A Hancock Legacy
Please join us for Manger Sunday, December 2nd. This longstanding Hancock tradition is one of our congregation’s greatest prides.  All families are invited to bring new, unwrapped gifts or gift cards to the 10am worship service on December 2nd, the first Sunday in Advent.  These gifts are delivered to City Mission Society‘s distribution center in Winchester where they are sorted and distributed to families in need. Volunteers are invited to help deliver the gifts to Winchester after the service on Sunday, December 2nd from 12:30-1:30 PM, and to help sort at one of the Hancock sorting events on December 8th or December 16th. For more information, or to volunteer, please contact Kristen Eckler at kristen.eckle[at]gmail.com.

 

Manger Scene, Manger Sunday

 

Kristen Eckler reflects with pride on one of Hancock’s greatest traditions. 

If you knew nothing about Hancock Church and walked through the door, what would you see?  Bulletin boards worth of smiling members gathering together, making music, and doing work for others are on the walls.  Colorful posters line the hallways and list the many church activities including cooking for Rosie’s Place, collecting socks, and celebrating the season with the JYO.  The bulletin itself lists new members being welcomed, celebrations of love ones lost, and yet more activities.

What does this mean?  What would you think?  Would you gain a sense of the history, vibrancy, dedication and love that permeates these hallways?  Would you understand that this is a growing church that is still listening?  Would you realize that this church body is engaged in activities for the community that surrounds it?

As we enter the season of Advent, the Hancock Church community shows that we are all of these values, and yet so much more.  On December 2, 2012, we will be celebrating Manger Sunday at Hancock Church.  This event, which Hancock members have been doing for over 140 years, brings the church community together to celebrate the season of giving, and recognizes the needs of those around us.
For those who have never participated in Manger Sunday, it is one of the highlights of the year.  Gifts are brought forward by all members of the congregation, big and small, to our own manger.  Carols are sung and joy is shared.  The JYO students help move the gifts from the manger to the drivers, who then transport the much needed clothing and toys to a church in Winchester for final sorting.  Our members have said:

  • “It gets me in the Christmas spirit.”
  • “I like helping people, and this is a chance to do it.”
  • “It makes me pause during the chaotic Christmas season, and reflect on my blessings.”
  • “I like that it unites us as a church family.”
  • “I like giving happiness to others.”

The clothing, toys, and wrapping paper are temporarily housed in Winchester, until they can be distributed through the City Mission Society.  From their web site www.cmsboston.org, City Mission Society of Boston is the oldest multi-service agency in New England, addressing the educational, economic and social needs of impoverished area residents since 1816.  Their services reach over 35,000 people a year through direct and indirect means.  “CMS partners with congregations and community agencies to fulfill its dynamic vision of providing services in the context of empowering residents to be active participants in changing their neighborhoods and their lives.”  Now it is our turn!

As we approach Manger Sunday, please consider gifts of:

  •    Winter coats, sweaters, and sweatshirts, especially in Large and Extra-Large sizes
  •    Hats, mittens, gloves and scarves
  •    Blankets and backpacks
  •    Toys, games and books for all ages.  Teens love sports equipment or iTunes cards.  Consider a doll that represents an ethnicity different from yours.
  •    Gift cards from Target, CVS, Walgreen’s, Kohls, Shaw’s, etc.  ($15 or more would be appreciated)
  •    Do not forget the SOCKS!  Socks are always needed, as is white underwear.  The Outdoor Church of Cambridge gives out 4,000 pairs a year.

The Hancock Covenant of Welcome states that our “faith journey indeed calls Hancock Members not to be silent in the face of prejudice, injustice, and exclusion but to express our faith, in word and deed, for justice and inclusiveness for all humanity.”  So Hancock Community, it is time to be very loud and active, and fill that manger!  Get ready to show our love for all on Sunday, December 2, 2012.