The Authentic Life
October 26, 2014
Time to Retreat
It’s been two years since Pearce’s Official Board took time away to prayerfully consider our church’s mission and vision. The members of the Board, along with spouses, last went on retreat in 2012. (If you look closely at the photo, you might notice some of us have gotten a few more gray hairs.) I ask for your prayers as we spend Saturday and Sunday together at Lighthouse Christian Camp.
In my absence, Pastor Jeremy will continue our look at the book of James. In preparation, you may want to read James 3:1-12. But I warn you, I find those to be very convicting verses!
Don’t Say “Humbug!”
I know it is still October, and we haven’t even had our first snow yet, but it is time to talk about Christmas decorations at Pearce. We’ve had a long-standing tradition of inviting families to make a contribution toward decorating our sanctuary for Christmas. If you want to make such a gift, in memory or in honor of a loved one, beginning this weekend you may pick up a memorial gift form at the Welcome Kiosk in the atrium. Return the form with your gift to the church office by Sunday, November 16. A list of honored persons will be announced in the NEUs (News, Events & Updates) on December 20/21.
Speaking of Christmas
Don’t forget to bring your Operation Christmas Child boxes to Pearce this weekend!
This past weekend, I received an email from Sue Smout in which she shared her family’s involvement in Operation Christmas Child.
She wrote: “Before we left home [last Sunday afternoon], I read the Matthew 25 passage to them and we talked about why were doing these projects, and how that tied in with the Bible verses. When we got home from shopping, Kristina and I packed the boxes for OCC, and then I found two videos on the Samaritan Purse website that showed kids in India and Madagascar receiving their packages and telling about how they had come to know Jesus through this. It gave great meaning to our experience today to all three of us, and I would like to continue that tradition in other years.”
Pearce is committed to helping families as they nurture their children. Next Friday’s “Fall into Fun” event is one way we come alongside families. This event provides a friendly and safe atmosphere for kids to enjoy the Halloween holiday. (By the way, have you dropped off your bags of candy in the large bucket near the reception desk? Your contribution helps ensure we’ll have plenty of sweets to share.)
On Wednesday evening, November 19, Pearce will hold a workshop to assist families in their observance of Advent. Elizabeth Cullum, daughter-in-law of Dr. Doug Cullum, will host an “Advent Family Worship” that evening. This workshop will include a brief look at how Advent came to be and ways in which we can use Advent to worship as families today.
Have you noticed the posters with the topics for this month’s Lifetree Cafés? If you have, you probably didn’t miss “Zombies!” I doubt this has ever been an advertised theme at Pearce in its 154 year history. The reason for this theme is that Lifetree is committed to addressing topics that are of interest to our coworkers and family members. I’ve never spent time studying Zombies, but you must admit that many today have a fascination with the subject. Why don’t you invite one of your Zombie-friendly coworkers to join you for the Café on Thursday, October 30, at 7pm?
The Authentic Life
October 19, 2014
Utilizing Pearce’s Lifetree Café
This past week, our volunteer team did a great job in hosting our first Lifetree Café at Pearce. Tonight, October 16, our Lifetree Café is open to the public for the first time!
You may be wondering about ways in which you can utilize Lifetree. Here’s what I’d like you to do. Take a look at each week’s topic. When you spot a subject that you feel may be of interest to a co-worker or friend, invite them to join you for an evening at Lifetree. The material is excellent and the environment is welcoming, even to those who don’t usually walk into church facilities.
For example, tonight’s topic is “The Bible: Real? Relevant? Reliable?” It features an interview with Eugene Peterson, one of my all-time favorite Bible teachers. You can see upcoming weekly topics at the Lifetree web site at www.lifetreecafe.com.
Held each Thursday evening, Lifetree Café opens at 7pm and ends promptly at 8pm. Why not come out and try it tonight?
Operation Christmas Child Can Be a Community Event!
Over the past couple of weeks, people have picked up hundreds of Operation Christmas Child boxes in Pearce’s atrium. We are pleased to once again participate in this wonderful ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. (You can read more about Operation Christmas Child at www.samaritanspurse.org.)
The last few years, Mary and I have found it meaningful to ask others to join us on our Operation Christmas Child shopping expedition. So this past Sunday night, we drove over to the Brockport Walmart with two carloads of friends from Pearce to experience together the joy of this special ministry.
Load up your boxes and be sure to have them back to Pearce’s atrium by October 26. Ask some friends to join you as you pack your boxes!
This Weekend Back to James
Were you as blessed by Dr. Russ White’s ministry this past weekend at Pearce as I was? His message on the “Feeding of the 5,000” from John’s Gospel is one of the best and most inspirational teachings on the miracles I’ve ever heard. (If you missed it, be sure and check out the podcast at http://www.pearcechurch.org/category/sermons/)
This weekend, I’ll return to our fall series, “The Authentic Life,” and examine the later half of James’ second chapter (verses 14-26). The title of my message is “A Lively Faith!”
Why Not Help Out?
Pearce offers grieving families the opportunity to have a reception or meal at our church following a funeral or memorial service. We have done this for years. I think it is a wonderful ministry, as it provides a place for the extended family to gather and encourage each other in the face of their loss.
Jim and Susan Heeks, Pearce’s Food Service Directors, do a great job putting together a meal and providing just the right touches to make a family feel welcomed and valued. They rely on a team of volunteers to help serve on these occasions.
In recent months, we have experienced difficulty in finding volunteers willing to help with a funeral dinner. In fact, there have been times only one volunteer was secured after calling a list of twenty people!
The challenge with funeral dinners is that the lead-time is often only two or three days. So, I can understand why many people have to say no. Many of us often have more on our schedules than we can manage.
But I can’t help but feel that there are people who would probably enjoy helping with this vital ministry if they knew there was a need. If you are interested in becoming a part of our hospitality team, contact Kim Brittin in the church office (549-9488) and she’ll put you in touch with the right people.
Thanks for considering the opportunity to come alongside families in a time of need.
Pearce Sunday Sermons
October 12, 2014
Is There a Doctor in the House?
You are in for a treat this weekend! Dr. Russ White will be speaking in Pearce’s worship services on both Saturday and Sunday.
If you know Dr. White from his previous visits to Pearce, you are already eager to hear this gifted communicator. If his name is not familiar, be ready to be challenged in your view of our world and of the work of the Kingdom.
Dr. White is chief of surgery at Tenwek Hospital, a 260-bed hospital in Bornet, Kenya. Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse has said, “Tenwek Hospital is one of the greatest evangelistic outreaches I know of anywhere in the world today.”
Dr. White, a graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College, specializes in esophageal cancer, the most common malignancy in Kenya. He has served at Tenwek since 1997.
I will resume our series, “The Authentic Life,” on the weekend of October 17 & 18.
Let’s Turn Up the Heat
Fourteen years ago, a 75 gallon hot water heater was installed in Pearce’s kitchen. At that time, there was little awareness of the many ways in which our church’s kitchen would be utilized in the coming years. Savory Suppers, weekday meals for P4K, resourcing Common Grounds, and catering for special events have placed demands on our kitchen far greater than originally anticipated. It is time to replace the aging hot water tank and install a new one, perhaps with 100 gallon capacity—one that is better suited to supply hot water to our active hospitality ministry.
Project #5 in our SWAG (Stewardship With A Goal) for this year is the installation of a new tank. The estimated cost for this project is $12,000. I encourage you to help us get this new tank installed and keep things hot in our kitchen!
To date, 135 individuals/families have contributed a total of a cool $57,631.50 towards SWAG projects. As a result of their generosity, we were able to make a $20,000 payment on the principal of our church’s loan this week. Thanks!
Update on Olive
Remember Olive Kamurera? Pearce sponsored Olive during her college years in Rwanda, through Compassion International. Last year, I had the privilege of celebrating Olive’s graduation by visiting her in Kilgali and presenting her with a laptop computer as a gift from our congregation.
In a recent Facebook message, Olive has mentioned that she continues to live with her 98-year-old grandmother. She will be finishing her internship with the Rwanda Development Board this December. She is now searching for a job and hopes to be able to study for her Masters. She asked me to greet the church on her behalf, so consider yourself greeted by Olive!
We are off to a great start since kickoff Sunday! I want to highlight some of our children’s ministries happening at Pearce. First, an important item I need from all parents is the “Pearce Kids’ Ministry Registration Form,” pictured above. These forms are used for emergency contact information and updated emails and phone numbers. They let me know which ministry programs your child is a part of, information on allergies, and provide a place to give permission for a picture of your child to appear on Pearce-related material. If you need one, please let me know. Just hand completed forms to me. Thanks! It is greatly appreciated.
I am thankful for yet another great team of Sunday school teachers this year. The pre-school curriculum this year is called “Growing with God.” The curriculum is published by Gospel Light. They have a three-step teaching method that includes play, listening, and talking. It is full of fun activities that lead each child to engage in God’s Word at their level.
Our curriculum for K-6th grade is “Bible-in-Life” by David C. Cook. There are three themes covered from September-November: “Good and Bad Choices,” “Taking a Stand for God,” and “Following Wisdom.” The kids are learning these themes through stories out of 1 & 2 Samuel, Psalms, Matthew, and Hebrews.
Please ask your kids to share with you what they are learning each week in Sunday school.
Camp Wednesday and Collide 56
Several years ago, I had some meetings with a team of parents about what Wednesday nights should look like. The idea has continued to grow, and we are very excited about what is happening here at Pearce for our kids on Wednesday nights. Where our Sunday school time follows a more “academic” form, our Wednesday nights are set up to be a time where our kids can come together for fellowship. The K-4th group, Camp Wednesday, meets in Parmerter Chapel. The first hour consists of games and fun crafts. At 7:30, we settle around a fake campfire to sing camp songs and hear a story related to our theme. The theme for the fall is the Fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians 5:22 &23.
Collide 56, our 5th and 6th grade group, meet downstairs in the Fellowship Hall. There, they are led by Dave Mantegna and his team. They talk, pray together, have a craft option, and/or games.
Fall Into Fun
Save the date—October 31. Pearce Kids’ Ministry and P4K are, once again, sponsoring this night together. This has become a fun tradition for Pearce on Halloween night. It will be held in our FLC from 6:30-8pm. We will have three bounce houses (one just for preschoolers), games and prizes, a craft center, snacks and an allergy-friendly food center, and candy!!
It is a great night for families to come and go, or stay the whole time.
If you have any questions about the ministries happening for kids at Pearce, please contact me: text, email, or say, “Hey, Pastor Kathy, can we chat?”
The Authentic Life
October 5, 2014
Let’s Get Graphic
I’m pleased to announce the addition of Jessica Brannan to our church’s staff as our new graphics artist. Jessica will join our team this coming Monday, October 6.
Jessica is, in her words, “an Air Force brat!” She was born in Biloxi, Mississippi while her father was assigned at the Keesler Air Force Base. She then moved with her family, at the age of five, to Anchorage, Alaska and then, a few years later, to Yorktown, Virginia. Now, Rochester has been her family’s home for the past fourteen years.
Jessica graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2011, having majored in time-based-media and graphic design. During her final semester, she held an internship at Pearce. So, Jessica is no stranger here!
When I congratulated Jessica on her new position, I asked her, “What are you looking forward to about working at Pearce?” She responded, “The people! Definitely the people! They always put me in a good mood.” Jessica continued, “I also look forward to delivering high-quality artwork for the church.”
Jessica’s preferred media is digital, but she also likes sketching and putting a pencil to paper. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new places and particularly loves seeing historical landmarks.
I, along with all of the staff, celebrate her becoming the newest member of our team!
A Return to Authenticity
Wasn’t Dr. Barb Rose’s message last weekend wonderful? I always appreciate hearing people relate the ways in which God’s Story has intersected with their own story. If you missed her talk, you can catch the podcast at http://www.pearcechurch.org/category/sermons/.
This weekend, I’ll take us back to our series on the book of James entitled, “The Authentic Life.” Based on the first thirteen verses of the second chapter of James, we’ll examine the challenges of ensuring that the church doesn’t become a club for select people. I’m challenged by this passage; I imagine you will be, too!
As a part of this weekend’s services, the Lord’s Supper will be offered.
Iron Sharpens Iron
In a couple of days, Pearce’s sanctuary will be filled with the sound of men joining their voices in praise to God at this year’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference. This conference is being held in 40 sites around the country this year; and we are excited that our church, once again, has the privilege of hosting. Pre-registration closed on October 1, but you can register and pay at the door on Saturday.
The Operation Begins!
Again this year, Pearce will participate in the largest Christmas project of its kind: Operation Christmas Child. This ministry uses gift-filled shoeboxes to share God’s love in a tangible way with needy children around the world.
Since 1993, more than 113 million boxes have been delivered to children in more than 150 countries through Operation Christmas Child. This year, the goal is to send another 10 million boxes. This weekend, shoeboxes and instruction sheets will be available to pick up in the atrium at Pearce.
You may want to do what Mary and I do each year. We ask a few friends to join us for a trip to the local Walmart. We always have a great time looking for just the right gifts to fill our boxes.
Check out some of the excellent videos about this ministry athttp://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/.
A Little Extra Would Help!
I recently asked Honna Lusk, our administrator, for an update on giving to Pearce’s general operations. Last year, by this same time, we had received a total of $861, 931.23 in giving for operations. This year we have received a total of $856,207.73.
So, you might say, we are just about where we were last year—if you give or take five or six thousand dollars. That’s true! The challenge is that we are dealing with increased costs since 2013. That makes our gap a bit wider.
I appreciate your careful and prayerful consideration to financially support the ministries of our church and help us close the gap.
Senior’s Sneak Out Again
For the past six years or so, the Pearce teens have carried out a covert tradition. Each fall, at the start of the school year, our seniors sneak out early in the morning and kidnap the incoming freshmen from their warm beds. Then they bring them to my house for a hot breakfast and a time of laughs and bonding. This year, due to the fact that Jackie and I have two ninth graders in our home, we had to get creative. Their friends had been warning them that one of these Saturday mornings they would be kidnapped. Jacob was even watching the pantry for an increase in pancake mix. So to throw them off, this time we kidnapped the freshmen late on a Saturday night. The students were surprised and even nervous, but pizza, wings, and soda quickly put them at ease.
On the surface, this event has the appearance of some type of hazing ritual, but it is not at all. In fact, this event always proves to be a source of stories that get told over and over, and more importantly, it provides the ninth graders with some new relationships with our older students. It gives them some familiar, friendly faces in the halls at school and at Wednesday night youth group. If you see any of our freshmen, ask them about their kidnapping experience—many of them have found they now have Stockholm Syndrome.
Is It That Time of Year Again?
It is hard to believe that summer is truly over and that our Sunday Small Groups (SSG) are back in session. There is a certain rhythm that takes place in student ministry and with the fall, and return to school, comes the return of our small groups on Sunday mornings. September also brings a new group of seventh graders. For these junior teens, this marks their start in teens; and, with it, comes a new schedule and a change in the style of ministry. On Sunday mornings we meet for about 30 minutes as a large group (7-12 grades). During this time, a leader will teach a lesson; then we dismiss the students to their age and gender appropriate small groups. The small groups are led by adults who are given discussion questions and are charged with building community among the teens. Our first week back, we had 83 junior and senior teens and the conversations were fantastic! This semester we will be looking at the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, the book of Hosea, and Messianic Prophecies. If you think of it, be praying for this group on Sunday mornings and, if you get a chance, ask the students what they are learning.
Out in the “Not So Cold” Project
Each of the last three Decembers have seen a small village of boxes and tarps form on the front lawn of Pearce. This year, you will see us out a little earlier. The weekend of October 17 is the date for this year’s “Project Out in the Cold.” Out in the Cold is an attempt on behalf of our teens to bring awareness to the plight of Rochester’s homeless, and to raise funds to help local shelters. Each year, we bring in special guests from the Open Door Mission to help us construct our shelters and to speak to the teens about what life is like on the streets. We have also had guest speakers from Rochester Family Mission, and numerous other shelters in the area. The students will be seeking donations from outside of Pearce and the money raised will be divided among the groups joining us that evening. Come and spend some time with us on October 17, or just honk as you pass by.