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Wordless Sighs and Aching Groans...



September 23, 2020 “What happens here, doesn’t stay here…”


Dear Church Family,


As usual, there has been a text on my mind this week.I think it came out of necessity from the Holy Spirit when I heard from multiple people with multiple prayer concerns and exasperation.This text kept showing up in thought and even in an old post from a new friend.The text is from Romans 8, which I find to be a beautiful chapter of the book.Here’s Eugene Peterson’s translation of it:


“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. The Spirit knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:26-28)

Can you see why this text may be on my mind, especially hearing over and over the frustration of so many waiting for something, anything, to change, to get back to some semblance of normalcy. It seems we go along. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any words left to pray.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting three different people in Geisinger on that day. My heart was a little heavy, each person facing something difficult and families visibly worried. As I was walking down the hall, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye and just as he passed me, I recognized him. I stopped in my tracks, turned around and called his name. “Jason?” He turned around and with a big smile, stuck out his hand, “Pastor!” He shook my hand mightily, he was glad to see me, however it couldn’t have been more than I was glad to see him. “I miss you,” I shared. He asked immediately, “Can we come back to church?” “Not yet,” I replied. “But, hopefully soon.” With that we exchanged a few words, said our goodbyes and he and his caregiver were on their way and me a little in awe of how God and the Holy Spirit’s work, once more.

I was in a low place when I ran in to Jason, the Holy Spirit must have known what I needed, when I couldn’t even speak because in that moment, at that place, out of the corner of my eye was Jason.

“The Spirit,” Paul says, “knows us better than we know ourselves” and thus, knows what we need, when we need it. That encounter was a much-needed God moment to lift my spirits and give me a push to continue my visits in some serious conditions and be comforted and able to hopefully find words and presence to provide some comfort along the way.

As David Reid likes to say, “Coincidence? I think not.” I’ll say, “God moment, I believe so!” Because I believe what Paul writes…“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” It was wonderful to see Jason, it will be wonderful to see one another again when we can all safely do so. Until then, rest assured God can work this time into something good for us all. Keep your eyes open and the Holy Spirit will show up in amazing ways.

Amen, Pastor Tim

In our daily prayers…

Please continue to keep Deann Hansum in your prayers. Deann, Heath and family are celebrating the life of Deann’s father, Joseph Occulto today in Dunmore, Pa.;

Ray Leeser is in long-term rehab at Buffalo Valley Rehabilitation Center and would love to hear from you. You’re welcome to drop him a card or a note to: Buffalo Valley Rehab Center, 189 E. Tressler Boulevard, Lewisburg, PA 17837. As you keep Ray in your prayers, please also hold Donna Zook, friend of Dottie and John Bird, in your prayers who is suffering from multiple types of cancer. We continue to remember Rev. Kay and her manager Rev. Tim and the entire Chaplaincy of Geisinger in our prayers for healing and we lift thanks to God for all the abilities and gifts we are given to help all we can in any way or matter we can. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

Please remember to either join or update the prayers on St. Paul’s Love and Prayers Facebook page, send an email or call the church office with updates or requests that we together may pray as a community of faith.

This week, before we move on to other announcements, we need to share with you the following message to the congregation:

Dear Church Family:

Geri Neese has given notice to Pastor Tim and to the Consistory this week that it was time for her to leave her position at Saint Paul’s. Consistory has regrettably accepted her resignation and wishes her the best in life’s next chapter.

As you may know, Geri was one of the first staff members at Saint Paul's following Pastor Tim’s arrival here. She has been integral helping to organize the office, staff and church functions at Saint Paul's. She is an important part of the Fresh Express food distribution program organization and administration.  Geri is willing to stay-on to assist in the transition once a replacement has been found and remains a member of Saint Paul’s.

During this time of COVID-19 restrictions, it is especially difficult to gather as a group for a formal thank-you/farewell event. With this knowledge, we would invite you to let Geri know in the coming days/weeks how much you appreciate her in ways most comfortable for you.

If you have questions or have someone in mind to serve in this position, please contact Pastor Tim at 570-975-9536; Consistory President Sharon Klose at 618-801-9047; or Consistory Vice President Ken Bennett at bennettk@ptd.net at your convenience as interviews will begin soon.

Sincerely,

Timothy Hogan-Palazzo Sharon Klose Ken Bennett

Pastor President Vice President

For community announcements….

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

Mark your calendar for Sunday, October 4, 2020, as Rev. Dr. Carrie Call will be preaching at Saint Paul’s for our LIVE stream service as Saint Paul’s celebrates its 120th Birthday. Then…hop in the car and drive by the church for a special “Birthday Parade!”

Your Church Staff has come up with a plan in which everyone can participate in celebrating our 120th Birthday and greeting our Conference Minister all at once. We are suggesting gifts of “Thanksgiving Meal Items.” We will be providing Thanksgiving meals (to make at home) for families in our community who may have some difficulty supplying items for their meal. Items like: stuffing mix; canned yams, corn, or green beans; canned pumpkin; or gift cards for turkeys are all options and will be collected in baskets and boxes set up along the sidewalk. Drive by, drop off your gifts to the community, wave to Carrie and help us celebrate 120 years of Saint Paul’s being the church in the heart of the community with the community in our hearts! Parade starts at 12 Noon and ends at 12:30 p.m. If you arrive early, line up in the parking lot and be ready to celebrate. Blow your horns, wave and celebrate your church! Thank you and thank you for helping us celebrate Saint Paul’s way! #beingthechurch

Christian Education (via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433)

· Sundays with Dave and Friends – 9:15 weekly (a Bible Study on Revelation)

· Monday Morning Preacher – 10:30 a.m. weekly (Let’s talk about Sunday’s text)

· Wednesday Musings and Theology – 6:30 p.m. weekly (Book study, see description below)

· Non-Zoom daily devotions with “Faithful Families”

What happens here doesn’t stay here (ways to connect in the community):

· Fresh Express (2nd & 4th Thursdays each month)

· Community Pumpkin Patch (late October)

· The Community Soup Sale (early November)

· Equal Exchange Coffee Sale (ongoing)

Feeling burnt out or just looking to take a break? Check out: “Take My Life and Let it Be” with friends for Wednesdays Musings and Theology: 6:30 p.m. weekly. Jump right in whereever we are, electronic copies of the book are available as well as hard copies. Contact Pastor Tim or the church office to obtain a hard copy.

A New / Expanded Opportunity: Sometimes, it is 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 leading 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 be a baker or chef, contact Merle Kay or Geri to learn more. Maybe it’s a plate of cookies, or an individual dessert, bread, or a casserole. It doesn’t have to be a full meal. Just something to say, “We are thinking about you.” Another way to stay connected and #bethechurch.

Are you Home or Cyber-schooling? Want to go on a field trip? Watch for news and information about a field trip for home and cyber-school students of Saint Paul’s families and friends. The day field trips (working around cyber-school schedules) are now being discussed and soon to be planned. Stay tuned.

We have projects around the church and around our community and we need help to complete those projects. Projects will be done in small groups, mask wearing and social distancing are requirements and all help is of course appreciated.

If you know of someone in need of assistance, please contact the church office to have that person or family added to our list.

Below are a list of projects and contacts to call to see how you may help.

· Fall Lawn Care/Clean-up: 5 volunteers needed, Contact Brad Gill (804) 592-6217) for details

· Painting, Cleaning & Organizing at the Church: Multiple volunteers needed, contact the church office to volunteer

· Pantry Remodeling: Multiple volunteers needed, contact the church to get on the volunteer list and be contacted for any of these projects

Saint Paul’s Coffee Club is currently taking orders for the Fair-Trade products. All proceeds benefit our Mission Fund and all purchases go to benefit independent farmers. Order forms are available to be emailed to you or you may download from the church website. You may then turn in your order form via email or to the church office. Orders will be filled with the stock we have, until we run out and then we will place a bulk order.  Order cut-off each month is 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Payment is due when order is placed. We will notify you of the pick-up date and time.  We will be following safe distancing practices and will comply with all state and local regulations. Pre-orders are required. We will order products and quantities based on all preorders.  

Ground coffee, whole bean coffee, single serve cups, and tea can be purchased by the case, 6 items per case. Fellowship Blend is 5 items per case and Chocolate bars is 12 items to a case. You can make checks payable to SPUCC or pay for your products via "easytithe.com."

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Saint Paul's United Church of Christ | 433 High Street, West Milton, PA 17886
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