Absecon Presbyterian Church

Good News

February 2010

Good NewsFebruary 2010

Verse of the Month:“Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’” ~ Luke 9:35

The Presbyterian Church at Absecon

 

208 New Jersey Avenue

Absecon, New Jersey 08201

Phone: 609-641-3759 Fax: 609-641-5125

 

Office email: absecon_presby@msn.com—Website: abseconpresby.org

 

ANNUAL MEETING FINDS CHURCH DOING WELL

On January 24 the gavel came down at 11:35 a.m. for the annual meeting with about 80 people present.  Reports were received and a few additions made.  There were also concerns expressed about items in the Benevolence budget and the General Fund budget.  All congregational reports were approved by vote. 

The following were elected to the Nominating Committee of the congregation: Lucy Jerue, Loretta Metz, Barbara Morgan, and Roy Birkbeck. 

It was noted during Old Business that the houses at 19 and 23 School Street will remain on the tax rolls through the current agreement with the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, but Betty Lloyd, Finance Chair, will be looking into having them removed in the future.  There was no New Business.  The moderator closed the meeting with prayer at 12:10 p.m.

The corporation meeting opened with prayer by Louise Speitel, chairman.  Reports were approved, a few items added, and all reports were received by vote.  There was an extended report by the Cemetery Committee regarding the sale of columbarium niches.  Under New Business the pastor reported that the city of Absecon will be installing brick sidewalks along New Jersey Avenue which will match our brick walks out front.

The meeting was closed with prayer and the benediction at 12:35 p.m.  All were invited to a pizza luncheon in Madden Hall at the church’s expense.

 

NEWS FROM THE CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE

The Sunday School program continues to run smoothly thanks to the dedication of the many who give of their time and talent every week.  Thanks to all for your continued dedication to teaching and guiding our children!

The Lions and Lambs program continues to meet after Sunday School on the first Sunday of each month.  The program has been developing nicely and is a fun time for kids and parents too.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, you are invited to join us in February.

The new A2J (Addicted 2 Jesus) program (formerly KFC) officially kicked off under the direction of Janna Beth Cobb and Jim McManus.  They have a lot of exciting events and projects planned – stay tuned.

The Senior Youth Group, led by Karen Muldoon and Jack Cobb, recently returned from a trip to Cobb’s Cabin and is looking forward to a great winter and spring program.

The Bible Study groups and Circles continue to meet to serve the needs of our adult learners.  Remember, you’re never too old to learn something new.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Gayle Ackerman for her dedication and leadership as Christian Education Committee Chairperson.  Gayle, you have been an inspiration and a mentor to me, and I have your number on speed-dial!

Yours in Christ,
Scott Sabo

SUNDAY SCHOOL AND RELATED NEWS

Lions and Lambs met on January 3rd to explore God’s promises.  They ended up making promises of their own and placing them in their custom made promise boxes.  As the Call to Worship on January 17th, A2J presented itself as a new youth group, Rob Perry and several musicians accompanied the 1st-6th graders in special music on the 24th, and finally we held our 2nd Family Worship Sunday of the year on January 31st.

Upcoming Events

 

Stay warm in His love,
Priscilla

NEWS FROM A2J

Hello All!

After a couple months of transitioning, the new Junior Youth Group (formerly KFC) is now up and running.  We have chosen to call ourselves “A2J”, which stands for Addicted to Jesus.  Thanks to Mike, Chris, and Sam for their enthusiasm in a recent Call to Worship.

A2J meets from 11:00 to 1:00 on Sundays, and we have a lesson, an activity, and lunch.  Once-a-month mission work (such as cleaning part of Pitney Road for ACUA and delivering food to shut-ins) is included in our regular meeting time.  Currently we plan on doing one extra activity and one additional mission project a month.  Those involved should expect postcards about each event.  Bundle up for our ski trip the first weekend in February!

Many, many thanks to Dawn Duran for volunteering to cook for us each week.  It would be a lot more hectic without you!

In Christ,
Janna Beth Cobb
Jim McManus

PASTORS COBB AND REEDELL OFFER FIVE-WEEK COURSE STARTING JAN. 31

“God Heard Their Cry” is a five-week course on Biblical archaeology which looks at the world of Egyptology at the time of the Exodus and the struggle of Moses to escape the trappings of Egyptian religion.  We will meet on Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. to view a DVD segment followed by a discussion and talk.

This course will follow much the same format as previous Sunday night adult education courses.  Cost is $5.00.  Sign-up is not necessary.

DOUG JABLONSKI MEN’S FELLOWSHIP TO MEET FEBRUARY 6

The Doug Jablonski Men’s Fellowship will meet for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, February 6.  That’s the same day as our Valentine’s Sweet Hearts Dinner.  Breakfast will be pancakes ($3).

After breakfast we will set up tables, decorate, and do all necessary food preparation for dinner that evening.  Please bring all receipts and ticket sales money to this meeting as well as any unsold tickets.  Jim Maurer has already purchased the steaks.

WOMEN’S CIRCLES

The scriptures we will be examining at our February Bible study is Joshua 1:2-18 and 24:1-15.  From the beginning of the book to its conclusion, Israel’s leader is Joshua.  Joshua takes over the leadership after the death of Moses and just as the Israelites are about to enter the land of Canaan.  Joshua does many things any good leader does.  He organizes, encourages, sets a standard of behavior and holds a vision before the people.  But most importantly, Joshua consistently calls the people to trust in God.

The Sarah Circle will meet at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 3rd, in Cobb Lounge.  The Ruth Circle will meet at the home of Betsy Cunius Friday, February 5th, at 1:00 p.m.  The Martha Circle will meet at the home of Carol Thomas at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, February 11th.

In the past few months we have been pleased to welcome new women to our circles.  If you have never visited a circle before, please take into consideration the opportunity to join us for just one meeting a month for study and fellowship.  Just choose the circle that best meets your time schedule and do drop in.

 

NEW MEMBERSHIP CLASSES TO BEGIN FEBRUARY 7

Church membership is a privilege and a responsibility.  Everyone Jesus called He called publicly, and joining church is a public thing.

The process is not difficult.  There are three classes - one on the structure of faith, one on our Presbyterian heritage, and one on the life and work of our own church here in Absecon.  They meet in the lounge on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. until 5:00.  There will not be a class on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, but we will meet every other Sunday in February.

On March 2 we will present you to session where you will be voted in and welcomed with refreshments.

We have a great church here in Absecon, and joining may be one of the greatest things you will ever do.  So come, make new friends, see how to fit into what’s going on, and feel a part of us.

Come grow with us!  Talk to the pastor, or just show up.

 

NEWS FROM MAYBERRY

WOW!!!  At our “Mayberry Town Meeting,” there were a bit over 40 people in attendance. Hopefully we will keep up the trend at our next gathering on Friday, February 19th.  As always, we will begin with a potluck supper, screen an episode of the original Andy Griffith Show, and then engage in some great conversation about how even though this was a fictitious series from the 1960’s, they still have problems similar to ours today.

So, join us on Friday, JANUARY 19th, at 6pm in Madden Hall for a delicious potluck supper, a great show, and even better fellowship.

Remember, the door is always unlocked and the lemonadeis always cold.

 


LENTEN SCHEDULE

Once again this year the Pleasantville Presbyterian Church has invited us to be with them for a time of prayer and reflection on Ash Wednesday, February 17, at 7:00 p.m.  Ashes will be available.

The Unity Dinner will be the last Wednesday in February.  We will meet at the church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton at 6:30 p.m. on February 24.  Our church will be providing dessert.  Tickets are $5 per person and will be available beginning February 7.  The theme is “God’s Helping Hands”.  The program for the evening will feature the music ministry of William Stokley, a music teacher and Minister of Music at a church in Williamstown.

During the month of March we will have a series of Lenten Lunches and worship services in our area churches each Wednesday at noon.  The tentative schedule is below:
            March 3 – United Methodist Church at Absecon
            March 10 – Reformation Lutheran Church
            March 17 – St Mark’s and All Saints Episcopal Church
            March 24 – Presbyterian Church at Absecon

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday on March 28.  The schedule for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Sunrise Service will be in your March Good News.  Easter Sunday is April 4.

FROM THE CHOIR LOFT….by Tom Sooy

The Christmas decorations are all down and in the proper place in the attic.  Warmer, sunnier days make us think of the longed-for spring.  Easter is not far on the horizon, but first we finish the season of Epiphany; our celebration of God coming to earth in the human presence of Jesus.  We then move on to Lent, the season of preparation and prayer and for many – self denial.

The hymn “I want to Walk as a Child of the Light” (#248) we feel the presence of God, come to us as Jesus but also that walk He made to Jerusalem:
I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
The start of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all;
The night and day are both alike.
The lamb is the light of the city of God:
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

Speaking of shining, our Choir Chimes Group (STILL in search of a name!) will be playing at both services on Sunday, January 31.  As always, I commend the dedication of this group and the families who make sure they are up bright and early and ready to rehearse at 8:30AM.

May God continue to bless us all and…………

              Until next time…...see you in the Choir Loft!

MARRIAGE RECOMMITTMENT SERVICES TO BE HELD FEB. 14

Valentine’s Day is on Sunday this year, and what better place to express our loving care than in church?  There will be an opportunity at the end of each service for married couples to come forward and participate in a marriage recommitment service in the presence of God and the congregation.  You will get a certificate.

There is no pressure on any married couple to do this.  But guys, you may have a lot of explaining to do if you turn this down.

 

MISSION AND EVANGELISM by Tom Sooy

By the time this is published, our first offerings for Haiti relief is already in the hands of workers from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and being used in the best possible way.  There are so many organizations trying to get your donations, but remember 100% of every penny collected by us and sent through the Church is used for the purpose in which it was intended.  There are no administrative costs, as all expenses are borne by our Per Capita Offering at the beginning of the year.  Yes, THAT envelope!  I urge all members to be sure to pay that $37.00 per person.  In addition to paying the expense of our own Presbytery, part of it is sent to Louisville, to the main offices of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  From there, it is used to offset the expenses of all sorts of projects, including PDA.  This may not be the last time we are asked to give to this cause, but as always, we urge you to give as God tells your heart to give.

As always, one thing that we really, REALLY need to keep working 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.

MISSION TRIP TO GULFPORT, MS CANCELLED

The Gulfport mission trip has been cancelled.  There were only a few sign-ups, and Gary and Sharon Cresse, our leaders, are no longer able to go.  We do hope to have a trip elsewhere this summer.   

HAITI OFFERING STILL BEING COLLECTED

On January 17 our church took up an offering for victims of the Haiti earthquake.  We are happy to report that $2,243.93 was given to Presbytery at the Presbytery meeting on January 19 to go toward emergency relief through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

Contributions are still being taken at this point and will be turned in as they are received.  Use the envelopes in your pew rack marked “disaster relief”.

 


FINAL FINANCIAL REPORT FOR 2009

December proved to be an unpredictable month weather-wise.  For the first time in my memory we had to cancel Sunday services because of a 16 inch snowfall the day and night before.  This meant the counters got an unexpected day off and we “lost” one week’s collection – or did we?  Lo and behold, our faithful members made up the “loss” by placing their 12/20/09 envelopes in the Christmas Eve service collection plate and in the 12/27/09 Sunday collection plate.  The average weekly giving for the full month turned out to be the 2nd highest of any month in 2009 (see below).   In addition, several hundred dollars was received in 2009 envelopes in 2010.  This income will be included in the January report and credited to 2010.

Final Statistical Report

                        Budget for 2009                                    $225,636.00
                        Needed for 2009                                   $225,636.00

                        Our giving for the year                           $160,797.21
                        Investment Income                                $  17,607.29
                        Rental Income (net)                               $  20,261.00
                        Donation/Fundraising
                                    Fellowship Committee                $    1,590.00
                                    Bazaar                                      $    1,008.25
                        TOTAL                                                $201,263.75

                        Amount under budget                            $  24,372.25

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
June                 $3,001.70                                  December         $3,651.40

Some additional comments:  As you can see in the above, a new source of revenue was donations to the general fund from the Fellowship Committee and the proceeds from our recent bazaar.  Hopefully, this will become an annual revenue source as it was in the “old” days. We thank the Fellowship Committee and in particular, Janice Piccirilli who volunteered to head up the bazaar.

Secondly, all our properties are now rented and we benefited from this in December.  This should be a stable source of income in 2010.

Thirdly, while the report above indicates our revenue to fund the 2009 budget fell $24,372.25 short, as you study the financial statistics in the Annual Report, you will see that we had a $9,026.85 unexpended balance and received income or reimbursements totaling $12,258.80 in the 2009 budget.  These two figures along with income from building usage more than made up for the shortfall and in effect, gives us a revenue cushion as we begin our new fiscal year.

As someone who lived with this budget and monitored our revenue stream throughout 2009, I am extremely grateful about how you, the church members, met your responsibility to ensure all we wanted to do via the budget was accomplished.  As we begin 2010, you have, once again, stepped up and made a renewed commitment.  As of January 11, 2010, we have received 77 pledges totaling $142,728.00.  This compares to $134,000.00 in 2009 and $106,710.00 in 2008.  This growth in pledging bodes well for our financial future.

Your responses to the Talent Bank Questionnaire have been tabulated by Anita Brown and show that 35 of the 62 members who were listed in the 2009 booklet signed up again.  However, the reduction was more than made up with 33 new signups. This means to me that there is a growing willingness of our members to become involved with their time and talent in the operation and functioning of our church.

Gerald W. Hoenes
Stewardship Committee Chairperson

JANUARY “THANK YOUS”

WINTER FUND RAISER TO BE COLLECTED DURING FEBRUARY

Each year the session selects an area of capital need for our church.  Last year was the new air conditioning and the two years before that were for the kitchen renovations.

This year’s capital need is Debt Reduction on the Leek House.  We still owe $39,300 on this loan, and we are paying 5% interest, far more than we could realize on investments.  We need to reduce or eliminate this.  The only way to get rid of debt is to pay it off.  We need your help.

The winter fund raiser letters were sent out on January 14, and the thermometer chart will be in the church through February.  Please use the envelopes provided to help us retire as much of this debt as possible.  Thank you!

 

 

NEWS FROM THE FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE

Thanks to everyone who supported our January Soup Sale!!  $400 was made from the sale.  Our next sale will be Sunday, February 14th, and anyone interested in making soup please sign up on the sheet in the foyer.  Many thanks go out to the January soup makers!!

Tickets are currently on sale for our church dinner being held Saturday, February 20th, at 5 pm.  Dinner will be pot pie, salad and dessert prepared by Nancy Sooy and friends for $5/adult and $3/child under 12 years of age.  After the dinner, there will be a talent show featuring members of our church family in the sanctuary.  Tickets can be purchased between services in Madden Hall.

Many thanks to the five people who donated their time to set up refreshments each Sunday.  They are 1st Sunday of the month - Tammy Suarez, 2nd Sunday - Kris Jenoriki, 3rd Sunday - Mary Jane Thomas, 4th Sunday - Dan Hughes, and 5th Sunday - Pat Hudak.  Also, thank you to the many people who provide refreshments weekly.  PLEASE continue to do so as there are many blanks on the calendar in future weeks.

Mark your calendar for our next Congregational Event which will be Bryan Popin on Saturday, April 24.  Tickets will go on sale in Feb. 28 for $10 per person.

As I write this final Good News article as Chairperson for the Fellowship Committee, I am so grateful for this wonderful church that I am proud to be a part of.  Thanks to all of you who made my life easy and rewarding, and I encourage all of you to volunteer your time and talents in service to this church.  I feel confident that you will also find it a rewarding experience!!

Serving you through Christ,
Kris Jenoriki

EVERGREENS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24th, 12 NOON

Do you know that we have a writer and play write in our congregation?  Yes we do!  Nancy Swank will be reading a story for the Evergreens at our February meeting.  Will it be one of hers or from another author?  Come out and hear her answer that question.

Nancy taught school in our area for 36 years and is now retired.  She has been writing stories and plays most of her life.  We have so much talent in our Church.

This is another “Don’t Miss” meeting.  Come out and bring a sandwich and a few friends.  Desert and a beverage will be served.

Praise for Him,
Joanna Howell

DOUG JABLONSKI MEN’S FELLOWSHIP HOSTS SWEET HEARTS DINNER FEB. 6

Guys, grab your girl and bring her to church at 6:00 p.m. Feb. 6 for a candlelight steak dinner cooked by Jim Maurer and Melvin Washington on our Men’s Club grills out back.  Entertainment will be by John Channell and friends.  The dinner includes salad, baked potato, veggie, a cake by Ferd Morgan and of course chocolates.

You don’t have to be married for this event.  You just need a sweet heart.

Tickets cost $10. (Cheap!)  See the pastor, Jim Maurer, Norm Johnson, Jack Heil, Bob Hunter, or any other member of the D.J. Men’s Fellowship. 

Baskets will be on the tables for a special offering to benefit the Atlantic City Rescue Mission Transitional Housing which is now located on church property in the two houses on School Street.

AGAPE LUNCHEON – FEBRUARY 7

Please join us in celebrating the first anniversary of our Agape Luncheons on February 7 following the 11:00 a.m. worship service.  The theme for this luncheon will be “Love”.  Agape love, Christian love, and in honor of St. Valentine’s Day, even our love.  There will be handouts to read on the history and meaning of Agape and how it came to be connected to the sharing of a meal together, or “Agape feast”.  We also would like to share the stories of how couples met or a story about your wedding that you would like to share.  Please bring your story to share with us! 

We will be serving beef stew, rice, rolls and dessert. 

LUNCH BUNCH TO MILL STREET PUB FEBRUARY 3

Lunch Bunch will return to a favorite winter destination on Wednesday, February 3 – The Mill Street Pub in Mays Landing.

Meet at the church at 11:30 to ride the van or at the restaurant at noon.

THE PRIME-TIMERS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 6:00 P.M.

The month of February seems to never end, even though it is the shortest month of the year.  By the time we are well into the month, we have had enough of damp, gloomy days.  The Prime-Timers program for this month is our attempt to make the month a little more pleasant.  Our own Marjorie McGuigan will get us up and moving as she leads us in Line Dancing.  This should be a fun get-together.  Please join us in Madden Hall at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, February 27th.  Just bring a covered dish to share and join in the fun.

TICKET REMINDER FOR SPRING DINNER/CONCERT

Starting Sunday, February 28, Joanie will have dinner tickets available for our April 24th Congregational Event!

Sounds early… yes… only because Joanie & Jerry will be away from Mar. 22-April 15 when she would normally be selling these tickets.  (Remember, they guarantee your personally selected sanctuary seat!)

Bryan Popin, our long-time Christian concert pianist friend, will return to us from Nashville!  He first inspired us as a child protégée at the age of 14 – nearly 20 years ago – and has blessed millions of all ages since then.

Nancy Sooy, our chef, will announce the dinner next month – always a treat!

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 (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) – 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 all the nice things – 2009 flowers, cards, cookies, phone calls.

I hope to be with you soon.  I hope you all have a blessed New Year.

Christian Love,
Peggy Merrill

 

ABSECON LADIES LEAGUE HOSTS SENIOR APPRECIATION DINNER FEB. 21

The Absecon Ladies League invites all seniors to the 27th annual Senior Appreciation Dinner at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, February 21, at the Absecon United Methodist Church.  Please RSVP to Lisa Wenz at 645-9012 by February 7.

GREETERS

7     9:30 Dawn Lewis
     11:00 Toshie Legg
14   9:30 Dottie McCaffrey
     11:00 Leslie Harvey
21   9:30 Bill & Dorie Keener
     11:00 Betty Lloyd
28   9:30 Barbara Morgan
     11:00 Dianna Lease

LAY ASSISTANTS

7     9:30
     11:00
14   9:30
     11:00
21   9:30
     11:00
28   9:30
     11:00

HEAD USHERS

7     9:30 Bob & Irene Hunter
     11:00 Betty Lloyd & Mary Bew
14   9:30 Jan & Carol Jorgensen
     11:00 Shirley Smith & Denise Ott
21   9:30 Elaine Risley & Carol Thomas
     11:00 Jean Delesantro & Olga Davies
28   9:30 Eric & Essie Newell
     11:00 Tina Brown & Joanna Howell

COLLECTION

7     9:30 Edith Budd & Bob Wilkenloh
14   9:30 Bill & Ginny Davenport
21   9:30 Doris Wood & Bob Hudak
28   9:30 Jack & Dee Heil

DEACONS GUEST BOOK

7     9:30 Barbara Miller
     11:00 Mary Bew
14   9:30 Irene Hunter
     11:00 Mary Bew
21   9:30 Jo-ann Weller
     11:00 Mary Bew
28   9:30 Jinny Wolcott
     11:00 Mary Bew

NURSERY (9:30)

7   Bob Hudak
14 Jennifer Platt
21 Kira Greenlee
28 Dawn Lewis

VAN DRIVERS

7   Russ Adkisson
14 Jose Achamizo
21
28 Vic Abelson

REFRESHMENT HOSTS

7   Carol Kleiner
     (open)
14 Vic & Rita Abelson
     Kris Jenoriki
21 (open)
     (open)
28 (open)
     (open)

BREAKFAST CLUB KITCHEN CREW

7   Set-up – Jinny Wolcott
     Cook – John Harvey
     Clean-up – Edith Budd
14 Set-up –
     Cook –
     Clean-up –
21 Set-up –
     Cook – Selena Lewis
     Clean-up –
28 Set-up – Carol Thomas
     Cook –
     Clean-up –
 


IN ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

“I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:12-13

As I write this news reports continue to flow in from Haiti about the smell of death, hospitals without supplies, scarcity of food and water, aftershocks, and general chaos.  Our response on January 17 was generous, but I knew it would be.  We can all relate to a world where everything we needed for a good life – home, family, community, health care, law and order, etc – were all taken away in one minute.  The very thought of such a world is frightening to say the least.  We expect the people of Haiti to be fearful, desperate and emotional.  We expect them to riot for food when they are starving.  We even expect some looting.  The media predicted it all, and they were right.

What the media didn’t predict was what happened on Sunday.  People who didn’t seem to have anything came out in “Sunday best” clothes to go to church.  Churches that had fallen down had services outside, sometimes in the street.  People who had little to be thankful for came to give thanks that they had survived while their loved ones had not.  One pastor who set up church in the street didn’t know where his wife was.  He assumed she was still in the church – under the rubble.  But church went on.  The people sang and danced.  Their worship wasn’t an act.  They dressed in their best and worshipped their best.

We can relate to Haitians.  We can feel their anxiety.  But let’s not pity them or call them hopeless.  They don’t do that to themselves.  We do that to them when we project how we would be feeling.

I must admit, when I saw people dancing in worship in front of a caved in church about the size of ours I asked myself, “Would our people come to worship in their “Sunday best” if an earthquake hit Absecon?”  We can’t get them out in their “Sunday best” in normal times!  More personally, when I saw pastors whose families were dead and churches destroyed still dancing and preaching up a storm, I wondered if I could still give thanks “in any and all circumstances” such as they did in Haiti.

Last Sunday night reporters said there was a new sound over Port-au-Prince – the sound of singing and dancing.  Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but they are not poor in spirit.  Indeed, they are so rich spiritually they can cope with this disaster better than most of us.  The Apostle Paul knew that spiritual power when he wrote from prison, “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and being in need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Many Haitians have claimed that promise, and because of that spiritual reservoir they will go on.

So let’s pray for them, send our gifts, and do what we can.  But let’s not call them hopeless.  They know how to cling to hope better than most of us.  When this is over, their testimony to God’s abiding grace will endure in our hearts.  In their devastation they are a blessing to us.  If they can find hope, so can we.

Indeed, it is in our weakness that God can best use us to bless others.  I just hope that if I’m in a similar situation I will answer that call as well as the people of Haiti – in any and all circumstances.

 

Praise God – no matter what


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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