The Junior Teen Overnight (for students in 7-8 th grade) is coming March 13-14 at Camp Hickory Hill. Cost is $40 per person and includes lodging, meals at the camp, and transportation. Registration forms are available in the teen area. Contact Pastor Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FYI! Our VBS Leadership Team is having our first planning meeting in February. Please be praying!
- Julie Bailey, director
- Krys Merriam, assistant director
- Christy Sadecki
- Lindsay Baxter
- Pastor Kathy
Save the date, July 13-17, and be praying about how you can be involved in this amazing ministry!
I have great news for our K-4th Grade Camp Wednesday ministry! Mary-Kate Honan has agreed to be take the lead for this group. Mary-Kate has grown up in the Pearce community and is now a freshman nursing student at RWC. She has been working with Camp Wednesday since September and has shown leadership skills and a great connection with the kids. Please be praying for her as she leads, works, and studies. It is so exciting to see our youth grow into adult leadership roles.
A Story to Tell!
This story I am about to share with you reflects how family and church work together. One of our third graders, Rebecca, has been excited about Sunday school. She is pictured above with her mom, Kim. Her Sunday school teachers are Judy Bailey and Barb Sipes. Rebecca has lots to talk about with her mom about what she is learning in Sunday school. This week, Kim shared with me how excited Rebecca is about the class. On Monday, January 26, their discussion about Sunday school led from one thing to another and Kim prayed with Rebecca to receive Jesus in her heart. At Camp Wednesday that week, we were having a time for the kids to share what they were learning and Rebecca shared her story of receiving Jesus into her heart.
Please be praying for Rebecca and her decision to give her heart to Jesus. Pray for all of our kids and their families, along with their teachers and leaders, as we work together to grow their love for Jesus.
Blessings to you all and thank you for praying!
All You Can Eat – For Christmas
The week of Christmas was a time for relaxing and enjoying friends. One day that week, we gathered our junior high teens for lunch at Pizza Hut and spent a couple of hours laughing and eating. Our junior high students are awesome! They have so much excitement and energy and are always “up” for something. I appreciate the willingness and the leadership of these young folks. They make organizing ministry easy and fun.
Time to Get Away
Each year, our senior teens take a weekend away in the winter to relax and be “off the grid.” Our teens today find themselves over-scheduled and this weekend is seen as a gift to them that allows them to sleep in, play games, sled, eat, and grow a bit spiritually. Increasingly, we see teens that are struggling with trying to balance sports, school, family, and other extracurricular activities. The pressures wear on them the further they get from Sabbath, so we provide this weekend to remind them of the importance of unplugging and disconnecting. Thirty-six hours without a schedule seems daunting at first, but they quickly slow down and realize how much they need the break. This year’s trip to Penn-York Camp was excellent! We had 18 folks who leaned into each other and into Christ, and who really leaned into 20 lbs. of chicken wings and 5 lbs. of shrimp that we fried on Saturday night! What a blessing it is for me to spend time with these incredible young adults.
Flower City Work Camp
This year is shaping up to be our best year of Flower City Work Camp yet! Each year over spring break, teens and adults from all over the Rochester area converge on the city to help repair homes. This year, over 60 churches are involved, including Pearce. There are 760 students registered and over 300 adults. This year, Pearce will have 21 students and 8 adults participating in this local mission. Painting, dry-wall, plumbing, and various other projects will enable us to share the love of Christ with our city. Be praying for the students, the adults, and the homeowners as we approach FCWC. Pray for safety, pray for opportunity and conversation, and pray that our student’s lives will be impacted as well.
The Holy Land
As many of you are aware, a group of from Pearce will be traveling to Israel over February break. I am particularly excited about this trip because it is a “bucket list” item for me, but also because I believe it will add a richness to my teachings about scripture. This semester, in our Sunday Small Groups, we have looked at the parables of Jesus. We are now starting a new series on the Life of David and in April, Laura Cockrell will be giving a 3-week presentation on the land of Israel. While I am thrilled for personal reasons to be heading to the Holy Land, I am also looking forward to how this trip may energize the way I relay God’s Word to our students. Please keep us in prayer as we travel.
Worship as Conversation
February 1, 2015
Developing a Heart for Worship
This weekend, I’ll continue our examination of Pearce’s core values for our worship gatherings. We’ll consider the core value of being communal. Here’s how this value is stated: “Christian worship reflects the truth that we cannot love God without loving the whole body of Christ. Across all human distinctions and boundaries we resist the radical individualism of our day and strive to listen to God’s voice with one heart, responding together in faith, gratitude, and obedience as those united in Christ Jesus.”
Communion will be served in each of the services this weekend.
Join Us This Saturday
Lydia Monroe, Pearce’s P4K Director, and I will be in Pearce’s Common Grounds Café this coming Saturday, January 31, at 6:30pm to talk about our congregation’s new global partnership with the school in Nzige, Rwanda.
The Café will open at 6pm and you’ll be able to purchase your favorite beverage, along with a light supper (soup and grilled cheese sandwiches) for modest prices. Or you may simply choose to enjoy a complementary cup of Rwandan coffee. We won’t talk too long! (I am working on narrowing down my more than 600 photos!)
There will be time for your questions about our new, long-term partnership with this school in Rwanda. Hope you’ll join us!
At this week’s Savory Supper, diners paused over their meals to acknowledge the 85thbirthday of Dave Trapp. Pictured here, Dave is surrounded by two of his grandchildren. Dave, the father of Susan Heeks, has spent countless hours over the years helping out in Pearce’s kitchen. We are grateful for his life and his joy in serving Christ.
I recently finished Philip Yancey’s latest bookVanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? I’ve always enjoyed Yancey’s writings. His latest book is his opportunity to revisit a theme he explored in his 1997 book What’s So Amazing About Grace? This new book attempts to answer the question, “How can Christians present truly Good News amid the changing landscape of our time?” I think you’ll find this worth your time.
Continuing to Develop a Heart for Worship
This weekend, I’ll continue our exploration of Pearce’s core worship values in our series “A Heart for Worship.” In our services, we’ll consider that worship is to be dialogical. This is how we state it in our core values: “Christian worship is a conversation initiated by God to which we respond in faith, gratitude, and obedience. The elements of worship guide us in this loving conversation with our God.”
These core values were developed by our worship planning team: Pastor Tim Lambert, Julie Smith, Dr. Dan Barta, Rev. Jonathan Bratt, and me. This team meets each Thursday afternoon to plan upcoming worship services.
You can read the entire list of Pearce’s core worship values by clicking here, on the “Worship” tab under “Weekend” on our website.
Wondering what our next steps with be as Pearce begins partnering with the Nzige Preschool in Rwanda, Africa? The Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT), led by Karen Hopkins, is exploring ways in which this can be a long-term and fruitful partnership.
Our first step will be to encourage families in our congregation to sponsor one of the children at Nzige. International Child Care Ministries is a wonderful organization and they have agreed to “reserve” sponsorship of the children at Nzige for Pearce families.
Presently, materials are being assembled that will enable us to present “sponsorship packets” in the coming months. It will probably take several weeks for the packets to be ready for families in our congregation. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
If you would like to know more about Pearce’s new partnership with Nzige, join Lydia Monroe and me on Saturday, January 31, at 6:30pm at Common Grounds Café. Economical and light dinner options will be available for purchase, as well as the Café’s usual menu of drinks. Free coffee, direct from Rwanda, will also be available.
Pictures Sent with Love
Speaking of Nzige Preschool, we received some photos this past week from the director of ICCM in Rwanda. Lydia, the director of Pearce’s P4K ministry, delivered pictures drawn by our kids. In this photo, the children are holding those hand-delivered expressions of love. I thought you would enjoy seeing it!
Financial Goals for 2015
This past weekend in the Sunday services, Jim Morton, Official Board Chair, announced Pearce’s financial goals for this year. There are three goals.
The first goal is to meet the operational expenses of our congregation. Our weekly Operation Budget is $23,195. This is a modest increase of 1.7% over 2014’s Operation Budget. (Insurance costs, for example, in part prompted this increase.) By adequately funding our operations, you help ensure that the lights of our building stay on, our gifted staff is provided for, and our many ministries continue.
The second goal is to continue to fund payments on our building’s loan. This loan was incurred during the construction of our atrium/Family Life Center/education wing in 2001. Presently, a total of $2.46 million is outstanding on the loan. We need to make payments of $4,400 per week to continue to eventually eliminate that debt. However, we have chosen to make payments of $4,866.25 to help reduce the principal. If we fail to receive funding for our loan payments through “building fund” giving on the tithe envelopes, we must allocate money from operations to cover the shortfall.
The third goal is to fund the replacement of the roof on Parmerter Chapel. The costs of this project are not finalized at this point, but it is estimated that the roof will cost $160,000. Instead of Stewardship With A Goal (SWAG), we are “Raising the Roof” in an effort to fund this critical maintenance expense. The plan is to install the new roof in 2016.
Thanks for your generosity in keeping Pearce financially healthy!
A Heart for Worship
I appreciate the excellent job Pastor Jonathan Bratt, chaplain at RWC, did in kicking off our new sermon series, “A Heart for Worship.” His message on the challenging topic of the Trinity was, in my opinion, both memorable and insightful. (Regretfully, due to technical difficulties, we were unable to post a podcast of the sermon on our website.)
This weekend, we’ll continue our worship series examining Pearce’s stated core values in worship. I’ll tackle the core value of “Scripture-Filled.” We believe that “Christian worship is saturated with God’s Word, revealing His Story which gives meaning to our lives. Worship gathers us as God’s people to sing God’s Story in song, tell God’s Story through the scriptures, preaching, and testimony, and enact God’s Story through the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.”
Interested in hearing more about Rwanda and Pearce’s partnership with the Nzige Preschool? On Saturday evening, January 31, I’ll be in the Common Grounds Café at 6:30pm, along with Lydia Monroe, to talk about our recent trip to Rwanda. The Café will open at 6pm for those who wish to purchase a light supper (soup and grilled cheese sandwiches will be available) or a coffee concoction.
Fellow team members Karen Hopkins and Bev Faro will be sharing their perspectives on Pearce’s Rwandan partnership in Adult Bible Fellowships in the coming weeks.
Have you had a chance to check out our Lifetree Café on Thursday evenings at 7pm? Tonight’s topic is “What Your Black Friend Wants You to Know: The Conversation About Race No One Is Having.” In light of recent tensions in our nation, tonight’s Lifetree Café should be particularly relevant. Check out a video trailer on tonight’s topic at pearcechurch.org/lifetreecafe/.
Next week’s topic is also a heavy one. “Breaking the Cycle of Sexual Abuse” features the story of a woman who suffered childhood sexual abuse.
Why don’t you invite a friend to join you for an informative evening of discussion in a relaxed, open atmosphere?
Thanks for the Memory!
Tuesday morning, I received the following email from Brian Fox.
“On a hot Saturday night last summer, you asked us in your sermon to remind you in February, when it gets very cold, about this hot evening. Tonight it will be around zero degrees, so why wait until next month? May we give our Lord thanks for warm houses and wonderful people at Pearce!”
Amen, Brian! Amen!
Looking back over December:
Our kids’ performance of the musical G.T. and the Halo Express: Ticket to Christmas on December 7, was a great night. The kids did a fantastic job! We had close to 400 people come to support our children—parents, grandparents, extended family members, teachers, and friends. We pray they were each blessed by this presentation of the message of Christmas.
We all came together for Family Story Hour on December 17. Parmerter Chapel was full of kids and their families singing and listening to Christmas stories told by Pastor Wally. We concluded the evening in the Family Life Center for refreshments, and the kids received wooden toys from the Pearce Toy Makers. One of the men told me he had been doing this for 25 years at Pearce—how special! December was a beautiful month and I am so thankful for the ways we celebrate the birth of Jesus in our church.
Looking Forward: Happy New Year 2015!
The Pearce Kid’s Ministry schedule begins on Sunday January 4, with Sunday school resuming. Camp Wednesday and Collide 56 start up on Wednesday, January 7, from 6:30-8pm. Kid’s Gym also begins on January 7, from 10-11am in the Family Life Center.
I would like you to get several dates on your calendar now. One is Youth Baptism Sunday, held on May 10 (Mother’s Day). We will start talking to our 5th and 6th graders in January, asking them to pray and talk to you parents to see if they are ready for this commitment. In preparation for this time, Pastor Wally will give a special teaching to the 5th and 6th graders on Communion and Baptism.
Another important date is for VBS 2015: July 13-17, from 9am-12noon each day! This year’s theme is “Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power.” Please be praying about how you can be involved! Preparations for VBS will begin as early as January.
Happy New Year!
Shop ‘Til You Drop
The Romania Mission team for the summer of 2015 has been confirmed. Every three years, the Pearce Student ministries offer an international mission experience and our next trip will be July 17-29. This will likely be our final trip to Romania. Our missions logistics team and I have put a number of these trips together over the years, and have become very efficient in organizing them. We have also developed an application process that has proven to help create teams that will work well together, will stretch one another, and which avoid many of the pitfalls that often occur in mission situations. Students in 10th-12th grade were encouraged to apply, provide written responses to a number of questions, and then participate in an interview process. The teens that worked through this process and which have subsequently been selected are Aurora Coleman, Makayla Coleman, Danielle Garratt, Casey Eich, Aaron Monroe, Sarah Thomson, Sharissa Morton, Noah Spencer, Ethan Woeller, Rachelle Johnson, Nolan Hopkins, Liam Hopkins, and leaders Duane Eich, Diane Johnson, Karen Hopkins, Maurice Hopkin,s and Mike Kuhlkin. On December 17, we had our first team meeting, where we enjoyed dinner together and then ventured out to do some shopping for the upcoming event at Chili Commons. The team will continue to meet once a month for spiritual development, bonding, and trip preparations. Keep us in prayer, and we will keep you informed on fundraising, other needs, and prayer requests.
As I wrote the title, I had to sing it in my best Tevye voice. Count it a blessing that you were not in my office at the time. The Pearce Teens have few traditions. Unfortunately, traditions get a bad rap: like we are unwilling to change, or we have created some kind of golden calf. Sometimes these critiques are valid, but I don’t believe it to be the case with our annual Christmas Progressive Dinner. Each year, we gather the teens together to celebrate what God has been doing in our lives and we share meals with numerous families from the Pearce community. This yearly event offers us an opportunity to break bread together, fellowship with one another, and build on our inter-generational relationships as we visit various homes for appetizers, salad, dinner, and dessert.
Our teens have been working hard at loving our neighbors to the south. This Christmas, we again sponsored a “Christmas Celebration” at Chili Commons. We provided crafts, cookies to decorate, a Christmas pageant with live farm animals, and a visit from Santa—complete with gifts that were actually on the children’s Christmas lists. Last year, we heard from parents who said it was “the first Christmas play” their child had ever been in. We were able to provide gifts to 40 children this year. I wish you could have watched as they opened these presents and screamed with excitement as they received gifts that expressed real thought and love. The Pearce congregation did a great job sponsoring children, purchasing gifts, and helping us pull off this incredible expression of God’s extravagant love for His children.
Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Dangling Conversation of 2015. (Doesn’t that sound futuristic?) I trust you are having a relaxing day at home, enjoying some leisure with your family. In light of it being a holiday, I will make this Dangling Conversation short and sweet.
- As you read this, I’m on my way to Rwanda, Africa with Karen Hopkins, Bev Faro, and Lydia Monroe. As I’ve already informed you, the four of us are spending a week in Rwanda to explore a possible partnership with a school in the town of Nzige. You’ll hear more about this partnership after our return on January 9.
- Pastor Mike Kuhlkin will preach this weekend. I’m confident you will benefit from hearing his message entitled “Back to the Future.” (Sounds like a good name for a movie, doesn’t it?) Communion will be served at each of the worship services this weekend. (Remember, Sunday worship is back to its regular schedule this weekend.)
- In light of my being out of town next week, the Dangling Conversation will pick up on January 15. I look forward to another year of keeping the conversation going!
- I pray this will be a wonderful year for you and your family!