Continuing to Break the Awkward Silence
I’ve been reading Jeffery B. Gibson’s recent book on the Lord’s Prayer, entitled The Disciples’ Prayer: The Prayer Jesus Taught in its Historical Setting. Gibson’s concluding comments include this: “…to follow Jesus and say the Disciples’ Prayer is to pledge oneself to demonstrating and proclaiming a certain way of ‘being’ in the world, a way that mirrors and magnifies the very character of the God of Israel as Jesus made him known.”
This weekend, I’ll continue our consideration of what Gibson calls “the Disciples’ Prayer” as found in Matthew’s gospel. Focusing on verse 11 of chapter 6, I’ve titled this message “Absolute Dependence” and will explore what it means to rely on God for our daily bread.
Communion This Month
It is a long-standing Pearce tradition to offer Communion on the first weekend of each month. Communion this month will be offered instead on Good Friday (March 25) at Pearce’s 7pm service in the main sanctuary. Communion will also be served, resuming our regular schedule, on the first weekend of April.
Looking for an Informative Read?
I’ve just begun making my way through Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, follows the lives of landlords and tenants in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee. While focusing on stories of eviction, the book prompts the reader to consider the bigger issues of poverty and inequality.
Early reviews of the book, which was just published this past Monday, have been quite positive. The Wall Street Journal reviewer noted, “[Desmond’s] argument in this impressive work of scholarship is that eviction is such an exploitative process, so biased in favor of profit-seeking landlords, that it pitches otherwise capable tenants into crisis and thus into poverty.”
I realize, as one who stands in the tradition of B. T. Roberts, that I should have a greater sensitivity to the issues surrounding poverty in our time. Roberts, in his own day, expressed his conviction when he wrote, “My special mission is to preach the gospel to the poor.”
This coming Wednesday evening (March 9) at 6:30pm, Lydia Monroe, Carol Stevenson, and Kristin Coon will discuss their recent visit to Nzige, Rwanda. Educators who are interested in being a part of the team heading to Nzige this August to help train the Nzige staff, or teachers desiring to help prepare materials for that trip, are especially encouraged to attend. Join Lydia and her team in Room 134 of Pearce’s education wing.
Carol Stevenson was recently appointed to lead the team of teachers headed to Nzige in August. Carol has extensive cross-cultural experience and is well qualified to serve in this leadership role.
From Roof to Parking
As I reported last week, plans are being finalized to have the Parmerter roof replaced this summer. A $161,200 bid from Elmer W. Davis Roofing was recently accepted by Pearce’s Property Committee. To date, a total of $115,190.50 has been received and only $46,000 remains to be raised by July 1. To reach this goal, we’ll need to receive a weekly average of $2,900 over the next sixteen weeks.
Already, Pearce’s leadership is anticipating our next project and is investigating the possibility of expanding our parking capacity. Our church’s Orchard Street lot can accommodate 114 vehicles and our parking strip on the east side of Orchard Street can hold an additional 22 cars.
The parking lot owned by the college (known at RWC as Lot A) can handle 154 vehicles and is available for our use on Sundays and on evenings when major events are not being held at the RWC Cultural Life Center. There have been several occasions in the past couple of years, weekday funerals for example, when Lot A is not available to our congregation and, as a result, parking has been challenging. The elimination of the college’s parking lot on the site of the new Crother’s Science and Nursing Center has resulted in a greater demand placed on Lot A.
No decisions have been made regarding parking, but the Property Committee is taking a look at our congregation’s options. Bob DeRoo, a member at Pearce, has suggested that we all begin bicycling to Pearce, but his suggestion has yet to be embraced by the majority of those attending worship services here.
Another Savory Season
Jim Heeks and his crew recently wrapped up another season of Savory Suppers on Wednesday evenings. The average attendance during the seven weeks the suppers were held in January and February was 168, many of them being people from our community who take advantage of good food at a reasonable price!
Jim sent me a photo of Karen Monahan with the potato whisk. The photo reminds me that those who volunteer in the kitchen place their lives at risk. Karen does look a bit “whipped” by the whole experience. (Sorry, bad pun!)
This past Sunday Carol Stevenson, one of the members of the Nzige team that returned home last Friday, shared briefly in the worship service of her experience meeting her sponsored child. The other members of the team, Lydia Monroe and Kristin Coon, were privileged to meet their sponsored children as well. Ashley Carroll, a VISA (Volunteers in Service Abroad) intern in Africa, blogged about her experience of accompanying Pearce’s team in Rwanda. Read her fascinating account at followmetokenya.wordpress.com.
Also, if you haven’t gone to Pearce’s “Linked with Love” Facebook account, take a minute to do so. It is filled with wonderful photos and video clips form the team’s recent visit.
Annual Report Available for Download
If you missed Pearce’s Annual Celebration held earlier this month, you can download the annual report, “Bridges over Troubled Waters,” that was distributed on that evening. The report is available at our website at pearcechurch.org.
Another Saturday Night
Sam Cooke and Cat Stevens may have sung, granted with some grammar issues, about it being “another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody,” but that isn’t the case for Pearce’s Saturday worship service. This past weekend, the service experienced a new high attendance with 104 people attending the 5pm service.
Breaking the Awkward Silence
This weekend, I’ll begin a three-week series of messages on the Lord’s Prayer as found in the sixth chapter of Matthew’s gospel. I’ve titled the series “Breaking the Awkward Silence: A Primer on Prayer” and hope it will be helpful to you in your own on-going conversation with God.
It’s About Time!
Have you ever pulled out the most recent version of Pearce’s photo directory to put a name to a face of someone you just met only to find that they aren’t in the directory? It’s easy to see why that happens as the last photo directory was published in the spring of 2012. Think of all the people who have become a part of our family over the past four years.
Sign up for your photo session during the next four weeks. You can sign up on-line at pearcechurch.org, or at a table located in Pearce’s atrium following worship services.
Kicking Off the Moss
I must be in an oldie gold mood this week. I’ve already referred to “Another Saturday Night” and now I’m about to refer to an old Elton John song. (Am I becoming more nostalgic the older I get? How old am I? According to Josh Kelly at this past Sunday’s “Children’s Moments,” I am 100 years old.)
In “Your Song,” Elton speaks of sitting on the roof and kicking off the moss. His lyrics remind me of the Parmerter roof and the need for a new, moss-free roof on that part of our facility.
Recently, Pearce’s Property Committee, under the leadership of Mendal Dick, approved contracting with Elmer W. Davis Roofing to have the new roof installed this summer. Elmer W. Davis’s bid came in at $161,200. One of the reasons their bid was accepted is due to the excellent service they gave us when the new sanctuary roof was installed by them a couple of years ago.
Financial preparation for this important project continues to move forward. As of last weekend, a total of $114,230.50 is now on hand to defray the cost of the new roof.
Elected to Pearce’s Board
I am pleased to announce that Chuck Cockrell, Aimee Lyon, and Terry Taber have been elected to three-year-terms on Pearce’s Official Board. Terry is coming back onto the board after being away from it the past couple of years. Chuck is returning for his second consecutive term and this will be Aimee’s first stint. These new members will assume their responsibilities at the March 10 sitting of the board.
Also elected were three members to the Nominating Committee: Jamie Chalmers, Rob Keim, and Lettie Hursh. These three will begin working with the other members of the Nominating Committee beginning in May.
I am appreciative of the 217 members of our congregation who participated in the election by casting their ballots. Thanks, also, to all those who allowed their names to be placed in nomination for both of these areas of service.
Once again, I am reminded of how blessed we are at Pearce to have so many gifted leaders serving Christ and His Kingdom!
Dr. Timothy Dwyer, professor of Christian Scriptures at Roberts, will be our guest preacher this coming weekend (February 13 & 14). Tim has chosen Psalm 1 as his text, one of my all time favorite passages of God’s Word. He has titled his message “Stable as an Oak Tree.” You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear this gifted teacher help you to better understand God’s Story.
A Rare Opportunity
In last week’s Dangling, I announced a six-week seminar entitled “Islam’s Crisis: Our Opportunity” beginning on Wednesday, February 24, at Pearce. This seminar is taught by Dr. Don Little, Dr. Gail Schlosser, and Dr. Benjamin Hegeman, all of whom are with the Houghton-based Lilias Trotter Center. (Lilias Trotter was a missionary to Algeria in the latter part of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.)
The first session is on the topic “Islam’s Internal Crisis” and will introduce those attending to the theological and ideological divisions that have been a part of Islam from its beginning. This first session will be held at 6:30pm in Room 82 of Pearce’s lower educational wing.
Books to Better Understanding Islam
Dr. Gail Schlosser provided me with a few book recommendations that may be of interest to those of you seeking to better understand Islam. The following books are available on the bookrack in Pearce’s foyer.
Engaging Islam by George Houssney can help alert you to the challenges and opportunities of engaging Muslims in a dialogue regarding the Christian faith. The author was born and raised in Lebanon and has more than forty years of experience in evangelism and church planting among Muslims around the world. Copies of this book are available for a $19.00 donation.
Last year, I had the opportunity to read Nabeel Qureshi’s Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. It is the first-hand account of Nabeel, a young man who grew up in a tight-knit American military family with Pakistani roots. He met David Wood on a trip while in college and, through their friendship, came to faith in Jesus Christ. Copies of this book are available for a $13.00 donation.
Dr. Schlosser also recommended Fresh Vision for the Muslim World by Mike Kuhn. Published by InterVarsity Press, this author challenges readers to love Muslims. Kuhn, a personal friend of Dr. Schlosser, lived for more than two decades in the Middle East, serving as a pastor and a college Arabic instructor. This is available for a $13.00 donation.
Are you looking for safe and reliable transportation to medical appointments or to run other important errands? If so, WestSide Express may be the best option for you! WestSide Express is a not-for-profit, volunteer based transportation service for residents living in the towns of Gates and Chili. This much-needed service is coordinated by Lifespan to help assist friends in the community to fulfill their appointment needs. If you would like to learn more about this wonderful agency or would like to arrange transportation, call WestSide Express at (585) 889-6104. Brochures are available at the atrium Information Kiosk.
WestSide Express also has volunteer opportunities and is in need of volunteer drivers and dispatchers. Many of their volunteers serve once a week or once a month. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Pastor Jeremy at email@example.com or Robert Jackson at 889-1615 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Islam’s Crisis: Our Opportunity
You’ll have an opportunity to learn about Islam in a series of six seminars presented at Pearce, beginning Wednesday, February 24. The course will be taught by Dr. Don Little and his colleagues from the Lilias Trotter Center. The mission of the center is to enable “thoughtful Christian engagement with Muslims.” (You can read more about this organization on their website http://liliastrottercenter.org)
Dr. Don Little presently serves as an Adjunct Professor of the Christian Study of Islam at Houghton College and is well acquainted with Islam. At the age of 21, Don sensed a call to church planting in the Arab world. He and his wife, Jeanie, served as church planters in North Africa from 1988-98. Don then served as the Executive Director of Arab World Ministries Canada for more than eight years prior to his move to Houghton, New York. He and his colleagues bring a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding this topic so critical to our time.
You won’t want to miss this thoughtful and informative seminar. Join us on February 24 at 6:30pm in Room 82 of Pearce’s lower education wing.
Last Song on the Playlist
This weekend, we’ll conclude our series “The Soundtracks of Our Lives” with our consideration of “A Cantata of Comfort” based a passage from Isaiah 54. We’ve examined several emotions expressed in the songs of Scripture, ranging from praise to sorrow. This week’s message reminds us of God’s faithfulness in comforting us amid life’s disappointments.
Dr. Tim Dwyer will be our guest preacher on the weekend of February 13/14. The title of his message is “Stable as an Oak Tree” and will examine Psalm 1. Tim, in my opinion, is one of the best expositors of God’s Word that I’ve ever heard. I hope you’ll plan on being present at either our Saturday or Sunday service that weekend.
The Passing of the Baton…or Flowers
Last Thursday evening, Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT) met for their first monthly meeting of 2016. At the gathering, outgoing chair Karen Hopkins was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Becky Draper, the new chair of the GCLT.
Karen has done a great job leading the GCLT over the past two years and I am grateful for her gifted service to Pearce.
Nzige on Our Mind!
This week, Mary and I received a letter from one of the parents of a child we sponsor in Nzige, Rwanda. Ange is a nine-year-old girl whose father, like many Rwandans, is a subsistence farmer.
Her mother’s letter, thanking us for supporting her daughter, reminded me of how Pearce’s “Linked with Love” partnership makes a significant difference in the lives of those sponsored through ICCM (International Child Care Ministries).
To date, Pearce families have sponsored 102 children in Rwanda. Packets for eight children awaiting sponsorship may be obtained by contacting Kim Brittin in the church office (594-9488). It would be wonderful to find sponsoring families for these children in the coming weeks!
Also, be praying as Kristin Coon, Lydia Monroe, and Carol Stevenson prepare to head out to Nzige on Thursday, February 11. To keep track of their journey, check out our new Facebook page at “Linked with Love/Pearce FM Church”.
The North Chili “Caucas”
By now you have probably heard more analysis of the Iowa caucuses by political pundits than you care to recall. How refreshing it is to think of the elections being held this week at Pearce. What a contrast between the two! Here at Pearce, we have five wonderful candidates for three-year-terms on the Official Board and four great candidates for terms on the Nominating Committee. All of them are godly, gifted individuals who would well serve this congregation.
If you are a member at Pearce and were unable to attend last evening’s Annual Celebration, you still have an opportunity to cast your ballot. Simply stop at the table in the lobby before and after worship services this weekend.
The results of this year’s elections will be released in next week’s Dangling!
Be sure to check out the 2016 Annual Report that was distributed at last evening’s gathering. Printed copies are available at the Welcome Kiosk or you can download it from the NEUs page of the Pearce website.
Join members of last year’s team that traveled throughout Israel for a fascinating overview of their experiences on Wednesday, February 10, at 6:30pm in Room 134.
Hear of the places that most impacted members of the team and catch a glimpse of what is in store for those joining Pearce’s tour of the Holy Land in February 2017.