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All-Church Halloween Party
Halloween had its start in medieval Christian observances of "All Hallows Eve" and "All Hallows Day" (also known as "All Saints Day"), honoring all Christian saints who have died. The Scottish Celts believed that "All Hallows Eve" was also a time in which strange and mischievous spirits were temporarily at loose before being subdued and vanquished by the holy light of the next day. At the St. Paul United Church Halloween party, we don't worry about the theology of it all but just sit back and enjoy our masked and costumed kids having the time of their lives. The party offers a safe alternative to door-to-door trick or treating. Weather permitting, most of the party takes place outdoors, including the pumpkin decoration, a variety of games, and a "haunted hayride." A light supper is served. Hosted by our Christian education ministry, the Halloween Party is customarily scheduled on a Saturday or Sunday evening before Halloween. All hands are welcome for the party set-up and decoration which takes place the day before.
Our church, as the Detroit Free Press and News Herald Newspapers have noted, serves some of the best fish in the Detroit Metro area. We're no secret: every fall and late winter 400-500 people show for each of the dinners we host. It takes a lot of culinary talent and organization skill to feed everyone. But our church members are experienced. We've been hosting dinners like these for almost a hundred years. Our five fish dinners, which are held every two weeks, begin on the Friday after the first Sunday of Lent. An extra draw to our fish we serve is our famous cole slaw and homemade pies. Come the first time to taste for yourself. All proceeds from the suppers support our church's ministry and outreach.
For full details on these great events, click on "Church Dinners".
Annual Pilgrimage Tour
Every fall our pastor leads a tour of historic churches in the greater Metro Detroit area. Past tours, always beginning with a prayer for all of God's people, have taken us to Downtown Detroit, Windsor, Ann Arbor, Monroe, and Oakland County. Four to five churches are included in each tour with a great lunch at a pre-designated restaurant along the way. A bus is rented for the day. Church members and friends are invited to climb aboard for a memorable time.
Decoration Sunday for Advent and Christmas
Getting ready can be a part of the joy of Christmas. Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas, has always been a "season of preparation" for the Christian churches. At St. Paul United Church of Christ we mark the arrival of Advent and the coming of Christmas by festively decorating the rooms of our church. Decorations usually go up on the Sunday afternoon immediately following Thanksgiving. Different church groups take responsibility for the decoration of different rooms. But individuals can pitch in to help decorate any room they like. Lunch is served for those on hand for the decoration. Afterwards, there's plenty of time to ooh and ah at the fruits of our labors. The lighted Christmas tree in the sanctuary is decorated with angels brought and donated by church members. Newcomers to our congregation are encouraged bring and donate their own angel for the tree. (P.S.: Help is also needed in taking down decorations and storing them. This is usually done following the worship service on the first Sunday of January.)
Advent By Candlelight
The "Christmas rush" can make us feel too rushed. We often forget that "Jesus is the reason for the season." To help women of our congregation reclaim the true spirit of Christmas for themselves and their families, our Christian education ministry sponsors an annual "Advent By Candlelight" celebration in Fellowship Hall. Individual women volunteer to host and decorate a candlelit table for the evening, extending invitations to family, friends, and fellow church members to join them as their guests. Special music and readings on Advent and Christmas themes are shared over a delicious dessert in a wonderful time of fellowship. Christmas and Spring Pageants The stage curtain opens, lights twinkle, and our young people share their talent and spirit in witness to a faith we share in Jesus Christ. This is what both the Christmas and Spring Pageants hosted by the Christian education ministry are all about. Our young people prepare for the pageants weeks in advance, learning new songs and rediscovering some old ones. Though our Christian faith is always the focus, each pageant has a special story or theme. While the Christmas pageant is usually held on the second Sunday of December, the Spring Pageant is customarily held in mid-May, usually at our 10:30 a.m. worship service or immediately following the second service. A buffet lunch for pageant guests always follows.
Annual and Semi-Annual Congregational Meetings
One of the things which distinguishes the mutually covenanted congregations of the United Church of Christ is that we are self-governing under the spiritual guidance of Jesus Christ. Each individual church, led by lay men and women rather than the pastor or an outside bishop, is responsible for the prudent conduct of its own affairs. No where is this more evident than at the annual and semi-annual meetings of our congregation in mid-January and mid-July. At the annual congregational meeting, church members elect new Council leadership, approve a budget, and handle other matters of concern. During the semi-annual meeting, our church's budget and program progress is reviewed by the congregation. Robert's Rules of Order prevail but there's always plenty of opportunity for input. The congregational meetings immediately follow the Sunday morning worship service. Everyone who votes at the congregational meetings must be a church member, which is a good reason to become a member if you aren't already one!
Church members and friends interested in preserving memories creatively are invited to the annual day-long Scrapbookers gathered usually held on the last Saturday of every January at St. Paul United Church. Organized in the church's large fellowship hall, the event starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. Experienced scrapbookers and vendors are always on hand to offer creative pointers for beginners. Participants enjoy uninterrupted time to prepare scrapbooks. Although most scrapbookers work on family albums, the scrapbooking possibilities are unlimited. A noon lunch is served with deserts, snacks, and beverages provided throughout the day. Every participant has her or his own personal work table for the day. The event is by advance reservation only. Information about the next scrapbooking day is shared through the St. Paul monthly newsletter and the Sunday morning bulletin.
Wild Game Dinner
During the fall, many St. Paul Church members head to northern Michigan for hunting season.
It's an opportunity to taste some of the resulting bounty at an annual Wild Game Dinner. Venison, elk, buffalo, and varieties of wild-caught fish are often on the menu prepared by one of the Downriver area's leading chefs. The event draws a sell-out crowd to our Fellowship Hall. This year is our 9th annual event and will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres at 6:00 p.m. Dinner at 7:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.
To volunteer for the planning committee or to reserve tickets, contact our church office at 313-291-1221.
Thank God It's Wednesday (T.G.I.W.)
St. Paul United Church of Christ has been observing Lent with mid-week worship and special programs for a long time. But a couple of years back, we decided to update the format and call it T.G.I.W. During the Lenten season, every Wednesday night begins with a buffet meal offered at the "Jerusalem Cafe" in the West Room. For the sports-minded recreational volleyball follows in Fellowship Hall. At 7 p.m. a fifteen minute "praise" time is held in the sanctuary. T.G.I.W. participants then disperse to their different activities. Confirmation class, Kids for Christ, bible study, a parenting enrichment program, and a choir rehearsal are all part of the night's possibilities. Church members are encouraged to make T.G.I.W. part of your week.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
The Easter Bunny is the guest of honor when the Christian education ministry hosts its annual Easter Egg Hunt for on a Saturday afternoon, just before Palm Sunday. Participating children enjoy an outdoor small group hunt for Easter eggs hidden by the Bunny himself. Afterwards, children gather for indoor crafts and Easter egg decoration. There's also an opportunity for everyone to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny as cookies and cupcakes are served. The Hunt is always a big hit with pre-school and lower "el" kids. But parents have been known to enjoy the hunt just as much.
Easter Morning Breakfast
The chefs wear tall hats and the buffet service is as good as any you'll find as the men of the Buildings & Grounds Committee cook up a multi-course Easter morning breakfast for 150 plus church members. Hosted in Fellowship Hall, the breakfast buffet starts at 8 a.m., following the Easter Sunrise Service in the church sanctuary. Other church members, planning to attend the
10 a.m. mid-morning Easter service, simply come ahead of time for the buffet. Every year the tables are festively decorated by members of the Dorcas Society and Women's Fellowship. No purchased tickets are necessary for the Easter breakfast but a free will donation is appreciated.
The Mother-Daughter Banquet has been an annual happening at our church for decades. It's a celebration of the bond between mothers and daughters. A catered meal is offered, plus a program with intergenerational appeal. Past programs have included a fashion show of wedding dresses worn by church members from the 1930's to the 1990's and skits based on Mother Goose tales and rhymes. The banquet is usually held on the Thursday evening after Mother's Day but alternatively on a Sunday afternoon. Get your tickets early. It's usually a sell-out.
Father-Child Tailgate Banquet
The Father-Child Banquet was revived several years back after a lapse of many years. The banquets vary from year-to-year but always promise a good time for fathers, sons, and daughters. Instead of a traditional sit-down supper, the last few Father-Child Banquets have been tailgate gatherings held at Sportsway of Browntown, where fathers and kids can do some go-karting, make use of batting cages, and play a game of adventure golf. Dinner is served afterwards in an on-site banquet room. The cost is modest. The Father-Child Banquet is usually scheduled for the Thursday after Father's Day.
All-Church Summer Picnic
Michigan's summer heat and humidity can put the best of us in the doldrums. But our church's mid-summer picnic is a genuine pick-me up. Howe-Peterson Funeral Home graciously provides a big-top tent for an outdoor morning worship service. Afterwards, there is a buffet lunch and an ice cream social. A variety of intergenerational games and activities are offered. Always popular is the water balloon toss getting everyone a little wet on a hot day. The picnic, which starts with a 9:30 a.m. coffee and donut time, usually finishes up at 3 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the shade and breeze of our church green. If it rains, there's plenty of room in Fellowship Hall for us all.
Staying in the Loop (or Getting the Inside Scoop) on Upcoming Events
Our church does it best to keep members informed about upcoming programs and events. We do so by means of several different newsletters, individual mailings, and a web site. The church office publishes an informative monthly newsletter, The Tidings, which is mailed to the homes of members and friends monthly. Week-to-week information about upcoming events is available in the Morning Tide, a Sunday morning bulletin insert distributed along with the order of service by the ushers before Sunday morning worship. The Morning Tide, which includes an events calendar, listing all church meetings and programs for the next seven days, can be found in the "Sunday Morning Bulletin".
The Annual Church Directory and Telephone Register also provides some basic and general calendar information for our church. Copies of the directory, which is usually issued each September, are available through the church office. Other event and program information can also be obtained by checking the master calendar for the church which is posted on the door to the church office. St. Paul Events Calendar includes upcoming church programs and activities. To add an activity to the calendar or for more information about an upcoming event, contact the church office. The church staff is always glad to answer your informational questions as well and can be reached by telephone (313-291-1221), fax (313-291-3305), and e-mail.