In the church year, Advent is the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas day and ending on Christmas. (Officially, that would be Dec. 3-24 this year…but read on.) It’s a season for preparing our hearts, minds and homes for the coming of Christ, a time when we reflect on the ways in which Jesus can be born anew within us as individuals and as a church today.

Collegiate/Wesley has many special activities that take place during Advent, from special studies and concerts to Christmas eve worship and special giving opportunities. This year, since Christmas eve falls on a Sunday, we’re going to mix things up just a bit. We have made an adjustment in the calendar in order to fully experience the four Sundays in Advent while also giving a full day to the celebration of Christmas Eve.

Click on each section to see the details of our Advent and Christmas schedule and activities.

Sundays thru Dec. 17 – 8:30 & 11:00 AM

Our Advent Worship Series: “Into This World

“Though the fig tree doesn’t bloom, and there’s no produce on the vine… I will rejoice in the God of my deliverance.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18

The scripture texts for our journey through the Advent and Christmas cycle paint a picture of the world into which God came in human flesh. Like our own time, this world seemed an unlikely or even hostile environment for this fragile incarnation of peace and hope. This season we will proclaim the entrance “into this world” again of the light for which we still so desperately yearn. What are we called to bring into this world?

Blue Christmas Service

Monday, December 18, 7 PM in Nichols Chapel

“When Christmas Hurts”

How do you celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year” when the year itself has been difficult and painful? The halls may be decked, the cookies baked, the cards mailed, and the Mannheim Steamroller CD cranked as loud as it will go, but perhaps it feels impossible to you to tune out the sadness and grief that results from loss. It’s difficult, when dealing with grief, depression, job loss or divorce, to walk through a season in which festivity sometimes feels forced.

If you can relate to these feelings–or have compassion on those who can–plan to join us for this special time. This service is held close to the Longest Night of the year when the darkness looms large. Gather with others on the journey to remember God’s promises and to remind one another that the Light does eventually overcome the darkness. Questions? Contact Pastor Jill at Jill@cwames.org.

Christmas Worship Services

“Christmas Eve Before You Leave” (New this year!)

Wednesday, December 20, 7 PM in the Sanctuary

Will the holidays take you out of town for Christmas eve? Then come for this special, interactive Christmas Eve Service for all ages: “The ABCs of Christmas.” Similar to the “Manger Gifts Service” of years past, you may bring gifts wrapped in recycled paper for the Ames school food pantry and/or bring checks/cash for UMCOR. See www.cwames.org/pantry for requested items.

Christmas Eve Services (Sunday, December 24)

  • One morning worship service only @ 9:30 AM
    “No Place in the Inn” with Lessons and Carols
  • 5:00 & 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary
    Interactive Christmas Service: The ABCs of Christmas
    This service will be perfect for the young and the young at heart.
  • 11:00 PM in the Sanctuary
    “No Place in the Inn” with Carols, Candlelight, and Communion

Children’s Sunday School

9:45-10:45 AM – Thru Dec. 17

Don’t miss a week of Sunday school during Advent! Our Advent Sunday School Rotation begins on Nov. 19. The children will learn about Advent and the Christmas story through art, games, creative drama and cooking.
On December 10, the Children’s Christmas Program will be presented at the 8:30 AM worship service. Afterwards, a Children’s Christmas Party will take place during the Sunday School Hour.
Please note that there is no Sunday School on Sunday, December 24 or 31.

Advent in Narnia: A Multigenerational Study

Experience and consider the season of Advent from a unique perspective, with themes of hope, peace, joy and love. Based on the Book: Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season by Heidi Haverkamp. A multigenerational, family- friendly study, offered twice:

  • Wednesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM (Nov. 15 & 29, Dec. 6 & 13) Bring a sack lunch.
  • Sundays, 5:00-6:30 PM: (Nov. 19 & 26, Dec. 3 & 10) Dinner provided.
  • Sunday, December 17, 5-8 PM: Dinner and a Movie (Final Session for both groups)

Questions? Contact Lauren Loonsfoot: lauren@cwames.org.

All Earth is Waiting: A Book & Bible Study

Offered twice:

  • Sundays, Nov. 26 – Dec. 17, 9:45-10:45 AM
  • Wednesdays, Nov. 29 – Dec. 20, 7-8:15 PM(5:30-7 PM on Dec. 20 only)

This 4-session study (plus a 5th week on your own) extends the themes of our Advent sermon series to the earth itself. The good news of Jesus Christ is good news for ALL the world– even plants, animals and the planet. It invites you to explore the familiar themes of hope, preparation, joy, and peace with the reconciliation of the heavens and the earth in mind. Through her powerful and personal reflections, author Katie Dawson–the lead pastor at Immanuel United Methodist Church in Des Moines–calls us to consider how all creation longs for the coming of Christ, highlighting our responsibility to care for this earth today.

Each chapter is about 18 pages long and quick to read. It’s perfect for anyone with a passion for or desire to learn more about care of God’s creation. Included are questions for reflection and conversation, a brief prayer, and a focus for the week that encourages readers to engage in a specific act of creation care.

Books are $9 in paperback; copies are available in the church office. Also available (from Cokesbury, Amazon etc.) are electronic versions as well as an optional daily devotional companion book. Participants should try to read the first chapter prior to our first session. Tim Gossett, Director of Discipleship, will facilitate the group (tim@cwames.org or 292-6936). All are welcome!

Special Events for Youth

Youth Group Christmas Parties:

  • Midde School Youth Group Party, December 13, 6:00-8:30 PM
  • High School Youth Group Party, December 10, 6:30-9:00 PM

There is no middle school youth group on Dec. 20 or 27 and no high school youth group on December 24 or 31.

Ladies & Girls Christmas Tea (or hot chocolate or coffee)

Saturday, December 9 – 10 AM – Wesley Hall

Whatever your preferred beverage, all women and girls are welcome. Bring a friend…join friends…celebrate friends! Please bring a plate of Christmas goodies to share, such as cookies, bars, candy, fruit, or nuts.

Bells & Brass Concert
Friday, Dec. 15 – 7:30 p.m. – Sanctuary

Enjoy the sounds of the season with the Collegiate Brass and Chancel Handbell Choir at this annual concert.
Free and open to the public… bring your friends!

Don’t Forget About These Regular Activities!

  1. Attend Soup Supper (Wednesdays, 6 PM in Wesley Hall) to discover the joy of a community-based meal.
  2. Help with Food at First on November 24, December 22 or 29 – some tough days to find volunteers! Contact Angela Doss, dossange@gmail.com to help.
  3. Hear a Christmas story read by Jane Halliburton in the Forum Class on Sunday, Dec. 17 (9:45 AM, Norman Room).
  4. Check out one of our Advent or Christmas-themed books from our library for your child or grandchild, then read it together!
  5. Find suggested daily activities, reflections, or videos to watch on our facebook page (facebook.com/cwames).

Ames Alternative Gift Market: Holiday Gifts that Change Lives

Dec. 3, 10 & 17 – Gathering Space – 9:30-10:45 AM (+ noon on Dec. 17)

As Christians, we are called to care for the least of these, showing our love of Christ through our actions. The Alternative Gift Market will be held at C/W on the dates above and at Wheatsfield Cooperative on Dec. 9 and 16. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show our Christian love and to learn about projects around the world that relieve poverty and suffering.

Thirty projects are available through Alternative Gifts International, our partner. Additionally, eight local Ames and Story County non-profit organizations will be represented. An Alternative Gift is a real gift, given in honor of a friend or loved one. Just like traditional gifts, they express love and affection, celebrate occasions and show you care. Unlike traditional gifts, Alternative Gifts purchased at the Alternative Gift Market at Collegiate don’t contribute to the consumer stream. They always fit and are the perfect color. These gifts express our stewardship of the world God gave us, and give us a real way to care for our brothers and sisters. Give gifts with real impact. Click to see a list of some of the options.

Advent Workshop
Sunday, Dec. 3 – 2:30-5:00 PM – Wesley Hall

Enjoy some fellowship time with your church family during the Advent Workshop. Come any time and stay for as long as you wish. You will be able to make a fresh greenery wreath, fix a jar of soup makings to give as a gift, make a beaded snowflake or participate in any of the other fun crafts we have planned. All ages welcome, and friends too! Contact Mary Buck with any questions or to volunteer: maryeileen51@q.com.

Gift Cards for ERP (Emergency Residence Project)

Anytime in December, you and your family can participate by purchasing gift cards, in increments of $25 or less, for families in need. Grocery (especially Aldi), telephone, gas, Cy-Ride, Target and WalMart gift cards are particularly needed and useful. Please bring your gift card to the church office, or drop it in the offering plate on or before Sunday, Dec. 24.

Christmas Giving Tree

This year the Giving Tree (in the Gathering Space) will focus on homeless youth in Ames. We’re working with the Ames School District to provide gift cards, hats, socks and underwear. Tags will be available starting Nov. 26. Items will be due to the church on or before Sunday, Dec. 17. We will also be collecting gently used clothing (all sizes) for the High School clothing closet. Questions? Contact Lauren Loonsfoot, lauren@cwames.org.

Christmas Offerings for Missions

This year’s Christmas Special Offering (Dec. 24 & 31) will be split among the congregational mission projects where we haven’t yet met our commitments. As we went to press, these included Katherine Parker (missionary to Nepal), Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance, Project Home Mission, Ames Ecumenical Housing, and AMOS.

Poinsettias for Worship

The poinsettias we use in the Sanctuary during Advent are donated by individuals in the congregation. Following Christmas eve, you may take yours to enjoy at home or have it delivered to a home-bound member. Please see the Communicator or worship bulletins for the order form.