I’ll miss being in worship services at Pearce this weekend, but I look forward to the reason for my absence. This coming Saturday and Sunday will find the members of our church’s Official Board spending time prayerfully considering the direction of our congregation.
Members of the Official Board work long and hard at monthly meetings to provide oversight to Pearce. Under the leadership of Chairman Terry Taber, they labor to help our congregation fulfill the mission and vision God has given us. The monthly Board meetings, however, have full agendas and seldom provide the opportunity to more extended conversations. This week’s retreat offers the opportunity to engage in the types of discussions that foster a renewed sense of what God desires us to do as a faith community.
I invite you to pray for the Board members and their spouses as they gather with me at the Lighthouse Christian Campground near Barker, New York. Dr. Nelson Grimm, Associate Professor of Applied Theology at Northeastern Seminary, will serve as the retreat’s facilitator. Nelson’s wide exposure to the church in America provides a valuable vantage point for the Board.
In my absence from the pulpit, Greg Coles will be preaching in each of the worship services at Pearce.
Yes, I’m Listening!
Several of you have inquired in recent days if I have been listening to Christmas music. Yes, I confess that I have been enjoying Christmas music for several weeks now. I like to attribute my “unseasonal indulgence” on the fact that I’ve been working on outlining Advent sermons, but I would be listening to Christmas music even if that wasn’t the case.
New this year, for those of you who are interested, is an album by Jeremy Camp titled “Christmas: God with Us.” Although the album is largely filled with holiday classics, the original title track “God with Us” is particularly nice. Camp penned the song after a night reflecting on what Jesus has done for humankind.
Steven Curtis Chapman is also releasing a new Christmas CD this year. Scheduled to be released at the end of this month, it is titled simply “Joy.” The album has thirteen tracks, six of which are new songs. I haven’t been able to preview this, but Mary and I have long enjoyed Chapman’s previous album “The Music of Christmas.”
I think I’ll pass on purchasing Cee-Lo Green’s new album. Although I was pleasantly surprised to see the track list includes “Mary, Did You Know?” I didn’t expect a song with such strong Christian lyrics to be included on an album by this artist.
Greg Coles at Pearce
The other day someone asked me if Greg would be the youngest person to preach in the history of regular worship services at Pearce. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m sure Greg is among the youngest at the age of twenty-two.
I think it will be wonderful for the Pearce family to hear from this gifted young man. Having known Greg for several years, I regard him as a man mature beyond his years and possessing a passionate heart for God.
The project to restore the west side of Parmerter Chapel and the Pearce 4 Kids playground is now complete. Custom-made windows were recently installed in classroom 36, putting the final touches on what turned out to be a three-month project. Next spring we will work on some landscaping to soften the west side of our facility. Again, thanks to Bob Antes, Honna Lusk, and Lydia Monroe for all their work on this project.
Angels We Will Hear on High
While pastoring my first congregation, Mary and I were part of a choir started by one of the women in the church. In our small congregation, the choir bravely sang Sunday after Sunday even though it was usually comprised of only eight or nine members. The choir’s ministry was a blessing and some of my fondest memories from that period of ministry are sitting in rehearsals next to the local mortician sharing “Fisherman’s Friend” lozenges.
What a joy to be now at Pearce with its rich heritage of choral music!
Building on that heritage, two choirs are now starting up. Rehearsals are being held on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 8:00 pm for both a women’s choir and a men’s choir. Pam Field is directing the women’s choir. Talking with Pam this past weekend, she expressed her vision to have a wonderful group of women participating in this ministry. Paul Britton will direct the men’s choir. This week Paul wrote: “There’s just no sound in all God’s creation more glorious and stirring than a choir of men’s voices. It has been an absolute joy to sing some of the classic gospel songs—and Handel, too—with the Pearce men.”
Look for the women’s choir to sing in the Sunday services on October 28. The men’s choir will sing in the 9:00 am service on November 4. Why not join one of these opportunities to get to know a great group of people and help encourage others in worshiping the Lord? Maybe you’ll even pick up a few “Fisherman’s Friend” lozenges!
Pearce’s treasurer, Mike Vannest, recently sent me this graph illustrating giving in the three major areas of our church: operations, building fund (which is really debt retirement), and missions. If you examine the graph closely, you’ll notice we are a bit behind in two of the three areas: operations and missions. Could you help us make budget for this year in the remaining weeks of 2012? Thanks for your support!