with me now for this time of calling.
As we look forward to gathering at Thanksgiving tables
we reflect on what it is to be a part of your body.
There are different tastes.
There are old disagreements.
There is a true beauty when you bring us together beyond all of this.
Thank you for all whom you call to be apart of the strengthening of your table
Thank you for all who help us in need
who help us to settle conflict
who help us to honor you through our life together.
Send your Spirit through all that you call.
Give us a willingness to serve in love,
And show us those through whom you seek to reveal your grace. Amen.
Glorious God, you are the Lord of resurrection power!
You raised your Son Jesus from death to live and rule at the right hand of your heavenly throne.
We rejoice that you uphold the universe and you treasure every person’s life.
Yet, we confess that we scramble to make sense of who you are.
We allow other voices to claim our time and attention…
We try to avoid you and what you might be calling us to do…
We immerse ourselves in other activities, thinking someday we will listen…
We don’t always understand, O Lord. We don’t always get it.
But we want to follow you and claim allegiance to your kingdom.
Forgive us, O Holy One of God…
Speak to us your life-giving words of hope and peace…
Teach us your truth, O Lord, that we might honestly seek you
and set aside all that is not of you.
Send your Spirit to shine your light so we will recognize your great hope for the world.
Help us to listen. When it is quiet and our minds are at rest, help us to listen.
When it is noisy and the world clamors for our attention, help us to listen.
Empower our church to work together to help make your reign visible in people’s lives.
Bring us into your justice
Enlarge our compassion to reach your children.
Make us to be a part of your healing
And realize your kingdom among us now
-adapted from prayers found at www.scripturecho.com
Build Your Kingdom Here
Come set Your rule and reign
In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray
Unveil why we’re made
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope
Like wildfire in our very souls
Holy Spirit come invade us now
We are Your church
We need Your pow’r in us
We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You’re our joy and prize
To see the captives’ hearts released
The hurt the sick the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for heaven’s cause
We are Your church
We pray revive this earth
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here we pray
Unleash Your kingdom’s pow’r
Reaching the near and far
No force of hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope on earth
Build Your Kingdom Here
May the Lord God bless you and keep you
As a Shepherd and guide to watch over you,
As the Holy Spirit to lead and sustain you
As the Living Lamb to redeem and sanctify you
Until we arrive in the glory of God’s throne at last.
May you go in Christ’s blessed way, Amen.