The Good News - Middleburg Heights Community Church United

The Good News
Middleburg Heights Community United Church of Christ
February 2015
Teeter Totter Marathon—February 13-15
This month is our teeter-totter marathon. During the 48 hour
event, we need adult, youth and family riders to ride the teetertotter and collect money at the curb. We are in need of adult
supervision at all times. We will also need you to pledge money
and provide food for the participants. There is a way for everyone of every age to be involved with this event.
Sign up sheets are located in the
parlor. Riders can also sign up on
Sign-up Genius. Scan the QR
code to the left or go to
our church website to
access the sign up genius webstie.
All proceeds from the teeter-totter marathon will go to Church Street Ministries.
Scan the QR code to view
our website.
The Three and a Half Percent Challenge
As one who did not grow up in the church, I admit that I
have always felt little pangs of jealousy toward people who
have known the rituals and practices of the faith since early childhood. One spiritual practice in particular that I wish
I had been taught at an earlier age is stewardship. I am
envious of those who learned the gift of tithing while still
children and still remember the sense of disbelief I felt when my friend Kate Huey
shared the transformative effect tithing had on her relationship with God. I couldn’t
imagine that God cared all that much how generous I was or how much money I
gave to the church.
Over time I have come to realize how wrong I was. After years of giving what I
thought I could afford (basically what was left over after we paid our bills, bought
groceries and provided for our children), I had an epiphany which led us to adopt a
new approach to giving. After much prayer and study, we decided that instead of
giving what we had left over after all our other obligations were met, we put God at
the top of the list and gave of our “first fruits.” The difference this has made in my
relationship with God has been stunning – not because God now values me more,
but because in making this change, I have made my faith a first priority in my life. I
finally understood what Kate meant all those years ago!
For so long, we gave what we thought we could afford. We were often among the
top ten percent of donors in our church because we don’t tend to lead an extravagant lifestyle. We felt good about our pledge. But the more we studied and prayed,
the more we realized that in making our giving decision based on affordability rather
than on our faith, we were cheating ourselves from the gift of understanding stewardship as a spiritual practice. Of course, we couldn’t simply go from giving what
we thought we could afford all the way to a tithe in one swift increase. But we committed to significantly increasing our pledge each year and making this gift a priority.
It was amazing how painless the transition was! Our lifestyle never changed, but
our spiritual lives grew richer by the moment. As we put God first instead of last
when it came to our finances, we began to realize that God came first in other ways
too. We prayed more fervently. We listened more closely for the urging of God.
We took bolder stands for justice, even when those stands cost us money or privilege.
As we approach the annual meeting and the adoption of the church budget for
2015, we are faced with some sobering decisions. The funds we need to continue
to support and grow the dynamic ministries to which God is calling this congregation
cannot be supported by the current pledges and the best guesses we can make
about giving from those who choose not to pledge. We are faced with the need to
make some difficult cuts to staff and programs. In preparing for our discussions of
these important matters, I have spent some time analyzing the gifts our members
and friends give to the church.
After pestering our treasurer for data, I have learned that while the average pledge
we receive is $2217, our median pledge is just $1500. (To review your middle
school math, the median is the number that is exactly in the middle of a list of values
put in value order. In other words, half of the pledges we have received are higher
than $1500 and half are lower.) When we look at all givers (those who pledge and
those who give to the church without making an annual commitment), the median
drops to $1000.
I did some further research and learned that the median income in Middleburg
Heights is $51,300. If we assume that our congregation reflects our community,
then if all of our givers simply gave 3.5% of their income, we would have all the money we need to do what we want to do. Three and a half percent. Not a tithe – far
from it. A relatively manageable amount for those who want to make stewardship a
spiritual practice rather than a responsibility.
So here is my challenge: For those who already give more than 3.5%, thank you! I
pray that you know, or are coming to know, the gift of putting God first in your life.
For those who aren’t giving 3.5%, are you willing to risk reordering your priorities
and realigning your finances accordingly? If it is too big of a jump to move to 3.5% in
one step, what increase could you make, not because you can afford it, but because
you are willing to make a deeper commitment to God?
If you are willing to take the challenge and increase your giving, you will contribute
to our ability as a congregation to continue our work for justice, helping others and
providing opportunities for spiritual formation for our members. On a personal note,
you will transform your relationship with God as you begin to understand giving as a
spiritual practice rather than a responsibility.
Sundays in February
February 1 – Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: We reflect on the beginning of
Jesus’ ministry as word begins to spread that he is
someone who operates “with authority.” As we gather
around the communion table, we are reminded once
again that as those who follow Jesus, we are called to
stand up for God’s justice and, on this Annual Meeting
Sunday, will make this a spiritual formation goal for the
upcoming year. Read Mark 1:21-28 to prepare.
February 8 – Fifth Sunday After Epiphany: Jesus quickly
becomes known for his ability to heal those whom he encounters. On this Sunday, as we continue to consider the ways we
are known and called by God, we’ll reflect on the church and the
ways in which it can be a healing presence – and on the ways
that it has caused great hurt. How are we called in this time and
place to be agents of healing in a broken and hurting world? To
prepare, read Mark 1:29 – 39 and Isaiah 40:28-31.
February 15 – Transfiguration Sunday: On this Sunday before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the reflective and penitential season of
Lent, we will celebrate in style with a Mardi Gras worship service! Join us for a Pancake Breakfast between the services as
we decorate Mardi Gras masks and don beads. Our celebratory
worship service will focus on Jesus’ mountaintop experience
when God again calls him “Beloved” and then commands the
disciples to “Listen to him!” Are we still listening today? Read
Mark 9:2-9 to prepare.
February 22 – First Sunday in Lent: Immediately after
Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan, he was sent into
the wilderness and tested. Undeterred, Jesus calls us to
“repent and believe in the good news.” As we begin our
journey through the season of Lent, will we choose to follow
Jesus on The Way to Jerusalem so that we can realize that
the realm of God has come near? To prepare, read Mark
Women’s Breakfast - A potluck breakfast will be held
on Saturday , February 7, at 9 am in FH2. After breakfast we
will assemble Valentine's goodie boxes for our college students and military members.
Men’s Breakfast
Saturday, February 21, at 8 am at Perkins Restaurant. 7175
Engle Road, Middleburg Heights, OH
TTM Collection Banks
Thank you to everyone who has been busy collecting coins
in their Teeter Totter Marathon banks over the last several
Please turn in your banks by the weekend of the TTM
(Feb. 13-15).
If possible, please roll as many of the coins that you
can. (If you have extra coins once you roll them, just leave
them loose in your bank.)
These coins add up quickly to make a difference in the lives of the families that
Church Street Ministries serves!
All Church Game Night!
Friday, February 20, 6:00 pm
Friday, March 20, 6:00 pm
The evening starts with a light dinner followed by a
variety of games played by a variety of ages. Bring your favorite
games. Without a doubt, game night is a lot of fun!
The main dish, beverages, and place settings will be provided! Bring a
side dish to share (salad, snacks, vegetable, dessert). Contact Barb
Nitzsche ([email protected]) or
Mary Densmore([email protected]) with any questions.
Lent 2015
Following in The Way of Jesus
Lent is a time of reflection, of soul-searching and taking stock of
our lives. As we do so this year, you are invited to join in a pilgrimage, as together we discern what it means to follow The
Way of Jesus. The touching and thoughtful movie, The Way
(see Fourth Friday Flix on page 9), will serve as a symbol of the
pilgrimage on which we engage as we are transformed by
seeking to follow Jesus on The Way.
As we seek to better understand the life of Jesus and the meaning of the gospel, you are encouraged to read the complete gospel of Mark, the lectionary
focus of the season and the shortest and most direct of the four core books of
the New Testament. Like the pilgrims we will meet on The Way, our Fourth Friday Flix selection for February, you will receive stamps in a passport as you
complete each chapter of Mark’s gospel. Choose to read together as a family
or with a group of friends who gather to read, discuss and share a meal. Read
on your own and spend some time in quiet reflection. Whatever way you
choose, this Lent, immerse yourself in the life of Jesus and learn how your own
life can be transformed as you seek to follow The Way.
So that we can all better come to know the life of the man whom we seek to follow and embody in our faith, join us for our Lenten study group as we delve into
Marcus Borg’s eloquent and accessible book, “Meeting Jesus Again for the
First Time.” We will consider the implications for our faith as Borg describes
Jesus as a “spirit person, subversive sage, social prophet, and movement
founder who invited his followers and hearers into a transforming relationship
with the same Spirit that he himself knew, and into a community whose social
vision was shaped by the core value of compassion.” See the related article
about our Lenten Study Group on page 10.
Finally, each Sunday as we make our “way” through the poignant season of
Lent, we will reflect on our scripture texts to discern how it influences our way
of living today and how it offers instruction on how we are invited to embody
The Way of Jesus. May your life be transformed this Lent as you join us on this
remarkable journey.
The Annual Meeting and luncheon for 2014 is scheduled
for Sunday, February 1
immediately following worship in the Fellowship Hall.
Mardi Gras Pancake Breakfast
Before we put away the alleluias for our contemplative season of Lent, let’s have
one more celebration! Join us on Sunday, February 15 for a
Mardi Gras Pancake Breakfast. From 9:15 to 10:25, Dixieland
jazz will be playing, the pancakes will be a flipping, the sausage
sizzling and your beads and masks will await you in Fellowship
Hall. At 10:25, join our celebratory processional as we dance
our way into Fellowship Hall to give glory to God in worship. A
goodwill offering will be received for breakfast.
Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday, February 18th at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary.
Begin your Lenten journey within in worship with prayer, confession,
reflection, and the imposition of ashes.
All are invited to participate in this service as we seek forgiveness
and recommitment to our Christian calling.
Food, Fellowship and Faith
As we seek to deepen our relationships with God and one another, we gather on
the first Thursday of each month from 6 – 7:30 pm to hear the faith story of one
of our members.
On February 5 at 6 pm, we will meet in FH2 for a potluck supper and to enjoy listening as Mary Densmore shares the story of her life in faith. Please join us for a
chance to deepen friendships as we come to better understand how each of us
has been shaped by our faith experiences.
Book Discussion Group
Sunday, February 8th,
11:45 am, 203
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
“Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the
East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by luck or chance. Moving between characters from contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a
powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendships.”
Christian Spiritual Disciplines
The Spirit of Hospitality—Entertaining Angels Unawares
Thursday, February 19
10:00-11:00 am
“Hospitality directly and visibly expresses our spiritual kinship with every human being and with the whole creation. It is both a means of God’s transforming grace for
us and a fruitful expression of the Spirit working in us for the sake of others.” Majorie
Thompson, Soul Feast.
Fourth Friday Flix
Please join us on Friday, February 27th at 7 pm as we gather in
the parlor to watch The Way. Reflecting and supporting our Lenten theme, the thoughtful film produced by Emilio Estevez and
starring his father Martin Sheen tells the story of a father, Tom,
who must travel to France to identify and return the body of his
son who is killed during a storm while traveling the Camino de
Santiago. The historical pilgrimage also known as The Way of
St. James. When Tom decides to complete the pilgrimage in
honor of his son, he doesn’t do it alone as he befriends three other misfits along the way and together they realize the transformative power of the journey. Through Tom's unresolved relationship with his son,
he also discovers the difference between "the life we live and the life we choose."
We will use clips of this touching film to illumine our biblical texts throughout the
Lenten season as we ponder and reflect on the transformative impact following
The Way of Jesus can have on our lives.
The popcorn will be ready and the big screen will be up for a showing of this provocative film followed by a bit of engaging conversation. See you at the movies!
The Parables of Lent
Daily Devotions on the Stories of Jesus for Lent
“He spoke to them in parables” the Bible tells us
of Jesus, and in this daily devotional for Lent,
these very parables speak to us of core components of this sacred season as we reflect on his
suffering, death and resurrection. The author
takes us through some of the most well-known
parables and relates these events to the events
of Lent we experience. Pick up your copy on the
table in the Parlor area.
Lent 101: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
Join us on Tuesday evenings in Lent to better understand the
meaning of the story of Jesus, the historical figure whose life
we embody as Christians. In our trademark “101” style, the
study will assume little prior knowledge and no advance reading is required (although it is encouraged!).
Our evenings will begin at 5:45 pm with a simple soup supper
for which a freewill offering will be received. At 6:30, Mike
and Vicki McGaw will lead a discussion based on Marcus
Borg’s eloquent and accessible book, “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time:
The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith.”
With four bold strokes, Borg describes his renewed vision of the historical Jesus.
He was a spirit person who saw himself as a mediator of the sacred. He was a
subversive teacher of wisdom using parables and aphorisms to jolt individuals
into a fresh awareness of God. He was a prophet who criticized the social elites
of his day. And he was a movement founder "who invited his followers and hearers into a transforming relationship with the same Spirit that he himself knew."
As we explore this understanding of the historical Jesus, we will pay particular
attention to the implications these understandings have for those of us who, as
Christians, proclaim that we seek to follow The Way of Jesus.
Lent 101 begins Tuesday, February 24 and will continue each week through
March 31. Childcare will be available each week upon request. Be sure to sign
up on the bulletin board outside the office to participate in this Lenten study opportunity!
Fellowship Hour
Displaying hospitality through our Fellowship Hour is one
way that we are a welcoming church. To ensure that the
Fellowship Hour continues on a weekly basis, we need volunteers to host. Fellowship Hour can easily be managed
by two people. Purchased items can be donated or will be
reimbursed by submitting a voucher to the church office. Members of the Hospitality Committee will be available to assist with set-up and clean-up. Please consider becoming a host for one or more Sundays and sign-up on the
poster displayed on an easel near the food table. Thanks!
Visit the Museum of Divine Statues
Sunday, February 22nd
It was the vision of restoration artist, Lou
McClung, to create a reflective and reverential space where ecclesiastical statues, many
of which came from parishes recently decommissioned by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese,
would be displayed.
Join us after the 10:30 service with your brown bag lunch as we travel
to Lakewood for this visit. Admission is $10. Please sign-up on the
bulletin board outside the office.
“Finding the Museum of Divine Statues was an unexpected gem. Inside the renovated church the museum curator has gathered religious
relics from all over the world and restored them to their original glory. I
am not a Catholic but love the art and history and found a stop here
well worth my time.” April, 2014
Attention all 2015 Boards and Committees!
Following this year’s Annual Meeting on February 1, please provide Suzi Foley
with the names and email addresses for your Board/Committee Chair and/or CoChairs. This information is vital for providing financial reports and various committee minutes via email as well as facilitating important communication between
our various church committees. Thank you in advance for you cooperation.
Meeting Minutes Needed: All Boards and Committees are asked to please submit a copy of your meeting minutes to the Church Office. These minutes are
kept in a file, a binder in the Beck Library, and stored electronically.
Collecting Quarters for Heifer International
The Gift that Keeps on Giving!
Check out the display in the Parlor. Our quarters will add
up quickly to help provide livestock, training and critical
opportunities to families in the world’s poorest places.
Did you know….?
Heifer International has been in existence since 1944 supplying animals and
the opportunity to become self-reliant for food and income to families in more
than 125 countries worldwide and 50 states in the United States.
Heifer is supported primarily by individuals, congregations, clubs, civic groups
and the general public.
Passing on the gift is the heart of Heifer International’s sustainable community
development philosophy. Every family that receives an animal passes on one
or more of their animal’s offspring to another family in need along with the training and skills they have learned. This creates a ripple effect that transforms
The Ministry of Children (Part 3)
Stewardship with Children
Starting this past month, on non-Communion Sundays, two of our church school
children carried the Church School offering to be presented at the altar along with
the congregational offering collected by our ushers. Our children take pride in
serving in this role and do a great job!
One of the ways our children care for others around the world is by their weekly
offerings to support two vital outreach ministries, Heifer International and the Global Ministry Child Sponsorship Program. Parents, please encourage your children
to bring their offering. There are children’s offering envelopes available on the
Christian Education table in the Parlor for your convenience.
Mary Densmore
Coordinator of Children’s and Family Ministries
Sunday, February 1: Communion Sunday. All children and youth
in worship. Grades Pre-K through 2nd grade will leave for a multi-age
class in room 104 following the Children’s Message and return to sit
with their families to celebrate Communion. ** Activity clipboards will
be available for the children to use in worship. **
Sunday, February 8: Class for all children and youth Pre-K through 12th grade.
Sunday, February 15: Class for Pre-K through 5th grade. 6th grade and above will
be participating in the Teeter Totter Marathon! ** It is a special tradition that the
3rd/4th/5th grade Church School class goes with their teacher outside to ride
the teeter-totter during the Church School hour. Dress warm and meet your
teacher, Karen Thomas, in the Parlor area at 10:30 a.m.!! **
Sunday, February 22:
Class for all children and youth Pre-K through 12th
Bible Sunday: February 8
On Sunday, February 8, at the 10:30 am worship service the kindergarten
and fourth grade children will be presented with their Bibles. The kindergartners will receive The Family Story Bible and the fourth graders will receive the CEB Deep Blue Kids Bible.
Youth News
In February, the youth will concentrate on preparing for and participating in the Teeter Totter Marathon. The TTM will be the TORCH event for February, and the Breakfast Bunch
will also be at the TTM. Kids—sign up NOW! Parents - please sign up to chaperone, ride
and bring food.
Like us on Facebook (Middleburg Heights Community United Church of Christ) www.facebook/mhccucc
Christian Outreach
It’s been another difficult year for many people. Most of us have never had to wonder where our next meal is coming from.
Souper Bowl of Caring began in 1990 with a simple act of caring from a church youth group in South Carolina. Just as it was
on that Souper Bowl weekend in 1990, 100% of the money collected is given directly to hunger-relief charities in local communities. “Souper Bowl of Caring is celebrating 25 years of success,” said Kathy Lewis, executive director at Crosslines. “This year, we’ll continue
to leverage the energy of the Super Bowl to help people in need.” In 2014, the national event tracked more than 7,500 groups that collected nearly $8.5 million in
cash and food items that were donated to charities in their local areas. The youth of
our church collected money for Souper Bowl of caring on January 25th.
At St. Paul’s 2nd Sunday Meal on January 11th, mac & cheese with diced ham,
peas and carrots, bread & butter, applesauce, soup, and various desserts were
served. Thank you to Shirley Kaiser and Marianne Luca for the desserts they
In January, Pat Loomis & Michelle LeMaster took approximately $425 worth of food
to Church Street Ministries along with other household items. A very special surprise was a donation of a baby car seat and 2 huge pkgs. of diapers!! THANK YOU,
THANK YOU! Frannie was thrilled. Anytime your child outgrows one size diapers
for larger ones, and you have a fair amount left of the smaller size, they would certainly be welcomed. Frannie was not there for the 2nd delivery, but her coworkers
were thrilled as could be and said they couldn't wait to tell her about our donation.
The collection for January was soup and
crackers. The collection for February is
baby food, diapers and other baby related
THANKS again for all your continuing
Learn About the Wider Church:
Volunteer at General Synod
Every two years, thousands of members of the United Church of Christ
gather to conduct business, enjoy inspirational worship and fellowship.
In June, 2015, this gathering will take place in Cleveland as we explore
some of the “Unexpected Places” where we hear God’s voice, encounter the Spirit and find the UCC lifting up its witness to the world.
The Ohio conference, as host of the event, is busy preparing an extravagant welcome for more than 4000 delegates and visitors and our
help is needed! Please consider being one of 400 volunteers needed
for this event which will be held at the convention center from June 2630.
You could help with:
Greeting and directing guests
Assisting with childcare
Baking cookies (about 400,000 needed!)
Providing transportation for VIPs
Interested? Speak to Vicki or look here for more information.: -volunteer.html.
Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to experience the church in a
whole new way!
The collection for February will be
baby food and diapers.
Canned Foods & Breakfast Cereal are always in large demand.
2014 Results and 2015 Budget
We have wrapped up another financial year at MHCUCC. And again we squeaked by -accomplishing our financial responsibilities by nearly breaking even. We had a tiny $612
loss for the year – which is, by itself, fantastic and just as it should be. Thank you to
everyone who contributed to that result.
However, buried in that result is the unsettling fact that income was the smallest amount
in seven years (inflation adjusted it might be the smallest amount ever). Fortunately we
reduced expenses by an equal amount. Things look fine on the surface.
However, while we enjoy all the new and increased activity going on at our church, we
fail to notice that it is dwindling away. We enjoy having two pastors available to visit us
in the hospital and in our homes, conduct our funerals, be available for counseling and
leading varied worship and Christian education experiences. And, we enjoy an active
Sunday school and youth program. We enjoy an exceptional music program. We like
our clean nicely appointed facilities. Yet collectively we support all this less and less
each year. We have more staff now than we have had in a long time to provide all the
things we enjoy. Yet at the same time salary expenses have declined dramatically over
the past ten years. We are getting much more for far less right now. How far can we
stretch our luck with that?
As we ponder the 2015 budget in preparation for the Annual Meeting, we face two dilemmas. Our pledge campaign and estimates of non-pledged income leave us with a
$30,000 gap between what we want to do and what we can afford to do. And on the
non-monetary side of our operations, our efforts to recruit people to help make the
church run are meeting much headwind. For example, the Stewardship Committee, the
group in charge of digging up the money to fill that pledge gap, is staffed by people who
have been doing that job for years. They are worn out and no one seems to want to
step forward with fresh energy.
If we were simply cold calculating and unflinching accountants (which it looks like we
need to be), we would have to rescind the proposed token pay raise of 1% for our dedicated staff, reduce benevolences, cut back on the costs of communicating with each
other (postage and copying), and delay maintenance. After all that, we would still need
to raise $16,000 through special appeals such as second collections. Without the
$16,000 we would need to cut staff or maybe stop providing health insurance or cut our
pastor’s expense reimbursements (mileage to hospitals, continuing education, etc.) -and with that cut our expectation for the number of hospital and nursing home and home
visitations. What should we do? I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.
Over the past ten years we have relied on our reserves to cover the yearly operating
losses – losses now totaling $40,300. We have only $14,000 remaining to cover the
projected $20,000 gap. What should we do? If we adopt the “things as usual” budget,
the operating fund would be bankrupt by summer.
We had 238 individuals and couples who gave to MHCUCC in 2014. Sixty-eight have
indicated that they will increase their giving in 2015 for a total of $36,000. (There were
also many increases last year). Fifty have indicated that they expect to give the same in
2015 as 2014 (some sustaining last year’s increases). Seventeen have indicated that
they will decrease their contributions in 2015 by about $7,000. We have lost nine contributors (deceased or moved away) representing about $8,000 while we gained 10
new pledges for $13,000. The intentions for 2015 of the remaining 2014 contributors
are unknown. All these intentions taken together with some guesses about what those
who have not expressed an intention will probably result in about the same amount of
income in 2015 as 2014.
But we need $30,000 more. What should we do? Why $30,000. Costs are up by
$19,000. Health care costs are up and the $6,600 government subsidy under the Affordable Care Act is gone. Office expenses are up – costs of copying. And Charlotte
and Suzi will be on staff for the entire year in 2015 (we ran short handed for most of
2014.) Of-course utilities and maintenance costs are up. And projected income is down
from the 2014 budget amount by $11,000.
We should have faith that God will provide. But God’s wallet is widely distributed
among us. It is kept in our purses and our back pockets. God’s time and talent resides
in our energy and enthusiasm. It’s right here among us. God asks us to direct it to
God’s purposes.
This is tough talk for an Annual Report. It maybe paints a negative picture of our
church when in fact we are enjoying a huge increase in activity fueled by the irrepressible energy of Vicki translated into action by Charlotte, Mary, Jane, Tom, Sandy, Jarred,
Cordetta, Carol, Barbara, Suzi, Nancy, Michelle, Gary, June, George and those among
us who volunteer to do the church’s work. I think that everything simply looks so good
that, as a congregation, we are overlooking the monetary and volunteer work efforts
needed to keep it all going. I hope that this tough talk helps get the message out that
we collectively need to pay a little more attention to finances and to committing the time
necessary to keep us successful in our mission.
No one should be asked to do more than they are capable of doing. But I think that we
are expected to do all that we have the capacity to do. Any additional help, large or
small, monetary or time and talent would be greatly appreciated and is urgently needed.
Bob Lewis, Treasurer
($ 612)
Thank you…
From the Moderator
To all who have done so much to serve during my
term as your Moderator, Thank You All! It has been a challenging and fulfilling
time for me as well as our church, as we collectively try to discern what is our
best course to fulfill the mission we accepted when we became Christians. Our
reach into the community has been substantial, particularly in partnering with
Church Street Ministries and others with whom we have so much in common.
Meals at St. Paul’s, the so successful Mission Sunday, tried for the first time
(but not the last), our delegation to Lott’s Creek and hurricane recovery - all are
examples of how the congregation has been effective in representing our
charge to “Feed my lambs” and the classic admonition to “Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you.” It has been gratifying to witness words put
into action by our church. I pray we’ll continue to be blessed by the talented,
motivated and dedicated people who have come to us over the years. May we
always stay true to our mission of caring and justice for all.
Sincerely, Diana
From Middleburg Hts. Food Pantry : “Thank you for the $72 donation in November 2014” and “Thank you for the $188 donation from December.”
January 4
January 11
January 18
8:30 A.M.
10:30 A.M.
January 11, 2015, Isabella Jennifer Gleason, granddaughter of Susan Marks
January 11, 2015, Garrett Paxton Gleason, son of Sheila Poland
January 25, 2015, Jackson Carl Baker, son of Brian Kristen Baker.
In Memoriam
January 11 - Betty Postel - Betty was a 50-year member of the church who, over
the years, participated in many activities and committees, with a particular interest
and commitment to bible study and the prayer group.
January 11, 2015, Vasiliki Kanaris, mother-in-law of Michelle
January 13, 2015, Ruth Nitzsche, mother of Dale Nitzsche
January 23 - Ed LeBrun - With his wife Shirley and close
friends, Ron and Joanne Zeiger, Ed served for many years on
the Board of Christian Outreach.
The church By-Laws provide for two persons (elected at large) to represent the
general membership on the Church Council. Carl Kaiser and Walter Boerke are the
current representatives. If any member of the congregation has either a compliment or
a concern that they would like to have presented to the council meeting, please contact
one of these representatives. All requests will be kept confidential and presented at
the Church Council meeting.
Teach me to do your will for you are my God
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path - Psalm 143:10
Like many households, we have bibles. We have several versions including the
King James Version and The Good News and of course with technology, scripture
is just a keystroke away. The book I reference most often is Don’s hardbound
NIV Application. I use it so much that the red binding is loose. I also kept a bible
in my desk at work (not just any bible) it was my daughter’s NRSV that she received at baptism Easter 1991 at the age of 12. I had it there a long time often
marking verses that stirred me at one time or another. It meant much to have it
near and think that one day my daughter may be stirred by her mother’s usage of
it. Both of these bibles have been my companion in the joys and valleys of life.
The season of Lent is soon upon us and it is time to prepare for the journey and
seek a peaceful place for study, prayer and meditation.
When I reflected on peace during Advent, and asked what gets in the way of our
peace, it came as no surprise that from sunrise to sunset that every minute seems
accounted for with little leftover to just be still and know God. Where is your quiet
place to seek peace and hear God? I have a picture on my desk where Don is a
speck among the desert red rocks and blue skies. I close my eyes and go back to
the Valley of Fire National Park in Nevada in 2003; I had just come down off the
rocks after viewing some Indian writings and at the bottom I remember just standing there saying to Don “Can you hear that?” The silence was so loud that it paralyzed us in that defining moment when Psalm 46:10 Be still and know I am God,
came alive.
A voice said from the cloud, this is my Son, whom I have chosen – Listen to him – Luke 9:35
Wherever your Lenten journey takes you, find your quiet place and be stirred.
Peace be with you,
Pauline Wills
Staff Change
With appreciation for her years of service to the church, we
share that Nancy Helyes has chosen to retire effective February 28. We give thanks to God for the more than 17
years during which she offered her ministry to support to
this congregation as she has managed the front office.
When you see Nancy in the next few weeks, please be sure to wish her
well in this new phase of her journey and offer your thanks for the ways
that her ministry has enriched your life.
Grief Support Group Meets
Knowing that having a chance to share our stories and draw strength from one another has brought comfort to those who have lost loved ones, our grief support
group will meet again on Wednesday, February 25 th from 6:30 – 8 pm in the parlor. Join us for a time of conversation and sharing.
Directory Update
We know you are anxiously awaiting your pictorial directory. It is undergoing some finishing touches and will be sent to the printer in early February. We will be sure to send you notification of their arrival when they
are hot off the presses.
Correction from January Good News—Pat and Frank Jefferis have 5 grandchildren,
not the 7 listed in the January Good News New Member bio.