Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Those of you who were not able to attend the congregational meeting may be wondering how I feel about decreasing income and the cutting of my time to ¾ time. The answer to both those questions is that I feel both at peace, and I feel a renewed determination and faith.
Our decreasing income is due to several factors. Three of those are things over which none of us has any control: people who made contributions above and beyond last year did not pledge to do so this year; we have had several significant deaths over the last year; and several of our older members have moved to be closer to family.
I feel at peace because I believe that a church must be about mission, and we are. The only other solution to our budget problems was to completely cut our mission giving, which I do not believe to be a solution. For a church to call itself church, it must be outward looking: involved in mission and not only inwardly focused. Also, the ten hours less a week will allow me to do some things I’ve been wanting to do: spend more time with the boys; get caught up on some things at home; and finish some remodeling of our home which seems to be taking forever!
I also feel a renewed determination and faith for two reasons: first, I believe I have finally given up to God finding the “solution” to our problem. This is God’s church, and God will find a way. Secondly, I am excited about the Holy Conversations process, which I believe may lead to God’s future for this church. Please read the article found later in this issue to get a taste of what that process is. Pray for the Session as they guide us through this process.
I want to thank Bill and Connie Berckes and Dixie Loy for being the “team” that went to the first workshop though they will not necessarily be the folks who attend the remaining workshops. Please thank them, and again, please pray for the Session as it seeks to be faithful to this church which God has given us.
Lastly, I want you to know that this decrease in my hours and pay will not be a heavy burden for our family. Tom has recently begun work at Barr and Associates accounting firm, and is earning enough to make up for the change in my income. He is really enjoying the work, and feels that he has finally found the right environment for his work.
Grace and peace,
The Session has voted to participate in a series of workshops sponsored by the Synod of the Southwest. These workshops are a follow-up to the Gil Rendle workshop last year, “Leading Change in the Church,” which Dixie Loy attended. Here are some excerpts from the book, Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations, by Gil Rendle and Alice Mann, on which the workshops are based.
“We would like to present planning in a different light. We want to talk about the opportunity of planning as discernment. We want to talk about helping the congregation participate in holy conversation.
Planning is conversation because it truly is dialogue. People explore their differences and their perceptions. People risk saying what they believe to be important. The talk is full of stories, memories, and hopes – the kind of conversation that strengthens and transforms people. It is conversation because it will follow its own unpredictable path. Different from problem solving and decision making that focuses and limits, conversation wanders and explores. It can be structured to have purpose.
But conversation cannot be predicted or controlled.
Conversation is holy because, at its best, it is about a people’s understanding of their identity as a faith community, their sense of purpose, and their relationship with God. Though Holy Conversations may take a multitude of shapes and directions, at its heart that conversation centers around three critical formation questions:
· Who are we?
· What has God called us to do or be?
· Who is our neighbor?”
You are invited, ….with attention to several focusing questions that will help you to discover the appropriate planning needs of your congregation ……… to keep the following questions in mind………. They will aid you in deciding which of the ideas, models, and tools will be important to your congregation.
1. What holy conversations about the congregation’s future do I believe we need to have at this moment in history?
2. When I consider the full planning process, what part is most important and appropriate for us to work on at this moment?
3. What strategies can I develop and use to involve people in a structured, open, and positive way?
4. What tools or information will we need to have this holy conversation? “ (p. xv, Holy Conversations)”
At the Annual Meeting of the Congregation on January 25, 2009, the pastor’s Terms of Call were presented and approved. The changes in salary reflect a decrease in the time that Tracy will spend working each week. Because of a significant shortfall due to member’s moving, deaths, and loss of “above and beyond” giving from last year, Tracy will be working ¾ time. This means she will work the following hours:
Tuesday – Friday
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Her office hours will continue to be Tuesday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. On Friday morning she meets with the Grief Support Group. Afternoons will be used for visiting members, hospital visits, etc.
Because of statements at the congregational meeting last Sunday, I would like clarify our church’s policy by quoting from the Columbarium Charter - which was approved by our Session in May 2007.
“All or part of the Columbarium may be moved to a different location on the present church property or, in the even the Church relocates, to new church property. In either case, the Church will provide facilities comparable to those in the existing Columbarium for the re-depositing of canisters and fulfillment of buyer’s privileges. If the Columbarium is relocated other than on the present church property, the Church will use reasonable efforts to locate and notify surviving spouses or next of kin and buyers of the new location.”
“It is the intent of the Church to maintain the Columbarium indefinitely. However, if the Church disbands or if there is substantial damage to the present church building and the Columbarium Board and the Session reasonably determine that it is not feasible to continue the Columbarium, the Columbarium may be discontinued. It is the intent of the Church to move the Columbarium to another Presbyterian Church if at all possible. If the Columbarium is discontinued, all buyers’ privileges shall terminate without any requirements for refunds to buyers. In that case, the Columbarium Board shall exercise maximum efforts to locate and notify surviving spouses, next of kin or heirs and afford them the opportunity to remove canisters and salvageable plaques from the Columbarium. If that effort is unsuccessful, the Board or its successors shall arrange for the cremains to be maintained for at least three years after the Columbarium is discontinued.
Thereafter, the Board or its successors may inter unclaimed cremains in an appropriate manner.”
If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Columbarium Board Chairman
PW Circle met January 5th at 9:30 am with 20 women present. Connie Berckes presented lesson #5 in our study of Luke. February’s meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2nd with Lorna Hoover as Leader for lesson #6, Phyllis Lester as Devotions leader and Margaret Johnson as hostess.
Start planning now to attend our churchwide gathering in Carlsbad on May 2nd. Spring is on the Way!!
The Evangelism & Concern Committee’s next meeting will be on Feb. 4th at 10:00 am. We will be discussing ways to grow a congregation. Thanks to the committee for help in serving and providing cookies, punch and sandwiches for the Memorial services for Wes Williams and Mabel Bennett in January.
The new Greeter and Coffee Host chart is hanging in the Narthex ready for your participation in this ministry.
In His Service,
The Worship Committee will soon be taking orders for flowers for Easter. We will use the same procedure we used for Christmas – inserts in the Sunday bulletin. Easter is on April 12th this year. The inserts will be available the last Sunday in January (the 25th). March 1st will be the cutoff date so we can order the flowers. Extra signup sheets will be available on the table in the Narthex. A signup sheet is also printed in this February Chimes. If you wish to give flowers in honor or in memory of someone, just fill out the insert with the name/names of the people you wish to honor/remember and place the insert along with $10.00 (designated for Easter flowers) in the collection plate or mail your order, with payment, to the church.
As we did last year, we will have Easter lilies and other spring flowers. If you have any questions or need help, contact Fran Beason or leave a note in her church mailbox.
Last month, members Lee and Elsie DeWolf moved to be closer to family. For their new address, please contact the Church office.
Dare, Discover, Dream. These were the three words that made up the subject of the four-day excursion to the Sunshine State of Florida. Presbyterians, Cooperative Baptists, and Episcopalian churches came together to discern the similarities of their own faith, and to discover that their faiths were basically one in the same. One of the keynote speakers, Tony Campolo who has written several novels concerning faith, delivered a deep message which touched upon the theme of all the three denominations coming together and worshiping together as one. Things I personally liked and took from his message were that the world would be a spectacular place if we would only break down the high walls that distance us from the word of God, and we should always approach other faiths and ideas with an open mind. The clichés that we have as people should be pushed aside, and we should embrace other beliefs, causes, and even different people, though sometimes it may be a tough thing to do. Instead of rejecting others, and grumbling about our own problems, we should look up and open our minds to God and others around us.
Experiencing God’s word with 2500 hundred young persons and adults alike, can be sometimes difficult. To solve this problem each person at this faith conference was assigned to a “small group” which typically had about twenty-five people. I was able to forge many new friendships, and it was a relief to find out that most of us were in the same boat about how sometimes it was to understand the word of God. The group leader, though, guided us through and she was always there to help us out with our many questions. In these small groups we broke down a specific passage from Ephesians:
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 4:1-6 (NRSV)
This passage really tied into the reason we were all there: that we may practice and profess our faith differently, but we still believe in the same God. Another activity in which the “small groups” participated was learning about faith in the world at Epcot center, which is one of the four Disney parks. We were able to learn about different faiths, which was very interesting, and something that is sometimes forgotten by wars, or by the prejudices of other people. Being able to learn more about the message of God surrounded with friends was defiantly a positive experience for all of those who went.
Without the support of Westminster, this adventure would never have happened. The seven people that were able to “Dare, Discover, and Dream” want to thank everyone who helped, and what we learned will be looked upon years from now as a weekend of discovery about ourselves and our place with God. As one of our other keynote speakers said, “Even in the most dark and desolate places, you can still be surrounded by your brothers and sisters in faith, and God will always be there for you. You must, though, have faith in yourself to listen to what He is saying and you must always be ready to Dare, Discover, and Dream”.
The Westminster computer network system now includes wireless capabilities. Any member owning a laptop computer with wireless capability can now get a high speed connection access in the church. Contact John Hoover if you want to use the church internet connection.
Recently, we have received requests for copies of the prayers that Joe Mondragon has spoken over our fellowship dinners in both English and his native Lakota language. So this month we are including the words in both languages as requested.
A Christmas Prayer
Itanean, tu wekaga etanhan zizipedan wowinhan sni ka okpaza etanhan waniyetu nni ye unkiyepi ataya. Kiei taku etahan kin teca tonpi Jesu. I ye yanka wanzi wiyapka wicanphi sni kin mahipa sni kin in, hectu.
Lord, creator of all things wonderful, in the cold and darkness of winter, you bring light and life to us all with your gift of the newborn baby Jesus. He is a bright star in the sky.
Yesi unkeyapiniya aokaga iqankam kin meid, paha and tinta; he unkitaqapi maka mozupiwi mozupiqi ka weihcaya ka unkitayapi wasak unkiyepi wopila tanka Wakan Tanka, wanuyanpi etanhann woyute, ka kin tu keei unkeyapi sakim hena okan de wahanotka kiei unkiyepi sni woniya hec etu.
Send us your breath over the lakes, hills and prairies, that our world may be beautiful and fertile, and our people strong. We thank you, Great Father, for the blessing of this food, and for the friends who share it with us, both those around this table and those with us in spirit.
Our sympathy goes out to Wilma Williams and her family on the unexpected death of Wesley. Wesley died December 21, 2008, and his Memorial Service was held at WPC on January 10, 2009.
Our sympathy also goes out to the family of Mabel Bennett, who died after a brief illness on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. Her Memorial Service was held on Thursday, January 22 here at WPC. Mabel was the mother of church member Fred Bennett, and grandmother to members Jessica and Elizabeth.
Please continue to pray for these families during this time of grief.
Westminster has accumulated a variety of home care items which are available for loan to our members anytime the need arises.
Our latest addition is an electric lift chair. This chair will automatically raise anyone from a sitting position to a standing position with the pressing of the control switch. We wish to thank Peggy Stokes for donating this chair.
The other items available are as follows:
Canes – single & four legged
Crutches – metal and wood
Walkers – Std. and w/wheels
Elevated toilet seats
If you need to borrow any of these items, please contact the church office and arrange for pickup at the church. Unless you have your own truck, theelectric lift chair will have to be delivered by one of our volunteer crew.
Remember that these items are for your use whenever you need them. When your need has ended, please return them to the church so others may use them.
Just a reminder, Feb. 1 is Souper Bowl Sunday!! Please bring non-perishable food items for donating to our local Lend-A-Hand organization.
Lend-A-Hand of Roswell, Inc., 300 N. Missouri Ave., 575-623-8412, Lend-A-Hand of Roswell, Inc., is a private non-profit agency that assists the needy with emergency food, emergency funding to prevent utility cut-offs, and some prescription funding. Clothing, blankets and other essential items are available. Funding is provided by local area churches and organizations to Lend-A-Hand which administers funds to their area agencies which include Presbyterian Minority Outreach Program, St. Peter Good Samaritan Program and Salvation Army Emergency Shelter Services.
(This is an abbreviated form of the Session minutes.)
§ Masonic Lodge sold and preparations underway to be a part of the Valley Christian School.
§ The 2009 budget was presented by Mission & Stewardship Committee. Discussion followed. MSP to accept budget as presented, with Tracy to go to ¾ time/pay. Discussion followed. Tracy advised she was willing to accept a 25% reduction in her compensation package and related hours. The terms of call will be presented to the congregation for review.
§ MSP to have a Congregational meeting on January 25, 2009 following worship. Larry Loy will not be present to take the minutes due to his preaching in Ancho and Corona. MSP to have John Hoover fill in as acting clerk.
§ Tracy’s tentative hours will be 5 hours on Sunday and 25 hours for rest of week with Mondays off. She will work from 9-3 for four days. The reduction in hours does not impact presbytery or synod activities.
§ MSP to pay for expenses to Holy Conversations Training from Memorial Fund. At this point Tracy Spencer-Brown, Dixie Loy, Kathleen Sherman, Ann Dye, Connie Berckes and Bill Berckes will be attending; however this may change.
§ Letter from Ana Duffey (Flora Witherspoon’s daughter) was read. She sent a donation in Flora’s name which in part said, “Your Session will know best what she would tell you to do with it.”
§ Received a letter from Sylvia J. Harris, Clerk of Session, of the First Presbyterian Church of Kennewic, Washington requesting a letter of transfer for Harold and JoAnn Wright who recently joined their church. MSP to comply along with joy they have found a new home church.
You are invited to attend the Annual Valentine’s Dinner, sponsored by the Fellowship Committee, on Sunday, February 15, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be prepared by Chef Patty Mitcham, with entertainment* to follow. Those who wish to attend should sign up in the Narthex by Wednesday, February 7, 2009, or by calling the Church Office.
*We will play the game Battle of the Sexes, and perhaps hear a report from the Youth who attended the Faith in 3-D conference.
Ash Wednesday is Wednesday, February 25, 2009. This year, the Worship Committee is offering something a bit different: two worship times from which to choose. You may come at 12:15 p.m. or at 6:00 p.m. for a brief service and imposition of ashes.
Thank you all for raising the money for the Martinsons, Grant, Emily and me to go to Orlando Florida so we could attend the Faith in 3D.
Faith in 3D was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Thank you all very much.
Christ Lutheran Church, Lexington, Ohio…April 2006
Wash Day – Monday
Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity, so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.
Ironing Day – Tuesday
Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected through the years so that I may see the beauty in others.
Mending Day – Wednesday
O God, help me mend my ways so I will not set a bad example for others.
Cleaning Day – Thursday
Dear Jesus, help me to dust our all the many faults I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.
Shopping Day – Friday
O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.
Cooking Day – Saturday
Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly love and serve it with clean, sweet bread of human kindness.
The Lord’s Day – Sunday
O God, I have prepared my house for you. Please come into my heart so I may spend the day and the rest of my life in your presence.
Jesus is Love
“Be Kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle”
The Best in Life is to invest in something that will outlive life.
Remember Westminster in your will.