Absecon Presbyterian Church 

 

 

Good News

January 2009

CHURCH HAS GREAT CHRISTMAS SEASON

In spite of a faltering economy and predictions of doom and gloom our Christmas season was probably the best ever.  All 50 tags were taken for the Angel Tree and presents returned.  We gave over 1,000 pounds of food on Harvest Home Sunday and the Christmas Eve offering for the Community Food Bank was $1,625.00 - one of the biggest ever.  The pastor’s love gift was about $900.00, and many people gave poinsettias and Mission Bouquets.  Thank you so much!

Our Advent services were all well attended, and we had some great church highlights.  An Island Christmas performed on December 7 had the biggest cast we have ever used for a Christmas drama, and it went great.  Everybody loved it!  On Christmas Eve the kids did a new pageant with a new script, the bells played and the choir sang three times.

Our big congregational event of the month was the American Boychoir who we housed and fed supper and breakfast.  The meatloaf dinner was delicious, and the dozens of workers who helped did a great job.

On December 21st a group of 21 carolers spent 3½ hours caroling and gave out 16 fruit baskets prepared by the deacons.

And all this doesn’t include the Dickens of a Christmas trip to Lancaster, the Evergreens lunch at Crab Trap, and about a dozen Christmas events by Sunday School, youth groups and others.

God bless us, every one!

SUNDAY SCHOOL AND RELATED NEWS

The Christmas season is always a whirlwind of activity, yet I found the two services on Christmas Eve very meaningful and relaxing.  I hope everyone is able to enjoy some rest and relaxation over the holidays.  Most of all, I hope the Christmas spirit stays with you throughout the year.

Highlights

 

 

Up Coming Events

 

 

 

Stay tuned for some Family and Friends activities taking place in January and February.  It may get cold outside, but our friendships, faith, and fun will keep us warm in the months ahead.  Stay tuned for details of special upcoming activities.  Thanks for a great Christmas season.

In His love always,
Priscilla

SENIOR YOUTH NEWS

We would like to thank everyone for supporting our grave blanket fundraiser.  Thank you for the donations, purchases and for the compliments on how well they turned out.
  
We had our Christmas party.  The Seniors wanted a sit down ham dinner and Secret Santa.  It was a wonderful time!!!!!  Last year Jack's gifts to everyone were nails welded together to spell out their names.  This year he airbrushed their names onto plaques.  He did an amazing job.  Thank you Jack!!!!!!

We have a movie night planned for January.  February Mrs. Ackerman will be teaching us how to fix hems, zippers etc.  ALL high school students are invited.

Sincerely,
Karen Muldoon/ co-director

WOMEN’S CIRCLE MEETINGS

In January we will begin a new Bible study on the Gospel of Luke.  The study is called Jubilee! because it begins, not with the story of Jesus' birth, but with his inaugural sermon in Nazareth, the day he stood up in the synagogue, read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and announced that the long-awaited "year of the Lord's favor" had now begun with him.  The anticipated year, described in Leviticus, would be a year when creation would be set free.  But the jubilee announced by Jesus would turn out to be much more than the one proscribed in the Old Testament.  Jesus announced that the world would be turned upside down - the poor would be rich, the rich would be poor, the blind would see, the lame would walk.  But when Jesus said he had come to heal foreigners as well, the congregation was filled with rage and drove Jesus out of town.  So begins the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Luke.  We will begin our study with Luke 4:16 - 30.

The Ruth Circle will meet at 1:30 p.m. Friday, January 2nd, at the home of Betsy Cunius.  The Sarah Circle will meet in Cobb Lounge at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 7th.  The Martha Circle will meet at the home of Ida Juhrs at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 8th.

On Thursday, December 18, Carol Kleiner and Gerry delivered several bags of warm clothing to the Charles L. Spragg Elementary School in Egg Harbor City that the women of the 3 circles purchased for needy children.  We delivered 68 pairs of gloves/mittens, 4 hat & glove sets, 28 scarves, 8 scarf & hat sets, 31 hats, 20 pairs of socks and 1 pair of earmuffs.  Thank you to all the women who participated.  Special thanks goes to Ida Juhrs and Kris Jenoriki for all the scarves they knit.

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP TO MEET SATURDAY, JAN. 10

The Doug Jablonski Men’s Fellowship will meet at 8:30 a.m. on January 10 for breakfast, devotions, fellowship and to plan for some winter activities.  Come and join us for a relaxing and beneficial time.

Breakfast is pancakes – cost is $3.00.  Cheap. 

Why not make the Men’s Fellowship part of your New Year’s resolutions?

“HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY” SUNDAY NIGHT COURSE BEGINS FEBRUARY 1

The pastor and Rev. Gerry Reedell will continue with their journey in church history on Sunday nights at 7:00 in the lounge.  This six week course will cover not only the early church but the reformation, Christianity in America, the church in the modern world, and other great movements such as the Quakers and Puritans.  This is a great part of our sesquicentennial celebration.

The cost is only $5.00.  Each week has a 30 minute video with discussion guide, handouts, etc.  See Pastor or Gerry to sign up.

CHRISTIAN READERS BOOK CLUB - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 7:00 PM

The book for discussion in January is Stranded by Lorena McCourtney.  Ivy Malone is a little, gray haired elderly lady.  Ivy realizes that no one ever pays any attention to little, gray haired, elderly ladies.  It is almost as if she is invisible.  She uses this ability to hide in plain sight to solve mysteries.

In this book, Ivy's motor home breaks down in Hello, Colorado and there's another murder mystery waiting.  The whole town thinks they've already found the killer - the dead man's niece who inherits everything.  Ivy's not so sure - but her list of other suspects is growing.  One way or another, this plucky detective is determined to use her curiosity and her talent for invisibility to solve the crime.

Please read this amusing book and join us in Cobb Lounge at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 21st.

 

NEWS FROM MAYBERRY
     On Friday, January 16th, we will meet in Madden Hall for a delicious pot-luck supper and then screen the episode of the Andy Griffith Show entitled “Bringing Up Opie.”
Personally, I love any episode that revolves around Opie.  It seems that Aunt Bee thinks the courthouse is not a good place for a young boy to be, so she bans him from visiting.  The men at the courthouse begin to realize just how much they miss Opie but realize this was for his own good.  Even if you never had children, this is a great lesson about influences in our lives, personal conflicts, relationships, as well as well as positive parenting and wise leadership.
     So be sure to join us on Friday, January 16th, at 6 PM.  And remember, the door is always unlocked and the lemonade is always cold.

NEW MEMBERS CLASS BEGINS SUNDAY, JAN. 11, 4:00 P.M.

One of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make is to join church.  It is a time of growing in faith, relationships, and finding your own identity as a child of God.

Joining church is not hard, but there is a procedure.  There will be three classes – one on our faith, one on church history and government, and one on our own church here in Absecon.  They will meet on Sunday afternoons from 4:00-5:00 in the lounge starting January 11.

On Tuesday, February 10, you will be presented to session as a new member where they will vote you in and give you a sponsor to help you get acclimated to church life.

So please join us.  It may be one of the most meaningful things you will ever do.  Call the pastor or just come out!

STEWARDSHIP

Happy New Year as we begin 2009.  I would like to commend all who responded to the Stewardship Committee's November appeal to submit an Estimate of Giving Card and the Talent Bank Questionnaire.  As of this writing (December 22, 2008) we have heard from 78 families and individuals, which is an increase over last year.  The total amount pledged is currently $136,816 which is also an increase over last year.  As you are aware, our 2009 operating budget increased 3.9% and we asked you to consider "stepping up" to the next level in giving.  About half of those pledging took this challenge.

The Talent Bank Questionnaire responses are still being tallied and will not be finalized until mid-January.  So there is still time for you to become involved.  There are many opportunities for each church member to be included in at least one activity.

In sum, it is not too late to return your pledge card or talent bank questionnaire.  Just place it in the offering plate on Sunday or mail it to the office.  If you did not receive the form or misplaced it, both the pledge card and talent bank questionnaire are available in the office.  You can pick them up when attending church on Sunday.

What is a per capita tax?  In your box of envelopes, between the January 4, 2009 envelope and the January 11, 2009 envelope is a Special Offering envelope with the following printed: PER CAPITA TAX PER EACH MEMBER $37.00.  Thus, if both you and your spouse are members of our church, your tax would be $74.00.  This is the only envelope in the box that asks you to contribute a specific amount.  The Presbytery assesses each church this tax.  The amount due is based upon the number of members in the church.  It is a major source of revenue they depend upon to fund their operations.  We benefit from their efforts as they represent our denomination in various forums and venues and provide us with services such as the Visioning Process we are currently engaged in.

Each January, our treasurer sends a check for the amount due.  Last year this was $9,636.58.  The amount contributed by you, the members, using this Special Offering envelope totaled $4,354.51 or less than half of the amount paid.  Granted, as this is a per capita tax and not a per family tax, it can be a burden to pay this amount at one time.  If it is more convenient to spread the tax out over several Sundays, please indicate on your envelope what amount of your offering is for this purpose so it can be properly credited by the counters.  The more members pay toward this tax the more funds we will have to invest in our church.

In the area of stewardship, we are off to a great start as we begin celebrating our 150th birthday and renew our commitment to carry on our mission as identified in the Mission Statement.

Gerald Hoenes
Stewardship Committee Chairperson

WINTER FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT SANCTUARY AIR CONDITIONING

Every winter the session approves a winter fundraiser to benefit some special Capital need in the church.  The last two years the project has been the church kitchen which was a big undertaking.  It is now completed.

Our sanctuary air conditioning is now 25 years old and is a Freon based system (not environmentally friendly).  We have received one bid to upgrade this system for $25,000.  More bids are being sought.

We rejoice that a family in the church has given $10,000 towards this project.  That means we have another $15,000 to raise.  We can do it!

The thermometer chart will go up in the church on the day of Annual Meeting.  Letters asking for your response will be sent the following week.  We hope to have this project subscribed by the end of February.  We hope to have the new system in place by May (cooling season).

We really need a generous response.  The kitchen project raised $50,000, but that included several fundraisers and special gifts.  We really would like to raise this money up front without additional fundraisers.

Times are tough.  But we’re a tough church.  We really don’t want to spread this project out over two years.  All we need to do it now is money.  Please return your winter fundraiser envelope with your response by March 1.

One family gave $10,000.  What will your family give?

DECEMBER THANK YOUS

 

NEWS FROM OUR WORSHIP COMMITTEE

This will be my last entry in the Good News.  My year as chairman is over.  I would like to thank everyone for their support, suggestions and comments.  It was all very helpful.  I look back to 3 years ago when I was asked to be an Elder.  I went from being the person who hides in the last pew on Sundays to being a Lay-assistant, Worship chairperson, Christian Ed. member and Senior Youth co-director.  Serving the church as an Elder was a wonderful experience.  It has given me the voice and opportunity to grow and become more confident, as a person and as a member of the church.  Thank you!!

Sincerely,
Karen Muldoon

From the Choir Loft……………………………….……….by TOM SOOY 
     If you are anything like Nancy and I, you were sound asleep by the time the clock struck 12 and a new year was ushered in.  If you did stay awake, whether at a party or at home, you heard the strains of Auld Lang Syne.  This song is as popular at New Year’s celebrations as Amazing Grace is at funerals.  The difference is that most people can sing past the first line of Amazing Grace
     There it is, a Gaelic-riddled song with an old-fashioned melody that many Americans sing as “should auld acquaintance be forgot...” and then trail off into a hum.    Well here we go – Auld Lang Syne means “old long since” and is adapted from a traditional Scottish folk tune.  The basic words date back to at least 1711.  Scottish poet Robert Burns is credited with first publishing it.
     The song recalls the days gone by and says we will always remember them.  “Should auld acquaintance be forgot?” it asks.  No, the chorus replies:  “For auld lang syne (for times gone by), we’ll tak (drink) a cup o’ kindness yet.”
     Strangely, it wasn’t Robert Burns who turned this misty-eyed tune into our New Year’s anthem.  That distinction is given to none other than Guy Lombardo, who first heard the song in his youth from Scottish immigrants in London, Ontario.   The Guy Lombardo orchestra played the song at a New Years’ Eve party in New York City on 1929, and it was an instant hit and has been a part of our culture ever since.
     Even though people aren’t sure what it means, it sounds sad and soothing at once.  It is really a song about loss, but also about love – a hope that you will see the same people you love next year.  Well, at least that’s how I feel about and no, I don’t know all the words.
     Happy New Year and until next time...see you in the choir loft.
                            TOM
MANY THANKS!! From the M & E Committee

THANK YOU to all those who so willingly and graciously stepped forward and took a tag from the Angel Tree- 50 tags gone in one day!

THANK YOU to all those who took a pretty bag and brought it back filled with the warmth that comes from a winter hat, scarf, gloves or socks given from the heart!  We delivered over 60 to Jean Webster’s folks!

THANK YOU to all those who are a part of our January Mission Team for the sacrifices they are making to help others in their time of need, which has continued for way too long.

All team members are looking for sponsors so please support them and pray for a safe and productive journey to Gulfport, MS. on January 24th.  We have 20 volunteers this trip!

THANK YOU to Ilsa Smith, Carol Thomas and Carol Kleiner who, through funds from our Benevolence budget and the Deacons, purchased necessities to help in an emergency situation for a baby at the Atlantic County Women’s Shelter.  Great job on a moments notice, ladies!

THANK YOU to those that support our stamp project in which you place cancelled stamps in the box in the atrium.  Ilsa Smith has faithfully encouraged this project so let’s all give her our “stamps” of approval by filling that box.  (They need to have 1” of envelope around them when cut out.)

THANK YOU to committee member Norman Johnson, whose name was omitted in the December Good News.  For that I’ll make your lunches in MS, Norm, but I can never match the sandwiches Loretta made for you!!   

 A Final THANK YOU to everyone in our congregation for making 2008 one that we can look back on with pride and know that we made a difference in many areas locally, nationally, and worldwide, through programs and people supported through our benevolence budget.

In His Service,
Alice Smith
 
FROM THE DEACONS

We enjoy filling bags each Christmas for the folks that the Carolers visit.  This year we filled 16 bags.  We visited 14 folks on Sunday night as we caroled to each of them.  They are always glad to see us.  We ran out of time (after 3 1/2 hrs.) so Pastor Cobb took the last 2 bags to others the next day.  Thanks, Pastor Cobb.  This was the last project for this year.  We will have a Reorganization Meeting in Feb. after our Annual Meeting on January 18th.  We welcome Irene Hunter and Cathy Follensbee to our Board along with Carol Kleiner, who is taking another year on the Board to fill an unexpired term.  We have a great and busy year.  Thanks to all of you for your support.

Carol Thomas, Moderator

LATEST FROM LISA – LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE IN MY OWN BACKYARD

Seizing the moment has been something I have tried to do throughout my life – and this season is no different.  One of the benefits of being in the States for longer periods of time is the vast amount of resources available here.  If you have ever traveled to a foreign country you know that reading material, music and often educational resources are nowhere near as available there as here.  (At least the places I travel to!)  I have worked quite a bit over the last 8 years with Iranian refugees and those from different parts of Central Asia – it has been my desire to obtain a basic understanding of reading, writing and speaking Farsi, or Persian as some refer to it.  In its various forms it is spoken in more than 10 countries by 75 million people.  Through a series of contacts – a story in and of itself, I was made aware of an Iranian woman living close by who is willing to teach me.  In the few short weeks that we have met – I have learned over 50 words, made up a memory game with colors, started to recognize names of people in a children’s Bible and most importantly have realized that maybe I’m not too old to delve into another language!  In the future I want to see more discipleship made available to those who speak this language.  I know I have done some random things in my life – I think learning Farsi in South Jersey will rank up there – but then again God really does love to “allow the foolish things to confound the wise”! 

Lisa Whitaker

PLANNING ON BORROWING ITEMS FROM THE CHURCH?

Please keep in mind we do have a sign-out sheet in the church office for anyone wishing to borrow tables, chairs, etc.  Sign-outs must be done through the church secretary so please call or stop in during office hours Mon.-Fri. 9-2.  Items may be picked up at your convenience once they have been signed out.  When returning items (in a timely manner, of course) be sure to notify the office!

 

 

 

SURVEY FOR REDUCING MAILING COSTS
  
In an ongoing effort to help the church go “green” and cut costs, the Board of Trustees and Session is considering offering a NEW program for decreasing the mailing and printing costs of the Good News, Annual Report, and October Stewardship and other mailings. Your input is needed for us to make a decision on this matter.

 Please print your name and select option 1, option 2, OR option 3.
 
Name: _____________________________________________________________

Please circle the option you would choose:

 
Please mail or place this survey in the offering plate, or leave in the church office.

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     As we herald in the New Year our committee looks forward to the various projects that keep us busy throughout the year.  On January 11th and February 22nd we will be having our soup sale.  Quarts of soup are $5 and will be sold in Madden Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  Some of the soup varieties are Vegetable Beef Barley, Escarole and Meatball, Split pea, Turkey Noodle, Cheese and Broccoli, etc.  Come and buy some delicious soup to warm your tummy!

     Saturday, February 21st will be our Kitchen Dedication dinner.  Sign-ups to attend this dinner will begin Sunday, January 25th so look for our committee members to sign up for this event.

     Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 14th, as this will be the second of our concert series to celebrate our sesquicentennial.  The King Choraliers will perform and Nancy Sooy and friends will be preparing the dinner.  More details will follow in February's Good News.

     Janice Piccirilli will be heading up a subcommittee that will be serving a light lunch after various Sundays in the upcoming months.  If anyone is interested in helping, please see Janice.  The first luncheon will be held Sunday, February 1st.

     The December American Boychoir Concert raised $400 for the Sesquicentennial project and the pie sale raised $270 for the general fund.  The Life of Christ bracelets are still for sale for $20 so please see Doris Wood or Kris Jenoriki if you would like to purchase one.

     If there is anyone who is interested in serving on the Fellowship Committee, please contact Kris (748-1214) so that you can share in planning the social events in our church.  We would love to have you!!  Our next meeting is Tuesday, January 20th, at 7 p.m. in the Cobb Lounge.

Yours in Christ,
Kris Jenoriki

EVERGREENS:  January 28th, 12 Noon - Program to be announced.

I hope you all have had a good holiday and stay well this winter.  Beat the winter doldrums with some warm fellowship at Evergreens this month.  Just bring your sandwich, perhaps a friend also.  As usual beverage and dessert will be served.

~ Marjorie

PRIME-TIMERS SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 12 NOON

The Prime-Timers will meet at 12 noon on Saturday, January 24th, for an hour of BINGO.  We had a good turn-out last year, so we will try it again.  Please bring a white elephant gift from home and we will use them as the BINGO prizes.  Just bring a covered dish to share during our common meal and join us for a pleasant afternoon on January 24th.

WANTED: FOR BREAKFAST CLUB

Many people have signed up for various jobs to help make our breakfasts at 8:45 on Sundays a success.

We need helpers to set-up, cook and clean-up from January 25th thru April 26th.  There will be a calendar of slots available – whenever you can help – on the bulletin board.

Thanks in advance! J

Also, everyone is welcomed to come and eat breakfast from 8:45 until 9:15 on Sundays.  Serving stops at 9:00 because clean-up people would like to attend the 9:30 service.

Why cook when we do?!?  $2.00 for adults and $1.00 per child.  Come join us.

Call Gayle Ackerman (652-1028) for further information.

KINGS CHORALIERS DINNER/CONCERT MARCH 14

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 14, 2009, the day of our King’s Choraliers concert with dinner before hand sponsored by our Fellowship Committee, Kris Jenoriki, chair.  Full details to come!

LUNCH BUNCH TO TRAVEL TO OLIVE GARDEN

Lunch Bunch will travel to the Olive Garden on January 14.  We will meet at the church at 11:30 or meet at the restaurant in front of the Hamilton Mall at noon.

ANNUAL REPORTS AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP

Due to the date of the Annual Meeting (Jan. 18) it will not be possible to mail the Report booklet and have it in your hands prior to the meeting.  We ask that you watch for announcements of completion and when it will be available for pickup at the church. 

SNOW CLOSINGS – CALL THE OFFICE

Virtually all church activities have gone on uninterrupted by snow the last few years, but there is always the possibility.

Our church does not advertise on the radio, but we do make every effort to put information on the answering machine and in The Presby Post.  Please note the following:

  1. Snowfall less than 3” does not generally close the church, but if you don’t feel comfortable coming out then please stay home.
  2. If the police declare a snow emergency or close the roads to all but emergency vehicles you don’t have to call.  We will be closed.
  3. If schools are closed on a day youth group meets, these groups are generally closed as well.
  4. The pastor lives on church property so he will nearly always make it in.  Tom Sooy lives in Egg Harbor.  There may be circumstances we will meet for worship without a choir or music.
  5. We reserve the right to modify any way necessary in the snow.  Sunday School classes may consolidate, breakfast may be cancelled, we may have just one service at 10:00, etc.  The only way to know for sure is to call the office or the person in charge of a particular activity.
  6. We do not pay people to shovel, and our custodial help is not here on Sundays.  If you can help shovel, we do have several snow shovels and ice melt compound.


2009 FLOWER CALENDAR HANGING IN VESTIBULE

Our 2009 flower calendar is now hanging in the vestibule.  If you would like to purchase altar flowers for any particular Sunday of the year please sign up to reserve your date!  The cost for a single urn is $25.00 or two for $40.  Forms are available in an envelope next to the chart to be filled in and returned to the church office with your payment.  This will help the secretary know what you would like printed in the Sunday bulletin.

CHURCH CLEANING HOUSE – HELP YOURSELF

We are cleaning out the game room attic.  If you want any of the following, come help yourself.

  1. About a dozen folding chairs
  2. 6’ and 8’ banquet tables (in little garage)
  3. 2 Bunn coffee makers
  4. 15 boxes of 2’x2’ ceiling tiles (drop in acoustical)
  5. 2 boxes of old centerpieces
  6. Christmas wreaths
  7. 2 porcelain sinks
  8. A 12’ garage door
  9. Many rolls of vinyl and paper wall paper

Stuff not taken goes to the dump.

 

To My Church Family,

Thank you so much for all your cards, phone calls, visits to the hospital and prayers during my short stay at the hospital.  I want everyone to know how much it was appreciated and how much it meant to me.

In Christian Love,
Betty Lloyd

* * *

They braved a very cold night and parking along Pitney “Speedway” (used to be “Road”) just to make my Christmas better!!!  Thank you Rev. & Mrs. Cobb, deacons and friends for that Christmas concert of voice in my living room.  Now I know what it is like on the receiving end (having been an active deacon myself).  Thanks to Carol Thomas for holding my dog who was wondering who all these people were singing to him.  (That’s how dogs think.)

Having no family – I truly appreciate my church family and I thank you from my heart.

Jan Baker
P.S. Loved the bag of goodies, too.

HAVE YOU VISITED OUR WEBSITE RECENTLY?

Did you know that the Good News and monthly calendar is available each month on our website?  Louise Speitel and Ken Marshall are great at updating our information.  Check it out at absecon.presbychurch.org and follow the links to Good News and Calendar.  Occasionally it has become necessary to edit articles to fit in the paper copy.  With the “wonders of the internet” we are able to provide more information and even full color!  If you would prefer to read and/or print it from the website while helping us save paper and postage please let the church office know.  Send an email to absecon_presby@msn.com or call the office at 641-3759 if you would like to stop receiving a paper copy in the mail.
 
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. 4th 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.

 

 

AA OFFERS TRADITIONS WORKSHOP SERIES IN MADDEN HALL

During the month of January the Alcoholic Anonymous group that meets in our church will be offering a special program to all the AA chapters of South Jersey.  This program will be held each Sunday at 7:00 p.m.  There will be a different speaker each week with questions after each session.  They will concentrate on the 12 step tradition.

 

 

 

 

GREETERS

4     9:30 JoAnn Sabo
     11:00 Ruth Champion
11   9:30 Russell Adkisson
     11:00 May Clay
18 10:00 Dorie Keener
25   9:30 Diane Kleiner
     11:00 Joanna Howell

LAY ASSISTANTS

4     9:30
     11:00
11   9:30 Scott Sabo
     11:00
18 10:00 Tina Brown
25   9:30 Ron Pfeiffer
     11:00 Jerry Hoenes

HEAD USHERS

4     9:30 Bob & Irene Hunter
     11:00 Paul & Marjorie Hamer
11   9:30
     11:00
18 10:00
25   9:30
     11:00

COLLECTION

4     9:30 Jan & Carol Jorgensen
11   9:30
18 10:00
25   9:30

ACOLYTES

4     9:30
11   9:30
18 10:00
25   9:30

DEACONS GUEST BOOK

4     9:30 Ginny Davenport
     11:00 Jean Delesantro
11   9:30 Barbara Morgan
     11:00 Mary Bew
18 10:00 Carol Kleiner
25   9:30 Carol Thomas
     11:00 Jean Delesantro

NURSERY

4   Dawn Lewis
11 Alice Malfi
18 Bob Hudak
25 Jennifer Platt

REFRESHMENT HOSTS

4   June Waters
     Betty Jerue
11 (open)
18 Vic & Rita Abelson
     (open)
25 Dawn Duran
     (open)

BREAKFAST CLUB KITCHEN CREW

4   Set-up – Scott Sabo
     Cook – John Harvey, Ed Little
     Clean-up – Barbara Miller
11 Set-up – Bob & Pat Hudak
     Cook – Dick & Doris Wood
     Clean-up – Scott Sabo
18 Set-up – Elaine Wilkenloh
     Cook – Bob Wilkenloh, (open)
     Clean-up – (open)
25 Set-up – (open)
     Cook – (open)
     Clean-up – Janet Gee

 

THE PROMISE AND PROBLEM OF ANNIVERSARY YEARS

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2a

By the time you receive this, our church will be celebrating its 150th year.  We already got a jump start on December 13 when Jonathan Pitney, one of our founders, came ringing a bell at the American Boychoir event.  He was letting us know it was about time to celebrate.  And a great year of celebration we will have!  Extra congregational events, visits by past ministers, a new church history, a church ornament, and of course the grand celebration weekend May 16-17.  It will be a time of joy at what God has done through us.

Yet anniversary years aren’t always a “shot in the arm” to a church.  We like to think that having a long and glorious history attracts new members.  Not necessarily.  The younger generation sees old churches as stuck in tradition, judgmental and unable to change.  They tend to go to new churches simply because there is no long history behind them.

A long history cuts both ways.  Let me point out some of the great aspects to a long history and some of the drawbacks.  On the positive side, consider this:

  1. A long history is testimony to the fact that we have always met people’s spiritual needs.  In good times and bad we have been a lighthouse in this community.  People kept coming through the great depression, wars, hurricanes, etc.
  2. A long history should help us appreciate sacrifices made long ago.  Members used to take turns coming in to light the four potbelly stoves so the church would be warm.  For 50 years all we had was an outhouse out back.  I have to admire some of the clergy who served here who sometimes waited months for a paycheck.  We really complain a lot considering what it was like in the 1800’s.
  3. A long history should instruct us at what we can do well.  We are good at family ministry, seniors ministry, traditional worship, fellowship, mission, etc.  We always have been.
  4. A long history is like a good wind up for a good pitch in baseball.  It should give us confidence.  We made it through the Great Depression.  This recession should be no problem.  We play ball in all kinds of weather.
  5. A long history should set the stage for vision for the future.  We have always responded to our world with new ministry and outreach.  Our past should help guide us into the future.  History should help us address the questions of “What has God been doing here?” and “What does He want us to do in the future?”

So what is the problem with church anniversaries?  Human nature is the problem.  Consider what has happened at some:

  1. We become proud and rest on our laurels.  A good track record does not guarantee future success.  Proud churches stop being creative.  Consider the Detroit automakers.  Now that they sold their corporate jets and eaten some humble pie they may be ready to face the future.
  2. Nostalgia sets in.  We just look backwards to the point that we see the past is better than it was.  Thomas Merton defines nostalgia as the fear that the wonderful creative acts of God in the past will not be repeated in the future.  We celebrate the past.  We can’t afford to get stuck in it.
  3. Negativism.  We can get so caught up in the “good old days” mentality that we become very negative about our present world.  “Nobody helps out like they used to.”  “Nobody cares like they used to.”  “People are not as honest as they used to be.”  “All people want now are their own selfish goals.”  Believe it or not, people aren’t much different now than they were long ago.  It’s how we see people that keeps changing.
  4. Visioning becomes a struggle.  In short, we get so caught up in looking in the rear view mirror that we can’t focus on the road ahead of us.  The world is a lot more complicated now.  Absecon’s multi-ethnic now.  We started rural.  Now we are urban.  There was no YouTube, cell phones, casinos or paved roads in 1859.  We need to be more directive in looking at our world today than ever before.  Looking backwards has limited usefulness in looking forward.

So why celebrate?  Because our history is God’s history.  Did you know most of the Bible is history?  It became scripture because it was so obvious that God was working through events.  He has worked through our events, and we know He will continue to guide us as we wait on Him.  The God of the past is the God of the present and the future.  That is why the writer to the Hebrews admonishes them saying “looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith.”  Jesus not only blazes the trail, but He equips (perfects) us for the journey.

God is the God of past, present and future.  As we celebrate our sesquicentennial let us continue to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  By His grace we move ahead knowing the best is yet to be.

Happy Sesquicentennial to Absecon Presbyterian!

                                   


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Other Groups

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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

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

 

Welcome

Worship

Sermons

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