Pearce Sunday Sermons
December 28, 2014
Merry Christmas! I know this is Christmas Day and you are probably quite busy enjoying time with family and friends. (Not to mention the excitement of exchanging gifts and the wonderful food in which you are probably indulging!) So I will keep my conversation quite brief. I want to highlight only a few brief items:
- Remember that Pearce will hold one worship service this Sunday, December 28, at 10am. The Saturday service this weekend will be at its regular time of 5pm. My message is entitled “Dark Stretches of the Journey” and the text is Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We’ll consider the challenge of remaining faithful to Jesus during the parts of our journey when it is difficult to see the path before us. What does it mean to walk by faith?
- This weekend, I’ll have the privilege of welcoming two individuals into membership at Pearce. Chris Grimm will enter membership in Saturday’s service; Nicole Berg will join in Sunday’s service.
- Pearce’s office will be closed on both December 25 and 26 and next week on January 1 and 2.
- Mary and I both pray that you will experience the joy of Christ’s presence in your life today!
This Christmas Will Be Different
December 21, 2014
This Christmas Will Be Different
December 14, 2014
A Quiet Weekend
If you’ve been to Pearce the past couple of weeks, you know we are in a sermon series entitled “This Christmas Will Be Different!” I’m encouraging families to discover ways of walking through December with a deep awareness of Christ’s presence. Sometimes we need to say “No!” to some of the traditions of Christmas to better free ourselves to draw near to God.
This weekend, we’ll be considering the place of silence in our preparation for Christ’s coming. To complement the theme, our worship music will be a bit subdued this weekend. Last weekend, the youth band pulled out all the stops to help us celebrate. On the weekend before Christmas, the music will be quite celebratory once again. But this weekend, be ready for a quieter worship service and savor the space silence can create for us to better hear God’s voice.
We are less than $120 dollars away from completing Project #5 for this year’s Stewardship With A Goal! Jim Heeks and our fine hospitality team will soon have an ample supply of hot water in Pearce’s kitchen, thanks to your generosity.
Any SWAG donations received after this project is fully funded will be applied to the principal on our loan.
SWAG will come to an end on December 31 of this year. In 2015, we will direct our focus to raising funds for a new roof on Parmerter Chapel. This will be a major project, estimated to cost $160,000; so we will need to concentrate our efforts on that one project in 2015.
Practicing Sabbath at An Early Age
On Monday morning, I received this email from Jason Scott. He wrote: “Emily took this morning’s message to heart and rested on Sabbath. This is how we found her after our short ride home from church.” I am gratified to hear of such an immediate response to my message last weekend!
Christmas Story Hour
For the past 35 years, I have read Christmas stories to the children of the churches I have pastored. I figure there is no reason to let go of that tradition now!
This coming Wednesday, December 17, I will take my place in Parmerter Chapel and read three delightful Christmas stories. I have selected two new stories for this year, along with one that I have read a couple of times in the past. (It’s always good to hear some stories again and again!)
I invite interested children, along with their parents, to come at 6:30pm dressed in their pajamas for this year’s Christmas story. (And bring along pillows and blankets!) Rob & Jessie Keim will be providing music for this event, so you won’t want to miss it!
Christmas Sing Along!
While I’m reading stories to the children, lovers of Christmas music are invited to the Sanctuary to enjoy a memorable sing-along with Dr. Robert Shewan. Dr. Shewan, if you don’t know him, is a gifted choral director. I’ve asked him to select some of his favorite songs of the season. Come, join him in song!
This Christmas Will Be Different
December 7, 2014
Exploring a Possible Partnership
On January 1, a team from Pearce will head to Rwanda to explore a possible partnership between our church and a school in the village of Nzige. The team is comprised of Karen Hopkins and Bev Faro, both members of Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team; Lydia Monroe, director of Pearce 4 Kids; and me.
This trip grows out of a series of conversations with Dr. Linda Adams of International Child Care Ministries (ICCM). Linda has suggested this possible partnership with Pearce as a new way for Free Methodist congregations to establish an on-going relationship with an ICCM school. She wrote back in early October, “I’m excited about what might happen—not only for Nzige, but in helping work out a process for other churches establishing partnerships.”
You’ll hear more about this possible partnership in the coming months as the team explores what it may entail by meeting with Free Methodist leaders in Rwanda. I am hopeful that this may result in a significant avenue for Pearce to be involved for many years to come.
This is not Pearce’s first ministry involvement in Rwanda. You may recall that our congregation supported Olive Kamurera, an orphan of the Rwandan genocide, as she went through college. Pastor Wally and Mark Pellingra were able to be in Rwanda in 2012, to celebrate Olive’s graduation and to present her with a laptop computer as a gift from our church.
This past Sunday, in the 10:30am service, Ezekiel and Andrea Gillie brought their daughter, Genesis, to offer her in dedication to the Lord. Andrea, the daughter of Dan and Mary Kennedy, grew up at Pearce. She and her husband now live in Logan, Ohio where Zek serves as the Director of Children and Family Life at the Hocking Hills United Methodist Church.
It was a privilege for me to bless this child and her parents and older brother. I encourage you to remember Genesis in prayer, asking God that she may early come to personal faith in Christ.
Blanketing Kids with Love
I love hearing the wonderful things people of our congregation are doing to extend Christ’s love to others. This past week, Carol Wilson’s Sunday school class made twelve fleece blankets to be given to needy kids as part of Project Linus. The 9th and 10th grade girls are pictured with some of the blankets they made.
Project Linus’s mission is “to provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.’” You can find out more about Project Linus at www.projectlinus.org.
Thanks, Pearce Church, for discovering so many ways to make Christ’s love real to others!
A small, but interested, group gathered this past Monday evening in the Friendship Center to hear the Finance Committee’s presentation on the proposed 2015 church budget. The proposed budget includes a modest 1.7% increase over this year’s budget. A significant portion of the proposed increase is due to rising health care and insurance costs. If you are interested in more detail, you can obtain a copy of the materials distributed at the Financial Forum by contacting the church office.
The coming year will also challenge us with the need to raise funds to install a new roof on Parmerter Chapel. I know that we finished raising funds for a new sanctuary roof only a year ago, but the existing Parmerter roof is deteriorating and is in need of replacement in 2016. In place of SWAG, next year we’ll invest our energies in the task of raising $160,000 to keep Parmerter dry for years to come.
If you are interested in Pearce’s financial health at this point in 2014, we have received, to date, $1,070,621 toward our operating budget. Presently, we are $24,299 (or 2%) short of where we hoped to be at this time. I encourage you to be generous in your support of our ministries, so we can close out the year in a strong financial position.
We are nearly finished with our fifth swag project this year, which is a new hot water heater for Jim Heeks’ kitchen. (Well, it’s really Pearce’s kitchen, but I can’t conceive of it without Mr. Heeks!) We have raised $10,289.50 towards this $12,000 project, leaving only an additional $1,710.50 to come in before December ends. Let’s join together to keep Jim in hot water!
Grateful for Jay!
This week, we received, with regret, the resignation of Jay Stephenson. Jay has been a wonderful addition to the support staff here at Pearce, serving as our web master and our information technology specialist for the past two and a half years. Jay is leaving Pearce to accept a position at Roberts Wesleyan College.
Commenting on his sojourn at Pearce, Jay wrote: “I have really been blessed with my time here at Pearce. It was my first job out of college and it has been a great experience for me. I’m going to miss Pearce and the people, but I’ll only be next door! I can still make some trips over and get a chai from Common Grounds or bug Jim Heeks in the kitchen!”
Applications for this position are now being received until January 31, 2015. If you are interested in applying, I encourage you to send your resume to Honna Lusk at email@example.com and Kim Mantegna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking Back at Fall Into Fun
We had a great night of fun and fellowship on Halloween. Thank you to all who volunteered and worked hard to make this night a safe place for families to come with their kids! We are already excited about next year’s Fall Into Fun event.
Every Wednesday, from 10-11am, our Family Life Center is opened up to the community for parents and caregivers to bring their preschoolers to play. The adults can gather to chat while the kids safely play in a big area. At the end, we bring out a big parachute for the kids to play under and then sit on top of to sing songs. If you have a preschooler and are looking for a fun activity for these cold months, please come and join us.
We need nursery volunteers for the month our college students are on break. Please see Rita Dean if you are able to serve. The kids are precious and fun to be with. We also still need volunteers for our 5pm Christmas Eve service. It is such a great time to be with the kids and is a way to minister to families—providing a safe place for the little ones, so the adults and older children can worship together. Rita and I look forward to hearing from you!
Special Christmas Events for Kid’s at Pearce
On Sunday, December 7, at 6pm in the Sanctuary, our Pearce kids will be presenting G.T. and the Halo Express: Ticket to Christmas, a Christmas musical about the greatest gift ever given: Jesus. There will be live music, an adult choir will accompany on one of the songs, and a cookie reception will follow in the FLC. It will be a great way to celebrate Jesus with the kids of our church.
Wednesday, December 17, at 6:30pm will be our Family Story Hour. Pastor Wally will read two Christmas stories to the whole family—you won’t want to miss this! Kids may come in their pj’s and bring a blanket and favorite stuffed animal. We’ll gather in Parmerter for the story and then in the FLC for a Christmas reception. A fun feature of the night will be gifts for the kids from our Pearce Toymakers. The Toymakers have been creating wooden items for all of our kids, from new babies all the way up to kids in 6th grade.
As always, it is a blessing to be your children’s pastor. May this Christmas season be a special time for you and your family as, together, we celebrate the birth of our King!
Making A Difference
I am so proud of the ways our students find to make a difference in their community. This month, the 9th & 10th grade girls made fleece blankets for Project Linus. They made seven blankets during class time, and then finished up more during the week. In total, the girls donated 12 blankets. You can find out more about Project Linus at www.projectlinus.org. It is important that our kids have knowledge about Christ, but as Bob Goff says, “Love Does.” I am thrilled that these young ladies have acted on their faith!
Romania or Bust
The applications have been processed, the interviews have taken place, and the team has been selected. This year’s Romania preparations are underway. Please be praying for us as we begin to gel as a team. We will be spending time together each month in training, planning, fellowship, and prayer. The leadership team is excited about this group and the wonderful things we know God will do in and through these students. Joining me on the team are 15 others: Sarah Thomson, Casey Eich, Ethan Woeller, Sharissa Morton, Noah Spencer, Aurora Coleman, Makayla Coleman, Danielle Garratt, Racheal Johnson, Nolan Hopkins, Liam Hopkins, Maurice Hopkins, Karen Hopkins, Duane Eich, Minister Diane Johnson, and Beth Honan. We will need your help in prayer and fundraising, but we also have a very nice financial start from golf tournaments and other income since our 2012 trip. Thank you for being on the team with us, whether you are on the “traveling team” or not.
Flower City Work Camp Needs You!
Flower City Work Camp is still months away, but we need you to get on board now. FCWC is a ministry that Pearce partners with and it involves the entire church. If you can pray, we need you! Can you cook? There is a place for you, too. How about paint, shingle, or do drywall? We want you as well. FCWC uses teens from grades 7-12 as a labor force and, partnered with adult team leaders, they work on homes in the city of Rochester—more importantly, they are a light for Jesus. Do you have time to give to be a part of this local mission trip over spring break (March 29-April 2, 2015)? Deadlines for adult sign-ups are approaching quickly; contact me ASAP at email@example.com or 594-9488.
Living the Nativity
I am of the belief that if Jesus were born in our day, he would have entered a community similar to Chili Commons, so what better way to celebrate than with a Living Nativity at Chili Commons? This year, we will be hosting a Living Nativity on Sunday afternoon, December 21, for our friends at Chili Commons. There will be crafts, cookie decorating, a nativity play complete with live animals, and even a visit from Santa. Last year’s event was a huge success! Parents raved about how it was the first Christmas pagent their kids had ever been in, and the children beamed with excitement as they received gifts that were actually on their Christmas lists. We invite you to join us in praying for these families, helping out on the 21st, and sponsoring a child by purchasing their requested gift. If you would like to get involved, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 594-9488.