Immersed with Love
This past Sunday, Heart & Soul Community Church made use of their new baptistery. The purchase of this baptistery was made possible through the generosity of the Pearce family as a sign of our love and support for this sister congregation. Last October, more than $3,100 was donated through an exit offering.
I often comment on the generous spirit that is woven into the DNA of this congregation. Thanks, once again, for blessing those outside of our immediate fellowship.
Suzanne Rodriguez, a member at Heart & Soul, emailed the photo and wrote:
What an amazing service of celebration we had yesterday. It was the first time we were able to have water baptisms within the four walls of our church building. Javon, Ben, and Edi, all members of Heart & Soul’s Youth Group, chose to declare publicly that they belong to Jesus.
A big thank you to all for making our dream of having baptisms be a regular part of our worship services a reality!
Stick to Preaching
First thing Monday morning, I headed to the kitchen at Pearce with my bowl of brownie ingredients left over from Sunday’s children’s moments. If you were in the service on Sunday, you know the contents of the bowl. If you weren’t in church, just picture a large stainless mixing bowl with brownie mix, oil, water, raw egg, and cat food. If you don’t understand that list of ingredients, talk to one of the Pearce kids.
Jim Heeks, our quite capable food director, said when I entered his kitchen, “You stick with preaching; I’ll handle the food!”
I think I’ll take his counsel!
Thanks for Years of Counsel
It is with sadness and a deep sense of appreciation that I announce that Pearce’s rental agreement with Agape Counseling Associates will come to an end, effective March 1, 2017. As you may know, for many years, Agape has rented office space in our facility, first in the lower level under Parmerter and, more recently, the offices just off the atrium balcony.
The ending of this partnership results from significant changes at Agape. In recent months, Agape has been acquired by Life Counseling Center, an organization based in Maryland. With this change in oversight, as well as a change in organizational culture, it seemed appropriate to bring an end to this rental agreement.
As someone who served for several years on the Agape Counseling Board, I am grateful for the many years this organization served our faith community, as well as many others on the west side of Monroe County.
No determination has been made as to the use of the offices being vacated by Agape.
Verses to Go Before I Sleep
In last week’s Dangling, I related a comment shared after my first message in our sermon series “Shaped by God’s Story”. Someone wondered if I would get through the entire Bible this year after spending the first message on only two verses in Genesis.
This past week, we made up some ground as we swept through chapters 3 through 11 of Genesis.
At the conclusion of Sunday’s service, Sabrina Kovach came up to me to share the results of her calculations. With 31,102 verses in the New International Version of Scripture, I would have to cover 5,977 verses each weekend to get through the Bible in one year.
I guess I have my work cut out for me!
A Word from Pastor Mike
Pastor Mike sent me this brief update on January’s teen retreat. I thought you’d enjoy hearing about this special weekend!
Each year, our senior teens venture out into the harsh winter for a retreat to Penn-York in Ulysses, Pennsylvania. With temps in the 50’s, the weather was hardly harsh; but we enjoyed our winter weekend nonetheless.
We spent our time hiking, holding a homerun derby using oversized marshmallows, and participating in discussions that focused on wisdom, humility, and loving God and others. It was a special weekend for my family and me as we soaked in every moment of our last trip with these great folks.
The trip was capped off with a stop at Hope Chapel in Perry and a tour of the parsonage. It was fun to be able to share with the teens where we are going to be living and ministering, and I think it was helpful for them to see that we really are not that far away.
(In the photo, Pastor Mike and those that went on the retreat are standing on the steps of Hope Chapel in Perry.)
Thanks for Your Advocacy on Behalf of Children
Last fall, I encouraged you to participate in the Children’s Sabbath by signing letters advocating for child care assistance for low income working families. You may be interested to know that 2,654 letters were signed by individuals in 75 faith communities throughout Monroe County.
In response, County Executive Dinolfo included an increase of $100,000 for child care subsidies in her proposed budget. The County Legislature added another $52,200, for a total increase over the previous years of $152,000 in child care subsidies.
Thanks for your advocacy on behalf of the children in our communities!
Helping Prepare for “What’s Around the Corner?”
Jim Morton, the chair of Pearce’s Official Board, is working with the Board and the Genesis Conference to anticipate our congregation’s next lead pastor. This month is a busy one for the Board as they gather the information that will help identify the best person to lead Pearce in the coming years.
Jim sent me this note, requesting your help!
I hope you were able to attend the Annual Celebration and you heard the Board’s desire to receive input from you concerning the pastoral transition. We want to know what you think Pearce needs for its next pastor. In order to provide that input, please attend an ABF class this week, sign up for a Focus Group, or take an online survey. Thank you in advance for your participation and most importantly, your prayers.