Bridges Over Troubled Waters
As my family and I strolled along the meandering pathways at Stony Brook Park in Dansville, we came across this beautiful stone bridge. Have you seen it? I took this picture because I found it to be peaceful and, in a way, reassuring. Studying this solid edifice, I was reminded of the theme of this past February’s annual report: “Bridges Over Troubled Waters.” During that meeting, we highlighted the many ways Pearce Church has a history and ministry of providing bridges over the troubled waters of life.
This image came to mind this past Saturday, as many gathered at the New Comer Funeral Home in celebration and remembrance of Roy Redfield’s life. Inge and Roy moved to Virginia some time ago but wanted to have the service here in Rochester, where they spent the majority of their lives. In fact, they have been members of Pearce for many years. As I stood to give the meditation for Roy’s memorial service, I looked out to see many from the Pearce family who came in support of Roy’s wife, Inge, and the Redfield family. I know she felt blessed, too!
It was encouraging to see, once again, how our Pearce family comes alongside a friend who is grieving. Your presence helps to provide strength and comfort during these times. I hope you realize how much your presence and support means to families that have experienced a loss. In those moments, we become bridges over troubled waters.
Who Would You Have Lunch With?
Throughout the summer, the pastoral team has been practicing a team building exercise creatively entitled “Question of the Week.” It has been a fun way to learn more about each other with deep reflective questions and some fun questions like, “If you could fly over any city or region of the world like a bird, where would you fly?” One person thought of the Canadian Rockies, while someone else mentioned ancient Rome or the impregnable castles of Great Britain.
Out of that exercise also came the question, “If you could meet with anyone in heaven (besides God—since any pious Christian would use that answer), who would it be?” As an ordination gift this past May, I received a book where the author imagines such an occasion. In his book, If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis, Alister McGrath imagines a series of lunches with Lewis and what might come out of such conversations. In this creative piece of literature, McGrath explores Lewis’ views on the meaning of life, his wisdom on friendship, the significance of his Narnia stories, the problem of pain and suffering, and Christian hope and the joys of heaven.
If you are looking for a good book to read, I would recommend this one. In fact, I found myself using it as a sort of devotional—as each lunch with Lewis becomes a unique way of exploring rich aspects of life and our relationships with God and with one another. So, if you could have lunch with anyone in heaven, who would it be?
Are We There Yet?
You have heard the question many times, haven’t you? On almost every trip I have been on, little voices from the back seat will ask, “Are we there yet?” The answer always seems obvious to me, as the car wheels are still moving and the visual evidence outside of the windows clearly show the destination has not been reached. Now, Emma and Joshua have learned that it’s funny (at least from their point of view) to get Mommy and Daddy worked up by asking the question before we have even left our driveway. I suppose it is a little comical.
Since the end of May, we have all watched fences go up on the west side of Pearce, pallets of roofing material spread out across the grassy common area, and shingles raining down like sheets of black coal. You may have asked from week to week (as I have) “Are we there yet—when will the roof be completed?” I am happy to say that we are very close indeed! The roofers have worked diligently throughout the summer and have overcome various obstacles along the way. All that is left are gutters to be installed around the perimeter of Parmerter, flat roof shingles need to be completed, and there are a few repairs to be taken care of right above the courtyard.
The roof is looking fantastic and the grounds around Parmerter are clearing up more and more each day. I almost forgot there was a playground over there! Once again, thank you for the many ways you have generously given towards this roof. The cost of the roof is $161,200 and the church has received $154,100 toward this beautiful and necessary project. It would be incredible if we were able to fully cover the remaining balance of $7,100! If you are looking for something to give toward, this would be a wonderful project to consider!
Pleasant Afternoon with the Bishop
I hope you enjoyed Bishop David Kendall and Lavone’s visit with us a couple of weekends ago. I sure did! As I mentioned in the service, I was touched by their humility and kindness, and was blessed by the Bishop’s sermon. They are such easy people to talk to and connect with. I feel incredibly honored to be a part of a denomination with such fine leaders.
The Saturday they were in Rochester, Michele and I had the opportunity to take them to lunch at the Apple Tree Inn on Ridge Road in Brockport. If you haven’t been there yet, I would certainly recommend this quaint little restaurant. Afterwards, we strolled along the canal in Spencerport, visited the used book store (which they loved!), and finally grabbed ice cream at Abbott’s! It was a relaxing afternoon. Later Michele commented, “We should have taken them to LuGia’s!” Where’s Pastor Wally when you need him?
During our stroll, I had the chance to ask the Bishop some questions and in return tell him a little bit about us and about Pearce. In our conversation, I learned that three of his favorite authors are N.T. Wright (well of course), Dallas Willard (oh yeah!), and Samuel Wells (who?). Apparently, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells is vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. He served as Dean of Duke University Chapel and Research Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke Divinity School and has written numerous books and articles on Christian social ethics. I look forward to checking out some of his work.
I was also intrigued to hear how the church is growing in various parts of the world, like Africa and Asia, and how there is a Free Methodist Church among the Palestinians. I didn’t know that, did you? I am amazed at how, like a plant grows through a crack in cement, the Spirit of the Lord is able to revive life in the most unusual places. The Lord is good! I am thankful for people like the Bishop and Lavone. I am reminded by their presence that in the midst of a world full of chaos and sadness, God continues to raise up disciples and leaders full of his Spirit, full of hope, and full of peace.
Pastor Wally wanted me to let all of you know how much he appreciated your prayers as he spent last week in southwestern Indiana as the camp pastor of the Wabash Family Camp. He preached each evening of the seven-day camp, as well as taught a Bible study each weekday morning. Although most of those he met were new to him, Pastor Wally was able to connect with a few old friends: including former RWC student Elizabeth Macaluso Goodberry, who now pastors on staff of the Free Methodist Church in Avon, Indiana; and Rev. Henry & Bonnie Church, retired missionaries to Africa and the Middle East. Pastor Wally participated in the camp at the invitation of Bishop Emeritus Joe James. He has a new appreciation for Ogden summer days after the heat and humidity of an Indiana July, and is grateful to return to his time of sabbatical here at home.
Supporting the Nzige Team
You may recall a few weeks ago in worship services when we highlighted a remaining financial need for our Pearce team traveling to Nzige. While there, they will provide training for the teachers, interact with the preschool children, and take several items with them as education resources and for play. The team (which consists of Carol Stevenson, Ruth Stewart, Kim LaCelle, and Sue Smout) will be leaving next week. The estimated cost of the trip is around $10,000. We shared that we needed an additional $2,000 to help cover the cost of getting the team to Rwanda and sustaining them while there (e.g. food, lodging, interpreters, etc.).
Once again, I am thrilled by the kindness and support of Pearce Church, and am happy to share that $3,701.50 was given toward that need! Thank you for your generosity and for believing in this ministry! Let’s continue to be in prayer as our team prepares for this trip. I look forward to hearing how the Lord continues doing wonderful things in Nzige and in our Linked with Love partnership.
Milling and Repaving Orchard St.
Have you ever received an email you knew was important, but for some reason the message communicated didn’t click sink in until finding yourself in a situation where knowing the content of that email would have been helpful? Wednesday morning, on my way to the office, I was driving along Westside Drive and came to make a left turn onto Orchard. To my surprise, I saw Orchard Street torn up like a piece of chocolate cake after a hungry child dug into it with determined little fingers. Large construction trucks were everywhere; and the sound of screeching, as hot metal slowly wheeled a vehicle and heavy machinery ripped through pavement, filled the air.
As I was waved through Orchard Street by an emotionless construction worker, my head bobbing left and right and up and down as I drove over bumpy terrain, through hot steam rising from the street, I thought to myself, “What is going on and why didn’t anyone tell me?” It wasn’t until this disgruntled (a bit of an exaggeration) pastor parked his car that it hit me, “That’s what the email I received yesterday must have been about!” I hope I don’t stand alone in experiences like that. Can you relate?
Well, this was a long way of sharing with you that the Town of Chili is in the process of milling and repaving Orchard Street. We do not have a specified date of completion for this project, but the town expects to be done mid-August. It should look beautiful when it’s finished! So don’t be surprised, like me, when a trip down Orchard feels like a bumpy ride at Seabreeze. Read your emails and the Dangling Conversation carefully; and if you find yourself thinking why didn’t anyone tell me?—just remember, I told you so!
An Evening at Seabreeze
Speaking of rides at Seabreeze, this past Tuesday a group from Pearce went to Seabreeze as a fun church outing. I asked Pastor Mike, who oversaw this event, to give us an update on how the evening went:
Every summer, the teens make their pilgrimage to Rochester’s own Seabreeze Amusement Park. This year, we decided to open it up to our Pearce families as a whole. We had a few takers, but mostly it was 60 plus teens running through the park laughing, screaming, and taking in the beautiful night. Seabreeze has always been one of my favorite nights of the year with our teens. I ride some rides, but mostly I watch the kids as they talk, laugh, and as they bask in being carefree and young. This time was no different. The smell of fried dough, the sound of kids on the Jack Rabbit, and the smile on Paul Livermore’s face as he came down the water slide—wait, what? Yes folks, Dr. Paul Livermore is an amusement park connoisseur! It was a good reminder that you’re never too old to be a kid. I took that reminder to heart as Josh Mantegna, Kevin Dick, Owen Davis, and Sam Hunt coaxed me to join them on the log flume. I had no desire to get wet, but I’m glad they pushed me to do it. We have a memory now, and my clothes eventually dried. Next up for TNT is a pool party at the Emerson’s and then our annual Algonquin Canoe Trip.
Bishop Kendall is Coming to Town!
This weekend, we have the opportunity of welcoming Bishop David Kendall and his wife, Lavone, as they join us for worship. In fact, this seems to be the “Year of the Bishops” for Pearce. Earlier this year, we had Bishop Samuel from Rwanda join us in celebration of our Linked with Love partnership in Nzige. In the fall, we will have the honor of having Bishop Roller as our guest. We are a blessed congregation, aren’t we?
I met Bishop Kendall a few years ago at a conference for Free Methodist ministers. I heard him speak and was amazed by the biblical knowledge and wisdom that flowed from this dynamic man. However, I was even more blessed when I met him in person—by his humility and genuineness as an individual.
You may already know this, but for those of you who do not, the US Free Methodist General Conference has a total of three bishops. In simplified terms, Bishop Matt Thomas oversees the west coast region of the country, Bishop David Roller oversees the east coast region of the country (our region), and Bishop David Kendall oversees the mid-west region of the country. Each of these men are incredible and godly leaders for our denomination, who bring their own unique gifts. I have often heard it said that Bishop Kendall is the scholar. I believe you will find that observation justified as we hear his rich insight into scripture and the things of God, this weekend.
Bishop Kendall will be continuing our series in the Book of Acts from Acts 13:44-52 with his sermon “Good News for Others, and for All!” Together, we will explore how the “earliest witnesses shared the good news by what they proclaimed, how they lived, and what they did,” said Bishop Kendall in an email. I am excited that Pearce has the privilege of spending some time with the bishop and Lavone this weekend! We are planning to take a few moments in the service to get to know them better and to discover ways we can be praying for them in Christ’s love. I hope you can join us for this special occasion!
Pastor Wally at Wabash
Pastor Wally let me know this week that he will be leaving tomorrow (Friday) to drive to southwestern Indiana to serve as the camp pastor at the Wabash Family Camp from Sunday, July 17, through Saturday, July 24. The camp serves the 76 churches of the Wabash Conference, located in Indiana, West Virginia, and eastern Illinois. He accepted the invitation to serve in this capacity long before he had scheduled his sabbatical, so he is “breaking” his time of withdrawal and study to engage in this ministry. He has asked for your prayers for the camp as he has always deeply appreciated the prayer support of this congregation. “I’ve always loved knowing that the people of Pearce take seriously the task of intercessory prayer.” He continues to enjoy his time of sabbatical, but deeply misses the Pearce gang!
Trip to Nzige
With only three weeks to go, the team going to Nzige at the end of this month (Carol Stevenson, Sue Smout, Kim LaCelle and Ruth Stewart) is working on final preparations for their exciting trip! Led by our very own Carol Stevenson, they are packing suitcases filled with gifts for our friends in Nzige such as homemade dolls, small toy cars, and teaching resources (e.g. books, puzzles, and chalkboard paint). The purpose of this trip is for our team of four to provide teacher training for the many dedicated teachers in Nzige (some are pictured here). Teaching in Rwanda is traditionally all oral, where the children sit and listen while teachers talk and the students repeat back what they are hearing. This practice is in part due to the lack of resources the schools actually have.
Our team hopes to enrich their teaching skills by supplying more learning tools and techniques such as the art of learning through play (something Sue Smout is an expert at), introducing new curriculum that teachers at Pearce have created, and learning about science and how things grow in God’s beautiful creation.
The total cost of the trip is approximately $10,000 to send the team over to visit and support our friends in Rwanda. That covers airfares and excess luggage fees for all the wonderful resources and gifts the team is taking over. To date, $2,000 is still needed to help with the team’s expenses while in Rwanda (e.g. guest housing, food, interpreters, etc.). If it is on your heart to give, please consider giving toward this amazing trip to help offset the cost. I am so encouraged by the many ways our church has been generous in supporting this ministry and our Linked with Love partnership.
Summer Camp Fun
If you find yourself in the lower level of the church any Monday-Friday of the summer, you will hear lots of energetic children laughing and talking and will undoubtedly be overwhelmed by the smell of sunscreen! Pearce 4 Kids Summer Camp, which started in 2005, is host to over 60 children between the ages of 5-13 this summer. The Kindergarten-1st graders meet in the primary wing and enjoy weekly themes like “Under the Sea,” “Dinosaur Roar,” and “Favorite Authors.” The older children are enjoying a “Summer Olympics” theme and “traveling” each week to the various countries that have hosted the Summer Olympics in the past. The week’s activities include games, water play, field trips, crafts, and there is even a little bit of learning tucked into much of what is done with the children. P4K Summer Camp is a ministry of Pearce Church, with the goal of providing a fun and loving Christian environment for the children each day.
A Rare Sighting
This past Wednesday, the pastoral team had the delight of joining Pastor Wally for lunch at his lovely home in Ogden. This was the first time we have gathered together like that since he began his summer sabbatical at the end of May. It was a joy to fellowship with him while eating delicious sandwiches and wraps from the Main Street Deli in Churchville (I highly recommend the Virginia Baked Ham Grilled Panini, topped with apples, honey mustard, and cheddar cheese).
“How did he look?” you might ask. Well, he looked chill, as the youngsters say now-a-days. Interpretation: he looked relaxed, rested, and at peace. Which is amazing, because in June he was also able to successfully complete the first chapter of his dissertation for his D. Min. at Northeastern Seminary. His goal is to finish three chapters by the end of his sabbatical—so he is right on schedule.
The time passed very quickly in the hot July sun with good conversation. We hope he enjoyed our visit as much as we enjoyed being with him! We also look forward to his return at the end of August. The office wing just isn’t the same without his whistling or sudden serenades of 60’s songs and old hymns.
Mission Made Possible: Cleaning Up the Mission House
There are few chores more difficult than weeding a flower bed in the summer sun and pulling up stubborn shrub roots that have reached deep into the earth to stake their claim. Okay, maybe cleaning up the dishes after a spaghetti dinner is right up there too! Thank heavens for dish washers!
Over the past several weekends, some thoughtful and hardworking members in our congregation (led by Brian and Kathy Fox) labored diligently to freshen up the landscape around our mission house on Orchard Street. Gregg Wergin sent me a picture of the mountain of foliage and shrubbery that the team pulled up and set by the side of the road. I walked over to the house this week to survey their efforts and was delighted to see the vast improvements they made. This project was in addition to a small group who faithfully comes to get the house ready for guests each time there is a transition. That small group makes sure the floors are vacuumed, the bathroom is clean, and that there are fresh sheets on the bed. Two words come to my mind when I think of these efforts: love and hospitality.
You see, throughout the year, several missionary families come home from their overseas assignments and find respite and a space for renewal in our mission house. It is a ministry Pearce has offered to the Lord’s servants for decades, with the hope that we can remove one more burden from their shoulders and provide shelter. Several months back, we were even able to make a rare exception to the use of the house so that the Suddenly 10 family had a place to live as they navigated through a very difficult transition.
Like your home, this house requires careful attention and upkeep. It needs someone to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. It needs people who will thoughtfully invest their time, and even finances, to maintain this ministry. That is why I thought of love and hospitality. The team who sweat in the sun to make this happen, did it to be a blessing to those who will come and stay in this home. Within the smell of newly laid mulch, with the sight of each planted flower, and each bed with fresh sheets is the message of a loving church family that values hospitality and those the Lord has sent our way. So I want to extend a special thank you to everyone who participates in supporting the mission house ministry with the sweat of their brow or by the generous giving that makes such projects possible!
I walked into the church Monday morning knowing that it was the week of Cave Quest VBS, but I didn’t quite anticipate the amount of energy that would fill this church so early. It was a wonderful sight, seeing kids of all ages trying on their name badges, giggling at the sight of bats and butterflies, and yelling “How did they do that?” as they curiously gazed at the cardboard tunnel that led into one of their classrooms. Everyone could feel the buzz in the air!
As I welcomed parents and kids with the rest of the VBS team, I could also hear the chatter of excited children updating each other on their day. I mostly heard about the class session where they walked on water like Peter, how Pastor Mike was one of the fun characters that did somersaults across the sanctuary stage (pray for Pastor Mike as he recovers), and that cardboard tunnel again! Even I had to try crawling through the cardboard tunnel!
However, what blessed me most was at the beginning and end of each day when I could hear the precious voices of a few hundred kids singing songs of praise and worship to Jesus. That’s what this week is about—JESUS! I am glad we serve a God who invites the little children to come and spend time in His presence and get to know Him. Our Lord is fun, and learning about Him is a joy and an adventure!
I so appreciate this church and the ways you have been praying for our kids and lay ministers this week. I reassure you that the Spirit of the Lord has filled this place with His goodness and is touching the lives of our children. So I leave you with the words of one little boy, who shouted at the top of his lungs to his mom and sisters, “I love coming here and singing Jesus music! Did you hear me singing, mom? And did you see that tunnel?”
One of the great care ministries at Pearce is our Stephen Ministry that provides one-on-one care for individuals in our congregation or community who are facing a life challenge. Each of our Stephen Ministers are prayerfully and carefully selected based on their compassion for others and the gifts the Lord has given them. After significant training and preparation, they are paired with a care receiver, coming alongside them to provide Christian support and love.
These wonderful individuals passionately respond to what Paul exhorts the Galatians to do in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” That law is love! Throughout the year, I have had the privilege of witnessing how our Stephen Ministers selflessly help to carry the burdens and life-trials of so many.
As you may imagine, such a ministry can be filled with a plethora of serious issues and heavy moments. So this past Tuesday, we took our Stephen Ministry team out for a fun night of mini-golf and go-carting! That’s right, I said go-carting. And I have never seen so many caring individuals carelessly rip around corners and competitively burn rubber off go-cart tires like we did that night! It was awesome!
In addition to the two hours of all you can play mini-golf and go-carting, we gave them brand new t-shirts that say, “Got Care? Pearce Stephen Ministry.” We wore them proudly and even had a few occasions to share about the ministry with people we did not know. I would say the evening turned out to be a “hole-in-one!”
Passport to Sundae Sunday Island
The great children’s book author Dr. Seuss once wisely suggested: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Not only was Dr. Seuss a master of rhymes and creative creatures, but he was a firm believer in how important it is that children read. We hold that same value here at Pearce Church.
So this summer, we are hosting a fun kids’ summer reading program called “Passport to Sundae Sunday Island.” You’re intrigued aren’t you? Now, I am sure many of you have already booked your vacations for the summer; but if you have children between the ages of 2-14, you won’t want to miss this trip! Sundae Sunday Island is an imaginary place where our kids will travel on Sunday, August 21, in the Family Life Center for a make-your-own-ice cream sundae celebration!
Like any exciting trip to a fabulous destination, our kids will receive their very own passports beginning this weekend, June 25/26, at the Reception Desk. Mr. Wayne Drew will be available on the weekends to take their picture, so they can place the photo of themselves in their cool passport (sorry, no enhanced driver’s licenses). Inside, there will be nine different categories for reading. Each time they complete an individual category, they can have their passport stamped and receive a fun prize from our spectacular treasure chest! (If your child cannot eat ice cream due to an allergy, please see Pastor Kathy or Michele Kelly and we will make sure they have a fun reward too!)
I am excited to hear about the stories of our kids reading individually or with their families. Those times create such incredible memories. So please get behind our kids this summer and help us support and encourage them in their reading! We don’t want anyone to miss the fantastic trip to Sundae Sunday Island!
All Wrapped Up!
Pearce Church will probably never make it onto Fortune 500’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list; but in my book, Pearce is the greatest place to work! During the beautiful summer months, we enjoy having a Pearce Staff Fun Wednesday- when we take a short respite from our day to spend some time together as a team. We plan fun activities like taking a walk to Jitters Café, a trip to LuGia’s for ice cream (I think Pastor Wally is the catalyst behind that one), or a picnic lunch together. I have to admit, I am a little surprised Pastor Wally hasn’t incorporated water slides into those days!
Well, this past Wednesday, the pastoral team had left the office for a meeting. When we returned to our offices, we each found a surprise waiting for us. Pastor Tim had multi-colored post-it-notes canvassing his walls and furniture; Pastor Mike had caution tape and an outline of a person taped to his floor like a crime scene; Pastor Kathy found an office full of balloons and wads of paper; Honna discovered her phone had been meticulously wrapped in rubber bands; and Lydia had a plethora of rubber duckies dispersed throughout her office. “What did they do to your office?” you may wonder. Well, as you can see from the pictures above, I discovered plastic wrap tightly twisted around my office chair, computer, and book shelves. I am certain that whoever pranked my office had done this before—it was professionally executed.
We were all laughing pretty hard and were tickled how quickly they had pranked us—we were not gone that long! We learned that it was the office staff who had fun in our absence, and took advantage of our pastoral team forgetting-or rather missing-that the fun event for the week was to prank somebody (note to self: read all emails carefully).
I feel blessed to be in ministry with such an incredible team! Oftentimes life can be very full with heavy and serious matters, but we all must remember that God also created us to play. In the joys of playfulness, we are able to discover yet another glimpse of our Father.
A Word from Pastor Mike
On and off for nearly 30 years, Jim and Sheri Morton have hosted a weekend for the graduating seniors at their cottage in Canada. The tradition was revived this year: June 17-19. We took 11 teens and six adults for a weekend of tubing, water-skiing, volleyball, kayaking, cliff jumping and euchre (lots and lots of euchre). The weather was perfect, as we spent most of our time on the water and around the camp fire. While the weekend was relaxing and included plenty of laughs, it was also a time to reflect on the last four years and to ponder the future. This group of seniors has been a unique group, and I am so appreciative of the time I have had with them. Their love for each other and for Christ has been so apparent as we have traveled to Algonquin, Romania, volunteered at Meadowbrook, and even as we have spent time together on retreats or in coffee shops. Continue to pray for them as they head out at the end of the summer for the next steps in their journeys. Pray for their parents, too, as they say goodbye to their kids. And if you think of it, say a prayer for me; it’s hard to let one child go, but I’m saying goodbye to 15!
Dolls for Nzige
Earlier this week Lydia Monroe, our P4K director, alerted me to yet another amazing way members in our congregation are being a blessing to our friends in Nzige. She informed me that Nancy Carden (who previously led a project to make clothes for the preschoolers in Nzige) and her granddaughter, Rachel Daningburg, committed to making dolls. I reached out to Sue Smout, who is a part of the Pearce team going to Nzige at the end of July, to learn more about this great project. This is Sue’s email response to me that I wanted to share with you:
As the Summer Nzige team prepares to leave next month, we have been packing our bags of materials in preparation. We will be bringing items to create play and learning centers in the classrooms, and demonstrate how children learn through play and exploration. Traditional Rwandan education has the teacher lecturing while the students listen and copy from the chalkboard.
The team explored the nursery school room at Pearce and developed centers and learning materials that are familiar to our preschool students. Wooden blocks and cars, art materials, dress up clothes, sand and water toys, and games. We wanted to bring dolls for the classroom centers too, but wanted a doll that was cute and cuddly and reflected a simpler, home made look instead of a hard plastic doll. We approached Nancy Carden with a pattern, and she graciously offered to make the 25 dolls we wanted to bring. When the dolls were finished, Nancy and her granddaughter, Rachel Daningburg, added adorable faces to personalize the dolls. The baby dolls will be a wonderful addition as we set up a “homemaking” center in each classroom.
The dolls are lightweight and can be washed, and the loving care that went into making them makes them even more special.”
How cool is that! I am sure the children in Nzige will be absolutely delighted by this warm gift. Thank you to Nancy Carden, Rachel Daningburg, Sue Smout, and all who are participating in this fantastic project! You truly are a blessing!
Common Grounds Café Upgrade
Have you ever accidentally walked into a sliding glass door because it was so clean you didn’t notice it was there? I have and it isn’t funny! Okay, maybe it’s a little funny; but it is also embarrassing (if others are around to witness it); and it can be dangerous.
The reason I ask, is because we just had new windows and glass doors installed at our Common Grounds Café entrance and they look beautiful! “Why did you do such a thing?” you might ask. Well first of all, in addition to serving delicious coffee and a tasty menu that includes Jim Heeks’s Famous Chili, it also offers a warm and welcoming environment for special ministries like Lifetree Café and events like Discovery Seminar. One of the challenges we faced was that when the church was filled with other fun events, like our Pearce 4 Kids graduation, the traffic and noise in the atrium could be disturbing to activities in the Café. Now, we have the convenient option of keeping the sliding windows and doors open or choosing to close them.
Secondly, we value security and good stewardship at Pearce. We are blessed to have this spot for our congregation and for RWC students to use during the school year. As you may have noticed, we have added certain items (like a new TV) to help create a cozy atmosphere and to accommodate certain ministries. Also, the Café is a state certified kitchen that needs to be kept clean and the product we utilize for the Café needs to be kept safe. Our desire is to be good stewards of God’s blessings at Pearce; so we want to insure that the Café is secure when not in use.
I hope you get the chance to take a peek at this new upgrade to our Café—just don’t run into the glass! I am looking forward to the many ministry opportunities and fellowship connections that will continue to happen in that wonderful space.
A Summer in The Book of Acts
In his book Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today, Bible scholar Craig S. Keener says, “As Elijah’s mantle fell on Elisha and as other prophetic disciples sought to emulate their mentors, so the ascending Jesus empowered His church with the Spirit to carry on His mission to the ends of the earth.” Don’t you love that image of the Holy Spirit coming upon His Church like a mantle to empower and embolden the disciples of Jesus to faithfully share the Good News?
Well, I am excited to announce that this summer, we will have the privilege of walking through the book of Acts together at Pearce in a sermon series entitled, “Encounters Along the Way!” With the guidance of incredible preachers like Rev. Jonathan Bratt, Dr. Matt Hill, Dr. Doug Cullum, and Bishop David Kendall, we will explore what happens when the Spirit-led, Gospel-bearing disciples of Jesus come in contact with the various dynamics of evangelism. For instance, how did the early disciples navigate their encounters with a world that did not know Jesus and was often hostile to His followers? In what ways did the Holy Spirit empower them to preach in the face of intimidating hierarchy and dominating people like King Agrippa? Is that courage and conviction available for us today as Christ-followers, and will the Holy Spirit guide us like He did the early church in the first century?
As the early church father John Chrysostom said in the late 4th century AD about the Book of Acts, “It will profit us no less than the Gospels themselves, so replete is it with Christian wisdom and sound doctrine, especially in what is said concerning the Holy Spirit. Let us then not pass by it hastily but examine it closely.” I hope you can join us throughout the summer as together we closely examine these important questions and encounters found in the book of Acts!
Speaking of Dangling Conversations
I had a good laugh a few weeks ago as I read through an email thread from the members on the Official Board. Chuck Cockrell had reported that he received a complaint from one of our most astute parishioners, Rob Distaffen. Rob had told Chuck that he was a little disappointed because he had seen all of the roofing materials and safety fences on our property but it did not look like a “shingle” thing had been done. If you know Rob, you know that he is not a complainer and more than that, he is a great pun-master!
I hope that you have had the chance to notice the progress from week to week on the Parmerter Chapel roof. The roofers have been working diligently through some very hot days and this past Saturday, they began at sun-up and continued through four o’clock in the afternoon, faithfully cleaning up right before our 5pm Saturday service. I took this picture from the courtyard; because if anything should make it in the Dangling, it is a dangling gutter that came down shortly after I took this picture. I am thankful for all the hard work the roofers are doing and trust Parmerter Chapel roof will look amazing when they are finished!
16 Eight 12 Celebration
This coming weekend is going to be a special time of celebration for Pearce Church. If you’re still not aware, 16 Eight 12 is referring to the 16th book of the Bible (Nehemiah), the eighth chapter, and the twelfth verse. In this moving passage, the people of God hear the Word of God read; and after understanding it, they are filled with great joy and set out to have an incredible party—celebrating what they heard! This weekend, we are going to celebrate the Word of God in our worship services, and present Bibles to 13 first graders and 11 sixth graders.
In addition, we will be giving 14 graduating high school seniors a gift book that will encourage them in the next chapter of their lives.
Immediately following our Sunday service, we are going to have a party—a summer picnic—celebrating what we have heard, what the Lord is doing at Pearce, and how God has generously blessed us with Scripture. Jim Heeks and his awesome kitchen team are preparing a Dress-up-a- Zweigles Bar, Make-Your-Own-Taco-Boats, and an Ice Cream Buffet. I hope you can join us for worship this weekend and for a great time of celebration and fellowship. You won’t want to miss it!
“Shoes that Grow” Because of the Generosity that Flows
I am always encouraged by the ways Pearce Church unites behind a project that ministers to others who have a need. We, as a church, have been richly blessed by our partnership with Nzige as we witness their faithfulness to Christ and determination to grow a preschool that will invest in the lives of the children for years to come. Your generous support of this partnership has made many of the present opportunities possible.
This past weekend, we highlighted our desire to raise finances during our Exit Offering to purchase “Shoes that Grow” for our friends in Nzige. Each pair of shoes cost $15. They are durable and expandable so that children can grow with and in them for up to five years. How incredible is that? I am pleased to share that at this point, we have raised $4,454 with $2,204 coming in this past weekend with our Exit Offering. Many shoes will be purchased with such generosity and our team who is traveling to Nzige in August will be able to share this blessing with our friends. In Ephaste’s words to Pastor Wally regarding these fantastic shoes, “they make free the feet of the children!” Thank you for the many ways you are faithful in giving and in kindness!
A Month of Baptisms
In May, Pearce was overflowing with baptisms! I hope you have felt as blessed as I have this past month. Altogether, we celebrated 17 public confessions of faith from individuals who have committed themselves to living for Jesus. That’s incredible! This past weekend, I had the pleasure of baptizing Denise Lynn Casper in our Saturday evening service. I hope you get the chance to meet Denise if you haven’t already. She is a kind and gentle spirit with a loving heart for the Lord. She has been coming to Pearce for about three years now and baptism was a very big step in her faith journey. I am so proud of her! We had agreed on baptism by sprinkling, but I think she was a wee bit surprised by how much water I actually used! Make sure you keep Denise and the rest of the individuals recently baptized in your prayers as they grow in Christ.
Ordained and Appreciative
Blue eyes. I will never forget the moment Bishop David Roller said to me, in an authoritative yet genuine voice, “Hand me your Bible and look at me!” I gazed up into his piercing blue eyes (I never noticed them until that point) and in an instant, I sensed this was a holy moment. “Take authority to minister the Word of God. Faithfully proclaim His Word, declare His forgiveness, celebrate the sacraments, shepherd His people.” Some people have asked me since then if I feel any different. At times, that question has been accompanied by a chuckle, suggesting that those asking do not expect that there would be a change. I have to admit, I was not expecting one either, or to feel different. Yet surprisingly, it was a moment that deeply impacted me and I do, in fact, feel different. It’s not the, “I just had a latte from Starbucks for the first time” feeling or the road to Damascus experience that happened to Paul the Apostle. Instead, I feel that I encountered the Holy Spirit in a new way—a different way than I have up to this point and I feel refreshed and renewed by His presence. I can see now why some faith traditions view ordination or Holy Orders, as some call it, as a sacrament. As Free Methodists, we do not view it as a sacrament, but I have learned that it is a moment and experience of rich and wonderful grace!
A Heartfelt Thank You!
I want to thank everyone who came out to support me at Northgate FMC for the ordination service, and those who wanted to be there but could not! I was overwhelmed and blessed by how many of my Pearce family were sitting in the congregation and the kind words of congratulations expressed to Michele and me. After the service, Rick Kinde handed me a wooden plaque he made into a sign that says, “ELDER: Jeremy Kelly” on it! We both had a good chuckle as it only took him a couple of minutes to make in his wood shop. I was grateful because it would have taken me three months to make it, and Pastor Wally would have wondered what I did during his sabbatical. Michele and I have greatly appreciated the cards, gifts, and the lovely reception we received following this past Sunday’s service. I have already begun to use the beautiful Johnston & Murphy portfolio presented to me by Terry Taber on behalf of the congregation. It is perfect! Thank you!
Pastoral Care from a Caring Pastor
As most of you are aware by now, Pastor Wally has begun his first full week of sabbatical for the summer. I understand he is off to a great start! As I take on many of Pastor Wally’s responsibilities, I do so with full confidence in our team and with the joy of having many wonderful people ministering with us. For instance, I am very pleased that during the summer, Rev. Dave Carden has generously agreed to come alongside of our pastoral team to help provide for the care needs of the church. Pastor Dave has served the Lord in ministry for many years, and served at Pearce as the Pastor of Discipleship, Gift-based Ministry, and Outreach before retiring. Pastor Dave is a delightful and compassionate man with a warm pastoral heart that I highly respect. We will be meeting every Monday morning to discuss who needs a pastoral touch for the week, in addition to what the rest of our team is doing. So do not be surprised if you receive a call or a visit from Pastor Dave. He comes in peace and I trust his ministry will be of a great encouragement and blessing to you!