Hampstead Congregational Church

November 26th 2023

First Sunday of Advent—


How Does a Weary World Rejoice?


No Matter Who You Are or Where You Are on Life’s Journey,

You are Welcome Here!



Prelude                                                                                                            Herb Tardiff

Greetings and Announcements

Lighting the Advent Wreath                                                            

The Candle of Hope                                                    

Leader: How does a weary world hope?

People: By telling stories of hope, by lighting candles in the night, and planting seeds in the winter that will bloom in the spring.


Leader: By praying for children as they grow, and picking up trash on the sidewalk.

People: By insisting that small acts can make a difference.


Leader: There are a million ways to practice hope. So today we light the candle of hope as a reminder and a charge.

People: With God’s help, may we bring hope into a weary world. Amen.


Sing verse 1                        “One Candle Is Lit”                                           Chalice #128


Come surely Lord Jesus as dawn follows night
Our hearts long to greet you as roses the light
Salvation draw near us our vision engage
One candle is lit for the hope of the age

Passing of the Peace of Christ

Call to Worship   

Leader: In God’s house, we can be joyful.

People: We can be grateful. We can be hopeful.


In God’s house, we can be weary.

We can be anxious. We can be grieving.


In God’s house, we can be honest—

inspired or tired, delighted or doubtful, connected or curious, and everything in between.


This is God’s house.

You are welcome exactly as you are. Let us worship our loving God.

Opening Prayer                                                                                                Brad Robie


Let us pray,        

Loving God, the source of our joy, as we turn our hearts toward your Word, we ask that you would soften us. Soften the callouses on our hearts. Weave yourself in between the cracks in our spirits. And plant hope where there is room. And as you do this, like flowers toward the sun, we will turn ourselves toward you, eager to hear a Word so good that we cannot help but ask ourselves, “How can this be?”

With openness and gratitude, we pray, Amen.


 Opening Hymn  “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”             #67 Chalice vs 1, 3, 6


Verse 1

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Verse 3

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received its frame,
From everlasting, thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Verse 6

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guide while life shall last,
And out eternal home.


Scripture Reading: Luke 1: 1-23         NRSVUE

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I, too, decided, as one having a grasp of everything from the start, to write a well-ordered account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may have a firm grasp of the words in which you have been instructed.

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God during his section’s turn of duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified, and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know that this will happen? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he returned to his home.

Sermon                                                                                           Rev. Kathy Youzwak

Special Music 

Call for Concerns & Celebrations


Pastoral Prayer


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.


Call to Offering

Prayer of Dedication

For the wondrous ways this offering with breath hope into community,
we dedicate these gifts. For the ways it’ll help us live out God’s mission,
we dedicate these gifts. Let these gifts strengthen our call to carry out God’s justice and mercy. Amen.

Hymn of Going Forth   “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart”       N.C. #290

Verse 1

Spirit of God descend upon my heart
Wean it from earth thro' all its pulses move
Stoop to my weakness mighty as you are
And make me love Thee as I ought to love


Verse 2

I ask no dream no prophet ecstasies
No sudden rending of the veil of clay
No angel visitant no opening skies
But take the dimness of my soul away

Verse 3

Have you not bid us love you every way
All, all your own soul heart and strength and mind
I see your cross there teach my heart to stay
O let me seek you and O let me find


Verse 4

Teach me to feel that you are always nigh
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear
To check the rising doubt the rebel sigh
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer


As you leave this place, you go into a weary world— so speak tenderly. Do the good that is yours to do. Choose connection. Hold onto hope. And remember that Christ took on flesh for you. You are God’s beloved. So go rejoicing. The world needs it. May it be so!

Music Usage permitted through OneLicense HCC License # A-730412 and CCLI License Number 2927783. All rights reserved.

All Worship contents except Prayer of Dedication by Rev. Sarah (Are) Speed | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org.”

Copyright 2021 Faith INFO Ministry Team, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.  


Advent Devotional Available -- We are beginning Advent on Sunday, November 26th.  We have a wonderful daily Advent devotional booklet, "Living Well Through Advent" available to anyone who wants one. This year's devotional focuses on practicing wonder with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. This is a great opportunity to make some space for reflection and wonder this Advent season.

Copies are available in the foyer of Hadley Hall, or if you would like one sent to you, please contact the church office.


Advent Discussion Group Begins Nov. 30th -- Using the Living Compass devotional (described above), we will have a 4-week discussion group starting Thursday, November 30th. Because we at HCC are beginning Advent one week early, please start reading the reflections on November 26. On the 30th we will discussion the first five days of reflections.  We will meet upstairs in the Davis Room (large room at end of hall) at 10am. Sessions will run for about 75 minutes, and all are welcome.

Our discussions will be based off the reflections and discussion questions provided in the booklet.  If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact Pastor Kathy.


Greens Workshop - Help Create Items for the Craft Fair -- Join us Thursday, Nov. 30th at 6:30pm in Hadley Hall.  What to Bring: Scissors, clippers/pruners for greens

We will be decorating wreaths and making swags and centerpieces out of greens. Kari will be leading, teaching and directing, so even if you have never done anything like this before, come join us. We always have so much fun!  Ahead of time: If you have any pine, hemlock, spruce, holly, or any other kind of evergreen in your yard that you could cut and bring in, please bring it in ahead of time. We can store it in the basement. Collect pinecones, birch branches, winterberry and any other interesting natural finds that could be used as well. Kari will be providing ornaments, ribbons etc. for decorating.  All the products we create will be for sale on Saturday, Dec. 2nd at the Christmas Craft Fair.


Christmas Craft Fair Help Needed -- We need your help to make our annual Christmas Craft Fair a success. If you can help in any way it would be greatly appreciated.  The fair will be held on Saturday December 2nd, and we could use your help with the following things:


  • Make soup
  • Provide baked goods
  • Donate raffle items
  • Staff tables at the event
  • Help set up before the event on Thursday, November 30th from 3-8pm
  • Help break down after the event
  • Attend and invite others to attend


Sign-up sheets are located in Hadley Hall.  Let’s make this the best Christmas Fair ever! As always, thank you for your support.


Free Interfaith Choir Concert on December 2nd -- The Interfaith Choir of the Greater Derry and Londonderry Area are holding a free December Holiday Concert!  This year they will be having two public concerts. One on Saturday, December 2 at 7pm in the sanctuary of Hampstead Congregational Church and the second will be on Sunday, December 3rd at 4pm at the Church of the Transfiguration in Derry, NH.

 Lit Steeple


Steeple Lighting

Steeple lit November 20th – 26th

In loving memory of

Harry Mildonian, Jr.


Forever in our heart, mind and spirit. 

Love, His family & friends


Steeple Lighting

Steeple lit November 20th – 26th

In loving memory of

Roberta Bobbie Kelleher


With love from your family & friends