Congregational Life News

Advent: Season of Hope

In Advent, God’s people wait with hope for the birth of Jesus, God’s anointed one. Advent lasts for four Sundays (and the weeks between them); lighting candles helps us mark the time as we get ready for the Light of World, Jesus Christ. Great memories can be formed as candles on a wreath are lit, scripture is read, and the hopeful anticipation of Christ’s coming is celebrated. You are invited to pick up Advent devotions displayed in the narthex (gathering space) for you/your family to use during this holy season.

Advent Worship

All are invited to mark days of anticipation and hope during the season of advent each Sunday morning at 8:30 and 11:00am worship. Our theme this Advent will be “Everlasting Light.” We will use a new liturgy, light candles on the wreath, and hear the stories of the promise of the coming of Jesus. We’ll also have a station in the gathering area where you will be invited to name the ways in which you see God’s light in the world each week. We are looking forward to celebrating this season of hope together as we celebrate God’s greatest gift of love – Jesus Christ.

Chrismon Tree Decorating, Sunday, December 15, before each worship service

A Chrismon tree is a special tree adorned with symbols of Christianity in its earliest days, such as the Alpha and Omega and the fish.  Newer symbols like a dove, Bible, rose, and cross and crown can also be used.  All decorations and supplies will be provided.

Christmas Caroling, Sunday, December 8, 2-4pm

You are invited to share Christmas cheer! Meet at St. Philip. Then groups will head out and about in the Roanoke Valley. Please also bring some cookies to share with folks. Sign-up in the narthex if you plan to join the fun!

Children’s Christmas Program

The children of St. Philip will share the Christmas story at the 5:30pm Christmas Eve worship service. Rehearsals for the children’s Christmas program are each Sunday at 9:50am, now through December 22.

Christmas Eve, you have two opportunities for worship: 

5:30pm – Candlelight service and youth program

9:00pm – Traditional candlelight service 

Holy Communion will be served at both services.  

Morning Worship the First Sunday after Christmas (Lessons and Carols)

Do not miss a wonderful worship of Lessons and Carols the Sunday after Christmas, December 29th.  Jesus story is told both by scripture and many timeless hymns of the Christmas season.  We will have one worship service at 9:30am.

Christian Education Congregational Life News

New in faith formation

Spring Faith Formation

Learning more about God and the life of faith together is an important part of what it means to be the church. We are excited to share new opportunities for both children and adults:

· Pastor David will be lead our Adult Forum

· Pastor Laura will lead Faith Formation for our children (preschool -5th grade) as they have fun, explore faith, and learn stories about God’s love. 

This new schedule begins on January 12! Please mark your calendars and join in this important time for fellowship, learning, and growing in the faith!

Adult Faith Formation

Through December 22, Pastor Laura will host an adult forum in the Library on Sundays at 10am! We will utilize a curriculum called The Wired Word and engage in current event stories from a faith perspective. We’re called to live lives centered on the Gospel in a complex world, come join our discussion as we discuss how Jesus calls us to “Live Like that” in the world!

Monday Morning Bible Study Bible Study

Mondays 9:30-10:30am. Study the scriptures you will hear the following Sunday morning. This is a great way for you to come to Sunday morning worship ready to be engaged with the word as the story is told. If you have not been a part of the Bible study crew, now is the time to try it out! The crew meets in the church library.

NEW THIS YEAR: If you would love to join the Monday morning bible study, but can’t make it to the church, you are invited to participate from wherever you are using your computer, tablet, or smartphone via Zoom Videoconferencing using this link: 

Zoom is free for you to use and requires no download. The link to join the bible study remotely will also be posted on the website, Facebook page, and emailed to participants. Speak with one of the pastors if you have interest in connecting this way.

Faith Formation for Children

Through December 22, all children preschool age to 5th grade are encouraged to participate in Christmas Pageant practice and learn in a new way the story of Jesus’ birth.  

Cross Generational Faith Formation Coming Again in January!

“In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’” Matthew 2:1-2

“Praise [God], sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!” 

Psalm 148:3

Have you ever wondered if chalk, water, and evergreens can be mixed? Do you fancy yourself a code decipherer – what then do you think 20 + C M B + 20 could mean? Be sure to plan to be a part of a cross generational faith formation experience on Sunday, January 5th at 10am in the St. Philip fellowship hall. This event is for absolutely everyone from age 1 to 100.


Live Like That: Love, Feed, Serve 

Love, Feed, Serve is not slogan; it is mission, it is purpose, and it is identity. St. Philip is an active community of faith, compelled by God’s grand gift of love to share that same love with others. St. Philip Church Council has been reflecting upon who we are as congregation and community at this particular moment of time. In our conversations, what surfaced over and over again is that we are people who are shaped by God’s love in a way that changes how we live. We see God’s love epitomized in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and are called to live as Jesus would have us live – to Live Like That.

AND, as conversation continued; equally clear is that our living together at St. Philip is lived out as we love, feed, and serve neighbors near and far.

SO, St. Philip Council proudly announces a tag line, including a new logo that we hope gives direction and inspiration to our discipleship and faith in the coming months. As the weeks unfold, keep thinking about how it is that you Live Like That, share stories as to how God’s love is shared in your own experience, be active in serving so that a hungry world might be fed with the good news of a resurrected Christ.

We Live Like That Everywhere We Go 

Tag. You’re it! We want to Live Like That in our worship, through our shared ministry at St. Philip, and in our daily living. Be sure to share your stories of how you Live Like That: Love, Feed, Serve by jotting down on the back of one of our Live Like That tags your experiences. Then hang your tag on the cross in the gathering space (narthex) as a sign of the multiple ways we live out the faith together.

Disciples On The Move – Live Like That mobile 

Because our lives of faith are lives of faith everywhere we go, boldly proclaim that you are connected to the community of faith at St. Philip.  Boldly proclaim that you joyfully live out your faith.  St. Francis once said, “Preach the gospel at all times.  Use words when necessary.”  You are invited to at least start some of those conversations by putting a St. Philip Live Like That window cling on the back of your car.

St. Philip window clings are available in the gathering space and during Café on Sunday mornings in the fellowship hall.  We are asking for $5 donation for the clings.  We are disciples on the move – let’s cover our vehicles showing the Roanoke Valley that we are people who Live Like That: Love, Feed, Serve.

A New Website To Go With The New Logo And Tagline 

The St. Philip website has gotten a facelift to accompany our new tag line, Live Like That, and logo. We hope the congregation will find the new website cleaner, more useful and easier to use.

The monthly newsletter and worship assistant list are available under the Congregational Life menu, and recent news about St. Philip’s ministries and other activities should be easier to find. St. Philip is a dynamic, active church, and we hope the new website reflects that.

St. Philip is also on social media. Check out the Facebook page and Twitter @StPhilipROA.

Congregational Life Youth Ministry

Youth News 

(More details are available in your email and texts)

Youth Group: Both Middle School and High School Groups meet on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, 4-6pm, with dinner for all at 5:30pm. Come join the fun!!


5th – Rake leaves for members of the congregation

12th – Youth-led Worship Service: both services!!

17th – 19th (Fri-Sat) – Lost & Found: Youth Retreat for 7th & 8th graders

19th (7pm) – Hollins Community Thanksgiving Worship (NO Youth Group)

Youth Faith Formation: 

Middle School and High School Faith Formation is part of Sunday Youth Group.  We use lots of different materials: re:form Bible study, videos, conversation, and “burning Jesus questions” (but PK, why would we want to burn Jesus?!).


Congregational Life

College Student Care Packages 

St. Philip will send a care package to each of our 11 college/graduate students at the end of the fall semester (late November). Let’s be sure that they know that just because they are away at school they are still in our thoughts and prayers.  You are invited to bring in donations of crackers, cookies, hot chocolate, drink mix, energy bars, candy, chocolate, highlighters, post-it notes and flags, pens, pencils, etc.  Donations will be accepted (in a box in the narthex) through Sunday, November 26.  Parents, your child(ren) will not get a care package if we don’t have an accurate current mailing address for him/her.  So please get that info to the office ASAP!

Christian Education Congregational Life

Intergenerational Faith Formation 

November 12 (10-10:45am), ALL ages will gather between worship services for a short bible story followed by a service project. Just for 45 minutes, 10-10:45am. Just once per month.

In November, in honor of Veterans Day, we will make cards for the 230 veterans at the Salem VA (Veterans Administration) Hospital. I encourage everyone to be part of these gatherings! If you’d like to help with these in any way, please speak with Pastor Kelly.

Christian Education Congregational Life

Children’s Faith Formation 

[Jesus] called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” 

(Matthew 18.2-4)

Children’s Faith Formation happens in the worship service – where kids participate in the central communal act of god’s people, worshipping together! Jesus invites us all to have the faith of a child. Let’s learn from the children of St. Philip about how to live like that!

Check out the Kid Central table in the narthex with each week’s Children’s Bulletin, story books, Spark Family booklets, Bible story books, and the kids Busy Bags with crayons, activities, etc. The table is low so kids can get to the materials.

Let the little children come!

Christian Education Congregational Life

Family Faith Formation 

Sunday, November 12, 4-6pm

For St. Philip families, especially those with children age birth – 5th grade.

What will we do at Family Faith Formation?

Play games!

Learn a bible story!

So kids and families can get to know each other better

And so families can practice sharing bible stories and fun together

Led by one of the pastors

Dinner for all at 5:30pm, provided for you by a St. Philipian

The hope of this gathering is to provide regular time for families to gather in faith, fun and fellowship, much like the youth groups currently gather. There will not be childcare because kids of all ages are part of this gathering! Hope everyone can join in the fun! Questions? Want to help serve a meal for families? Talk to Pastor Kelly.

Christian Education Congregational Life

ADULT Faith Formation 

Faith in Real Life (Sundays, 10am, in the library) Jesus said: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)

But how do we do that, exactly? How do we live our faith in daily life? How do we understand the intersection of our faith with our social, political, and religious views? These are the sorts of questions that are central to Faith in Real Life!

All are invited for an open and positive format on Sunday morning as we work to build the bonds of fellowship and connect our faith with the events of everyday life. Please grab a cup of coffee in café and join the discussion.

Monday Morning Bible Study: Monday mornings 9:30am-10:30am. Study of scriptures that follow the Narrative Lectionary readings on Sunday morning. This is a great way for you to come to Sunday morning worship ready to be engaged with the word as the story is told. If you have not been a part of the Bible study crew now is the time to try it out. The crew meets in the church library.


Finish Strong for 2017 

Pastors David and Kelly 

We are blessed at St. Philip with great resources! One of which is an Endowment Fund and other investments that allows our congregation to expand ministry in many exciting ways.

However, Church Council also wants to thank you for your generosity to ensure that the infrastructure and core ministry of the congregation continues to happen. Endowment income and investments are not used for the day to day ministry of St. Philip. We continue to need to watch very closely our expenditures as they relate to daily operation.

To date, our expenditures for daily ministry outspend the offerings received from the congregation. St. Philip expects an $8000 deficit for the year 2017. Consider increasing your offering so that we finish the year in a strong financial position. If 80 St. Philip families gave just an additional $100 between now and the end of the year, we would cancel that deficit and finish in the black. Your pastors are committed to making that additional contribution and invite you to do the same.