Christmas Eve Services
We’ll have five in-person Christmas Eve services on December 23 @ 5 & 7 PM and December 24 @ 3, 5 & 7 PM. We are asking everyone to RSVP for the service you would like to attend, that way, you’ll be assured that the service you selected will have lots of space for physical distancing for you and your family. Don’t forget to invite your friends and family to join you. RSVP here. We’ll have Kids Ministry from birth to 5 years that you can RSVP for also.
Christmas Eve Offering
Our Christmas Eve offering this year will help build a church that will launch and then host a new Compassion center for children and families that are struggling. Compassion International in Ecuador thoroughly investigated and identified a target area in need of a Christ-centered church that preaches God’s Word.
This is the second church that we’ve helped build in Ecuador in partnership with Compassion (the first church is in Playas). We love the Compassion model: Compassion focuses exclusively on children and works only through the local church. Compassion keeps Jesus at the center of all they do as they provide kids with spiritual, physical, educational, and social development and care.
The Arco de Santa Rosa is a new church plant ministering to children and their families in Santa Rosa. The church is working in an under-resourced neighborhood that lacks safe water and sanitation. The new church has only one classroom to serve almost 300 children and has to improvise by using tents and a rotating schedule to accommodate all the children.
Pastor Miguel Alfonso (pictured below) is leading the church. He came to Christ through his daughter, who was a part of a Compassion program. He’s passionate about discipling the parents of the kids enrolled in the Compassion experience.
This new congregation, with Pantano’s help, will build two reinforced concrete classrooms, one large bathroom with eight toilets, eight sinks, and four urinals, and one cistern with an elevated tank and a water pump.
The cost of the facilities to launch a Compassion center will be $75,000. You can give online (choose the Christmas Eve offering option), or you’ll be able to give at our Christmas Eve services. Everything collected on Christmas Eve will go to help build a church to host a Compassion program. What a great way to celebrate Christmas and make a difference for hundreds of kids and families!
Advent – Anticipating Christmas
The days are shorter, and the nights are longer, and 2020 for many of us, was a dark year. Many of us are in the darkness, in between where we’ve been and where we hope to be; this is also the meaning of advent. Advent is the space between the first coming of Christ and his second coming in glory. And while we walk in the dark winter, in between, we anticipate the way forward, finding hope, peace, joy, and love – the themes of our Advent series that starts Sunday (12/6).
Christmas Eve Services
We are planning on five in-person services on December 23 at 5 & 7 PM and December 24 at 3, 5 & 7 PM. We want to ensure that our services are not too full and provide appropriate physical distancing, so we ask everyone to RSVP. That way, you’ll be assured that the service you selected will have plenty of space for you and your family. If all our services reach our physical distancing capacities, we will add more services. We’ve reserved spaces for folks who show up and didn’t know they were supposed to RSVP. Thanks for helping all of us out. RSVP for Christmas Eve HERE. You can also RSVP for Kids Ministry, available for children birth to 5 years old.
Christmas is All About Giving
You can serve and meet our community’s needs (all year long) by participating in Loving My City. Here are a few opportunities:
The Department of Child Safety has asked us to help with furnishing two new family visitation rooms. You can help by purchasing items here: Loving My City – Department of Child Safety
Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship, provides personalized Christmas gifts to children whose parents are incarcerated. For just $22, you can help a child know their mom or dad loves them by providing them a gift: Virtual Angel Tree – Pantano Christian Church
Enter Pantano’s Security Code: 8UB2X
Our Christmas Eve Offering will go to help build a church in Santa Rosa, Ecuador that will serve over 300 Compassion children. I’ll be sharing more details about this exciting project in my next blog.
We hope you take one or more opportunities to celebrate the Christmas season with Pantano!
December Nights 2019 Recap
We had an amazing four nights celebrating Christmas and families during our December Nights. Because we don’t charge admission (the event is free), we have no way to know the exact number of people who attended, but here’s what we do know:
Thank you to our staff and the many volunteers who are essential to make this gift to our community happen every year. Thank you to all who donated the items we were able to give away. I am so grateful for our generous giving church. You are awesome!
Christmas Eve Services
Next up is our Christmas Eve services. Remember we have five identical services at 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM AND 7 PM. Given our past experience, the 11 AM and 7 PM services will likely be the least crowded. We have childcare for ages birth to 5 years old. If you are out of town, you can watch them at pantano.online.
Sunday, December 29th Services Online
You can’t imagine how hard our staff works the month before Christmas. It starts with the work and planning going into Serve Our City day. Then we are thick into decorating the East Campus, hosting December nights (4 days, 2 weekends) and putting on five amazing Christmas Eve services (with all the planning, setup, and rehearsals). The hours are long. So in the past, we’ve given our staff the week off between Christmas and New Year’s. However, it wasn’t really a full break, because there is always a Sunday in between Christmas and New Year’s! Having perfected our online campus experience, we decided this year to have our services solely online!
This year, Sunday, December 29th at 9 AM, 11 AM, AND 1 PM – we’ll provide our services online only. There will be no services on our physical campuses at Pantano East (1755 S. Houghton Rd) or Pantano Southeast (Empire High School). We’ll have worship, a message, and we’ll guide you to partake of communion wherever you are. We’ll also have a link for a children’s specific experience (they will need to watch on a separate device).
So on Sunday, December 29th at 9 AM, 11 AM or 1 PM – join us online for “Church at Home” at pantano.online. We’ll also be passing out reminder cards with this information at our Christmas Eve services.
Remember – there are no services on December 29th on our physical campuses! Online only.
My wife and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and may you be filled with the presence of Jesus this season. Immanuel – God IS with us!
We are well into our Christmas celebration at Pantano. We served over 1600 cups of hot cocoa during our first weekend of December Nights! We have one more weekend of December Nights – this Friday and Saturday, December 13th and 14th, from 6 to 9 PM. We are also looking forward to celebrating Christmas at our services on Christmas Eve. We’ll have some fun to kick things off, sing our favorite Christmas carols, hear a short message of hope, and of course, light our Christmas candles.
This is an amazing time to invite your loved ones—family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, whomever—to join you for this special day. We still have some invitation cards available at Guest Services.
We’ll have 5 identical one-hour services at 11 AM, and 1, 3, 5, and 7PM. Yes, we added an 11 AM service this year. If you can, I’d love for you to attend either the 11 AM or 7 PM service to make more room at the other services, which tend to fill up. Pantano Southeast will also be joining us this year at our East Campus!
These services are family-friendly. Kids will get a special treat as they arrive. There will be childcare for kids ages birth to five years old, if that would be of help to you. We can always use more volunteers to help with childcare (contact Shelly Vasey at 520.298.5395 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested).
For more details about the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, check out ChristmasAtPantano.com.
As always, you don’t want to miss the amazing service we have planned. I hope to see you there!