This week’s Dangling is abbreviated due to Spring cleaning! Although the week’s weather did not feel spring-like, the Pearce pastors and office support staff collaborated this Tuesday on cleaning out closets and various nooks and crannies in our facility. (Hence the photo of Kim Brittin, assistant to our administrator, and Jess Alcorn, our bookkeeper, cleaning out one of the “cages” in the lower level of the education wing.)
This Spring cleaning, which pre-empted my usual time to devote to tasks such as the week’s Dangling, has become an annual tradition for us, providing an opportunity not only to attend to cluttered areas of our facility, but also to see if there are items that we can pass on for inclusion in our Annual Mission Garage Sale. (I encourage you to begin identifying items in your own home to bring to Pearce the week of April 18. This year’s sale will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23.)
In light of this week’s schedule, permit me to briefly highlight a few items! (I’ll resume my typicial long-winded Dangling next week!)
First, this weekend we’ll continue our “We Were There” series of sermons on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Check out John 20:24-31 in preparation.
Secondly, Dr. Tim Dwyer begins a three-week series on “Human Sexuality” next Wednesday, April 13, at 6:30pm in Room 82 of Pearce’s education wing. You’ll appreciate hearing Tim share his insights and perspectives.
Thirdly, I want to commend all of you for your support of the campaign to raise $160,000 to install a new roof this June on Parmerter Chapel. Last weekend was amazing, as we received more than $5,000, bringing our total to $130,865. The end of this campaign is beginning to appear on the horizon! Thanks for your continued generosity!
Lydia Monroe, our P4K director, showed me a photo book she put together of our “Linked with Love” partnership. The book will be used with P4K children, to help them better understand this partnership. I love the wonderful ways in which God is using this partnership to bless children, not only in Rwanda, but here in North Chili!
An finally, in last Sunday’s “Children’s Moments,” I got into a discussion about breakfast. You may recall, the sermon text for the day was John 21. In this passage, Jesus prepares a breakfast on the beach for his disciples.
I asked the kids what they had eaten for breakfast that morning before coming to Pearce. One of those responding was Rachel Kuhlkin. She told me she had eaten “Krave” for her breakfast. I was totally clueless as to what “Krave” is. All I could think of was something like “scrapple,” a popular Pennsylvania Dutch food. (Krave does have a bit of a German sound to it, doesn’t it?)
I asked Rachel to describe Krave, which she proceeded to do as a type of “hard chocolate on the outside with soft chocolate on the inside.” (I’m not doing justice to her description!) I continued to be mystified and couldn’t quite wrap my head around Krave.
Well, yesterday, I found a bag containing Krave in my mailbox at church. It was from my young friend, Rachel, with a note:
Dear Pastor Wally,
Here, now you can taste some Krave. There’s two kinds in there you can eat it dry or with milk. Hope you like it.
From Rachel Kuhlkin
I now know what Krave is. It’s actually quite good! Thanks to Rachel for providing me with a new insight into breakfast. The things I learn during children’s moments!
This Weekend at Pearce
Last weekend, I began a new sermon series on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. I’ve chosen this
four-week series because I feel it is critical we realize that the cornerstone of our faith, the resurrection of Jesus, is a historical event. The Biblical writers make a point of documenting the many eyewitnesses who encountered Jesus after his resurrection from the grave.
This weekend, I’ll look at the closing chapter of John’s gospel, where Jesus encountered members of his inner circle near the shores of Lake Galilee. You might want to read and reflect on John 21:1-14 in preparation. Communion will also be served in both the Saturday and Sunday worship services.
I’ve asked Dr. Tim Dwyer to present a three-week seminar at Pearce on the subject of “Dealing with Human Sexuality.” This seminar will explore three significant topics. On April 13, Tim will help us understand the relationship between Biblical authority and human sexuality. The following week, April 20, he’ll help us consider the issue of homosexuality and how to blend both truth and grace into discussions. Finally, on April 27, Tim will highlight gender relations and gender confusion. Each seminar will begin at 6:30pm in room 82 in Pearce’s education wing.
Tim is a familiar face to many of us at Pearce. Since 2003, Tim has served as Professor of Christian Scriptures at Roberts and throughout that time he has been a guest in the pulpit of our church. (In fact, Tim is scheduled to preach during my sabbatical on June 4 and 5!) I appreciate him taking time out of a demanding teaching schedule to help us think through these issues.
Are you among the 149 families that have signed up for their photo for Pearce’s upcoming photo directory? If not, here’s what I want you to do. Go to www.pearcechurch.org and click on the link located near the bottom of the page.
It’s easy to schedule your appointment online. I should know, as I just made an appointment for Mary and myself while I was working on this Dangling. Now 150 families are signed up!
Nzige Team Selected
I’m pleased to announce that the members of Pearce’s VISA (Volunteers In Service Abroad) team have been selected for this summer’s ministry in Rwanda. Carol Stevenson, the team’s leader, will be accompanied by Kim LaCelle, Sue Smout, and Ruth Stewart. Each of these individuals have extensive experience in education.
Both Carol and Kim have long taught in public school districts in our area. Carol presently teaches elementary grades in the Rush-Henrietta School District. Kim has served as a science teacher for nearly two decades and previously worked at the Life Sciences Learning Center at the University of Rochester, leading teacher training for grant-funded projects. Sue Smout has taught at P4K for 16 years. (You may recall that last year Rochester’s News 10 NBC presented Sue with a “Golden Apple” award for excellence in instruction.) Ruth Stewart has 20 years of experience in home schooling, and has also taught at both the high school and college level.
Each of the three educators applied, underwent an interview, and were selected out of a total of six applicants. Interviews were conducted by Carol, as the team’s leader; Lydia Monroe, Pearce’s P4K director, and Becky Draper, the chair of Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT). One of the primary reasons the members of this summer’s team were selected is that each of them have experience in training other teachers, the primary focus of the August trip.
This team is scheduled to provide training for the Nzige school faculty August 1 through 5, a week during which the students are enjoying summer vacation.
A second team is now being anticipated for February 2017. To find out more about this 2017 VISA team, contact Lydia Monroe. This team will have the opportunity to observe teachers in action, as well as model creative teaching techniques.
Saturday’s Delightful Moment
Easter Eve was a special moment at Pearce as two families brought their children to be presented before the Lord.
Chris and Lauren Grimm brought their daughter, Avery, for baptism. Chris and Kelly Brody brought their daughter, Grace, for dedication.
The relatives of these two infants pushed the Saturday service to a new high attendance of 113. Including the Good Friday Service, nearly 1,400 people attended one of the four worship services held at Pearce last weekend.
This Weekend at Pearce
I hope your plans for this weekend include attendance at one of Pearce’s four worship services.
Tomorrow evening (Friday) at 7pm, our Good Friday “Tenebrae” Service will be held in the Sanctuary. This service provides a time of sober reflection as we recall the death of Jesus on the cross. Pastor Harold Scott will provide a homily and Communion will be served.
Saturday evening, we’ll gather for our 5pm service. A highlight of this service will be the presentation before the Lord of two young daughters by the Brody and Grimm families.
Two opportunities for worship will be held on Easter morning, at 9 and 10:30am. Pastor Tim and his team have prepared beautiful music for these services. I’ll begin a new series of messages that examine the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. This weekend, we’ll look at Luke’s account of an encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
If you are a regular attender at Pearce, I encourage you to help us alleviate parking problems that may occur Sunday morning in the brief interval between the two worship services. You can do that by parking farther away from the church, allowing visitors to enjoy the prime spots. (The forecast for Sunday is cloudy and relatively warm.) You may also want to join the pastoral team and park on the lawn of Pearce’s Orchard Street property in order to free up space.
During this past weekend’s sermon, I read an excerpt from Corrie Ten Boom’s classic book The Hiding Place. The book became an immediate best-seller upon its publication in 1971, and was made into a movie four years later.
Following last Sunday’s service, Mary and I talked about the book and its impact on us. “You should encourage a new generation of readers to pick up The Hiding Place.” She’s right; I should!
Piece by Piece
When we kicked-off our campaign to raise funds to replace the Parmerter Chapel roof at the outset of 2015, our graphic designer, Jess Brannan, designed a poster for placement in Pearce’s lobby. Featured on the poster is a whimsical rendering of Parmerter Chapel.
As funds have been raised, portions of the roof have been added to the poster. This has highlighted, with only a quick glance, our progress towards our $160,000 goal.
I was quite pleased this past Monday to witness Jess’s addition of another portion of the poster’s roof. This means we now have a total of $121,841 on hand and are less than $40,000 away from our goal!
I am deeply grateful to the many who have given sacrificially to enable us to have a new roof installed this coming June. Let’s keep making progress so that we can accomplish this need without borrowing any funds.
Real Pastors Climb Mountains
Do you ever wonder what real pastors do in their spare time? This past weekend, Pastor John Tassone and his youngest son climbed one of the peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. On Saturday, the two made their way up Mount Madison, which is the fifth highest peak in the Presidential Range with a summit of 5,367 feet above sea level.
On the morning of their assent, the temperature was a cool minus four degrees Fahrenheit, with wind gusts of 30 miles per hour.
To keep up with Pastor John, I’ve determined to ascend to the top of Cobb Hill (elevation 633 feet) sometime this summer when the temperatures are more comfortable!
I recently received word that parents of the Nzige students have begun construction on a new classroom building to accommodate this growing school. This building will permit the school to begin providing instruction for primary students. Until now, the school has focused on preschool education. This new structure will provide an additional three classrooms. Commenting on this project, Dr. Linda Adams, director of International Child Care Ministries said, “They are people of great faith!”
Update from the Flemings
Mary and I want to express appreciation for your support during the past several months as Mary underwent a series of chemo infusions at the Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong. Last week, the decision was made to discontinue any further chemo treatments at this time. The initial series of three treatments appear to have been effective in getting Mary’s CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) under control for now.
Your prayers and your many expressions of encouragement and love have touched us deeply. We are blessed to be a part of such a loving community of faith. Thank you!
Holy Week at Pearce
As you know, this weekend begins a special week of observance for Christians all over the world. Here at Pearce, we’ve planned several opportunities for you to gather with other believers to remember our Savior’s life and ministry.
This weekend, I’ll conclude our examination of the Lord’s Prayer with a message on forgiveness entitled “A Two-Way Street,” based on Matthew 6:12-15. On Palm Sunday morning, Jim Heeks and his crew will serve a delicious breakfast in our Family Life Center from 8-10:15am. Tickets for the breakfast can be purchased at the door for the modest price of $5.50 per person or $22 for an immediate family of four or more.
Next Wednesday, Pastor Kathy and her children’s ministry team will be hosting an egg hunt at Pearce, beginning at 6:30pm. I’ve been asked to participate in this event, so I am planning to be there!
On Good Friday, a sober service of Communion will be held in our sanctuary at 7pm. This is a Tenebrae service, a Latin term meaning “darkness,” referring to the fact that the service ends in darkness and silence to remind participants of the horrific death of our Lord on the cross.
On Easter Eve, our 5pm Saturday service will focus on the anxious period of waiting that the first followers of Jesus experienced in the hours following Good Friday and before receiving the news of Jesus’s resurrection. Although at this point in Christian history, we know that Jesus did indeed rise from the grave, we continue to experience a sense of waiting as we look forward to His return. As a special feature of this service, two young girls (Grace Brody and Avery Grimm) will be brought before the Lord by their parents.
Pearce will hold two worship services on Easter: the first at 9am followed by a 10:30am service. The services will be identical, filled with the rich music of Easter. I’ll be starting a new four-week sermon series that will take a look at the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. On Easter, we’ll consider His encounter with two of His disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35).
I hope you and your family will avail yourself of these times to gather to observe Holy Week.
Leaders of the Pack
Officers for Pearce’s Official Board, the board providing oversight of our church’s ministry, were elected last week. Evidently last year’s officers did a great job as all three of them were elected for another one-year-term. They are Jim Morton (chair), Mike Wilson (vice-chair), and Chuck Cockrell (legal secretary). I’m grateful to each of these individuals and appreciate their servant-leadership in helping our congregation fulfill its mission and vision.
On a bit of whimsical note, the board observed in a rather delicious way, a significant milestone at its meeting. Chuck Cockrell, who also serves as the chair of the board’s finance committee, brought a selection of desserts sliced in half. Board members were encouraged to enjoy “half a dessert” in recognition that Pearce has reached the point in its loan payments where the portion allocated for principal is equal to that allocated for interest.
The current weekly payment on Pearce’s debt is $4,866.25. So of that payment, 50% is now going to principal. Total debt now stands at $2,321,000. This debt was incurred in 2001, when the latest addition (the Pearce atrium, Family Life Center, and educational wing) was constructed. A special note of thanks to those of you who give regularly to our “Building Fund” and help reduce this debt.
Annual Mission Garage Sale
Earlier this week, I made my way to our “mission garage sale” shelves in my basement. You may have such a spot in your own house. Throughout the year, as Mary and I come across items we no longer wish to keep, we take those items down and set them on the shelves, poised to be taken to Pearce during the month of April.
I remind you that Pearce’s Annual Mission Garage Sale, now in its 13th year, has raised more than $150,000 for mission projects, both local and global. Last year’s sale set a new record and raised an astounding $21,437.28!
Following last Sunday’s worship service, I was gratified to have the unexpected privilege of meeting Xavier, a student at The Charles Finney School. Xavier, along with another student from the city of Rochester, has received a scholarship to attend this Christian school as a result of past Mission Garage Sales!
The 2016 Mission Garage Sale will be held on April 22 and 23. Why not start gathering items now?
The Report of My Death
In 1897, the New York Herald published an article reporting that Mark Twain, then 61 years of age, was “grievously ill and possibly dying.” A quite-healthy Twain, in London at the time of the article’s publication, responded “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
I felt a bit like Twain when a someone recently commented that a Pearce attender had asked them “Why is Pastor Wally going on sabbatical for a year?” The report of my sabbatical, I feel compelled to state, was an exaggeration!
The real story is that I will be taking a sabbatical beginning on Friday, May 27, and that I will return to my pastoral duties at Pearce on Wednesday, August 31. Except for officiating at a couple of weddings and a week serving as the camp pastor at the Wabash Family Camp in Indiana (July 17 & 23), I’ll be “off the grid.” The Pastor’s Cabinet has graciously advised me to take advantage of the opportunity to attend other churches during this time and see what I can learn from observing other congregations.
The purpose of the sabbatical is to make headway on my dissertation at Northeastern Seminary, a task that I have delayed far too long! My dissertation, for those of you who are curious, is an ethnographical study of Pearce.
Ethnography is, to use the definition of Mary Clark Moschella in her book Ethnography as a Pastoral Practice, is “a way of immersing yourself in the life of a people in order to learn something about and from them.” More simply, it is a means of understanding an organization, Pearce Church in my case, by listening to the stories of the people who comprise the organization. So, even though I will be away from Pearce, I will be immersing myself in the stories of Pearce to better understand our community of faith.
I’ve had many people ask how I’m feeling about the sabbatical. I’ve responded that it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, I’m looking forward to doing some research and writing. On the other hand, I am a bit anxious at the thought of stepping away for a few months from my vocation of 36 years. It will definitely be a new and challenging experience for me!
I’ve begun meeting with Pastor Jeremy to ensure everything functions smoothly in my absence. He will be serving as the interim lead pastor while I am gone.
I am deeply appreciative to Pearce’s generosity in granting this sabbatical. Thanks for your support, as I anticipate this time of being away.
Join Lydia Monroe, Kristen Coon, and Carol Stevenson for an update from their recent mission trip to Nzige, Rwanda. Through slides and stories, they will share their observations at the preschool and their plans for future training of Nzige teachers. Come to Room 134 (education wing) at 6:30pm on Wednesday, March 9.
Family Night at Pearce:
I am very excited about the Family Nights Pearce has been hosting each month. The January Family Night was “Human Hungry Hippos.” If you were there, you know how much fun it was! At the end of February, we held Life Size Angry Birds and it was another fun family night. The kids were excited and had lots of fun being together. It is amazing how God brought these events about. Dave Mantegna is the key leader and mastermind of these nights. He has had a vision of doing something that would bring families into the church to have fun together where casual conversations about God and life happen. Dave has gathered some families to be part of the planning. The next two are planned for March and April. Plan to come out and have some fun as a family. You may have some great ideas for future family nights. I would encourage you to talk to Dave, he is always looking for new ideas! Be praying that God would use this ministry in the lives of the families of our church.
I am thankful for the ministry of Kids’ Worship. During the season of Lent, the kids are receiving messages about Easter. Over these next several weeks, each child is making their own “Easter Story Box.” It is a fun, hands-on way to teach the Easter story. I am encouraging them to use their completed story box to teach the story of Easter to their family and friends. The picture above shows the contents of each Easter Story Box. Another important thing we do together in Kids’ Worship is to pray. At the beginning of our time together, the kids share their requests. This past Sunday, many of the kids asked for prayer for their Dads. It is amazing to hear what is on their hearts; it gives insight into the concerns they carry.
Easter Egg Hunt:
Get ready for our first Pearce Easter egg hunt on Wednesday, March 23, from 6:30-8pm! This is our regular time for Wednesday Kids’ Ministry: Camp Wednesday and Collide 56. If you have never been to a Wednesday night, this would be a great night to come. We will divide the kids into three groups: preschool, K-4th grade, and 5th&6th grade. The church building will be our egg hunting ground. At the end of our night together, Pastor Wally will share an Easter devotion with the kids.
My desire as a children’s pastor is for our kids at Pearce to fall in love with Jesus and know that He has a plan for each day of their lives. When I made my first commitment to Jesus, I was 13 years old. It was life-changing for me. I remember decisions I made as a teenager because I loved Jesus. Decades later, I still love Jesus and desire the hearts of our children to love Him, too!
May our families experience the love of Jesus and the power of His Resurrection this Easter season!
MOMS: 4 THINGS YOUR SON SECRETLY WISHES YOU KNEW ABOUT HIS TEMPTATIONS
As many of you know, we spent a Wednesday evening and a Sunday morning talking about sex and dating in the month of February. My goal was simply to give our kids some things to begin to think about. I hope looking at where they want to be in 10 years helps connect the dots to how their decisions today can impact their dreams for the future. I also challenged them to not think of themselves as pure but as striving for purity. As we know, none of us are without sin. The biggest hang-up I see with teens in this area is when they fail. If they cross the line that they believe God has for their lives, they live with that guilt. That is not from the Lord. I would rather they realize there is grace. They need to pick themselves up, receive forgiveness, and get back after the work of becoming holy.
As you may remember, I posted on Facebook the week of these talks to inform parents of what we would be talking about. My desire was that it would provide an open door for you as parents to be able to have conversations with your children. There are a ton of resources out there for you. One that I have found to be very helpful, especially as a parent of teen boys, has been http://www.xxxchurch.com/. XXXChurch is an organization committed to helping teens and adults navigate sexual temptation and the lure of pornography. They also have a fantastic, albeit often controversial, ministry to porn stars. I don’t agree with everything they have put out, but by and large I believe they are loving people the way Christ would. I found a recent article they posted for moms of teen boys to be particularly interesting. Shaunti Feldhahn states, “Even after years of researching what is in the heart and mind of men and boys, I still wasn’t quite ready when my pre-teen son began struggling with the same visual temptations as everyone else! In honor of all boys who want to do the right thing, here are four things sons secretly wish their moms knew about their struggle: It starts young. It is almost an overwhelming curiosity—and temptation. It is a temptation the honorable boys do not want. It is something they cannot confront well without our help.” You can check out the rest of the article here: http://strongermarriages.com/moms-4-things-your-son-secretly-wishes-you-knew-about-his-temptations/.
Our children, our boys and girls, need our help and our understanding. They live in an over-sexualized culture. Don’t miss the opportunities that come up to engage your young ones in these conversations.
The Cost of Fellowship
At the beginning of each year, Pearce teens traditionally begin to think about our senior retreat. For years we scheduled these weekends in the fall, amidst the busiest time of the year for most teens and families: we were inviting them to come away with us for a weekend of rest, relaxation, and reconnecting with Christ. It was always a double-edged sword, because often those who needed the rest the most were unable to come due to their schedules. About six years ago, we moved the senior teen retreat to the end of January. The Student Ministry team firmly believes that the lives of our students are over-scheduled with sports, musicals, Boy Scouts, Young Life, dance, work, homework, and copious other activities. To speak counter to this, we try to provide a retreat that is exactly that…a retreat. This year, we had three discussion times around the idea of Grabbing the Cup, Lifting the Cup, and Drinking the Cup. Other than these times and our meals, the weekend had very little structure. Kids took naps, watched movies, played board games, and played various sports in the gym. Karen Hopkins cooked snacks with the teens one afternoon, and I fried 20 lbs. of chicken wings on Saturday night. I’m not sure the students came home with any great spiritual revelations, but we do hope they realize that fellowship is important, and in order to really hear the voice of God, sometimes you have to remove the noise of life. Enjoy the photos—it was a fantastic weekend!
Hide the Word of God in your Heart
Psalm 119:11 speaks of David hiding the words of God in his heart that he may not sin. In the interest of transparency, I confess I am not diligent with my scripture memorization. When I speak with those in the Student Ministry who participate in Quizzing, I am often put to shame. I was reminded of this again as Pearce hosted the January conference tournament. Our students have been hard at work studying and memorizing the book Acts. This group of about 18 junior and senior high students is impressive, to say the least. They are not only learning what God’s Word says, but they are learning ways to apply it to their lives, and it shows. If you run into one of the Pearce Quizzers, feel free to ask them to recite Acts to you; or even better, let them know you are praying for them as they prepare to compete in the National Tournament in Seattle this June.
The Cost of Serving
Many see spring break as a time to get away, to go lay on the beaches of Florida or some other exotic vacation destination. As someone who recently returned from a week in Mexico, I can attest to the value of a warm vacation in the midst of harsh Rochester winters. However, there is also a group who has decided to spend $130 to go and serve the people of our city. This year, Flower City Work Camp has enlisted 730 students and over 300 adults throughout the Rochester area as volunteers. They will be going to various homes around Rochester and spending three days doing “construction,” Side Walk Clubs, basketball and soccer camps, and worshiping together in the evenings. This ministry is in its thirty-first year and is one of the best pictures of the body of Christ I have ever witnessed. It includes people from 60 different churches and denominations serving alongside one another and loving the people of our city. Pearce is sending 23 students, six site leaders, two overnight leaders, and four kitchen helpers. As they come to mind, please be praying for their safety, for the witness that is being given to the home owners and the children in the neighborhood, and be praying for the spiritual growth in our students.