Absecon Presbyterian Church
VERSE OF THE MONTH: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.
~ Proverbs 3:5-6
OUR CHURCH CELEBRATION OF 150 YEARS
What a glorious weekend of May 16th and 17th we just had. God is so good to us. Everything went off without any problems what-so-ever. We would like to thank the Sesquicentennial Committee for their 1½ years of work to make this grand celebration what it was. People came from other states to be back where their roots were at one time.
Our previous pastors attending were Rev. Walter Dosch (1947-1950) from Pennsylvania, Rev. Henk Vigeveno (1950-1959) from California, Rev. David Hodgson (1967-1980) from Arizona, and of course our current pastor, Rev. David Cobb (1981-to present).
We started off on Saturday with a Meet and Greet Gourmet Dessert with the organists from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Madden Hall was transformed with beautiful table settings and a Punch Fountain. Such gourmet desserts were beautifully arranged with chocolate dipped strawberries and assorted other fruits and cheese. We give all the credit to Nancy Sooy who so graciously gave her time and talents to make all this happen with the help of the Fellowship Committee. After the dessert time, our featured guests were Fred Davies and George Wesner at the organ and piano in the sanctuary. There were 200 guests attending. Dr. Jonathan Pitney (Michael Doyle) was another of our guests for the weekend events. Joanie Hoenes planned and arranged the concert.
Our celebration on Sunday started with a church service at 10:00 a.m. All four ministers took part in the service telling us of some of their ministries while at our church and places they have traveled over the years to minister to other countries for our Lord. Ms Jan Baker’s 3-4 grade class gave the Call to Worship. Our Handbell Choir played special music. The Chancel Choir sang 3 selections.
After the service we all traveled to Renault Winery for a fabulous dinner and program. We had 213 people attending this event. It started with appetizers from 12:45 to 1:30. Then we were allowed in the beautiful Grand Ballroom for our ANNIVERSARY DINNER. Tom Sooy, our MC, did the introductions. Opening Prayer and Blessing was given by Rev. Dr. Deborah G. Brincivalli, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of West Jersey. After the luncheon Mayor Peter Elco gave a Proclamation from the City of Absecon. A proclamation from Dennis Levinson, Atlantic County Executive, was also read by Tom Sooy. Following that Louise Speitel showed a Power Point video of 150 Years in Pictures. Louise worked for many weeks putting this together and we sure want to thank her for all her hard work. There was special music from The Lyric Chamber Winds Quintet. They also played background music while we enjoyed our appetizers. Each pastor gave another talk on their background while serving our church in years past. A letter of congratulations from Rev. Dr. Bradford Davis, another former pastor, was read. He was not able to be with us due to health problems. There was a vocal selection from Ms Sharon Neff who also sang the Benediction. MC, Tom Sooy, put on a skit called As It Was, So It Will Be from the back history of our founding fathers of the church. He called on members of the audience to participate (a surprise to them). Tom called this an historical (or is that hysterical?) dramatization. What a fun time we all had. The luncheon ended with all holding hands and singing the Lord’s Prayer.
“Looking back in gratitude - Moving forward in faith”
PASTOR COBB INSTALLED AS MODERATOR-ELECT ON MAY 19
Our pastor began his duties on May 19 when he helped lead the worship service in which he was installed as Moderator-Elect. He will now be part of Presbytery Council, the Worship Committee of Presbytery, and the Leadership Team.
SUNDAY SCHOOL AND RELATED NEWS
In May we held our final mission project of the year by planting flowers and bushes in front of the church and along the back drive. The day was wet and drizzly, but the rain held off while we were planting. All the kids and adults did a great job. The kids decorated flower pots for Mother’s Day and then planted a flower in the pot for their moms. On that same day we had representatives from Camp Johnsonburg come to speak to the kids and their parents about the camp. May 17th was the 150th anniversary Sunday and Jan Baker’s class with the help of some 5th and 6th graders presented the Call to Worship. We enjoyed a Youth Recognition Sunday and visitation from Camp Haluwasa on May 24th.
Up Coming Events
It has been a privilege and an honor to serve you as Christian Ed. Resource Director this year. I look forward to working with you again in the fall as well as this summer with the 40-Minute Club and other events and outings. Have a wonderful summer! May you rest, recharge, and renew your spirits knowing that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We must preserve our faith and pass it on to our children. It is by our deeds that people may know us as Christians.
Sunday School Excellent Attendance Awards
Bronze (15+) Silver (20+)
Grace Dischart Abby Mazzatta
Madeleine Dischart Aspen Mazzatta
Ray Lewis Sarah Ramos
Heather Sutton Gina Aviles
Elena Achamizo Madison McElwee
Madeleine Lewis Alexis Mazzatta
Austin Bond Emma Cavage
Christina Bond Bud Burgess
Bob Hudak Justin Hughes
Amber Parker Sam Burgess
Ally Hodgson Nick Hughes
Valerie Seel Chris Hughes
Gold (25+) Kryptonite (30+)
Aiden Platt Hailey Gras-Pinkney
Sal Pinkney, Jr. Terry Villegas
Nicholas Sabo Mike McManus
Jackson Little Elisa Wong
William Little Jeremy Wong
SENIOR YOUTH NEWS
Our mission project has begun. If you have walked past the field behind the manse you may have noticed it. We planted (4) pepper plants and (2) cucumber plants. To help protect these guys Jack welded together a frame that we covered in chicken wire. Now we water and wait.
Over the summer we will be getting together for a pool party at my house (date to be announced), and we are having a day at the beach with surfing lessons (date to be announced).
All students in high school now or starting high school in the fall are welcome to both of these summer parties. We hope you will join us!!!!!
The Christian Education Committee will honor our graduates on Sunday, June 14, during the 9:30 a.m. service. If anyone from your family is a graduate of 8th grade, high school or college please complete the following form and return to Gayle Ackerman by Monday, June 8.
Name of Graduate ______________________________________________
Name of School ___________________________ Grade _______________
Degree __________________________ Honors _______________________
Please tell us something about your achievements, interests and plans for your future.
MEN’S CLUB TO MEET JUNE 13 FOR COMMUNION
Our Doug Jablonski Men’s Fellowship will meet in the sanctuary for a communion service at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 13.
Afterward we will move to Madden Hall for a pancake breakfast.
All men are invited to join us. Last month we had a great car show. Special thanks to Jack Cobb, Frank Mohr, Sonny Kleiner and John Channell for bringing their cars.
Absecon Community Vacation Bible School
Dates: August 3 thru 7, 2009
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12 Noon
Ages: Age 4 by August 1, 2009 thru 8th grade
Location: Absecon United Methodist Church
Fees: Ages 4 thru 5th grade -- $10 each child
Grade 6 thru 8 -- $30 (includes field trips)
All registrations must be mailed.
Return completed form with stamped self-addressed business envelope, along with all fees (check made payable to Community Church School), to:
526 West Herschel Street
Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
For additional info, call 609-804-0068.
Register Early! Classes close when filled.
Sponsored by Absecon United Methodist, Absecon Presbyterian, Reformation Lutheran and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Churches
Please be certain to sign permission slip below.
Name of Child by June 2009 Age Birth Date
1 ___________________________ ___________ _____ _________
2 ___________________________ ___________ _____ _________
3 ___________________________ ___________ _____ _________
4 ___________________________ ___________ _____ _________
Allergies/Medical Concerns/FYI for teachers and staff: ________________________________________________________________________
Church Affiliation: ________________________________________________________
Family Address: __________________________________________________________
Home phone: _____________ Work phone: _____________ Cell phone: ____________
Parent/Guardian (please print): ______________________________________________
Emergency name / number if different from above: ______________________________
I give the above mentioned child/children permission to attend Absecon Community Vacation Bible School.
Signed: _____________________________________________ Date: _______________
REPORT FROM THE STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE
The most recent data indicates that our revenue to support the 2009 budget improved a bit since last month's report:
Budget for 2009 $225,636.00
Budgetary needs through April 26 $ 73,780.00
Our giving through April 26 $ 56,061.42
Investment Income $ 5,736.82
Rental Income (net) $ 9,417.78
Total $ 71,216.02
Amount under budget $ 2,163.98
Last month's report had us $2,594.85 under budget, so there is a slight drop in the under budget amount.
Average weekly giving by month improved in April. Here are the statistics:
January average weekly giving was $3,689.44
A number of our church members have expressed appreciation to me that this information is given each month; so we will continue with this approach. While we are running a deficit, news from other churches indicates this is not an uncommon experience given the state of the local and national economy. Having said this, you are strongly encouraged to do all you can to keep up with your pledges - particularly as we enter the summer months and a single service schedule.
Gerald W. Hoenes
MAY THANK YOUS
SUMMER SCHEDULE TO BEGIN JUNE 28
The last day of Sunday School will be on Father’s Day, June 21. That will also be the last day of double services, Sunday breakfast, and coffee hour in Madden Hall.
Starting June 28 we will have one service at 10:00 a.m. followed by refreshments outside (weather permitting). We will return to the double service schedule the Sunday after Labor Day (Rally Day).
SEASONED SINGERS BEGIN REHEARSING SATURDAYS FOR JULY 12
The Seasoned Singers will begin rehearsing each Saturday starting May 23 at 10:00 a.m. They will present a concert as part of our worship on July 12 while the pastor is away in Hawaii.
Plan on being with us for this special musical worship tradition.
FROM THE CHOIR LOFT….by Tom Sooy
What a last few weeks! Our 150th Anniversary weekend already seems to be in the distant past. The Saturday Dessert Reception and the Wesner and Davies concert was amazing. Sometimes we find that doing things differently than we have in the PAST CAN BE A good THING! The Sunday Anniversary Celebration Worship Service was a blessing to all who attended. To have three of the four living past ministers here was a marvelous thing. I have to admit that every time I hear the “sheep story,” it gets better and better!
I want to thank Jan Cobb and members of our Bell Choir for continuing to rehearse beyond their “normal” stopping date of Easter Sunday and joining in the Anniversary Celebration. Thank you all for wonderful comments about the Choir’s participation in the service. All members put so much work into all the music. It was indeed a joy to have Bob and Barbara Meyn come all the way from Florida to take their old places in the choir stalls. It was great to see you both back with us, and this proves the old children’s song true – all God’s children got a place in the choir!
The words of our Anniversary Benediction Response gave me goose bumps. We will continue to use this great music and text marriage throughout the year as we continue to “Look back in Gratitude and Move Forward in Faith”!
O may all who come behind us find us faithful;
may the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us find us faithful.
Until next time…..see you in the Choir Loft!
NEW MEMBERS RECEIVED MAY 24
Four new members were received during worship on May 24. Please note their names and addresses in your directory.
Robert Kraybill Kirk and Melissa Sutton
110 Hyannis Court 302 S Lorraine Avenue
Galloway, New Jersey Germania, New Jersey
350 B Philadelphia Avenue
Egg Harbor City, New Jersey
CONFIRMATION CLASS TO BE CONFIRMED JUNE 21
Our Confirmation Class will be confirmed on Sunday, June 21. Be sure to congratulate the class and encourage them in this new step in their Christian life.
PASTOR TO BE OFF 5 SUNDAYS OVER THE SUMMER
Starting this year Pastor Cobb will have six Sundays of vacation. We are proud to report that we have tentative speakers for all of them. This tentative schedule is as follows:
July 12 – Seasoned Singers
July 19 – Tom Sooy
Aug. 9 or 16 – Lisa Whitaker
Aug. 23 – Rev. David Bailey
Aug. 30 – Rev. Richard Ollinger
MISSION/EVANGELISM by Tom Sooy
Thanks to all who participated in our Blankets for Mother’s Day program. Donations are still coming in so a total will be available soon. Fast on the heel of that is our Father’s Day and Beyond program. This program, through Church World Services (yes the CROP Walk people), can provide emergency food to a family for a month for $72.00. This amount is out of reach for many individuals but our challenge is for us to go together as friends, Circle groups, the Choir, Men’s Club, Evergreens, Youth Groups, Committees – everyone in the church - to make an individual or joint contribution to this amazing new program. We plan to continue the program throughout the year so there will be plenty of opportunity to be part of this wonderful ministry.
Speaking of ministries we support the Presbyterian Missionaries, Ted and Sue Wright, have been serving in Africa for more than 20 years. They have made the decision to end their ministry and return to the United States to be with family members. We thank Ted and Sue for their years of service. When our committee meets later this month, we will be choosing another field missionary to help support.
After 8 years, Carol Kleiner has stepped down as our PB&J liaison to Sister Jean’s Kitchen. Carol will continue to help with the project as needed. Just as God opens a window when a door closes in our lives, JOHN HARVEY has volunteered to take over the ministry. We thank God for Carol and John and all those help us minister to a world outside our church walls.
FATHER’S DAY AND BEYOND……….
Imagine losing your home and everything in it from an earthquake like the one that devastated Pakistan in 2005. A food package, like the ones we provided in Pakistan, contains emergency food supplies for a family of five for a month. The packages typically include wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar, tea, salt, a box of matches, and soap. These essential items can help a family make it through these terrible circumstances.
These words are from a bulletin by Church World Service. As food costs continue to rise all around the world, CWS is able to provide emergency food for a FAMILY OF 5 for $72.00 a month. While this amount is beyond the means of many individuals, the Mission and Evangelism Committee is urging members to join together as “Mini Mission Teams” and pool resources. We also urge and challenge each organization, Circle Group, Choir, Men’s Club, Youth Group and even Sunday School to join together and be part of this exciting Mission Project.
Consider sponsoring all or part of an EMERGENCY FOOD PACKAGE for FATHER’S DAY or throughout the year. This program will continue throughout the year to give time for as many who are able can participate.
Dear Church Family,
I've just completed my freshman year at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. I am excited to have been accepted asan intern with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Baltimore Urban Program this summer. I will be spending 6 weeks learning about God's heart for the inner-city and its residents and learning how others are responding to the plight of the inner-city from a Christian perspective. I will be assigned to an intern team working to serve inner city children and their families, women who have been incarcerated, inner city teenagers and community members. I am really excited about the things I am going to learn from these experiences, and I am praying God works through me as well to share and demonstrate the Gospel to those whom He deeply loves and longs to draw to Himself.
As part of the internship, I must raise a missions budget of $1000.00 for the summer. I would like to ask you to be a willing member of my prayer and financial support team. If God leads you to give, donations can be made out to "InterVarsity Christian Fellowship" with my name and BUP in the memo line. (Donations should be sent to the address below.) All donations sent to the national office are tax-deductible. Donations can also be made online at https://my.intervarsity.org/designate.php. Just enter my name and "Baltimore Urban Program" in the search engine. If you desire to give, but need to do so at a later date, I would be grateful if you could still notify me now about your decision.
I'm also seeking to build a prayer team of at least 5 people who will pray for me daily during the BUP Internship (June 13th -July 25th). I would really appreciate you considering this kind of partnership in ministry with me also. If you are able to commit to either request, would you please let me know by June 5th? I look forward to sharing about my internship experience with you at the end of the summer. Thank you.
Yours in Christ- Lord of the City, Hope of the World,
PO Box 7895
AD HOC COMMITTEE OF SESSION SIGNS AGREEMENT OF PURCHASE
On May 29 an ad hoc committee of session signed an agreement with Barry Leek, son of Les & Myrtle Leek, to purchase Myrtle’s old house at 23 School Street. An agreement of this type cannot be executed without a vote of the corporation (which is made up of all active members of the congregation), and a loan of $80,000 will need to be approved at this meeting as well. It is anticipated that a meeting of the corporation can be called by the end of June and that if the purchase is approved a settlement can be held the beginning of August. The basic facts are as follows:
During our negotiations Barry decreased his asking price two times and we responded with increases in our offer. We all agreed the price was fair in this market.
The house will be named the “Leek House” in memory of Les and Myrtle Leek.
The chairman of this committee is Betty Lloyd. Our real estate person is Barbara Morgan. There were seven other members including three elders and three trustees. The pastor also served.
CEMETERY COMMITTEE NEWS BULLETIN!
The Cemetery Committee held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 20, 2008. Some exciting news came out of the meeting.
First, contracts were approved for the construction of the columbarium and the order has been placed with Cold Springs Memorials. At this time we expect delivery sometime in July or August. In the next few weeks, you will see a contractor working in the cemetery building the foundation for the columbarium. We are having a substantial foundation being built that will be able to support the 26,000 pound columbarium.
Now for the really good news, the committee voted to have a pre-construction sale. Starting today there will be a 10% discount given on all columbarium sales until the columbarium construction is completed. Remember, by law purchases can only be made to members of the Absecon Presbyterian Church. If you are interested in taking advantage of the 10% discount sale, please contact the church office. Your name will be recorded in numerical order. After the construction is completed we will notify you so that you can come in and pick your interment space, and you will be billed $900.00 at that time. Remember, after construction is completed the price for a niche (interment space) will be $1000.00.
Watch for a pamphlet about the columbarium in the coming weeks.
CHURCH AIR CONDITIONING COMPLETED FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
We had hoped to have it in place for the 150th on May 17, but God blessed us with a cool day that day so it didn’t matter.
James Werner Heating and Air Conditioning was awarded the contract three weeks ago and began work May 18. It was completed on May 21. We now have two York five ton units with environmentally approved Puron gas. This system is more efficient than the old system so will partially pay for itself in the long run.
Many thanks to Dick Wood for overseeing this project and all of you who gave so generously to make it happen. The final cost was under $15,000, much less than we had budgeted.
The church will probably be faced with additional air conditioning work in the next few years, but we will deal with it as it happens.
Now that the 150th Anniversary weekend celebrations are over, I would like to give a huge thank you to all those who helped at the dessert reception! Nancy Sooy did an incredible job making all the desserts that were on the main reception table! It took her many, many hours of baking, but the end result was enjoyed by so many people! Thank you so much Nancy for sharing your culinary delights with us. Also a big thank you goes to all the people who baked and donated cakes for the reception--they were delicious!! And of course the Fellowship committee members who were at the church most of the day setting up and working the event. They are greatly appreciated as always!!
Our next event is the Strawberry Festival on Friday, June 5th from 6-8pm. See the separate article on this event for more information.
Future events will be the dinner cruise in August and the Yard Sale at the end of September. More info will follow in the next Good News!!
Serving through Christ,
STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL JUNE 5 – 6-8 P.M.
Our annual Strawberry Festival will be on Friday night, June 5, from 6-8 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door - $4/adults and $2/children. Entertainment will again be provided by several members of the Pickin’ Shed Jam from Albert Music Hall, Waretown, and friends. You may even recognize a few!
Anyone who is interested in helping to bring in baked goods, ice cream, etc. or help pick, clean, or prepare strawberries, please sign up on the sheet on the board in the foyer or see Kris Jenoriki.
We will go to pick strawberries at Butterhoff’s at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 4. Meet at the church. (Rain date for picking is Friday.)
LUNCH BUNCH TRAVELS TO COUSIN MARIO’S JUNE 17
The van will leave at 11:30 for Cousin Mario’s on Rte. 40 (formerly Chet’s). You may meet us at the restaurant at noon if you prefer. It is located near the inspection station about four miles from Hamilton Mall.
EVERGREENS: June 24th, 12:00 Noon
There will be a very special program at this last meeting before summer. Betty Lloyd and Mary Bew will present video pictures and narrative about their exciting safari to Africa in 2008. It will be a very special time, so plan to join us for the program and fellowship. Just bring your sandwich, beverage, and dessert will be provided.
Annual Field Day
Saturday, June 13
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Races on the field
BBQ & Swimming in the Pool
(Families must provide their own swimmies)
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL & CRAFT SHOW NOVEMBER 21
The Fellowship Committee will be holding a Christmas Festival & Craft Show on November 21. We will have baked goods, photos with Santa, door prized, etc. Anyone who would like to work on the committee to organize this event please contact Janice Piccirilli (652-2850).
Also contact Janice if you or someone you know is a crafter or vendor and would like to participate in the craft show.
TRAVEL ADVENTURE GROUP NEWS by Tom Sooy
There has been a lot of “buzz” about our proposed April 6 -14, 2010 trip to “THE OTHER IRELAND.” Northern and the west of Ireland are not included in many tours, and yet they contain some of the most amazing parts and sights of Ireland.
As we are still so far out from our travel dates, group airfares have not been made available. Once the final prices have been established, there WILL be a meeting to outline the trip and answer any questions you may have. It is unfortunate that the airfares will probably be presented within a day or two of this edition of the Good News. So, listen for announcements in church and watch the bulletins each Sunday for updates.
PASTOR TO BE ON PETIT JURY JUNE 8-12 IN ATLANTIC CITY
The pastor will be out of the office the second week of June. He was summoned to serve on petit jury. Hopefully he won’t be away all week.
Our prayer chain has expanded to the internet. If you are willing to commit to praying for members of our church family and would like to join our Email Prayer Chain please notify the office. Email blasts are sent out as requests are received in the office. No forwarding or phone calls are necessary – just a willingness to pray.
The telephone chain is still active and always willing to add a “link” or two. If you would like to become a part of the phone chain contact the office.
Our appreciation and thanks go to Carol Thomas and Elaine Risley, and the entire Sesquicentennial Committee for an unforgettable weekend celebration in the life of our Absecon Presbyterian Church. The Saturday night Meet & Greet Gourmet Dessert Reception and Concert was a most elegant affair. The church service, reception and dinner at the Renault Winery on Sunday was so well planned and so enjoyable. We know the entire committee worked long and hard on plans for the weekend, and we feel they deserve a "standing ovation and round of applause". Many thanks again, Committee. Paul and Marjorie Hamer
* * * * *
Many thanks to everyone for their prayers, phone calls and cards. God has been good to me, and I’ll be back soon!
* * * * *
Dear Pastor Cobb, Session & Members,
It was a joy to be with you to celebrate your 150th anniversary. What a great event. Thank you for including Jim & I as guests.
May God be with you in your ministry.
Debby Brincivalli, Executive Presbyter
* * * * *
Thank you for the invitation to the grand 150th anniversary of the church. What an exceptional event it was! So well planned, so many memorable moments, good music, fellowship and words. We want to thank all who had a part in making this a highlight in this year!
Thank you also for the financial help for our transportation.
The Lord bless you and the Church!
Henk & Stevie Vigeveno
* * * * *
Do we have your email address? If not, email the church office (email@example.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) – 20th of the month (note change)
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.
7 9:30 Roger & Jinny Wolcott
11:00 Olga Davies
14 9:30 Mae Sterling
11:00 Bob & Lucy Jerue
21 9:30 Edith Budd
11:00 Paul & Marjorie Hamer
28 10:00 Irene Hunter
7 9:30 Bob & Irene Hunter
11:00 Bob & Lucy Jerue
14 9:30 Drew & Alice Malfi
11:00 Jean Delesantro, Olga Davies
21 9:30 Richard & Doris Wood
11:00 Mary Bew, Betty Lloyd
28 10:00 Al & Ilsa Smith
7 9:30 Jan & Carol Jorgensen
14 9:30 Bill & Ginny Davenport
21 9:30 Scott & JoAnn Sabo
28 10:00 Roger & Jinny Wolcott
DEACONS GUEST BOOK
7 9:30 Mary Bew
11:00 Mary Bew
11:00 Jean Delesantro
21 9:30 Jinny Wolcott
11:00 Mary Bew
28 10:00 Pat Hudak
7 9:30 Bob Hudak
14 9:30 Jennifer Platt
21 9:30 Kira Greenlee
28 10:00 Dawn Lewis
7 Dawn Lewis
14 Betty Jerue
28 Karen Little
BREAKFAST CLUB KITCHEN CREW
7 Set-up – Bob & Pat Hudak
Cook – Richard & Doris Wood
Clean-up – Paul & Marjorie Hamer
14 Set-up –
Cook – Jean Delesantro, Bob Wilkenloh
Clean-up – Joe Marshall
21 Set-up –
Cook – Leo Ransone, Sandy Shinsato
Clean-up – Edith Budd
TIME TO COME BACK DOWN
“Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white…and as they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one” ~ Mark 9:2-3, 9
“Was that a true story?”
“What were you thinking? Are you crazy?”
“What was the point?”
Sad to say, the story I told at Renault’s about the bucket truck was true. I can testify that there is a great view of the meadows and the Atlantic City skyline from our church. You just have to be up about 80 feet to see it. Watching the sunset over Absecon and seeing all the lights come on is really neat – like having a Christmas train layout again.
It turned out the truck had a two speed hydraulic system, and when I shifted speeds it dropped me like the Tower of Terror ride in Disney World. I was just glad to get down.
What was the point? Just what many of you felt – I didn’t belong up there. It was a momentary fling that was dangerous. All I can say in my defense is that we’ve all done some things in life that on hindsight weren’t too smart. Sitting in that bucket 90 feet up and wondering if I would be on the front page of the Atlantic City Press while the Absecon fire department rescued me with Tower 8 was an embarrassing thought. But that bucket was becoming smaller, confining, and not fun. – “Please God, just get me out of here and back on land where I belong.”
We all can be guilty of wanting to go through life with our head in the clouds. “Lord, just show me a great view. Give me a thrill. Help me escape the humdrum problems and the close up view of the clutter and dirt.” When I’m high in the sky I can invent any world I want. And ignore any part of reality I don’t like.
For the last two years we have been gearing up for this 150th anniversary. It was truly great. Some of us are still soaring in the clouds. Nostalgia sometimes gives us permission to create a past that looks better than it was and to avoid looking at a future that has distinctive challenges. The Atlantic City Press did an article on Absecon last Tuesday that pointed out some dangerous trends in business occupancy demographics, and the bankruptcy (Chapter 7) of the Pinnacle on the old Marsh School property. We would love to keep our heads in the clouds and pretend that Absecon and our church are still living in Mayberry, but that is not reality.
On May 16-17 we were flying high and the view was great. But the hydraulics kicked in and brought us down to earth. The view is not as pretty here, but the land is solid, and this is where God wants us to serve Him. The challenges are great and we will need to take greater risks than I took riding a bucket truck. But I’m happier at ground level than I will ever be with my head in the clouds.
Like Peter, we can’t stay on the mountain top in a booth. We need to return to the valley.
It’s time to come back down. See you in church.
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