A Note of Appreciation
As you may be aware, this past Tuesday Pearce hosted the funeral for Barry Miller, the EMT who was tragically killed last week in an accident while serving on an ambulance run in Bergen. Due to the size of the funeral, Barry’s home church, Bergen United Methodist Church, was unable to accommodate the service.
I was moved by the somber pageantry of the service: the first responders standing at attention, the bagpipers playing “All Creatures of Our God and King,” the playing of taps, and the twenty-one gun salute. I was also touched by the symbolic flyover of a Mercy Flight helicopter at the end of the ceremony. A person who served his community passionately and selflessly had died while responding to another’s need and an entire community stopped to pay tribute.
I want to thank the Pearce team, both volunteer and paid staff, for the wonderful way in which everyone worked together to host the service. I am deeply appreciative, as well, of the Roberts community for partnering with us on Tuesday.
“Linked in Love”
On Saturday, October 3, at 5pm, P4K director Lydia Monroe and I will update the Pearce community on our “Linked with Love” partnership with the Nzige, Rwanda preschool. The following day, Dr. Linda Adams, director of International Child Care, will be speaking in the two morning worship services. Linda’s message, “Bumper Crop of Grace,” is based on 2 Corinthians 9:8-15.
You’ll want to stop by the new photo display in Pearce’s Narthex. These photos of Nzige were taken by last January’s team to Rwanda and during Ruth Stewart’s visit in August. Megan Hoose, ICCM ambassador, will be available to help you “adopt” a child for sponsorship.
At 5pm on Sunday, Dr. Adams will be available in Common Grounds Café to meet with educators interested in exploring ways in which our “Linked with Love” can help provide teacher training and support for the Nzige preschool’s faculty. Lydia Monroe will be hosting this informal dialogue with Linda. A light meal will be served to those gathered.
A Challenging Topic for Pearce Reads
I will present a series of six messages on the first three chapters of Genesis beginning the weekend of October 10/11. These chapters are foundational for anyone who takes both God and the Scriptures seriously.
To assist you in working through the many issues raised by the opening chapter of Genesis, I am placing two books on the “Pearce Reads” book display in Pearce’s lobby. Both books are by Dr. John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College.
The first book, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, is an attempt to provide a literary and theological understanding of Genesis 1. Walton does so in the context of ancient Near Eastern studies and our modern scientific understanding of the world. You may not agree with all of Walton’s conclusions, but it will prompt you to think more deeply about the first chapter of our Bible.
The second book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate, compliments Walton’s first book. Once again, the author applies contemporary scholarship’s understanding of the Near Eastern context of Genesis, as well as truths gleaned from modern science. New Testament scholar Scot McKnight commented in his review of the book: “John Walton is a voice of reason and he has shown time and time again that we must learn to read the Bible as God gave it, not the way we’d like it to be.”
Each book is available for a $15 donation.
Sykoras on Eastern Europe
Josef and Lynette Sykora recently concluded their nine years of service in Slovakia. They will summarize their ministry experiences at a seminar on Wednesday, October 14, at 6:30pm in Room 134 (education wing). The Sykoras will also help you to gain a sense of the current state of the Free Methodist Church in Eastern Europe. I encourage you to take this opportunity to catch up on what God is doing in this part of the world.
“My Roof Has a Hole in It!”
Those of you old enough to remember may recall a song released in 1964 by the Serendipity Singers with the title “Don’t Let the Rain Come Down.” It is part of the soundtrack from my own childhood! One of the lines of the song said, “My roof has a hole in it and I might drown!”
Well, things are not that dire at this point, but the Parmerter roof continues to degrade. Bob Antes, our facilities director, is hoping and praying that the roof survives the coming winter without incurring water damage to Parmerter Chapel.
The replacement of the roof is a pressing need. Thankfully, the Pearce family is proving to be generous in helping us set aside the necessary funds ($160,000) to cover the cost of a new roof. To date, you have given a total of $68,946.50, bringing us 43% of the way to fully funding this critical need.
Thanks for your regular support! Can I encourage you to continue to give to this project?
Walking in the Ways of the Lord
Brian Kvasnica, academic assistant for “Home for Bible Translators and Scholars in Jerusalem,” will be presenting a seminar at 7pm on the evening of Tuesday, October 13, at Pearce in Parmerter Chapel. The title of the seminar is “Walking in the Ways of the Lord: A Unique Metaphor from the Land of the Bible.”
Brian, a graduate of Houghton College and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as the guide for
Pearce’s tour of Israel this past February. He is a gifted communicator and holds a deep passion for helping Christians better understand the geography of Israel.
Pearce’s next tour of Israel, scheduled for February 2017, will also be highlighted. If you are interested in being a part of this tour, you’ll find out more about the itinerary for the trip at this seminar.
Interview with the Crothers
This Sunday, as part of Roberts’ homecoming festivities, I will enjoy the privilege of interviewing Dr. Bill and Rilla Crothers at 9am in Pearce’s Parmerter Chapel. Dr. Crothers served as president of Roberts Wesleyan College from 1981-2002. During that time, both Bill and Rilla were active in the ministries at Pearce. This interview will provide the opportunity to catch up with the Crothers, as well as listen to their reflections on lives of gracious service to the Kingdom. All Adult Bible Fellowships, Teen Small Groups, and Children’s Sunday School will meet at 9am this Sunday, too.
You Can Come Home Again!
Dr. Matt Hill, assistant professor of philosophy at Spring Arbor University, will be our special guest this weekend as Pearce celebrates Homecoming Weekend at Roberts. Matt will be preaching in both our Saturday evening (5pm) and Sunday morning (10:30am) services. His message, entitled “Doubt Leaves Room for Faith,” is based on Luke 24:36-43, the passage relating the disciples’ response to encountering the risen Jesus.
Matt is a “product” of Pearce, having grown up in our church. He is also a 2007 graduate of Roberts.
We welcome Matt “home,” along with this wife, Helene, and their children.
Linked with Love
During the past five months, you’ve heard quite a bit about Pearce’s partnership with the preschool in Nzige, Rwanda. We want to reaffirm this vital partnership at our weekend services on October 3 and 4.
Dr. Linda Adams, Director of International Child Care Ministries, will be preaching in the Sunday morning worship services at 9am and 10:30am. Her message title is “Bumper Crop of Faith” and is based on 2 Corinthians 9:8-15. Linda will help us grasp a bigger picture of what God is doing in the world.
On Sunday evening, P4K Director Lydia Monroe will lead a gathering of educators who are interested in helping with training for Rwandan teachers. For the past few months, Lydia has been exploring ways in which Pearce can encourage the teachers at Nizge, as well as other schools in Rwanda. This meeting will take place in Pearce’s Common Grounds Café with a light meal of subs and soft drinks.
On Saturday evening, Pastor Wally and Bev Faro will highlight their experiences earlier this year in Nzige and discuss ways in which our Linked with Love partnership is developing.
Also, those who have not yet sponsored a child in Nzige and are interested in doing so will have the opportunity to stop by a table in the atrium. Megan Hoose, an ICCM ambassador, will be available to answer your questions regarding sponsorship. To date, 85 children in Nzige have been sponsored by families at Pearce.
Celebrating the Generations
This year, we’ve been talking about Pearce as an intergenerational community. One of our congregation’s strengths is the wonderful range of ages that are represented in the Pearce family.
This past Sunday, I happened to highlight the diversity of age in our choir. Young Natalie Beguhl was seated in front of long-time member Neva Pfouts. When I asked Natalie her age, she replied: “Twelve and a half!” I didn’t ask Neva her age, as I thought that was inappropriate. I went on with my message, noting the wonderful child-like vantage point that prompts one to give their age in half years!
After the service, Neva darted over to me in Pearce’s atrium and mischievously said, “I’m ninety-one and three-quarters!”
Like I said, I love the wonderful vantage point that prompts the young to give their age in half, or quarter, years!
By the way, I thought you would enjoy this photo of Natalie and Neva from last Sunday. They both are a blessing to me!
Generosity is Caught as Well as Taught
Last weekend, I brought up the subject of tithing in my message. I feel very blessed to have been raised in a home where I was taught to tithe as soon as I was entrusted with my first allowance.
On Monday, I received an email from Jess Newcomb. She wrote:
I always grin in service when you talk about money because I’m so thankful my parents and Jesse’s parents instilled in us the joy of giving to the Lord his tithes and our offerings. It has been an enormous blessing to be on the same page with my spouse about something so important and life giving.
Giving has never been a drudgery to us, but an awesome privilege, even when we were first married. Jesse was still in college and we were “broke.”
Just thought I’d echo what you share from the pulpit on this subject. It’s something I’ve always been so grateful for in my marriage.
Thanks for the echo, Jess!
Your Thoughts Are Welcome
Lifetree Café, hosted by Pearce each Thursday from 7 to 8pm, has these words as its motto:
At Lifetree Café…
You’re welcome just as you are.
Your thoughts are welcome.
Your doubts are welcome.
We’re all in this together and
God is here, ready to connect.
Tonight’s Lifetree Café tackles the issue of homelessness. “A Day in the Life of the Hidden Homeless: A Mother’s Struggle to Keep Her Family Together” is a compelling examination of a growing problem in our country. Next Thursday’s café, on September 24, examines the issue “Is Marriage Obsolete: Why More People Are Saying ‘I Don’t!’”
Why not stop by Lifetree, held in Pearce’s Common Grounds Café, and enter a meaningful dialogue on these vital issues?
Homecoming at Pearce
Pearce has a great privilege of partnering with our neighbor, Roberts Wesleyan College, in Kingdom work. During the nearly 150-year-history of the college, our church has continued to be a vital part of campus life. (Even now, hundreds of students enter our building each weekday for classes; and Common Grounds Café is a study site for many commuting students.)
To celebrate this partnership, we’re having a special weekend on September 26 and 27. Dr. Matt Hill, assistant professor of philosophy at Spring Arbor University in Michigan, will be our special speaker in the Saturday (5pm) worship service and on Sunday morning. (By the way, we’ll gather for a single service on that day at 10:30am.)
Matt grew up at Pearce and attended RWC, graduating in 2004. He then attended Asbury Theological Seminary and was awarded a Ph.D. from Durham University in 2013. He is an ordained elder in our denomination. You’ll enjoy Matt’s pulpit ministry!
Also, as another special part of Homecoming, I’ll be interviewing Dr. Bill and Rilla Crothers at a special 9am Sunday gathering in Parmerter Chapel. Dr. Crothers served as president of RWC from 1981-2002. He and his wife were active members of the Pearce family during his tenure. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear both of their reflections from their present vantage point. (Adult Bible Fellowships will also meet on this date; all ABFs will meet at 9am on September 27 only.)
A Fascinating History
Beginning on Wednesday evening, September 23, Charles H. Canon will begin a three-week course on Free Methodist history. If you know Charley, you know that he is “Mr. Free Methodist” when it comes to our denomination’s history.
I had the privilege, along with Charlie and Dr. Doug Cullum, of conducting a tour of Free Methodist historical sites in Western New York at the 2011 General Conference, held in North Chili. As the three of us drove around our part of the state, I marveled at the names, places, and stories Charley had at his fingertips! (In the photo above, Charley, Doug, and I stand by the canal locks in downtown Lockport on our 2011 exploratory trip.)
History, told by a passionate storyteller, can be captivating. That’s what you’ll find if you attend this Wednesday seminar beginning at 6:30pm on September 23 at Pearce in Room 134 (education wing).
Entering a New Season of Love
In last week’s Dangling, I wrote about our “kick-off” weekend and then neglected to mention when it will be held! (A few of you graciously wrote to highlight my omission.) So, with humble contrition, I announce to you that we will celebrate the start of a new church year this coming weekend, September 12 and 13, at our 5pm Saturday service and at 10am on Sunday.
If you are coming on Sunday, plan to stay after the service to enjoy some light refreshments on the lawn of our Orchard Street properties. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll have the southern end of Orchard Street closed to traffic during this time to ensure safety in crossing the road.
Dann Brown and Michael VanAllen, assistant professor of music at RWC, will provide some light jazz in the background as you reconnect with your Pearce family as the summer draws to a close. You may want to bring along some camp chairs to use since we’ll have a limited amount of seating.
My message for the weekend is titled “Walk Right In, Sit Right Down,” and we’ll be considering Psalm 78:2-7. I hope you will join us!
Know the Story
Last April, a review of J. Richard Middleton’s latest book, A New Heaven and a New Earth, appeared in The Christian Century magazine. The reviewer wrote: “In these days when moviegoers, gamers, and television watchers demonstrate a strong taste for postapocalyptic settings, we need and long for a strong current of theological explication of Christian eschatology.” He went on to affirm that Dr. Middleton had provided a thoughtful, thorough, and well-written book on the Bible’s view of the end times.
I have always found Dr. Middleton’s presentations to reflect what that reviewer wrote. He never fails to prompt me to think more deeply about God’s Word and its implications for what lies ahead.
You’ll have a wonderful opportunity to get a taste of Dr. Middleton’s teaching this coming Wednesday, September 16, at 6:30pm, in Room 138 at Pearce. I hope you’ll take advantage to hear from this internationally well-respected, biblical scholar. But I warn you; you may walk away with your mind buzzing!
Lifetree Café Tonight
This evening’s Lifetree Café will feature a topic that has been part of our nation’s political discourse as candidates vie for their parties’ nomination. Titled “An Immigrant in the Sanctuary: When Faith and Politics Collide,” it examines a local congregation’s decision to provide sanctuary to an illegal immigrant.
Lifetree is committed to providing a venue where controversial topics can be discussed openly and freely, without judgment. This particular topic has prompted heated exchanges that are only heightened by the recent flood of refugees into Europe.
Looking for an opportunity to think through this issue? Join us tonight at 7pm in Pearce’s café.
Welcoming New Members
At this Sunday’s service, three delightful individuals will be welcomed into membership. Glen & Jan Samarra have recently moved into the area. Both of them are retired schoolteachers who lived for many years near Gowanda, NY. Some of you may know them as the parents of Shelly Lambert, Pastor Tim’s lovely wife. Also joining our Pearce family is Megan Douglass, presently a graduate student at RWC. Meg began attending our church with her father, Steven, in 2013.
Looking for an Opportunity to Learn More?
On Sunday, September 20, adults will have several opportunities to engage in learning more about the Christian faith in one of several classes being offered on Sunday mornings. To find a listing of courses being offered, check out the NEUs page of our website at pearcechurch.org/neus. This weekend, handouts will be distributed that will introduce you to our Christian education opportunities for all ages.
Gift from Nzige
This past Sunday, during children’s moments, Ruth Stewart presented this beautiful basket to our congregation, a gift from the children of the Nzige preschool. Ruth had the opportunity to enjoy a brief visit to the school in late August, while on a trip to Kenya and Uganda with her father. I’ll be sure and find a nice place to display the basket as a reminder of our “Linked with Love” partnership with our friends in Rwanda.
Thanks for Blessing Urban Choice
While walking into church this morning, I encountered Nicole Berg, assisted by two members of our facility team (Bob Antes and Kayla Baudanza), loading bags of donated school supplies for the children at Urban Choice Charter School where Nicole is a principal. “Wow,” I commented, “that’s a lot of school supplies!” Nicole replied, “This is my third or fourth load!”
Thanks, Pearce Church, for being so supportive of this effort to bless children from the city of Rochester!
Nicole commented in an email to me: “We are humbled and excited that Pearce has joined the party here at Urban Choice! The amount of school supplies collected is wonderful and will definitely help a lot of students have a very successful start to the school year. Thank you for coming on the journey with me. It is great to see the heart of God and Pearce being shared with students!
Check out the photos on Urban Choice’s Facebook page to see more of what was donated. (Go to www.facebook.com/pages/Urban-Choice-Charter-School/352319611518990?fref=ts)
Entering a New Season of Love
Labor Day is only a few days away and soon all of us will be back into the routine of the school year. This means Pearce will be entering its busy season as a community of faith, one that will take us all the way to next June.
It’s a tradition for us to “kick-off” our fall ministries with a weekend devoted to celebrating our church family and God’s rich blessings on Pearce. This year’s theme is “Entering a New Season of Love!” I’m praying the things we have learned this summer from our study of 1 John will inform the way we minister to each other and to our communities this fall.
I hope you are planning to join us for this significant weekend of gathering. In addition to our Saturday evening (5pm) and Sunday morning (10am) worship services, we’ll have a time to renew friendships on our lawns on the west side of Orchard Street. Bring along a camp chair or a blanket and be prepared to hang around after the Sunday service to visit with members of the Pearce family. Jim Heeks, Pearce’s director of food services, will have some light refreshments freely available to enjoy. (A limited number of chairs will be set up on the lawn.)
At 8:45am that Sunday, Pastor Mike and the adults and teens that participated in this summer’s short-term mission team to Romania will be relating stories of their trip in Parmerter Chapel.
In this past weekend’s services, Pearce unveiled its new tool for your use in financially supporting the many ministries of our church. Simply text the amount you wish to donate to the number 585-617-0773. The first time you do this, you’ll be prompted to fill out a brief form identifying the credit card you wish to use in making the donation. I tried it out this morning and was impressed by how easy it is.
One of our sister congregations, Northgate in Batavia, has been using this system since January and have been impressed by how well it has functioned for them.
I appreciate “Smart Giving” and the ease by which I can give when I am away!
Know, Tell, and Live the Story
For the past three years, I’ve encouraged you to “know, tell, and live” the Story. By “the Story” I am referring to the grand narrative of Scripture, God’s marvelous account of His love for all people. I am always looking for ways to better “know” and “tell” the biblical story. I hope you are, too!
Pearce is providing a wonderful opportunity to better understand the narrative on Wednesday, September 16, at 6:30pm. Dr. J. Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary, is teaching a seminar entitled “The Bible as One Coherent Story: Understanding the Book that Grounds Our Lives” in Room 138 in our education wing.
Dr. Middleton describes the seminar: “The Bible is a complex book (or set of 66 books), made up of very different sorts of writing. It includes parables, collections of laws, genealogies, epistles, prophetic oracles, apocalyptic visions, and narratives or stories of very different kinds. How does all this complexity fit together? This seminar will help participants grasp the coherent unity of the unfolding plot of the biblical story, from creation to eschaton, with Christ at the center. We will explore the significance of understanding this coherence for our daily lives of Christian discipleship.”
Dr. Middleton is a dynamic and engaging teacher, and I am confident you’ll walk out of this seminar with new insights into God’s Story.
Let’s Act Up!
Beginning Sunday evening, September 13, I’ll be leading a bible study group geared especially for college students. The study, focused on the book of Acts, will be held at the home of Scott and Beth Bellinger (297 Chambers Street, Spencerport, NY) beginning at 6:30pm each Sunday evening. By the way, last year the Bellingers provided fresh, homemade cookies at each bible study. Perhaps they will find it in their hearts to do so once again this year!
This Note is On Target
At a meeting this week, Pastor Mike shared an email he received from someone who attended a recent hunter safety course at Pearce. (You may not be aware, but Pearce has quite a ministry to sportsmen and women of our area!) I thought you might enjoy reading it:
I just wanted to share with you that I took the Hunter Safety Course at Pearce Memorial Church this week. I passed the test today as well as fulfilling a dream of 58 years.
The instructors were wonderful, very thorough and excellent teachers. Their love of hunting was very evident. I worked with John Eeckhout at the Town of Ogden several years ago. Mike, Mike and Ron were our other instructors. Kuddos to all of them!
Thank you again for all of your help in arranging for me to be in this class. I know that my Dad is smiling down on me today.
LuGia’s: The Experience of a Lifetime!
This past weekend, children from Peace who participated in this summer’s Kid’s Treasure Quest enjoyed ice cream at LuGia’s as their reward for reading at least one book in six of nine categories, such as a “mission book” or “a Christian living book.”
Two young-of-heart people from Pearce were given special tickets to join the gang heading to LuGia’s. But that brings me to a story.
During my “Children’s Moments” in the August 9 worship service, I talked with the kids about LuGia’s and asked how many of them had been there. I discovered that one of the children present, Jack Lambert, had never been there. So after the service I hunted down Jack and gave him $15 and asked him, with his parent’s blessing, to treat his family to ice cream at LuGia’s. (Which he did that very day!)
When I was checking my email later that Sunday, I received a note from Joan Steward, one of the delightful senior adults in the Pearce family, in which she wrote, “I have never been to LuGia’s and I have lived on the west side of Monroe County all of my life. Maybe I don’t get out enough, do you think?”
So I arranged for Joan, and her husband, Doug, to be invited for free ice cream this past Sunday afternoon. The following day I received another email from Joan. It read:
Our horizons have been expanded! We now feel we are true residents of the west side of the county because we have been to LuGia’s for ice cream thanks to the support of the pastoral staff at Pearce. It doesn’t get any better than this! So thanks for your part in opening up new possibilities to us! Today LuGia’s, tomorrow…well, who knows!!
Isn’t it enjoyable to be a part of this community of faith!
The Doctor of Love
I don’t think Dr. Tim Dwyer has ever referred to himself as the “doctor of love,” but he’ll be serving in that capacity this weekend at Pearce. Dr. Tim is a familiar face to the Pearce family as he has graciously shared his biblical insights with us on numerous occasions over the years. He’ll be helping us better understand John’s words in the second half of the fourth chapter of his first letter.
In my opinion, Dr. Tim is one of the most gifted communicators of God’s Word that I’ve had the privilege to hear. You’ll be enriched by his solid, biblical teaching and I hope you avail yourself of this opportunity.
Summer is always a great time to pick up a book, settle back, and travel into new places of understanding and experience. This summer my reading is a bit eclectic. (Yours probably is, too!)
I’m going through The Fellowship, a new book on the Inklings: that marvelous, informal group of writers that included C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. These four, along with a handful of other friends, met regularly in an Oxford pub to discuss their literary efforts, along with a wide range of subjects thrown in. One evening’s conversation, according to Lewis’s brother Warnie, touched on “red-brick universities…torture, Tertullian, bores, the contractual theory of medieval kingship, and odd place-names.” (Sounds like one of our pastoral team meetings!) The book, by Philip and Carol Zaleski, does a nice job of highlighting the centrality of Christianity to the Inklings’ lives.
Another read is American Apocalypse by Matthew Avery Sutton. It is subtitled “A History of Modern Evangelism” but it is focused on apocalypticism, the thought that the world will soon come to an end. Readers, as a Wall Street Journal reviewer put it, “will find it hard to avoid the impression that evangelicals are simply bizarre.” As an evangelical myself, I don’t buy all of Sutton’s conclusions. But he does show how evangelical Christians can get caught up in side issues that don’t really further the cause of the Kingdom.
Finally, for sheer fun, I’m reading Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey. The New York Times said that book is “an expansive and enlightening overview of space travel’s past, present, and possible future” by a distinguished astronomer. As someone who still has a box of newspapers that I collected years ago at the time of the Gemini and Apollo flights, I love getting lost in thoughts of space. This is a great one to read on a summer night, but only if you take frequent pauses and permit yourself time to gaze up at the stars!
Looking for $9.00
This past weekend, we received a generous $2,245 towards the new roof for Parmerter, bringing our total to $59,991. With only an additional $9, we will reach nearly 38% of the goal of $160,000 and another section of the roof will be placed on the poster in the foyer of Pearce. Do you want to chip in a few bucks and help us get closer to installing the new roof in the summer of 2016?
A Special Edition of Lifetree Café
If you have wondered what Lifetree Café is all about, a “special edition” of Pearce’s Lifetree Café will be held on Sunday, August 30. Join us at 8:45 that morning in Common Grounds Café to experience what goes on each Thursday evening at Lifetree. The topic for this “special edition” will be the episode on a Rwandan’s experience in his country. (This is the same episode that will be seen on Thursday, August 27.) Learn more about this land that is “Linked with Love” with Pearce Church!
A Brief Dangling Hiatus
In the coming week, Mary and I are going to take a few days of vacation and enjoy these beautiful closing
days of summer. So don’t look for a Dangling next Thursday, but be sure to anticipate its next arrival on
By the way, I thought I’d share a favorite vacation photo from last year. Now that is, in my opinion, the perfect vacation view!
And, speaking of hiatus, the long summer break of our Common Grounds Café is nearly over. With the return of students to the Roberts campus on Monday, our café will once again be open every weekday.
Our treasurer, Mike Vannest, recently sent me an update on our financial situation as a church as we approach the end of summer. Here’s what he wrote:
As we come out of summer, we’re behind budget. We had a good week this week, but we are behind budget in Operations by $32,917 (4%). We are behind budget for the building by $3,748 (3%), and we are behind PMC Missions by $2,819 (7%). This isn’t really abnormal at the end of the summer. Last year we were a little over $35k behind budget at this point in the year and in total we came out a little ahead by the end of the year, which is common for us.
He went on to say, “We’ll have to keep an eye on everything as the weeks pass, but wouldn’t it be nice if we came out of summer way ahead of budget one of these years?”
Thanks to all of you for your faithful support of our ministries and for helping us close out the summer on solid financial footing.
Pearce’s Own Living Statue
Ever wonder what the pedestals at Pearce’s Orchard Street entrance are for? Exiting the church on a recent Sunday, I discovered that they are platforms for “living statues” when I encountered Elijah Hays striking a dramatic pose. (I think he has a future working at Epcot!)
Linked with Love
This past Monday morning, Lydia Monroe, Pearce’s P4K director, and I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Linda Adams, the director of International Child Care Ministries (ICCM). Linda was in town for a couple of days, and Lydia and I took advantage of the opportunity to meet with her and discuss Pearce’s partnership with Nzige.
One of the exciting recent developments is in the area of teacher training for the staff at the Nzige preschool. Lydia discovered an organization called TEACH Rwanda, a U.S. based non-government organization that provides teacher education for preschool teachers in Rwanda. Lydia is dialoging with the leaders of this organization to explore ways in which they may be able to help us with the training of the Nzige preschool staff. It’s too early to tell the impact of these conversations, but it is exciting to find others who are committed to providing engaging learning experiences for the children of Rwanda.
Dr. Adams will be at Pearce the weekend of October 3 & 4 to participate in a special weekend as we reaffirm our Linked with Love partnership in our worship services.
Sprucing Up the South Side
This past week, needed attention was given to the south and east sides of Pearce’s facility when a painting contractor put a fresh coat of paint on the window frames and other exterior-wood-components of our building. Your faithful financial support of our operational budget enables this vital maintenance to continue. Thanks for your help!
Our “Summer of Love” Enters Its Final Weeks
The “back to school” ads are beginning to blanket media and print advertisements. I even sensed the smell of the approaching autumn on some recent early mornings. As summer begins to wind down, we approach the final chapters in John’s first letter in our current sermon series.
This coming weekend, Pastor Jeremy Kelly will examine the first twelve verses of chapter four. His message takes its title from Steve Winwood’s 1986 song “Higher Love.” (Winwood’s song hit number one on the Billboard list for only one week. I hope there is no significance in the fact that the number one song of the prior week was Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach!”)
At tonight’s Lifetree Café an interview with Kenyon Easton will be featured. Kenyon began a coast-to-coast walk across America in April 2014. Hear about his life-changing perspective at this week’s Café, beginning at 7pm this evening in Pearce’s Common Grounds.
Speaking of Lifetree, Pearce will hold a “sample” Lifetree Café on Sunday morning, August 30, at 9am. This special “Sunday morning edition” will provide an opportunity for those who haven’t been a part of Lifetree to gain a sense of what this particular ministry is about.
The Richness of Intergenerational Worship
Colleen Dick sent me this photo of her son, Jameson, at Pearce’s altar on a recent Sunday morning. The image of this young boy in prayer beside an older gentleman is, for me, a wonderful illustration of the richness of Pearce’s intergenerational fabric!
Petra in 2017
Pastor Mike recently sent me a copy of the travel itinerary for Pearce’s “Biblical Study Tour” planned for February 2017. This is at the request of many of those who participated in this year’s recent study tour of Israel.
This tour will include such traditional sites as the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem and the Mount of Beatitudes. But it will also feature a visit to Jordan to tour the ancient and amazing city of Petra.
If you are interested in participating in this next tour, contact Pastor Mike or me and we can supply you with a preliminary itinerary of the trip.
This Weekend at Pearce
Our summer series on the book of First John continues this weekend with an examination of chapter three, verses 11-24. The title for this week’s message comes from an old Barry White love song, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything.”
If you’ve been with us during these weeks, you are aware that John is writing to a church that is hurting. False teachers have divided the church and then left, trying to take others with them. Those left behind in the community of faith are bruised and battered by the whole experience. John writes, in part, to reassure his readers whose confidence has been so deeply shaken.
Pastor John Tassone will be preaching in the Saturday service this week as I’ll be officiating at a wedding ceremony held that same evening. I’ll be preaching in the Sunday service and as a part of that gathering Mike & Andrea Green, missionaries to Uruguay, will share a brief word about their new field of ministry in Latin America.
Jack Made It to LuGia’s
During last Sunday’s “Children’s Moments,” I discovered that Jack Lambert had never been to LuGia’s Ice Cream, near Spencerport. I was a bit caught off guard as I was told early in my tenure here at Pearce that I had to experience LuGia’s! I thought every kid growing up on the west side of Rochester had made the pilgrimage to this establishment where the ice cream cones are the biggest I’ve ever seen. (I can only usually handle a “baby-sized” cone, although I once tackled at “kiddie-sized”one!)
After the service, I meet with Jack and his father, Pastor Tim, and made arrangements for them to enjoy LuGia’s. Later that afternoon, Pastor Tim posted this photo of Jack and his young brothers enjoying their ice cream.
So, all is well and Jack has now tasted the delights of LuGia’s. He’ll never be quite the same!
Denial of VISA for Ephaste
Sadly, I was informed this week that Niyigena Ephaste, who oversees the ministry of International Child Care Ministries in Rwanda, was denied a VISA to visit the United States. Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT), which oversees our local and global ministry strategies, had invited Ephaste to visit us in early October to help share the vision of our partnership with the preschool in Nzige, Rwanda. No explanation was given for the denial.
Although Ephaste is unable to join us, Dr. Linda Adams, the director of ICCM, is scheduled to be with us the weekend of October 3 & 4 when we’ll celebrate our continued partnership with the Nzige school.
It has been a long-standing tradition at Pearce that we receive an Exit Offering on Sundays when Communion is served in that day’s worship service. Each month’s Exit Offering is given to a specific ministry, often one outside Pearce’s walls.
For example, this past Sunday the Exit Offering was designated for Hope Africa University (HAU), a large and fast-growing private Christian university in Burundi. A total of $817.00 was given and will be forwarded to HAU to assist them in providing quality education for Africa’s next generation of leaders.
So far this year, the Pearce family has given a total of $5,620.16 in exit offerings for a wide range of ministries: from helping to provide fresh water through International Child Care Ministries to providing safe housing for Rochester’s homeless at Grace House. Your generosity is impacting others for the Kingdom. Thanks!
Lifetree Goes to Rwanda
Due to Pearce’s partnership with the Nzige preschool, I thought I should give you a “heads up” regarding an upcoming Lifetree Café. On Thursday, August 27, Lifetree will feature the story of Rwandan John Gasangwa. This man, in the midst of great suffering, made a promise that if he finished his education, he’d serve the people of his homeland. John has since made good on his promise. You’ll appreciate his story of hope and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges many Rwandans face.
Tonight’s Lifetree is entitled “Faith and Science” and features a filmed interview with Dr. Francis Collins, a world-renowned geneticist who led the human genome project.
Lifetree begins each Thursday at 7pm in Pearce’s Common Grounds Café.
The Many Links in Linked with Love
By now you are familiar with Pearce’s partnership with a vibrant preschool in the Rwandan village of Nzige. Several things have been accomplished already this year. First, families from our congregation have sponsored 82 of the children in Nzige, providing a significant infusion of support for the school and the village. Secondly, the children from this month’s VBS raised $1,200 for the construction of a playground at the school. Thirdly, an “Nzige classroom” has been created in our facility to serve as a “cross-cultural learning lab” for the children of P4K and Pearce Church
Now, under the direction of Nancy Carden, a great intergenerational team of volunteers is making dresses and shorts to be delivered to Nzige by Pearce’s own Ruth Stewart on August 20. After last Sunday’s worship service, Megan Douglass pulled me aside to show me the four dresses she had made as part of this collaborative effort. The hope is to have more than 300 dresses and shorts ready for delivery by mid-August. Thanks for all those who are helping with this project.
Visiting Nzige and Never Leaving Pearce!
I mentioned in the article above the “Nzige classroom” that has been created. This room is located downstairs just inside the original exterior entrance to Parmerter. (Those of you who have been at Pearce for many years will know it as the old Agapé waiting room!)
A sign over the door announces that you are about to enter the Nzige Preschool, photos of the actual school are on the wall outside the room, along with information about a girl who is sponsored by P4K. Inside, the tables and chairs, the color of the walls, and even the artwork are all careful recreations of an actual classroom in Nzige. School uniforms, created by Evelyn Smout after the clothing worn by students in Rwanda, are in crates ready to be donned by children as they enter the classroom.
Lydia Monroe and her team have done a great job creating a space where our “Linked with Love” partnership can be very visible to the children in our community of faith.
Can You Feel the Love?
I’ll be continuing our summer sermon series on “The Summer of Love” this weekend with a look at 1 John 2:28-3:10. As you prepare for worship, remember that Communion will be served at both services on Saturday and Sunday.
One of my joys is receiving what I call “worship art” following services at Pearce. Worship art includes wonderful pictures drawn by children as they enjoy times of worship at our church. I thought you might enjoy this photo of Emma with her drawing of our sanctuary.
Can I encourage you to be generous to Pearce in the remaining weeks of summer? I ask that because we have received to date a total of $664,038 toward the operational expenses of our church. This is $5,000 below where we were on this same date last year, and it is more than $30,000 below our budget to date. Since our costs for 2015 are significantly higher than they were a year ago (health insurance, etc.), the $5,000 less is even more impacting. Maybe you are in a financial position where you could be generous in helping us remain financially healthy. Thanks for considering this!
A Successful Summit
Last week while I was serving as a delegate at our denomination’s General Conference, the Pearce facility was filled with children experiencing the joys of Vacation Bible School. This summer’s theme, “Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power,” focused on Bible stories about Elijah, Naaman, and Jesus. Kids learned that God has the power to provide, comfort, heal, forgive, and love us forever. I ask you to pray for the 41 children who made first time commitments to Christ. Also, pray for the 130 kids who indicated they were committed to staying on course to follow Jesus.
As a part of their fun and meaningful week, those attending VBS raised a total of $1,209.50 to help purchase playground equipment for the Nzige Preschool and helped to stock the Pearce Food Cupboard.
My thanks to Pastor Kathy and her team for making this summer’s VBS a successful summit!
More Gems in the Treasure Chest
Nancy Drew, our intrepid librarian, recently drew my attention to the fact that new books for children have recently been placed in Pearce’s library. (If you’ve never been in our library, ask someone to help you find it the next time you are at Pearce!) I especially enjoyed Beverly Lewis’s No Grown-ups Allowed.
Kids at our church are encouraged to read as part of our Kids Treasure Quest. Children ages 2-12 are invited to pick up a Treasure Quest Tracker at Pearce’s reception desk or library and begin recording their reading progress.
Few things are better than lying on soft, green grass on a summer day with a good book in hand!
I don’t know if you have attended a Lifetree Café since we began holding them last October in Pearce’s Common Grounds Café. At each week’s Lifetree Café, you’ll hear stories that will make you think, spice your conversation, and help you make sense of this sometimes crazy world in which we live. The atmosphere is casual, providing a safe place for you to share your own story.
This Thursday’s Café is on the subject of prayer. It features interviews with Nathan Matz and Tosha Williams: two people who pray daily, but in very different ways. Next week’s Café deals with a particularly challenging subject as it focuses on the story of a man who is changing gender. His interview prompts examination of such issues as family dynamics, workplace complications, and spiritual implications for transgender individuals. If you have been challenged to know how to respond to the recent flurry of news reports regarding Caitlin Jenner, this may be the Lifetree you don’t want to miss.
Each Lifetree Café begins promptly at 7pm and ends at 8pm sharp.
Linked with Love One Stitch at a Time
If you were at Pearce last Sunday, you listened as I introduced the kids of Pearce to Nancy Carden and had her share about her Linked with Love sewing project. Linked with Love is, of course, our partnership with a preschool in Nzige, Rwanda. Nancy has the ambitious goal to make 300 dresses and shorts to send to the children in Nzige. That’s quite a bit of fabric and thousands of stitches!
During my interview, I encouraged those who may be interested in helping sew these clothes to meet with Nancy for a few minutes after worship to find out how they could help with this project. More than twenty-five people showed up to offer their sewing skills!
Nancy said afterward, “I was just bowled over by the interest and the enthusiasm of those that attended the meeting. It was such a delight to see the excitement and to have so many want to take part in the project, including several children!”
Check out this weekend’s NEUs for information on a Linked with Love sewing night to be held at Pearce on Wednesday, August 5, at 7pm.
On Saturday, July 11, Ray and Becki Bigham brought their first child, Charlie, for the sacrament of baptism. Pastor Jeremy officiated at the baptism where Becki’s brother, Bryan, and his fiancé, Emily, stood with the Bigham family. The Bighams began attending Pearce in 2013.
General Conference Overview
Several have asked me about last week’s General Conference, our denomination’s national gathering each quadrennial. Overall, I think it was a wonderful gathering of church leaders from across the country and around the world. The worship services were definite highlights, with powerful preaching on the part of our Board of Bishops and, on Sunday morning, July 12, Dr. Timothy C. Tennet, president of Asbury Theological Seminary.
I also enjoyed the music ministry of the conference’s worship team of which Pearce’s own Pastor Tim Lambert and guitarist Tim Guillemette were a part. (Some of you may recognize Mr. Guillemette for his participation in our Sunday morning music.)
Our administrator, Honna (Lusk) Curtis, was unable to attend as a delegate due to her need for recovery time after a tonsillectomy.
During one of the sessions on the final day of the conference, each of our present bishops was elected to a third four-year team.