Absecon Presbyterian Church 

Welcome

Worship

Sunday School

Bible Study

Programs

Mission

Youth Groups

Seniors Groups

Other Groups

Music Program

Staff

The Session

Calendar

The Good News

Presby Post

Christian Links

 

 

 

Good News

March 2008

LENTEN SCHEDULE

The Lenten season is already 2/3 over, but the last third should be the most spiritual for us as we follow the path of our savior to Jerusalem in His last days.

The Unity Dinner at Seton prepared by our own people and cooked by Jan & Tom Piccirilli was a smashing success. The first two lunches at Absecon Methodist and Reformation Lutheran also went very well. Two luncheons remain with Holy Week services the week of March 17. They are

Noon Lenten Luncheons

March 5 – Saint Mark and All Saints Church

March 12 – Absecon Presbyterian Church

March 20 Holy Thursday Communion Service – 7 p.m. Absecon Methodist Church , Speaker - Rev. Dave Cobb

March 21 Good Friday Service – Noon Saint Mark and All Saints, Speakers - Rev. Ed Davis & Deacon Tom Sweeney

March 23 Easter Sunrise Service – 7 a.m. Heritage Park Gazebo, Speaker - Rev. Melanie Kalla

 

The offering this year will be given to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

Easter Sunday worship services will be held at our regular times, 9:30 and 11:00, with Sunday School during the 9:30 service. There will be no breakfast served that day.

 

SUNDAY SCHOOL AND RELATED NEWS FOR MARCH

In February we enjoyed Calls to Worship from our 7 th and 8 th graders who acted out the ascension of Jesus on Ascension Sunday and from our Lions and Lambs Youth Group led by Jim Wooding and Tom Sooy. As a mission project, we baked cookies and cranberry bread and made Valentine cards for about thirty of our more senior members. Many thanks go to our volunteer drivers who delivered these goody bags. Finally, we enjoyed our second Family Worship Sunday of the year on February 24 th . The teachers did a wonderful job leading their classes. Tom Sooy directed a group playing the choir chimes, and Rob Perry led the 1 st – 6 th graders in a song with guitar and harmonica. They were all terrific! Every age group participated and the church was packed. What a wonderful sight to see!

 

Highlights and Up Coming Events

•  Our Kids for Christ Youth Group will be presenting the Call to Worship on March 2 nd .

•  On March 9 th , our Easter play, The Verdict, be performed by a cast of 7 th -12 th graders.

•  A luncheon and Easter Egg Hunt will also take place on Sunday, March 9 th , following the single service at 10 a.m. The Sunday School will provide the hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, and drinks. We're asking the families to supply a salad, side dish, or dessert for 10 people. This event is lots of fun, and everyone is welcome. Come for food, fellowship, and great entertainment!

•  The Easter Egg Hunt will begin approximately 20 minutes into the luncheon, once the egg hiders have finished hiding the eggs. We line the kids up on the driveway facing the cemetery by age groups. When the whistle blows, the fun begins.

•  We have many baskets available for anyone participating in the egg hunt who would like to borrow one. We ask that all plastic eggs be reattached and returned to the egg bin after the hunt.

•  Rob Perry will again be leading our grades 1-6 students in another musical Call to Worship which will take place on March 30 th . Practices for this will begin on March 16 th , which is Palm Sunday, at 10:20 in the game room.

•  We'll be collecting fish banks from the kids on Palm Sunday and again on Easter Sunday. This way all the kids can participate in the One Great Hour of Sharing program.

•  Stay tuned for details about summer camp opportunities. We will soon hear about camping opportunities for kids and teen counselors at both Camp Haluwasa and Camp Johnsonburg . Our church offers $100 camperships and Camp Johnsonburg is willing to treat one first time camper to a week of camp…free. Wow! More about that later.

Thank you, moms and dads, for continuing to bring your families to the Sunday School. Attendance continues to remain strong and that is really a reflection on you because you are telling your children and teens that faith is real and church is important. You can really feel the church family bond on Family Worship Sundays. Thank you for your dedication. May God continue to bless you.

See you on Sunday,

Priscilla

 

Excellent attendance for December, January and February

Jackson Little William Little Aspen Mazzatta Jackson Harvey

Layla McIntosh Sarah Ramos Ayden Platt Haley Gras

Kassie Little Alexis Mazzatta Libby Little Emma Cavage

Courtney Gras Terri Villegas Bobby Hudak Elisa Wong

Mike McManus Chris Harvey Jeremy Wong Jenaro Melendez

Brittany Wooding Valerie Seel Maggie McManus Christine Wooding

Jennifer Thomas Kristin Hudak Samantha Adams Ally Hodgson

 

SENIOR HIGH YOUTH NEWS

The Senior Youth group had a great time skiing, snowboarding and bowling on their weekend at Cobb's cabin.  Special thanks to Mrs. Weir for being a great chaperone. 

One Thursday the teens were surprised when I brought dinner uncooked. They learned how to cook a very easy chicken with orange sauce. It was wonderful.  Another surprise for  the group was when Dianna Lease came to speak and wrote the word BUDGET on the chalkboard.  There was panic in the room.  Mrs. Lease did a fabulous job.  We had an open discussion about starting a money plan.  She asked that the teens write down every time they take money out of their pockets for the next 2 weeks.  This will be interesting!!!!! 

If anyone has something they would like to share with the group please let me know.

Sincerely,

Karen

Thursdays – 4:30-7:00 p.m. (Grades K-5)

Bible lessons, dinner, crafts and games

March 22 – Bowling

Thanks to the Smith, Donoflio, Watson and Cruz Families for deserts this month!

 

 

Sundays – 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (Grades 6-8)

Bible/youth lessons, lunch and recreational activity

March 14, 15, 16 – Cobb's Cabin Retreat/Ski Trip

March 22 – Bowling

The students do a great job cooking their lunch each week.

 

THE WOMEN'S CIRCLES

As we continue our Bible study of Jonah, we will read chapter two of this short Old Testament book. It is the prayer that Jonah prays inside the body of the great fish. When Jonah was swallowed by the great fish, he realized God had preserved him from certain death by drowning. It must have dawned on him that God was watching over him despite his rebellion and disobedience.

The Sarah Circle will meet in Cobb Lounge at 7:00 p.m. , Wednesday, March 5 th . The Ruth Circle will meet at 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 7 th , at the home of Betsy Cunius. The Martha Circle will meet at the home of Ida Juhrs Thursday, March 13 th , at 10:00 a.m. All women of the church are encouraged to attend any of these circle meetings for study, fellowship and refreshments.

 

CHRISTIAN READERS BOOK CLUB – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 7:00 P.M.

Our book for March, Amish Grace , speaks to us about the power of forgiveness. On the morning of October 10, 2006 , a 33 year old milk truck driver affectionately hugged his two oldest children as they boarded the school bus. What happened next defies imagination. He then drove to the one-room Amish schoolhouse at Nickel Mines near Lancaster . After sending the boys out of the building, he tied the girls together on the floor. He then systematically shot the ten little girls, killing five of them, before taking his own life.

What stunned the watching world in the days following the shooting was the response of the Amish community. They were speaking about the power of forgiveness. Three of the world's leading experts on Amish faith and culture, Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt and David Weaver-Zercher, collaborated in the writing of this moving story of Amish Grace .

Join us Wednesday, March 19 th , at 7:00 p.m. in Cobb Lounge for our discussion on this moving account of how a disaster and the Amish reaction to it inspired a nation to search our own hearts and understand that peace of mind can come only from forgiveness.

 

FINDING THE WAY

BACK TO MAYBERRY

By TOM SOOY 

Even with quite a few of our ‘regulars' away, we had a great turnout for our last Mayberry “town meeting.” The evening was a great chance to share a potluck supper and view an episode of the “Andy Griffith Show.” This was our third month of watching the show on the BIG screen. Someone said it is like going to the drive-in theater to watch Andy Griffith!

Our next meeting will be on, Friday, March 28 th at 6pm in Madden Hall. We will have our usual (or NOT so usual) potluck supper and will screen “The Sermon for Today.”

It is Sunday morning in Mayberry, and like most of their neighbors, the Tailors are going to church. The regular preacher at the All Souls Church , Reverend Tucker, has invited a guest minister to deliver today's sermon. He is Dr. Harrison Everett Breen, a noted author.

Dr. Breen's message is about the unfortunate acceleration of the pace of life. It seems that few people are taking time to relax and enjoy life. He reminds the congregation of days gone by, when people took the time to enjoy old-fashioned band concerts. He challenges them with the question, “What's your hurry?”

So, for good food, good fellowship and more, see you FRIDAY, MARCH 28 th .

And remember – the door is always unlocked and the lemonade is always cold !

 

FEBRUARY THANK YOUS

•  Our mission team for a third great trip to the Gulf Coast for Katrina relief

•  Jan Jorgensen for fixing several bad light fixtures around the church

•  Dick Wood for fixing some doors that would not close

•  The deacons for a great job on the luncheon after Myrtle's funeral

•  All our volunteers for helping with PB & J, serving at Sister Jean's, etc.

•  Tom & Janice Piccirilli for a great job with the Unity Dinner on February 13. Thanks, also, to all the helpers who did their part. We served over 200. It was delicious! Great work.

•  The deacons for getting real carnation boutonnières for our mission team members when they returned to church February 24. It felt great to be welcomed back home.

•  Our parish associate, Gerry Reedell, for going out visiting every day to cover for the pastor while he was with the mission team. Gerry had dental work on February 25 so she will not be able to visit much for the beginning of March.

 

FROM THE CHOIR LOFT…………………….by TOM SOOY

One of my favorite Easter hymns is #295, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”. Its text recites the fact of the Resurrection:
       "Jesus Christ is risen today,"
It announces the result: 
       "Christ has opened paradise;"
And calls on all creation to announce this grand news:
       "Sing, O heav'ns and earth reply, 'Alleluia!'"

And so these words have become a natural choice for the opening hymn on Easter morning. But, it may be even more appropriate at the end of our service:

"Soar we now where Christ has led,
Following our exalted Head:
Made like Him,
Like Him we rise..."

"I believe," states the Apostle's Creed, "In the...resurrection of the body." Unfortunately, many Christians believe this is a reference to the raising of Christ on the first Easter, and that the promise to the rest of us is to float through eternity as disembodied spirits. But Christ's resurrection was affirmed in the Apostles Creed in an earlier section: "On the third day, He rose again from the dead." What was given to Christ is also promised to those who believe in Him: perfect bodies (real flesh, blood, muscles) reunited with perfected souls enjoying a new heaven and a new earth. And so the Apostle's Creed intends: "I believe in the...resurrection of MY body." Wow!

But being raised with Christ also affects the here and now. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above...put to death...whatever belongs to your earthly nature...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility and patience...forgive as the Lord forgave you...put on love. Let the peace of Christ rule...and be thankful." ( St. Paul in Colossians 3)

A delightful and “true, true” story tells of a church secretary who was enjoying a day off at the shore. A young boy approached her and asked: "Are you a Christian?" "Yes." "Do you go to church?" "Do you read the Bible?" More "yes" answers. "OK, then, will you hold my money while I go swimming?" He expected a higher standard of honesty from Christians and he got it!

May our "here and now" be lived today in the light of the risen Christ !

UNTIL NEXT TIME……SEE YOU IN THE CHOIR LOFT! Tom

 

CHURCH WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS FEBRUARY 24

The session received four new members at a special meeting on February 24. They were formally received by the congregation that morning during the 9:30 worship service. All have many talents and are eager to be involved in the life of our church. We thank God for them and look forward to serving together.

Victor and Rita Abelson Allison Arrom Tammy Lynn Suarez

309 Cos Cob Drive 321 W. Church Street 45 W. Church Street

Galloway, New Jersey 08205 Absecon, New Jersey 08201 Absecon, New Jersey 08201

609-404-3201 609-703-1892 609-677-9670

Welcome to our church!

 

MISSISSIPPI MISSION TRIP REPORT

Having just arrived home from our Mississippi Mission trip, obviously my mind is full of all that we experienced during the last week in Diamond Head . With the deadline for the Good News in just hours, there is little else I can write about.

Amish Grace is the book that our church's Christian Book Club just happened to pick before Christmas and that we are currently reading. Needless to say, God truly does work in mysterious ways as it was shortly thereafter that we learned we would be sharing our facilities at Diamond Head with the Amish, who went there to build homes.

I can only say that it was a spiritual experience to spend a week living amongst the gentle people . The ladies bonded, exchanged addresses with promises of future correspondence, and shed a tear or two when leaving. Some of our men worked side by side with young Amish men and our pastor had the responsibility of driving Monroe , the head of the Amish group, to the various work sites. It was a week of sharing, working, and learning to respect each others' cultures. On Thursday we were asked to join in their hymn sing, and on Friday they remained for Norman 's devotions. As we left the building they broke out into an Amish “goodbye” song that touched everyone of us!

While I believe that our conditions were a bit more “rustic” than the last two years, our accomplishments were even greater as we worked in several houses, bringing them almost to completion. Also sharing the camp were a group of 6 from Ohio . We experienced fellowship and the joy that comes from working together to get people back into homes and to have hope. Once again, we all came home with more than we could ever give. What an amazing combination! Amish Grace and Mississippi Mission work! It just doesn't get any better! Or does it?

Our mission trips have become a journey in so many ways for so many of us. It's not just the miles we travel but what we are learning about our fellow Christians. It's meeting other work teams in the camps and in the airports and sharing special moments as a team. It's not about showing off our blue shirts but is about showing up and doing the work Jesus would have us do. It's about the lump you feel in your throat when a homeowner puts a picture of some of our workers in a frame and leaves a note beside it saying “I Love You Guys and I'll never forget you~”

Likewise, the MS Mission Team says to all for their support and prayers:

“Thanks! We love you guys, and we'll never forget this week”

Alice Smith

 

ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING LENTEN OFFERING

Our ‘08 "One Great Hour of Sharing" campaign begins this month.

This is a joint effort within our denomination to help others thru programs such as; Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People. The bulletin inserts you will see over the next few Sundays explain these programs.

SHARING is the key word to be emphasized in the newly designed logo.

Our Mission Team's journey to Mississippi actively demonstrated a commitment to sharing of their time and talents.

We too can experience God's love in our lives when we share.

Attached to this issue are the envelopes to use for your gift.

Thank YOU.

Barbara Miller, Mission-Evangelism Committee

 

PARENTS, PLEAE ENCOURAGE USE OF FISH BANKS

 

Fish Banks were given out in February to all the Sunday School. These are for our Lenten offering for One Great Hour of Sharing.

 

Parents, please encourage your children to set aside something each day during the season of Lent. The banks should be returned on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday.

 

BAKELY HOUSE GETS NEW RESIDENT

On February 14 the Bakely House got a new resident, Edward Staveckas. Ed is a taxi driver with the Absecon Cab Company and drives the night shift. This is the first time the house has been full in six months, so we are glad to have you, Ed. Ed worshipped with us on February 24.

May God bless you in your time of being with us.

 

DEACON'S   MEETING

There will have a meeting on Saturday, March 8 th ,at 10:00 AM in the lounge for all deacons.  We need to plan for our Easter bags and also plan our Bereavement Luncheon which will be in April.  Please try to be there!!!  This will not be a regular meeting but a planning meeting.

Carol Thomas, Moderator

 

EVERGREENS MEET WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26

The Evergreens will be meeting Wednesday, March 26, at 12 noon .  At this time, there is no program scheduled.  So let's just have some fun and play a game!  This will be the Wednesday after Easter and SPRING will be here, so all of you maturing adults come on out and join in the fellowship.  Bring your own sandwich and beverage and desserts will be served as usual.  Let's all have a good time together. 

 

MEN'S FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 8:30

The Doug Jablonski Men's Fellowship will meet at 8:30 a.m. on March 8 for breakfast and planning. We will be helping with the Mother-Daughter dinner on April 27 at 4:30 p.m. Breakfast will be eggs. Come and bring a friend.

 

PRIME-TIMERS SATURDAY, MARCH 15, AT 6:00 P.M.

 

The Prime-Timers will meet at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 15 th , for their 4 th annual Lenten Meal of various soups and breads. The program is a 35 minute video: Israel – God's Chosen Land . The video follows the footsteps of Jesus from Birth to the Resurrection. Some of the New Testament locations that will be shown are: The Garden of Gethsemane, The Jordan River, The Garden Tomb, The Upper Room and The Wailing Wall.

The Prime-Timers will meet again Saturday, April 5 th , at 12:00 noon . We will be meeting that month at the special time to accommodate our speaker, Annmarie O'Neill of Senior Seminar Services. Ms O'Neill will be driving from Pennsylvania . She will speak on the topic: Are You Paying Too Much for Your Medication? This 35 minute educational program will take place after our covered dish meal. She will answer your questions afterward. Please bring a covered dish to share and join us in Madden Hall for this very informative program.

MOTHER-DAUGHTER EVENT…COMING

 

Plans are under way for this year's Mother/Daughter event. It is scheduled for April 27 th at 4:30 so mark your calendar. This year's theme will be people and food from around the world. We are looking for volunteers to help with the plans and decorating. If you know your family's origin we are asking you to wear something that will show us where they came from. Start planning now. There will be a sign up sheet after church services on Sunday or call Barbara Morgan at 404-2437.

Tickets will be available in early April. Watch for dates of sales and price in the April issue of the Good News.

 

WINTER FUNDRAISER EXCEEDS GOAL

As of February 10 th the fund stood at $9,030.00 but then Barry Leek offered to make up the shortage in memory of his mother, Myrtle. Then even more money came in. The fund as The Good News goes to press is $13,076.00.

Last year this fundraiser raised $8, 847.00. This year we went way beyond that. Thank you for your generosity!

 

CHURCH MOURNS PASSING OF MYRTLE LEEK

Leaving this world on the same date she entered it, Myrtle Leek went home to be with the Lord on February 12, 2008 , at the age of 92. She had been a member here for 45 years. She had been an elder, a Sunday School teacher, the president of the Evergreens, the ticket seller for the congregational events, and the craft genius of our Creative Crafters. Myrtle had been the originator of our Cakeless Cake Sale (now the Winter Fundraiser), and oversaw the acquisition of many additions to our church, including the original red carpet in the sanctuary, the pew cushions, the church sign, the church air conditioning, the current floor in Madden Hall, etc. She personally made a lot of things like window curtains, table scarves, etc. The last few years she came over every week to straighten up the church, water plants, and fold bulletins. When she finally gave up heading the volunteer teams that folded and stapled church publications, she still continued to put the address labels on them until December of last year.

Myrtle was a regular at nearly all church activities. She coordinated Lunch Bunch and the Trip of the Month for years, and was always at her seat for Sunday breakfast. Church was her life.

Her services on Friday, February 15, were attended by about 75 people, mostly church members. Words of affection were given by Dottie Hanlon, Joan Hoenes, Jean Delesantro, the pastor and her son, Barry. After the graveside we gathered in Madden Hall for lunch served by our deacons.

Myrtle was a champion of her generation. She lived for church and always wanted to be included. Her faith was real. Her passing leaves a void, but she is glad to be with Les again.

A week before she died, Myrtle told the pastor, “At the right time God will send an angel for me and I will be with Jesus forever.” In the strength and comfort of that faith she slipped away quietly on her birthday. A fitting end to a life that always paid attention to details.

 

IN AND AROUND THE CHURCH

•  Tom and Nancy had a great trip out to see Meghan the third week of February. They found out it can rain really hard in Arizona . Tom is no longer employed at St. Nick's since the school closed February 29. Pray for his situation.

•  Dottie and Jack Hanlon moved on February 20. Their new address is:

14 Tulip Road

Egg Harbor Twp. , NJ 08234-4819

Their moving has been interrupted with the sad news of Dottie's brother's death from lung cancer. Please keep them in your prayers, too.

•  Steve and Denise Sarkis-Irish purchased a house on Cordova not too far from the church. Their new address is:

8 Cordova Drive

Absecon , NJ 08201

They moved in last month.

•  Gerry Reedell had four teeth extracted on February 25. Ouch! She will not be fully back into the swing of things until mid month.

•  Betty Lloyd and Mary Bew went on safari in Africa . They really did.

•  Dianna Lease did a Career Day talk on budgeting for the senior youth group. Dianna was our Stewardship chairperson the last two years. Here's hoping your experience rubs off on the kids.

•  Doris Whitaker is in the Absecon Manor Nursing Home and is looking forward to going home.

•  Chelsea Frigen & Alex Wolff are on crew. They get up very early. The teams will be using our church kitchen to make goodies for fundraisers.

 

THANK YOU, CHURCH FAMILY!

Marge and I would again like to express our thanks for your support during my recent hospitalization. That kind of support is priceless!

Also many thanks for the delicious Valentine bag of goodies. The cookies and cranberry bread were so good!

Frank & Marge Loeb

 

--

Dear Friends at Absecon Presbyterian Church,

Thank you. Your kindness was appreciated more than you know!

Julie Hamaty & Amanda Otero

 

--

Dear Friends,

Many, many grateful thanks for my Valentine! I'm still enjoying the cranberry bread with my morning coffee – the cookies, and also the Hershey Kisses. Thank you so much again. It's nice to be remembered.

Mary Ryan

P.S. It is the only Valentine I received. God bless you all! Also the cards and beautiful Valentine bag which I can keep.

--

 

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for the bag of goodies. The bread was great, and the cookies were just what I needed.

Sincerely,

Laura May St. John

 

Do we have your email address? If not, email the church office (absecon_presby@msn.com) and ask to be added to our list of contacts to get weekly updates, announcements and information. You don't know what you're missing!

 

Remember, Deadlines are Important!

“Good Morning” (Sunday bulletin announcements) – Noon Thursday

“The Presby Post” (That Friday email thing) – 9:00 a.m. Friday

“Good News” (Monthly newsletter) – 9:00 a.m. 4 th Monday of the month

Articles and information should be in writing and emailed or left (photo ready preferred) in the office. Please keep in mind it may be necessary to edit due to space or other limitations.

 

GREETERS

2 9:30 Eric & Essie Newell

11:00 Tina Brown

9 10:00 Karen Muldoon

16 9:30 Wes & Anne Leopold

11:00 Frances Weir

23 9:30 Al & Ilsa Smith

11:00 Paul & Marjorie Hamer

30 9:30 David & Judy Stebbins

11:00 Jessie Klickovich

 

LAY ASSISTANTS

2 9:30 Louise Speitel

11:00 Tina Brown

9 10:00 Ginny Davenport

16 9:30

11:00

23 9:30 Sue Pantalone

11:00

30 9:30

11:00 Barbara Miller

 

HEAD USHERS

2 9:30 Bob & Irene Hunter

11:00 Jean Delesantro & Olga Davies

9 10:00 Steve & Ginny Schwab

16 9:30 Carol Thomas & Elaine Risley

11:00 Tina Brown & Joanna Howell

23 9:30

11:00 Betty Lloyd & Mary Bew

30 9:30 Bob & Elaine Wilkenloh

11:00 Marge Loeb & Tina Brown

 

ACOLYTES

2 Ally Hodgson

9 Amber Parker

16 Samantha Adams

23 Kristin Hudak

30 Ally Hodgson

DEACONS GUEST BOOK

 

2 9:30 Barbara Morgan

11:00 Jean Delesantro

9 10:00 Carol Kleiner

16 9:30 Carol Thomas

11:00

23 9:30 Ginny Davenport

11:00

30 9:30 Barbara Miller

11:00

 

NURSERY

2 Bob Hudak

9 Jennifer Platt

16 Kira Greenlee

23 Sheila Mazzatta

30 Dawn Lewis

REFRESHMENT HOSTS

 

2 Debora Wong

(open)

9 Luncheon and Easter Egg Hunt

16 (open)

(open)

23 Carol Kleiner

(open)

30 Dawn Duran

Edith Budd

 

BREAKFAST CLUB KITCHEN CREW

2 Set-up – Carol Thomas

Cook – Jo-ann Weller, Bob Wilkenloh

Clean-up – Lenore Cienkowski

9 Set-up – (open)

Cook – Sandy Shinsato, Leo Ransone

Clean-up – Paul & Marjorie Hamer

16 Set-up – Barbara Morgan

Cook – Richard Wood, Kris Jenoriki

Clean-up – Joe Marshall

23 Easter Sunday – NO BREAKFAST!

30 Set-up – Carol Thomas

Cook – (open)

Clean-up – (open)

 

WHERE ARE WE GOING?

“ When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem . And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem .” ~ Luke 9:51-53

One of the things that impresses me most about Jesus is that He took time with people nobody else paid attention to – children, lepers, women and Samaritans. Especially Samaritans. We learn from the story of the woman at the well that these people, hated by Jews, were loved by Jesus, and they loved Him. Jesus stayed there for three days, and in His most famous parable, the Good Samaritan, a Samaritan is the hero.

Yet by the 9 th chapter of Luke, Jesus moves beyond Samaria . We are told His face is set toward Jerusalem , which so irritates the Samaritans (who don't worship there) that they do not receive Him. The disciples want to call down fire upon them, but Jesus rebukes them. They move on toward Jerusalem , the place where Jesus will be betrayed, beaten, and nailed to a cross. Jesus knows this is His call and purpose, so the pleas of the Samaritans are not heeded. By Luke 9 Jesus doesn't have time to hang around villages, play with children, or hobnob with Samaritans. He has direction and a goal. We may be unclear where we are going in our Lenten Journey, but Jesus knew, and that made Him rearrange His priorities and travel plans.

That happens when you know where you are going.

On our mission trip last week I was the driver for Monroe, the Amish leader of hundreds of volunteers who had come down to build ten houses in the Gulfport area. The Amish don't drive, but they do have a great sense of direction. We never got lost, and he always knew where we were going. All day long whenever he got in the big Suburban I was driving he would simply say “Home Depot”, “84 Lumber”, “ Texas Avenue house”, or whatever. I soon learned that there were things he was uncertain about – building codes, exactly what type of materials were needed, the skill level of his volunteers, etc. But he always knew where we needed to go. My role as driver was really insignificant compared to his role – he knew where we were going, why we needed to go there and what the goal needed to be. He also knew the game plan to get there.

Jesus knew where He was going – to Jerusalem to die for our sins. The Amish know where they are going as well. But do we? Churches need to assess their goals, direction, and the game plan to get there.

This Sunday, March 2, two consultants from Presbytery will be leading our elders and deacons in a process of answering those questions. We are a church on the move. The question is, where are we going? Are there Samaritans who want to distract us from our goals? Are our goals realistic? What's the game plan to get there? Does everybody understand where we are headed?

Please pray for this process. Hopefully, we will gain a new sense of direction, and when people hop on board they will quickly know where we are going. We will report back to the congregation the results of this effort. Stay tuned.

See you on the journey.