From the Pastor's Pen 12/15/22


Dear Friends,

This morning I am sitting here in my office with quiet piano Christmas music playing from my laptop speakers as I think about and work on various parts and pieces of the worship opportunities coming up over the next couple of weeks.

The one that I have been thinking about most today is the Longest Night service that we will be hosting on Wednesday, December 21, at 6:00 p.m. This service, provided to acknowledge that not everyone sees this time as the most wonderful time of the year, is a service in which we take time to recognize the pain, hurt, and grief experienced by so many, as well as point to the hope that comes with the Advent of Christ.

Some may think that attending this service isn’t personally needed because they are perfectly happy in this holiday season. But I want to challenge that thinking a little bit today. One of the hardest parts of going through a season like Christmas while in the midst of grief or pain is the fact that it tends to feel very isolating. Galatians 6:2 tells us we fulfill the law of Christ when we carry one another’s burdens, and one of the ways that we can do that during this season is by being present for those who are struggling. One way of being present is to participate in this worship service, sitting in the same space, praying together, and acknowledging the pain felt by so many during this time.

I remember one time when I knew of a person who was struggling, and was sitting near them during worship. I noticed they weren’t able to sing a certain song, because they couldn’t believe the words for themselves in that moment. And in that moment, I felt compelled to sing those words on their behalf, an act of both carrying their burden, and sharing my faith, when theirs was lacking.

While I encourage each of us to invite people who we may know are struggling to join us in this special service of hope and healing, I also encourage each of us to come and participate, even if we think we are doing just fine this season. Come, be present, help carry the burdens of others, sharing your faith and hope when theirs is thin.

I would like to share with you another opportunity to help shoulder a burden for some in our community this Christmas. In previous years, we have been able to help a family in need with financial and other gifts to bring help and hope to them during this season. We have identified a local family who could greatly use some financial help this year, and we would like to invite anyone who wishes to contribute so that we can give them a financial gift for Christmas. You can place your gifts in the offering noting that the gift is for the “Mercy Fund.” In addition, the entirety of the offering collected on Christmas Eve will be used for this purpose. Thank you in advance for supporting this family in need.

Don’t forget to check out the display of “Christmas Reads” that may interest you during this season. Some of the books were in the church library, some are from my own and others’ bookshelves. You will find this display on the table in the narthex, and if you would like to borrow one to read, there is a sign-out sheet provided so we can keep track of who has borrowed each book. In addition, if you have a Christmas Read that you would like to add to the options, please feel free to add to the collection. Books will be returned to their owners after the holiday season.

As we near the close of 2022, if you are able, would you consider giving an additional financial gift to the church so that we can end the year without having to take any more money out of the quickly diminishing Hartlein Fund that has supplemented our income over the last few years? We are grateful for your generosity and for the many ways you continue to support the work of God’s church. Scroll down for the ways you can give a gift to the church.

For those unable to join us in-person, Sunday morning worship is livestreamed on our Facebook page, The service airs each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and will be available to watch after that as well.

While our six full-time office spaces are FULL, Hand-in-Hand Business Center is working on more ways to serve small businesses and entrepreneurs in our community. Soon we will have conference room space that will be available for use, and co-working spaces are also in the works. We are also creating a wait-list for those interested in office space. Also, we are partering with other local organizations to host a “Starting Your Business in Baldwin County” seminar in January. Spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested.

Don’t forget:
  • If you know of those who need a place to park during their visit to Gulf Shores and they would like to use our parking lot, here is the link to share: You can also pick up postcards at the church to pass on to those who might be interested.
  • Keep collecting that loose change and bring it every week to add to the collection! All of the loose change will go toward the ongoing ministry of the church, as we continue to spread the life-changing good news of God’s love.
  • Want to help the church just by doing your normal Amazon shopping? Now you can! Just go to and make all your purchases through this link! Each quarter the church will receive a donation equal to 0.5% of your total purchases. You can also set it up so the Amazon app on your phone automatically purchases through Amazon Smile. For help setting that up, see this link:
  • The church can now receive donations through Facebook, either by clicking on the “Donate” button on our Facebook Page, or through Fundraisers you can host on your own Facebook page.
  • If you have more ideas about how we can creatively fund the ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Gulf Shores, reach out and let me know!
  • For safety reasons, at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday, all the doors of the building will be locked EXCEPT the north door that leads into the narthex. If you find yourself running behind, just remember to park up front by that door and enter there.

Thank you for your continued support of the Blessing Box! With the current inflation, we are struggling to keep it filled. Your donations are desperately needed. Keep bringing those non-perishable items to church on Sunday, or dropping them at the box during the week. With rising costs of everything from gas to food, the box is being used very regularly, and your donations are key to helping us bless those who are in need of what our box can offer.

Upcoming Events:
  • Longest Night – December 21st, 6:00 p.m.
  • Christmas Eve – December 24th, 5:30 p.m.
  • Christmas Day – Worship at 11:00 a.m.
  • Presbyterian Pints – Sunday, January 1, after worship at Big Beach Brewing
  • GCAA Art Markets – January 14 and February 11, 2023, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Weekly Events:
  • Chair Yoga led by Donna Holmes – Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall
  • Bible Study – Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. both in-person and on Zoom.
    • Join the in-person group in the church Fellowship Hall
    • Join the Zoom meeting at this link:, entering the meeting ID and password below, if prompted.
    • Meeting ID: 819 5139 8375
    • Passcode: 846358
    • Next week’s scriptures: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12); John 1:1-14

As always, you are welcome to reach out to me via email, text or phone with any needs or just to chat!

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
Rev. Chrisy Ennen
E-mail, (618) 980-9899
"Let all that you do be done in love.”
I Corinthians 16:14

Posted in

Rev. Chrisy Ennen

Minister of Word and Sacrament

No Comments





no tags