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Not all the saints are in heaven. Because all who put their trust in Christ as their Savior are saints, we too are saints. So when we celebrate All Saints’ Day on the first Sunday in November we don’t want to overlook the saints right in our midst. Some of them we’ve known for a long time. Others are new to us. But we are all bound together by our shared faith in Christ.

Saints feast. The life after the resurrection is commonly described as a never-ending feast. We get a glimpse of what this is like every year when we have our Friendship Sunday. There’s always plenty of food and delightful conversations. We celebrate the new friends we’ve made during the year and we reconnect with old friends too. We also invite friends and neighbors to come to this feast, too.

Since it helps to know who is bringing what (so that there won’t be much duplication), there is a sign-up sheet for people to list what food items they will be bringing. Also, in the narthex there are invitation cards for you to take to a neighbor or friend so that they can be our guests at the friendship dinner.


This year you have a long time to wait for Thanksgiving—it is as late as it can get. But go ahead and put it on your calendar now so that you won’t forget it later in the month. As we’ve done for a couple decades now, we go to our sister church in Lombard for our Thanksgiving services instead of having them at First Bethlehem. Our sister church in Lombard is Trinity Lutheran Church, located at 1165 S Westmore-Meyers Road. (Trinity is located on the northeast corner of Westmore-Meyers Road and Roosevelt Avenue, just west of where Roosevelt Road narrows back down from a six-lane road to a four-lane road. The entrance to the parking lot is on the east side of Westmore-Meyers Road.)

The Thanksgiving Eve service will be on Wednesday evening, November 27, at 7 p.m., and the Thanksgiving Day service will be on Thursday morning, November 28, at 10 a.m. The two services will be essentially the same; choose the one that best fits your schedule. Pastor Kellerman will preach and the pastor of Trinity, Pastor Steven Wagner, will serve as liturgist.

Trinity has partnered with our church for twenty-five years. Their congregation comes to our church for Ascension Day, and we go to theirs for Thanksgiving, with the pastor from the visiting church always preaching the sermon.


It’s become a custom for us to have an annual food drive for our food pantry in November. Throughout the year we purchase many of our food items through the Greater Chicago Food Depository at a reduced cost, but there are certain things that they never (or rarely) have on their menu. Moreover, we are on our own to get non-food items such as winter gear and hygiene supplies.

Each week we have a different theme for what we are primarily collecting that day:

  • November 3: Stretch gloves, skull caps, scarves, and other winter gear
  • November 10: Ramen noodles
  • November 17: Hygiene supplies: toilet paper, washcloths, soap, shampoo, razors, and toothbrushes
  • November 24: Vienna sausages and saltine crackers

If you cannot bring a particular item on a particular Sunday, feel free to bring it earlier or later than the scheduled Sunday. The important thing is that we bring some of these items to distribute through our food pantry.

In addition, feel free to bring food items commonly given out at Thanksgiving and Christmas, such as stuffing, canned yams, pumpkin pie mix, cranberries, and the like. Please do not bring any perishable items, but only canned or boxed items. You can place the food items on the table near the piano at the front of the church (where the Nativity Scene is set up for Christmas); we will leave the items up through November and then bring them downstairs.


For the last couple of years the Bible classes meet year-round except for the most important holidays. That means there will be no Wednesday evening Bible class on Thanksgiving Eve (November 27) because of the Thanksgiving services at our sister church in Lombard. However, the Sunday Bible class will meet on the following Sunday (December 1).