Decorating our family tree at Christmastime is one of my favorite traditions of the season.  Memories flood in as we fill each bough with ornaments reminding us of vacations, special events, and loved ones that have graced our lives through the years.  The finishing touch this year was a plush gold and winter white tree skirt.  Body stretched awkwardly across the floor, I gingerly attached the skirt at its seam, gently smoothing it into place beneath the tree. Stepping back to reminisce and admire the glowing Evergreen, a strange ripping noise alarmed in my ears. I turned to discover in a split second our cat Buckeye had managed to burrow his head into the skirt, tearing apart the Velcro strips formerly holding it in place and climb underneath, leaving it in a mangled heap. 

Although Buckeye simply saw it as the perfect resting place for a long winter’s nap, it occurred to me life can be much like that tree skirt. Everything seems beautiful and is flowing smoothly along, then in a single moment all that seemed good and right can be in upheaval.  God never intended for us to go through periods of distress and uncertainty alone. He has promised to be our refuge, strength, and ever-present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1) He has also placed people in our congregation who will come alongside to care and support you every step of the way. Are you struggling to find hope and peace in this season of life? Please consider how one or more of these ministries can help bring healing and renewal to your places of brokenness.

Stephen Ministry: One-to-one confidential caring ministry to those who have experienced a significant life change such as the death of a loved one, serious illness, job loss, empty nesting, relocation, being a caregiver to a loved one, financial struggles, or any situation causing grief, struggle, or stress.

Cancer Companions:   Our team of Cancer Companions is available to be a source of comfort and understanding to those who have cancer, or family members of those with cancer, in order to pray for, uplift and encourage during this difficult time in life. 

Dine & Share Grief & Loss Support Group: For those grieving the loss of a loved one. This group meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month (3rd Tuesday this December). Join us in the Fireside Room for an informal potluck at 6:30pm and a gathering at 7:10pm. Please let those experiencing grief know about this meeting or offer to come with them. Sometimes it is a daunting task to make that first step.

New Directions: This group for widows and widowers meets every 4th Wednesday at 1:30pm in the Fireside Room. It is a wonderful group of women and men of all ages, coming together to share their lives, have a good time, and uplift each other!

For more information on any of the above events, or if someone you know needs pastoral care, please contact Erma Clark at ErmaC@gcumc.org or at the church office, 614/875-5612.