What Happens Here Doesn't Stay Here...
September 9, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Have you ever heard the expression, “You just have to roll with punches”? While I don’t consider them ‘punches’ so to speak, there are many times when being the church takes twists and turns and you just, well have to “roll with it.” Or I guess you can choose not to, however, to me it’s lots less stress to roll with things than try to keep all my proverbial “ducks” in a row.
Take this morning, for example. In the first hour of my day, I had someone looking to connect through our community seeking help. There was another member asking for us to hold them in prayer. Another member needed help planning some family activities. Another member was looking for food for a family in need. Yet another member who wanted to talk about a ministerial call. Another member desired just to talk with someone. That’s what happens when you are the church in the community with the community in your heart. And these are just the things I know about. Being the church carries with it an active responsibility, it is not passive by any stretch and it is certainly not a neat little line to keep all things in order, those neatly planned “ducks” all in a tight little row.
And for all these things I am thankful.
I thought of Jesus’ life, his walking around from town to town, his teaching and preaching and healing. He couldn’t know what would happen or when it would happen, he just knew, I believe, that he was in a situation of being out in the community. And when he was? Anything could happen. A woman could touch the hem of his garment (Matt. 9:20) A man possessed with evil came up on Jesus and asked to be saved, so Jesus cast out the evil (Mark 5:1-20), or Jesus was asked to heal a man let down through the roof of the house where he was (Luke 5:17-39), or Jesus ran up on the woman who couldn’t find happiness in one man or companion and he meets her at the well (John 4:4-26) where he wasn’t even supposed to be. Jesus seemed to “roll with it,” whatever came his way. He sought always to show grace, to offer mercy, to help in any way he or the disciples possibly could and he never knew when or where the need would present itself.
I think of these things and I think of how we have so many opportunities to be the church outside our walls. I think of how, when we open ourselves up to those opportunities, we have less and less control over the when and sometimes the how. It isn’t ours to post office hours and say we can only help during these times. We don’t get to limit help to just this group or that group. It’s not our option to say, “You aren’t a member here and this is reserved for members only.” No, in fact, the only thing we really get to do is answer the call and respond.
When I worked in the business world, I worked in an area called “operations” and we were always told that in operations, you live off of adrenaline. Things are ever changing and circumstances can pop-up in a moment that requires your attention or change of focus. I guess that prepared me greatly for the church (or at least for being the church the way my heart is called to be the church). I am thankful for a faith community, for a team that joins in to be the church, especially when we have to step away from our comfort zone of how ‘we have always done it’ or some perfect laid plans to a place that we can say, whatever happens, we are here to be the church.
I’ve seen that behavior over and over, especially during the last six months. I am forever grateful and forever thankful that we can and have responded the way we do. Being the church to me means being the best followers of Christ we can be, means answering the call to feed the hungry, to help our neighbor, to pray with and for our family and friends, it means to live out a life with the community in our hearts, empathizing and caring for all we meet. And all of that means we have little control. That may be scary to some, however, it also means we must rely fully on God to lead us where we are called and to trust we will have all we need to do all we are called to do.
So, this week, I am asking you to take a moment, pause and pray with and for us, your faith community, as we once again seek to be the church to all, to roll with the punches so to speak and in doing so may we encounter God in amazing ways. Thanks be to God for you all, our faith community family.
Amen, Pastor Tim
In our daily prayers…
Nancy Haven and Louise Litzy are home recovering, the three youth (Kara, Ben and hopefully today, Ryan) involved in two separate, serious motorized vehicle accidents are home recovering, some have received negative cancer diagnosis and some are still awaiting results, some are being tested for the Coronavirus, and some are being quarantined with no symptoms with others in the hospital. The Sobol Family is morning the loss of Karen Sobol, mother of Josh, her son, who’s company clears our parking lot of snow and is a longtime friend of many in this community. Ray Leeser tumbled Sunday evening and is currently in Geisinger Danville, soon to be moving to a long-term rehabilitation facility this week to care for a broken arm and a fractured hip. Some of us are fighting depression and some are just trying to keep it together. Others are celebrating marriages and birthdays and we are all living life day to day. May the Lord bless and keep us all. May we call upon the Lord for care and comfort, in joy and celebration.
Announcements, announcements, announcements…
Drive-Thru Coffee Tasting at Saint Paul’s this Saturday, Sept. 12, from 9 to 11 a.m., (Yes, stop by the church! Yes, your church! We are offering a drive-thru coffee tasting organized by Colleen Franciscus, Rhonda Newton and Geri Neese, who will be handing out samples of Equal Exchange Coffee, Tea and Chocolate. You may order whichever products please you – as much as you want – for your home. May be paid by check or through the Easy-Tithe app so many of you use for your Sunday giving.
Equal Exchange is the coffee we use here at the church when we have Sunday morning Coffee Hour. It is coffee grown and produced by small independent farmers and roasters, many times organically. The purchase of these products allows us to support small famers from across the globe in areas that this may be their only means of support. Additionally, a small profit from the purchase of this coffee and these products will go to support our local missions. So, buying this great coffee and the other products will to support missions locally and abroad. Just another way we are seeking to be the church.
Also, on Saturday, families are invited to stop by between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to receive our new Faithful Family devotion. These devotion books will come with a study guide for you to use at home for family devotion time. They include some great interactive ways to explore your faith, pray together or just spend some quality family time. There is something in them for every age and we find them to be extremely engaging. So, stop by for coffee, pick up your Faithful Family resource book and join us as we explore ways to continue being connected through our church family.
Adult Sunday School Returns – 9:15 a.m. Sunday morning via Zoom. David Reid will be leading a group weekly this Fall through the Book of Revelation. All are welcome, no prior knowledge of the book or deep biblical knowledge, just come and enjoy a time of fellowship and learning together. The Zoom Link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433
Midweek Musings and Theology, 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Join us for a discussion as we begin a new book entitled “Take My Life and Let it Be.” While this is an older book, I believe it to be a timely book for us today. Written by Audrey Williamson in 1982. The invitation at the start of the book says “If God is truly on the throne, then God will keep our heats ablaze. Take your hearts temperature. If it is low, do something about it.” Yet Ms. Williamson also reminds us that easily we can experience “burnout” and in order to move through it we must take time and examine our personal response. So, I invite you to join us for this great book study. Chapters are short and easy reads and we will move at a pace that best suits the group. If you would like to participate, please contact the church office and we will either email or print a copy and get it to you. Or you may pick up a copy when you come to taste the coffee at our Saint Paul’s Coffee drive-thru Saturday morning. We will begin at 6:30 Wednesday, September 16, via Zoom: Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433
A New Opportunity: Sometimes, it’s nice to receive a meal or a plate of cookies or a small pie, something just to say you are being thought of, from your faith family. Merle Kay Englehart and Geri Neese are heading up a team to prepare meals and plan for delivery of food to individuals just to say your church is thinking about you. Many times, it will be something small, yet heart felt. Here’s how it works: if you know of someone in need or someone who you think may really appreciate a little boost like this, reach out to the church office. If you would like to volunteer to bake, to deliver or help in some way, contact Merle Kay or Geri to learn more, maybe it’s just a plate of cookies, an individual dessert, bread, a casserole - a full meal is NOT expected - just something to say, “We are thinking about you.” Another way to stay connected and #bethechurch.
Coming in October! A very special celebration for our 120th Anniversary! We will welcome Rev. Dr. Carrie Call who will be bringing the message to Saint Paul’s on October 4 and, of course, have some great special music as we explore ways for everyone to participate in this wonderful celebration! Watch for announcements of how you can help be a part of this great day!
Monday Morning Preacher, 10:30 a.m. (TUESDAY this coming week). We gather via Zoom and all are welcome to this Monday morning Bible Study. Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433
What’s your sign? Saint Paul’s Yard Signs are here! Yard signs are available at the church during office hours. Help us spread the word “Welcome home to…Saint Paul’s…Welcoming Saints and Sinners since 1900” (and they include our web address). Signs will be available at Saturday’s Coffee Drive-Thru.
Please note: Following approved Church guidelines, established by the Consistory, we ask that if you are coming to the church, you sign-in and wear a mask, your temperature will also be taken.
Ways to connect to worship:
Join us LIVE on Facebook or on YouTube for worship every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. We are now broadcasting live to both platforms Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Aren't sure how to subscribe and get connected on YouTube? Contact the church office for details or just click on the button via our website at www.spuccwm.org. See step by step instructions below.
Not been on YouTube or not a subscriber? While you don’t have to subscribe to watch via YouTube, you can if you’d like. The more subscribers the church has the better opportunity we have to reach out.
Here’s what to do:
1. Go to the church website www.spuccwm.org.
2. Click on the YouTube “Come join us live.”
3. If you are watching us via YouTube and you are willing or want to subscribe to our “channel” click on the “Subscribe” button below the video.
4. If you have questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Geri will get the question to the right person to help.
For questions or suggestions as to how we can better serve you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are continually trying to improve our online offerings and appreciate, very much your support and help.
If you are on YouTube, hit the like button, and tap the bell to be sure you are reminded when we go live.
May grace, hope, peace and love abound.