A Month of Baptisms
In May, Pearce was overflowing with baptisms! I hope you have felt as blessed as I have this past month. Altogether, we celebrated 17 public confessions of faith from individuals who have committed themselves to living for Jesus. That’s incredible! This past weekend, I had the pleasure of baptizing Denise Lynn Casper in our Saturday evening service. I hope you get the chance to meet Denise if you haven’t already. She is a kind and gentle spirit with a loving heart for the Lord. She has been coming to Pearce for about three years now and baptism was a very big step in her faith journey. I am so proud of her! We had agreed on baptism by sprinkling, but I think she was a wee bit surprised by how much water I actually used! Make sure you keep Denise and the rest of the individuals recently baptized in your prayers as they grow in Christ.
Ordained and Appreciative
Blue eyes. I will never forget the moment Bishop David Roller said to me, in an authoritative yet genuine voice, “Hand me your Bible and look at me!” I gazed up into his piercing blue eyes (I never noticed them until that point) and in an instant, I sensed this was a holy moment. “Take authority to minister the Word of God. Faithfully proclaim His Word, declare His forgiveness, celebrate the sacraments, shepherd His people.” Some people have asked me since then if I feel any different. At times, that question has been accompanied by a chuckle, suggesting that those asking do not expect that there would be a change. I have to admit, I was not expecting one either, or to feel different. Yet surprisingly, it was a moment that deeply impacted me and I do, in fact, feel different. It’s not the, “I just had a latte from Starbucks for the first time” feeling or the road to Damascus experience that happened to Paul the Apostle. Instead, I feel that I encountered the Holy Spirit in a new way—a different way than I have up to this point and I feel refreshed and renewed by His presence. I can see now why some faith traditions view ordination or Holy Orders, as some call it, as a sacrament. As Free Methodists, we do not view it as a sacrament, but I have learned that it is a moment and experience of rich and wonderful grace!
A Heartfelt Thank You!
I want to thank everyone who came out to support me at Northgate FMC for the ordination service, and those who wanted to be there but could not! I was overwhelmed and blessed by how many of my Pearce family were sitting in the congregation and the kind words of congratulations expressed to Michele and me. After the service, Rick Kinde handed me a wooden plaque he made into a sign that says, “ELDER: Jeremy Kelly” on it! We both had a good chuckle as it only took him a couple of minutes to make in his wood shop. I was grateful because it would have taken me three months to make it, and Pastor Wally would have wondered what I did during his sabbatical. Michele and I have greatly appreciated the cards, gifts, and the lovely reception we received following this past Sunday’s service. I have already begun to use the beautiful Johnston & Murphy portfolio presented to me by Terry Taber on behalf of the congregation. It is perfect! Thank you!
Pastoral Care from a Caring Pastor
As most of you are aware by now, Pastor Wally has begun his first full week of sabbatical for the summer. I understand he is off to a great start! As I take on many of Pastor Wally’s responsibilities, I do so with full confidence in our team and with the joy of having many wonderful people ministering with us. For instance, I am very pleased that during the summer, Rev. Dave Carden has generously agreed to come alongside of our pastoral team to help provide for the care needs of the church. Pastor Dave has served the Lord in ministry for many years, and served at Pearce as the Pastor of Discipleship, Gift-based Ministry, and Outreach before retiring. Pastor Dave is a delightful and compassionate man with a warm pastoral heart that I highly respect. We will be meeting every Monday morning to discuss who needs a pastoral touch for the week, in addition to what the rest of our team is doing. So do not be surprised if you receive a call or a visit from Pastor Dave. He comes in peace and I trust his ministry will be of a great encouragement and blessing to you!
Thanks for the Blessings!
On Wednesday, I had the joy of taking the Pearce pastoral team out for lunch and a stroll across the bridge at High Falls. As I head out on my three-month sabbatical, I’m aware of the blessing of having such a capable team to lead this congregation in my absence.
I’m also grateful to each of you who are a part of this community of faith. Thanks for blessing me with this gift of three months to research and write.
When Bill Smout, a long-time board member, approached me last December about taking this time away, it seemed an impossibility to me. I appreciated his suggestion, but wondered at if it was a realistic one. Now, as I write this on my last day in the office, it is soon to be a reality.
Few pastors have the opportunity that you have given me. Thank you!
Introducing the Rev. Kelly
This weekend, Pastor Jeremy will preach his first sermon as an ordained minister in the Free Methodist Church. I celebrate this special moment with him. As I watched him officiate at last Sunday’s baptism of little Alexander Messoloras, I was reminded of the wonderful ways God has gifted him for pastoral leadership.
I’ve asked Pastor Jeremy if he would maintain the Dangling Conversation during my absence and he, very graciously, has agreed to do so. I’ve encouraged him not to feel compelled to write as much as I do each week. (I do get a bit wordy at times, don’t I?) So expect that this summer’s Dangling may be brief, but Pastor Jeremy has promised to keep you informed each week.
I’m glad he is picking up the conversation and that you will not be left dangling!
Books for the Journey
A wonderful group of pastors will be preaching at Pearce this summer. Beginning on June 18/19, the summer series will be a look at the book of Acts. The series is titled “Encounters Along the Way” and may help you in your own communication of God’s Story to those around you.
I’ve selected two new books for Pearce Reads that you might want to pick up. The first, Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion is by Os Guinness, one of the leading Christian apologists of our time.
The other book, The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus, is by one of my favorite writers, Dallas Willard. Willard, in this posthumous book, provides a new, and I feel a very attractive, model for how we can present the Christian faith.
Love Seeing the Progress!
This week work has begun on Parmerter roof, a project for which we have long prepared. To date, we have received a total of $143,635.50 towards the $161,200 expense of the roof. Thanks for your faithfulness in underwriting this significant project.
“Though We’ve Got to Say Goodbye for the Summer”
Brian Hyland had a hit in the summer of 1962 with a titled “Sealed with a Kiss.” I found myself whistling the tune of this rather sappy and overly dramatic song, one that laments the agony of teenage love, as I went about my routine at Pearce today. The explanation for my unconscious rendition of the song is that I’m preparing to head out on my sabbatical.
Pearce, as you know by now, has graciously granted me a three-month sabbatical this summer to work on my D. Min. dissertation. The sabbatical will begin on May 27 and extent through the end of August.
This weekend, I have chosen to reflect on my thoughts and feelings as I step aside for the first time in my pastoral vocation. I’ve titled my message “A Pastor’s Summer Prayer” as I have been thinking of Paul’s prayer for a congregation for which he had deep affection that is recorded in Philippians 1. (If you read the chapter in preparation for worship, give special attention to verses three through eleven.)
I look forward to seeing you this weekend in worship. It is very strange for me to think that after this weekend, I will not be in Pearce’s pulpit until Labor Day weekend!
Rest assured, I’ve arranged for a great line-up of gifted communicators to open God’s Word in the coming months. So, in the word of that old teen anthem, let’s “make a pledge to meet in September!”
The Generations Gather
Over the past two years, Pastor Mike has been reading studies and statistics pertaining to the value of intergenerationalism in the church. He has discovered that students who have meaningful relationships with adults of various generations are much more likely to keep their Christian faith through college and beyond; and, almost as significant, they are far more likely to plug into churches.
Immediately after last Sunday’s service, Pearce’s Golden Heirs and our teens gathered for a potluck lunch. Questions were set on each table to help start the intergenerational conversations. Pastor Mike said, “What I observed was generations talking and realizing what they had in common: fears, hopes, dreams, and even musical tastes, as well as what was different from each person’s teen years. One group of teens in particular couldn’t fathom a world without cell phones or a time when you could purchase gasoline for only 18 cents a gallon!
Food, Glorious Food!
When Oliver sang “Food, glorious food!” in the Broadway play that bears his name, he expressed a universal longing that all of us have “three banquets a day!” I am grateful to Rochester’s Foodlink and a wonderful team of Pearce volunteers that recently helped provide fresh food to area families. Last weekend, 177 families, representing 629 people, received meat and fresh vegetables at our fifth Mobile Food Pantry.
Sue Smout, who oversees this ministry at Pearce, spoke of one woman who asked to borrow a cart to help convey her groceries home to a nearby apartment. Sue, going above and beyond her duty, offered instead to drive the woman and her groceries home. The woman mentioned to Sue that when she got up on Saturday, she told her son she needed to call Foodlink and ask where she could find a nearby food pantry. Then the woman noticed a Pearce flyer taped to the door of her apartment building, and came over to our church for food.
Sue wrote in an email, “I am always so amazed each time we do this….I continue to feel blessed every time I finish a Mobile Food Panty. I am exhausted, but feel good just the same!” Thanks, Sue!
A Verse to Live By
Following last Sunday’s wonderful service of Christian baptism, Ken Price approached me at the front of the sanctuary. “I have a gift for you,” he said, “from the tenth grade Sunday school class!” He then handed me a wooden cross with the lyrics of the old gospel song, “I love to tell the story of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.” Under the lyrics is written “Isaiah 46:4.”
I had to laugh when I got home and looked up the reference. It reads: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.”
I gladly receive this good-natured kidding from the teens and appreciate their thoughtful (?) gift. It will serve as a nice reminder in my home study of a wonderful congregation with a good sense of humor!
Baptisms This Weekend
Pearce, like any community of faith, has a host of wonderful traditions. We present Bibles to our first and sixth graders each June; and we always raise our Christmas Eve candles high as we sing the fourth and final verse of Joy to the World! Another one of our traditions takes place each spring, as we invite those who desire to declare their faith to do so by receiving the sacrament of Christian baptism. For many years, this May baptismal service has been a high point in the Pearce Church year.
This coming Sunday, fifteen individuals will publicly declare their faith in Jesus Christ. The evening before, a couple will bring their young daughter for infant baptism. I invite you to join us for this special weekend as we witness these commitments.
Men at Work
We anticipate that Elmer W. Davis Roofing will tackle the installation of the new roof on Parmerter Chapel this coming Monday. As you know, we have been preparing for this project for quite awhile. I recall a day, three or four years ago, when Bob Antes, our Facilities Director, presented me with a shingle from the roof that readily crumbled in my hand.
For the past year and half, we have been raising funds to cover the $161,200 cost. Although we have not fully funded the roof, the contractor is beginning the installation this coming week in order to ensure the completion of the project before our summer Vacation Bible School. (We want to have our grounds ready for the many children who attend this annual event.)
To date, we have received $138,456.50, leaving a little less than $23,000 needed. I encourage you to help us raise this outstanding amount in the coming weeks. Wouldn’t it be great to have this project fully funded before its completion?
Pastor Jeremy’s Ordination
A high moment in the life of a pastor is the day of their ordination. The bishop lays his or her hands on the pastor and intones, “The Lord pour out the Holy Spirit for the office and work of an elder in the Free Methodist Church.” I know it is a moment I’ve never forgotten and doubt that I ever will, even though my own ordination took place 35 years ago!
I asked Pastor Jeremy this morning: “What are you feeling as you anticipate your ordination?” He responded, “I am looking forward to being ordained because it is such a wonderful milestone in what has been an incredible journey of life and ministry. During the course of the ordination process, I have been surrounded by amazing men and women of God who have loved me, invested in my leadership, and helped me to grow in Christ. Being ordained represents, for me, the compassionate care and leadership so many have poured into my life and their affirmation of the calling I began to sense many years ago. For this reason, I am forever grateful for my church family and look forward to being ordained so that I can continue to serve them for the glory of God.”
I invite you to witness this special moment in Pastor Jeremy’s life. He will be ordained, along with other candidates, at a special time of worship on Thursday, May 26, at 7pm at the Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia.
We’ll also acknowledge Pastor Jeremy’s ordination at a reception in Pearce’s Atrium, following the Sunday morning worship service on May 29.
Getting Up There!
I snapped this photo of Mendal Dick as he installed a new light fixture on the west side of Pearce’s facility. As I see him up on that high ladder, working hard and at personal risk, I am mindful of the many men and women who, day in and day out, help serve this congregation and our community. Thanks, Mendal, and thanks to all of you for being so generous with your time and talents!
The Ministry of Morning Moms
Pearce’s Morning Moms just finished another year of ministry. Each Friday morning, from September through April, mothers of young children gathered to encourage and support each other. Pastor Megan Hoose sent me some comments that moms recently made to her concerning this vital ministry.
Michelle wrote: “Morning Moms is such a blessing to me! A great place to share in the joy of God’s blessings and to join together as His children in prayer for our greatest needs! It has helped me focus more on God and His word, encouraging me for the task God has given me—to raise His children—and assurance I am never alone! Never have I been in such a group, with so many women in different stages of family and life—I am so thankful for this group”
Lois commented: “I’m an elder mom but am embraced by this group of beautiful spirited women. No cliques here! They care and share for each other to a degree I have never witnessed before. They call me their teacher, but so often I am the one who is taught. I thank God for this ministry every week.”
A mom by the name of Jessica wrote: “God uses this group to turn islands into a village. The support, encouragement, and prayer I have received are countless and have been my lifeline.”
Thanks, Pastor Megan, and your entire team, for creating this caring environment!
Linked with Love
I want to thank all of those who made our Linked with Love celebration this past weekend such a memorable time! From the wonderful International Child Care Ministries Banquet on Saturday to the meaningful times of worship, it was an unforgettable weekend. If you see Kim Brittin or Jim Heeks, be sure to express special appreciation for all their work on the banquet, and don’t forget to let Pastor Tim and his team know of your thanks for a weekend of marvelous music.
We were privileged to have so many special guests for the weekend. Pictured above at the ICCM sponsorship table are (left to right): Bishop Samuel of Rwanda, Jen Finley (ICCM Church Relations Director), Debbie McClarin (ICCM volunteer), Rev. Megan Hoose (ICCM Ambassador), and Dr. Linda Adams, (ICCM Director).
An additional twelve children were selected for sponsorship. This brings our total number of sponsored children close to one hundred and twenty.
After arriving home on Sunday following worship at Pearce, I discovered an email from Ephaste, the Rwandan director of International Child Care Ministries. He sent along these photos of the new playground equipment that has recently been installed on the Nzige school grounds. The purchase of this equipment was made possible by our Vacation Bible School kids last summer, who raised the funds to provide a great place where the Nzige children can play.
One More Nzige Note
This past Sunday’s Exit Offering will help the Nzige community purchase the necessary building supplies for the new primary classroom building. A generous total of $3,078.46 was given to help finance this new addition to the school. I think that is an incredible amount and want to express my deep appreciation to the entire Pearce family for the many ways you continue to bless the Nzige school, church, and community!
Parmerter Chapel Is a Special Place
Parmerter Chapel has proven to be a place filled with significance for Tim & Kellie Dorr. A few years ago, the couple met while attending the Saturday worship service. Last year, they were married in a beautiful ceremony in Parmerter. This past Saturday, they brought their firstborn, Lydia, to dedicate to the Lord in the evening’s worship service. Congratulations to this family!
Let the Roof Construction Begin!
For nearly the past year and a half, we’ve been talking about our “Raise the Roof” project, with a goal to fund the $161,000 installation of a new roof on Parmerter Chapel. Well, the time has come for action! Construction on Parmerter’s roof will begin sometime next week, weather permitting. The installation of the roof is estimated to be at least a two-week project.
During this project, you’ll notice that the west side playground will not be used. Also, the Orchard Street parking strip (near the playground) will be unavailable, as it will serve as a staging area for equipment and materials. A temporary fence will prevent anyone from entering dangerous areas throughout the construction.
At this point, a total of $136,502.50 has been contributed to this important project. We anticipate giving to continue in the coming weeks until the entire cost of the new roof has been covered. Thanks to all who have helped us with this significant maintenance item!
Flower City Review
The end of March brought spring break and with it, Flower City Work Camp. Once again, this mission to local Rochesterians was a huge success! Pearce sent 23 students and numerous adults who worked on homes and shared Christ in deep and purposeful ways to many in our city. Each year, this ministry proves to be a fantastic way to teach our students how to practically live out their faith and to worship with hundreds of other local students. Thank you to all who participated this year, both students and adults.
Junior High Overnight
Each year, we take our junior teens (7th-8th graders) for an overnight to Hickory Hill. It is a wonderful time to get away and escape everyday life, laugh, and enjoy some time with friends. While the trip was only 24 hours long, we played a lifetime’s worth of Dodgeball, ate fantastic meals provided by Karen Hopkins, and had some excellent times in the Word. This year, we also brought along a couple of our seniors to act as junior leaders. This proved to be an exceptional idea, as the seniors really helped the young teens feel accepted, and it allowed the old guys like me some respite from having to play Dodgeball!
The Years Keep Rolling
The end of April always means the end of our Wednesday night programs. Inevitably, I am asked each year why we end so early. There are a number of reasons for this decision. First, it is a very busy time of year for our students with finals, AP exams, prom, sports, and all that comes with the end of the school year. We don’t want to put students in a place where they have to decide between studying and being at teens. The second reason is that our leaders give a tremendous amount of time throughout the year. They lead Wednesday nights from September-May, and then Tuesday nights all summer for TNT. By ending the last week of April, I am able to give them a 6-8 week break. I have such an appreciation for what our leaders do, and I know that we would never be able to pull off all that we do without our volunteers. The last thing I want to do is burn them out. This year, we ended our Wednesday night programs with an evening of bowling and an evening of fun teen challenges: shaving cream, eggs, and squirt guns, oh my!
Be sure to take note of the dates for this summer’s TNTs!
- June 28: Pool Party at Kuhlkin’s, 6:30-8pm
- July 5: No TNT (4th of July Week)
- July 12: Picnic at Hamlin Beach (Guys bring soda, Girls chips/cookies), meet at Pearce at 5:30pm, return by 8pm
- July 19: Seabreeze Night, families are welcome, students under 7th grade must be accompanied by adult; cost: $20; meet at Pearce at 5:30pm, return by 10:30pm
- July 26: Pool Party at Emerson’s, 6:30-8pm
- August 2: No TNT (Algonquin Canoe Trip)
- August 9: No TNT
- August 16: Whiffleball/Kickball and Ice Cream Sundaes at Black Creek Park, 6:30-8
- August 23: Club House Go-Carts and Mini Golf, cost: $20; meet at Pearce at 5:30pm, return at 8:30pm
VBS 2016 is almost here! On June 27, Pearce’s doors will be open to about 300 kids who are ready to discover what it means to “Follow Jesus, the Light of the World!” There are two things we need for this ministry:
- We need crew leaders to lead small groups of children to various stations during the week. If you can help, please contact Krys Merriam, our VBS director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 709-1372.
- We need people committed to praying for our kids, crew leaders, station leaders, and other volunteers. The Wednesday of VBS week is “salvation day,” where the Gospel of Jesus is clearly explained to the kids.
Sunday, May 15, will be a special service of baptism. In this picture, you see an empty tank that will soon be filled with water. Currently, 12 young people have expressed a desire to be baptized. Each one will be sharing a testimony of loving Jesus and a desire to make a public confession of that love from that tank. Here are just a few examples:
*One preteen shared she received Jesus in Sunday school.
*Another preteen shared he received Jesus at one of our Wednesday night ministry programs.
*Another preteen shared how she was drawn to God through the music in the worship service.
There are nine other amazing stories from our baptismal candidates that will bless you deeply when you hear them. Be sure to come to the special Service of Baptism at Pearce on Sunday, May 15, at 10:30am.
Be praying for these young people, and if God is tugging on your heart to be baptized, it is not too late! Please contact the church and any of the pastors can talk with you about this.
2015-2016 Kids’ Ministry at Pearce has been awesome! One of the big reasons for this is the adult teachers and volunteers we have had. I am now preparing to build the team for next school year. Would you prayerfully consider working with our kids this coming school year? I am looking for Sunday school teachers, Camp Wednesday teachers/leaders, and a Kids’ Bag team.
The baptismal testimonies mentioned above are perfect examples of young lives changed when adults take the time to be a leader, teacher, or volunteer in kids ministry. Please contact me if you’d like to volunteer or if you have questions about any of our ministries and what would be involved in helping.
Please be praying for the kids and youth of our church. They are an amazing group of people and God’s story is becoming the center of their story.
Blessings to you as we serve Jesus together!
Linked with Love Anniversary
This weekend, our community of faith celebrates our first anniversary of partnering with the school in Nzige, Rwanda. Over the past year, families at Pearce have committed to sponsoring more than 100 children in Nzige, and two teams have visited the village to build relationships between our two communities. I feel that our partnership, known as Linked with Love, is off to a wonderful start and I look forward to watching this relationship grow and develop in the coming years.
To help us celebrate, we have two very special guests with us.
Bishop Samuel Kayinamura is spending this week with us, having arrived from Rwanda this past Monday evening. (Above is a photo from this past Tuesday evening, when the bishop gathered with the members of Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team, the group that oversees the Linked with Love partnership.)
This is the bishop’s third visit to the United States. He previously visited North Chili as an honorary delegate to the 2011 General Conference of the Free Methodist Church which we, along with RWC, hosted that summer. Bishop Samuel oversees a thriving and growing ministry of more than 170 churches in his homeland. He has served as bishop since 2004.
Dr. Linda Adams is no stranger to Pearce, having joined us on numerous occasions to preach from our pulpit. As the director of International Child Care Ministries (ICCM), Linda tirelessly travels to help ICCM care for more than 20,000 children in over 30 countries around the globe.
Linda proposed Pearce’s Linked with Love partnership in the fall of 2014. Bishop Samuel has been an enthusiastic supporter of it from the early stages of development. I am grateful to both of these gifted leaders for their dedication to Christ and His Kingdom, and their service to Pearce Church and the children of Nzige.
Sponsoring a Child
Not all of the children in Nzige have been sponsored! Although we celebrate that more than 100 children from the village have been “adopted” by Pearce families over the past year, we’d love to touch even more of these young people with Christ’s love. This weekend, an additional 47 sponsorship packets will be available at a table in the narthex behind Pearce’s sanctuary. If you haven’t yet sponsored a child, why not consider stopping at the table and learning more about how you can impact a young child’s life?
If you aren’t able to be at Pearce this weekend, a limited number of sponsorship packets are kept on hand in the church office. Contact Kim Brittin at 594-9488 for more information.
Pearce Board Retreat
This past weekend, members of the Pearce Official Board and their spouses gathered for a time of retreat at Houghton College. The weekend provided an opportunity for the board to discuss, in depth, items that often get pushed aside by the demands of monthly agendas. Chairman Jim Morton led the sessions, encouraging the board to consider where God is leading our congregation in the coming years.
The board did discuss at length the future of two properties that are coming under our church’s ownership this summer. The two houses on either side of the Orchard Street entrance to our parking lot, which have been used as office space by RWC, will be torn down this fall to provide for future development of additional parking and green space for our congregation.
The board considered proposals to keep the house on the south side of the parking lot entrance, the “bungalow,” as a venue for ministry, such as an expanded food bank. The decision was made to tear down the house, largely because of the strategic location of the property for green space and parking uses, the availability of other Pearce-owned properties for possible ministry venues, and the financial investment necessary to maintain the property.
The Running of the “Garage Sale-ers”
Tomorrow morning, I’ll take my place in the Family Life Center to observe as the countdown is given for this year’s Mission Garage Sale. As the doors are swung open wide, an eager “mob” of intense garage sale devotees will race into the gym to examine the countless tables laden with items. It is a memorable sight for me! It doesn’t quite rank up there in the same category as the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, but it is impressive.
The hours of this year’s sale are Friday from 9am-7pm and Saturday from 9am-noon. I encourage you to be supportive of this major source of funding for ministry around the world!
Official Board Retreat
This weekend, members of Pearce’s Official Board will gather for a time of retreat on the campus of Houghton College. The purpose of this retreat is to provide an opportunity for our leaders to prayerfully consider the mission and vision of our community of faith. The board last gathered for such a time in October 2014.
The retreat will begin on Friday evening and continue through Sunday morning. I appreciate your prayers as we consider God’s direction for our church.
Pastor Jeremy will be in the pulpit this weekend. His message is entitled “Contagious Joy” and is based on 1 Peter 1:3-12.
On Tuesday, I received an update from Ephaste Niyigena, the International Child Care Ministries director for Rwanda. He included this photo of the children who are graduating from the preschool in Nzige and who will be attending the local public primary school.
The children were recently presented with bags of school supplies to aid them in their education at the primary school. As your sponsored child graduates from the Nzige preschool, they will continue to receive support while they attend the public school.
According to Lydia Monroe, the nearest primary school is a four-mile-walk through steep and difficult terrain. The parents of the children in Nzige are presently working to construct additional classrooms in their village that will permit them to begin offering primary grades at the site of the existing preschool and eliminate the children’s need to walk so far. (We’ll be receiving an Exit Offering on April 30 and May 1 to assist the parents in purchasing construction materials.)
Packets with names of children will be available for sponsorship during our Nzige Weekend, being held on April 30 and May 1. Dr. Linda Adams, ICCM’s global director, will be with us along with Bishop Samuel Kayinamura of Rwanda. You won’t want to miss our worship services and the opportunity to hear from these gifted and dynamic leaders.
Reception for the Bishop
Speaking of Bishop Samuel, I want to invite you to an informal reception on Thursday, April 28, at 7pm in the Friendship Center. Bishop Samuel will be sharing his personal story, a wonderful testimony to God’s provision and protection on his life. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about Rwanda and our “Linked with Love” partnership.
Celebrating 50 Years of Child Sponsorship
A special evening celebrating 50 years of International Child Care Ministries will be held at Pearce in the Family Life Center on Saturday, April 30. This “Jubilee Banquet” will begin at 6pm. Tickets for the event cost $15 per adult and $6 per child aged 6-12. (Tickets for children age 5 and under are free!) Tickets are required and are available to reserve here or by contacting the Pearce office at 594-9488.
Welcome to the Spencers
This past Sunday morning, I had the joy of welcoming Phil and Fay Spencer into membership at Pearce. Fay wrote me on Monday: “As the newest members of Pearce Church, we wanted to take a minute and say what an awesome church we attend! Worship yesterday was so God-inspired and wonderful, it just confirmed our decision to become members.”
Next month, you’ll notice an improvement to our Common Grounds Café. A contractor will be installing windows and a door on the south side of the café, allowing the café to be completely closed off from the atrium.
The reason for this project is two-fold. First, as the use of our café as a venue for special gatherings has grown, we’ve become aware of the need to eliminate the ambient noise from the atrium as much as possible. Secondly, this improvement will allow the room to be locked when the café is not open, increasing security and eliminating the chance of any unauthorized use of that space.
I appreciate the ministry of the café and the wonderful ways in which Sheryl Hunt, manager of Common Grounds, and her staff provide an environment of grace for so many each week.
Keys Not to the Kingdom
Honna Curtis, Pearce’s administrator, has recently tackled making an inventory of the keys to our building. As part of this inventory, Honna is requesting those possessing keys to Pearce locks, and who no longer have need of them, to return any keys to her. This will help insure a safe environment for the many who regularly enter our facility each week.
Thanks for Your Financial Support
How are we doing financially at Pearce? All in all, we are doing well and keeping the bills paid and the lights on. However, we are slightly behind in all three main budget areas: Operations, Building Fund, and Missions.
The table below, provided by our treasurer Mike Vannest, helps illustrate our need. Thanks for helping us meet our budget and remain financially strong.
A Personal Sighting
This weekend, I’ll conclude our examination of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus by taking a look at a fascinating passage in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Christians. In a powerful section on belief in the bodily resurrection, he mentioned, seemingly almost as an aside, that Jesus made several appearances in the days following that first Easter. He noted that Jesus even appeared to a crowd of 500 believers on one occasion. Then he instructed his scribe to write, and at this point I imagine his voice is trembling with the thought of it all, “…and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”
You may want to read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 in preparation for services this Saturday and Sunday. I’ll try very hard to be in good health this time!
A Special Welcome to Josh Sarchet!
Last Saturday evening, Josh Sarchet was welcomed into membership at Pearce. Rev. Nelson Grimm did the honors of receiving this gifted young man who has blessed our congregation with his musical gifts. You may have noted the joy on his face this past Easter morning when he led our bell choir at a special point in the services. During the week, Josh is a music teacher at Rochester Prep Elementary School. A special welcome to Josh!
A Bevy of Bishops
I’ve always delighted in those collective nouns such as a coalition of cheetahs or a zeal of zebras. Well, this year Pearce is privileged to welcome a bevy of bishops. Now, I mean no disrespect by using that term. It just has a way of rolling off one’s tongue. But it also expresses a wonderful reality that is occurring this year at Pearce. We are hosting three bishops at various times in the next five months.
First, we have the privilege of hosting Bishop Samuel Kayinamura of Rwanda. I enjoyed meeting this wonderful and gifted leader during Pearce’s exploratory visit to Rwanda in January of 2015. Bishop Samuel is traveling to North Chili to participate in our “Linked with Love” partnership celebration on the weekend of April 30 & May 1. I’ve asked him to preside over our time of Communion in worship services that weekend. He will also be sharing his story at a special reception on Thursday, April 28, at 7pm in the Friendship Center.
Then, on the weekend of July 16 & 17, Bishop David Kendall will be our guest preacher. Bishop Kendall was elected to this position of service in 2005. He oversees Free Methodist ministries in the heartland of America and those on the continent of Africa. He is a gifted communicator and has keen insight into the Scriptures.
Finally, on our fall “Kick-off Weekend,” Bishop David Roller will return to Pearce to help us gather and celebrate coming back together after a busy summer. Bishop Roller has graciously preached at Pearce on several occasions over the nine years he has served as our bishop. He is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever heard and, as a result, wonderfully communicates the narrative of the Bible.
How blessed we are as a congregation to have this “bevy of bishops” flocking to our community of faith. I hope you take the opportunity to hear each of these godly leaders.
When You Need a Friend!
I would be remiss if I failed to express deep appreciation to those who came to my aid in my time of need this past weekend. Friday night, I came down with an unfortunate stomach bug that kept me down and out for a couple of days. (As I write this on Tuesday, I am 80% back to normal. I heard that cackle from those of you who have never considered me “normal!”)
Saturday morning, as Mary stood over me while I shivered on the couch under an afghan, she informed me that it was clear I wasn’t going to be in any condition to preach that evening. “Who should I call?” she asked. I ran through a list of potential rescuers and replied, “Call Wayne McCown!”
Well, as those of you who attended last weekend’s worship services at Pearce are well aware, Wayne put on his superhero cape and came to my aid. He was even so gracious as to continue with the weekend’s planned text and theme. What a guy!
Then there were others who helped out as well. Nelson Grimm assisted with the Saturday worship leading tasks that had been assigned to me. Scott & Beth Bellinger took charge of the Sunday evening Bible study in my stead. My wife made several contacts on my behalf and tolerated my moaning and groaning throughout the weekend. (Am I making this sound dramatic?)
All this to say, thank you to a wonderful group of people!