A Guided Tour of Life
June 29, 2014
Take the Tour
This weekend, I’ll start a new sermon series at Pearce. I’m calling the series “A Guided Tour of Life” and it is based on the Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew’s gospel. I want to help approach the Sermon on the Mount as if Jesus were taking us on a tour of what life is supposed to look like for those who follow Him. He desires us to be so transformed that the kinds of behavior taught in the Sermon are a natural expression of who we have become.
One of my favorite books on the Sermon on the Mount is Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy.
I recommend this book for those who want to “dive deeper” into Jesus’ unforgettable talk. It is a bit of a heavy read, but it is well worth the effort.
So with all the tours some of you are planning this summer, tours from the beaches of New Jersey to the national parks of the American west, I hope you’ll join us for this tour of “Kingdom life” when you are in town!
All the World’s a Stage
Rebekah Barringer is serving as the director of this year’s children’s Christmas musical at Pearce. Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it, to be talking about Christmas in June? But, after all, it is now less than six months away! Children going into kindergarten through 6th grade, who are interested in participating in this year’s production, are encouraged to complete a registration form and submit it to Pastor Kathy by the end of the summer.
For those of you who don’t know Bekah, permit me to introduce you. Although she attended Pearce as a student at Roberts (Class of 2007), she has been regularly attending since last September. Bekah is directing this year’s musical because she enjoys getting to know kids and loves seeing the growth that takes place in children through drama.
Bekah is well qualified for this task, having majored in communication and minored in theater at RWC. She has always been involved in numerous drama productions. In high school, she served as assistant director for her school’s productions of Bye, Bye Birdieand My Fair Lady. While at Roberts, she was the assistant director for Godspell andYou’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She has directed several children’s musicals, including one she wrote, entitled “Call Backs.”
This year’s production, G.T. and the Halo Express: Ticket to Christmas, will be presented at Pearce on Sunday evening, December 7.
Last Saturday, Mary and I enjoyed hosting Pearce’s “Discovery Seminar” in our backyard. (And what a perfect day to be outside!) Not a bad looking gang, are they?
We are closing in on project #3 of this year’s SWAG (Stewardship With A Goal). To date, we have received $6,778 towards this $10,000 project to install a new sidewalk along the off-street parking spaces, on the east side of Orchard Street. This is a heavily trafficked area for our P4K families and we want to make our property a safer place by installing a lighted sidewalk.
If you have contributed to this project, I thank you! If you haven’t, I encourage you to help us with this simple, but vital project.
The installation of the new roof on Pearce’s sanctuary, one of last year’s SWAG projects, continues to move forward. It is anticipated that the work will be completed by the 4th of July weekend!
On a Treasure Hunt
This past Sunday, I unveiled a new reading program for kids at Pearce. This summer, we are encouraging our kids (ages two to twelve) to participate in our “Kids Treasure Quest” by picking up good Christian books. Children desiring to participate should pick up a “book tracker” the next time they are at Pearce.
When children have read at least six books, and have their parents document the accomplishment, they are to turn in their “book tracker” at the reception desk or library at Pearce. Kids will then receive a coupon for a free kiddie cone at LuGia’s on Sunday, August 24, at 4pm. So why not stop by Pearce’s library and pick up a good book to read to your child, grandchild, or third cousin, twice removed!
Pearce Sunday Sermons
June 22, 2014
Don’t Miss This Sunday!
I hope you are planning on joining us for worship this weekend. In both the Saturday evening and Sunday service, we will be presenting Bibles to our first and sixth graders, as well as to our graduating high school seniors. This morning, at our pastoral team’s “stand-up meeting,” we talked about this being one of the highlights of the year for our church.
If you join us on Sunday, don’t forget that we begin our summer worship schedule this weekend, gathering at 10am for a single service on Sunday. Also, following the Sunday service we’ll enjoy a picnic together as a church family. As of today (Wednesday), the weather report for Sunday is partly cloudy and temps in the upper 70s. Sounds perfect for a picnic. Bring camp chairs or blankets if you would enjoy eating outside. I might even bring along my bocce set and see if we can get some competition going on the lawn!
Round, Round, Round, I Get Around!
This past Monday, I stepped out of the church as Dave Harp was “saddling up” his Vespa to head home after working with the other tellers on processing the weekend’s offerings. He graciously chauffeured me to my car on the other side of the parking lot. Needless to say, it was the highlight of my day!
For those of you interested in an overview of Pearce’s financial status thus far this year, I’m including in this Dangling two charts from our treasurer, Mike Vannest. The first chart reports giving this past weekend, the second is for year-to-date contributions. The good news is that we are right on target with our giving for general operations. We are slightly behind (4%) in our “building fund,” from which we make our payments on our building loan. We are also a bit behind in mission giving (7%). I appreciate your continued support of Pearce and its ministry.
Today (Wednesday) I’m meeting with Rev. John Keller to plan Pearce’s presentation of the Dave Ramsey “Financial Peace” seminar. Many of you know John from his years as a member of Pearce’s pastoral team. He is now a member of the pastoral team at Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia. I’ve asked John to help us, as Northgate has presented the “Financial Peace” seminar several times. He very graciously agreed to assist us and will be leading the seminar beginning Wednesday, September 17, from 6:30-8pm. I thought you might want to get this on your calendar early!
June 15, 2013
Instead of selecting a single “Pearce Reads” for this summer, I’ve decided to recommend three books suitable for reading on the back deck on a warm summer evening. (Copies of each of these are available for a donation on the book rack near Pearce’s reception desk.)
The Great Divorce is C. S. Lewis’s fictional and imaginative trip to heaven. Whenever I’ve read this book, I’ve felt a renewed hunger to be in God’s presence. I often think of heaven and hell in the images that emerged from Lewis’s sanctified imagination.
I Heard the Owl Call My Name, by Margaret Craven. My students at Northeastern Seminary are encouraged to read this fictional account of a young Anglican pastor in British Columbia. It was the number one book on the New York Times bestseller list in 1973. I read this book every year to remind me what pastoring is all about. The book never fails to move me to tears.
Through Gates of Splendor, by Elizabeth Elliot. This 1957 best seller is the true account of Operation Auca, an attempt by five American missionaries to evangelize a remote tribe in Ecuador. This is a powerful book that reminds me of the cost of discipleship.
So grab your glass of iced tea, find a comfortable spot, and immerse yourself in a good read!
I’m making sure our backyard is mowed and the flower beds are mulched in preparation for our summer version of Pearce’s Discovery Class. This six-hour seminar is an informal gathering for any adults interested in learning more about Pearce. Things will start at 9am and I’ll be sure to have the coffee on for those of you who might need help waking up! We’ll break for a light lunch, provided at no cost. I’ll make sure everything is wrapped up by 3pm, so you can enjoy the rest of your Saturday. RSVPs are requested and can be made by calling the church office at 594-9488 and asking for Kim Brittin.
A Sending Church
Pastors John and Mike, along with Pastor Mike’s son, Jake (pictured above), returned safe and sound from Senegal last Sunday evening. Pastor Mike and I had an opportunity to catch up a bit about their experiences in the small community where Pastor John has been working for several years.
Sitting here this morning in my study, I marvel at the ways Pearce is a sending congregation. My prayer list reminds me of the many from our church who are seeking to show Christ’s love in very real ways around the world.
This morning, Gina Teresi Spear and her daughter, Kelsey, are part of a medical mission team ministering to the diabetic community in four villages in Belize. They’ll be returning this Saturday.
The Andersons are serving Christ through Young Life in the Czech Republic, the Wilkins family is actively at work in Cambodia, and Lynette Sittig Sykora and her family are showing Christ’s love in Bratislava, Slovakia.
And, I could go on! Beth Honan is serving this year in Romania. Liz Sadler is getting ready to head to Poznan, Poland on June 17, and Sarah Curtis is preparing for a short-term mission trip to Malawi in November. I haven’t reached the end of the list yet! A wonderful team of people give of their time each week to inner-city ministry by assisting Heart & Soul, our sister congregation on North Clinton Street in Rochester. The McCowns are regularly working with Hope Africa University in Burundi. I can never keep track of where Mark Pellingra is, as he serves with Compassion International. If I thought about it for a few more minutes, I could name even more!
All this to say that there is a wonderful “sending” that regularly occurs at Pearce. It’s in our DNA as a congregation. So where is God sending you this week? It may be to your neighborhood, school, workplace, or someplace where you never thought you’d end up!
Keeping Our Kids Safe
We are now seeking to raise $10,000 for Project #3 on this year’s SWAG (Stewardship With a Goal). This particular project is all about safety. The off-street parking spaces on the east side of Orchard Street get heavy use throughout the week when P4K parents drop their children off each morning and pick them up each afternoon. Presently, especially on rainy or snowy days, the only place to walk is along the edge of the road: the very place where vehicles are frequently pulling in or out. The danger is very real and we have long wanted to address this issue.
Your support of SWAG with a generous gift can help us finance a new safe sidewalk. To date we have received $2,809 towards this project. We’d love to get this funded and the construction completed by September. Thanks for supporting this vital improvement!
June 8, 2014
Picking up the Conversation
Mary and I had a wonderful time celebrating our wedding anniversary by taking a couple of weeks to travel. I want to express my special thanks to Pastor John Tassone and Pastor Jeremy Kelly for their gifted pulpit ministry the past two weekends. It is a privilege to work with both of these men and I’m grateful for their service to Pearce and the Kingdom.
The Unpredictable Ministry of Common Grounds
Beth Honan, a Pearce member serving this year as a short-term missionary in Romania, wrote the following in her recent update on ministry in Eastern Europe:
I’ve started helping out in the coffee shop that is connected with Veritas (quite appropriately named the “International Café”) several days a week over the lunch hour. They only have a few staff members working currently until summer begins, and because we’ve had many nice days and many tourists, the café has occasionally been slammed with customers—too many for one person! I’ve had SUCH a great time helping—I’ve learned more Romanian in the two weeks of helping here than I have possibly in the last two months! The women that work in the coffee shop speak only a tiny bit of English, so between my little Romanian and their little English, we get along just fine. They have the greatest personalities, and we’ve gotten along so well. They recently hired a new manager, and she’s an absolutely wonderful woman. We clicked almost immediately, and she said to me the other day that she feels she’s known me for years. I feel the same.
I would never have thought that working a semester in the Common Grounds Café back home would have been a skill I would use in Romania! However, it’s allowed me to minister and meet people in a way I never anticipated. There have been people from all over, and more English-speakers than I expected. These days in the café will be some of my fondest memories when I return home.
Interesting, isn’t it, to discover the wonderful ways God can use seemingly insignificant things, even a part-time job at Pearce’s Common Grounds, to bring glory to His Kingdom?
Skype Call from Senegal
On Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to talk with Pastor John Tassone and Pastor Mike Kuhlkin via Skype. Both of them are in Senegal, Africa this week on a short-term mission trip. My call with them was recorded and an edited version of it will be shown in this weekend’s worship services.
Pastor John recently summarized their first few days in the village of Ndidor in an email. He wrote:
We arrived in Ndidor on Saturday and went around in the district Ndaiyentock to greet all the families there. It was a good homecoming. There were many additions to families but sadly many of the men who were so welcoming when we first came have become old and sick.
On Sunday, we worshipped in the nearby village of Soma, then came back and went to the nearby village of Podom, where there is a church cell group forming. We visited with the chief of that village, whom it turns out I am ‘related’ to. My name-giver, Nioxor Ngom, was his uncle. He gave us freedom to go anywhere in the village. That night we showed a film that is appropriate in this context about the lordship of Jesus. Many people expressed their belief in Christ. A church is beginning to form in Podom. We were told that about 40 adults and 300 kids are meeting regularly with the Pastor of Ndidor as he shares Christ with them.
Rain on the Roof
Lovin’ Spoonful had a hit with their song “Rain on the Roof” when I was in seventh grade. “You and me and the rain on the roof,” John Sebastian sang in his mellow voice.
It wasn’t raining on Monday afternoon when I, along with a few of Pearce’s staff, made our way to Pearce’s bell tower for a good vantage point from which to assess the progress on the new sanctuary roof installation. Things are moving along well and, as you can see from the photo, the south side of the roof is already being shingled.
This is a significant project, largely funded by your giving last year to SWAG (Stewardship With a Goal). When the summer rains do come, we’ll be ready. Thanks for helping us keep our facility in good shape!
Speaking of SWAG
Speaking of SWAG, we are presently seeking to raise $10,000 for project #3. This project is the installation of a new sidewalk along Orchard Street, to provide a safe entrance for those utilizing the off-street parking spaces on the east side of the street.
To date, 99 individuals/families have contributed to this year’s SWAG. I was hoping to have 300 individuals/families participate in 2014. So, if you haven’t yet given to SWAG, I encourage you to do so.
Mary and I have been supportive of SWAG, enjoying the opportunity to find ways to free up funds for these important projects. I’m not exaggerating when I say it has been “fun” to see ways in which God provides unexpected funds for us to give to SWAG.
Greg Coles at Pearce This Weekend
Mary and I are driving down to the Philly area today (Thursday), so that I can officiate at the wedding of Steven Zwier and Robin Kanak. Steven and Robin are both Roberts grads who were active at Pearce during their student years.
We’ll be back on Sunday to hear Greg Coles preach at Pearce. Greg is one of the finest young communicators that I know. He was also active at Pearce during his years as a student at RWC (Class of 2012). Greg is presently a graduate assistant at Penn State University. Some of you may remember him from last summer when he was with us.
In a recent note, Greg wrote: “Pearce has a special place in my heart, and I’m delighted to be back home with you all again!”
Thank You from Pastor Harold & Ginny
Pastor Harold and Ginny recently sent this note to the Pearce family. I thought you’d enjoy hearing from them:
We want to say a heartfelt thank you for the incredible farewell send-off that our church family gave us back on May 4. It was a beautiful service and we felt everyone’s love in a special way. The words of appreciation and the warm hugs that we received at the reception will never be forgotten. We will forever treasure all the memories we have from that day. Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to everyone who had a part in the planning of that celebration. The gifts we received, the kind words, and especially the personal notes that were put into the scrapbook will always remind us of the precious friendships we have. We have been overwhelmed by the many cards and notes we have received in the mail. We have read them all several times and find ourselves looking through the scrapbook time and time again and thanking God that we had the privilege of being part of the Pearce family for so many years.
Genesis Visits Pearce
Over the last year, the Pearce teens have been building a relationship with the teens from First Genesis. We have gone to Genesis for a youth night and prayer walk, they came to our “Out in the Cold” night, and on May 16 we did a combined gym night here at Pearce. This ongoing relationship has been a huge blessing for both groups. Our teens are learning a bunch about the lives and cultures of each group, and have found that we serve the same God. We are looking forward to more combined events this summer, including some of our TNT outings. As you drive through the city of Rochester, pray for the teens of First Genesis, and for the relationships that are being developed between our two youth groups.
Time to get on the boat
While it is just the beginning of June (and currently the black flies are infesting the woods of Algonquin), August is coming, the flies will be departing, and you still have time to get on board with our annual Spiritual Disciplines Canoe Trip. The trip is filling up, and we have an excellent group going. If you are still thinking about coming, let us know ASAP so we can make sure we have room for you. We currently have three groups of nine going, but we can squeeze in a few more. The cost is $450 and includes food, transportation, all your gear from the outfitter, and all the paddling you can handle. Don’t miss the boat; contact me if you want more information or if you would like to sign up.
Soon we will be hearing the laughter and screams that come with summer vacation. While summer means ice cream, swimming pools, and no homework, it also means the beginning of the Pearce TNT season. Every Tuesday, we gather teens that are going into 7th grade through 12th grade for various activities. TNT (Tuesday Night Thing) is geared for fun. As leaders, we don’t want to simply be chaperones but desire to build relationships with our teens that will help them navigate the turbulent teen years. Nights at Seabreeze or Hamlin Beach allow us the opportunity to laugh and be with our students. It is the foundation for the more difficult conversations that often come during the school year. It is also a time for our teens to invite others to a non-threatening event, and introduce them to Pearce Student ministries. The dates for this summer’s TNTs are below.
June 1, 8, 15 – Sunday Small Groups Continue
June 21 – Annual Mission Golf Tournament at Salmon Creek, 1:15pm Tee Off
June 22 – Senior Recognition Sunday
June 24 – Picnic at Hamlin Beach (meet at Pearce at 5pm, return by 9pm)
July 1– No TNT 4th of July Week
July 8 – Seabreeze (Meet at Pearce at 5pm, cost is $15. Return by 11pm)
July 15 – VBS week Pool Party at Kuhlkin’s
July 22 – Picnic/Hiking at Black Creek Park (meet on back side, by Moose Lodge, to avoid soccer traffic, 6:30-8pm)
July 29 – VBS at Chili Commons (meet at Chili Commons/Meadow Brook, 5:30-8pm)
August 5 – No TNT – Algonquin Week August 3-9
August 12 – Pool Party Location TBD (Mike & Jackie on vacation)
August 19 – Sky Zone (meet at Pearce at 6pm, cost is $15. Return by 9pm)
August 26 – Clubhouse (Mini Golf, Go Carts, cost is $15, meet at Pearce at 6pm, return by 9pm)
Life in the Desert
By the time you read this, Jacob and I will be in Ndidor, Senegal. Our family adopted this village of about 1,000 people in the Sub-Sahara of Senegal, Africa, in 2007. We have been traveling to visit our African village and family about every other year. As you may remember, last year I took my 13-year-old daughter, Emily, with me. This year, I am taking her twin brother, Jake. Life in Ndidor is difficult. The daily temperature is between 100-125 degrees and very little grows there. Only recently has the village gotten fresh drinking water, and the majority of their diet is rice, fish, chicken, and goat. But these people, while having very little, are some of the most giving and joy-filled people you could ever meet. They have almost nothing – but they will give it to you, if you are in need. The folks of my village are largely Muslim, but about 100 have converted to Christianity and they have let the love of Jesus be known. While there, Jake and I will be helping with repairs on the school and church, running a kids’ club, and making home visits for prayer and conversation. Please pray for our safety, our health, and pray for the people of Ndidor, that they may know the love of the One who created them.