RCA Corner- 10/2021 update


The General Synod of the RCA met a couple weeks ago. It was long delayed and highly anticipated due to the signifinace for the future of our denomination. The reports have it that it was a genuinely deliberative session, open to listening to one another. It might have been that people were genuinely curious. Or as it was suggested to me, resigned to the inevitable.  
From the office of the General Synod staff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aevhpntpdIA
 

The major decisions that came regarding the 2020 Vision Task force were approving recommendations 1, 3. 
#1: appoint a group of 10 to 15 people to work on specifics around restructuring. This will take several years to impact churches since BCO changes take two Synods to complete.  
#3: allow churches to leave the RCA without much fuss
#2 purposed spinning off world mission of the RCA into its own non-profit. This was voted down.

Also of note, Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI) requested to be released from being an RCA institution . Instead, they would like to be “affiliated.” I speculate that they are seeing the decline the need for RCA pastors and the rise in interest from other parts of the church. There are only a few professors who are actually RCA, and not the new ones. Gone are the days when the professors are pastors with any years serving in a church. Instead, there are a lot of PhDs looking for a life in the academy.

The fallout in the RCA will be remarkable. It has been generations in the making for sure. But it has been one issue and a chink in our polity has hobbled it to the point of breaking. We’ll see how many churches and people are left after the dust settles but half is not far-fetched.

I’ve been asked a couple time what this all means for us. At the outset, not much more than it has in the past. Or: it depends on our value being a part of the RCA as a denomination. How much support, direction, identity do we derive from being RCA? To the degree in which we do… I suggest that it will be the degree we care about what happens. My guess is that how the RCA ‘doesn’t care about us’ is at the top of the sentiments. In the last two significant floods they have suggested seeking funding elsewhere (1996), merge with Schoharie Reformed (2001) and perhaps give some money to help those downstate from their flooding (2002). Judge Bliss gave a wooden crest of the RCA for us to enjoy. I’ve heard people wonder if RCA is actually pulling for us. I think we also have local questions to address about how we want to relate to our Classis and the Regional Synod of Albany. Like, do we send kids to Camp Fowler in the future? Do we condone the ordinations of people who don’t abide by a (any) Christian sexual ethic? Can we come together at the Lord’s Table if we don’t confess the same historical faith? Do we even know if we do? What are the boundaries or center that we come around?

If you watch the video above, you’ll hear Ms. Ver Steeg describes how the RCA is all about relationships. Or, it’s all about who you know. I can say this is absolutely true. I attended Hope College, worked at Western Seminary changing light bulbs for a summer and… then of course ordination process and being among the RCA here for a couple years. The trouble is when relationships don’t work well (as they don’t always) and don’t have the capacity to hold tension. There is real impact of people using power and chasing vanity. When relationships get exchanged for institutional process, its susceptible to being unjust and abusive. Relationships are essential, but they aren’t everything holding us together. People who get married know this (or should): one are married no matter how you feel about it today. Marriage is an institution to protect the persons in the relationship. It says to others they shouldn’t ask for a date. The church as institution that exists to 1) protect us against one another and 2) make space for the work of the people. When the institution fail, relationships suffer and don’t grow. If relationships are the only thing we are about, then it’s already over.

I don’t have a map or a plan as this is incredibly complex. Trying to hold all this together induces vertigo (spiritually anyway). This is more than having the right opinion or virtue signaling or branding. My desire is that we’ll be a faithful people who are called to this place. Faithful: allowing the breadth, length, height and depth (riffing on Ephesians 3) of Christ to dwell in us. This means are we are part of Christ’s Body worldwide, too. This place: it has its own character, needs and opportunities. We aren’t called to be someone else or somewhere else. So, I hope you’ll come open seeking God’s face as we ask these questions together.

October News & Updates

News from Operation Christmas Child

Reaching the Unreached

The Himba people of Namibia had not heard the Name of Jesus until Operation Christmas Child shoebox distributions were conducted in some of their villages in 2019.  We praise God to know that Christian fellowship is now happening in six villages, and two churches have been built!  Children participated in The Greatest Journey discipleship program and as they shared their faith with others, the number of believers multiplied. The Himba villagers learned about the true God and His Son, Jesus Christ, so they no longer feared their ancestors or the spirit world. They learned they could have a relationship with God because of what Jesus did for them.  

Giving with Gratitude  

$84 was collected in September to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!

Harvest Bazaar

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our 2021 Harvest Bazaar!  We earned $1986.50 to go toward shipping costs and other ministry expenses related to the shoeboxes we will send on their journey to children around the world.

Praise God for His Provision!

OCC fund raising has gone so well this year we will be able to sponsor some children to be enrolled in The Greatest Journey course.  

2021 Packing Parties

As we did last year with much success, we will have a series of smaller packing parties instead of one huge one.  The first was held on Saturday, September 25.  Our small, but able group packed 85 shoeboxes for 2-4 year- olds.

   Our second packing party is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 13.  (That is an early release day for MCS students.)  Students should report to the fellowship hall after dismissal.  Youngsters under 10 years old should bring a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teenage cousin or babysitter with them for assistance with packing.   Older children and teens are encouraged to invite friends to join them.  It is always fun to share the Good News with those who may not have heard it!  Any adults who are free in the morning are invited to gather at 10:00 a.m. in the fellowship hall to assemble shoeboxes.  Children of ALL AGES (students, retirees, stay-at-home parents) who are free in the afternoon are encouraged to meet beginning at 2:00 in the afternoon to pack shoeboxes.  We should be finished by 4:00.

   Our final packing party is scheduled for Sunday, November 7.  Stay tuned for more details!

   In addition to the shoeboxes we pack together, some families like to shop for gifts and pack on their own.  Please see Mary Lou if you need boxes to fill.

2021 Collection Week

   Volunteers are needed at the drop-off site we host for collection week, Nov. 15-22.  Please see Mary Lou if you can give some of your time to receive shoeboxes and pack them in shipping cartons.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child with your prayers, resources, and talents!

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Sundays

Join us for Coffee & Fellowship before and after Sunday worship. And you are invited to sign up to help

Youth Education – 10 a.m. Classes PreK-Kindergarten, 1st-3rd, 4th-6th, and 7th-12th grade. Masks will be required. Will not meet on 10/10

Bible Study: Sundays, 10 a.m. 6 weeks on Ezra-Nehemiah.  (Will not meet on 10/24). 

Nursery: help create a safe and comfortable place for families during worship- volunteer to be in the nursery! We need two people (unrelated) each Sunday to provide the space starting after the 2nd hymn until the last. 

To read scripture sign up on foyer the Table. 

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SITWAY- or Blessa-Student: We’ve had a practice of sending care packages to college students. If you’d like to take a name, see instructions on the Foyer Table. The church can cover shipping for UPS packages through the Hardware Store. 

Church Property Work Day: October 16th, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The list of “things to do” include window washing, cleaning siding, weeding, garden work, leaf raking, etc. for outdoors and maybe some projects for indoors.  We will ask for volunteers to provide refreshments.

Church Directory available. Request a copy from Pastor Jeff. 

Finance Committee Meeting, 10/7, 1 p.m. 
Consistory Meeting, 10/14, 6:30 p.m.

September News & Updates

News from Operation Christmas Child
Stefana’s Story
Twelve–year–old Stefana was thrilled when he opened his gift–filled box and found a new pair of shoes that fit him just right. The special present helped him see God’s love for him. Stefana and five other family members then began attending church. They all prayed to receive Christ as Savior and were recently baptized! “Stefana is a special boy,” his pastor said. “He loves learning God’s Word.” And it all started with a shoebox!

Giving with Gratitude  

$57 was collected in July to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!

Harvest Bazaar Save the date of September 18, 2021 for the Harvest Bazaar to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  

If you craft, sew, or build we welcome your donated items for the bazaar! There are a number of volunteer roles to be filled in order to execute the Harvest Bazaar in ways that will make our vendors and guests feel welcome.  Please consider filling one of the following roles.  You will find a sign-up sheet in the foyer to indicate your availability.  Thank you!

  • assist with set-up
  • serve as greeter
  • serve as floater
  • assist with clean-up

Jump Ropes You can be a part of providing a child with a fun gift.  During our work bees, we made t-shirt yarn which is ready to become jump ropes!  You will find a box in the foyer containing jump ropes that are ready to be braided. Grab a few to finish at home!

Getting Ready for Packing Parties If you did not deliver your pledged gifts to the church by September 1, please do so ASAP.  THANK YOU!

We are VERY close to having everything we need for our packing parties!  We need 41 more bars of soap. (No homemade soap, please, as it causes a problem in customs.)

Our First 2021 Packing Party

As we did last year with much success, we will have a series of smaller packing parties instead of one huge one.  The first will be on Saturday, September 25 beginning at 9:00 a.m.  in the fellowship hall.  Plan to come and go as your schedule allows.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child with your prayers, resources, and talents!

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Sundays

Join us for Coffee & Fellowship before and after Sunday worship. And you are invited to sign up to help.

Youth Education – starting September 12th10 a.m.. Classes PreK-Kindergarten, 1st-3rd, 4th-6th, and 7th-12thgrade. Masks will be required until community rates are lower. 

Nursery: help create a safe and comfortable place for families during worship- volunteer to be in the nursery! We need two people (unrelated) each Sunday to provide the space starting after the 2nd hymn until the last. 

To read scripture sign up on foyer the Table. 

+ + +

Directory UPDATE: available for three weeks, add or update your information in the copy of the directory on the Table. 

Four Courageous Conversations, aForum on Racism, at Our Lady of the Valley Roman Catholic church, September 19th, 2- 4 p.m. (more info on the Table). 

July News & Updates

Coffee Hour is back! before and after Sunday worship. (You can also sign up to help)

Christian Education – July edition– for all ages, though geared for 11+: Creation and Climate Change and Hope (what’s a Christian to think?). A four-session introduction (sprint) to the theology of creation and our part in it. If you miss a session- no worries! A worksheet and the videos are posted on our website.  Find it under the tab:  What We Do (course)

Back to the Future As we anticipate a return to pre-pandemic church activities and building use, the cleaning requirements of our building are being reviewed.  For Kellie to have time to focus on our fellowship hall, meeting rooms, kitchen, nursery, and bathrooms, we want to revive the practice of other members of our church family cleaning the sanctuary.  We are seeking volunteers to sign up for a month.  Guidelines provided and participation greatly appreciated.

Community Worship Service on the Lawn– July 25th11 a.m. in the Middleburgh Jr/Sr. High greenspace. Bring a chair or blanket. (We will not be meeting for worship that morning.) 

Food Pantry: Open Saturdays 9-11 am and by appointment. (518) 827-7121. If you would like to volunteer for a regular shift, contact Russ RyanTo sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Bahati’s Story

            Bahati lives in Tanzania.  After receiving an OCC shoebox, she ran home to show her mother the beautiful gifts.  Her favorite items were pens, pencils, notebooks, and crayons.  Bahati’s favorite school subject is math, and she hopes to be a teacher one day.  The school supplies she found in her shoebox will help her reach that goal.  Bahati’s mother was amazed at how many gifts were included in the shoebox, and said the gifts blessed the entire family!

            Bahati accepted the invitation to attend The Greatest Journey classes.  Her favorite lesson is one about loving others.  Since attending the classes, Bahati invited her whole family to attend church.  It makes her happy to know that now they all know the love of Jesus.  Bahati is thankful for the person who packed her shoebox and started her family on their walk with the Lord.  She says, “Please remember to pray for us.”

Giving with Gratitude  

$17 was collected in June to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!  If you would like to join the effort, empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer and the back of the sanctuary.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary. 

Harvest Bazaar

            Save the date of September 18, 2021 for the Harvest Bazaar to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  A planning meeting for the event will be held on Tuesday, July 20 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the church library.  Newcomers are welcome to bring fresh ideas and service!

Purchasing Gifts

            Please see the pledge sheets in the foyer for the gifts needed for our 2021 packing parties.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child

with your prayers, resources, and talents!

June news & updates

Christian Education for 2 classes: grades 4-6 & 7-12 has started Sunday mornings, 10:15-11 a.m. see Maria Funiciello or Jonathan Meredith with questions. 

Food Pantry: Open Saturday 9-11 am and by appointment. (518) 827-7121. If you would like to volunteer for a shift, contact Russ Ryan

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Modified Coffee Hour is back! before and after Sunday worship. (You can also sign up to help)

“War on Weeds”—a special opportunity for all

Goal—To Beautify our church property by eliminating the weeds in the stone apron around the base of our buildings ( using no poisonous herbicides).  It would be great to get started before Memorial Day as the weeds are loving this warm weather and will grow like crazy over the next few weeks.

Benefits of participation in this program

  •  Good safe outdoor exercise
  • Great stress/tension reliever
  • Flexible schedule—whenever you can

Back to the Future

As we anticipate a return to pre-pandemic church activities and building use, the cleaning requirements of our building are being reviewed.  For Kellie to have time to focus on our fellowship hall, meeting rooms, kitchen, nursery, and bathrooms, we want to revive the practice of other members of our church family cleaning the sanctuary.  We are seeking volunteers to sign up for a month.  Guidelines provided and participation greatly appreciated.

Middleburgh Central School Baccalaureate Service: June 13th, 7 p.m. at the Middleburgh United Methodist Church

News from Operation Christmas Child

Sarita’s Story

                  Sarita is a 6-year-old who lives in Ecuador.  She received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and was enrolled in The Greatest Journey, the discipleship course which is offered to shoebox recipients.  Sarita has a speech impediment for which speech therapy was prescribed.  However, when her parents contracted Covid 19, Sarita and her parents became isolated from their community, making it impossible for her to attend school or receive the needed therapy.

                  Sarita’s classmates in The Greatest Journey classes were moved to action.  THEY PRAYED FOR SARITA AND HER PARENTS!  Their prayers were heard, and Sarita’s parents recovered.  Additionally, Sarita’s diction has improved as a result of speaking with her TGJ friends!

                  God has great plans for the shoeboxes we pack for children like Sarita and her friends.  Imagine the impact that having her parents’ health restored and improved speech will have on Sarita’s life.  Imagine also the faith and trust in God that is growing in the children who turned to the Great Healer when their friend was in need.  To God be the glory!

Giving with Gratitude  

$55 was collected in May to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!  If you would like to join the effort, empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer and the back of the sanctuary.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.  

Harvest Bazaar

                  Save the date of September 18, 2021 for the Harvest Bazaar to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  A planning meeting for the event will be held on Tuesday, June 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the church library.  Newcomers are welcome to bring fresh ideas and service!

Work Bees

                  Our May work bee was productive and also and wonderful time of fellowship!  We will meet again on Monday, June 7 beginning at 10 a.m. in the fellowship hall.  Please bring scissors and a one-hole punch if you have one.

                  Making jumpropes from old t-shirts is one of our projects.  There is a box in the foyer where you may leave your clean used t-shirts.

                  A future project in which we hope some of our youth will participate is to tie-dye some new shirts.  We will need MANY rubber bands for this.  There is a container on the table in the foyer where you may leave your donation of rubber bands.

Purchasing Gifts

                  Please see the pledge sheets in the foyer for the gifts still needed for our 2021 packing parties.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child

with your prayers, resources, and talents!

Church Treasurer

Church Finance Manager- 
We are seeking a Finance Manager to work with Consistory so that the mission and ministry of the congregation are supported and strengthened. The right person for this role will be comfortable with the basics of accounting, self-directed to ensure timely fulfillment of duties and committed to the mission of the MRC. Computer skills and experience with financial software preferred. The current Treasurer will work with the new person, as much as possible, during transition. This is a part time responsibility, encompassing an average of an hour per week, depending on church activity and time of year.
The general responsibilities include: 

1. Ensure that all bills and church expenses are paid on time, keeping accurate records of how funds are spent and assigning expenses to proper budget categories.     

– this includes payroll for church employees and any necessary payments for benefits, insurance payments, missionary pledges, monthly bills, reimbursement of one-time expenses

2. Prepare accurate monthly reports prior to consistory meetings indicating activity of the General Fund (and reserve funds if necessary). 

3. Work according to the guidelines established by the Consistory (ie, reporting schedule, expense tracking, expense approval procedure).

4. Participate with the Finance Committee and Consistory in preparing the annual budget and reports for the annual congregational meeting. 

5. Ensure there are adequate records documenting the assets of the church for insurance and other purposes. 

6. Oversee transfer of fund to and from investment accounts (if necessary). 

7. Complete necessary audits in insurance policies (average of 3 per year).

8. Ensure that all governmental taxes, reporting forms, and regulations are met on a timely basis. (Quarterly IRS filings, W2/W3 forms

May News & Announcements

Christian Education for 2 classes: grades 4-6 & 7-12 has started Sunday mornings, 10:15-11 a.m. see Maria Funiciello or Jonathan Meredith with questions.

Extra Seeds: We have extra seeds for anyone who wants to plant flowers, vegetable and herbs- take what you could use from table in the foyer. If you have extra time and space but don’t need the produce, consider growing it to give away. 

Hannaford Fight Hunger Bag Program: For the month of May 2021, the food pantry will receive a $1 donation from each purchase of the $2.50 reusable Fight Hunger Bag at the Hannaford store located in Esperance (11140 Western Turnpike).

Food Pantry: Open Saturday 9-11 am and by appointment. (518) 827-7121

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Consistory Meeting, May 13th

News from Operation Christmas Child

Bryce’s Story

            Bryce, now a teenager, is from the Philippines. He received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox when he was four years old.  Although his family was not Christian, his mother encouraged him to attend the church where he had received his gift to learn more about God.  At seven years of age, Bryce gave his life to Christ.

            Receiving a shoebox gift led to a transformation in Bryce’s whole family.  As he learned more about our Heavenly Father’s love, he shared what he was learning with his parents and brothers.  His mother says, “Before that shoebox, we did not know God.  Our life was just full of traditions.  I am so grateful for the person who packed that shoebox.”

Giving with Gratitude 

$29 in change was collected in April to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!  If you would like to join the effort, empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer and the back of the sanctuary.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.  You may trade in your full bottle for an empty!

Harvest Bazaar- Save the date of September 18, 2021 for the Harvest Bazaar to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  

Purchasing Gifts
Suggested to purchase in May is WOW gifts for 10–14-year-old girls.  WOW gifts are those larger gifts that may last for a considerable time.  Since they last over time, they continue to remind the child of God’s love.  WOW gifts for older girls include such things as a soccer ball and pump, a Barbie doll, an outfit, craft kit (no liquids), advanced coloring book and colored pencils….  Ask your daughter or granddaughter of that age for more ideas!

You are encouraged to purchase other needed gifts when you find a good deal.  An inventory of gifts needed for our 2021 packing party is on the table in the foyer.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Childwith your prayers, resources, and talents!

April 2021 News & Announcement

Property Help

The Property Committee is responsible for getting our grounds ready for the mowing season. Sticks need to be picked up and stones from the driveway need to be raked off the lawn areas. We could use extra help because this is a big job. A work day will not be scheduled–just come when you can–stay as long as you like-many hands make light work.  Thank you.

Flower Power
As a symbol for our new life in Christ, let’s plant some seeds! The idea is to grow cut flowers to beautify our space and share with others- and help is needed. There is opportunity do everything from seed to cutting. If you are interested in helping let Pastor Jeff know by April 18th. Knowing who’s up for this will help make plans about the size of this project. 

Benevolence Fund is available to help with needs. We’ve used it for things ranging from rent to clothes. Contact a deacon or Pastor Jeff for more information. 

Food Pantry: Open Saturday 9-11 am and by appointment. (518-827-7121) 

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Building Use is limited while COVID infections are high in the community. No social use and a maximum of three groups/ week. 

Consistory Meeting, April 14th

News from Operation Christmas Child

Alyona’s Story

                  Alyona grew up in Ukraine.  She was orphaned at a young age and lived with her grandma.  When her grandma could no longer care for her, Alyona was sent to live with her sister.  Tragically, Alyona’s sister developed cancer and died a few months later.  Alyona was then sent to an orphanage.

                  One day before Christmas, one of the caregivers at the orphanage invited Alyona to go to church with her.  At a special service, Alyona received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  “It was like opening a chest of gold!”  says Alyona.  She remembers that everything in her shoebox was clean and new with a fresh smell.  One of Alyona’s favorite gifts was a little stuffed lamb.  She felt her shoebox was God’s way of giving her hope.

                  When Alyona was 12, she was adopted by a woman from the United States.  One day at church Alyona was surprised to see her new church family getting red and green shoeboxes to fill.  She realized that they were the same kind of boxes she had received!  

Today Alyona is a spokesperson for Operation Christmas Child.  Alyona knows the great impact a shoebox can have on a child’s life and encourages us to keep packing!  She thanks shoebox packers for sharing God’s love with children around the world.

Giving with Gratitude  

$61 in change was collected in March to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!  If you would like to join the effort, empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.

Harvest Bazaar

                  We are pleased to announce that we are planning to host the Harvest Bazaar on September 18, 2021 to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  Please feel free to share your ideas with members of the Fellowship Committee.

Purchasing Gifts

                  The suggested gift to purchase in April is stuffed animals.  You might find some bargains at the after Easter sales!  You are encouraged to purchase other needed gifts when you find a good deal.  An inventory of gifts needed for our 2021 packing party is on the table in the foyer.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Childwith your prayers, resources, and talents!

March 2021 News & Announcements

Worship Matters

March 14th: Gathered Worship day light savings time starts (spring forward). 

Holy Week

Palm Sunday, April 28th 

Maundy Thursday Worship (4/1) 7 p.m. Join us for a prayer service and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together on the day that remembers the events of Jesus and disciples in the Upper Room. 

Good Friday (no service)

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper. 

If you’d like to share flowers to decorate the sanctuary, you may drop them off Saturday morning and drop them off before noon to the small classroom (with piano across from the bathroom).  If you’d like your flowers back, mark them with your name. 

Note: there is a wedding using the building 4/2-4/3. 

Benevolence Fund is available to help with needs. We’ve used it for things ranging from rent to clothes. Contact a deacon or Pastor Jeff for more information. 

Food Pantry: Open Saturday 9-11 am and by appointment. (518-827-7121)

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Building Use is limited while COVID infections are high in the community. No social use and a maximum of three groups/ week. 

Consistory Meeting, March 11th

2021 Consistory (and term ending)
Elders: Sarah Bramer (2021) , Jonathan Meredith (2023), Mary Lou Ryan (2024)
Deacons: Allison Coons (2021), Kathy Jenkins (2022), Tracie Anteman (2023), Leslie Hooper (2024) 

News from Operation Christmas Child

            God is making it possible even in the midst of a global pandemic for the Good News of Jesus to be shared to the ends of the earth!  The shoeboxes we packed last fall along with more than 9 million others are being distributed to children in many countries.  Photos returning to us from distribution events show the delight on children’s faces as they hear that God loves them and discover the contents of their shoeboxes.  Those who accept the invitation to participate in The Greatest Journey course will learn more about God’s Greatest Gift, our Savior.  We pray that the children will become bold disciples sharing the love of Jesus with their families and friends!

            $13 in change was collected in February to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!  If you would like to join the effort, empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.

            You will find an inventory of gifts needed for our 2021 packing party on the table in the foyer.  Each month a certain gift will be suggested for you to purchase, but you are welcome to purchase any of the needed items at any time.  Your purchases may be left in the OCC box on the table.  The suggested gift for your purchase In March is washcloths.

            Thank you for the many ways in which you support Operation Christmas Child.  In doing so you are joining with others in living out the Greatest Commandments and the Great Commission!

February 2021 N&A

Operation Christmas Child

Shoebox numbers are in for 2020.  A total of 9,113,853 gift-filled shoeboxes were collected worldwide!  Of that number 7,809,410 came from the United States of America.  Even in the midst of a pandemic, God’s people have provided a tool which pastors in some of the darkest areas of the world will use to share the Gospel.  We are blessed to be able to participate in this ministry!

February is our month to purchase toothbrushes for our 2021 packing party.  Our goal is to include at lease two toothbrushes in each of our shoeboxes.  You may leave toothbrushes in the OCC collection container in the foyer or make a donation toward purchasing toothbrushes in bulk.  You may give your donation to Mary Lou in person or mail it to her at 3701 State Route 30, Middleburgh, NY  12122.  Thank you for providing toothbrushes for children who may not have one or who may have to share one with others.

Last year we began a campaign called Giving with Gratitude to collect money to be used toward the $9 donation that is suggested for each shoebox to cover shipping and other ministry expenses.  Empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer for you to collect spare change.  A collection jar is located by the offering plate for your donation.  Since last fall, we have collected $59.  That is a great start toward our 2021 goal of sending a shoebox to 306 children and sharing the Good News of Jesus with them!

Gifts other than the one suggested each month are most welcome.  Don’t hesitate to purchase a bargain when you find one!  At this time of year you may find great deals on such things as winter hats and mittens or holiday stuffed animals.  Your “finds” may be left in the collection box in the foyer.  Thank you and happy shopping!

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Some resources:

Pray as you Go: a 10 minutes daily Scripture reading, with music and questions. 

Book of Daily Prayer, praying the daily office, there are lots of options for this, but the online version serves up the appropriate readings and prayers for the day, https://www.dailyoffice2019.com 

M’Cheyne’s Bible year-long reading plan is available in the foyer or online: https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/mcheyne/next 

Seasons, over the course of a year and a lifetime, call for different practices to help us be attentive to God’s work. How can you attend to those conditions so to cultivate new growth? We are stuck right now waiting until restrictions from COVID allow us to do more things. But now is the time to plan and wonder together. What is God stirring in you? How are we being called to bless our neighbors and community in the name of Christ? Who can you share this with? 

New Directory is available in the foyer. 

Giving Envelopes have been moved to the workroom if you need them. Ask for help if you can’t find them. 

Consistory Meeting, January 14th