2014 Advent Devotional Guide

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 10.39.06 PMCLICK HERE to download the 2014 Advent Devotional Guide! Written and prepared by members of our community and supported missionaries, we invite you to participate in this annual tradition. The devotional is meant to be a shared experience for all of us as we prepare to celebrate our Lord’s birth.

Join the Conversation Online on the BLOG

This year, we will be publishing the Advent Devotional Guide in a series of blog posts online at www.blacknalladventdevotional.wordpress.com. A devotional will be posted each morning of Advent, beginning Sunday, November 30, and you can also sign-up to receive daily email reminders.

How to Use This Guide

Make it a part of your daily routine during Advent.

  • Keep the devotional on your kitchen table so that each morning you read it over breakfast.
  • Put the devotional on your pillow and resolve that you will not put your head down until you have read it.
  • If you read it online, put a daily alarm on your computer or your phone that reminds you to read it at a certain time each day. Add a second back-up alarm.
  • Keep your toothbrush in the devotional and read it while you brush your teeth (for three minutes your dentist recommends).
  • Use it as a time of worship: open in prayer, light a candle on the Advent wreath, sing a favorite hymn or carol, read the Scripture and devotional, sing another favorite hymn or carol, and close in prayer.
  • Find or create another daily habit.

Share it with friends.

  • If you live with other people, read it together and then talk about it.
  • Use it as a conversation starter on Sunday mornings or at other Advent events, “Did you read the Advent devotional today? What did you think?”
  • Go online and share your thoughts with others at our blog: www.blacknalladventdevotional.wordpress.com.
  • Parents, make it a point to talk to your kids about it. Translate it if you have to. If your kids are older, text them about it.
  • Study it together with your small group.

We live in a culture that seizes every opportunity to convince us to buy stuff during this season. Let us, then, be just as intentional to seize every opportunity to think together about the Coming and Second Coming of our Lord Jesus.

Cover Artwork by Christina Saj.

Advent Sunday School

Advent Sunday School 2014-01

Sunday, December 14 & 21
9:45 – 10:45 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall

On Sunday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 21 everyone from the Birds’ Class through the adult Sunday School classes will be invited to join together in the Fellowship Hall for a whole congregation Advent worship time during the Sunday School hour.  The two separate Sundays will follow the model of our Children’s Worship time. After gathering in the Atrium with light refreshments, people will be invited to come in quietly to the Fellowship Hall.  There will be hosts who will greet and welcome participants encouraging them to come into the space prepared to hear from God and worship God.

We believe that providing everyone at Blacknall with more opportunities to worship and hear from God together regardless of age can be a good gift to all of us. We hope to see you there!

For more information, contact Warren Kinghorn, Adult Education, or Traci Hoover, Director of Elementary Children’s Ministry

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November/December Newsletter

The November/December Newsletter is now available

Click here to download the full version including articles on Blacknall’s weekly Communion experiment, Sunday morning coffee hospitality, TableTalk, and Operation Christmas Child.  Happy reading!

2014 Advent Calendar of Events

Advent 2014-01

Advent Wreath Workshop

Sunday, November 30  •  4-6 p.m.  •  Community Room
All ages and stages are welcome to participate in this craft!  $12.00 for a kit; sign-up in the Lower Atrium. Childcare will not be provided.

Women’s Bible Study Brunch

Thursday, December 4  •  9:30-11:30 a.m.  •  Fellowship Hall
Join Blacknall women for fabulous food, fellowship, worship, and a special message. Childcare provided for infants through 2nd grade.

Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 7  •  8:30 and 11 a.m. worship services  •  Sanctuary
Our annual celebration with a chamber orchestra, gorgeous choral singing, and lots of congregational participation, all built around selected Scripture readings. Regularly scheduled children’s programs and nursery provided.

Advent Sunday School

Sunday, December 14 and 21  •  9:45 a.m.  •  Fellowship Hall
All ages (Birds Class through adults) are invited to the Fellowship Hall for a special Advent Sunday School class! The two separate Sundays will follow the model of our Children’s Worship time using Godly Play. Childcare provided through age 3.

Carols and Cocoa

Sunday, December 14  •  6:30-7:30 p.m.  •  Sanctuary
A Christmas songfest with tasty refreshments to follow. Come sing your favorite carol and end the evening with cocoa and cookies. The whole family is welcome! Childcare will not be provided.

Worship on the Longest Night

Sunday, December 21  •  6:30-7:30 p.m.  •  Sanctuary
Perhaps this has been a hard year for you or you are having trouble getting into the ‘spirit’ of the season. All are welcome to gather for prayerful worship of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is with us even on this (symbolically) longest and darkest night of the year. Childcare provided for infants through 2nd grade.

Christmas Eve Services

Wednesday, December 24  •  5:30 and 7:30 p.m.  •  Sanctuary
Both services include communion and candles. Childcare provided through age 4.

December 28 – 11 a.m. Worship Service Only

The entire Blacknall family (children included!) is encouraged to participate in worship together this morning at 11 a.m. There will be no 8:30 a.m. worship service. Nursery care available through age 2.

Epiphany Sunday Reception

Sunday, January 4  •  9:45 a.m.  •  Fellowship Hall
Bring the whole family to celebrate Epiphany Sunday during the Sunday School hour! Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Childcare will not be provided.

Holiday Hospitality with ISI

ISI Thanksgiving-01

Many international students would treasure an invitation to be included in a family’s holiday gathering. The ISI team (International Students, Inc.) in Durham hopes to connect you with students for you to extend a personal invitation to your household’s Thanksgiving Day or Christmas season gathering.

Click here to sign-up or contact Scott Hawkins for more information.

September/October Newsletter

Lancaster_Gate_tubeThe September/October Newsletter is now available!  Featuring a letter from Allan about “minding the gap,” details on an exciting solar project with Congo Initiative, an interview with our new Administrative Associate, Donna McBrite, reflections from our summer intern, Grace French, and much more…

Click here to download the full version.

Women’s Retreat Registration


Fall Women’s Retreat
October 24-26
Valle Crucis Conference Center

Click here to register for the retreat.

Join us for a restful and spirit-filled women’s retreat in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina at Valle Crucis Conference Center. We will be diving into the Scriptures together, exploring the last words and wisdom of Moses, John, and Peter. In a world where the good life has come to mean a life of pleasure freedom and protection from pain, how does the discipleship of following Christ lead to a different vision…a better one?

For more details, go here.

Welcome David & Kaswera Kasali


Kasali Visit Aug 2014-01

Congo Initiative President David Kasali and his wife, Kaswera, are coming to Durham and Blacknall August 28 – September 1. There will be a number of opportunities to spend time with them and we hope you will avail yourselves of one of the opportunities. We continue to pray expectantly that the Lord has invited us into this friendship for his kingdom purposes and look forward to connecting them to our church family.

Click here to view their schedule for the weekend as it is developing.

If you cannot make one of these gatherings, but want a chance to get together with David or Kassie, please contact Betsy Poole.

Exploring Weekly Communion

002_NCC_120205_0158_CROPAt the beginning of the summer the Session approved a six-month period, beginning in July, when we would celebrate the Lord’s Supper each week at both worship services. In preparation for this change, the sermons during the month of June explored the meaning of the Supper, and why we might be led to make this a more frequent element in our worship life together….Read the full letter from the Worship Committee

And, click here to read the latest update from Allan in the November Newsletter.

As we hoped, we have received feedback from many of you regarding this experiment. Thank you. Join the conversation by reading a sampling of comments the Worship Committee has received thus far (below) and then consider emailing the Worship Committee with your own questions and comments:

We have been praying that Blacknall would move this direction since we started coming in 2004. Like many we came to Blacknall because the worship was so good. Meaning not just the music, but the liturgy, preaching, and whole thing made Jesus present for us every week….When I come to worship, I walk in the front doors hoping (in the fullest sense of this word) to be put back together by the Holy Spirit in worship. I come to Blacknall wanting to be made whole as a follower of Christ; I come looking to be fed by my Lord, to be put back together as a disciple. And I need every opportunity I can get for the Holy Spirit to work on me and to work the Father’s Word into my weak heart. I need to hear it in the sermon. I need to speak it in the creed. I need to see it in the faith of those around me in passing the peace. I need assurance (every week because I forget!!) that my sins are forgiven. And I need to eat it; I need to eat the reminder of Christ’s good work in me and that He will be faithful to complete it.

There was a saying that we had way back and that was that “familiarity breeds contempt.” Personally I thought that the once a month and special occasions was a nice compromise for the Church. When the Holy Spirit leads, it is toward unity of the Church (I believe in the Holy Spirit by Michael Green). I am not sure that this is going to help with unity.

What I’ve noticed is how utterly grounding Communion has been. Considering the various cultural assaults on the faith, the air of opposition rising, the turmoil we have all experienced in questions of sexuality and the divisive nature of such…coming to the Table together has, for me, been a weekly reminder of “the things that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews).

We will be posting new comments as they are received, so please check back often.

Click the links below to listen to the Exploring Communion sermon series from June:

Christian Community Development Conference: Sept. 24-27


September 24-27
Raleigh Convention Center

The Christian Community Development Association national conference is in Raleigh, September 24-27. CCDA was started by John Perkins and the ministry of Voice of Calvary in Mississippi in the late 1980′s. The conference will draw 2500 people who serve in Christian ministries (like many of the local ministries we support). Reality Ministries is a field trip site! Event is at the Raleigh Convention Center. Blacknall has a small fund to assist with registration, and volunteers (who work 10 hours there) can attend for $49. Deadline for registration is September 9. Check out the website: www.ccda.org.

For information on registration and to apply for financial help from Blacknall, click here or contact Margaret or Susie Meghdadpour.