Coal in My Stocking?
These last two weekends at Pearce, we’ve been examining chapter three of Genesis, the story of the fall of humankind. It’s a sobering chapter, dealing with sin and the consequences of our disobedience.
Two weekends ago, as I was preparing my heart at the beginning of the 9am worship service, I noticed the “inspiration slide” for the morning on the sanctuary screens. Superimposed on a photo of the railroad trestle at Letchworth State Park were the words of Psalm 32: “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”
In my message that morning, I joked about the fact that I had, on more than one occasion, walked across that trestle even though it is posted with no trespassing signs. I related that I felt, when I saw that morning’s inspiration slide, that “my sin was always before me!”
I asked for those who had also transgressed that law to raise their hand. Needless to say, there were quite a few at Pearce that Sunday. We all had a good chuckle at our rather harmless (fortunately) transgression.
Fast forward to this past weekend, as I’m getting ready to walk into the sanctuary for the 9am service. Ruth Trost, one of our receptionists, stopped me and said, with a twinkle in her eyes, “Bob and I have a something for you in our car!”
Her husband Bob quickly ran out to the car, walking back in with a small paper bag. Opening the bag, I discovered a lump of coal. Turns out that Bob had walked across the railway trestle that very week and picked up a souvenir for me as evidence.
So now, as I write this Dangling, that lump of coal sits on my desk. Reminding me of a delightful congregation who really does pay attention during my sermons! Even more importantly, I’m reminded of the blessed forgiveness of my God. Hope you have experienced that too!
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Some of the Christmas carols simply tell the story. Others romanticize the story. Still others dig deep into the story’s meaning.
Join Dr. Dan Barta, Professor of Music Theory and Composition, for a consideration of the songs of Christmas on Wednesday, December 9, at 6:30pm in Pearce’s sanctuary. In this informal seminar, you’ll have the opportunity to celebrate the wide variety of music that is heard and sung by Christians as they observe Christ’s birth.
You’ll enjoy Dr. Barta’s insights; and I imagine you’ll leave the church that evening humming one of your favorite carols!
Better Late than Never!
Do you ever collect piles of paper like I do? You set aside a letter that you intend, someday, to answer. Or you place on a pile that article you clipped from a magazine, saving it for a day when you have leisure to read it.
Evidently, I have some pretty serious “piles” sitting around. Going through one of them, I recently came across a certificate to document the dedication of an infant, a little boy by the name of Nathan. His dedication was held on March 11, 2007, while I was pastoring the Edgewood congregation in Brighton. Usually, I think I am quite careful to give the certificate to families the day of the dedication, but I failed to do so in this instance.
This past Sunday, after the 10:30am service, I finally got around to taking care of my failure to place that certificate in the right hands. I invited Nate; along with his sister, Leah, and his friend, Brandon; to come back to my office. With a brief ceremony, I placed the long-overdue document in Nathan’s hands!
One pile down, but I still have several to go. I wonder what I’ll unearth this week!
“Linked with Love”
There have been a couple of recent developments in our “Linked with Love” partnership with the preschool in Nzige.
First, tickets have been purchased for our “exploratory” team that is heading to Nzige later this winter. Lydia Monroe, Carol Stevenson, and Kristin Coon will be leaving on February 11 for Rwanda. While there, they will observe the instruction being given in the school and develop initial plans for a second team, traveling next August, to provide teacher training for the Nzige staff. Lydia, Carol, and Kristin will return to Rochester on February 18.
If you are an educator and are interested in participating in the August teacher training, contact Lydia Monroe at email@example.com.
Secondly, I received confirmation this past week that Bishop Samuel, the leader of the Free Methodist Church in Rwanda, will be with us on the weekend of April 30/May 1 to celebrate the first anniversary of our “Linked with Love” partnership. Dr. Linda Adams, the director of International Child Care Ministries, will be with us that weekend as well. So mark that weekend your calendar as a special time to celebrate!
Lastly, if you are interested in sponsoring a child at the Nzige school, we have requested a few more sponsorship packets. Contact Kim Brittin in the church office if you would like one when they arrive!
Grateful for Generous People
I noticed this past weekend that we almost reached the halfway mark in our efforts to raise $160,000 to reroof Parmerter Chapel next summer. To date this year, we have received a total of $79,949.50. That means we need only $50.50 to be on the downhill side of this ambitious fund-raising project.
Also, I encourage you to attend the Finance Committee’s “Financial Forum” on Wednesday, December 2, at 6:30pm in the Friendship Center. Each year, the Finance Committee presents an informative seminar on Pearce’s finances, helping those in attendance to better understand the complexities of our congregation’s budget and the many ways in which the Lord is blessing our church. I hope you’ll come.
Due to the Thanksgiving holiday next Thursday, I’m taking a brief hiatus from my Dangling. Let’s pick up the conversation on December 3!