Absecon Presbyterian Church
Verse of the Month:“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
ANNUAL MEETING ON JANUARY 24
There will be one service on January 24 at 10:00 a.m. Breakfast will not be served that day. Sunday School will run concurrently. New elders, deacons and trustees will be ordained and/or installed during the service.
The annual meeting will begin after the worship service. We will approve reports, elect a Nominating Committee, and handle any business rightly coming before the congregation under old and new business. Please plan on being with us and seeing our Presbyterian government in action.
Lunch will be served, at the church’s expense, in Madden Hall after the meeting. Come, visit and enjoy each other’s company.
ANNUAL REPORTS TO BE AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP
The deadline for all committee and organization reports for the annual report booklet is Monday, January 4. We ask that you watch for announcements of completion and when it will be available for pickup at the church.
SUNDAY SCHOOL AND RELATED NEWS
Happy New Year! We look back at all the things we did together this past month and year and feel a sense of accomplishment. Our combined Kids for Christ and Senior Youth members presented the Call to Worship on December 6th. The cast from the Sunday School presented Ebenezer, Jr. starring Mike McManus as Ben and Jackson Harvey as our spontaneous, exuberant shepherd. When the spirit says dance, we dance! Many thanks to everyone who donated hats, gloves, scarves, etc. for Sr. Jean’s people. I’m sure they were glad to have those items during the recent blizzard. Also the Sunday School presented a Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve despite the short rehearsal schedule. Thank you, Tina Harvey and Barbara Hughes, for getting that together. We collected the advent quarter books and donated all the money to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. Finally our entire Sunday School sang “Silent Night” on December 27th. Now we turn and face the New Year and see what God has planned for us.
Highlights and Up Coming Events
God always seems to have plenty for us to do. It’s an honor to do His work wherever we can.
In Christ’s love always,
NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH GROUP TO BEGIN SUNDAY, JANUARY 10TH
11:00-11:45 Bible Study
Starting in January the new Middle School Youth Group (formerly KFC) will be meeting on Sundays from 11:00 to 1:00. This is the youth program for kids in 6th through 8th grade. Siblings who are in 5th or 9th grade are invited to attend as well. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to stay during this time.
We will meet every Sunday until the middle of May except for Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day. Every first Sunday we will take a trip or do community service projects. We have already adopted a small section of Pitney Road to keep clean, and Jim has a good friend who will let us go fishing on his boat.
A ski trip to Cobb’s Cabin in the Pocono Mountains will take place from Friday, January the 29th at 6:00 to Sunday the 31st. Cost is to be determined—watch for further announcements and a flyer. Our interactive Bible study theme for the weekend will be the wisdom of Proverbs. Current chaperones include Jim McManus, Janna Beth Cobb, Priscilla Schultheis, and Pastor Cobb. We are still looking for someone to prepare meals.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact either of us. Pray for us as we form this new program.
Jim McManus, 272-0399
Janna Beth Cobb, 641-1102
MEN’S FELLOWSHIP TO MEET JANUARY 9
The Doug Jablonski Men’s Fellowship will meet for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 9. Come discuss some New Year’s resolutions. (A great one would be to come to Men’s Fellowship.)
Breakfast will be eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. – still only $3.
In January the circles will begin a new, year long study of Joshua: A Journey of Faith. As we study chapter one of Joshua, the people of Israel stand at a crossroads. They are about to enter the land of Canaan. Moses has died and Joshua has become their new leader. God has given the people laws, both to protect them and to shape them as a people who live for God.
The people of Israel must learn to obey God in order to survive. The threats are real. The stakes are high. Will they remain faithful to their God when everyone else worshipped multiple gods? Will they trust God to provide the victory in battle? Will they establish themselves in the land when a sudden raid from a rival group can wipe them out? The way is dangerous and requires discipline and commitment. The God revealed in Joshua is not an easy God, but is a faithful God.
The Sarah Circle will meet in Cobb Lounge at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 6th. The Ruth Circle will meet at the home of Betsy Cunius Friday, January 8th, at 1:00 p.m. The Martha Circle will meet at the home of Carol Thomas at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 14th. All women of the church are encouraged to attend the circle that best meets their time schedule for study and fellowship.
On Thursday, December 17th, Carol Kleiner, Marge Loeb, and Gerry delivered five large bags of warm hats, gloves, etc. to the Charles L. Spragg School in Egg Harbor City. We delivered 65 hats, 81 pairs of gloves and mittens, 89 pairs of socks, 35 scarves (many of them were knit by women of the church) and 31 sets of hats and gloves. Thank you to all the women for your contributions.
NEWS FROM THE CHRISTIAN READERS BOOK CLUB, by Lucy Jerue
Join us on Wed. evening, January 20th, at 7 pm in Cobb Lounge for a discussion of 2 books which truly capture the spirit of Christmas.
The Christmas Glass by Marci Alborghetti is a story that begins in post World War II Italy as Anna, a young widow, carefully wraps her most cherished possessions -- a dozen hand-blown, German-made, Christmas ornaments, handed down by her mother -- and sends them to a cousin she hasn't seen in years. This cousin, Filomena, immigrates to America, where the precious ornaments are passed down through the generations. After more than forty years, twelve people come to possess a piece of Christmas glass. The reader joins each of these twelve people on a personal journey. Where will each journey end? Read this book and find out.
The other book we will discuss is The Christmas Dogby Melody Carlson. The story centers on Betty Kowalski. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. And then there is her annoying new neighbor and that ugly old pink toilet in his back yard. But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about. This contemporary Christmas story is a timely yet gentle reminder that God can work miracles through something as seemingly insignificant as a little brown dog.
Each of these books is short. In fact The Christmas Dog may be read in a couple of hours. So, if your New Year’s resolution is to join the Christian Readers Book Club, pick up this book (Sam’s has it) and join us.
NEWS FROM MAYBERRY
We had a great crowd out for our Christmas Story episode. Hopefully the new year will bring even more folks to our “town meetings.” On Friday, January 15th, we invite you to join us for a potluck supper and a screening of the episode “Opie’s Newspaper.” This is a timely episode dealing with slander and gossip. The whole town of Mayberry is turned upside down by Opie and Howie’s new newspaper. Just where did they get the idea to print all that stuff? It will really make you think.
So join us on Friday, JANUARY 15th, at 6 pm in Madden Hall for a delicious potluck supper, a great show and some lively discussion of our own. HAPPY NEW YEAR from the whole Mayberry gang !!!
Remember, the door is always unlocked and the lemonadeis always cold.
NEWS FROM THE WORSHIP COMMITTEE
The Worship Committee welcomed 2 new members - Joanie Hoenes and Bob Hunter. We will be meeting in January with the Visioning Committee to discuss changes in the service. I'll let you know when we set a date for the meeting.
Ron Pfeiffer, Chairman
FROM THE CHOIR LOFT….by Tom Sooy
This month we not only turn a new page in our calendars, we change the entire calendar! For some this could not happen quickly enough, for others the wish the past year never ended. But here we are, in 2K10 as I see it being called. Time to start taking the decorations down and face the “Bleak Midwinter.” The words to this carol seem so appropriate for us right now:
In the bleak midwinter, frosty winds made moan ,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
But we know that the winter leads to spring and the earth turning green once more. And so it is with our lives, changing calendars to a new year, then month by month the pages turn until we face a world re-born, and the season of Easter.
Thank you for the love and support you have shown over the past year, and I look forward to the new year and the possibilities it holds for us all. God bless us all and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Until next time…...see you in the Choir Loft!
MISSION AND EVANGELISM by Tom Sooy
This will be my last posting as Chair of the Mission and Evangelism Committee. I want to thank you all for trust placed in me by the Committee and the Congregation. As I wrote last month of just some of the wonderful things the Committee did in the past year, we all look forward to an even more rewarding year of service through mission.
We look forward to hearing more from our new missionaries in Kenya (new to us, not new to the mission field!) Sal and Irma de la Torre. We thank God for individuals who are so willing to take up their cross and go to far flung parts of the world to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sal and Irma are truly working with the lost, the last and the least in this world. Also, REAL PARTNERS UGANDA will be a great part of our mission emphasis this year as well. (See Rev. Reedell’s Prime Timers article.)
The one thing that we really, REALLY need to work on is the welcoming of visitors to our services. It is our duty as members of the church to be welcoming to all. If you sit near, or spot someone you do not recognize, introduce yourself, invite them to Coffee Hour, introduce them to the Pastor and most importantly, introduce them to others in the congregation. In general make them feel WELCOMED!
The mission work of the church never stops, so listen in church, read the Good News, but most of all listen to the voice of God as He directs each of us on our personal missions for His glory.
A POTPOURRI OF FINANCIAL NEWS FROM STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE
Stewardship Campaign - As of December 18, seventy one (71) pledges have been received totaling $123,382. Last year around this time we had received seventy eight (78) pledges totaling $136,816.
If you haven’t returned your estimate of giving card (pledge), there is still time. Hopefully, as we begin 2010, we will do so on the same financial footing as last year.
As of the same date, we received 65 completed Talent Bank questionnaires. These will be tallied in January and the results will be given to the committee chairs.
If you did not receive or misplaced a pledge card or a talent bank questionnaire, blank forms are available in the office and the Narthex. Just place your completed card or form in the collection plate or mail it to the church office.
2010 Budget - At the December 1 meeting of Session, the 2010 proposed budget was given a second reading and was adopted. The detailed budget will be in the Annual Report you will receive in January prior to the Annual Meeting. Highlights of the budget are that while the 2009 budget totaled $225,636.00, the 2010 budget totals $222,419.00 or a $3,217.00 reduction. Less was needed for Personnel costs because of the restructuring of two youth programs (Lions and Lambs and KFC), and restructuring Custodial care costs for the church. Thus, Personnel costs are $2,552.00 lower in 2010. Less was also needed in Programs because the cost for celebrating our 150th birthday was a one year event. Thus, Program costs are $1,725.00 less in 2010.
Even though frugality is the watchword, the Stewardship Committee decided to follow the example set by the West Jersey Presbytery and give all our employees a 1% salary increase.
Under Capital Improvements, after reviewing church needs and much discussion, Session approved undertaking a Winter Fundraiser to reduce our $40,000 debt, which under the terms set by Presbytery is to be paid off in five years.
Financial Stability in 2010 - As we begin a new budget year, one area that negatively impacted funding the 2009 budget has been successfully addressed. Both 19 and 23 (Leek House) School Street properties are leased and will provide income to cover expenses as well as for the General Fund. However, most of the income from the Leek House will go to pay the loan. Whatever we raise in the Winter Fundraising Campaign to reduce the loan will result in more rental income from this property going towards the General Fund. So, this is a win-win situation.
Income from the McMullin Account will be about the same as last year as it is dependent on changes in the stock market. If your pledges and giving are the same as last year, we should have financial stability in 2010.
Financial Statistics as of November 2009
November collections held up and were a positive force in funding the budget as reflected in the average weekly giving. The biggest negative impact came from our rental income which was actually lower this month than last. This was because 19 School Street remained unrented in November thus producing no income to cover added expenses. Beginning in December, this property will be rented, and the drain on funding our budget will end.
Budget for 2009 $225,636.00
Budgetary needs through 11/29/09 $208,320.00
Our giving through November 29 $146,196.60
Investment Income $ 16,248.34
Rental Income (net) $ 17,183.08
Amount under budget $ 28,691.98
Average weekly giving by month
January $3,689.44 July $2,941.21
February $3,150.85 August $2,482.40
March $3,055.65 September $3,117.45
April $3,355.50 October $2,787.92
May $2,950.76 November $3,116.31
WINTER FUND RAISER TO GO TOWARD DEBT REDUCTION
Each year the session picks out an area of special need for our church as the beneficiary of our winter fund raiser. This has resulted in many wonderful improvements to our church such as the new sanctuary air conditioning last summer and the Grace’s Kitchen renovations two years before that.
Frankly, our buildings are in pretty good shape now, but we did take on debt in 2009 as a result of the Leek House purchase in July. We borrowed $40,000 (which was only 25% of the purchase price), but now we have a $755 monthly payment to make on that loan. At the time we made the purchase several complained that in this recessionary economy the church should not be taking on debt. It was a step of faith to purchase the house, and we need to retire this debt to avoid the interest on this loan.
We do rejoice that on December 15 the Leek House and the house next door (which we also own) were both leased to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission as transitional housing for special needs women. This program is getting under way as we make this appeal, and eventually there will be four women living in each house plus a staff person in one of the houses who will be in charge of supervising the program. These women come from a variety of difficult backgrounds, and we rejoice that not only are these houses being used for mission purposes, but the Rescue Mission is arranging to pay the leases as well.
Over the last four months a huge amount of volunteer time and several thousands of dollars were invested in bringing these houses up to code (both have passed inspection) and in redecorating, painting, carpeting, new vinyl floors, and cleaning. We pass them to the Rescue Mission in good shape.
What we haven’t completed is paying for these houses. Last summer at the urging of Presbytery, we ran a capital campaign and raised $42,000. That is why we only had to borrow $40,000 to make settlement. If we could retire the remainder of that debt this year that would make our Finance Committee and all of us very happy. We know we can do it together.
Some time in the middle of January the winter fund raiser letter will be sent out. The thermometer chart will be up from our annual meeting to the end of February. Please pray about this and make your gifts by then. We must report we are a church in debt at the annual meeting. Next year we want to report we are not in debt. It’s a good feeling to be debt-free.
DECEMBER THANK YOUS
December was the busiest month of the year, so naturally there are not only individuals but large groups to thank. Let’s start with the groups.
Besides the big group thank you’s, there were a lot of individual helpers we should recognize.
NEWS FROM THE FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE
Many thanks go out to Janice and Tom Piccirilli who organized the Holiday Festival on Nov. 21st and succeeded in having a very successful event. The food was awesome and the crafters went home pleased. Thanks to all who helped during this event!! Eleven hundred dollars was raised for the General Fund.
Our first soup sale is Sunday, January 10th, from 8:45-9:30 and 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. Quarts of various types of soup will sell for $5.00. Anyone interested in making soup may sign up on the sign-up sheet in the foyer. The following sale will be February 14th.
Tickets will go on sale January 17th for our next church dinner on Saturday, February 20th. Nancy Sooy and friends will be preparing the meal which will begin at 5 p.m. with a program to follow at 6:15 p.m. Tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Thanks again to all my committee members for making my years as Fellowship chairperson easy and rewarding. I will remain active on this committee and will support Tina Brown as I know she will do an awesome job!
DONATION TO MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP IN HONOR OF FRED DAVIES
Joan Hoenes received this lovely letter from George Wesner following a donation made by our Fellowship Committee to the music scholarship being established to honor the legacy of Fred Davies at the historic United Presbyterian Church of Paterson, NJ.
Fred had volunteered as the music director of this inner city church for over 16 years and was beloved by hundreds of men, women and most especially – the children.
Their final concert in our sanctuary on May 16, 2009 will forever live in our hearts.
“Your beautiful letter arrived today with the check from the church and the fellowship committee. The gift of $200 is indeed one that speaks of the love and concern of your wonderful congregation. I think that it may have been in the providence of God that our very last performance was at your church.
“Fred’s great legacy lives on not only at the church and Radio City, but in our hearts and minds during this Christmas season – a season we both loved and cherished along with the opportunity to play for so many people who visit New York City.
“Please convey my deepest thanks and appreciation to each and every person who contributed to this very special gift. You all touch my heart each and every day.
“In God’s Unending Love,
George W. Wesner, III”
EVERGREENS WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27th, 12 NOON
This month Lucy Jerue will be showing slides of her vacation in France, interweaving her trip with information on artist Claude Monet, the leader of the Impressionist movement, including the places he lived and worked.
Plan to attend this great program. New faces and friends are welcome. Bring a sandwich. Desert and a beverage will be served.
Praise for Him,
UPCOMING CONCERT BY FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE Saturday, April 24, 2010
Mark your calendars now as tickets must go on sale the first week in March (from Joanie) due to Lent and vacation schedules.
Bryan Popin – Christian concert pianist, to return to us from Nashville, TN
(The committee had taken a “break” since last May 16 as the 150th celebration and 3 major concerts were a tremendous effort. All details in future Good News)
LUNCH BUNCH TO DUBLINER PUB & GRILL ON WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6
We will get the new year off to a happy start with Lunch Bunch the first Wednesday in January. Join us at the Dubliner Pub & Grill in Risley Square off Jimmy Leeds Road in Galloway or meet at the church at 11:30 if you would like a ride.
THE PRIME-TIMERS SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, AT 6:00 P.M.
The Prime-Timers are pleased to have a very special program at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, January 23. Joe and Elaine Griswold of REAL PARTNERS UGANDA will present a slide show and answer any questions about their many projects in Uganda. Real Partners Uganda is a non-profit charitable program that began in Brigantine. Over 95% of all money donated goes directly to the projects in Uganda. Members of the Real Partners Uganda Board of Directors work without compensation, cover the office and operating expenses and pay for their own travel to Uganda. A group of leaders travel to Uganda, usually twice a year and spend three weeks working there.
Information about their different projects will be available. In Sponsor-A-Child, for example, each sponsor receives a picture of the child and a small biography. There will be a basket placed out for those who wish to make a free-will donation to this worth-while project.
Please bring a covered dish to share in the community meal. We ask that people planning to attend to please sign up so we will know how many tables to set up.
EDDIE IS MAKING PROGRESS
Eddie Haldeman is out of Trauma and in room 524 at Atlantic City Hospital. He is in isolation, but you can visit if you gown up. He has a tube in his mouth, so he can’t talk. But he is awake and watches TV.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
We hope everyone here had a Merry Christmas this year
Because on Christmas Eve you filled our hearts with cheer
Greeting all that came to the service and seeing a smile on your face
We knew that God was with you as you came to His place.
The service is wonderful as the bell choir plays
Then the choir sings with a heavenly phrase
It makes everyone feel good for all that they do
It’s nice how everything is put together just to please you.
Pastor Dave’s sermon comes right from his heart
You never know what he’s going to say when he starts
Each week he makes you feel good after his sermon is thru
He puts the word of God into me and to you.
It’s good to see our Church all decorated so nice
So many help out they don’t have to think twice
The Chrismon Tree looks so pretty all decorated in white
As you look around the Church everything looks so bright.
When we sing Silent Night some have a tear in their eye
They think of their loved ones not here and start to cry
But there are so many here that help your heart to mend
Because God has surely given us so many good friends.
So go into the New Year and pass on your good deeds
And keep on helping so many with all of their needs
We are so glad we have joined this Church you have helped us so much
We know that God has given each one of you a special touch.
By Dee and Jack Heil
SESQUICENTENNIAL DVD SET AND SUNDAY SCHOOL GROUP PHOTO ON SALE
The commemorative Absecon Presbyterian Church Sesquicentennial DVD set is still available for purchase between church services. The set includes 5 DVDs for a price of $15.00 per set:
DVD 1) Sunday Service May 17, 2009: Including multiple chapters and the sermons of the former pastors and the present pastor.
DVD 2 and 3) Renault Winery Reception and Luncheon May 17, 2009: Contains multiple chapters: Highlights the reception attendees and the Program. The program includes the Video: "The Absecon Presbyterian Church: 150 Years in Pictures", The former pastor's recollections, Sharon Neff , The Skit "As It Was , So It Will Be", and The Lyric Chambers Winds Quintet.
DVD 4) The Dessert Reception and Concert featuring the Radio City Music Hall Organists: This DVD includes animated photos of the desert reception and the attendees, and features the performance of the Radio City Music Hall Organists. This was their last concert together.
DVD 5) JPEG photos from the church archives: 150 years to present, and mpg audio files of the 4 Absecon Presbyterian Church's present and former pastors sermons from the May 17 Sunday Service. You can download these to your audio mp3 players!
DVD 6) A newly added DVD features our church families from past church picture directories beginning in the 1970’s to our most recent in 2006.
Also, 8" x 10" 2009 Commemorative Sunday School Photos taken in front of the Church will be available at the same time and place for $2.00 each.
CHURCH CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS STILL AVAILABLE
The beautiful hanging ornaments of our church are still available at a cost of $15.00 each. If you haven’t gotten yours, now’s the time! These also make lovely holiday gifts. See Carol Thomas to make your purchase!
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.
2010 FLOWER CALENDAR HANGING IN VESTIBULE
Our 2010 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 $40 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.
PRINTER INK AVAILABLE
Due to the recent death of our office printer there is a supply of Epson ink cartridges # T044220 Cyan (1), T044320 Magenta (2) and T044420 Yellow (3) available for $13.00 each. Also available are one HP 20 black cartridge and one HP 49 tri-color at $35.00 each.
If you can use any of these please call the church office!
Do we have your email address? If not, email the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
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.
Thank you for your cards, calls, and get well wishes that I received during my recent illness. A special thank you to the Sunday School for the “goodie bag”. Your thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated.
I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.
* * * * *
This is to wish the Sunday School a Merry Christmas and to thank them for their thoughtfulness. The cookies and cranberry muffins we found on our doorstep were a real treat and it didn't take us very long to make them disappear. Again, thank you and may God be with you through this blessed season and in the new year as well.
Frank and Marge Loeb
* * * * *
I would like to thank everyone for their expressions of concern during the past year. I really appreciate it very much. The prayers have really helped. I enjoyed receiving the cards and the phone calls and visits. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very happy and Healthy New Year!
* * * * *
Notes of Thanks to our Sunday School ~
In Christian Love,
God bless you all,
In Christian Love,
Mr. & Mrs. Kleiner
TRIP TO GREECE
The Presbyterian Church from Pleasantville is planning a trip "The Footsteps of Apostle Paul", from May 15 - 25, 2010, with Globus Travel. A Globus guide will be travelling with the group, as well as their minister, Reverend Mark Peake. Cities visited will include Athens, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth. A three-day cruise is included to visit Rhodes and Ephesus. Flight from Philadelphia. For more information, please call Grace Miley, 927-5588. Members of the Absecon Presbyterian Church are most welcome to join this travel group.
3 9:30 Ruth Champion
11:00 Dirk & Desiree Williamson
10 9:30 David & Judy Stebbins
11:00 Joanna Howell
17 9:30 Greg & Elisa Hamaty
11:00 Tina Brown
24 10:00 Jinny Wolcott
31 9:30 Grade 3-4
11:00 Frances Weir
3 9:30 Scott Sabo
10 9:30 Louise Speitel
11:00 Louise Speitel
17 9:30 Ron Pfeiffer
24 10:00 Janice Bond
31 9:30 Grades 5-6 & 9-12
11:00 Betty Lloyd
3 9:30 Jack Heil & Dan Hughes
11:00 Loretta Metz & Jean Delesantro
10 9:30 Jeff & Carmela Thomas
11:00 Shirley Smith & Denise Ott
17 9:30 Jack Heil & Russell Adkisson
11:00 Olga Davies & Jean Delesantro
24 10:00 Vic & Rita Abelson
31 9:30 Greg & Elisa Hamaty
11:00 Loretta Metz & Olga Davies
3 9:30 Jose Achamizo & Barbara Hughes
10 9:30 David & Naida Burgess
17 9:30 Georgina Umoren & Dawn Lewis
24 10:00 Melissa Sterling & Tammy Suarez
31 9:30 Grade 1-2
DEACONS GUEST BOOK
3 9:30 Pat Hudak
11:00 Mary Bew
10 9:30 Mary Bew
11:00 Mary Bew
17 9:30 Ginny Davenport
11:00 Mary Bew
24 10:00 Carol Kleiner
31 9:30 Mary Bew
11:00 Carol Thomas
3 Bob Hudak
10 Jennifer Platt
17 Kira Greenlee
24 (10:00) Dawn Lewis
31 Alice Malfi
3 John Harvey
10 Jose Achamizo
17 Russ Adkisson
24 Vic Abelson
31 Ed Little
3 JoAnn Sabo
LOOKING FORWARD WITH HOPE
“We thank God for what we have seen and heard, and take hope.” ~ from the journal of our founder, Allen Brown.
“Behold, I make all things new” ~ Revelation 21:5
What a year we have just completed! Great events, dinners, historical reminders, and a great weekend with our former ministers at Renault Winery. Most of us have a Christmas ornament of our church to remind us of this glorious event, and Louise has DVDs of the whole thing for sale. Soon we will have a history of the church available as well.
For our 267 member church, this was big. But frankly, it already seems like a distant memory, and maybe it’s for the best. If we get preoccupied with celebrating history it becomes nostalgia, and it can become dangerous – kind of like driving a car looking in the rear view mirror the whole time. We appreciate where we’ve been, but now it’s time to look forward.
In spite of our big year some things have been moving in the wrong direction, and we must reverse those trends. Our membership declined in 2009. Not that we drove people away, but several died, several moved away, and our new member classes were small. We have also seen decline in our youth programs. Some of these declines are seen in many churches, but our church has many programs, groups, dinners, services, etc. In the average week we need about 75 volunteers just to run Sunday School, choirs, ushers, programs, etc. When membership declines it puts stress on the rest of us. As people burn out, the problems just grow. Therefore, 2010 needs to be a year of church growth. When is the last time you invited someone to church? It saddens me that so many people who tell me how much this church means to them have never invited anyone to church. That has to change in 2010.
A lot of things need some change in 2010. Worship is one of them. Starting soon our service will have less liturgy and some Sundays will have no creed. But we can’t improve worship by just shortening it. Hopefully 2010 will be a year of more lay participation and leadership in everything. In worship we need drama, liturgical dance, and some changes in the music.
We also need to find ways to share and become closer. We do a lot of eating and talking, but sometimes we put up barriers in what we share. We need to share on a spiritual level.
We will also find new mission goals. This will be the last winter Presbyterian Disaster Relief will do Katrina work camps. By summer of 2010 we hope to take a mission trip while our youth are on summer vacation so they can join us.
Our Visioning Team is looking at several other things that came out of the Appreciative Inquiry event held November 14. Some things are totally new, some have been tried before, such as alternative times for worship. In order to grow we must meet people’s spiritual and personal needs, plus be user friendly. It’s not easy.
So farewell to a great year of celebration, recollection, and inspiration. “Hello” to our future – a time of evangelism, mission, fellowship, lively worship, and making the changes necessary to be effective in a changing world.
I’m ready and excited. God is always reinventing the church. Let us be in prayer and be ready to join Him in what He will do through us.
Happy New Year! 2010 will be our best ever.
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